Saturday, May 21, 2016

Rapping, Deconstructed: The Best Rhymers Of All Time

Rapping, deconstructed: the best rhymers of all time

There's a line in the first verse of MF Doom's track "Beef Rapp" that encapsulates everything I love about rappers who create complex rhyming patterns in their songs. It goes like this:
Not only is MF Doom talking about how he's a great rhymer, he's showing you.

I spoke with Martin Connor, a writer and music theorist who analyzes the rhyming patterns, beats, and rhythmic techniques of some of the greatest rappers, to figure out just how rhyming in rap music has evolved. 

From the simple nursery rhyme–like bars of Kurtis Blow's "The Breaks" to the smooth East Coast flow of Notorious B.I.G.'s hit song "Hypnotize" to the speedy delivery of Kendrick Lamar's "Rigamortis," rhyming in rap music has not only evolved, it's gotten better.
The video above explores how some of the greatest rappers of all time create memorable, lyrically dense rhymes.
And here's a playlist highlighting songs that are prime examples of how great rhyming in rap can be. — Estelle Caswell | Vox

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Reason Why Phil Jackson Hired Jeff Hornacek As New York Knicks Coach

Jeff Hornacek coached the Phoenix Suns for two and a half seasons before he was fired by the team in February. Credit Christian Petersen/Getty Images


It’s Not a Riddle at All: What Led the Knicks to Jeff Hornacek

Assuming the contract details will be a formality and the mutual interest that Phil Jackson and Jeff Hornacek have expressed to each other leads to Hornacek’s becoming the next Knicks head coach, here is what fans will be getting, aside from their wish that it be anyone but the interim incumbent, Kurt Rambis:
Not an A list media star. Not an interview room entertainer. But someone who does fit Jackson’s stated preference for a candidate with whom he has some spiritual or philosophical familiarity.
“For as long as I’ve known Jeff, he’s been more on the quiet side, but a high character guy, a leader by example who will represent your franchise really well,” said Jerry Colangelo, who drafted Hornacek out of Iowa State in 1986 for the Phoenix Suns with the next-to-last pick in the second round.
It is the longstanding relationship between Colangelo and Hornacek that tangentially connects to Jackson, the Knicks’ team president, whose coaching search had become a Where’s Waldo mystery based on his clandestine wanderings while reaching out to a small sampling of candidates.
Hornacek, 53, grew up and played high school basketball in the suburbs of Chicago, which is Colangelo’s hometown. Colangelo knew Hornacek’s father, John, during his own playing days in Amateur Athletic League games around the city.
John Hornacek became a high school coach, and Colangelo, never straying far from his Chicago roots even after moving on to Phoenix, said he “kept an eye” on John Hornacek’s boy as he made his way through Iowa State.

Hornacek, pictured in the 1988-89 season, was an N.B.A. guard for 14 seasons, mostly with the Suns and the Utah Jazz.Credit Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Colangelo was by then associated with the N.B.A.’s predraft workout camp for college players in Chicago, and in 1986 made sure an invitation went out to Jeff Hornacek.
“I watched him closely at the camp and I noticed that he had kind of a funny shot, not a great rotation, a little flat,” Colangelo said in a telephone interview. “So I said to him, ‘Your dad’s a coach, didn’t he ever talk to you about your shot?’ ” Hornacek shrugged and said his father preferred to let his son’s coaches handle him. Then he took Colangelo’s advice, locked himself in a gym and, as Colangelo said, began the process of becoming “one of the better N.B.A. jump shooters” across a 14-year career that began with a six-season run for the Suns.
Phoenix is where we can trace Hornacek’s intersection with Jackson, as it relates to the triangle offense that Hornacek may or may not be interested in running in New York.
In 1988, Colangelo rehired Cotton Fitzsimmons to coach a Suns team that featured Tom Chambers, Kevin Johnson, Eddie Johnson and even included a rookie guard named Steve Kerr. Fitzsimmons had also coached the Suns in their third and fourth years of existence, replacing Colangelo on the bench for the 1970-71 season.
“And guess which offense we ran way back then?” Colangelo said. “We ran the triangle.”
Fitzsimmons, he explained, had been an assistant in the mid-to-late 1960s (and head coach successor) at Kansas State to Tex Winter, widely considered to be the triangle offense architect and later Jackson’s mentor when they both were assistants to Doug Collins with the Bulls in Chicago.
Using Fitzsimmons’s triangle, the Suns rose in the West with 48- and 49-win seasons.
“We had the right personnel for it, especially a good passing center in Neal Walk and a really smart, physical power forward in Paul Silas,” Colangelo said. “That’s the key, the right personnel. I mean, if you have a Michael Jordan and a Scottie Pippen, it’s a great offense.”

Colangelo is a widely respected executive and voice around the pro game, credited for resurrecting the United States national team program and most recently hired at age 76 by the Philadelphia 76ersto oversee the redirection of that downtrodden franchise.
Here was his take when asked about Jackson’s insistence, to this point, of running the triangle in New York and what Hornacek might be thinking about that.
“It’s pretty difficult to predetermine how you are going to play until you know what kind of talent you have, don’t you think?” he said. “What comes first, the chicken or the egg, the system or the talent?”
In a social media culture of spontaneous and often premature revelation, we already have Jeff Van Gundy reporting that Jackson will grant Hornacek the latitude to run his own offense — or what he didn’t allow Derek Fisher, who was fired in February, one week after Hornacek was let go in Phoenix.
Jackson has always insisted he only wanted some system that involved all five players, suggesting he would lighten up when it comes to his legacy.
In his 1988 return to coach some strong, up-tempo Suns teams, Fitzsimmons — a beloved figure in Phoenix, who died in 2004 — did retain principles of the triangle but did not make it the team’s identity.

Hornacek’s game developed in the early 1990s under Suns Coach Cotton Fitzsimmons, whose offense contained principles of the triangle offense.Credit Rick Stewart/Getty Images
Hornacek developed under Fitzsimmons, averaging a career-high 20.1 points and making the Western Conference All-Star team in 1991-92 before being a part of the trade that sent him to Philadelphia and Charles Barkley to Phoenix.
Years later, after he retired and was hired as an assistant in Utah by Jerry Sloan — for whom he played in two N.B.A. finals against Jackson’s Bulls — Hornacek cited his most impactful coaching influences as his father, Sloan and Fitzsimmons, disciple of Winter.
So there we can begin to understand why Jackson zeroed in on Hornacek, preferring him to Frank Vogel, David Blatt and, in perhaps a grudging concession to external and internal pressures, Rambis as well.
Yes, Hornacek had a losing (101-112) record in his two-plus seasons in Phoenix after a 48-34 overachieving start in 2013-14. His team played a fast-pace offense that catered to its guard-oriented strength, talent before system.
He certainly was not the most credentialed available candidate on the spring market. But given their tumultuous front-office history and revolving door practice with coaches, the Knicks, for all their payroll largess and geographic prestige, are not a franchise with great curb appeal. Maybe Vogel, for instance, prefers another team.
If Hornacek is the presumptive hire for the Knicks, we can say the coaching search could have turned out worse, or mainly where it began, with Rambis. Next comes the heavier lifting for Jackson, building effectively around Kristaps Porzingis and solving the riddle of what remains of Carmelo Anthony’s Knicks career.
As for the status of the triangle, stay tuned. All we can tell you is that Hornacek is no stranger to the subject. — Harvey Araton | The New York Times

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Ryan Tannehill | #17 | QB | Miami Dolphins — Something To Prove

Quarterbacks with the most to prove in 2016: Miami’s Ryan Tannehill

Ryan Tannehill is not a bad starting quarterback. But is he a good one? Can he ever be great?
This is the conundrum facing franchises trapped in a veritable no man’s land at the game’s most important position: They lack a truly “elite” option at QB, but are still better off than those clubs that are unsure of who’ll be taking snaps in 2016. Teams in this murky gray area suffer from the NFL treadmill effect. They are led by quarterbacks who keep their teams running but struggle to ever really go anywhere.
Quarterbacks like Tannehill.
The 27-year-old has been Miami’s starter for four full seasons now, ever since he was the No. 8 pick in the 2012 draft. He has 64 career starts, over 15,000 career passing yards and a total of 92 touchdowns (87 passing, five rushing) to his credit. He’ll also be on his fourth NFL offensive coordinator in the 2016 season. After he struggled to fully click with former play caller Bill Lazor, Tannehill was relegated rather openly to a game manager role under interim coach Dan Campbell and OC Zac Taylor.
And now, Adam Gase’s arrival in Miami marks a fork in the road of Tannehill’s career. If the Dolphins' new head coach, who helped turn Tim Tebow into a playoff-winning QB in Denver and then revitalized Jay Cutler in 2015 as Chicago’s offensive coordinator, cannot elevate Tannehill from that frustrating middle ground to an upper-echelon starter, then perhaps it cannot be done at all.
Tannehill is a year removed from signing a six-year, $96 million extension which carries his contract through 2020. The structure of said contract, however, puts the onus on him now. Per, the Dolphins could shave $9.9 million off their cap by releasing Tannehill prior to 2017, with the number jumping to $15.2 and $18.7 million for the ’18 and ’19 seasons, respectively.
“We do have a different group than what we had in Chicago as far as the skill set, where are our strengths are,” said Gase at the 2016 scouting combine. “We’re going to have to figure out what we do best and that’s what we're going to hang our hat on.”
How much of the perceived strength will lie with Tannehill?
Make no mistake: This is still Tannehill’s team, for the time being. New general manager Chris Grier spoke during his introductory press conference back in January of trying to “build competition ... not just for Ryan, but for [Ndamukong] Suh, everybody on our roster.” He has yet to do that under center, at least on paper. Tannehill is followed on the depth chart by longtime Miami backup Matt Moore, 2016 seventh-round pick Brandon Doughty, Cardinals castoff Logan Thomas and Zac Dysert, who spent two seasons in Gase’s system with Denver.
Barring a stunner in training camp, none of those names is a threat to push Tannehill for the 2016 job. And given the quarterback landscape around the league, Miami should be in no rush to toss out Tannehill. Barring a full-on tank so they can draft a QB early in 2017, parting ways with their current starter would leave the Dolphins in the same desperation-fueled purgatory teams like Houston, Cleveland, Denver and the Jets are in this off-season. Is an $18 million-per-year deal, like what the Texans handed Brock Osweiler, really preferable to the $20 million cap hit Tannehill will carry next season?
Right now, probably not, but Tannehill still has to prove he is worthy of such a hefty commitment under a new coaching/GM regime. The Dolphins invested heavily during this year’s draft to ensure he has pieces to work with, adding falling first-round tackle Laremy Tunsil and WR Leonte Carroo in the third round. Grier also picked up RB Kenyan Drake to pair with Jay Ajayi, the expected fill-in for No. 1 back Lamar Miller, who is now in Houston.
Yes, there are other factors at play here, like how quickly the oft-criticized offensive line jells, DeVante Parker’s health and the ceiling for an Ajayi/Drake duo. But eventually, it will all boil down to what Tannehill can and cannot do.
One change expected to be on the docket for him is more control over play-to-play operations. The Dolphins’ 2015 staffs stripped him of much of his ability to improvise on the fly via audibles at the line. Gase empowered Cutler, and Peyton Manning before him in Denver, with a great deal of autonomy.
“The quarterback in this system does have the ability to move in and out of plays, and it’s going to be how much can our group handle,” Gase said in February. “Early on, it’s probably not going to be as much as it will be later.”
Therein lies an important footnote: There will be some built-in wiggle room for Tannehill as this transition continues. Last training camp, Gase all but ensured the Bears would scuffle offensively out of the gate before finding their footing. Sure enough, Chicago’s offense needed five or six games to hit its stride.
Still, Miami has yet to top .500 with Tannehill and has made the playoffs just once in the past 13 seasons, so patience for its QB likely won’t last too long. And as Tannehill heads into his fifth year as the starter, with a substantial pay increase on the horizon, he has minimal chances remaining to show he can be anything more than an average NFL quarterback. — Chris Bruke | Sports Illustrated

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Punch Felt/Heard/Seen Round The World: Rougned Odor vs. Jose Bautista

Blue Jays, Rangers get into wild melee

Jose Bautista's controversial slide into Rougned Odor at second base sparks a wild fracas between the Rangers and Blue Jays

The Punch Heard Round The World:
Rougned Odor -vs- Jose Bautista

The Punch Felt Round The World:
Rougned Odor -vs- Jose Bautista

The Punch Seen Round The World:
Rougned Odor -vs- Jose Bautista

•  •  •

Rougned Odor says he doesn't regret punching Jose Bautista ESPN

Tension from 2015 ALDS revisited in matchup in Texas

Take a look at the recent history of tension mounting from the 2015 ALDS into the 2016 season between the Rangers and the Blue Jays

Saturday, May 14, 2016



Once Upon A Time...

...I couldn't believe my chinky-eyes! There he was — Patrick Aloysius Ewing, Sr. — perhaps the greatest New York Knicks' basketball player of all-times!

When I saw my childhood idol: Patrick Ewing — the legendary NBA Hall Of Fame center at JADE TERRACE/CHINA CLUB in NYC, I almost wet my tighty-whities.

Like a crazed, giddy and hysterical fan, I slowly began stalking him around the venue w/ the world's biggest Kool-Aid smile.

As he approached the entrance to the main floor of CHINA CLUB, I can see him turning-down numerous autograph and picture requests from the surrounding club-goers.

But I wasn't surprised...

...I knew his story.

[NOTE: It is well-documented that Patrick Ewing of the New York Knicks is not media-friendly and the same can be said for when it comes to his fans wanting an autograph or photograph via Boston Herald's "Inside Track" — "NBA great Patrick Ewing dancing up a storm at Whiskey Park and refusing to sign autographs or pose for cell-phone pictures"]

With those thoughts in mind, I finally saw a paparazzi-esque opportunity to snap a photo of My All-Time Favorite Basketball Player — The Beast From The East a.k.a. The Hoya Destroya a.k.a. The Warrior!!!

Patrick Ewing giving a pound to a fan at Jade Terrace – China Club

As you can see, he seems to have noticed my flash and looks-away w/ a mean ice-grill (not even acknowledging or making eye-contact w/ the person he is shaking hands; doing the 'soul-brother' handshake with)...

...a split-second after this historic photo, Ewing darts towards me whilst gesturing w/ his right-hand — vehemently motioning for me to 'STOP' — and shouted in what sounded like a 'SLO-MO' replay on a VCR, "NOOO!"


I was literally shook beyond belief — just imagine Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo waving his index-finger after blocking a player's shot attempt!

Déjà vu - Patrick Ewing leaving some random guy hanging; living up to his reputation 

Honestly, I thought #33 was about to grab for my camera and crush-it into itty-bitty lil' pieces w/ his bare hands — but I truly believe he saw how frightened I was and simply walked-away, "WHEW!"

Patrick Chewing seems discontent

Ironically — I saw both Patrick Ewing & Dikembe Mutumbo a few years later, on a Tuesday night at LOTUS. But I learned my lesson from my previous encounter/incident and took these photos from afar.

Patrick Ewing & Dikembe Mutumbo in a private VI.P. area at Lotus, NYC

I did -however, bump into Mount Mutumbo near the restroom/lounge area and asked him for a quick photo-opt but he kindly declined.

In hindsight, Dikembe Mutumbo — one of the NBA's Greatest Shot Blockers & Defensive Players, actually began explaining to me why he refuses to take photos but honestly, all I heard was, 'MUMBO-JUMBO' and loud music!

It's ironic how Dikembe & Patrick — two All-Star centers from the same college (Georgetown Hoyas); eventually played on the same professional NBA team (New York Knicks) and abide by the same code of ethics, "NO PHOTOGRAPHS — NOT IN MY HOUSE!!"

~The End~

As fate would have it, I randomly saw a lost and dumbfounded Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo near Saks & Fifth Ave in NYC

"I don't know who he is but I know he's somebody" — exact quotes (word-for-word) from a star-struck tourist after shaking Mutumbo's hand

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Paleontologist Kenneth Lacovara — "Real-Life" Indiana Jones Discovers Dreadnoughtus!

Kenneth Lacovara: Hunting for dinosaurs showed me our place in the universe
[TED2016 · Filmed February 2016 · 15:49]

What happens when you discover a dinosaur? Paleontologist Kenneth Lacovara details his unearthing of Dreadnoughtus — a 77-million-year-old sauropod that was as tall as a two-story house and as heavy as a jumbo jet — and considers how amazingly improbable it is that a tiny mammal living in the cracks of the dinosaur world could evolve into a sentient being capable of understanding these magnificent creatures. Join him in a celebration of the Earth's geological history and contemplate our place in deep time.

Dreadnoughtus schrani — a supermassive dinosaur approx. 85 ft. long and weighing roughly 65 tons; it is thee largest creature ever discovered w/ its ginormous skeleton found ~70% complete

•  •  •

Kenneth Lacovara


In his quest to understand the largest dinosaurs to have walked the Earth, Lacovara blends exploration with the latest imaging and modeling techniques from engineering to medicine.

Why you should listen

Paleontologist Kenneth Lacovara famously unearthed some of the largest dinosaurs ever to walk our planet, including the super-massive Dreadnoughtus, which at 65 tons weighs more than seven T.Rex.

Ken Lacovara is shown with 22 tail vertebrae (out of 32 collected) of the massive sauropod Dreadnoughtus schrani. The dinosaur has the largest calculable weight of any known land animal.
When he's not excavating fossils from far-flung locations, Lacovara works on the cutting edge of applying 21st-century technology to the study of dinosaurs. By using 3D imaging, 3D printing, robotics, and medical modeling techniques, his work is helping to shift our perspective of giant herbivorous dinosaurs from their historic portrayal as hapless lumbering prey to that of fearsome, hulking, hyper-efficient eating machines.

Lacovara led the effort to create the Rowan University Fossil Park in suburban Mantua Township, New Jersey. The quarry preserves a rich cache of marine fossils that Lacovara is using to shed light on the calamitous events that wiped out the dinosaurs. 

What others say

“Behind a Lowe's, scientists are methodically scraping and sifting through a quarry pit that may contain unique insights to the mass extinction that eliminated the dinosaurs...Lacovera calls the layer a 'mass death assemblage.' He believes it may be the only known collection of animal remains that dates from the mass extinction itself.” — New York Times, January 4, 2016 | TED Talks

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Top 5 NBA Plays Of The Playoffs: May 10th, 2016

Top 5 NBA Plays Of The Playoffs: May 10th, 2016

Check out the top five plays from game five of OKC vs San Antonio.

Kawhi "Oh My!" Leonard w/ an exclamation fast-break dunk over Russell Westbrook in Game 5 of the
2016 NBA Western Conference Semi-Finals Playoffs!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Top 5 NBA Plays Of The Playoffs: May 9th, 2016

Top 5 NBA Plays Of The Playoffs: May 9th, 2016

Count down the top five plays from Monday night's playoff games.

Bismack Biyombo #8 w/ teammate Kyle Lowry #7 reacting to a pulverizing/posterizing dunk over the former-poster provider — Amar'e Stoudemire!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Top 5 NBA Plays Of The Playoffs: May 8th, 2016

Top 5 NBA Plays Of The Playoffs: May 8th, 2016

The best of the best from Sunday's playoffs action highlighted in the Top 5

Knight Kawhi Leonard w/ an emphatic dunk over Sir Steven Adams for the May 8th play of the playoff night!

Hamilton Musical — The Greatest Show On Earth!

"Hamilton": A founding father takes to the stage

When Lin-Manuel Miranda sings about the drive of the "young, scrappy and hungry" immigrant, he's not singing about just any immigrant. He's singing about the man on the ten dollar bill, Alexander Hamilton. As Mo Rocca reports, Hamilton's musical journey to the stage is as revolutionary as the young revolutionary who helped create the America we know..

Hamilton is an "award-winning/critically-acclaimed" musical about the life & times of American Founding Father — Alexander Hamilton

Written & starring Lin-Manuel Miranda — the mastermind behind the musical's music, lyrics and book

Inspired by the biography — Alexander Hamilton (2004) by historian Ron Chernow, the Off-Broadway turned On-Broadway musical has captivated audiences nationwide; achieving both critical-acclaim and box office success!!

Hamilton Opening Night - Cast Perspective

Produced by Hamilton star Leslie Odom Jr., a small video crew followed around members of the #HamiltonBway cast on Opening Night of the show. Get a never before glimpse into the big day, then come see us yourself.

Hip-hop and history blend for Broadway hit ‘Hamilton’

He’s on the $10 bill and he died in a duel, but what else do you know about Alexander Hamilton? Now his life is the subject of a cutting-edge hip-hop Broadway musical, created by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Jeffrey Brown talks to the celebrated writer and performer about updating the history of one of the Founding Fathers to reflect and engage today’s America.

Off-Broadway 'Hamilton' Is A Smash Hit | All In | MSNBC

Chris Hayes talks to the creator of the off-Broadway smash hit "Hamilton" about the genius of Alexander Hamilton.

Hamilton was nominated for an all-time record-setting 16 Tony Awards in 2015!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Top 5 NBA Plays Of The Playoffs: May 7th, 2016

Top 5 NBA Plays Of The Playoffs: May 7th, 2016

Check out the top 5 plays from Saturday night's playoffs action.

Al-Farouq Aminu w/ a mean-*ss playoff dunk over the Warriors!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Top 5 NBA Plays Of The Playoffs: May 6th, 2016

Top 5 NBA Plays Of The Playoffs: May 6th, 2016

Some extraordinary Top 5 playoff plays for your eyes to witness! 

Iman Shumpert w/ a tremendous put-back dunk off-of a miss shot by King James!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Top 5 NBA Plays Of The Playoffs: May 5th, 2016

Top 5 NBA Plays Of The Playoffs: May 5th, 2016

Take a look at the best of the best from Thursday's playoff action in the Top 5.

Hassan Whiteside's two-handed put-back dunk of the evening!

American Cut Above The Steakhouse Rest

American Cut: Remembering and Reviving the Classic New York Steak House

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