Saturday, December 22, 2012

#4 Duke Women Topple Host USC Trojans 75 - 60

Day 2 of The Women Troy Basketball Classic featured University of Southern California vs. #4 Duke
Photo : Joe Nathan
Kate Oliver (#10) and Cassie Harberts (#11) battle Duke's Elizabeth Williams (#1) and Tricia Liston (#32) for a loose ball during Duke's 75 - 60 win over the USC Trojans. Photo: Joe Nathan

                                                  Elizabeth Williams (#1) and Kate Oliver (#10) Photo: Joe Nathan

LOS ANGELES - The University of Southern California played host to the Duke Women's basketball team, in the marquee matchup of The Women Of Troy Basketball Classic. USC Head Coach had his team ready to play against the mighty Duke team. Cassie Harberts, Kate Oliver, and Alexyz Vaioletama led their team with gritty, physical play in the game vs. Duke. Harberts scored on a lay-up with 3:52 left in the first-half to bring her team within two. Duke then went on a scoring spree, ignited by a 3-pointer from Chelsea Gray, to take a 39-30 halftime lead.

To their credit, USC never gave up even when Duke opened up a 20-point lead, on a Tricia Liston 3-point basket with 2:53 left in the game. The Trojans Kiki Alofaituli, scored on a layup as time expired, to make the final score Duke 75 - USC 60.  Duke simply overpowered the Trojans. Tricia Liston, Haley Peters, Elizabeth Williams, Alexis Jones and Chelsea Gray all scored in double figures for Duke.  In addition, Chloe Wells provided a much-needed energy boost and spark to the Duke lineup when inserted with about seven minutes left in the first half. Duke Head Coach Joanne P. McCallie took note of  Well's "leadership" and "energy" in her post-game comments.

Up next for Duke:  December 30, Monmouth visits Cameron Indoor at 2p.m. (EST)

Duke 97 - CSU Bakersfield 63

Duke Head Coach Joanne P. McAllie, Allison Vernerey, Elizabeth Williams, Tricia Liston, Chelsea Gray, Assistant Coach Candice Jackson, Assistant Coach Joy Cheek, Sarah Smoak and Hernando Planells watch intently during Duke's 97-63 win over CSU Bakersfield. Photo: Joe Nathan

LOS ANGELES -  The #4 Duke Women's basketball team has descended on Southern California to participate in the Women Of Troy Basketball Classic.  Their first opponent, CSU Bakersfield, was overmatched by the talented and deep Duke team 97 - 63.

Elizabeth Williams led all scorers with 21 points and 8 rebounds.  5 other Duke players also scored double figures  - Haley Peters (16 points.), Tricia Liston (14 points), Chelsea Gray (11 points), Chloe Wells (10 points) and Sierra Moore (10 points).

Duke's Tricia Liston and Allison Vernerey wrestle for control of the ball with CSU Bakersfield's Marilyn Naderhofffor.  Photo: Joe Nathan

CSU Bakersfield actually had an early lead and with 13:41 left in the 1st half the score was tied 15-15. After a timeout, Duke gathered itself and began to perform like the #4 team in the country.

Up next: Duke will face host USC at 3p.m. (EST) in Day 2 of the Women Of Troy Basketball Classic.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Walmart Discounts iPhone 5 and iPad Till End of 2012!

Walmart has announced starting December 17th, the 16G iPhone 5 will be sold for $127.00, with a two-year commitment. In addition, the 16G 4th generation iPad, will be available for purchase at $399.00. The iPad purchase also comes with a $30.00 iTunes gift card.

These deals are available in-store only. Seems like Walmart is pushing hard to grow its foot traffic and sales by year-end. This price cut by Walmart may be the biggest thing to happen to iPhone since iPhone.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Duke Basketball: Best in The NCAA?


Cameron Indoor Stadium, Coach P,  Coach K,  Cameron Crazies are all hallmarks of Duke University Basketball. Is the Duke Basketball program the best in the NCAA? 

The 2012-13 Duke Women and Men's Basketball program is once again riding high. The Women with an 8-0 record, are ranked #4. The  9-0 record for the Men, marks the 15th time Coach K has started the season with 9 wins and no losses. With wins over  Kentucky, Louisville and Ohio State, the men's squad has arguably played the toughest schedule in the NCAA. 

Sure the season is young, but one would be hard pressed to find a program flying higher than Duke University Basketball. Haley Peters, Tricia Liston, Chelsea Gray, Elizabeth Williams, Mason Plumlee, Seth Curry, Quinn Cook are but a few of the players in Duke's program, that exemplify what being a student-athlete is all about. Speaking of being student-athletes, both teams players have time off for finals. The Duke men will host Cornell, at Cameron Indoor on December 19th.  The Women will travel to Southern California for a weekend of basketball starting December 21st. 

So the question remains:

Is Duke Basketball the Best in the NCAA? Stay Tuned........

Thursday, December 6, 2012

It's Official - Apple is Coming to T-Mobile in 2013!

Is the wait finally over? According to a press release from Deutsche Telekom, YES! Apple is coming, Apple is coming to T-Mobile USA in 2013! T-Mobile's 34 million customers will finally be able to enter the Apple ecosystem without purchasing (as over 1 million T-Mobile customers have) an unlocked iPhone.

Will there be a new iPhone launched on T-Mobile's network next year? Details are vague, so the best we can do is say....

Stay Tuned.

The announcement was very low-key, almost hidden in the press release from Deutsche Telekom.  Here's the press release:

Deutsche Telekom steps up investment in growth in 2014 and adjusts dividend planning to 50 euro cents
Dec 06, 2012
Ad hoc notification from Deutsche Telekom in accordance with § 15 of the Securities Trading Act (WpHG)
The Board of Management of Deutsche Telekom today approved the financial planning for the Group for the years 2013 through 2015. The relevant committees of the Supervisory Board, the General and Finance Committees, then addressed the plans and formulated a recommendation for the Supervisory Board to approve them at its next meeting.
The plans are for the Group to increase its capital expenditure considerably over the next three years (including expenditure following the closing of the business combination of MetroPCS with T-Mobile USA, which is expected in the first half of 2013). Capital expenditure (excluding spectrum investment) of EUR 9.8 billion is scheduled for 2013 compared with an expected total of EUR 8.3 billion in the current year. The increased level of capital expenditure is intended to generate year-on-year growth both in revenue and adjusted EBITDA as soon as 2014. To create a basis for comparison, MetroPCS is assumed to be included for the full 2013 financial year based on a pro forma calculation.
The dividend for the 2013 and 2014 financial years is to be adjusted to these plans, with a payment of 50 euro cents per dividend-bearing share planned for both years. The plans for dividend payments are subject to approval by the relevant bodies and the fulfillment of other legal requirements.
The higher investment volume is to be used to roll out the broadband infrastructure in Germany and the United States in particular. In the mobile communications network, this will be done using the state-of-the-art technology LTE. Around EUR 6 billion is earmarked for rolling out the broadband infrastructure in the German fixed network with optical fiber and vectoring between 2013 and 2020. In addition, T-Mobile USA has entered into an agreement with Apple to bring products to market together in 2013.
Expected development of revenue in the operating segments and the Group.
Deutsche Telekom expects its revenues in the Germany segment to stabilize in 2014. The Europe segment is expected to record organic growth again in 2014, i.e., without the impact of regulatory decisions, exchange rate effects and exceptional state measures such as the imposition of additional taxes. The U.S. business is to return to growth in the planning period. The activities of the Digital Business Unit are expected to generate double-digit growth rates until 2015. Deutsche Telekom expects T-Systems to generate profitable revenue growth in its business with customers outside the Deutsche Telekom Group.
Deutsche Telekom therefore expects the Group to generate additional revenue in 2014 compared with the prior year (including MetroPCS on a comparable basis).
Expected development of adjusted EBITDA in the Group for 2013 and 2014.
The forecast for the Group in its current structure is for adjusted EBITDA of around EUR 17.4 billion in 2013 (forecast for 2012: around EUR 18 billion). Based on a pro forma calculation that assumes inclusion of MetroPCS for the entire financial year 2013, adjusted EBITDA would amount to around EUR 18.4 billion. Deutsche Telekom is planning a year-on-year increase in adjusted EBITDA in 2014 (including MetroPCS on a comparable basis).
Expected development of free cash flow in the Group for 2013 through 2015.
The Group's free cash flow is expected to decrease to around EUR 5 billion in 2013 (scheduled figure for 2012: around EUR 6 billion), primarily as a result of the increased capital expenditure and the systematic implementation of the Challenger strategy in the U.S. market, including the agreement with Apple. The Group's free cash flow is expected to be around EUR 6 billion in 2015 (including MetroPCS).
Dividend planning for 2013 and 2014.
Subject to approval by the relevant bodies and the fulfillment of other legal requirements, a dividend of 50 euro cents per dividend-bearing share is to be paid for each of the financial years 2013 and 2014. The Company also plans to offer shareholders the option of receiving payment in the form of shares (dividend in kind). Both forms of payment are tax-free for domestic shareholders.
Planning for key financial indicators.
The ratio of net debt to adjusted EBITDA from 2013 through 2015 is to remain within the range of 2.0 to 2.5 as in the previous three years. The equity ratio is also scheduled to remain in the same range as for the previous period of 25 to 35 percent.
Deutsche Telekom continues to manage its liquidity reserve such that at least capital market maturities for the forthcoming 24 months are covered at any given time. Closely linked to this is the approach of a balanced maturities profile.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Lincoln: Speilberg's Best Film Yet?

Is 'Lincoln',  Steven Speilberg's best film to date? Yes, in my opinion. I'll even go as far to say, the film is must-see! Whether one has an interest in history, film, politics, Abraham Lincoln, Steven Speilberg or good acting, 'Lincoln' has something for just about any movie-goer. You know a film is excellent, when you walk into the theater knowing the ending and still find yourself riveted two and a half hours later. Yet that's exactly what this film does.

Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln, Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln, James Spader as lobbyist W. N. Bilbo and Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens, put on an acting clinic. Actually the performances of the entire cast are some of the best i've ever seen. For sure, Lewis, Field and Jones will be Oscar nominated, with at least one if not all, winning Oscar.

The Lincoln family dynamic as portrayed by Daniel Day- Lewis, Sally Field and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the eldest son Robert Lincoln, was remarkable. An admitted history buff, the relationship between Abe and Mary Todd has always intrigued me. The actors with Speilberg's direction, took us behind the closed doors of this complex relationship, and what a view. For instance, notice this clip:

In reality, the film is all about human nature. What does, how does one play the cards, play the hand that life has dealt them? Or is it that life has dealt us all a hand or do we choose the hand we play? Additionally, the curtain is pulled back on the democratic process or in other words human nature with free will and courage or lack thereof as part of the mix. This film based on Doris Kearns Goodwin's book 'Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln', shows us all the intricacies of human nature, while dealing with war, bloodshed, wanton violence and oppression. In some ways, 1865 feels similar to 2012. 

'Lincoln' is a showcase of excellence, one i won't soon forget!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hope Solo and Lolo Jones - Ice Is Nice!

Hope Solo and Lolo Jones continue to grab our attention.  My last writing about the two Superstar athletes ( The Lolo Jones and Hope Solo 2012 London Olympics Effect) profiled Jones and Solo not only looking for Gold, but also for love. What these women are now doing, has inspired this writing.

Let's start with Ms. Solo. Goal setting (no pun intended) seems to work.  
In addition to winning gold as a key member of Team USA in the Olympics, 
Ms. Solo is now Mrs. Jerramy Stevens. After a two-month courtship, a fracas
leading to police involvement, an arrest of her fiancé Mr. Stevens on alleged
domestic abuse, Ms. Solo and Mr. Stevens proclaimed " I Do" - in what's 
been reported as a beautiful wedding ceremony. It seems Congratulations
are in order!

What about Ms. Jones? Well, the Olympics didn't quite work out like she's hoped and as of this writing, there are no reports of a Lolo Jones marriage. However, Ms. Jones has found "Ice is Nice" in her case as well. Although Ms. Jones may not have "Ice" in her life in the form of a diamond wedding ring as Ms. Solo does, she's shifted her athletic pursuits from track and field to bobsledding- lots of "Ice" there. 

This move has had immediate reward                                     Jones and her teammate Jazmine 
Fenlator placed 2nd and won a 
silver medal in their 
debut at the World Cup. It seems 
Congratulations are in order for 
Ms. Jones also!

Yes, for Hope Solo and Lolo Jones - Ice is Nice!

Monday, November 12, 2012

'Skyfall' Review : Does Bond Still Have It?

50 years and still strong, 007 is the longest running film franchise ever. With 50 years under his belt though, has Bond reached new heights with Skyfall or has he been shot down by our old adversary, time?

Skyfall is a different beast than any previous Bond movie. As is the tradition of Bond films the main premise is 007 gets assigned by M to take down some vigilante or group that threatens London or any of it’s allies. Along the way he kills countless armed guards, agents and more, all the while wooing every woman that he comes across on his perilous journey. In Skyfall that premise still exists, but for the most part it takes a back seat as this story centers itself on the life of being a secret agent and the impact it has. For the first time, it shows a more human element to Bond. No longer is Bond just a killing machine taking orders from the head of MI6. Bond starts asking the dear question, “Why am I doing what I’m doing?”. Along the way we learn a little about Bond’s past and ultimately what makes him tick. 

Bond may be the hero of the story, however M is the major influence why MI6 is being threatened. This leaves M in a much more vulnerable position than seen before and now has to try to defend her position to keep MI6 relevant to the government. As the movie progresses, M must rely increasingly upon Bond to keep both MI6, and herself, safe. Bond and M’s relationship is more like a mother and a son. M may have made some rash decisions, but at the end of it all they need each other and they know it.

Overall the movie keeps a brisk pace. No scene is longer than it needs to be and keeps the plot movie forward. Skyfall tells a very compelling story of secret agents trying to protect what they love while learning their answer to the question, “Why I am I doing this?”. For any Bond fan this is a must see film. For those who aren’t particular Bond fans or are new to the franchise, this movie still merits a view. 

If Skyfall is any indication of 007‘s future, then it looks like Bond has quite sometime before he puts down his trusty Walther PPK. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Jennifer Lawrence - "Fat" or "Fine" in Hollywood?


Jennifer Lawrence - Hollywood's newest "It" girl -  has weighed in on the debate of what's considered healthy and what's considered fat for women today.  In the latest issue of Elle magazine, Lawrence reportedly shared these thoughts, "In Hollywood, I'm obese." She continued, " I'm considered a fat actress..."


When the fashion world took umbrage to Kate Upton being named Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Cover Girl, because she's "too healthy" (fashion speak for chubby, ok fat) i was compelled to share my viewpoint (Kate Upton-Too "Chubby" For A Supermodel?)

Here i am again. What am i missing? Why the fascination with dress size? If casting the "right" female lead is important to box office receipts, is Hollywood saying skinny sells? Once again i ask...


Let's take a brief photo-walk down memory lane in Hollywood:

These Hollywood icons are just that - Hollywood ICONS! I never met any of them, but skinny is not a word I'd use to describe Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe or Sophia Loren. Yet their legacies are intact and continue to grow. These women were more than skin and bones, they were/are fascinating women! Fascinating women thru sheer force of personality!

Jennifer Lawrence stars in the soon--to-be released film 'Silver Linings Playbook'. This clip defines another definition for Ms. Lawrence:

Captivating women drives box office. Women with personality capture the hearts and souls of men and women alike whether they be size 0 or size whatever. Sure i know i'm just a guy and have confessed to having more experience with women size 0-6 (outside of an occasional dalliance) , but i'm learning....

So, here's to Jennifer Lawrence and all women who are determined to eat what they want, and be happy and not be overly concerned about Hollywood or any other standards for what's healthy outside of their own.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Will Microsoft's Xbox Music Dethrone Apple's iTunes?

"If music makes the people come together, as Madonna says, the new Xbox Music gives people all the music they love, every way they want it."  Microsoft press release - October 14, 2012

Microsoft's introductory statement to their new "all-in-one" music service Xbox Music is at minimum, interesting. The inclusion of a Madonna quote, well at least they are trying. 

Microsoft and Apple have had incredible impact on our lives in the last three decades. They continue to strive for superiority. Current scorecard has Apple stock trading at over $600 per share, Microsoft around $30 per share. Will this new service from Microsoft begin the erosion of market share from Apple to Microsoft?  Is Apple iTunes in danger of being dethroned?

Steve Ballmer CEO of Microsoft sure hopes so. His job may depend on it.  Five years ago Ballmer stated, "There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance. It's a $500 subsidized item. They may make a lot of money. But if you actually take a look at the 1.3 billion phones that get sold, I'd prefer to have our software in 60 percent or 70 percent or 80 percent of them, than I would to have 2 percent or 3 percent, which is what Apple might get". How wrong could a CEO be? Very! iPhone continues to generate more revenue for Apple than all Microsoft revenue. Talk about being taken to the woodshed - Ouch!!

You're still Microsoft though. What to do?  I don't know if it was an engineer, intern or one of Ballmer's kids that might have suggested, "We have Xbox,  why not market it as a content delivery/social platform?" Pretty good idea. Xbox Live was launched. In reality, no Apple market share killer, with it's services. Which brings us to Xbox Music. Will this new service dethrone the king of digital music-iTunes?

iTunes is indeed the King! Apple has 80% market share, with over 16 billion songs downloaded from iTunes. Seriously, does Microsoft's Xbox Music have a chance? Of course, Microsoft says yes! Take a look at this chart Microsoft produced to bolster their case:

On paper, Microsoft's Xbox Music is the winner. Allow me to use a sports expression here (thank you Lee Corso), " Not so fast, my friend."  The chart speaks for itself, but let's take a look behind the chart and see what's really going on. Yes, Xbox Music, as explained by Microsoft, does offer all of the above. The question is at what price and how? Here's where the fun begins.

Xbox Music promises access to 30 million songs, streaming etc. Sounds great, right?  Here's where Microsoft reminds us, they are still Microsoft. In order to access the "free" tunes as an Xbox user, one has to subscribe to Xbox Live Gold at a cost of $60.00 per year. The first 30 days are free (ad-free as well) and then your credit card is charged $9.99 a month.  There is an option to pay for the year upfront for $100.00, allowing one to be a Pass member. Yep-Microsoft being Microsoft. I smile at this next bit of information - Windows 8 users (release date October 26) will be able to have unlimited streaming access for "free"(with ads).

Yes, you read properly. Xbox users have to pay to access "free" Xbox Music. Once again, Microsoft being Microsoft. By the way there's nothing "free" about Windows 8 either. The new Surface tablet, software or mobile phones are not "free". In addition, the complete rollout is going to happen in stages, blah, blah, blah…

Microsoft being Microsoft, in my opinion is why Apple's iTunes has no overwhelming threat here. Until the engineers in Redmond understand, grasp the concept of "consumer experience" - not corporate revenue generating under the guise of "consumer experience" - they will continue to fumble and stumble (yes more sports expressions) at least in the consumer retail market.

Apple and Microsoft on October 23, 2012 and October 26, 2012, will share their latest and greatest with us, the consumer. 

Stay Tuned…..

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Beauty of NOWNESS ....'Strong is Beautiful'

Unexpected intrusions of beauty. That's what life is- Saul Bellow
I experienced those words penned by Saul Bellow in his novel 'Herzog',  upon discovering NOWNESS (  The lifestyle website features captivating images about art, music, sports, design, in other words life.

Recently NOWNESS featured Dewey Nicks: Strong is Beautiful. The beauty of Maria Sharapova, Li Na, Kim Clijsters and Serena Williams, among other Grand Slam Champions is portrayed like you've never seen. As Bellow wrote,  an unexpected intrusion of beauty...

Take a look at a clip from the video:

Dewey Nicks: Strong is Beautiful on


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The iPhone 5 Effect

Here we are again. The 2012 edition of Apple Inc's, iPhone debut, is upon us. This all started on June 29, 2007 - the day the world as we knew it, changed. The 3G iPhones, with an AT&T contract, were first sold on that day. Ever since, all of our lives have been touched by….

The iPhone Effect

Apple's touchscreen iPhone will be remembered as a turning point in the ongoing technology revolution. In 2007, the Finnish communications giant, Nokia's stock was trading at U.S. $40.00 a share. Today the stock is trading below U.S. $3.00. Since 2007,Research in Motion -the Canadian telecommunication behemoth, best known for it's Blackberry mobile phone- has lost over $70 billion in market share. Meanwhile Apple has become the most valuable public company in history. Chalk it up to…

The iPhone effect

Wireless carriers At&T, Verizon and others have seen their revenue soar. 2nd quarter revenue for the industry has grown from $5.2 billion in 2007 to over $17 billion in 2012. A very interesting part of the revenue growth is the "upgrade" revenue, yearly iPhone releases spur. Take a look at this chart:

Yes, Google's Android operating system is the world's largest smartphone platform. Let's face it, none of the many Android powered mobile phones have the cachĂ© (not to be confused with cache) of the iPhone. A further example of the iPhone influence, is Google's response to Apple's not installing the YouTube application on it's next iPhone. What to do? Google not wanting to miss out, released a new YouTube application in Apple's App Store.  Call it the beginning of…

The iPhone 5 effect

So, the question is -how will the iPhone 5 impact you and me? Will we be upgrading from our current iPhones or Android powered mobile phones to the highly anticipated, new and upgraded iPhone 5? If we're going to be honest, we're all at least thinking about it. Yep…

The iPhone 5 effect

Stay tuned...