JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Lexi Thompson proved she was good enough to play on the LPGA Tour as a 16-year-old when she beat a strong field by five shots two weeks ago. She was granted membership Friday based on more than birdies and bogeys.LPGA Tour commissioner Mike Whan approved Thompson’s petition to become the LPGA Tour’s youngest member effective in January, impressed with how the Florida teen handled herself in all aspects of tour life.”I’ve seen her at press conferences,” Whan said. I’ve seen her when she played well, I’ve seen her when she hasn’t played too well. I’ve seen her at pro-am parties. I’ve seen her when fans are coming up to her when it’s maybe not the best time.”Thompson filed a formal petition Thursday that the LPGA waive its policy of members being at least 18. Whan approved it one day later, although he described that more as a formality. The bigger decision came in June, when he allowed Thompson to compete in qualifying school.The 6-foot teen won the first stage by 10 shots, then went to the LPGA Navistar Classic in Alabama and won by five shots against a field that included 45 of the top 50 players on the LPGA money list.Thompson withdrew from the second stage before filing her petition. By then, it was clear to everyone — from Thompson to the LPGA Tour — that she would be on tour in 2012.”I always said if she’s good enough, she’ll join us next year,” Whan said of his decision to allow Thompson to go through qualifying. “She just sped up the Q-school process by winning a tournament.”Thompson was on vacation in California when she got the news.”It’s been amazing,” she said in a conference call. “It’s always been my dream to play on the tour full time. Getting that win, it was the best experience of my life. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”I’ve been waiting for this moment, knowing I’m going to play full time next year,” she said. “I’m looking forward to it.”Her agent at Blue Giraffe Sports, Bobby Kreusler, said he expects the teenager to play about 20 tournaments next year, including some trips overseas.”We have the luxury of planning a year ahead,” he said.Thompson, whose brother Nicholas played on the PGA Tour last year, has been building toward this moment. She qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open at age 12 in 2007 at Pine Needles, and she was a runner-up by one shot last year as a 15-year-old at the Evian Masters, one of the richest events on the LPGA Tour schedule.Expectations are high, although they are not coming from the LPGA Tour.”I don’t feel the need to put pressure on Lexi to win or to carry the tour,” Whan said. “She’s a phenomenal talent. She’s progressing at an incredible rate. If she doesn’t win in the next three years, the LPGA is going to be fine. If she wins six times next year, the LPGA is going to be fine.”If Lexi continues to win, it’s going to be an exciting time for her, and an exciting time for us,” he said. “But she doesn’t have to carry any more weight than the weight of her bag.”Thompson is home-schooled, taking Florida-approved classes online.Whan said her membership won’t start until 2012 because there was no point in making her a member now. She is eligible for only one more tournament, the season-ending Titleholders on Nov. 17-20 in Orlando. This way, Thompson can start clean as a rookie next year.He also isn’t worried that he is setting a precedent.Michelle Wie turned pro at 15, but didn’t join the LPGA Tour until going through Q-school three years later. Whan said he has had a little more than a dozen requests from teenagers, either to join the LPGA or go through Q-school.”I don’t want young players who are freshmen and sophomores in high school contemplating whether to turn pro. I’ve said `no’ maybe 50 times and said `yes’ once,” Whan said, skewing the numbers for emphasis.Instead, he pointed to Thompson’s resume of playing on the LPGA Tour as a pro and as an amateur, and how she handles everything from the rigors of travel to dealing with sponsors and fans.Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
If you are a great fan of "The Sopranos," you will of course remember the deeply strange stretch in the last season when Tony, in a coma, wandered the world in a ghostly state. Increasingly bizarre tableaux from the past unfolded before him episode after episode, while viewers waited desperately for him to wake up so what we formally recognized as the "show" could begin again. I mention this because a similar narrative scat is playing out right now in the real-life Great Rooms of New Jersey's glitziest and furriest, as the build-up to the extended famiglia's big trip to Punta Cana begins, and we are forced to watch an assortment of vignettes no less colorful, variegated and entirely unrelated than Kathy Wakile's pastry displays. This episode began, as it now often does, with Teresa attempting to wake husband Joe up. (He's checked out! He's checked out! WE GET IT.) Everyone, for reasons unknown, has decided at Kathy's urging to assemble for a 5K run for either people or children with disabilities. (Even Kathy's hazy on whether children are people.) The question is whether or not Joe and Joe can exit their text war long enough to help them, either way, but it turns out to be moot: Juicy Joe, who's brought along wine for fortitude, chugs in last and late. This is notable only in that his busted visage gives us the greatest line of the season: roommate Greg's whisper, "He's like Rocky, only more Italian." Speaking of which, next we move to a date with Lauren Manzo and her beloved, who fills the Manzo's undermount stainless steel sink with raw cheese and water and hands his bride-to-be a wooden panel. This, they stir to the strains of R&B. Happily, this "Feel Like Makin' Mozz" vignette doesn't last long, and we move to the only slightly less awkward scene in the apartment of siblings Albie and Chris, where Melissa plays them her new single, "On Display." They invite her to perform at their Blackwater launch party in "Joe-boken," which indicates either their distinct faith in the brand or complete indifference to its success. Next we move to Milania's birthday party, which takes place not on a cruise ship or limo, as in years past, but in the slightly less august digs of "Daddy's pizza shop." There, Joe Guidice grumpily throws up some balloons and puts on an apron, trying to convince either viewers or himself he actually works there. But, cruise ship be damned, this is no ordinary party. Gia, after singing a birthday song for Milania, states she has her own song to perform. She begins a jazzy half-rap to the effect of how terrible her mother and uncle's fight is making her feel, which brings Melissa and Caroline to tears. (Viewer — here, reality T.V. finally fails one of its songstresses. Though the producers insert a gentle post-production piano accompaniment, unfortunately for Gia, you cannot retroactively use Auto-Tune.) Both mother and uncle are touched, though distracted, as they immediately get into a fight over who thoughtful Gia takes after and ignore her entirely, leaving the poor viewer indifferent to everyone in the scene except the cupcake Gia is holding, which looks delicious, and I wouldn't mind knowing where it was made. Anyway…listen. Bravo. We understand you're reeling — literally — from the tragic suicide of RHOBH's Russell Armstrong. We also understand that, for whatever reason, the NJ cast has not found itself able to provide the requisite drama to keep viewers happy this season, if only because we've seen everything on this show — including pointless jogs, unlistenable singles and product launches — on every housewife show before it. (Well, we've never seen Joe Guidice do a split. But that just scared us.) My point is, Punta Cana better be the big fish you're making it out to be. Otherwise, it'll be us, not Joe Guidice, you'll be shaking to wake up. RELATED: Previously on 'The Real Housewives of New Jersey'… Bravo special addresses 'Real Housewives' suicide 'Real Housewives of New Jersey' renewed for Season 4 — Lizzie Skurnick Photo: From left to right, Jacqueline Laurita, Teresa Giudice, Caroline Manzo, Kathy Wakile and Melissa Gorga. Credith: Tommy Garcia / Bravo
TORONTO — Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been performing since beforehe mastered addition. He lives in Los Angeles’s eclectic SilverLake neighborhood and in his spare time, he wanders around townwith a video camera in hand, making short films. But he wants to beclear, he’s no hipster. “I think a hipster is someone who is trying to be hip with nosubstance behind it. And personally, I don’t think that applies tome,” said the actor, 30. Gordon-Levitt’s performance as Adam in the upcoming terminalillness buddy comedy “50/50,” opening in theaters today, confirmsthe guy has gravitas. In the film, based on the true story of itsscreenwriter Will Reiser, Gordon-Levitt plays an unfulfilled25-year old whose life is upended when he learns he has spinalcancer. His best friend Kyle (Seth Rogen) tries to offer support,but Adam finds an unlikely ally in the young psychiatrist assignedto help him cope with treatment (Anna Kendrick). “It’s really rare to find a story that has characters that feellike human beings,” said the actor of what immediately struck himabout Reiser’s screenplay. “In most scripts, the characters feelmore like stereotypes or plot devices and this felt really earnestand real. And it was genuinely funny. It made me laugh and thehardest thing to find is writing that is actually funny.” Seated in a makeshift green room directly behind the moviescreen at Toronto’s Ryerson Theater, Gordon-Levitt is a bitroad-weary, having just flown in from Los Angeles, where he hadspent the preceding night working on Christopher Nolan’s upcomingBatman sequel “The Dark Knight Rises,” in which he plays amysterious Gotham City policeman named John Blake. But his energy waxed later in the evening, when “50/50” receiveda raucous standing ovation from the Toronto International FilmFestival audience assembled for its premiere. With its union ofhumor and pathos, “50/50” offers audiences a more sophisticatedtake on the typical Hollywood bromance, yet enough bawdy humor tolure in Rogen fans adverse to a film with cancer as its core. Also working in its favor is Reiser’s own happy ending. He’salive and healthy and was on hand for the film’s premiere, where hestood proudly next to Gordon-Levitt. One of the few performers to successfully transition from childstar in the ’90s sitcom “3rd Rock From the Sun” to respectedworking actor, Gordon-Levitt has carved out a career in criticallyacclaimed independent films such as “Mysterious Skin,” “Brick” and“(500) Days of Summer,” in addition to appearing in big-budgetstudio fare including last year’s high-minded “Inception” and theaction flick “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.” Among his male contemporaries, Gordon-Levitt might only becompared to “it” boy Ryan Gosling in terms of his willingness totake risks and his ability to go dark and edgy or lighter and moreaccessible. It was Gordon-Levitt’s resume that made him the first choice toplay Will — or more accurately, the first choice to replace themovie’s original star James McAvoy, after a family emergency forcedthe British actor to leave the production only a few days intofilming. “On Friday we realized we had until Monday to find a new actoror the movie had to shut down,” said Rogen, who produced “50/50”and is one of Reiser’s closest friends in real life. “Will and Iwere living together at my parents’ house in Vancouver and Joe wasthe first name we came up with. Joe came up through comedy so weknew he was funny, and the movies he had been doing lately weredramatic and awesome.” Plus, Reiser chimed in, during a joint phone call following thefestival, “We really couldn’t think of anyone else.” Fortunately for them, Gordon-Levitt agreed to read the scriptand within a week he was on the Vancouver set shaving his head forthe first scene he shot for the movie. “You can only shave your head once. There was no take two,” saidGordon-Levitt of the scene, which is featured prominently in themarketing materials for the film. “That made it really exciting anda great kickoff into the job.” Despite his eagerness for the role, Gordon-Levitt — who lost hisolder brother, Daniel Gordon-Levitt, last year, and a friend tocancer when he was 18 — was careful to keep some separation betweenhimself and his character, who while undergoing chemotherapy isalso dealing with a deteriorating relationship with his girlfriend(Bryce Dallas Howard) and an overbearing mother (AngelicaHuston). “Sometimes I’ll really let myself go into a character — in thismovie, I always kept a little life line, ‘this isn’t true, I don’thave cancer,’” Gordon-Levitt said. “Because I think this stuff ispowerful and can be self-fulfilling sometimes, I consciously kept alittle light on that this was all fiction.” The comedy in the script helped keep the atmosphere on setlight. Rogen’s Kyle, who has some trouble coming to terms with hisfriend’s mortality, uses Adam’s diagnosis as an opportunity to pickup women and smoke medical marijuana. Gordon-Levitt said hespecifically appreciated the scenes involving the friends’ awkwardhook-up attempts. “There are not nearly enough movies that show how the matingritual is really just … not sexy at all,” Gordon-Levitt said. “Iknow when I was younger, before I had a lot of those experiences, Ibought into some of the fantasies that Hollywood sells aboutromance and sex. This movie says don’t believe the hype. You don’thave to have cancer to have nights like that, nights that aretotally lame.” After the “50/50” screening, the Los Angeles native hosted alate-night event in Toronto titled “hitRECord at the Movies withJoseph Gordon-Levitt” as part of his moonlighting gig as head ofthe online production company “hitRECord,” which he founded withhis late brother, a performance artist who went by the name BurningDan. There was no sign of exhaustion as the lanky actor commandeeredthe stage, riffing on the videos he created with his onlinepartners and bringing audience members to the stage to participatein readings that would likely make it into later pieces. Gordon-Levitt, who will next star in the bike messenger actioner“Premium Rush,” is currently working with Nolan for a second time —before he joins Steven Spielberg on the set of the period drama“Lincoln.” But it was when he talked about hitRECord that he becamethe most exuberant. Having acquired a video camera at a young age,the actor explained that he used to tell himself to “Hit Record” asa reminder to be creative, whether it was writing songs or stories,or making short films. “Making things in all sorts of ways is what I love to do. It’smy therapy, it’s my everything. I just can’t wait around forsomeone to hire me,” Gordon-Levitt said. “That round REC buttonbecame a symbol, a metaphor for taking things into my own hands anddoing it.”
nm wrap 28 Sep 2011 By Newmatilda.com Protesters have been occupying Wall Street and dodging mace-wielding police for 11 days. Why are they there? Commentators looking for one single demand are missing the point Young women being pepper-sprayed by cops on Wall Street? A protest movement claiming to represent 99 per cent of the population?Missed it? Last week the #occupyWallStreet campaign kicked off, initially organised by the magazine Adbusters but now administered by a vertical cohort of groups and individuals on social media. It’s now day 11 of the protest and groups in more than 40 cities across the US and internationally have joined in. (There’s information about them here.)The protests have been getting bigger and bigger, and they’ve been graced by progressive luminaries such as Susan Sarondon and Michael Moore, but unless you closely follow alternative media the protests might have escaped your attention.They haven’t been widely reported in the mainstream media, and when they have, reports have turned on policy brutality rather than what the protest is all about. This isn’t altogether surprising. Read Jeanne Mansfield’s account of getting maced at the protests and the alarm about police responses makes sense.One protester told the NY Daily News "I was shocked because it seemed like one person after another was being brutally tackled, and it wasn’t clear why". The many videos in circulation of protesters getting zapped with pepper spray provide clear evidence of police zealotry — but have also served to distract media outlets from why the protesters were there in the first place.The New York Times has been criticised for missing the point in this article. Gina Bellafante wrote: "The group’s lack of cohesion and its apparent wish to pantomime progressivism rather than practice it knowledgably is unsettling in the face of the challenges so many of its generation face."Some progressive media outlets have been less than enthused too. Lauren Ellis in Mother Jones says the campaign is "lacking traction" and lists four reasons why — including police brutality being in the spotlight rather than the protesters’ concerns, and for a "kitchen-sink" approach she summarises thusly: "First make noise, then decide what the noise is all about?"NPR Ombudsman Edward Schumarcher-Matos explains why the radio network hadn’t given the protests any coverage in this post. He quotes NPR’s executive director for news, Dick Meyer: "The recent protests on Wall Street did not involve large numbers of people, prominent people, a great disruption or an especially clear objective."Inadvertently, Bellafante and Meyer might have got it right. It’s very apparent that there is no one single reason drawing protesters to Wall Street and to other protests. One "clear objective" and group cohesion just isn’t the name of the game — so perhaps it’s not surprising that the media has taken a while to twig to what’s going on.The protests started very small and not all the protesters who turned up have the same reasons for doing so. As Eli Schmitt in n + 1 wrote a few days after it all started: "We still don’t know exactly what the demands are. One of the members of our group, in discussing the criteria for a good demand, noted that Americans like to "get something" out of a political action. Repeal, enact, ban. We want visible, measurable outcomes."The 99 per centers did get around to issuing a list of their "one demands" in response to the media’s desire for "one clear demand". It’s not one objective, but many — some of which are extremely abstract.As Schmitt observes, the protests underway in Wall Street and across America don’t look much like the anti-globalisation protests of the early 2000s. The protest movement is changing and even though the original Adbusters call referenced Tahrir Square, the Occupy Wall Street movement gestures to a far more diffuse set of goals: "Compared to other large-scale protests I’d attended in my life — the WTO protest in Washington D.C. in 2000, various antiwar protests throughout the early aughts — the aggravating causes here were less abstract. These were not Americans decrying foreign policy. They were Americans in debt, Americans out of work. This "day of rage" was inspired by personal injustices, best illustrated by anecdote rather than data. Along with all the familiar righteous ire at corporate sway in our supposedly democratic political system, there were tales of joblessness, debt, and desperation."Ed Pilkington in The Guardian concurs, writing, "The protests were a lament for a nation in which, despite the 2008 meltdown, the financial system remains largely unregulated, where 46 million Americans live below the official poverty line, and where inequality is greater now than at any time since 1929."David Weidner, writing in Market Watch, is in touch with the same rage and desperation; he just placed a slightly different emphasis. "If you want to know how a nation supposedly by and for the people has become uprooted, one only needs to see how common young people, who are suffering so badly in this recession, were humiliated further by trying to exercise their given right to peacefully protest. If this is justice, I’d rather break the law. The bankers who brought us this mess not only walk free, they drive free in Bentleys paid for by money looted through toxic mortgages, trading debacles and derivative madness. Regulators, prosecutors and an administration patsy to big finance do nothing except hand out $1.3 trillion in bailout cash and guarantees."
Most of the outreach that the folks marketing Sherwood Pictures’ “Courageous” have been doing has been aimed at churches, and that is paying off on fandango.com, Harry Medved says. It’s leading the pre-sales race for this weekend’s new openings. A spokesperson for the film said they’d sold over $2 million in tickets, as of Wednesday, which suggests a pretty good opening weekend.“Fireproof” used that same churches-first strategy to open well and hang on until it had earned some $33 million. Impressive for a faith-based film. But at least part of that had to be based on “star appeal.” Whatever place Kirk Cameron has in the TV/movie star pecking order, he was a selling point on that earlier film. And there’s nobody of his stature in “Courageous.”The film’s are very similar — “Fireproof” was about a firefighter who has to learn to take a faith-based approach to saving his marriage, “Courageous” has sheriff’s deputies who must learn to take a faith-based approach to being good fathers. Since “Facing the Giants” was about a football coach, you see the Kendricks Brother’s running theme — defer to authority, both secular and a higher authority, something “Courageous” pushes. Hard. The story structures of “Fireproof” and “Courageous” match up, closely (action opener, well-timed action beats later, a little inside-the-profession humor).As I said in my review of “Courageous,” the films are showing more polish with each outing. The writing, save for a scene here and there, is nothing a major studio would green light to put on the screen (Tristar was originally behind the film, Sony’s “Affirm Pictures” arm was involved, then backed away from it).And the cast is sorely in need of people with that movie or TV star’s spark, that thing the camera captures that goes beyond simple competence. There have to be cost and convenience reasons that make co-writer/director Alex Kendrick take the lead role in a film like this. Otherwise, we’re talking about one of the “seven deadly sins” – “vainglory,” or vanity. The movie’s the poorer for it.I have to say, as with “Fireproof,” I went along with this for a bit, connected with the messages. As the father of a tweenager, I appreciate a movie that suggests strategies for keeping girls from falling in with a right or wrong boy too early. Then Kendrick’s character turns a little shrill, the myopia shows through. The movie reaches a climax, and goes on and on for another half hour for a tacked-on EXTRA climax. They should workshop their scripts.Still, it’s been a good year for faith-based films. No, the Christian cops in Memphis drama “The Grace Card” didn’t show us much. They hired “names,” but with that script, that didn’t pay off. But “Soul Surfer” found an audience. “The Fifth Quarter” had more lump in the throat moments than “Facing the Giants” ever did. The faith audience found “The Help,” even if it avoided Vera Farmiga’s edgier (subject, language, etc.) “Higher Ground,” which attempted a serious exploration of faith, and losing it.With the church effort in pre-sales, “Courageous” could be another solid performer for Sherwood. But if “Courageous” doesn’t hit that “Fireproof” mark, it won’t be because the message, the church outreach, etc. didn’t pay off. The writing isn’t quite there (several scenes are eye-rollers) and the performances aren’t compelling enough to sell it.
Injuries are always the theme of the week. This week is no different. Note: “Watch list” players are just that, players you watch. Most online software management systems have a way to flag and watch certain players. That’s what this list is for. QUARTERBACKS Vince Young, Eagles Young began practicing last week as he comes back from a hamstring injury. Although others will disagree with me, I’m banking on him starting, based on Mike Kafka’s performance coming in for an injured Michael Vick (hand). Kafka went 4-of-7 for 35 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. Young will produce with his legs but struggle with consistency passing. He’s worth grabbing as I can see Vick missing time and Young can be productive. RUNNING BACKS Kendall Hunter, 49ers Frank Gore (ankle) came out and said he played hurt, and his numbers show that (17-42-0). Kendall Hunter (9-26-1 rushing, 2-12-0 receiving) is the backup and would start if Gore can’t go. He needs to be picked up as the handcuff to Gore, and he also has playmaking ability but is only depth at this point. Cadillac Williams, Rams Cadillac (18-75-0 rushing, 1-4-0 receiving) saw most of the carries this week as the team played Steven Jackson sparingly (4-23-0). Jackson’s quadriceps is not 100 percent yet. Until then, Cadillac will have a role. His real value is to Jackson owners as his playing time wasn’t known until after the game started. If you don’t own Jackson, you’ll have to wait to see what his status is this week. Possibly all the way up to Sunday morning again. Montario Hardesty, Browns Hardesty (14-67-0 rushing, 3-19-0 receiving) was outstanding with 4.8 yards per carry and showed the team he can carry the load when called upon. Peyton Hillis should be back next week, but he’ll cede playing time to Hardesty as the team looks to keep Hillis from wearing down. Hardesty is the handcuff to Hillis, but grab him because we don’t know how much of a role a healthy and effective Hardesty will have. Remember, this could be a one-game fluke. LaDainian Tomlinson, Jets It wasn’t hard to see Tomlinson’s (6-38-0 rushing, 5-116-1 receiving) big game against a team susceptible to pass-catching backs. However, Tomlinson in this role has value in PPR leagues and is worthy of being taken in that format. He’s someone you would play with the right matchup or as a bye-week or injury fill-in. Don’t go overboard here, because he’s merely depth. Chester Taylor, Cardinals Taylor’s (8-20-0 rushing, 1-12-0 receiving) below-average fantasy performance is because of diminishing skills but also because he’s on a new team and learning a new offense. We don’t know the status of Beanie Wells (hamstring), but one can assume he’ll be ready to go as he was a surprise inactive Sunday. Taylor’s only value is to Wells owners as he’s not the back he was, and if Wells went down long term, the team would have to go out and find someone else to create a committee approach. He’s only worth taking in large leagues. WIDE RECEIVERS Lance Moore, Saints Moore (9-88-1) is finally healthy and still available in some leagues. He’ll be QB Drew Brees’ favorite target until Marques Colston (collarbone) comes back. Even then, all of the Saints’ wideouts will see their time on the field and he’ll still be productive. He’s an immediate pickup and start. Brandon Gibson, Rams Gibson (5-55-1) has not been flashy but has been steady with 20 targets, and like the rest of the receivers, he’s still learning the offense and developing chemistry with QB Sam Bradford. Gibson is someone you pick up for depth and potential matchups. Denarius Moore, Raiders Moore (4-34-0 receiving, 1-23-1 rushing) is not playing like a rookie as the Raiders do everything they can to exploit his talent. He’s seeing time on the field, and that will increase as his six targets and rushing touchdown prove. He’s quality depth with starter potential, but he’ll be inconsistent. Donald Jones, Bills Jones (5-101-0) had a great game, but this was a shootout that saw the Bills being forced to go to the air to keep up. Out of the three wideouts, he will be the most inconsistent. He’s worthy a pickup for depth, but don’t expect to see the next Stevie Johnson or even Donald Nelson here. He’s a bye-week or injury fill-in. Nate Washington, Titans Washington (8-92-1) had another solid game and becomes the team’s No. 1 wide receiver with Kenny Britt (knee) out. However, he benefited from Britt seeing the opponent’s best defenders. Washington will now have to deal with that, so temper your expectations, but he’s still a must pickup. Torrey Smith, Ravens Smith (5-152-3) exploded this week with three touchdowns while replacing Lee Evans (ankle), who was out. One would assume he’s earned playing time, but Evans will be given every opportunity when he comes back. That doesn’t change what Smith did, and this was a glimpse of the team’s expectations. Grab and stash him to see how the Ravens use him moving forward. Steve Smith, Eagles When Jeremy Maclin (hamstring) and then Riley Cooper (concussion) went down, it opened the door for Smith. If neither player is able to go, Smith would see extended playing time. He’s worth a pickup, but if Vince Young is under center, you may need to leave him on your bench to see how Young performs. He’s fantasy depth at this time. Titus Young, Lions Young (4-51-0) has had two games now where he’s been productive. As stated before, there aren’t enough footballs to go around in Detroit, and his production came at the expense of Nate Burleson (2-12-0). Will that continue? No matter, he’s worth a grab and stash to see if he can continue to improve and find a role as an injury or bye-week fill-in. Dane Sanzenbacher, Bears Sanzenbacher (5-27-2) should be on everyone’s watch list after getting seven targets and a touchdown in each of two consecutive games. He’s replacing Earl Bennett (chest), and no timetable has been given for his return. However, with his play, Sanzenbacher has earned more time on the field, so he diminishes any value Bennett had, anyway. Until Bennett comes back, he’s worthy of a pickup and, because of his two touchdowns, a spot start depending on the defense. Two games is a small sample, so temper your expectations. TIGHT ENDS Greg Olsen, Panthers I saw Olsen (7-57-1) dropped in a lot of leagues after last week’s performance. What many didn’t realize is that Olsen had touchdown opportunities last week, and this week’s 10 targets show he’s an integral part of the offense. He’ll be inconsistent as he’s not an elite tight end, and Jeremy Shockey (3-30-0) will eat into his numbers as Shockey’s seven targets prove. He makes a weak No. 1 option but one that will improve as the season progresses. Todd Heap, Cardinals For the first time this season we’re talking about a different Cardinals tight end. Heap (6-61-0) had a whopping 10 targets to lead Arizona receivers, but unless you’re desperate, he’s still a watch-list player. The TE role has been inconsistent in this offense outside of Jeff King’s two fluke touchdowns. In larger leagues he may be worthy of a pickup, but let’s see consistency first. At best he’s a No. 2 tight end. Ed Dickson, Ravens Dickson (5-51-0) had a solid game, but the fact QB Joe Flacco threw 48 times tells me you’re fine leaving him on the waiver wire, but watch him. Let’s see if he continues to improve and if his role grows. In larger leagues you may consider picking him up, but that’s about it as he’s only a No. 2 tight end. Randy McMichael, Chargers If Antonio Gates (foot) misses any time, McMichael (4-51-0) will step in. McMichael only has value in larger leagues and is nothing more than a No. 2 tight end with potential spot starts. Put him on a watch list as his targets will probably be inconsistent, so let’s see him prove us wrong. Jared Cook, Titans The team needs Cook (2-12-0) with Kenny Britt (knee) out, but he’s yet to produce anything to warrant a pickup, so watch him to see what happens to the receiving game with the loss of Britt.
LAWRENCE — The city welcomed 14 new firefighters this week thanks to $6.6 million in federal Homeland Security funds.The new hires help a department decimated by layoffs, and they are the first new firefighters hired by the city in six years.”This is great; superb. We’re trying to provide safety in the city but without the firefighters we can’t get the job done,” said Acting Fire Chief Jack Bergeron. “Our most valuable resources are the firefighters.”The firefighters were sworn in by Mayor William Lantigua in the City Council Chambers Wednesday. Bergeron pinned badges on them.The men are Johnny Jimenez, Michael Fornesi, Shane Donahue, Christopher King, Federico Rosario and Richard Mendonca all of Lawrence; Michael Buzzell, Michael Maglio and Matthew Peek all of Haverhill; Chad Nickerson of Dracut; Brandon Collier of Worcester; Corey Scott of Auburn; George Espinoza of Boston and Brian Murray of Woburn.In addition to the swearing in ceremony, Lt. Eric Zahn was promoted to captain and firefighter Dave Ferris is now a lieutenant. Both men joined the department in 1997.The city laid off 23 firefighters in July in an effort to balance the budget. In addition to the layoffs, several high-ranking fire officials were demoted and the Engine 9 firehouse at 161 Bailey St., was closed — the third fire station in the city that has been shut down due to the city’s financial crisis.The 14 new hires will bring the total number of firefighters to 120, but Bergeron said the department is still 16 members short.The grant from the Department of Homeland Security was awarded for two years.The new firefighters won’t be available fulltime until early next year. They must attend the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy. The next class starts Jan. 9.In the meantime, the men will take a 12-week course three days a week to become emergency medical technicians. On the other two days, a training captain will teach them basic firefighting skills. Shane Donahue said being a firefighter is a way to give back to his hometown. Others like Johnny Jimenez said the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, stirred an interest in becoming a firefighter. “When you go to work as a firefighter you can make a difference,” said Jimenez, 27, who also served with the Army in Iraq.Federico Rosario, 24, found his inspiration from one of his Army buddies while serving in Iraq, who often talked about being a volunteer firefighter in North Carolina.”The more he talked about his job, the more interested I became because I like to work with people and help people,” Rosario said. City Council Chambers was filled with family members and city hall employees.Natalie Mendonca attended the ceremony with sons R.J. and Jacob.”It was awesome because he gets to save people in danger and he gets to wear a cool badge,” R.J. said. After the ceremony, those attending enjoyed a vanilla cake filled with pineapple made by Maria Rosa owner of Yeska Cakes in Lawrence.
“50/50″ is generating interest from the widest swath of moviegoers, though distributor Summit Entertainment is hopeful that the young male fan base of Rogen, who has a supporting role but is featured prominently in advertising and publicity, will come out in large numbers. The film, in which Gordon-Levitt plays a 25 year-old diagnosed with cancer, was received warmly at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month and has so far earned mostly positive reviews. The movie was produced by Summit and Mandate Pictures for about $8 million, meaning that if the film garners good word-of-mouth, its financial backers should end up in decent shape. “Dream House,” however, costs a lot more. The movie, about a family who unknowingly moves into a home where numerous murders have been committed, was financed by Morgan Creek Productions for about $50 million and is being distributed by Universal Pictures. Older females seem to be most interested in the film, which was directed by six-time Oscar-nominated director Jim Sheridan. Despite its pedigree, “Dream House” has not been screened for critics — typically a sign that a studio believes that it will be poorly received. “Courageous,” centered around four police officers who question their faith after tragedy strikes, was made by Christian brothers Alex and Stephen Kendrick. Both ministers and filmmakers, the duo made 2008′s “Fireproof,” a drama starring “Growing Pains” star Kirk Cameron that grossed $33.5 million worldwide. “Courageous” was produced by Affirm Films — the Sony division that acquires films with religious or inspirational themes — for about $2 million. The picture is playing in about 1,000 fewer theaters than the weekend’s three other releases, but has sold more advance tickets via website Fandango thanks largely to church groups, the main audience to whom “Courageous” has been marketed. It’s largely young women, meanwhile, who are expected to show up to see “What’s Your Number?” The film, in which Faris plays a woman who tracks down her ex-boyfriends in the hope they may have improved with age, has only earned middling reviews. It was produced by New Regency Pictures for about $20 million and is being distributed by 20th Century Fox. In limited release, there are a number of films opening this weekend. Fox Searchlight will debut the Indian film “Force” in 60 theaters as well as the critically panned, long-delayed Kenneth Lonergan-directed film “Margaret” in two others.Magnolia Pictures is putting Eli Craig’s horror comedy “Tucker & Dale vs. Evil” in 30 theaters, while Freestyle Releasing’s Sarah Palin documentary “You Betcha!” will play in six. Finally, Sony Pictures Classics will release its critical darling, “Take Shelter,” featuring “It”-girl Jessica Chastain and Michael Shannon, in three theaters. RELATED: Daniel Craig film “Dream House” seeks to avoid critics “50/50′s” Joseph Gordon-Levitt is hip to the creative process “What’s Your Number?” premiere: Anna Faris ‘terrified’ by comedy — Amy Kaufman twitter.com/AmyKinLA Photo: Joseph Gordon Levitt, left, stars with Seth Rogen in “50/50.” Credit: Summit Entertainment
San Diego County in California had a strong red tide this week, apparently peaking around September 28, 2011. The red tide – a discoloration of seawater caused by a bloom of tiny, toxic organisms known as red dinoflagellates – lit up the surf at night on San Diego beaches, via a phenomenon known as bioluminescence. Several videographers captured the strange light, visible at night in the breaking waves along San Diego shores. This video – from cinemadv on YouTube – is short, but captures the phenomenon perfectly, although he (or she) commented the color was actually more greenish than blue. It was uploaded to YouTube on September 28, 2011.This longer video comes from LoghanCall on YouTube. He wrote:On September 28th, 2011, the “red tide” hit San Diego shores. The neon-blue waves are not digitally created or altered from their original form. This video was shot at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, California and North Ponto Beach in Carlsbad, California.The video above, uploaded to YouTube on September 27, is a bit dark, but you can see surfers in the bioluminescent surf. It’s from shuttrbg22.Bioluminescent life forms – such as the tiny red dinoflagellates in the red tide shown in these videos – make their own light and carry it in their bodies. Fireflies are another, perhaps more commonly seen example. In the oceans of our world, though, many creatures are bioluminescent. Just as fireflies use their lit-up abdomens to send mating signals and other forms of communication, so bioluminescent creatures of the deep use their internal ability to create light to warn or evade predators, lure or detect prey, and communicate between species members.Bottom line: During the last week of September, 2011, a red tide in southern California created bioluminescence along beaches near San Diego. The internally illuminated tide was seen for several nights, and some people captured good videos of the event.Surf’s lighted up at San Diego beachesBioluminescent beaches photo gallery from SignOnSanDiego.comWhy do fireflies light up?Humboldt squid washing up on southern California beachesThere’s no such thing as a jellyfish
Associated PressRed Sox Nation has to wonder: can John Lackey redeem himself with a win in Game No. 163? With the Red Sox needing a win in Wednesday’s scheduled regular-season finale, this may be a bit premature. But Red Sox Nation has to wonder: can John Lackey redeem himself with a win in Game No. 163? We may not even get there. But if the Red Sox and Tampa Bay both win tonight — or both lose — there would be a one-game playoff Thursday in Tampa. There’s a feeling throughout the media, both locally and nationally, that there seems to be no other way for the American League Wild Card race to end than in a playoff. With all that said, Thursday would be Lackey’s spot in the starting rotation for the Red Sox. …And the plot thickens… Given the way he has pitched in 2011 and the region’s seemingly collective thoughts on John Lackey, following Sunday’s text-message meltdown and the news of his divorce, could he use his start in the one-game playoff to change the way he’s seen in the eyes of Red Sox Nation? Lackey has been hailed as a big-game pitcher and he may very well get his chance to prove us all wrong Thursday. As a card-carrying member of Red Sox Nation, what are your thoughts? Would a shut-down performance Thursday provide Lackey redemption? Would it take another victory in the postseason? Is there no chance for Lackey to change his image in Boston? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.