Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Marathon/Triathlon Alternative

Harvard Business student Will Dean has turned in one year his Business Plan Contest winning plan into a potentially successful new sport and business, Tough Mudder. With 4,500 people signed up for the first race on May 2nd, 2 more races in 2010 and 11 planned races across the United States in 2011, The New York Times believes this is "the grueling race for action-sports enthusiasts."

From the Tough Mudder Website:
"Tough Mudder is the TOUGHEST one day event on the planet. This is not your average mud run or boring, spirit-crushing road race. Our 7 mile obstacle courses are designed by British Special Forces to test all around toughness, strength, stamina, fitness, camaraderie, and mental grit. Forget about your race time. Simply completing the event is a badge of honor. Not everyone will finish, but those who do make it to our post-race party will have truly earned the right to call themselves a Tough Mudder."

From the New York Times:
"Sunday’s race [in Allentown (New York & Pennsylvania)] will feature long slogs up ski slopes, wades through mud bogs, crawls through corrugated pipes and under barbed wire, climbs over vertical walls, traverses on rope bridges and a drop from a plank into a cold pond. The finish line is through a ring of fire — next to the free beer, near the live band."

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Ok City Thunder

The young Oklahoma City Thunder (formerly Seattle Supersonics) are the future and possible now of the NBA. Coming off two home wins including a Saturday-night 21-point blow-out in their series against the #1 seeded Los Angeles Lakers I'm beginning to regret not taking the 45/1 NBA Finals Las Vegas odds.

Not feeling the hype? Read basketball columnist god Bethlehem Shoals take on the Thunder coming off just their first victory Thursday night in his Playoff Talking Points - April 23.

"But, at the risk of drooling straight through my keyboard, this team is really unlike anything I've seen in years. It's the Warriors with more than a prayer, the Hawks with a plan ... they're the promise of LeBron as an entire team. Just think about it: Kevin Durant, who compensated for dingy shooting with a 19-rebound night and a lockdown job on Kobe late, is 21; Russell Westbrook, looking increasingly unstoppable and in control, also just got his drinker's license. Just keep sleeping on Jeff Green; he matters and is but 23 years of age. Rookie James Harden is 20, and Serge Ibaka, perhaps the biggest surprise of these playoffs, also just 20. Okay, so defensive specialist Thabo Sefalosha is 25.

You see where I'm going with this? I don't want to turn this into Sam Presti-worship, but really, to put together this core of talent, and have them already seriously challenge the league's elite is pretty unreal. What's more, while they do play like adults, we're increasingly seeing OKC do what I asked: cut loose, run, shoot, use their boundless ability and skill in the open court. Durant on Kobe was the perfect example of that. Why not stick the hyper-competitive, long-as-all-rivers team leader on an aging superstar whose iron will just might bend to KD's? Turning Ibaka loose has proven to be a key factor in OKC's latest leap forward.

It's not just that this team is so good, so young, or getting better so quickly. Or the perfect fusion of chemistry and advanced basketball logic seems to be what guides their make-up. This was history last night, not because of Oklahoma got a playoff win. It was the first win for a Thunder team that, unless there's an awful accident or Toni Braxton-like scandal, is rising fast and might be the only thing messing with LeBron in this coming decade."

Thunder @ L.A. Game 5 (best of 7 series tied 2-2)
Tuesday 10:30 p.m. EST on TNT


Bethlehem Shoals and FreeDarko just released the cover for their 2nd book on

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The New $100

The most counterfeited denomination in the world has just been redesigned.

The official U.S. government website - - shows how this bill is that much harder to fake.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hate it or Love it

Hate or love the Nike Gold ad above, since it aired two weeks ago it has been successful for Tiger Woods and Nike.

According to Zeta Interactive and the New York Times, in the days since the commercial aired Tiger Woods aggregated online perception went from 51 percent to 69 percent positive and Nike's went from 73 to 83 percent. The provocative ad that features the voice of Tiger's deceased father has gained a lot of attention increasing's traffic 270%.

I recently attended a lecture with Wieden + Kennedy's Nike Global Account Direcetor Jason White. He explained that in making the ad, Nike's goal was to change the conversation and make Tiger a person again. While many have criticized the Nike and the ad for being "vile, manipulative, or shameless," I actually appreciate the innovative and artistic message.

Wieden + Kennedy advertising firm is an amazing company. Responsible for Nike's advertising since the company was founded in 1982, they have also done great work for ESPN Sportscenter, Coca-Cola, Honda, P+G, Air Jordan, Google, Nokia, Delta Airlines, EA Sports and Old Spice deodorant.

USA Today - "These guys create ads you remember"

Wieden + Kennedy's mission statement,

"We exist to create strong, provocative relationships between good companies and their customers."

The video below (sorry for the poor quality) was the first Tiger Woods ad with Nike (created by W+K). It is most definitely strong and provocative.

Because it is hard to read, I've scripted the ad below.

Hello world.

I shot in the 70's when I was 3.

I shot in the 60's when I was 12.

I won the U.S. Junior Amateur when I was 15.

Hello world.

I played in the Nissan Open when I was 16.

Hello world.

I won the U.S. Amateur when I was 18.

I played in the Masters when I was 19.

I am the only man to win three consecutive U.S. Amateur titles.

Hello world.

There are still courses in the U.S. I am not allowed to play.

Because the color of my skin.

Hello world.

I've heard I'm not ready for you.

Are you ready for me?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

iPhone 4G

I'm way late on posting this, but yesterday (or late this weekend) Gizmodo posted information regarding the rumored (now confirmed) iPhone 4G.

What the Internet world has learned about the upcoming iPhone 4g:

"From the front, it looks similar to the current iPhone, but it has sharper edges and is a little thinner. The volume and power buttons are stylistically different, and the back of the phone appears to be a ceramic glass, which would enable better reception. That would address a persistent problem that has plagued the iPhone since its inception three years ago."
-New York Times

• Front-facing video chat camera
• Improved regular back-camera (the lens is quite noticeably larger than the iPhone 3GS)
• Camera flash
• Micro-SIM instead of standard SIM (like the iPad)
• Improved display. It's unclear if it's the 960x640 display thrown around before—it certainly looks like it, with the "Connect to iTunes" screen displaying much higher resolution than on a 3GS.
• What looks to be a secondary mic for noise cancellation, at the top, next to the headphone jack
• Split buttons for volume
• Power, mute, and volume buttons are all metallic


Th new iPhone for Verizon Wireless?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

FreeDarko calls 'Best Dunk of 2010'

"FreeDarko is where you come for the NBA news you can't get anywhere else, the opinions that threaten convention. How about this one: That Amar'e Stoudemire dunk on Tolliver really was something. Yes, I know, a play almost instantly enshrined as the best of the season (that would make him the real Dunk Champ, btw, since "In-Game Contest" is impossible to pull off). For whatever reason, it didn't really sink in with me at the time. Maybe I was traveling at the time. But as I saw it—numerous times, though mostly in slow-motion—the Tolliver dunk was mostly about force and demolishment. Great, and the kind of thing that will break the dunk news cycle wide-open (or get it going at all, if that makes more sense). I even bought the Dunk of the Year line; sure, it was dramatic and the quintessential soul-killing assault...

...I've always wondered if that physical phenom
[Amar'e] would ever return. I've tried, extensively at times, to convince myself that it didn't matter, or that it happened but only made sense on the level of words and reason. Yet watching him dunk, I saw something admirable, booming, but just a little sad. That spark of the divine was lost forever, so I thought, left to the likes of Tyrus Thomas—who, let's face it, never knew how to control and enact it like Amar'e. Since the days of Kemp, no dunker has as infernally mixed up size, speed, strength, reflex, and yes, savagery like 2004-05 Amar'e Stoudemire. Young Shaq coming from the other side of the spectrum, and Howard, great as he is, is more like Amar'e last season than this....

... That's when I realized two things: Fiddling with the speed and angle of a dunk on a replay detracts from it. Show it quick and dirty like it happened, for only then can we truly gauge its magnitude. And, two, that was the Amar'e of old. Most of you probably knew this weeks ago, but he tore right through Tolliver and into the rim while barely touching the ground; generating immense power so quickly, so effortlessly, that "delicate" needs to be added in there somewhere.

So yeah, I'm suddenly really excited to watch the Suns today. Let's take one more look and listen. " - "Better Now Than June"

Portland Trail Blazers @ Phoenix Suns 10:30 p.m. EST TNT

LEGO Music Videos

Mashable has ranked the Top 10 LEGO music videos of all-time.

Above is #7 Grease- "Summer Nights"

(1) Michael Jackson - "Beat It"
(2) OK Go - "Here It Goes Again"
(3) The Beatles - "I Saw Here Standing There"
(4) U2 - "The Sweetest Thing"
(5) The Who - "My Generation"
(6) Beastie Boys - "Sabotage"
(7) Grease - "Summer Nights"
(8) Carl Douglas - "Kung Fu Fighting"
(9) Metallica - "Whiplash"
(10) ABBA - "Take a Chance on Me"

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Nike Air - The Air Collection Unit

"Why tell you now? Our athletes are getting stronger. Their air is getting stronger."

-David Koechner

Can you name the World Leaders?

NPR's got a matching game featuring 20 presidents and ministers and other leaders that attended this weeks Nuclear Security Summit in Washington D.C.

How many attempts does it take you to get the correct answers?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Kanye West 5th Album "Good Ass Job"

The above quote is from DJ Premier.

"Kanye West is ensconced in his Diamond Head, Hawaii home and recording studio, putting the final touches on his forthcoming album with guest rappers like Q-Tip, RZA and Pete Rock, numerous reports have confirmed. A source close to the project -- which is tentatively titled "Good Ass Job" according to G.O.O.D. Music artist Big Sean -- says it will be released in June.
Q-Tip, RZA, and Pete Rock are three producers credited with pioneering New York hip-hop, so their appearances would suggest the album has a traditional East Coast sound"

Big Boi- "Shutterbugg"

Big Boi - "Shutterbugg" (prod. by Scott Storch)

The first official single for Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty Big Boi's first solo album coming out July 6, 2010.

According to, SLLF: TSOCD will have 3 songs featuring Outkast-partner Andre 3000. "Lookin 4 Ya," produced by Boi-1da (Drake's "Best I Ever Had," "Forever," "Over"), will feature Andre 3000 with both of them rapping 2 verses.

Animal Review gives Panda an "F"

NPR recently posted an article and story featuring the blog and newly released book, Animal Review.

"It's exactly what the name implies: reviews of critters, not unlike reviews of cars or new gadgets, complete with letter grades. The ladybug gets an A-. The bald eagle gets a C+."
Click here to read the NPR post that features the grade and short explanation for the panda, octopus, king cobra, great white shark, rhinoceros, alpaca, clam, jellyfish, and North American mountain goat.

Octopus: "A"

"We gave the octopus an A because it would make a great superhero. They're supersmart, they can solve puzzles, they can remember things.

"They can change their bodies, so they can slip through tiny crevices," Lentz adds, "and they shoot ink. There's all sorts of cool stuff with the octopus that doesn't get talked about enough — because we're spending all our time talking about pandas."

How many more episodes of Discovery Life until they feature the octopus?

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Story Behind 'Inception'

The L.A. Times posted a story today revealing the secrets behind Christopher Nolan's mystery film Inception. Here is a choice quote:

"Inception," the 39-year-old director's seventh feature film and his first foray into science fiction, combines the perception riddles of "Memento" and the sheer scale of "Dark Knight" with its $160-million budget and location shoots in Morocco, France, Japan and three other countries. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a specialist in the new branch of corporate espionage -- he's a dream thief who plucks secrets from the minds of tycoons after pumping them full of drugs and hooking them up to a mysterious contraption. The problem, though, is the land of nod can be volatile -- as can DiCaprio's character, Dom Cobb, who is a wounded dreamer after the loss of his beloved wife.

The movie may be Hollywood's first existential heist movie.

Warners and Legendary Pictures are banking on the movie catching on as a brainy "Mission: Impossible" by way of "The Matrix"; the globe-trotting movie may have had its subconscious baggage packed by Sigmund Freud, in other words, but it also carries a passport stamped by Ian Fleming."

Inception is coming out in imax on July 16, 2010.

Click here to watch the trailer.
Here to watch the teaser.

Dr. Dre feat. Jay-Z - "Under Pressure" Soon

Listen to the promotional interview above with Dr. Dre and Interscope-Geffen chairman Jimmy Iovine. "Under Pressure" featuring Jay-Z is coming soon.

Detox ?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

President Obama is the Man

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Tenacious O
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealth Care Reform

Photos from the New York Times' blog Lens.

Not El Classico, But Classic

New York TImes - iPad Review

iPad hype is growing with the Saturday release of the Wi-fi edition. The New York Times tech critic David Pogue broke down his review for techies (who have been highly critical) and for regular people. I've quoted below his review for regular people. Click here to read his complete review.

"Review for Everyone Else

The Apple iPad is basically a gigantic iPod Touch.

The simple act of making the multitouch screen bigger changes the whole experience. Maps become real maps, like the paper ones. You see your e-mail inbox and the open message simultaneously. Driving simulators fill more of your field of view, closer to a windshield than a keyhole.

The new iBooks e-reader app is filled with endearing grace notes. For example, when you turn a page, the animated page edge actually follows your finger’s position and speed as it curls, just like a paper page. Font, size and brightness controls appear when you tap. Tap a word to get a dictionary definition, bookmark your spot or look it up on Google or Wikipedia. There’s even a rotation-lock switch on the edge of the iPad so you can read in bed on your side without fear that the image will rotate.

If you have the cellular model, you can buy AT&T service so you can get online anywhere. (Cellular iPads aren’t available until next month; I tested a Wi-Fi-only model.)

But how’s this for a rare deal from a cell company: there’s no contract. By tapping a button in Settings, you can order up a month of unlimited cellular Internet service for $30. Or pay $15 for 250 megabytes of Internet data; when it runs out, you can either buy another 250 megs, or just upgrade to the unlimited plan for the month. Either way, you can cancel and rejoin as often as you want — just March, July and November, for example — without penalty. The other carriers are probably cursing AT&T’s name for setting this precedent.

The iPad’s killer app, though, is killer apps. Apple says that 150,000 existing iPhone apps run on the iPad. They either appear actual size — small and dead center on the screen — or, with a tap, doubled to fill the screen, a little blurry. Still, all the greats work this way: Dragon Dictation, Skype (even voice calls, through its speaker and microphone) and those gazillion games.

But the real fun begins when you try the apps that were specially designed for the iPad’s bigger screen. (When the iPad section of the App Store opens Saturday, it will start with 1,000 of them.)

That Scrabble app shows the whole board without your zooming or panning: a free companion app for your iPhone or Touch is called Tile Rack; it lets you fiddle with your letters in private, then flick them wirelessly onto the iPad’s screen. Newspaper apps will reproduce the layout, photos and colors of a real newspaper. The Marvel comic-book app is brilliant in its vividness and panel-by-panel navigation. (Oops, maybe that app belongs in the review for techies.), the Web’s headquarters for free hit TV shows, won’t confirm the talk that it’s working on an iPad app, but wow — can you imagine? A thin, flat, cordless, bottomless source of free, great TV shows, in your bag or on the bedside table?

Speaking of video: Apple asserts that the iPad runs 10 hours on a charge of its nonremovable battery — but we all know you can’t trust the manufacturer. And sure enough, in my own test, the iPad played movies continuously from 7:30 a.m. to 7:53 p.m. — more than 12 hours. That’s four times as long as a typical laptop or portable DVD player." - Roundup: The First Reviews of Apple's iPad

Twins home field advantage gone?

Deadspin's Will Leitch debates whether the move for the Twins from the HHH Metrodome to the new outdoor Target Field will hurt the Minnesota Twins home field advantage.

"But the one place in baseball that was an actual home-field advantage was the old, outdated, ugly Metrodome. It was the place where visiting outfielders couldn't see fly balls, where there were hefty bags, where fans could create a cacophony that echoed and rattled in upon itself. I will have nightmares of the 1987 World Series, those homer hankies and the blood-curdling shrieks of the freezing, frenzied masses. The Metrodome was terrifying and stupid and outdated and totally wrong for baseball, but it's difficult to deny it wasn't a considerable advantage for the Twins, during an era in which they needed every break they could get...

...By finally having a baseball stadium that is remotely similar to the rest of the stadiums in baseball, the Twins might have lost part of who they are. It's worth it, sure. But there's still something that's gone."

The Twins regular season begins Monday, April 5 10:05 pm EST @ LA Angels on ESPN 2. Opening day for Target Field will be Monday, April 12 against the Boston Red Sox.

Ambidextrous Pitcher Pat Venditte

ESPN's Rick Reilly writes on how Pat Venditte's switch pitching is history in the making for baseball.

"Last season, he had 23 saves for the Staten Island Yankees, with a 0.83 ERA. And best of all, the kid can relieve himself!"