Saturday, April 30, 2016

2012 Mitsubishi Lancer GT Review

The 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer GT is a compact sporty sedan with an aggressive style that looks so much like the Evolution MR, that you can almost forget that they are not the same.

Beginning in 2012, a new series of sporty and affordable Lancer GT Compact Sedans were introduced with a variety of exterior upgrades and luxury options, which include better interior materials,18 inch alloy wheels, and a glossy, black trimmed instrument panel.

The GT, formerly known as the GTS, comes equipped with a 2.4 liter 4-cylinder engine with 168 horsepower,167 ft. of torque, and yields 23 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. Standard features include a 5-speed manual transmission, sport tuned suspension, rear spoiler, sport front bucket seats, steering wheel mounted audio and cruise control controls, leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, high contrast meter gauges, adjustable height steering column, LCD display, 6-way manual adjustable driver seat, center console with armrest storage, 60/40 rear fold down seat, power door locks/windows, fast key entry system, and automatic climate control. A technologically advanced CVT with Sportronic shifting and a magnesium steering wheel with paddle shifters are optional.

Optional packages are available, such as the Touring Package which adds a backup camera with a monitor built into the rearview mirror, the GT Touring Package adds leather seats, a 710-Watt Rockford-Fosgate Sound System with 9 speakers and a 10-inch sub-woofer, Sirius XM Satellite Radio, AM/FM/CD/MP3, HID headlamps, rain sensing wipers, auto on/off headlamp mechanism, heated front seats, power glass sunroof, and rearview camera. The Navigation Package adds an intuitive 40 gb navigation system with real time traffic and music server for an extra $2,000.

The interior of the Lancer GT is sporty and has a spacious front cabin, providing enough head/legroom for taller passengers; however, space in the rear cabin is limited. The front and rear seats feel a little stiff and in my opinion, do not provide enough cushioning comfort for long trips. The dashboard and console areas are a bit lackluster and do not have the same pizzazz that the Lancer Evolution MR has, but with the addition of certain interior upgrades, the vehicle is greatly enhanced.

On the road, the Lancer GT has a solid performance and handles normal driving conditions with ease, but feels somewhat stiff and lacks some fluidity on curvy roads. Braking is accurate and the Lancer GT has a firm and stable feel on freeways and on rougher terrain. The engine is a bit louder than I thought it would be and does not make for a quiet on the road experience, however, this may appeal to a lot of younger drivers who like a car with a sporty sound with a lower price tag.

All in all, I am not very impressed with the Lancer GT and highly recommend the Lancer Evolution MR (EVO), which is the funnest vehicle that I have ever driven or the high performance Ralliart to anyone who is looking to purchase a Lancer. Yes, the EVO is more money that the GT, but it well worth the additional expense in terms of better road performance, superior technology, top of the line interior features, and a highly enjoyable ride.

If you are on a tight budget, then the Lancer GT is still a good choice with a starting MSRP of only $19,845 and a 10 year/100,000 mile warranty package. The GT is definitely worth looking at, because it is a well built, sporty sedan with good fuel economy, and is a great choice for daily commuting.

To find out more about the Mitsubishi Lancer GT, please visit:

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2012 National League MVP Race is as Close as They Come

As opposed to the American League MVP race, which became a two-person race for the last month of the season, the National League MVP race featured a full field battling to the very end of the season, at which point no fewer than five players could make a legitimate claim to being the best player in the game in 2012. Buster Posey has had a great season and carries the exciting storyline of coming back from knee surgery last season to lead his team back to the postseason. Ryan Braun has come back from steroid allegations in the off-season to put up a second consecutive MVP-like season, despite losing the other elite hitter in his lineup, Prince Fielder. Andrew McCutchen carried an otherwise weak Pirates team for most of the season on offense, and repeatedly saved his pitchers on defense. David Wright and Chase Headley both compiled exceptional numbers while playing in pitchers’ parks and batting in weak lineups. And Yadier Molina continued his typically outstanding defense while also producing his best offensive season to help the Cardinals overcome the loss of Albert Pujols and fight their way back into the postseason. Here’s how I see the final 2012 NL MVP breaking down:

5) David Wright/Chase Headley – Third Base – NYM/SD

So technically it’s cheating to list two players at one position, but there was pretty much no way to separate these two players and the seasons they had this season. They both play on terrible teams that ended with nearly-identical records (74-88 for the Mets, 76-86 for the Padres). Their teams scored almost an almost identical number of runs (650 for Mets, 651 for Padres) and they had the same run differential (-59). For their personal numbers, Headley ran and hit a little better, besting Wright in: SB 17-15 while getting caught less 6-10; HR 31 to 21; RBI 115-93; and runs above average due to batting 39-30. But Wright made up the difference with his glove, which was worth 16 runs above average, whereas Headley was considered 3 runs below average. Wright also hit for a better average than Headley, .306 to .286. But if park factors are considered, the players hit for an almost identical OPS+, 144 for Headley, 143 for Wright. According to, David Wright has the advantage in Wins Above Replacement (WAR): 6.7 to 6.0, but on that difference decreases to a 7.8 to 7.5 advantage for Wright. That lead is easily equaled by Headley’s advantage in weighted Runs Created (wRC+) (also on Fangraphs) which shows Headley ahead by a margin of 145-140. And finally, the two players virtually tied in Win Probability Added (WPA) 4.19 for Wright, 4.16 for Headley. If you want to try to distinguish these two, go ahead. But as far as I’m concerned it was six of one, a half-dozen of the other. They practically had the same season.

4) Andrew McCutchen – Center Field – PIT

Once considered the runaway leader in the MVP race, McCutchen had a brutal final two months of the 2012 season as his team slipped, first out of the postseason picture, and then under .500 for yet another losing season in the Pirates’ depressing recent history. McCutchen’s season can be broken down in two ways. First, the good: McCutchen ended the 2012 season hitting .327/.400/.553 with 31 home runs, 20 stolen bases, 96 RBI and 107 runs. Pretty impressive numbers considering he played on a team that produced only 651 runs total in 2012. He also ranked second in WAR in the NL in 2012, at 7.0 according to, and second in the league in WPA according to So over the entire season, McCutchen put up some extremely good numbers. But then there is the bad side of his season. On August 1, 2012, the Pittsburgh Pirates were 60-44, second in the NL Central, and in the first wild card position, 1 game up on Atlanta and 4 games up on St. Louis. McCutchen was hitting .371/.428/.629. Over the last two months of the season, McCutchen would hit an abysmal (by MVP standards) .253/.355/.367 and the Pirates would go a combined 19-39 to fall well out of postseason contention. They say all wins count the same at the end of the season, but the last two months of the season do count more. There is a difference between a game in the middle of April, where there is time to make a recovery, and a game in September, when every game has huge implications for the playoff picture. McCutchen was asked to carry a huge load for the Pirates all season long, and for the most part, he did an exceptional job. But at the end of the season, with the Pirates trying to reverse a losing tradition, McCutchen faded, and so did his MVP chances.

3) Ryan Braun – Left Field – MIL

More than a few people thought this off-season would be the end of Ryan Braun’s run as an MVP candidate in the National League. As if losing his protection in the lineup (Prince Fielder) to the Detroit Tigers wasn’t enough, steroid accusations, and potentially failed drug tests also called in to question the legitimacy of the numbers he had put up in his career to that point. People expected that Braun would see far fewer pitches to hit, and without the assistance of PEDs, the pitches he did hit would not be as sharp or travel as far. So much for that theory. Ryan Braun came back from that tumultuous off-season with a vengeance, leading the National League in home runs, runs, OPS, and total bases. He joined the 30/30 club for the second consecutive season with 30 stolen bases while only being caught seven times on the year. According to, Braun was third in the NL with a 6.8 WAR. According to, he was second at 7.9. Also according to, Braun led the league in wRC+ and WPA. But no matter what website is used, one thing is for certain: Ryan Braun is an outstanding player and probably the best hitter in the NL today. But Braun still does not possess one attribute that the two players ahead of him do: defense. Though he actually graded out as slightly above replacement level on defense this year (.1), Braun cannot affect the game in a significant way without a bat in his hands. In my mind, in this fiercely-contested race, that is enough to bump Braun down to third in the results.

Yadier Molina – Catcher – StL

I wanted to give the nod to Molina because there is not another player who can routinely make this play. In that video, you can see the value of Molina. With most catchers that pitch becomes an extra base for the runner. But with Yadier behind the dish, not only is the ball stopped from getting to the backstop, it turns into an extra out for the defense and significantly reduces the scoring chance for the offense. There are no superlatives that can overrate Molina’s defense, and more than any other player in baseball today, Molina can control a game without stepping into the batter’s box. Along with that, Molina stepped up his offensive game this season, hitting .315/.373/.501 in 2012, the best offensive year of his career. He also knocked 22 balls out of the park, and cracked double digits in stolen bases this season with 12, only getting caught three times. He was fourth among position players in WAR and oWAR according to, seventh on, and fifth in WPA. So in Yadier Molina, you have a top-ten hitter in the NL who plays the best defense in the league. He neutralizes the running game of the opposition, and forces base runners to stay closer to the bag, which makes it tougher for opposing players to go first-to-third or score from second on a base hit. More and more of baseball is being quantified, but Molina still affects the game in ways that have yet to be measured, and that is why he would be the MVP if it wasn’t for…

1) Buster Posey – Catcher – SF

Though not the defensive peer of Molina, Posey is still an above average defensive catcher…one who happened to be phenomenal with the bat this season. On the year, Posey hit .336/.408/.549 with 24 home runs and 103 RBI. The .336 average led the NL, as did his OPS+ of 172. Additionally, whether using (8.0) or (7.2), Buster Posey led the league in WAR. He also tied for the league lead in wRC+ with 162, and led the league by himself in WPA, the only player to top the 5.00 mark in that category. Posey also led the National League in a variety of advanced stats: Adjusted Batting Runs, Adjusted Batting Wins, and Base-out Wins Added. And showing off the defensive abilities, Posey also led the National League in runners caught stealing as a catcher with 38 on the season. Add in the fact that this is Posey’s first season since this devastating collision that wrecked his knee, and I think the choice of Posey for NL MVP is the correct one, even though, as a fan of the Cardinals and of defense, I’d love to see Yadier with the award.

Again this is one opinion. I happen to think it’s the right one, but that’s just me. This year’s MVP race in the National League involved a number of players, and any one of these six could win with a completely legitimate argument behind them. But among a number of excellent candidates, I believe Buster Posey was the most valuable, and I believe he will ultimately walk away with this award.

Peter Souders is a former Division One athlete at Boston College where he competed at fencing and was named the 2011-2012 Senior Scholar Athlete of the Year. He is a fan of many sports, but baseball is by far his favorite. He has been published on numerous sites across the Yahoo! Networks discussing the MLB, NCAA, and Olympics. Follow him on Twitter @PeterSouders


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2012 Halloween Events in Pensacola, Florida

If you thought Pensacola was a boring town, think again. This city is crawling with Halloween events for family and friends to take advantage of. Whether you’re looking to be scared to death or just find a fun place to take your kids, consider one of the following events.

What The Halloween Events in Pensacola, Florida Is: WABD’s Boo Ball At The Hangout

When The Event Starts:
Saturday, October 27th, 2012

Where The Event Is:
The Hangout in Gulf Shores, AL

Pricing Info For this Halloween Event:
Tickets can be purchased online for $15 for those 21+ and $20 for those 18+. Tickets will cost an additional $5 the day of the event.

Additional Information: Must be 18+ to enter bar.

Pensacola residents who listen to WABD will already know about this annual event. This year, Blondie, Q-Tip, and Nick Fox will be attending the event which is being DJ’ed by Jermaine Quiz.

Tickets include admission into the “Terror on the Gulf” haunted house, but be warned, this event isn’t for the faint of heart. Children are allowed to enter during the day, but parents should make sure their child can handle the scares. After all, this haunted house is said to be the scariest on the Gulf Coast.

A costume contest will also be hosted at the Hangout with a cash prize reward of $2,000. Categories include sexiest, scariest, most original, and best overall, so be sure to come dressed to impress.

More information on this 2012 Halloween event can be viewed here.

What The Halloween Events in Pensacola, Florida Is: Terror on the Gulf Haunted House

When The Event Starts:
Opens on October 19 & 20. Continues October 26, 27, 29, 30, and 31.

Where The Event Is:
The Hangout in Gulf Shores

Pricing Info For this Halloween Event:
Admission is $5 per person or $25 for a season pass.

Additional Information:
Children may attend from 7pm – 10pm, adults only from 11pm – 1am.

Those who want to attend the Gulf Coast’s scariest haunted house without visiting The Hangout will get their chance come mid-October. The haunted house is located directly on the beach, so families can enjoy some fun in the sun that turns to terror att sundown. Season passes can be purchased online, or regular passes may be bought at the door.

More information on this 2012 Halloween event can be viewed here.

What The Halloween Events in Pensacola, Florida Is: Sweeney Todd Horror Story

When The Event Starts:
7:30pm on October 19th, 2012. 2pm on October 21st, 2012.

Where The Event Is:
Saenger Theatre, downtown Pensacola

Pricing Info For this Halloween Event:
Tickets cost between $30 to $100 depending on seating. Active Military members can get in for $15.

Additional Information:
Sweeney Todd is a murder story that includes feeding the bodies to unsuspecting victims. The story is heavily based around a serial killer and cannibalism. This is not a show for young children.

Those who have never heard the story of Sweeney Todd are in for a real treat. The story tells of a barber who has been unjustly exiled by a judge. This tore his family apart, so he returns to London to get revenge on the man. Unfortunately, this rage is taken out on far more people than just the judge. Sweeney Todd goes mad and begins going on a serial killer rampage, killing all those who get in his path. This leaves one problem though… what to do with the bodies?

Sweeney Todd befriends Mrs. Lovett, a woman who owns a pie shop directly below the barber. Times are tough and meat is scarce… that’s when the two come up with the brilliant and cannibalistic idea. Pretty soon everyone is lining up to try Mrs. Lovett’s new meatpies… but how long can the two keep the scam up?

More information on this 2012 Halloween event can be viewed here.

What The Halloween Events in Pensacola, Florida Is: Pensacola Interstate Fair

When The Event Starts:
October 18th – October 28th

Where The Event Is:
6655 W. Mobile Hwy, Pensacola, FL

Pricing Info For this Halloween Event:
General admission is $11 for those 12 and older, $5 for children 4-11, and free for ages 3 and under. Hand stamps are $22 and will allow guests to ride all rides.

Additional Information:
There are plenty of rides for kids of all ages. Even for those who may be too young to ride, the fair also offers petting zoos, horse rides, face painting, games, and more.

The Pensacola Interstate Fair is an annual event that gets bigger and better each year. While not all of the fair is Halloween themed, there are several events that children of all ages can take part in. The fair always offers a haunted house ride which is tame enough so children can ride without their parents. There are also several fun-houses that have Halloween themed mischief going on within them.

Before entering the fairgrounds, a building is set up with dozens of exhibits that always include Halloween fun for the whole family. While the exhibits change from year to year, previously the fair has had trick or treating, face painting, contests, temporary tattoos, candied apples, Halloween themed fudge and much more.

More information on this 2012 Halloween event can be viewed here.

What The Halloween Events in Pensacola, Florida Is: Haunted House Trolley Tours

When The Event Starts:
October 19th, 20th, 26th, and 27th.

Where The Event Is:
Pensacola Historical Museum

Pricing Info For this Halloween Event:
$16 for adults, $8 for children.

Additional Information:
Tours run every 30 minutes from 6pm until 8:30pm and last one hour. Guests must pay in advance to guarantee seating.

Most local residents know of Pensacola’s history with paranormal activity, but for those who don’t, the Haunted House Trolley ride will explain it all. During the trolley ride, the tour guest (who dress in costume) will tell several true stories about Pensacola’s history. These include the murder of the Charbonier Sisters and Stella Bedgood, the Little Boy Lost story, and the tale of the the Dorr and Kennedy haunted houses.

All proceeds from these tours go to West Florida Historic Preservation, making this one of Pensacola’s biggest and most popular charity drives.

More information on this 2012 Halloween event can be viewed here.

What The Halloween Events in Pensacola, Florida Is: Boo At The Zoo

When The Event Starts:
October 20th, 21st, 27th, and 28th, 10am to 4pm

Where The Event Is:
Gulf Breeze Zoo, 5701 Gulf Breeze Parkway

Pricing Info For this Halloween Event:
$12 per person.

Additional Information:
The zoo and all their events are opened rain or shine 363 days a year. Visitors can also rent strollers, umbrellas, and wagon for a small fee if needed.

Boo at the Zoo is another annual event that’s been going on in Pensacola for years and getting better each time. The zoo offers children a safe place to trick or treat on the special “trick or treat trail.” There are also train rides, haunted houses, mazes, zombie tours, and much more, and that’s not even including the animals.

The zoo also has a petting area, playground, giraffe feeding, snack bar, and picnic area. Guests should also be sure to visit the zoo’s latest animal, Kigali the Western Lowland Gorilla. Kigali was born on January 23, 2012, through an emergency C-section. He had to be taken away from his mother in order for both of them to survive. After being cared for by the staff for eight long months, both mother and son have finally been reunited. While not particularly Halloween themed, children and adults alike are guaranteed to fall in love with Kigali.

More Info on this 2012 Halloween event can be viewed here.

Do you know of any other 2012 Halloween events going on in Pensacola, Florida? If so, leave a comment and let us know!

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2012 Kia Optima Hybrid Review

Many people would love to buy a hybrid vehicle, but don’t like the way most of them look. Now, all that has changed with the new Kia Optima Hybrid, which may very well be the best looking hybrid available today.

Voted best car of 2011, the Kia Optima Hybrid is a sure winner because of its sleek and unique design, state-of-the-art features, and impressive fuel economy. Like the standard Optima, the hybrid version has the same dynamic styling, hi-tech features, and spacious interior.

The Optima Hybrid is equipped with a powerful 2.4 liter, four-cylinder engine with 166 horsepower and 154 lb-ft. of torque. It has a sporty, masculine look to it with a European style. This vehicle is definitely a head turner.

The exterior and interior of the Kia Optima is a complete blend of impeccable style, practicality, modern design, and value. Standard features include iPod/USB integration, AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system, power mirrors, touch screen radio, Bluetooth, fog lamps, leather wrapped steering wheel with audio and phone controls, dual-zone automatic climate control, one-touch power windows, air conditioned glove box, trip computer, auto-dimming rear view mirror, and driver’s seat with w/power lumbar support. For only $5,000 extra, you can get the Premium Package, which offers a large screen navigation system, eight speakers, panoramic sunroof, back-up camera, auto dimming rear-view-mirror, 17-inch wheels, heated rear seats, Infinity Sound System, HID headlamps, and heated/cooled front seats. The premium package also incorporates the climate control hybrid status information into the screen’s display area.

The Optima Hybrid’s front cabin is spacious with supportive and comfortable seats that are easy to adjust, angled driver focused center console, leatherette stitched trim around the instrument panel (optional), dual-zone climate control, and easy to read screen display. The navigation system is accurate, antiphonal, intuitive, and data can be entered into the system while vehicle is in motion.

The hybrid battery does decrease cargo/trunk space to about 9.9 cubic feet, whereas the regular Optima has cargo space of 15.4 cubic feet, but in my opinion, this is not a major issue.

Kia is a pioneer in the automotive industry and the Optima Hybrid is the first Kia model that is fitted with a Microsoft UVO Infotainment System, which is quite similar to SYNC. UVO is great and offers the ability to give voice commands for a particular track from an iPod. The UVO system is not a part of the premium package, but is available in the hybrid convenience package an additional $700.

The Optima Hybrid earned a “Top Safety Pick” appellative from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and a 5-star crash test score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is the agency’s highest honor. Not many vehicles have been awarded both appellatives. Safety features include dual front advanced air bags, front seat mounted side airbags, full length side curtain airbags, anti-lock break system, traction control system, electronic stability control, hill start assist, and a tire pressure monitoring system.

On the highway, the Optima Hybrid renders a smooth, fast, and quiet ride due to its gas-electric powertrain that supercharges the EPA fuel economy rating to 35 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway as well as precise and one-dimensional braking. The vehicle uses both gas and electricity, either independently or simultaneously.

The Kia Optima Hybrid is the only hybrid vehicle that uses a standard 6-speed automatic transmission, while other hybrids use a CVT transmission. The 6-speed automatic transmission gives a more interactive and exciting driving experience.

Unlike many other hybrid vehicles, the Kia Optima Hybrid’s gasoline engine shuts down at cruising speeds up to 60 mph when the electric motor alone can maintain the desired speed and the batteries are charged. The gas engine is activated in order to get the car up to cruising speed, but it is not necessary to maintain speed, and it is at this point, that the gas intake stops. The engine comes back on immediately if acceleration is needed. The Optima Hybrid will run on electric only when cruise control is at 65 MPH, until the battery is partly used up, then the engine will start and charge the battery while running. When the battery is charged, it will shut down the engine and run on electric power again. This is very different from a lot of other midsized hybrid sedans that tend to operate their gas engines invariably at highway velocities.

The Optima Hybrid can run efficiently and completely in electric mode even up to highway speeds when there is enough battery power and good road conditions are present. The whole process works smoothly and is practically unnoticeable. Because of the vehicle’s ability to cruise at high speeds in EV mode, you will experience the most fuel saving benefits if you spend a lot of time driving at highway speeds.

The MSRP for a fully loaded Optima Hybrid is $31,750, which is a better value than the majority of its competitors and is well worth the price, because it still undersells other hybrids on the market and offers special features, such as a heated steering wheel, ventilated seats, intelligent navigation system, heated rear seats, and a panoramic dual sunroof that is not available with other hybrids in the same price range.

If you have been looking for a sleek and stylish hybrid vehicle with a sporty look, upscale and comfortable interior, and hi-tech features, then I highly recommend taking a look at the fully-loaded Kia Optima Hybrid.

For more information about the Kia Optima Hybrid, please visit

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2012 Golden Globes Predictions for Movie Drama and Comedy or Musical

Sunday, Januay 15 is the 69th Annual Golden Globes and many are going to be tuning in to see if their favorites won. Ricky Gervais is the host, so you know viewers and attendees are going to be holding their breath waiting to hear what he’ll say. There’s hopefully going to be some interesting speeches from the winners as well. Many fans of the entertainment industry are taking guesses about who’s going to win and who’s going to get snubbed. Do you picks match the ones below?

Best Picture (drama)

The nominees are “The Help,” “Hugo,” “Moneyball,” “War Horse,” “The Ides of March,” and “The Descendants.” Many are figuring that “The Descendants” is going to be the winner because of Clooney, but my prediction is that “The Help” is going to be the surprise winner and come out ahead.

Best Actress (drama)

The nominees are Viola Davis, Glenn Close, Meryl Streep, Tilda Swinton and Rooney Mara. It’s a toss up between Streep and Davis; however, there’s a really good chance that Davis is going to take the lead on this and beat out her former “Doubt” castmate.

Best Actor (drama)

Ryan Gosling, Leonardo Dicaprio, Michael Fassbender, Bradd Pitt and George Clooney are the nominees. In a category of heavyweights, it comes down to Pitt or Clooney. Their bromance will very likely not be affected by a little more friendly competition. Best bet is that the forever bachelor will win for his role in “The Descendants.”

Best Picture ( comedy or musical)

“Midnight in Paris,” “50/50,” “My Week with Marilyn,” “The Artist” and “Bridesmaids” are the nominees. The big favorite in this category is the black-and-white silent movie “The Artist,” and I’m sticking to it.

Best Actress (comedy or musical)

In a category chock full of hugely talented actresses, the nominees are Charlize Theron, Jodie Foster, Michelle Williams, Kristen Wiig and Kate Winslet. The heavy favorite in this category is Wiig, but I’m thinking Williams will take the category and beat her out.

Best Actor (comedy or musical)

Ryan Gosling, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Owen Wilson, Jean Dujarin and Brendan Gleeson are the nominees. Dujardin won at Cannes and he’s very likely going to win in this category as well.

Who are your favorites?

Tags:2012 Golden Globes Predictions for Movie Drama and Comedy or Musical

2012 Movie Trailer Online, but Will the World "End?"

It is a simple fact, that has been thrown around frequently, and which will soon become the basis for a major motion picture, that the Mayan calendar will “run out” on December 21sth, 2012. Many have taken this to mean that the Mayan’s predict that on this date the world will end. A recent interview with a Mayan elder clarifies the misconception by stating that the Mayan’s had a love of astronomy, and that on this date, December 21st, 2012, the sun will rise in the same place that the bright spot of the the Milky Way Galaxy sets (our home galaxy) and that this happens roughly every 25,000 years. Furthermore, many Mayans feel that the setting 2012 as the end of civilization on earth is more a western fantasy than based on Mayan tradition.

However, perhaps because this date is so well known among conspiracy theorists and followers of the occult, Hollywood decided to make a major motion picture about what would happen if December 21st, 2012 signaled the end of the world, perhaps due to some foreseeable astronomical event. The trailer for the film is now online at,, with a release date that is set for November 11th, 2009, a little more than three years before 2012. I guess some studio wanted to make sure that they had their 2012 movie out way before another studio.

While laden with computer generated special effects showing L.A. literally dropping out from beneath an airplane taking off, as well as a girafe presumably being loaded on to a modern age “Noah’s Ark”, there isn’t much to hint that the plot of the film will be especially interesting. And while the special effects are eye popping at first, the shots of an airplane avoiding dozens of falling skyscrapers seem more than a little bit unrealistic.

While the earth was certainly threatened with destruction in past Hollywood blockbusters, sometimes involving asteroids on a collision course, there seems to be no escape for much of the world’s population in this film. It is even hinted that the government knows that the world will end on this date and has made preparations for the survival of at least some of the world’s population inside what looks like gargantuan sized boat/submarine. The web address for the film, “Who Will Survive 2012” is certainly ominous. Given the large number of natural and man made disasters that the world has suffered in the past couple years, from Madoff and the recession, to hurricanes, tsunamis and earthquakes, there is much that movie goers will recognize in this film.

And that’s too bad.

Generally movie goers go to the movies to escape the bad times, even during recession the film industry thrives and occasionally has better than average years. While the special effects and depicted carnage in 2012 will likely be spectacular, it seems doubtful that any of the mysteries of Mayan civilization will be explored in the film. And that’s too bad as well.


2012 is not the end of the world, Mayan elder insists

2012 – Official Movie Site

Tags:2012 Movie Trailer Online, but Will the World “End?”

2012 Green Goals for Personal Growth

As the founder of Dragonlilyarts and The Undoing Reliance Project, I have vested the last 5 years of my life to living and teaching my two daughters about our environmental responsibilities, as well as emphasizing to them a person’s value is measures in actions and intangible things, not by how much stuff they can accumulate, waste, or have during the course of their life.

This being said, I am pretty far in my project based learning goals to action approach. Over the last few years I covered the general items like making my own breads, shopping local farmers markets and co-ops, eating seasonally, finding secondary uses for things, donating and selling consignment, not buying prepackaged, individually packaged items to cut down on waste, and just not purchasing in general, establishing a needs v. wants checklist. If I have less stuff, I need less space, if I have less space, I need less electricity and less heat. If I shop and eat local I am contributing less to driving and less to the demand of things being shipped in and the emissions that occur there. Now that this had gone from a thought about at every step of the way goal, to a way of life transformation that is natural in action; I am taking on a more detailed approach. For the next year I have three “green” goals. One literally green goal, one environmentally green goal, and one symbolically green goal.

The Literal Green Goal:

  • 1. Get planters and small pots to fit on my window sill to try to grow tomatoes and herbs all year round.
  • 2. The monetary investment will probably float in around $50.00, so I would hope to make that up by not having to buy fresh herbs at the farmers market, in the store, or have to by dried or dehydrated to suffice, each purchase coming in at $3-$9 a container. I could very easily make this money up in about 2 months.
  • 3. I have no outdoor space, so my other option is an aero garden. I will most likely be saving up my money for the large 7 plant one in the coming year.

The Environmentally Green Goal:

  • Reusing cards. Many times I find at estate sales cards given to the person who died that they held on to. I think it is fun to see how cards have changed, and think it would be not only a creative way to recycle or up-cycle paper products, but to keep the spirit of another’s memory alive. The card and the memory meant enough for the person to hold on to it for that many years, why not make it a tradition to see how many names can get on the card. All you do is add an “and” followed by your name to the last people who wrote in it, and it can get a laugh from the recipient while helping the environment.

The Symbolically Green Goal:

  • I need more money. Who doesn’t? So my last and final goal is to pay off as much debt as possible, and make my liquid assets flow like a green currency river. The largest challenge for me as a single mother, will be stretching my dollar further than I have already stretched it out. Hopefully upon the completion of my Master’s Degree I will be able to pick up a collegiate teaching position, one or two nights out of the week to bring in some extra cash to pay down my student loans for my masters. This way one investment in my future, can once paid off, become profitable for me to invest monetarily in my future.

Goals for a green life are not easy. They take time and thought. Do not be disheartened if you cannot complete them quickly or if it becomes really hard at times. Remember, you have to crack a few eggs to make a cake, but the cake will taste better if the eggs came fresh from the farmer’s nearby. Nothing life changing is ever without its fair share of turmoil and uncomfortable-ness. But change for a better healthier, stress free you in a better and healthier stress free environment may just be worth it.

Tags:2012 Green Goals for Personal Growth

2012 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Regional Semifinals Round TV Schedule

The 16 teams left in the 2012 NCAA tournament will face off in Sweet 16 Regional Semifinal round games to see who will make it to this year’s Elite 8 (Regional Finals). In a two-day span (March 22-23), eight games will be played to determine which teams will advance. Who will conquer March Madness and claim this year’s championship?

2012 NCAA Tournament Fourth Round Regional Semifinals (Sweet 16) TV Schedule

Note: All times p.m. and Eastern.

Regional Semifinals (Sweet 16) Games: Thursday, March 22

7:15, CBS, East: #4 Wisconsin vs. #1 Syracuse

TD Garden, Boston, MA

Regional Quarterfinals Results: Wisconsin defeated #5 Vanderbilt, 60-57; Syracuse defeated #8 Kansas State, 75-59

7:47, TBS, West: #4 Louisville vs. #1 Michigan State

US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ

Regional Quarterfinals Results: Louisville defeated #5 New Mexico, 59-56; Michigan State defeated #9 St. Louis, 65-61

9:45, CBS, East: #6 Cincinnati vs. #2 Ohio State

TD Garden, Boston, MA

Regional Quarterfinals Results: Cincinnati defeated #3 Florida State, 62-56; Ohio State defeated #7 Gonzaga, 73-66

10:17, TBS, West: #7 Florida vs. #3 Marquette

US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ

Regional Quarterfinals Results: Florida defeated #15 Norfolk State, 84-50; Marquette defeated #6 Murray State, 62-53

Regional Semifinals (Sweet 16) Games: Friday, March 23

7:15, CBS, South: #10 Xavier vs. #3 Baylor

Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA

Regional Quarterfinals Results: Xavier defeated #15 Lehigh, 70-58; Baylor defeated #11 Colorado, 80-63

7:47, TBS, Midwest: #13 Ohio vs. #1 North Carolina

Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, MO

Regional Quarterfinals Results: Ohio defeated #12 South Florida, 62-56; North Carolina defeated #8 Creighton, 87-73

9:45, CBS, South: #4 Indiana vs. #1 Kentucky

Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA

Regional Quarterfinals Results: Indiana defeated #12 VCU, 63-61; Kentucky defeated #8 Iowa State, 87-71

10:17, TBS, Midwest: #11 North Carolina State vs. #2 Kansas

Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, MO

Regional Quarterfinals Results: North Carolina State defeated #3 Georgetown, 66-63; Kansas defeated #10 Purdue, 63-60


2012 NCAA March Madness Mens Basketball, NCAA

More from this contributor:

2012 NCAA Tournament Third Round TV Schedule

2012 NCAA First and Second Round TV Schedule

2012 Men’s Basketball NIT Tournament Second Round TV Schedule

2012 NCAA Women’s Tournament First Round TV Schedule

2012 NCAA Division II Men’s Tournament Quarterfinals, Semifinals, and National Championship Game Schedule

Follow this contributor on Twitter @_austinchang.

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2012 Olympic Canoe Slalom: Rules and Format

The object of canoe slalom is to navigate a river fraught with hazards and rapids defined by “gates.” A paddler must take his boat through the gates and do it in the least possible time with no penalties. Very simple. When I compete in a local or state marathon paddling race I follow rules that generally cover less than one sheet of paper. Questions and discrepancies are decided on the spot by the race coordinator or a very small race committee. Such is not the case when it comes to Olympic paddling events. Every detail must be spelled out in ways that everyone understands and the playing field is level. As a result it’s hard for a layman to understand everything–or possibly anything. Since the Olympics are an international event competitors eventually have to follow rules and regulations set forth by the International Canoe Federation (ICF). Competition in the United States follows the USA C/K Canoe Slalom Rules. Both sets of rules complement and dovetail with each other so there is no problem. The ICF rules are 66 pages while the USAK rules cover 35 pages. If you are detail oriented or I make a mistake or leave something out you can link to the appropriate page to fill in the blanks. Regional marathon racing is entirely different from Olympic paddling so I’m a babe in the woods just like you. I will highlight only a few basic and interesting rules.

Article 1 – Object defines the object of the race which is to navigate a defined course through.

Article 2 defines specific competitions and how they are ran.

Article 3 defines competitor eligibility.

Article 4 sets the competition calendar.

Article 5 – Boats basically sets boat dimensions and weights and further clarifies that canoes are paddled with a single blade paddle and kayaks with double blades.

Single kayak (K-1): minimum length 3.50 m, minimum width 60 cm, minimum weight 9 kg.

Single canoe (C-1): minimum length 3.50 m, minimum width 65 cm, minimum weight 10kg.

Double canoe (C-2): minimum length 4.10 m, minimum width 75 cm, minimum weight 15kg.

Article 6 – Categories basically divides the competition by gender, age and participants per boat–such as solo, tandem.

Article 7 defines the type and number of race and course officials

Article 8 details specific duties of race and course officials.

Article 19 – The Course defines lengths, hazards and other aspects of the course.

Article 20 – Marking and Hanging of Gates. Gates consist of two hanging poles painted with either green and white rings for downriver gates, or red and white for upriver gates.

Article 21 defines how gates can be negotiated.

Obviously there are many more articles, rules and definitions for judging, interpretations, protests, equipment breakage, all the way to how the course must be cleaned after competitions. A little knowledge of the general rules helps you understand and appreciate the races. If you want more detail follow the link to all the rules.

Gerald is an outdoor sportsman who travels by land and water through mountain forest, rocky foothills, and shifting sand dunes. In his spare time he designs and builds wood composite kayaks, canoes and paddles. He still competes in select marathon races.

Tags:2012 Olympic Canoe Slalom: Rules and Format

2012 MTV Movie Awards Highlights

MTV is well known for its over-the-top award shows, and this year’s Movie Awards were no different. Between the live performances, presenters, winners, and host, there was plenty to keep you entertained for the evening.

Some of the biggest names in Hollywood came out to the event that night. Among them were Adam Sandler, Channing Tatum, Christian Bale, Emma Stone, Emma Watson, Jodie Foster, and many more.
The award ceremony took place on Sunday, June 3, at the Gibson Amphitheater in Los Angeles, California. The host was Russell Brand, the extreme, over-the-top comedian who had the audience laughing immediately. He was quick to draw attention to Charlie Sheen, with the joke being that he needed someone more unstable than himself so no one would notice if he messed up his lines. Charlie Sheen played along with Russell Brand and was a great addition to the joke. Russell Brand also kept the audience wondering about who was going to win the big award of the night, the Movie of the Year, by chanting “The Hunger Games!” “Twilight!”

Being the known party boy that he is, Charlie Sheen introduced the performer Wiz Khalifa, who performed his newest single “Work Hard, Play Hard.” The energy was very high in the amphitheater as Wiz had red cups and toilet paper flying around the stage to keep up with the house party theme.

Joe Perry and Steven Tyler, the Aerosmith legends, introduced The Black Keys as they performed their newest single “Gold on the Ceiling.” There was an extra performer with the group, Johnny Depp, who played guitar alongside the other members. Later in the evening, Johnny Depp returned to perform a rendition of The Black Keys’ “Lonely Boy.” The audience was very moved and had a high energy during these times as well.

There were also a few MTV Movie Award firsts that happened this year. There were new categories that were added to the normal ones. Jennifer Aniston nabbed the award for Best On-Screen Dirtbag for her role in “Horrible Bosses.” Emma Stone won the award for MTV Trailblazer, for which she humbly accepted and gave props to all the comedians who came before her. Also, in the first ever social voting category, Harry Potter claimed the Best Hero award.

The movie “The Hunger Games” seemed to be a favorite of the night as well. Josh Hutcherson won the Best Male Actor, and Jennifer Lawrence won the Best Female Actress. Elizabeth Banks was presented the Best On-Screen Transformation award by Matthew McConaughey, Channing Tatum, and Joe Manganiello. Which Joe had seemed to have had lost his shirt by that time, so he was half-naked at the presentation of the award.

For four years in a row, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson won the Best Kiss award; unfortunately, Robert was unable to attend the award ceremony so Kristen had to the accept the award by herself. Also to keep up with the tradition that she and Robert had started, she had to make out with herself on stage after accepting the award. “Twilight” won the Movie of the Year award for the latest saga, which is “Twilight’s” fourth major win at the MTV Movie Awards. Another big honored award winner was Johnny Depp, who got to take home the Generation Award.

MTV also made sure that the graphics and lights on the stage were phenomenal because MTV is known for being bold and extreme. Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield, who both starred in the new “The Amazing Spiderman,” had to weave around laser spider webs while on stage. There were tons of glitter and sparkle anywhere you looked, making all the actors, award winners, and performers really stand out from their backgrounds.

Whether the surprising entrances of coming out of a wall, coming out of the ceiling/floor, or anywhere else MTV can think of, it has always been true to its word about being unique and wanting to maintain a fun and carefree environment for its award shows. One thing is for sure: you never know what it has up its sleeve for its award shows because every year it tries to come up with crazy, extreme ideas to top the year before. Celebrities and audiences all over look forward to the award shows just to see what kind of crazy, unbelievable things MTV will come up with.

Many are already anxiously waiting for the next year’s award show, and MTV is probably already thinking of news ways to wow and amaze its audiences and stars alike.

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2012 Presidential Election Hot-Button Issue in Iowa - Women's Role in State Politics

During a presidential election year, many hot-button issues erupt. Along with the obvious topics, such as healthcare and taxes, a recent issue being discussed in Iowa is the dismal performance of and acceptance of women in politics in this state. While Iowa may have had the first female attorney, it is one of only two states to never vote a woman into congress or as a governor as discussed in an article by Christina Palladino from ABC-5 News.

The topic of gender inequality resurfaced when Michele Bachman’s poor performance in her home state of Iowa sealed her decision to bow out of the 2012 presidential race. I’m thrilled I no longer have to listen to her, but I disliked her political stances, not her gender. In the last presidential election, Hillary Clinton didn’t fare as well in Iowa as I expected, either. It may sound archaic, but I wondered then if a woman or an African American would fare better in this state? I’m not saying the whole state is full of the elderly, traditional, racist, or sexist voters than people assume we have. However, there are enough of them cause negative impacts at times to our state government.

In cases where gender bias is real or assumed, many factors must be considered to come up with substantial, valid results. Researchers, political scientists, and journalists who set the stage for discourse on the subject of gender equality have wildly different viewpoints and often come to conclusions on opposite sides of the spectrum.

One side of the argument was discussed in an article by Soraya Chemaly at The Huffington Post . She shared a statistic that the U.S. ranks 40th in the world for electing women to office. She believes Iowa should not be allowed to hold the first caucus when the state seems to have such a small female representation in our government. I understand the concern, but it’s not any more democratic to move the caucus when there’s no guarantee another state wouldn’t have the same or worse biases.

While I would encourage my state to elect more women to political positions, I think further research is needed to prove why the numbers are low. Is it because of the large number of elderly citizens with traditional values, that common argument and/or assumption? Or is it because women don’t run as often?

In Paladino’s ABC-5 News story, Dianne Bystrom, director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University, said ” We need to encourage more Iowa women to run, because research shows men and women differ in their political ambition and a woman needs to be asked at least 3 times and be encouraged to run.” Bystrom went on to mention that she and a colleague will research media bias to see if and how it played a role in the presidential campaigns of Michele Bachman, Hillary Clinton, and the vice presidential platform of Sarah Palin.

I may just be lucky, but I’ve only felt a gender bias once when I worked at a Des Moines IT consulting company. It was a “boys’ club” type of firm. Women were only invited out for beers when the men remembered we were sitting there and no men were ever asked to run the errands or order lunch. There are worse examples that just irritate me to repeat, so I’ll ignore them for now.

Given my experiences in the two Midwest states I’ve lived in, Iowa and Ohio, I’d have a hard time concluding that this state has enough of a gender bias to keep women out of office. I’ve lived in small towns and cities in both states, and I’ve lived near and worked with people with different income levels, occupations, and lifestyles. I know that biases exist against all people at times, so I just hope Iowa can be as inclusive of all people as possible.

Iowa’s former Chief Supreme Court Justice is a woman, and she wasn’t voted out of the Judicial Branch because of her gender. Along with two male Iowa Supreme Court Justices, she was voted out when enough Iowans decided the Supreme Court’s ruling to allow gay marriage in Iowa was against its constitution.

Tags:2012 Presidential Election Hot-Button Issue in Iowa - Women’s Role in State Politics

2012 People’s Choice Awards Nominations: Vote for Your Five Favorite Nominees

Here’s a great opportunity for you to become a part of an award show behind the scenes. Begin at the ground level by selecting your five favorite nominees in each category online for the 2012 People’s Choice Awards. It’s divided into three categories: Movies, Television and Music. A list of popular candidates will appear for your selection. Once the nomination process is closed another voting will begin later where the winners will be announced in early January 2012 in a live telecast.

There are 41 categories in total with 12 names in each of them. Movies and Television lead with 15 each while Music has a total of 11. Some of the categories include: Favorite Movie, Favorite Movie Actor, and Favorite Movie Actress to Favorite Book Adaptation, Favorite Animated Movie Voice and Favorite Movie Ensemble Cast. For Television the categories are in dramas, comedies, reality TV, daytime talk show, late night talk show, network TV and cable TV. The missing category thus far is for Favorite New TV Drama and TV Comedy Shows. Last year “Hawaii Five-0” won Favorite New TV Drama. This year it is up for several categories including Favorite TV Crime Drama.

Music category features the genres of Pop, Hip Hop, R&B and Country. Katy Perry received the most consideration of all the musicians. Her name is listed in six various musical categories. Voting for the 2012 People’s Choice Awards began on Tuesday, October 18, so time is ticking away to get your favorite nominees on the ballot. You can vote as many times as you like. If you do not see your favorite movie actor, favorite TV comedy or any other favorite listed there is an option for you to write in your candidate. Good luck and may your favorite(s) win.


People’s Choice Awards 2012 Nominee Selection,

Matt Carter, “People’s Choice Awards: ‘The Big Bang Theory,’ ‘Glee’ up for voting”,

Claire Charpentier, “Katy Perry in the running for People’s Choice Awards”,

Tags:2012 People’s Choice Awards Nominations: Vote for Your Five Favorite Nominees

Friday, April 29, 2016

2012 Summer Olympics: Breeds Inspirational Athletes

Watching the Olympics is a favorite pastime that I hold. I do not necessarily have a favorite sport. I am more attracted to the overall history of the Olympics, the excitement of the events, and the perseverance of the competitors. I live for admirable stories. All of the athletes dedicate themselves to their sport, practicing almost daily giving it their all. It is their dream and aspiration to reach the Olympics and they allow us to experience their joy in accomplishing such a wonderful goal. I am proud of each and every athlete regardless of the medal that they receive. Just being able to compete in the Olympics is a celebratory achievement. Gratification is evident in their expressions. The exhilaration of the audience is contagious.

While all have special stories, some have struggled more than others to get where they are today. Someone or something gave them the motivation and inspiration to keep on going. One woman stands out to me today. Imagine not being able to afford running shoes? Gladys Tejada did not have running shoes, however, she kept running. Gladys Tejada is making history this year as the first Peruvian to qualify for the Olympics. Ms. Tejada was raised in an extremely poor family in Peru. Her mother inspired her to keep moving forward. When she realized that her country was not well represented, she knew what she had to do. Click here for her story.

Despite setbacks that Gladys experienced she kept moving forward to where she is today, the 2012 London Summer Olympics. Herein lies proof that while struggle is evident, anything is possible when you believe in your abilities.

Tags:2012 Summer Olympics: Breeds Inspirational Athletes

2012 NFL Playoff TV Schedule

From the NFC’s No. 1 seed Green Bay Packers (15-1) to the AFC’s No. 1 seed New England Patriots (13-3), the 2011-12 NFL playoffs will feature 12 of the best teams of the regular season. With four teams (Packers, Patriots, San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens) receiving first round byes and 10 playoff games in total before Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis, Indiana, the 2012 NFL playoffs should be an exciting series of postseason games.

2012 NFL Playoff TV Schedule

Saturday, Jan. 7

AFC Wild-Card Round: No. 6 Cincinnati Bengals (9-7) at No. 3 Houston Texans (10-6), 4:30 p.m. ET (NBC)

NFL Wild-Card Round: No. 6 Detroit Lions (10-6) at No. 3 New Orleans Saints (13-3), 8 p.m. ET (NBC)

Sunday, Jan. 8

NFC Wild-Card Round: No. 5 Atlanta Falcons (10-6) at No. 4 New York Giants (9-7), 1 p.m. ET (FOX)

AFC Wild-Card Round: No. 5 Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) at No. 4 Denver Broncos (8-8), 4:30 p.m. ET (CBS)

Saturday, Jan. 14

NFC Divisional Round: Highest remaining seed at No. 2 San Francisco 49ers (13-3), 4:30 p.m. ET (FOX)

AFC Divisional Round: Lowest remaining seed at No. 1 New England Patriots (13-3), 8 p.m. ET (CBS)

Sunday, Jan. 15

AFC Divisional Round: Highest remaining seed at No. 2 Baltimore Ravens (12-4), 1 p.m. ET (CBS)

NFC Divisional Round: Lowest remaining seed at No. 1 Green Bay Packers (15-1), 4:30 p.m. ET (FOX)

Sunday, Jan. 22

AFC Championship Game: Winners of two AFC Divisional Round games playing at the site of the higher remaining seed, TBD (CBS)

NFC Championship Game: Winners of two NFC Divisional Round games playing at the site of the higher remaining seed, TBD (FOX)

Sunday, Feb. 5

Super Bowl XLVI: AFC Champion vs. NFC Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN, 6:30 p.m. ET (NBC)


2012 NFL playoff schedule, ESPN

More from this contributor:

2012 NFL Wild-Card Round Playoff TV Schedule

2011-12 College Football Bowl TV Schedule

2011 NFL Week 16 Regional TV Schedule for December 24

Golden State Warriors 2011-2012 National TV Schedule

San Francisco Giants 2012 Spring Training Schedule

Follow this contributor on Twitter @_austinchang.

Tags:2012 NFL Playoff TV Schedule

2012 Outback Bowl: Michigan State Vs Georgia - Preview, Prediction, and Pick Against the Spread

Michigan State and Georgia go head-to-head in the 2012 Outback Bowl. The Outback Bowl is one of three bowl games to feature a matchup of the SEC and Big Ten. Georgia and Michigan State both played in their conference championship games with the Bulldogs losing to LSU and the Spartans taking a loss against Wisconsin.

Michigan State went 7-1 in Big Ten Conference play this season and finished 10-3 overall. The Spartans losses came to Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. The Spartans are currently ranked #17 in the country. The Georgia Bulldogs started 0-2 with losses to Bosie State and South Carolina, but then they reeled of 10 straight wins and earned a spot in the SEC title game. Georgia lost the title game to #1 LSU 42-10. The Bulldogs are ranked #16 in college football heading into the 2012 Outback Bowl

When Georgia is on Offense

The Bulldogs’ offense ranked 34th in the nation scoring 32.2 points per game this season. The key to the Georgia offense is balance. The Bulldogs average 172 yards on the ground and 241 yards passing per game. Sophomore quarterback Aaron Murray threw for 2861 yards and 33 touchdowns this season. There is still plenty of room for improvement for Murray who only completed 58% of his passes and threw 12 interceptions while taking 28 sacks. There were high expectations for freshman running back Isaiah Crowell, but he had a roller coaster type season. Crowell showed flashes of brilliance but was inconsistent. Freshman wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell led the team in receiving yards with 614 yards.

The Spartans’ defense ranked 9th in the country allowing only 17.5 points per game. Michigan State is coming off a game against Wisconsin in which they gave up a season high 42 points. The Spartans were successful rushing the passer this season and finished 4th in the nation with 41 sacks. They should be able to get to Aaron Murray and force the sophomore quarterback into mistakes.

When Michigan State is on Offense

Michigan State averaged 30.8 points per game this season. Senior quarterback Kirk Cousins was solid this year completing 65% of his passes for 3016 yards and 24 touchdowns. Cousins has two reliable senior receivers in B.J Cunningham and Keshawn Martin. Cunningham caught 72 passes for 1240 yards and Martin hauled in 62 passes for 742 yards. Le’Von Bell and Edwin Baker split carries at running back this season and combined for 1555 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Georgia’s defense was 16th in the nation allowing 19.6 points per game. Like Michigan State, the Bulldogs allowed 42 points to their opponents (LSU) in the conference title game. Linebacker Jarvis Jones is second in the nation with 13.5 sacks, and safety Bacarri Rambo was second in college football with 7 interceptions. As a team Georgia had 34 sacks and 17 interceptions this season.

2012 Outback Bowl Pick Against the Spread

Georgia is currently favored by 3.5 points over Michigan State. Both teams had great seasons this year and would love to cap it off with a bowl win. This will be a hard fought game with two very talented defenses going up against good offensive teams. I like Georgia to win the game, but I will take the Spartans with the 3.5 points.

2012 Outback Bowl Prediction

Georgia – 24
Michigan State – 21


Tags:2012 Outback Bowl: Michigan State Vs Georgia - Preview, Prediction, and Pick Against the Spread

2012 NASCAR Season Review – Penske Racing

As many motorsports championships and awards as “The Captain,” Roger Penske has on his bookshelves, one trophy that was missing was NASCAR’s Sprint Cup – missing until now, that is. Brad Keselowski gave Penske his first Cup Series title to follow up the Nationwide Series title Keselowski won back in 2010. The 2012 season for Penske Racing in NASCAR had its ups and downs, but in the end, the “Blue Deuce” put everyone involved on a post-season high.

Brad Keselowski – In just his third full-time season in the Cup Series, Keselowski won his first Chase for the Sprint Cup, backed up by 23 top 10 finishes, including five wins, and an impressive Chase: he won twice, had six additional top 10 finishes, and had a worst finish of 15th in the final race at Homestead-Miami – exactly where he needed to finish to win the title no matter where Jimmie Johnson finished. Keselowski and crew chief Paul Wolfe may be the most in-tune driver/crew chief combination since Tony Stewart and Greg Zipadelli were with Joe Gibbs Racing.

A.J. Allmendinger – Allmendinger had a rough start to the season, and it just got rougher as the season wore on. In the first 17 races of the season, Allmendinger had just three top 10 finishes, including a runner-up finish at Martinsville. Then the train came off the tracks: Allmendinger was suspended by NASCAR after testing positive for a banned substance. The California native, who turns 31 on December 16 th , maintained his innocence, but went through the mandated substance abuse program and regained NASCAR eligibility before the end of the season. He did come back to compete in four of the final six races for James Finch’s Phoenix Racing.

Sam Hornish Jr. – Hornish Jr. became super-sub for Penske, filling in for the rest of the season in the #22 vacated by Allmendinger. After a one-off effort at Kansas in the #12 where he finished 19th, Hornish Jr. completed the schedule in the #22 Dodge, with a season-best finish of fifth at Watkins Glen International. Hornish Jr. also raced full-time for Penske Racing in the Nationwide Series.

Nationwide Series – Hornish Jr. looked much more at home in the #12 Dodge for Penske in the Nationwide Series, earning 22 top 10 finishes on his way to a fourth-place finish in points. The #22 car was split between four drivers during the season: Keselowski, who won three times in 21 races; 18-year-old Ryan Blaney, who competed in seven races and finished second at Texas Motor Speedway in November; Parker Kligerman, who finished in the top 10 twice in three races; and Jacques Villeneuve, who finished sixth and third at Road America and Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, respectively.

Paula is a long-time NASCAR fan who also covers the sport at Skirts & Scuffs and

Tags:2012 NASCAR Season Review – Penske Racing

2012 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl Preview and Pick Against the Spread: East Carolina Vs. Louisiana-Lafayette

The 2012 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl will feature East Carolina and Louisiana-Lafayette. East Carolina represents Conference USA after going 7-1 in conference play and 8-4 overall. Louisiana-Lafayette was 6-2 in Sun Belt Conference play and 8-4 overall. The Ragin’ Cajuns and Pirates played one common opponent this season. East Carolina beat Tulane 28-23 and Louisiana-Lafayette beat Tulane 41-13.

When East Carolina is on Offense

The Pirates rank 46th in the nation in scoring at 31.3 points per game. Quarterback Shane Carden completed 66.8% of his passes for 2838 yards, 21 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions. Running back Vintavious Cooper had a solid season averaging 5.4 yards per carry on his way to 1030 yards rushing. Sophomore Justin Hardy was the Pirates top receiver this season catching 83 passes for 1046 yards and 10 touchdowns.

The Ragin’ Cajuns struggled to keep their opponents off the scoreboard this season. Louisiana-Lafayette ranks 61st in the nation in scoring defense giving up an average of 27.6 points per game. They gave up 65 points in a game against Oklahoma State this year and 50 points against Arkansas State. As a team, the Ragin Cajuns had 26 sacks and 12 interceptions. Safety Rodney Gillis was a playmaker on defense and had 5 interceptions this season.

When Louisiana-Lafayette is on Offense

Louisiana-Lafayette’s offense made up for their poor defensive showings. The Ragin’ Cajuns rank 33rd in the country scoring an average of 34.8 points per game. Sophomore quarterback Terrance Broadway was the key to the offense this season. Broadway completed 65% of his passes for 2526 yards, and he ran for 661 yards and 8 scores. Alonzo Harris is a big running back (6’1″ 220 lbs) and picked up big yards (761) this season. When the Ragin’ Cajuns throw the football they like to spread it around with four different receivers going over 500 yards on the season.

East Carolina’s defense was even worse than Louisiana-Lafayette’s this season, and they rank 86th in the nation in scoring defense giving up an average of 30.7 points per game. They gave up 56 points to Navy, a team that only averaged 24.8 points per game. As a unit, the ECU defense had 25 sacks and only 9 interceptions.

2012 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl Pick Against the Spread

Oddsmakers currently have Louisiana-Lafayette favored by 6 points over East Carolina. Both teams struggled defensively this season and this game could turn into a shoot out. Ragin’ Cajun quarterback Terrance Broadway is a talented playmaker and should have a big game against a poor Pirate defense. I’ll take Louisiana-Lafayette to win and cover the 6 points.

Prediction: Louisiana-Lafayette 42 – East Carolina 34

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2012 Summer Concert Tours and Music Festivals Worth Traveling For

Summertime always brings cool concert tours and music festivals happening all across America. There’s a wide range of tours along with music festivals that bring together many artists in one place. Here’s are five of this summer’s must-see music tours and festivals.

Van Halen

To me, this is the biggest musical tour in years: the reunion of the original (almost) Van Halen! I can’t wait to see Diamond David Lee Roth himself, along with Eddie Van Halen shredding on the guitar. The new member is Eddie’s son Wolfgang, who replaced long-time member Michael Anthony on the bass guitar.

The band is on an epic tour of the U.S., and I would check them out in Oakland, California, at the Oracle Arena on June 3, 2012. This would allow me to stay in Marin County, just north of San Francisco and some of the most beautiful country in America. I would stay in the Napa Valley at the Hotel Yountville and do some wine tasting. It’s about an hour north of the arena.

Lady Antebellum

Country stars Lady Antebellum are out on tour this summer, and I really think they bring a great blend of country, rock, and even some rhythm and blues thrown in. I would wait and see them on June 30, 2012, at the Milwaukee Summerfest. It’s their last show before leaving for Europe, and there’s a lot of other cool bands at that festival to check out (like Chicago, ZZ Top, The Roots, Thievery Corporation, and more). This is a cheap one to attend – three-day passes are only $36, with single-day tickets priced at $14. if you stay at the Hilton Milwaukee with their Summerfest Special, you get two tickets to Summerfest, plus two free drinks, for $196 per night.

Lady Antebellum is very involved with their fans, and if you join their fan community, you can request access to meet and greets with the band in each city they play.

311 Cruise

I like 311; they combine punk, rock, ska, reggae, and a lot of other flavors to make some great music. While the band does have a summer tour, many shows with the band Slightly Stoopid, I think the best way to see them is on their own Caribbean cruise, the 311 Cruise. The cruise leaves Miami on May 10, 2012, and travels to a private island before returning four days later. It’s like a music festival at sea, with The Dirty Heads, Shwayze, and many other performers also on the ship. Inside cabins start at $699, double occupancy.

All Good Music Festival

This is another destination that would be great to travel to this summer, allowing music fans to see a whole group of similar artists. The All Good Music Festival and Campout happens just outside of Columbus, Ohio, and features jam bands like The Allman Brothers, G Love and Special Sauce, The Flaming Lips, and more. A four-day pass is $189 when purchased online in advance.


Yanni is back, and he’s touring the U.S. with a full orchestra. It’s a musical experience that combines new age with world music and also Yanni’s Greek heritage. I would check out the July 13, 2012, show at the spectacular Red Rocks Amphitheatre just outside Denver, Colorado. The venue is carved out of a natural canyon and would make a great setting to hear Yanni’s spiritual music. The Sheraton Denver West is a nice hotel near the venue.

Tags:2012 Summer Concert Tours and Music Festivals Worth Traveling For

2012 Volkswagen Polo: It's Not About Raw Speed but Fuel Mileage

The fifth generation VW Polo is headed to the U.S. in 2011 as a 2012
model. Its size will be between the European Polo’s 156.3 inch overall
length and the 9 inch longer Golf.

The car will have an impressive amount of space inside given its
limited outside dimensions. It will seat four six-footers for a reasonable
length trip. It will have high quality materials and very good fit and finish
meaning that it will look and feel as if it is priced at thousands more than it

Likely engines for the U.S. Polo will include a 1.4-litr naturally aspired
4-cylider or a 1.2-liter turbo four making 84 hp or 103 hp. These engines will
return 39.8 mpg and 42.7 mpg respectively. Additionally, a 1.2-liter Blue
Tooth diesel will deliver 71.3 mpg.

On the move, the Polo is impressive as it drives like a much bigger car,
and it has the surefootedness and buttoned down structure of the Golf.

The Polo does not focus on performance but rather has reasonable
performance in that the 1.2-liter turbo diesel gets to 60 in 9.7 seconds
and it has a top end of 118 miles per hour. The engine’s 129 lb ft. of
torque between 1500 and 3500 rpm is more than adequate.

The VW Polo, a smaller Volkswagen with the company’s same old
great qualities!

Kyle Busch is the author of “Drive the Best for the Price…” He
welcomes your comments or car questions at his auto web site:

Tags:2012 Volkswagen Polo: It’s Not About Raw Speed but Fuel Mileage

2012 Women's Office Wear Fashion Trends

Spring is a season full of new beginnings. As nature is refreshed by the intermittent showers of the early months, new life is ushered in by a great renewing energy and the future opens up to new promise.

Color sprouts up all around us as flowers bloom and express their delicate pinks, soft lavenders, and purest whites. In fact, an added bonus to the season of spring is the fresh color and the clean styles that seem to always make their way into topics; both about the nature of the time, and the fashion.

In fact, fashion seems to have a great deal to do with spring. It too ushers in rebirth and change. When spring comes along, it is always out with the old and in with the new when it comes to fashion. There is effort made with fashion every year in order to make it mingle with spring. Designers want fresh colors and clean, crisp styles. And sometimes that which has been done is refreshed during this time as well.

Take women’s career wear. The pantsuit, the skirt suit, the blazers, the heels; they have all been done and, each year, they are done again. The difference from the present year’s usual career wear for women and past year’s is the current color palette and the new flare of the now designers.

So, what is the 2012 spring agenda for women’s career wear fashion trends? What is the plan in order to maintain that grounded working mentality in women, the comfortable feel to the clothes themselves, and still keep it classy and sheik?

This year’s women’s career fashion trends will see the usual themes in pantsuits and skirt suits and black will be the foundation of the ensemble. The spark of genius will be with the splash of color in the shoes and/or the blouses. It is not about “office wear” this year, when a woman wears an all black skirt suit with a powder blue blouse underneath and powder blue shoes, a classy working woman is all anyone will see. The color of choice this season will be aqua and some examples can be found in Escada and Gian franco ferre.

Aside from the subtle color that will be found in this year’s women’s career wear, proper accessories are key. A good handbag, scarf, briefcase, and jewelry are a small token that adds so much taste to an outfit. Some good, inexpensive pieces can be found at or macys. Shoes can be found at zappos.

When it comes to women’s career wear fashion trends, a lasting impression comes from creating the whole package with subtle color, a good shoe, and classy accessories this spring.

Tags:2012 Women’s Office Wear Fashion Trends

2012 Saint Louis Earth Day Events

Earth Day, April 22, is right around the corner! It wasn’t that long ago that Earth Day was a small impact day celebrated by teachers and children at school and by environmentalists. However, today, it’s different. Environmental awareness has reached a point where most of us make a conscious effort to preserve our natural resources. So what can we do on Earth Day? Consider festivals, volunteering, or simply reducing your environmental impact to help increase awareness about the importance of preserving the Earth.

Family Fun! Make a day of it with your children: Earth Day is a great way to help educate children about protecting the Earth and to have fun, too! Drop-in to the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Great Green Adventures and explore the Chinese Garden with hands-on activities, games, and stories for kids ages 6-12: Saturday, April 21 – 10:30 am-1:30 pm –

Or get your Earth Day passport for the stations located throughout the zoo. Simply pick up a map at the zoo entrance locating the stations and get your passport stamped at each station to spell a mystery word and get a prize at the zoo exit! Make butterfly wings, learn about composting and trash-free lunches, learn to identify local frog calls, and make a wish to add to the giant birthday cake! Earth Day at the Zoo: Party for the Planet: Sunday, April 22 – 11 am – 3 pm, St. Louis Zoo

Let’s Make a Date! Earth Day makes for a good couples event! The Saint Louis Earth Day Festival provides live entertainment, food vendors, Schlafly products, art vendors and more! Its great for kids, too! Get your face painted and make musical instruments and masks out of recycled materials for the All Species Parade! Don’t forget to take the Earth Day Challenge on their website! Sunday, April 22 – 11 am- 6 pm, Forest Park, Muny Grounds

Strapped for Time? Try celebrating by turning your lights off for an evening! Earth Hour ( is over for the year, but do it yourself at home on Earth Day!

Want to Make a Difference? Plant flowers to decrease carbon dioxide in the air, set up composting in your yard, or recycle those hard to recycle items at the Recycling Extravaganza – 9 am-3 pm, St. Louis Community College Forest Park campus, off Oakland Avenue

What Else? There are many more Earth Day activities on and around Earth Day. Start with this calendar:

Tags:2012 Saint Louis Earth Day Events

2013-2014 NBA Western Conference Picks

Commentary| The 2013-2014 NBA season is upon us, the main focus for teams in the west, “Where do we fit in at”. The race for the eight playoffs spots in the west are always tight, this year will prove to be any different. Health is a concern for a few teams, can Kobe come back and dominate, will Russel be the same player after his surgery and will Doc Rivers bring a championship to LA LA land. Here are my Western Conference picks for the 2013-2014 NBA season:

  • 1. San Antonio Spurs: Why do we continue to bet against this team. They have to be foaming at the mouth right now due to their infamous choke in the finals last year. Tony parker, Tim Duncan and Ginobili are back, with help. Superstar in the making Kawhi Leonard has put the free throws misses behind him, Danny Green is ready to break the NBA single season record for threes. It all comes down to the decisions of Gregg Popovich, oh boy.
  • 2. Los Angeles Clippers: Can a coach really make a difference? Will Blake Griffins game ever mature beyond the lob, will Chris Paul stop being the best? This team loaded, they have the talent, signing JJ Redick, Jared Dudley, Darren Collision and a great pick up in Byron Mullens. If they fail now, they can no longer blame Vinnie, right.
  • 3. Houston Rockets: Dwight Howard has finally made a decision, was it right or wrong? Everyone o[in Rocket land is ecstatic over his decision , everyone except Omer Asik, who had a breakout year last year now he is coming off the bench. James Harden is ready to take his place as the best two guard in the league. Will Jeremy Lin have another disappointing season?
  • 4. Oklahoma City Thunder: For years, the critics have dogged Russell Westbrook, but when he went down in the playoffs last year, everyone saw that OKC could not win without him. Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka and Reggie Jackson have to realize there are still games to be played, keep things afloat for a while. This team is too good and experienced to fall out of the playoff picture.
  • 5. Golden State Warriors: Win by design, or by luck and you are expected to keep winning, can the warriors keep things moving in the right direction? Stephen Curry has placed his name among the best point guards today, Klay Thompson, if left open will rain threes down all game long. Harrison Barnes will contend for sixth man of the year, now that the talented Andre Iguodala is onboard. A healthy David Lee, a walking double- double and Andrew Bogut could have Golden State come close to the conference finals.
  • 6. Los Angeles Lakers: I am a fan. If you know anything about Kobe, you know he is not going out like this. Will he return from injury, of course, how will Pau Gasol react to having the post all alone. Can Nash beat father time and play with some passion. The bench went thru an overhaul during the off-season with the signings of, Nick Young, Wesley Johnson, Xavier Henry and Jordan Farmar. No more Dwight problems Mike D’Antoni, it is on you now.
  • 7. Minnesota Timberwolves: Health is the key to their season again. Kevin Love is back healthy, and Ricky Rubio is back healthy. Kevin Martin will stretch the floor for Kevin and the emerging star Nikola Pekovic. It is time to put together winning season, all the pieces are there, just have to wait and see how it all plays out.
  • 8. Memphis Grizzles: This team’s window is closing rapidly; players are getting older and not being replaced by younger ones. Zack Randolph and Marc Gasol are still one of the best frontcourt tandems there are in the league. Mike Conley is going to have to up his scoring more after a breakout campaign last year. The writing is on the wall for the Grizzles; do not be surprised if they slip out of the playoffs this year.
  • 9. Dallas Mavericks: Goodbye OJ Mayo, hello Monta Ellis, Mayo would play a little defensive, with Ellis it is all offense and wild shot selections. Dirk s career is winding down and his loyalty to Cuban is going to cost him another championship chance. Bench production should be a little belter this year with Vince Carter, Brandon Wright, Devin Harris and Dejuan Blair. Sorry to see Dirks great career end like this but the front office has to do better.
  • 10. Denver Nuuggets: Team turmoil, George Karl takes a team of over achievers to the playoffs and wins Coach of the year and is fired. Brian Shaw steps into the fire, installing the ever popular but difficult triangle offense. Ty Lawson returns with Danilo Gallinari and Kenneth Faried to form a fast trio. JaVel McGee is back In the middle, being an enigma, sixth man candidate JJ Hickson comes off the bench as an energizer bunny. Given the right bounces, Denver could make a run at the playoffs if they learn the triangle in time.
  • 11. Portland Trailblazers: Young and dangerous, for only half the season, they can never seem to put together a full season. LaMarcus Aldridge is a low block monster and Damian Lillard will soon join the conversation as one of the best point guard in the league. Robin Lopez comes in to man the middle, providing defense and rebounding. The second unit is headed by veteran point guard Mo Williams, and Thomas Robinson, shooters, Nicolas Batum, Dorell wright and rookie CJ McCollum.
  • 12. New Orleans Pelicans: Young and talented, but not quite ready. A year of experience and a true center away from contending. Anthony Davis should continue to put up solid numbers now that he has perimeter help in Eric Gordon, Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans and Ryan Anderson. I cannot wait for a year or two later, the Pelicans will be a force to reckon with.
  • 13. Utah Jazz: Talking about building a team through the draft, this is how you do it. Utah had a fire sale two years and built from the ground up, now it is time for the young players to make their marks on this team. Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward finally get their chance to shine. Rookie Trey Burke takes over the point guard duty with his crazy outside range, Marvin Williams leads the second unit along with Brandon Rush and Richard Jefferson.
  • 14. Sacramento Kings: Is it the coaching, front office or the players but the kings can never put together a solid season. DeMarcus Cousins, even with his mental breakdowns is a beast, worth the risk to keep. Isaiah Thomas has earned his starting position as the point guard, but with the signing of Greivis Vasquez, those days might be over. Rookie Ben McLemore will provide perimeter offense for a team desperately seeking it.
  • 15. Phoenix Suns: Can Eric Bledsoe be the cornerstone for a team? Can Goran Dragic up his level of play? Will Marcin Gortat rebound from a subpar year? The bottom line with the Suns, time for a lottery pick.

Tags:2013-2014 NBA Western Conference Picks

2013 BMW M5: Bottom Line - It’s Barely Street Legal

In the mid 80’s all U.S. (with the exception of the 318i) BMWs were equipped with straight six-cylinder engines. The powerplants were well known for their smoothness and power. In the early 90’s the automaker’s M5 was equipped with a 3.6-liter straight six-cylinder delivering 310 horsepower. For the most part, it was the BMW’s race engine installed in a beefed up 5-Series four-door sedan for the road. It was the quickest four-door sedans on the road. And the result – it gained cult following!

So, what does the new fifth-generation 2013 BMW M5 have to offer?

Of the car, Car and Driver said, “To its $92,000 price, we say: How can BMW possibly sell so few M5s so cheaply?” Thus, if $92,000 seems inexpensive for the M5, it must be quite a road/race car indeed!

BMW’s M division has been moving their race spec engines and chassis closer and closer to the road. And this new M5 is the automaker’s closest version to come off the track and onto the street.

The last M5 had a V10 engine and the new model has two less cylinders but delivers 53 more horsepower as well as 30 percent more torque. Additionally, this M5 gets 30 percent better fuel economy than its predecessor.

The M5’s engine is a twin-turbo 4.4-liter intercooled V8 belting out 560 hp and 502 ft. lb. of torque. The transmission is a seven-speed M Double-Clutch (M-DCT) automatic with manual shifting mode (paddles located behind the steering wheel). It provides exceptionally quick and clean gear changes that are hard to match with a manual gear box. The car’s 0-60 mph time is in 3.7 seconds, and the quarter-mile is finished in 12 seconds flat at 122 mph. The car’s top speed is up to 190 mph. The M5’s wheelbase is now 116.7 inches.

Of note is that this BMW supercar has an auto start/stop feature and brake energy regeneration.

The stopping power is provided by cross-drilled discs at all four corners. They measure race car 15.7 inches at the front (including 6-piston calipers) and 15.6 inches at the rear. The car’s 70-0 mph stopping distance is in 165 feet. The brakes exhibit no fade even after numerous high-speed stops. The tires are Michelin Pilot Super Sports measuring 265 40 19 inch at the front and 295 35 19 inch at the rear, however, 20 inch units are also available.

The exterior of the new M5 is long, sleek and understated. The car’s windshield is highly raked and at the front it has the traditional BMW twin kidney grille plus an air dam with three massive air intakes. From the side the car has a cut line moving from the taillight through the rear and front door handles and into a M5 feeder vent located in the front fender. The car’s coupe like styling hides and deemphasizes the greenhouse glass. At the rear the car has a high trunk lid with a spoiler. The lines are crisp with distinctive taillights that move into the trunk. Dual exhaust pipes are located at the lower left and right.

The interior of the M5 is businesslike and consists of high grade materials including leather and brushed aluminum. The front M seats are supportive and provide extra bolstering. The dash displays clear easy to read gauges. There is a heads up display in the windshield that disappears when the driver wears Polaroid glasses. Buttons on the M steering wheel enable the driver to operate the cruise control, audio and telephone functions. Furthermore, there is the iDrive with a 10.2 inch display and a multifaceted Connected/Drive (as much computing power as you will need).

Standard features on the M5 include dual zone climate control, extended cabin heating, power seats, cruise control, power locks, windows and mirrors, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, front and rear reading lights, AM/FM in-dash single CD player capable of reading MP3s, 13 speakers, front and rear cup holders, and more.

Safety features on the M5 include ABS brakes, stability and traction control, electronic brake force distribution, front and rear air bags, dual front side-mounted air bags, and passenger air bag with sensing deactivation.

The suspension contains many aluminum components and the driver can choose from Comfort, Spot and Sport Plus. This enables comfortable street driving or enhanced responses for track performance. A the front the suspension setup includes upper and lower control arms, coil springs, electronically adjusted tube shocks, and anti-roll bar. At the rear the suspension includes multiple links, coil springs, electronically adjusted tube shocks, and anti-roll bar.

When driven moderately, this M5 is quiet and refined. However, when pushed this BMW is wickedly fast providing acceleration on demand at almost any speed. Regardless of the road, the car provides good ride quality that is buttoned down. It has very little roll in the corners and the weight distribution is just about perfect.

The car’s handling is aided by its Active M Differential that is an electronically controlled multiplate limited slip unit. The car’s differential’s is linked to the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system with FlexRay or high speed data transfer technology. If the driver goes into a corner to hard, the differential becomes completely open and it helps the car to point in the right direction to hit the corner’s apex. When the driver then gets back on the power, the system tightens the differential to put the power to the pavement. The steering is rack and pinion with hydraulic assist (rather than electric steering). Thus, the feedback from the wheel is highly rewarding and adds to the M5’s driving pleasure.

The fuel rating of the M5 is 16 city and 24 mpg highway.

The price of the 2013 BMW M5 starts at $92,000. Expensive, yes, but there is a reason this mid-size sport/luxury four-door is at the top on the road or the track.

If you have the resources, be sure to give the BMW M5 a run for your money. And remember to keep in mind as Road and Track puts it, “Make sure you brace your head and neck before stepping on the accelerator when launching the new M5 because as soon as the wide rear Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires grab the driving surface, the forward surge is violent.”

As a matter of fact, it’s barely street legal. And that’s what makes the BMW M5 so darn good!

View the slideshow to see the new 2013 BMW M5 inside and out!

Kyle Busch is the author of “Drive the Best for the Price: How to Buy a Used Automobile, Sport-Utility Vehicle, or Minivan and Save money.” He welcomes your comments or car questions at his auto web site: Follow Kyle on Facebook and Twitter.

Tags:2013 BMW M5: Bottom Line - It’s Barely Street Legal

2012 Tottenham Hotspur Europa League Group Stage Review

Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas made one thing very clear before the start of the 2012-13 season: Spurs were going to take Europa League seriously this time around. AVB’s Tottenham, unlike Harry Redknapp’s squad from last fall, earned a spot in the knockout stages of Europa League play on Thursday, which may or may not prove to be a positive thing for a Spurs side that has Champions League ambitions for the future. Villas-Boas has thus far done well in rotating players and putting out the best squads on both Spursdays Thursdays and Premier League Sundays.

He’ll have to continue to do just that if Spurs are to flirt with lifting a trophy and/or a top-four league finish.

2012 Tottenham Hotspur Europa League group stage review: The top story

Just as was the case for Tottenham throughout the month of November, the biggest story and most memorable tidbit from the team’s first six Europa League contests was the play of the team’s goalkeepers. French number one Hugo Lloris, acquired by Spurs in August, was unable to surpass American veteran Brad Friedel during Premier League weekends, and Lloris was left relegated to the less-desirable Europa League fixtures. Lloris didn’t let any feelings of disappointment affect his play on the pitch, though, as he surrendered just three goals in over 450 minutes of action. None of those goals could be blamed on Lloris, and at least one was the fault of some shoddy defending (Michael Dawson in the 1-1 draw at Panathinaikos).

Friedel, who has since been replaced by Lloris as AVB’s first choice ‘keeper, got the nod for the team’s last UEL group stage game on December 6. While he put up a serviceable performance in the team’s 3-1 victory, the ageless wonder was again slow to come off his line on multiple occasions, and some even argued that he was poorly positioned and not quick enough to react to the header that leveled the contest early on in the second half.

Regardless of your feelings of what critics often refer to as a “Mickey Mouse competition,” Spurs can take one meaningful thing from their most recent European tour: They have a new starting goalkeeper, one who absolutely has the goods to feature in a much more important European club tournament down the road.

2012 Tottenham Hotspur Europa League group stage review: Not that close

I’ll admit that finishing second in any Europa League group doesn’t reflect well on a club that’s supposed to compete for a Champions League spot, at least it doesn’t on paper. When you really look back at Tottenham’s play during the group stage portion of the competition, however, you see that they weren’t nearly as poor as some suggested. They were incorrectly robbed of (at least) three goals in their two contests against Lazio, and the Serie A team ultimately won the group.

It’s unfair to suggest that Spurs would have won both of those showdowns had justice been done on those days. Imagine, however, that Tottenham would have gotten the calls they earned in just one of those games. That’s a three-point swing in the table (+2 to Spurs and -1 to Lazio), meaning Tottenham, in such a scenario, would have won the group.

Should Spurs have played better at Panathinaikos and at Maribor? Sure. Still, it’s important to remember that the stats don’t tell the whole story about how Tottenham played during step one of this competition. Patience has always been key when dealing with the first several months of the AVB era. That also applies to this competition.

2012 Tottenham Hotspur Europa League group stage review: Is UEL worth it?

That’s the question some Spurs supporters and also some analysts are asking about Tottenham’s Europa League ambitions. By advancing to the knockout stages, Spurs have added at least two additional games to their winter schedule. It’s safe to assume that fatigue will become a serious issue for Spurs if they do make a serious Europa League run during the new year, yes?

I’ll say this regarding such logic: Harry Redknapp saw Europa League as a nuisance and not much more in 2011, playing second and third choice lineups throughout the tournament. Redknapp’s methods landed Spurs out of the tournament after the group stage. We all know how the second half of the Premier League season went for Tottenham. Fatigue and injuries crippled them, they became one of the coldest teams in the league, and they finished fourth in the league table and out of Champions League thanks to Chelsea.

Villas-Boas has a history of taking this competition seriously. Why shouldn’t he? There’s still a trophy on the line, and winning Europa League is a much more impressive feat than is hoisting the FA Cup at the completion of that tournament. Winning breeds winning, as they say, and I want to see my favorite club win each and every time they take the pitch.

2012 Tottenham Hotspur Europa League group stage review: Overall

The opening round of Europa League mimicked the first half of the Premier League season for Spurs. Tottenham started off slow and looked sluggish and out of sorts under their new manager, but they eventually figured things out and notched a couple of important wins. Cynical Spurs fans can say whatever they want about what they view to be a lackluster competition. You can be sure that they’ll be all-in if Tottenham have a chance to deny Chelsea of a trophy, and also if Spurs end up making a potentially historic trip to Amsterdam in May.

Tags:2012 Tottenham Hotspur Europa League Group Stage Review

2012 Week 15 NFL Power Rankings

Sports sure are funny sometimes, and the 2012 NFL regular season has offered plenty of examples to verify that statement. The AFC is, as a whole, so mediocre that 6-7 and 5-8 teams are technically still in the playoff picture, and that conference is also responsible for the very best and very worst teams in the league. There are new kings of NFL power rankings as we hit the midway point of December, and that side happens to feature who I see as the undisputed Comeback Player of the Year.

Week 15 NFL power rankings

32. Kansas City Chiefs (2-11): It’s not nice to say, but the emotionally spent Chiefs crashed down to earth in Cleveland. It could be bad times for KC fans between now and December 30.

31. Arizona Cardinals (4-9): Wow. At least you know you’ll be entertained when watching the Cards. Unfortunately for Arizona fans, it has nothing to do with their favorite team playing well.

30. Oakland Raiders (3-10): Perhaps the most missable team in all the league. They still should, in theory, be able to beat KC this coming Sunday.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11): Remember when Jacksonville looked like a real football team for a couple of weeks? That was fun.

28. Tennessee Titans (4-9): A good team beats Indy by double digits last weekend considering how poorly the Colts played in the first half of that game. Shocking to nobody, the Titans reminded all that they aren’t a good team during the second half of that same contest.

27. Detroit Lions (4-9): The once thought to be mighty continue to fall. The Lions have been their own worst enemy throughout 2012, and that was again the case on Sunday night at Green Bay. They’ll have plenty to address this winter.

26. Philadelphia Eagles (4-9): Welcome to the Nick Foles era! It may not have been a statement win, but you have to learn to crawl before you can learn to run.

25. Miami Dolphins (5-8): The ‘Phins had a chance to show their quality in significant contests in the past few weeks. That they did, and their quality was that of a team that’s not good enough to make the playoffs.

24. Buffalo Bills (5-8): Not only did they lose at home to lowly St. Louis, but they also failed to even entertain me in the process. I should really drop them lower just for being boring.

23. Carolina Panthers (4-9): Good on the Panthers for holding on against Atlanta and earning their biggest win of the season. Don’t look now, but Cam Newton has been playing much better as of late.

22. New Orleans Saints (5-8): A not very good defense has caught up with the once resurgent Saints. It was a solid run after a disastrous start, but the postseason dream is over.

21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7): The Bucs aren’t a bad team. They’re also not a very good team. I’ve said that for weeks whenever discussing Tampa Bay, and they’ve thus far proved me right this holiday season.

20. San Diego Chargers (5-8): Who saw that big win from SD coming? The Super Chargers looked like a real playoff team at Pittsburgh. Too bad such a performance came weeks too late.

19. New York Jets (6-7): The New York Jets still have a real shot of making the playoffs. That’s tells you all you need to know about the AFC this December.

18. Cleveland Browns (5-8): Who would have thought that the 2012 Browns would ever get this high in NFL power rankings? They’re the hottest team in the AFC North right now. No, really.

17. Chicago Bears (8-5): Uh oh. The Bears continue to slip down the standings and NFL power rankings. Hosting the red hot Packers is not what this team needs right now.

16. St. Louis Rams (6-6-1): I cannot at all even pretend to be impressed with St. Louis winning an awful game against the Bills. Good for them for still being in the hunt for a postseason spot, but they just aren’t getting a bump this week.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6): Remember when the Steelers had a defense that was impenetrable when playing in Pittsburgh? That trend went on hiatus this past Sunday. Maybe the quarterback position isn’t the only concern for this team.

14. Minnesota Vikings (7-6): Breaking news: Adrian Peterson is awesome. All of a sudden, that upcoming Minnesota at St. Louis game is a lot more interesting.

13. Cincinnati Bengals (7-6): I understand that their home game against Dallas was played under special circumstances, but a real contender has to win that match-up. This could be another year in which the Bengals are nothing more than an average team.

12. Dallas Cowboys (7-6): That win in Cincy wasn’t just about emotions following a tragic event. Jerry’s Boys are also just one game out of first place in the NFC East.

11. Washington Redskins (7-6): Plus: The ‘Skins just keep on winning. Minus: RG3 is hurt, and his missing even one game would be a very big deal.

10. Seattle Seahawks (8-5): Arizona is absolutely terrible, I’ll admit, but 58-0 is nothing to ignore. If Seattle goes east and wins in Buffalo, they could quickly become one of those teams that no side in the league wants to play.

9. Baltimore Ravens (9-4): Every time I want to believe the Ravens are ready to take that next step, they give me a reason not to. Their home game against Denver could be a very important playoff preview for both squads.

8. New York Giants (8-5): Is ranking the Giants at eight in NFL power rankings a bit harsh? Maybe, but they really did flirt with disaster before ultimately blowing New Orleans out. That alone makes this Big Blue fan nervous about the future.

7. San Francisco 49ers (9-3-1): Unlike last year, San Fran will have to earn a division title this December. Maybe that pressure will be just what they need to turn them into a championship team.

6. Houston Texans (11-2): Losing in New England is nothing to be ashamed of, but I don’t think anybody expected the Texans to be bossed around as they were. Their defense has looked very beatable over the past month, and that’s not good at this stage of the season.

5. Indianapolis Colts (9-4): You know what’s the scariest thing about any advertised “Team of Destiny?” When it really appears to be just that. Indy’s refusal to lose will have them playing January football, and I sure wouldn’t want to face the Colts right now.

4. Atlanta Falcons (11-2): Don’t write off the Falcons after that loss at Carolina. Atlanta will still probably have home field advantage, and that makes them contenders.

3. Green Bay Packers (9-4): Aaron Rodgers and company have somewhat quietly risen to the top of the division standings. While other teams are stealing headlines, Green Bay is playing some solid football at the right time.

2. New England Patriots (10-3): If the New England defense can routinely play as well as it did against Houston on Monday night, the Pats will again be playing in the final game of the postseason tournament. That was one helluva performance.

1. Denver Broncos (10-3): Kings of NFL power rankings for the first time in my lists this season, the Broncos are as complete a team as is any in the league. Peyton Manning is showing no signs of slowing down, and Denver has now won eight straight.

Tags:2012 Week 15 NFL Power Rankings

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