Monday, February 18, 2013

West beats East, 143-138

Kevin Garnett saluted the fans and tapped his heart.

The Boston Celtics forward doled out a few fist-bumps to teammates and foes. Then he took to the court, played six scoreless minutes, and took a seat. His 15th All-Star Game appearance amounted to a harmless cameo, just as he and coach Doc Rivers had hoped.

“Six minutes, yep, right where I wanted it to be,” Garnett said.

He missed his only two shots. He grabbed three rebounds. He had an assist. When the game quickly turned into a dunk contest, he deferred to the younger players, letting them run and gun.

When his time was up Sunday night, Garnett left the 62d All-Star Game at Toyota Center and walked toward the bench, put on a warm-up shirt and pants, and wrapped a towel around his neck.

He watched as his Eastern Conference team fell to their counterparts from the West, 143-138. He watched as Clippers guard Chris Paul earned MVP honors with 20 points and 15 assists, and as Oklahoma City swingman Kevin Durant scored 30, becoming the first player to score at least 30 in three straight All-Star Games.

“They respected each other, nobody got hurt, the fans had a great time,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who coached the West team. “That’s what it’s all about.”

As usual, it was only competitive near the end.

Paul hit two late 3-pointers and Lakers guard Kobe Bryant had two key blocks on Heat star LeBron James to help seal the West’s win.

In previous versions of this affair, Garnett was heavily used. In 2003, for instance, he played 41 minutes and scored 37 points. But the 36-year-old wasn’t going to get that much run a decade later, nothing near it.

Garnett could’ve used the rest of an entire weekend, but he came here, waded through promotional appearances, and then, finally, the game itself.

He played, but more as a figurehead than competitor. He all but sidestepped a contest that annually lacks hustle and defense, his calling cards. The Celtics begin their second half with nine of their first 11 games on the road, starting Tuesday in Denver, and Garnett knew it was it was more important for him to save his legs.

“Everything was cool, but in the back of my mind, I’m thinking we’ve got Denver Tuesday, Lakers Wednesday,” Garnett said. “[I’m] just thinking about the schedule and what it’s about to be this second half.”

Did he feel rested after this weekend?

“Absolutely not. Absolutely not,” he said. “I would love to say that, but absolutely not.”

But the weekend was also a good deal of fun for him.

“To be honest, what was on my mind was getting the proper rest and trying to enjoy myself, trying to make sure everybody that was with me enjoyed [themselves],” he said.

His young daughter Capri had never attended All-Star festivities before and was hounding her father about changing that. So, he brought her this weekend.

“For my kid to see that was cool,” Garnett said. “It was cool for me.”

Garnett started his 11th All-Star Game. He started alongside Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and James, clearly making him the East’s elder statesman.

In all his All-Star Game appearances — he’s tied for the second most in NBA history — Garnett attempted his fewest shots and played his fewest minutes Sunday.

Garnett said he told Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who was coaching the East, “It’s a young guy’s game, play me a couple minutes and then I was cool.”

During the game, Garnett sat leaning forward, his elbows on his knees, his chin resting in his hands. He cheered his teammates, some of whom are fierce rivals.

“We have the same jersey on,” Garnett said. “When you have opposing jerseys on, then that’s obvious, but right now, that’s what this weekend is. You come in, give your time, enjoy each other. There’s not too many times you’re going to be interacting like this throughout the year. It’s a time to let your hair down and relax.”

Now comes a trip to the Rocky Mountains. The Celtics practice Tuesday in Denver, gathering after a break that didn’t seem nearly long enough for them to recuperate.

Is Garnett looking forward to it?

“It’s good to see everybody; you look forward to that,” Garnett said. “Practice is work, but it’s good. You’re getting better.”

The Celtics, who are 28-24 and in seventh place in the East, hope to do the same.

Garnett had said last week that this All-Star appearance would “definitely” be his last. He clarified that comment by saying he just wasn’t sure if he’d be selected as an All-Star next year.

If it was his final time playing in a game where he’s practically a fixture, Garnett signed off with his eyes on the rest of the season, his 18th in the NBA.


Mindy McCready dead at 37

Sad news broke on Feb. 17 with the Cleburne County Sheriff's Office stating Mindy McCready's suicide apparently took place Sunday. This is a tragic end to what has been, for several years, a tragic and painful life for the troubled country star.

Mindy McCready's suicide comes barely a month after the apparent suicide of her partner, David Wilson. McCready is said to have shot herself in the head, and also shot her dog. Her two sons had been removed from her care on Feb. 6 when she was committed to a treatment facility for evaluation. She was released from the facility two days later.

McCready had tried to kill herself at least twice before, in 2005 and 2008. Sadly she had been struggling with addiction and mental health issues for a number of years, and it appears the death of Wilson became more than she could work through.

Mindy McCready's suicide was discovered Sunday afternoon after neighbors reported hearing gunshots. She was found on the front porch of her residence. Fans mourn this sad ending not only for McCready, 37, but also for her two sons and the rest of her family.


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Harrison Ford signs on to play Han Solo

The original "Star Wars" trilogy would have lost a lot of its luster if it didn't have Harrison Ford running around playing the roguish bad boy/good guy Han Solo. If a scoop from movie and pop culture site Latino Review is true, Ford will soon get another shot at running around the galaxy.

Latino Review, citing "legitimate sources," unveiled an exclusive scoop saying that Ford's signing for "Star Wars: Episode VII" is a done deal. This could be dismissed as just another rumor, but Latino Review has a pretty decent track record for breaking this sort of entertainment news.

Ford has already shown a willingness to revisit roles that made him famous as a younger actor. The most recent Indiana Jones film came out in 2008. He's taken a longer break from "Star Wars," but has already expressed interest in revisiting the role.

Ford is now 70, so we can probably assume the next move won't pick up immediately after "Episode VI" left off. I can't see Han Solo sitting around quietly playing space bingo in a retirement home.

This leaves us waiting for official confirmation or denial of Ford's role in the new movie. If it's true, it could be a small cameo or a significant role. It's enough to leave many "Star Wars" fans with sweet dreams considering the possibilities. If Ford signs on, what's to stop Carrie Fisher or Mark Hamill from joining up, too?

As a fan of the first trilogy, I have to confess that the thought of an original cast reunion gets me pretty excited. I'm rooting for the Ford rumor to be real.


IKEA is giving a free crib!!

IKEA is giving a free crib to babies born in the next nine months. In other words, the company is hoping you had a very productive and satisfying Valentine’s Day.

If you’re an Australian citizen and your upcoming bundle of joy was conceived on Valentine’s Day 2013, then you stand to receive a free IKEA baby crib for free. According to the Examiner, any baby born on November 14 will receive a coupon for a crib valued at around $99.

Of course, conceiving your child on or around Valentine’s Day doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be guaranteed a November 14 due date. In order to redeem the coupon, your child must be born on date specified by IKEA. Unfortunately, no early or later vouchers will be accepted by the company.

The Wall Street Journal explains that all parents need to acquire their new Sniglar cot is the clipped coupon and a certificate which authenticates the child’s existence. Once all of the requirements have been met, the free IKEA baby crib is ready to be assembled.

The advertisement reads:

“To celebrate Valentine’s Day, IKEA is offering parents-to-be a free cot if your baby is born on November 14, 2013. Limit one cot per baby. Proof of birth must be provided. Voucher must be presented to redeem offer. Delivery not included.”

Those who discover they are having several kids in nine months may want to start setting aside a few extra coupons right now. Since IKEA only offers one crib per child, additional vouchers will be necessary for those parents who are expecting twins, triples, and so forth.

Right now, it would seem that IKEA is only offering the “free crib to babies born in nine months” deal to folks living in Australia. Although it’s too late for other markets to get in on the offer, the company could expand into other territories next year.


Man Slaps Crying Baby on Plane

A man slaps a crying baby on an Atlanta-bound flight while yelling a racist epithet at the infant boy, and for his effort gets tossed in handcuffs and charged with assault.

The incident took place on a Delta Air flight from Minneapolis on February 8. The baby was crying as the flight was nearing its landing wen Joe Rickey Hundley of Idaho grew enraged at his crying, The Associated Press reported.

The boy’s mother, 33-year-old Jessica Bennett of Minneapolis, said Hundley was sitting next to her and then slapped the crying boy in the face, giving him a scratch under his right eye.

As he slapped the crying baby, Hundley told Bennett to “shut that (n-word) baby up,” a police report said. Several passengers then came to the mother’s aid.

The 60-year old man was then arrested for slapping the baby and charged with simple assault. He also had a 2007 incident in which he was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and public intoxication.

His lawyer urged people not to rush to judgment.

“We think that it is important to let the case develop, and we’ll see how it all comes out,” Hundley’s attorney Marcia Shein said Friday.

Hundley’s child is adopted, and they were on the way to Atlanta for a funeral, the Daily Mail reported.

After the man slaps the crying baby, police also found that he was intoxicated. And his attempt to quiet the baby didn’t quite work, either — the police report noted that the baby cried louder after being slapped.



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