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By: Martin Rand, III
Date: February 13, 2012

Last night, the 54th Annual Grammy Award Show aired. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t able to watch; however, Twitter and Facebook kept me updated with the events of music’s biggest night.

Adele was the biggest winner at the 2012 Grammys. She won six Grammys including Album of the Year.

My favorite part of award shows are the winners of awards and seeing who got snub. It doesn’t matter what award show it is, there is always someone I feel shouldn’t have an award over someone else; and the Grammys are no different.

Here is my recap of the awards given out:

The Good

Obviously, the person who had the best night was British singer Adele. She won every category she was nominated in, including Record (“Rolling In The Deep“) and Album (21) of the year, and took home a total of six Grammys. She was rolling in the gold by the end of the night.

Another big winner was Kanye West, who dominated the rap categories. His classic hip-hop album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was award graciously for its high production value, lyrical content, and powerful messages. West won the categories of Rap Song and Collaboration (“All Of The Lights“), Rap Album and others. Yes, all of the lights were shining heavily on West at the Grammys.

The Bad

My bad is J. Cole not winning best new artist. This is by far the biggest snub of the night. His album Cole World: The Sideline Story was one of the best hip-hop albums to come out all last year. The production, content and his performance was near the top of the game and I felt like he should’ve been rewarded for his efforts.

However, the main reason he should’ve won over Bon Iver, the band who did win, is because J. Cole is a true new artist in the music industry. Bon Iver has been releasing music since 2008 with their debut For Emma, Forever Ago. After four years in the industry, how can they still be considered a new artist? J. Cole made his label debut less than a year ago in September 2011.

Also, he should’ve received a nomination for best rap album. The only person nominated who didn’t deserve it was Lil’ Wayne with The Carter IV. I would’ve gladly switched The Carter IV for Sideline Story.

The Carter IV is not a quality hip-hop album and was only nominated because it sold a lot of records. Now, if this was the Billboard Awards, I would understand the album getting a nomination; however, I thought the Grammys were about rewarding the highest quality of music in the industry, and The Carter IV falls very short of that bar.

The Weird

The weirdest thing to me was Chris Brown’s F.A.M.E. album winning Best R&B Album. Chris Brown cannot sing and shouldn’t be rewarded for his studio produced voice. All I know is this, it’s a sad day in R&B music when Chris Brown wins album of the year.

Also weird, Rhianna’s Loud being nominated for Album of the Year. Really? This boggles my mind, especially when there are other albums (like West’s Dark Fantasy) that were better. I just don’t get it.

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Do you agree with the winners at the 54th Annual Grammy Award Show?
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By: Martin Rand, III
Date: February 12, 2012

This has been a crazy month for the New York Knicks (13-15). After looking like their season was just about over, with multiple injuries to star players Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudamire while already being almost ten games under .500, a nobody from off the bench breathed new life into the team.

“Linsanity” is sweeping across New York City thanks to Jeremy Lin getting the Knicks in playoff contention, but is the celebration premature.

Well, that nobody has a name now, and it’s Mr. Lin. Jeremy Lin.

Lin, who was just days away from being released by the Knicks before his breakout game versus the New Jersey Nets (8-21), has led this largely under-performing team back from the depths of the league and has them in playoff position. In five straight wins, Lin is averaging 26 points while shooting over 50%, 8 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 steals. He is the first Knick to put up numbers like this in a five game stretch since Stephon Marbury in the 2004-05 season.

Add in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers (15-12) where Lin out-dueled “The Black Mamba” Kobe Bryant, and Lin has his teammates, coaches, Knick fans and the whole city of New York excited for what seems to be wild ride to the end of the season.

However, I can’t pretend, like most fans, that the Knicks are completely rid of their problems.

One major problem is the play of Anthony and Stoudamire. I know the lockout this off-season cut into some practice time for these two to learn how to play together; but a lot of the times this season, it looks as though they have never worked on that aspect at all. Their offense consists of one pass to either two and the rest of the team standing around waiting for them to create some type of shot.

Of course, with Lin running the point now, that could change; but my best guess is that Lin will defer a lot to the two superstars because they’re superstars and he’s only had five good games.

Speaking of those five games, they weren’t against the best in the league. Their only game against a playoff team was against the Lakers; but, I can’t call them one of the best teams because their defense and offense (which reminds of the Cleveland Cavaliers (10-16) two years ago when a certain king use to rule) seems to be in a flux right now. No player, outside from Bryant, seems to know what they’re doing on the court.

Until I see how well Lin performs against a defense like the Chicago Bulls (23-6) or Miami Heat (20-7), I can’t be sure that he is the answer long term.

Also, lets not forget one thing, Lin is from Harvard University. Harvard athletes historically don’t pan out well at the professional level.

Remember Buffalo Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick last season in the NFL? He and the Bills got off to a fast start to begin the year. They started 5-2, beat the divisional powerhouse New England Patriots and some were mentioning Fitzpatrick in the MVP discussion. Ftizpatrick even got himself a long-term deal with the team worth around $35 million. Then, after beginning so well, the Bills lost their next seven games, finished the season 6-10, and missed the playoffs.

So, I ask you, should we really give Lin the key to the greatest city in the world after only five games and act like everything is fixed with the Knicks?

Just think about it, how many Harvard grads do you know have had an impact on the NBA? Can’t think of any? That’s because there are none. Only two other players (Ed Smith and Saul Mariaschin) have come from Harvard and to play in the NBA, and they didn’t last very long. So, I can’t believe that five games from Lin has cemented his place in the league.

I’m extremely happy to see the Knicks winning games and finally playing with some enthusiasm. However, they should’ve had that spark coming into the season, with the main charge being Anthony and Stoudamire. Those two have to get healthy quick, so they can get some quality practice time in; and the Knicks coaching schemes, role-players play and chemistry have to improve drastically before I can say Knicks are Lin-credible.

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Is Jeremy Lin a long-term option at point guard for the New York Knicks?
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By: Martin Rand, III
Date: January 25, 2012

Last night, President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union address. According to him, the union has come a long way since he took and office and it’s only going to get stronger.

“The state of our Union is getting stronger. And we’ve come too far to turn back now,” said President Obama. “As long as I’m President, I will work with anyone in this chamber to build on this momentum. But I intend to fight obstruction with action, and I will oppose any effort to return to the very same policies that brought on this economic crisis in the first place.”

President Barack Obama (center) delivering his 2012 State of the Union address (Vice President Joe Biden (left) and Speaker of the House John Boehner).

This was the most he talked about the present state of the country. He spent the majority of the speech telling Congress his vision for the future of the union. His overall vision is equality across the board, creating a stronger economy with more jobs and less debt and building innovating technology for the future.

The way he plans on making these dreams a reality is by getting rid of the value system of politics and getting back to American values.

“So it is with America. Each time I look at that flag, I’m reminded that our destiny is stitched together like those 50 stars and those 13 stripes,” said President Obama. “No one built this country on their own. This nation is great because we built it together. This Nation is great because we worked as a team. This Nation is great because we get each other’s backs.

And if we hold fast to that truth, in this moment of trial, there is no challenge too great; no mission too hard. As long as we’re joined in common purpose, as long as we maintain our common resolve, our journey moves forward, our future is hopeful, and the state of our Union will always be strong.”

Of course, all these promises of a better country with politicians of different parties working together was greeted with rows of applause. However, what wasn’t answered was how exactly was it going to change? What is going to make the two parties actually work together and build a better country for the poorer majority and not the richer minority?

Since Obama has been in office, the two sides have bickered and fueled the perception that politicians only care about themselves and their rich constituents.

I want to hear about what the government is going to do to change the mindset and operate effectively and efficiently. Not just a “leaner, quicker, and more responsive” government, but a government with reasonably thinking heads on capitol hill.

In case you all forgot, this is the major reason why the US credit rating was lowered for the first time ever last year.

According to, Standard&Poor (S&P) lowered the rating because “political brinkmanship” in the debate over the debt had made the U.S. government’s ability to manage its finances “less stable, less effective and less predictable.”

It said the bipartisan agreement reached that week to find at least $2 trillion in budget savings “fell short” of what was necessary to tame the nation’s debt over time and predicted that leaders would not be likely to achieve more savings in the future.

It rarely, if ever, happens the two sides work together to get things accomplished; and, just like S&P, I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

I did notice, throughout the speech, President Obama spoke about getting rid of $2 trillion worth of debt as if it was a good thing though. Huh?

From the education system to the national debt to financial discrimination, America has a lot of problems. However, that’s just what’s on the surface. The underlying problem is how the republicans and democrats cling to “rigid ideologies instead of building consensus around common sense ideas.”

Once that problem is fixed, everything else will make a turn for the better also; and, until that problem is fixed, all of President Obama’s other dreams for the future of the union will not come true.

To see the whole State of the Union address go to Pyrate TV.

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What did you think of President Obama’s State of the Union address?
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By: Martin Rand, III
Date: January 24, 2012

If you haven’t heard by now, the New York Giants have beaten the San Francisco 49ers in a thrilling overtime game 20-17.While Eli Manning, Victor Cruz and the rest of the offense played nearly flawless and Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul and the rest of the defense played very well (only giving up two huge touchdown plays), majority of the sports world seems to think the reason the Giants are going to the Superbowl is because of 49ers wide receiver/punt returner Kyle Williams.

Kyle Williams (above #10) trying to block out the crowd noise after a hard day on the job. However, I don’t think it is going to be that easy to block out the fans on Twitter.

You don’t believe me when I say almost everyone blamed Williams for the Giants victory. Just look on Twitter. The tweets that were being sent out Sunday night were numerous and continued on until through Monday night; and all of them said pretty much the same thing– YOU SUCK!!! (for 49er fans) and THANK YOU!!! (for Giant fans).

More Than Just A Game

Now, I read through a lot the mentions about Williams and some were actually hilarious and creative for the moment. However, others were a little shocking to say the least.

The thing I found most interesting was other people tweeting the fans that were threatening Williams were taking things a little too far. They said it was just a game and shouldn’t be taken that seriously.

I’m sorry to say but sports it’s not just a game. Not in the United States of America anyway. Not when more people pay attention to their fantasy football team than to the presidential candidates and their particular platform.

No sports, the NFL in especially, is a lucrative business; where there’s a lot of money riding on the players shoulder’s. From the owners down to the gambling fans, fair or not, there’s a lot of other people’s money riding on the performance of the players; and, when a player performs as horribly as Williams did, some people get money taken out of their pocket.

Sometimes Emotions Get In The Way

Even for the fans who are non-gamblers, the game can still mean a lot. Those true die-hard 49er fans, who live-and-die with every play, literally do live-and-die with every play. I know because I’m the same way.

Whenever my Yankees, Knicks or Giants are playing, I go through emotional roller-coasters, especially during playoff games. For every ounce of happiness I felt when Williams fumbled the ball, 49er fans felt an once of heartbreak and loss. Some of those tweets were from people who were grieving because they realize that their season is over and they came so close.

Of course, the main culprit behind the end of the 49ers’ season is Williams. No matter what any of his teammates say to the media they know, like we all know, without those two fumbles, the 49ers have a much better chance at winning that game. The picture below sums up how Williams’ teammates really feel about him. Look at how Vernon Davis (with the helmet on) and Michael Crabtree (#15) are looking at Williams. You can’t tell me they ain’t thinking some of the things people were tweeting.

I’m not saying what the people were tweeting was right or wrong. All I’m saying is people should understand where the anger comes from and not jumped on people for their tweets and act like they have no connection to what’s going on on the field. In this time of social media,it’s so easy to express yourself at any given moment that sometimes those hurt feelings come out in a very hateful way.

To see both Williams’ turnovers go to Pyrate TV.

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Is Kyle Williams the main reason the San Francisco 49ers lost the NFC Title Game?
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By: Martin Rand, III
Date: January 21,2012

AFC Championship Preview

Baltimore Ravens versus New England Patriots

This is going to be the ultimate showdown and prove which side of the ball wins in the playoffs. Will it be Ray Lewis and the Ravens star-studded defense; or will it be Tom Brady and the Patriots high-octane offense? Conventional wisdom would tell you defense wins in the playoffs, which would mean the Ravens should win. However, the offense they’re going up against is just as powerful as they are and shouldn’t be take lightly.

So, since both sides are equal (the Ravens ranked 3rd in defense and the Patriots ranked 2nd in offense), in terms of talent, this game is going to come down to both team’s deficiencies . That is the Ravens’ offense and the Patriots’ defense. Joe Flacco and the rest of the offense have shown signs of greatness, but most of the time it seems like they’ve never played on the field together before. Their ineptitude at scoring is shocking to me considering all the weapons they have at their disposal. If Flacco can somehow manage to use all these weapons, I think he’ll be able to slice through the Patriots’ 31st ranked defense and pull out a win for the Ravens.

Result: Ravens 24- Patriots 17

NFC Champions Preview

New York Giants versus San Francisco 49ers

I’m just going to honest– the Giants are going to win this game. There is nothing that can stop them. No one on the 49ers defense, no coaching schemes, NOTHING CAN STOP THE GIANTS!

Ok. Now that I got my biased New Yorker opinion out of the way, lets get on to preview.

I can’t even lie– this is going to be a very close game. It’s not surprising either because these teams are built the same way. They’re built to play hard on defense and control the ball on offense. Which is why this game will come down to turnovers. Eli Manning and Alex Smith have been known to lose the ball often; and, whichever one reduces the number in the turnover category will win the game for their team.

Result: Giants 31- 49ers 28

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Who is going to win the NFC?
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