Nov 20

Holiday 2011 Gift Ideas

The X-Mini II Capsule Speakers are one of many great electronic gift ideas for this Holiday season

With the holidays just around the corner, its time to start thinking about gift ideas. Need some help? Here are some electronic gifts that would work for just about anyone, sorted from lowest in price to highest.

X-Mini II Capsule Speaker $20 - a gift idea perfect for any music lover, the X-Mini II Capsule speaker combines a relatively small stature with some great sound quality. Despite being only 3 inches wide, these aren’t your typical mini-speakers. The X-Mini II speakers are much louder than they appear and plug into and charge with any laptop via a USB cable. These speakers are capable of sound levels that allow you to hear music and movies comfortably, so if you know someone who could use speakers, look no further. 

Roku LT $49 – The Roku LT is a streaming media box that is essentially a cheaper alternative to the Apple TV. What the Roku LT does is it allows its user to use services such as Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu, and many many others on their TV without any other device. In addition to these paid services there are also free channels such as Crackle that provide access to free movies and music. The Roku LT has both HDMI and AV outputs and supports up to 720p HD video.

TomTom XXL GPS Navigator $99 – The proliferation of smart phones capable of navigation has made the GPS navigation system market very weak, in turn driving down prices on great products. The TomTom XXL Portable GPS Navigator is a great product that offers lifetime traffic and map updates so your directions will never be out of date. With a 5 inch color display that is easy on the eyes as well as the ability to mount it to your windshield, the TomTom is a great product well worth its $99 price. 

Apple iPod Touch 4th Generation 8gb $199 – Apple iPods have gotten so technologically advanced that they can essentially do anything a phone can do. You can do just about anything with this device – take pictures, record video, movies, music, send text messages, navigation – you name it. And with new features such as voice commands, iCloud integration, Facetime, and the very useful Notification Center, the newest iPod is one of Apples best releases yet. At less that $200, the iPod Touch is a gift that anyone can appreciate. 

Kindle Fire $199 – Amazon has long been trying to sell its Kindle, a device that previously only allowed you to read books on a tablet. We never really had any reason to pay too much attention to the Kindle…until the Fire was released. The Kindle Fire is an excellent product designed by Amazon to compete in the tablet market. The Fire is the first tablet we’ve seen released to actually be worth its price. It has a 7 inch full color touchscreen that is capable of playing music, movies, games, and of course books. At only $200, the Kindle Fire is a bargain. If you found yourself wanting an iPad but weren’t willing to dish out 500 big ones, take a look at the Fire. 

Oct 05

Week 5 NFL Power Rankings

Football made its triumphant return in September, and this NFL season has given us fans a little bit of everything. Offensive shootouts, defensive struggles, big returns on special teams, old records being broken, and most of all – EXCITEMENT! Despite the lockout, the NFL is back and is reminding the world why football is the most exciting sport in the world.

We’re through a quarter of the season thus far and we’ve seen teams fly all over the place in Power Rankings. Some risers include the Lions, Redskins, and Texans. Some of the teams that have sunk lower: Rams, Eagles, Falcons, Colts

  1. Green Bay Packers (4-0) – This team is stacked at nearly every position that it’s almost not fair. The momentum they had from the 2011 playoffs and Superbowl has carried over, as Aaron Rodgers is playing some of the best football of his career right now. The Nick Collins injury is going to really hurt though.
  2. New England Patriots (3-1) – Tom Brady seems to be only getting better with age, though it probably doesn’t hurt that he has so many talented pass catchers and running backs. If this pass defense can begin to play up to its potential, this team will be hard to beat.
  3. Baltimore Ravens (3-1) – The defense is playing lights out, Ray Rice is being a beast, and QB Joe Flacco is playing inconsistently. Sounds like the Ravens. Only now, they have Torrey Smith and Lee Evans to add some much needed speed to the field.
  4. New Orleans Saints (3-1) – The Saints thought they were going to lose some explosiveness when they let Reggie Bush leave, but Darren Sproles has been all the Saints thought he would be and more. He’s done Bush’s job at a higher level and is actually capable of running the ball between the tackles.
  5. San Diego Chargers (3-1) – Phillip Rivers has been off to a slow start, but the Chargers are still 3-1. Once they go back to their usual efficiency on offense, the Chargers will be a formidable opponent.
  6. Houston Texans (3-1) – For years, the defense let down the offense and prevented the Texans from making the playoffs. Those days seem to be a distant memory now, as the Texans defense has become a formidable one after transitioning to a 3-4 defense under former Cowboys coach Wade Phillips. The pass rush has been excellent and is coming from a myriad of different players. Keeping the pressure up is important if the Texans want to continue their success.
  7. New York Giants (3-1) – They’ve won 3 in a row and while it hasn’t always looked pretty, the Giants are playing some solid football. Injuries have ravaged this team, but the monster defensive line and effort level thus far have hid some of the weak spots. But for the record, Eli Manning is still not in Tom Brady’s class.
  8. Detroit Lions (4-0) – Lion fever is taking over the football-watching world. A 4-0 start to the season hasn’t been easy, but this team is finding ways to win. This defense is improving every week after additions like Stephen Tulloch and getting back a healthy Louis Delmas. It will be interesting to see if the Lions can keep it up and make the playoffs after their long drought.
  9. New York Jets (2-2) – Injuries to the offensive line and lack of a running game have hurt this team, but they remain dangerous with their excellent defense. This team will go as far as Mark Sanchez takes them.
  10. Washington Redskins (3-1) – A ferocious defense led by bookend linebackers Brian Orakpo and 2011 first round pick Ryan Kerrigan has the DC area thinking playoffs again. Rex Grossman will probably never get the benefit of the doubt, but people need to remember that he did take a team to the Superbowl as recently as 2007, leading the second ranked scoring offense in the process (and working with a similarly ferocious defense).
  11. Buffalo Bills (3-1) – This team is good – there’s little doubt about that. An explosive offense and an opportunistic defense is usually a recipe for success but following a comeback victory vs the Patriots with a loss to the Bengals (led by rookie QB Andy Dalton) was a big downer.
  12. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2) – The Steelers better learn to protect Ben Roethlisberger quick, or the Steelers are going nowhere. They aren’t opening many holes in the run game and they aren’t protecting him well either. Their vaunted defense has been run on two weeks in a row and until the Steelers go back to what they are good at, they will remain competitive but lose more games than they should.
  13. Chicago Bears (2-2) – They proved last week they can move the ball on the ground and if Offensive Coordinator Mike Martz keeps the play calling balanced like he did towards the end of last year, this team might just surprise people two years in a row.
  14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1) – This team wins in some of the most boring ways possible, its no wonder they get little love from the national media. 3rd year QB Josh Freeman is obviously growing comfortable with this offense, and Tampa has done a nice job of drafting talent.
  15. Tennessee Titans (3-1) – Not many people foresaw the Titans jumping out to a 3-1 record, but with the surging play of Matt Hasselbeck and a stingy well-rounded defense, this team has what it takes to win the division…and Chris Johnson isn’t even close to playing his best yet.
  16. Dallas Cowboys (2-2) – Sure they are talented, but until the Cowboys play the kind of consistent football that they should be able to play, they’re not going to be contenders. Losing to a team after a 24 point lead? Really Cowboys?
  17. San Francisco 49ers (3-1) – John Harbaugh is exactly the type of head coach the 49ers have needed. They have always been relatively talented (relative to their weak division, that is) and now that they have a coach who can play to his players strengths, we see the results – a 3 and 1 start.
  18. Philadelphia Eagles (1-3) – The popular thing to say about this Eagles team is that it’s filled with individuals who care more about themselves than the team, and that’s why the so called “Dream Team” is sitting in last place. In the coming weeks, we are going to find out just how accurate that statement is.
  19. Oakland Raiders (2-2)- This team has emerging talents in Darren McFadden and Denarius Moore. Penalties and poor run defense are holding this team back.
  20. Carolina Panthers (1-3) – They may be 1-3, but this team has been in every game. Cam Newton is throwing up very impressive numbers and has broken a few records already, while Steve Smith is seemingly back to form now that he’s not catching passes from Jimmy Clausen. The defense is a problem, but this offense has some weapons and will be a threat to put up big numbers every week, especially if the run game can get back on track.
  21. Atlanta Falcons (2-2) – What happened to the Falcons? After going 13-3 last season, the Falcons have started 2-2 in a very unimpressive fashion. The defense has been pretty bad this far into the season and unless things get fixed quickly, the Falcons are going to fall behind in a tough division.
  22. Cleveland Browns (2-2) – The Browns have some solid talent on both sides of the ball and as this team grows it will be one to watch out for. For now, they are probably a year away from contending for a playoff spot, but they’re making progress. Colt McCoy is going to need his receivers to develop a lot more before the Browns can take the next step.
  23. Cincinatti Bengals (2-2) – The defense is doing outstanding and Andy Dalton is managing the game well and completing the occasional deep pass to A.J. Green. This team needs some growing up to do, but the foundation is there.
  24. Denver Broncos (1-3) – They have played some close games, but still only have one win. Head coach John Fox believes in Kyle Orton, but how long before the Tim Tebow cries get too loud to ignore? The 12th man has been hindering the Broncos more than helping.
  25. Seattle Seahawks (1-3) - This team is better than they are given credit for. They have an emerging defense and some quality talent on the offensive side on the ball. Sidney Rice is playing like the Seahawks expected, but besides that the free agency class of 2011 has been a disappointment so far. Tavaris Jackson puts up over 300 yards and the Seahawks still can’t win?
  26. Minnesota Vikings (0-4) – They should have known what they were signing up for when they traded for Donovan McNabb. His best days are well behind him and it’s a shame that the talents of a once-in-a-generation player (Adrian Peterson) are being wasted in Minnesota as the team loses game after game. If there’s one thing to hang their hats on, its that they have played much better in the first half than the second half so they could potentially turn things around in a hurry.
  27. Arizona Cardinals (1-3) – Kevin Kolb was supposed to solve a lot of this team’s problems but so far that hasn’t been the case. The defense has been ordinary and until Kolb can prove he win the close ones, this team will struggle to compete in a weak division.
  28. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3) – The rookie magic hasn’t spread to Jacksonville yet where the 10th overall pick is currently floundering away the Jaguars chances of winning. Blaine Gabbertprobably hasn’t had enough time to make the transition from quarterbacking a spread offense in college to an NFL offense, so we can cut him some slack. But just don’t expect the Jaguars to do too much while Gabbert starts.
  29. Kansas City Chiefs (1-3)- A precipitous fall from grace for a team that won 10 games and made the playoffs. Injuries have hurt them a lot, but that doesn’t excuse two blowout losses to begin the season. Matt Cassel is going to have to carry this team if the Chiefs want to be competitive.
  30. Indianappolis Colts (0-4) – You have to give the Colts credit…they lost one of the best players in the league in Peyton Manning and still continue to keep playing hard. The D-line is nothing to scoff at and has taken over games at times, but until the QB play improves, this team probably won’t win too many games.
  31. St. Louis Rams (0-4) – Sam Bradford probably misses Oklahoma right now. His receivers continue to drop catchable balls and his offensive line is a mess right now. Until Bradford gets the help he needs, this team is going no where. Quite the drop for a team expected to compete for a playoff berth this year.
  32. Miami Dolphins (0-4) – A Chad Henne injury is all this team needed to win the “Suck for Luck” campaign. Tony Sparano has been on the hot seat for the last 2  years and a few more losses may be all it takes for our first coaching change of the 2011 NFL Season.

Sep 08

Peyton Manning Undergoes Second Neck Surgery

With Week one of the 2011 NFL Season inching closer, it’s become evident that NFL icon and the undisputed leader of the Colts, Peyton Manning, will miss the first start of his 14 year career. Manning holds a streak of 208 consecutive games started, second only to the (as of now) retired Brett Favre.

The Colts signed former Titan Kerry Collins a couple weeks before the season opener and at the time, the thought was that Manning may miss the first game at most. But the situation has changed, Manning’s neck has gotten worse and now the hope is that Collins can hold the team together for several games while Manning recovers. Collins certainly isn’t the worst fall back option, but to expect even a veteran like Collins to be able to come in, learn the offense, and then execute it at a high level is simply asking for too much.

The first surgery was done in May with a 6-8 week recovery timeline. But Manning’s 35 year old body hasn’t responded to treatment and rehab as well as expected. Manning returned to the practice field only to suffer another setback, and now a second surgery is required. Specifically, Manning will now be undergoing cervical fusion surgery with a recovery timeline that usually lasts anywhere from 2-4 months.

As of now, there are no plans for the Colts to place Manning on Injured Reserve, which would end his season before it starts and clear up another roster spot.

Aug 11

Hollywood’s Highest Paid Actors – 2011

It’s no surprise that Leonardo DiCaprio tops the list of Forbes’ highest-earning actors in 2010. Two DiCaprio hits, Inception and Shutter Island combined for over $1 billion in box office revenue worldwide and DiCaprio was a beneficiary of this, bringing in $77 million in 2010.

In a distant second, but still making a nice sum, Pirates of the Carribean star Johnny Depp is making $50 million thanks to Pirates royalties. The franchise has earned $3.7 billion worldwide in 4 movies, earning Depp a lot of money in the process. He also earned $75 million the previous year and looks to continue his extended success with the upcoming 21 Jump Street and Dark Shadows.

In third, we somewhat surprisingly have Adam Sandler who recently starred in Grown Ups, a box-office hit that helped him earn $40 million in 2010. Sandler also starred in Just Go With It with SISwimsuit edition cover girl Brookyln Decker and Jennifer Aniston which earned over $200 million worldwide.

Topping out the list is Will Smith at number 4 and Tom Hanks at number 5, with $36 million and $35 million respectively. Smith’s high earnings can be attributed to Fresh Prince re-runs and a hefty signing bonus for the upcoming Men In Black III. Hollywood mainstay Tom Hanks didn’t earn too much from Larry Crowne, but voicing Woody in Toy Story certainly paid off for the veteran actor.

Aug 02

Summer Movie Roundup

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II

The boy who lived faces Voldemort one final time in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II. The final Harry Potter movie was a worthy piece that pleased fans and critics alike, already grossing over $1 billion worldwide. It’s movie that any Harry Potter fan can sit back and appreciate, and the 3D certainly added to the overall experience, as well.

Captain America: The First Avenger

Steve Rogers has the heart of a superhero but the body of a ten year old. All that changes after he is recruited into a secret military experiment that turns him into Captain America – the first Avenger. Reviews have been generally good, and Chris Evans as Captain America was an excellent choice. Though some parts seemed rushed, the movie does a great job of pulling you in and overall this is a movie you should see.

Cowboys & Aliens

Aliens bring terror down from the skies with the intent to conquer Earth, and James Bond actor Daniel Craig and a posse of cowboys are all that stand in the way. If you’re looking for a good sci-fi/western movie, you’ve found one (oh yeah and the extremely attractive Olivia Wilde is in this movie). Just be prepared to have more questions than answers until the second half of the movie.

Horrible Bosses

If there’s one thing we learned from watching the trio of Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis in Horrible Bosses it’s that any movie with all three of these guys in it can only result in hilarity – Horrible Bosses had me laughing throughout.

Bad Teacher 

Bad morals, bad language, but certainly not a bad movie, Bad Teacher is a comedy that will have you laughing for a while. Cameron Diaz and Jason Segal make you laugh in different ways, and anyone with a sense of humor (and some background knowledge for all the subtle jokes) should enjoy this.

Crazy, Stupid, Love

Crazy, Stupid, Love is a movie that combines drama with comedy and does a rather good job at it. After his wife asks for a divorce, a father (played by The Office star Steve Carell) must make big adjustments to his lifestyle as he enters the single scene, with a little help from a professional bachelor (Ryan Gosling).

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Transformers costed nearly $200 million to make and the visual effects are absolutely stunning as a result- especially in 3D. But besides the effects, Transformers is a movie about deceit, destruction, and courage that ultimately isn’t as epic as the trailer made it out to be. Still, it’s a noble effort from director Michael Bay and at the very least, Transformers was  entertaining.

Jun 15

Apes go Crazy in Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Evolution leads to revolution in Rise of the Planet of the Apes – releasing August 5th, 2011. Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a dark Sci-Fi thriller set in present day San Francisco. The movie revolves around Will Rodman (played by James Franco), a brain scientist, and Caesar, the ape who Rodman tests a supposed ‘Alzheimer’s cure’ on. Instead, the drug has a side effect that includes a high dosage of intelligence that results in Caesar evolving into an ape genius.

The most recent trailer (watch it below) sheds light on a wide variety of topics, including Rodman and Caesar’s roles in the Apepocalypse and how the ape uprising began. Things eventually escalate into an all out war between humans and apes…with apes the victor.

Add in the fact that Slumdog Millionare hottie Freida Pinto stars as Franco’s love interest and we are very much looking forward to Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Jun 14

Bad Meets Evil in Hell: The Sequel

Eminem has released a new album. Only this time, it’s not a solo album but rather as a duo with (sometimes) friend Royce Da 5’9″ titled Hell: The Sequel.

Royce, also a Detroit native, is a current member of hip hop group Slaughterhouse and has done collaborations with Eminem before, but Hell: The Sequel is the first album the duo have released together.

The album aims to “keep hip-hop moving forward,” according to Royce Da 5’9″. ”We’re trying to make being lyrical cool again.”

A few singles have been leaked including “Echo” and “Fast Lane” both of which are excellent songs and has had fans excited about the release of the full album. The full song list:

No. Title Producer(s) Length
1. “Welcome 2 Hell” Havoc 2:57
2. “Fast Lane” Supa Dups, Eminem, JG 4:09
3. “The Reunion” Sid Roams, Eminem 4:50
4. “Above the Law” Mr. Porter 3:29
5. “I’m on Everything” (featuring Mike Epps) Mr. Porter 4:31
6. “A Kiss” Bangladesh, BrandNu 4:34
7. “Lighters” (featuring Bruno Mars) Eminem, The Smeezingtons, Battle Roy 5:03
8. “Take from Me” Mr. Porter, 56 3:25
9. “Loud Noises” (featuring Slaughterhouse) Mr. Porter, Eminem 4:20

 

 

The mix of Eminem and Royce Da 5’9″ works well and we definitely suggest listening to “Fast Lane”, one of the album’s best songs. You can hear it below.

 

 

Video

Orangutan Saves Baby Bird from Drowning

After watching an Orangutan saving a baby bird from drowning, we might be inclined to believe that the Rise of the Planet of the Apes has already begun.

Okay, so we’re obviously kidding. But it really is amazing that an orangutan is able to use resources available to him to save the bird from an early death.

For an animal to realize and understand a situation, create the tools necessary to save the bird (in this case a leaf plucked out of the ground), and finally save the bird from sure death is simply remarkable.

Some humans wouldn’t even know what to do in that situation and here we have an orangutan using his life-saving skills! The orangutan was even as delicate as a 200 pound beast can be when dealing with the bird, being as gentle as possible while holding it. All this really makes you think what else orangutans can be capable of if they were given the opportunity to learn and grow.

Watch the full video below (though we reccomend skipping to around the 50 second part).

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