Archive for March, 2012


Is There Any Hope of a Tiger Woods Comeback?

tiger-woods

Tiger Woods is already a legend in the sport of golf — perhaps the greatest golfing success story of this generation. Tiger Woods could easily retire now and enjoy a magnificent legacy. And yes, that is precisely what some people think he should do!

Forget the fact that Tiger Woods’ name has been driven through the mud over personal issues. (After all, he is the very first famous athlete to ever cheat on his wife, right? Umm…sure) He has also lost endorsements and many of his ardent fans and been demonized by the press.

The question is, can he still play? Many in the industry are quick to say no! After all, he lost his #1 ranking nearly two years ago, and was ranked below the top 50 by the end of last year. He also managed to rake up a career long loss streak of 107 weeks.

Why just consider the dirt coming from Hank Haney, Woods’ former coach. In his new book The Big Miss he states bluntly that he doubts Tiger will ever recover from his career slump. He says that the scandal specifically affected the player’s game, going from “potentially irreparable.” Haney also said that Tiger, no longer a young man at 36 years of age, has learned that “realization creates doubt and in competitive golf doubt is a killer.”

Of course, it’s hard to deny that Haney has a personal issue against Tiger, not only because of money, but also because Haney (admittedly) didn’t like the way Woods always attributed problems to his coaching style.

Nevertheless, not everyone is giving up on Tiger Woods. Jeneé Osterheldt of the Kansas City star remains one of Tiger’s biggest fans and stated that “Tiger Woods is genuinely smiling. And people are smiling along with him.”

Why so? Could it be because Tiger is finally swinging success? As of March 2012, he won a 2012 Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, and this is his first win on the PGA Tour in over two years. He is now ranked #6 in the golfing world.

What do you think, sports fans? Does Tiger have another championship left or has he peaked before his time?

The Final Four in March Madness Prepare for Battle

final-four-march-madnessThe Final Four is set for March Madness, and the two games left to play are both set to be equally exciting.

The first game will be between Kentucky and Louisville and will be held at the Superdome in New Orleans. This matchup has all kinds of storylines going for it, including the fact that the team of the Cardinals’ coach, Rick Pitino, will be playing against a team that he once coached. After Pitino left Kentucky to coach the Boston Celtics, but when he returned to college ball, it was Louisville that he coached for, a team that has a deep-rooted rivalry with Kentucky, the Cardinals have since turned against him.

After that game is played, Ohio State and Kansas will face off against each other, two teams that have almost no history between each other. In their entire histories, they have only met nine times and this season, only twice.

Once these four teams have duked it out, the winners will go on to face each other on April 2 for the national title. Kentucky seems to be the favorite so far, winning seven titles in the past, with Kansas being next in line with only three. Louisville only has two titles under their belt, but it’s important to remember that their coach, Pitino, was responsible for the seven titles Kansas won. Ohio State is least likely to win the ultimate title, as they’ve only won one in the past — and that was over 50 years ago in 1960.

But it is the NCAA Final Four, one of the most exciting and unpredictable events in college sports, and one truly can never tell.

Punishments Dealt to Saints Staff for Bounty Programs

saints-bounty-programEveryone knew that when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell dealt down his punishments for the Saints’ bounty programs, they would be harsh. So far, it has resulted in a suspension for head coach, Sean Payton, for the entire 2012-2013 season; a suspension for general manager, Mickey Loomis; an indefinite suspension for defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams; two second-round draft picks; and a fine of $500,000. But Goodell isn’t done. He wants even more people to pay, and it’s left the hands of the Saints tied tighter than ever.

The Commissioner also wants to find and fine the approximately 24 defensive players that were involved in accepting the bounties for “particularly unusual and egregious” and “totally unacceptable” hits on players of opposing teams. One of those players who will not be called into question is quarterback, Drew Brees. And now it seems, the New Orleans Saints might have to give him whatever he’s asking for.

Brees’ contract is up, and he can’t sign with another team due to the franchise tag the Saints have on him. In exchange for that tag, Brees gets a guaranteed $15-$16 million per year. Brees wants to earn $23 million, but the Saints came back with $18 million. That puts them at a standstill, with the scales tipping in the direction of the Saints‘ favor. But that was before the Commissioner showed that he wasn’t joking around with his bounty discipline. Now, the Saints are in a bit of a tougher spot.

Brees is exactly what this team needs right now to pull them together as a unit, and bring some sanity to an insane locker room. He’s inarguably an elite player and is the best chance the Saints have at pulling anything together for the coming season. He can’t leave, but he can decide that he’s just not going to play.

That’s something that the Saints just can’t afford right now; and is probably what will not only balance out the scales of Brees’ coming paycheck, but tip them right over into his bank account.

Jungle Jack Hanna: The Celebrity Zookeeper

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How could you forget Jack Hanna? This is the kind of face you remember, if not for his many hilarious appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman, then for the simple fact that his droll expression is usually partly covered by a kuskus–or something other bizarre animal crawling all over his head and shoulders. He is also easily identified by his outfit: a khaki safari outfit, a dark tan and a crazy Southern accent.

Yes, Jack Hanna has the earned the distinction of “Jungle Jack“, and not only because of his fame. In fact, Hanna started as an American zookeeper and is almost single-handedly responsible for elevating the quality and reputation of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio to worldwide renown. One of the ways he improved the zoo was by transitioning animals from cages to habitat environments.

He got his start on a Tennessee farm owned by his father, and started working with animals at the impressionable age of 11, landing an assistant position to a veterinarian. He studied business and political science in Ohio before getting in trouble for keeping ducks in his dorm room and a donkey in a shed. He later opened a pet shop and petting zoo.

Hanna, now age 65, has kept busy publishing books (Monkeys on the Interstate) and has also hosted the TV show Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures. He also pops up on daytime TV, and oddly enough, in music videos; in 2005, he appeared in Neal McCoy’s “Billy’s Got His Beer Goggles On” along with a trio of wild animals. He has been talking retirement as of late, but as recently as October 19, 2011, he was still on active duty. He helped Ohio police officials track down many exotic animals near Zanesville, Ohio who were mysteriously released before a private owner’s suicide.

You can still catch Jack on TV…but why not make plans to see him and his wild animal friends live and in person? These shows are popular for children and adults, because you never know what Jack is going to bring out. These shows are educational, thrilling and often times funny, because animals are usually such bad actors!

Is it a Bad Sign that NHL CBA Talks Haven’t Started Yet?

nhl-cbaEven though we’re still only in March, September 15 is approaching way too quickly for many NHL fans and team owners. And the fact that the league and the Players’ Association aren’t talking yet has them even more anxious. September 15 of course, is the date that the current NHL collective bargaining agreement (CBA) expires; and if there’s not a new one in place by that date, everyone’s looking at the one thing they’re trying to avoid — a lockout. So, is it a bad sign that talks haven’t even started? Or should fans and owners wait until the summer before they really start to panic?

In order to determine whether or not it’s time to start worrying, you need to go back to negotiations made prior to the 2004-2005 lockout and see where negotiations were at this time back then. In early January of 2003, commissioner Gary Bettman and then-NHLPA executive director, Bob Goodenow, met to talk about the deal that was going to expire in nine months. Then by the end of March, a total of eight meetings had been held. That’s nine meetings in three months that were held prior to April in 2003. In March 2012 however, no meetings have been scheduled and everyone’s keeping mum about it. Bettman keeps giving his “business as usual” line, indicating that teams should keep operating as they are and not worry about the CBA. And he’s even gone as far to say, “There’s nothing going on.”

So do fans and owners have reason to worry?

Probably not. There is a major difference between this CBA and the one that was so mightily fought over in 2003. That difference is that this time, the only real major issue is how high the salary cap will be. And that’s not even going to be that major. Last time, there were dozens of major issues, including the salary cap but also restructuring the entire league, how free agency works, and drug testing. And no one, including Gary Bettman, wants to see a waste of an entire season again.

The fact that the two sides haven’t sat down to talk yet might actually be an indication that things will be smoother this time around, not more difficult. What do you think? Do you think NHL fans will miss a portion, or all, of their season again?

Tracy Morgan – A Fearless Comic

tracy-morganEvery time Tracy Morgan looks at the camera the laughs erupt, whether you’re watching him on a rerun of Saturday Night Live, a hosting gig on Scare Tactics, or on the NBC show biz sitcom 30 Rock. It’s hard to imagine taking Tracy Morgan too seriously even if he has an aggressive voice and enjoys plays hard-boiled characters. He’s all bark and very little bite, and is never above showing the vulnerability and “softer side” of his mad comic persona.

Morgan lasted eight seasons on Saturday Night Live but longtime fans may remember him from the Fox sitcom Martin. His character of “Hustle Man” sold all sorts of questionable merchandise “from the hood”, and had the catchphrase “What’s happ’n, chief?” (He also had the “rapper dog”) It is amusing to see Morgan making occasional references to Martin, including the Chris Rock film Head of State.

Tracy Morgan may have a softer side but the rough exterior is as real as you can get, as his upbringing was troubled, to say the least. He was also the victim of bullying as a child and actually used his comedy as a defense. He was first discovered by Martin Lawrence’s ex-wife doing standup comedy at The Apollo Theater in 1984. Now 43 years of age, Morgan is a comic veteran and a household name. Quite the prodigious end for a man who once worked as a painter in New York City!

Despite being a successful comedian and actor, Morgan still makes time to go on the road and mingle with his biggest fans. According to his Twitter account, Morgan is “touring 5,000 cities worldwide.” He also said “You guys are the greatest!!! Errrrrbody’s gonna get pregnant. Baby-boom-boom tour! I love you.”

Yes, it’s a joy to behold Tracy in person as he cracks jokes, shares life stories and mocks the business like only he can. Of course, this veteran performer is anxious to prove that he’s far from a one-note wonder. Just witness his upcoming dramatic role as a drug dealer and kidnapper in Predisposed, where he will be working with Melissa Leo and Jesse Eisenberg.

Nicole Kidman Returns to Broadway after 14 Years!

nicole-kidmanWhile Nicole Kidman may have seemed more comfortable on the silver screen in the past decade than she has on the Great White Way, she’s about to prove once again why she was such a hit there in 1998. Back then she played five different roles in The Blue Room, written by David Hare and directed by Sam Mendes. This time, she’ll take on just one role, that of Joan Scott-Fowler in After the Dance.

The show first ran in 2010 in London’s National Theatre and had audiences continually coming back for more. The story is one about a desperate woman, Joan, who’s stuck in a marriage that began for all the wrong reasons; yet she struggles to hang onto it. Her fight comes to an end when her husband meets a much younger woman and ends the marriage; leaving Joan not only desperate, but alone too. And while ‘desperate’ is not a word that anyone would use to describe Nicole Kidman, with her past ups and downs in marriages, it’s definitely a role she can bring some real grit to.

Kidman was supposed to appear in Sweet Bird of Youth alongside James Franco, but that project has been postponed. It’s been said that Kidman was very eager to get into another theater project right away.

While there is no official word yet on when the show will begin its Broadway run, it’s thought that it will be in the lineup of spring or fall of next year.

Where will Peyton Manning Go?

peyton-manningAfter Peyton Manning missed all of the 2011 football season with a neck surgery, and as a result, the Colts had one of their worst years in recent history, the team has now decided to release the quarterback in favor of paying him a huge $28 million bonus. Manning stated in a very emotional press conference yesterday, “I haven’t given much thought to where I’m going to go; but I have given a lot of thought as to where I’ve been.” If that’s the case, he’s the only one. A few teams are already eager to get one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time in their jersey; but will they hesitate due to the star’s past health history?

The Cardinals and Seahawks are two teams that have been rumored to mutter interest in Manning behind closed doors. But the Cardinals have already committed to Kevin Kolb and still owe him a heap of money; and the Seahawks currently have Tarvaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst on their roster. The team to express the most interest so far is reportedly the Miami Dolphins, and the fact that Peyton already has a home there might make it a good fit.

But will anyone actually end up taking him?

Before this year it was hard to imagine a football season without Peyton Manning. But with continuing health problems posing an uncertain future, who can afford to pay big bucks for a quarterback that might never amount to much more than health progress reports and sideline-sitting?

What do you think? Do you think Manning’s uncertain health will keep him out of football; or do you think the right team is going to come and scoop up this superstar?

The 84th Annual Academy Awards: One Great Advertisement

Say what you will about the 84th Annual Academy Awards, they sure do a great job of publicizing low-budget movies and even a few Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. While there is no stage version of The Artist or Hugo, there were Broadway shows for other nominated films.

Warhorse may have gone home empty-handed on Oscar night, but the play version of the film picked up five Tony Awards in 2011, including Best Play, Best Director, Best Scenic Design, Best Lighting and Best Sound. The production even won a special award for puppetry performance. W.E. was only nominated once, but its writer and director Madonna is no stranger to Oscar parties or live performances for that matter. Long before her movie picked up a Best Costume Design nomination, she was turning heads for her work in the Oscar-winning Evita (based on the musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber) as well as the Warren Beatty remake of Dick Tracy. Madonna is still touring the U.S. and was last seen belting out numbers of the Super Bowl halftime show.

Perhaps it was fitting (or planned that way) that Collin Firth presented Meryl Streep’s Best Actress category and watched as Streep won her third Best Actress statue. The two stars previously worked together on the film Mamma Mia, which was based on a stage play written by Catherine Johnson and influenced by the songs of ABBA. Lastly, we had the political drama The Ides of March starring George Clooney, which was originally based on the 2008 play Farragut North.

Of course, the best performance of Oscar night may well have been that of Cirque Du Soleil, who gave a dazzling tribute to the movies with death-defying leaps and bizarre feats of strength. Yes, Cirque Du Soleil has been making waves for decades, and every once in a while Hollywood does a double take on this very creative and energetic entity. Cirque Du Soleil is currently touring across the U.S. and also performing live in Las Vegas. Some of their hottest shows today include Viva Elvis, Zumanity, O, Mystere, Ka and The Beatles: Love. If you loved them at the Oscar show, come give them a standing ovation in person!

This may have been a weak year for Broadway-to-movie adaptations, but at least the theatre stole the show!

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