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Cynthia Martin

Blackhawks find missing momentum

Chicago Blackhawks force Game 7 with two-game streak against Detroit Red Wings

The Blackhawks found their missing mojo. The first-seed team rallied in the last two games against the Detroit Red Wings to force the playoff round to go into Game 7.

The Chicago Blackhawks evened out the series, 3-3, with Monday night’s win. The winning goal, provided by Michael Frolik from a penalty shot, not only won the game but also put Frolik in the record books.

Frolik became the first player in NHL history to score off of two penalty shots in the playoffs.

“I was kind of surprised that I was the first one in history,” Frolik said. “It’s a little bit special.”

But the Blackhawks were strong overall in Game 6, finishing the game 4-3 over the Red Wings.

Detroit attempted to come back. With 52 seconds left, Damien Brunner pulled the Red Wings up one from a two-point deficit to the Blackhawks.

After a strong start to the series, the Red Wings are hoping for a repeat of their first round of playoffs. The seventh-seed Red Wings beat second-seed Anaheim in Game 7 of round one.

“I love Game 7s,” Red Wings Coach Mike Babcock said. “We’ve got a chance to push them out of the playoffs. It should be a lot of fun.”

On the other side, the Blackhawks are looking to fan support to give them the win on Wednesday. The home-ice advantage could give them what they need to move on to the Western Conference finals.

“We’ve got that momentum, we want to keep it,” Blackhawks’ captain, Jonathan Toews, said.

If the Blackhawks win, they’ll face either the Los Angeles Kings or the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference finals. Los Angeles and San Jose play tonight at 9 p.m. ET.

The final Blackhawks-Red Wings game is scheduled for Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET.

Arrested Development Returns to Mixed Reviews

The arrival on Netflix brings big changes to the popular cult show

Arrested Development returned for its fourth season on Sunday morning, ending more than a year of anticipation and speculation. The original three seasons gain critical acclaim and a huge cult following. Now that fans and critics have had a few days to digest the new season, has it lived up to expectations?

It’s been seven years since the Bluth family has graced entertainment with the antics of their dysfunctional family. Arrested Development originally aired on Fox from 2003 to 2006. Creator Mitchell Hurwitz says that he was happy with where the show ended in 2006, even if fans weren’t.

“In truth, I had taken it as far as I felt I could as a series,” he said. “I told the story I wanted to tell, and we were getting to a point where I think a lot of the actors were ready to move on. My instinct was that it was over when Fox pulled the plug. I considered continuing the show because I felt I owed that to the fans. But I am determined to give them some other kind of entertainment that will satisfy them at some point, I hope.”

But with a seven-year hiatus, cast members who have moved on, and the new platform of going straight to Netflix, Arrested Development has had to change.

The biggest problem critics have with the new season is pacing. Season four episodes are longer since they lack the structure of a television time slot. So scenes are drawn out and the word play comes slower. But that’s not the only issue with Arrested Development that critics have found.

Due to problems getting the cast back together, each new Arrested Development episode is centered on a different member of the Bluth family. It’s an interesting change, since the first three seasons focused on Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman). This story-telling style allows for deeper character development of all the characters. But it doesn’t come without problems.

The whole fourth season of Arrested Development takes place over the same time frame. Each episode gives new information while still hiding important details that will be revealed later. It’s a daring Rashomon-style format that could have gone horribly awry.

Some fans and critics believe it has.

New York Times: “Chalk one up for the Internet: It has killed ‘Arrested Development.’ … If you truly loved (the first three seasons of ‘Arrested Development’), it’s hard to imagine being anything but disappointed with this new rendition.”

Wall Street Journal: ” ‘Arrested Development’ has lost a step or two in its long stint on the sidelines. The pacing is notably slower than during its original run and the show lacks the breathtaking density that characterized its glorious past. At its worst, the new/old ‘Arrested Development’ is reduced to doing a shaky imitation of itself: the characters and themes are there but the beats are slightly off, as is the tone.”

@virtualmatrix (on Twitter): “I cannot believe how boring arrested development is now. I kind wish it stayed dead. Sad, so sad. I hope other people are enjoying it.”

Of course there are those who love the new episodes.

San Francisco Chronicle: “Do the new episodes live up to those of the first three seasons which ended in 2006? Yes, and then some: The new season is not only as smart and absurdly funny as ever, but also reflects the rapid changes in how we watch television.”

@rickygervais (Twitter): “Celebrating the release of brand new Arrested Development on Netflix, with @MitchHurwitz & @arnettwill.”

I personally, after having watched six or seven episodes, have a very luke-warm opinion of the new season. There are moments where it’s reminiscent of the old Arrested Development, but they are few and far between. I was gratified to see past bit characters come back, like Kitty Sanchez and Carl Weathers. But with the family being separated, the show has lost the family dysfunction that made Arrested Development so great.

What do you think of the new Arrested Development?

London attack brings extremist violence to UK

Two men suspected of killing British soldier with meat cleavers

A London attack shocked the world on Wednesday with its brazen daylight execution. Two men hit another man with their car, then got out and started hacking at him with knives and meat cleavers.

The London attack took place near the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, and the man who was killed has been confirmed to be a soldier. His family has asked that his name not be released.

After the London attack, one of the suspects gave a statement to a bystander who was videotaping the scene. The graphic video shows the man’s hands covered in blood as he waved a knife and meat cleaver in the air. He claimed the attack was retaliation for attacks on Muslim countries by British soldiers.

“We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you. The only reason we have done this is because Muslims are dying every day,” he said. “This British soldier is an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”

The man in the video has been identified as British-born Michael Adebolajo. The 28-year-old Londoner converted to Islam during his time at the University of Greenwich. The other suspect in the London attack has not been identified.

In his justification for the London attack, Adebolajo seemed to regret the graphic nature of the attack.

“I apologize that women have to witness this today,” he said. “But in our land, our women have to see the same.”

The suspects were still at the scene when police arrived. Both were shot, and then transported to separate hospitals for treatment.

British Prime Minister David Cameron convened an emergency meeting to determine the government’s response to this “terrorist” London attack.

“We will never give in to terror or terrorism in any of its forms,” Cameron said.

Cameron also praised the heroics of one woman who confronted the men after the London attack. 48-year-old Cub Scout leader, Ingrid Loyau-Kennett jumped off a bus to attempt to calm the men down.

“I thought I had better start talking to him before he starts attacking somebody else. I thought these people usually have a message so I said ‘what do you want?’ said Loyau-Kennett.

The London attack appears to be a solo effort by the two men in custody. As of now, the men have no ties to al Qaeda. Their actions could have been sparked by listening to radical preachers and militant Islamic websites.

Anjem Choudary, a radical Islamic cleric, said that Adebolajo had attended some of his lectures in the past. Choudary has been known to speak out against British involvement in the Middle East. But he denies ever advocating violence on British soil, especially this London attack.

“My position is clear,” Choudary told The Independent. “There is a covenant which says that in return for Muslims being allowed to live peacefully and practice their faith in Britain, then it is forbidden to attack the British authorities, soldiers, in the UK.”

In response to the London attack, right-wing British extremist took to the streets on Wednesday. The protesters were from the English Defense League. Riot police contained the protesters.

Dancing with the Stars finishes its 16th season

Winner will be announce tonight after the “Instant Dance”

Dancing with the Stars ends its 16th season tonight. The final four each performed three dances on Monday’s show, hoping to garner enough votes to win the Mirrorball Trophy. So after last night, which will it be: Jacoby Jones, Zendaya Coleman, Kelli Pickler or Aly Raisman?

Last night’s judges’ scores put Coleman in the lead with 65 points. Coleman and her partner Val Chmerkovskiy got a perfect 30 for their Samba and their freestyle, and got first in the Cha-cha relay. Chmerkovskiy is the newest of the four Dancing with the Stars pros, and also the only one without a Mirrorball to his name.

Judge Carrie Ann Inaba, who has been a staple of Dancing with the Stars, seems to think Coleman’s performance was enough to get her the title.

“You sealed the deal,” said Inaba. “You showcased why you are such an incredible role model. You’re classy, you’re sassy, you’re fun–you’re just divine, my dear. I love seeing you out there–fantastic.”

But Pickler and partner Derek Hough had the clear Dancing with the Stars judges’ favorite dance of the night. Their freestyle dance earned a standing ovation from much of the crowd, and even hard-to-please judge Len Goodman.

“Good dancing engages the brain, great dancing engages the heart,” said Goodman. “You were totally immersed in the dance, in each other, you drew everyone into that performance.”

Pickler and Hough ended the night only one point behind Coleman/Chmerkovskiy because of their second place finish in the relay.

Aly Raisman and partner Mark Ballas are in third for the Dancing with the Stars title. Their risky freestyle, complete with pole dancing, earned them top marks and praise from judge Bruno Tonioli.

“That was futuristic with a touch of exotic,” said Tonioli. “You took an incredible risk with this–it could have gone totally wrong. To sync (the pole) section up there is nearly impossible–and you did it!”

Jones brought up the rear with Dancing with the Stars veteran Karina Smirnoff. But with only seven points separating Jones from Coleman, it’s truly anybody’s game.

Votes count for half the final score, and those votes will be revealed tonight. One contestant will be cut right in the beginning of the finale. The final three will face off in the “Instant Dance” to decide who will take home the Dancing with the Stars trophy.

Blackhawks lack focus in semifinals

The top-seed team lets official calls knock them off balance in their fight against the Detroit Red Wings

Blackhawks fans may have something to worry about in this fairly worry-free season. The top-ranked team lost some of its momentum in the last couple games against the Detroit Red Wings.

The Chicago Blackhawks saw a pretty amazing season after the lockout ended. They had a 36-7-5 regular season and set records for scoring at least one-point in their first 24 games, having a league high of a 77-point season, and avoiding a three-game losing streak. With all that, some would call the Blackhawks charmed.

Now the Blackhawks are facing their toughest series yet. The semifinals of the Stanley Cup have pitted them against the seventh-seed Red Wings. The Red Wings have taken a 2-1 game lead on the Blackhawks.

But Monday’s game has outraged Blackhawks fans. Patrick Kane scored the first goal for Chicago in the third period, making the game 2-1. A minute later, it looked like Andrew Shaw had tied it up. Officials made a controversial call that disallowed the goal. Pavel Datsyuk ended the game with a third goal for Detroit giving them a 3-1 win over the Blackhawks.

Now this call clearly is not like the Packers-Seahawks call, but it may have played a part in the Blackhawks’ loss. Blackhawks’ captain Jonathan Toews seems to have been rattled by some of the calls in the past few games.

“It’s just tough to understand sometimes why we get roughing penalties and hooking penalties, whatever it is, and it doesn’t go both ways,” Toews said. “If that’s the way it’s going to be, well, we need to understand that and play more physical and be tougher on them.”

The next game in the series will be played Thursday, May 23 at 8 p.m. EDST in Detroit. The Blackhawks need to get their focus back, or they may be done for the season.

Gay rights issue should not be in play

A Florida teen’s defense of relationship rests on the prosecution being anti-gay

Gay rights activist are fighting for a Florida teen’s release after she was arrested for having a sexual relationship with a minor. They claim that Kaitlyn Hunt, 18, is being unfairly prosecuted because she is gay.

Every day sees another gay rights story. I don’t mean to say that we shouldn’t have such a focus on the issue. There are many things that still need to be addressed. But this is one story that is being blown out of proportion.

Kaitlyn Hunt was arrested in February for a sexual relationship she was in with a 14-year-old classmate. Supporters of Hunt claim that the relationship was consensual and that they had been dating since November 2012. Gay rights activists also point out that Hunt and the “victim” are in love.

But one has to question whether this is actually a gay rights issue.

I’ll admit that homophobia is how it all started. Hunt’s girlfriend’s parents are the ones who brought the relationship to the police. Sources say they blame Hunt for their daughter’s homosexuality. But the parent’s bigotry aside, this is still a case of an adult and a minor in a relationship.

For most states, the law shows that anyone under 16 years old is incapable of consenting to sex. And any adult in a sexual relationship with a minor is guilty of taking advantage of a minor.

By no means do I think Hunt took advantage of her girlfriend. But had this been an 18-year-old man and a 14-year-old girl, there would be no public outrage about him being prosecuted. Gay rights activists are using Hunt’s case to further their own agenda, regardless of the harm they could cause by setting a precedent.

It’s fair to say that Hunt’s relationship came to police attention for the wrong reason. The girlfriend’s parents waited until after Hunt turned 18 before going to the police. That’s a clear act against gay rights. Police’s decision to pursue the case is not.

Hunt’s parents have started a petition on Change.org for the teen’s release. The petition, “Stop the hate, free Kate,” has more than 56,500 signatures. The Facebook group, “Free Kate,” adds another 21,000 supporters.

The validity of this case should not rest on gay rights. What it should be used to look at is the age of consent. Both Hunt and her girlfriend are high school age. They’re going to make high schooler mistakes. The two are peers. And with kids becoming sexually active at younger ages, we as a society really need to look at how we define things like statutory rape and “lewd and lascivious battery on a child 12-16 years of age.”

A four year age difference is not cause for alarm with adults. So why should two high schoolers be punished for being in two different grades? Regardless of sexual orientation. That should be public concern, not that it’s a violation of gay rights.

Tumblr could be Yahoo's saving grace

The popular blogging platform set to bring a key demographic to Yahoo

Tumblr faces an uncertain future with the news that Yahoo will be buying the company. The $1.1 billion deal is a huge gamble for the struggling company.

Tumblr has become the blog-site of choice for the 18-24 demographic since its founding in 2007. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer hopes that the acquisition will be the revenue boost the company needs to bounce back from the string of mishaps they’ve seen in recent years.

Since 2007, Yahoo has struggled with direction. A string of CEO, some of whom were unqualified for the job, lacked the vision necessary to compete with search engines like Google, and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Yahoo brought in Mayer, an accomplished engineer with a computer-science degree from Stanford, after several failed attempts at changing the company. Scott Thompson, the last official Yahoo CEO, was let go after admitting he didn’t have the computer-science degree he listed on his resume.

But if it’s not handled correctly, the Tumblr acquisition could prove disastrous for Mayer.

Tumblr has been known for its laid-back approach to making money. Founder Dave Karp has resisted pressure to place ads on the site. This independence is what draws many users to the site.

“I don’t know exactly why, but my Tumblr is a part of my identity,” Alexia Tsotsis, co-editor of TechCrunch, said. “And for whatever reason, I don’t want to identify with Yahoo.”

Sentiments like Tsotsis’ are not without merit. Yahoo acquisitions have a tendency to lose their appeal once “Yahoo” is attached to their image. Sites like GeoCities and del.icio.us have completely fallen out of the mainstream. Even Flickr has been struggling against more recent photo sites like Instagram.

Instagram may provide the inspiration Mayer needs to know how to handle Tumblr. Facebook has maintained a hands-off approach their acquisition. Mayer seems to be headed down this track, since she’s keeping Karp on to run the platform.

Tumblr users won’t see a change overnight. But changes will be coming. This could be Yahoo’s last chance to get it right.

Ray Manzarek of The Doors dies at 74

The legendary keyboardist loses his long battle with cancer

Ray Manzarek, founding keyboardist for The Doors, died in Germany on Monday. He had been fighting bile duct cancer, according to his publicist. The singer was 74.

Manzarek founded The Doors in 1965 with singer Jim Morrison. Drummer John Densmore and the guitarist Robby Krieger rounded out the band.

While Morrison was the lyricist for the band, Manzarek was crucial to the music that captured the hearts of fans. His biggest contribution came with his quasi-Baroque introduction to The Door’s 1967 single, “Light My Fire.”

But more importantly, Ray Manzarek was the reason The Doors even existed. After a chance encounter with Morrison in Venice, Manzarek became the driving force that pushed The Doors to prominence.

“Ray was the catalyst, he was the galvanizer,” said Jeff Jampol, who manages the Doors’ estate. “He was the one that took Jim by the hand and took the band by the hand and always kept pushing. Without that guiding force, I don’t know if the Doors would have been.”

The loss to music that Manzarek’s death represents cannot be overstated. The Doors were one of the seminal bands of the 1960s, and “Light My Fire” was part of the soundtrack of the Summer of Love and the Vietnam War. Today, psychedelia is still synonymous with The Doors’ music.

Jim Morrison provided most of the headlines for the band. His alcohol and drug use made him unreliable, but it also fueled his need to fight “the system,” testing taboos and defying censorship rules.

But Manzarek brought a key element of The Doors’ sound. The band did not have a bassist like most rock ‘n roll bands. Instead, Manzarek played the bass lines with his left hand on a Fender Rhodes piano bass. His main instrument was the Vox Continental electric organ, which he claimed to have chosen because it was “easy to carry.”

After Morrison’s death in 1971, Ray Manzarek tried to keep the band together. But their inevitable break-up didn’t keep Manzarek from making music.

He recorded a few solo albums, toured with Nile City and finally got back together with Krieger. The duo toured under the name The Doors of the 21st Century until Densmore and Morrison’s estate won a suit to prevent them from using The Doors’ name. The Manzarek-Krieger band still had tour dates book this year.

“I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my friend and bandmate Ray Manzarek today,” Krieger said. “I’m just glad to have been able to have played Doors songs with him for the last decade. Ray was a huge part of my life and I will always miss him.”

Densmore was also hurt by the news, especially since he alluded to a possible Doors’ reunion earlier this month.

“There was no keyboard player on the planet more appropriate to support Jim Morrison’s words,” Densmore said. “Ray, I felt totally in sync with you musically. It was like we were of one mind, holding down the foundation for Robby and Jim to float on top of. I will miss my musical brother.”

Ray Manzarek leaves behind a prominent career and a musical legacy that few can match.

Oklahoma tornado crushes community

The Oklahoma tornado brings back memories of 199’s deadly tornado

Another Oklahoma tornado turns the lives of Moore, Okla. residents upside down. Monday’s disaster has left 24 dead and hundreds injured.

The Oklahoma tornado touched down at 2:56 p.m. The first warnings gave residents of Newcastle, Okla. and Moore about 16 minutes to prepare. The tornado then tore across 20 miles, reaching a width of two miles at one point. It has preliminarily been classified as an EF4 tornado on the Enhanced Fujita scale, with winds between 166-200 mph.

As of right now, there’s no estimate for the monetary damage done by Oklahoma’s tornado. But it isn’t likely to be more devastating than the number of lives the tornado destroyed.

Originally, as many as 51 people were reported dead. Today that number dropped to 24. Seven of that 24 were children that were killed when the tornado hit Plaza Towers Elementary School. It also hit Briarwood Elementary School and a hospital. Plaza Towers was the most structurally sound building in the area, and all tornado procedures were followed.

“And so people did the right thing,” said U.S. Representative, and resident of Moore, Tom Cole. “But if you’re in front of an F4 or an F5 there is no good thing to do if you’re above ground. It’s just tragic.”

National Guard and the FBI have been deployed to help the recovery operation from the Oklahoma Tornado.

Condolences for the people affected by the Oklahoma tornado have come in from around the globe. Queen Elizabeth II posted on her Twitter, “Our deepest sympathies go out to all those whose lives have been affected, as well as the American people #Oklahoma #tornado.”

Pope Francis urged his followers to pray for those affected. The French president, the German chancellor, and representatives from Pakistan and Spain also released statements expressing their sympathy and commendation for how citizens are dealing with the situation.

“The pictures of this catastrophe render us speechless and can only hint at the scope of the hurt,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

This latest Oklahoma tornado was reminiscent of 1999’s deadly EF5 tornado. 1999’s tornado reached record wind speeds of 302 mph. Monday’s tornado was the fourth to hit Moore since 1998.

Jodi Arias found eligible for the death penalty

Jodi Arias enters the final sentencing phase of her trial

Jodi Arias was declared eligible for the death penalty on Wednesday. Arias will soon learn what her final fate will be.

Jurors took less than three hours on Wednesday to decide that Arias’ murder of Travis Alexander could warrant the death penalty. In order to be eligible for the death penalty, a crime has to be considered especially violent and heinous.

The jurors’ decision was unsurprising, based on details that have been released about the crime.

Jodi Arias was convicted of killing her former lover, Travis Alexander, last week. Alexander had been stabbed nearly thirty times before having his throat slashed and being shot in the head. The prosecution pointed to this extreme overkill as the reason that Arias should be eligible for the death penalty.

“The last thing [Alexander] saw before he lapsed into unconsciousness … was that blade coming to his throat,” said prosecutor Juan Martinez. “And the last thing he felt before he left this earth was pain.”

Martinez again graphically described the crime to jurors, and ended with a full two minutes of silence to represent exactly how long it took Alexander to die.

Arias’ attorneys didn’t offer much opposition to the prosecution. They made brief opening and closing statements, and offered no witnesses. They claimed that Alexander wouldn’t have felt much pain due to the amount of adrenaline running through his body.

Arias spent last weekend on suicide watch after expressing her preference for the death penalty in an interview with Fox affiliate KSAZ.

“Longevity runs in my family, and I don’t want to spend the rest of my natural life in one place,” she said. “I believe death is the ultimate freedom, and I’d rather have my freedom as soon as I can get it.”

Arias initially denied any involvement in Alexander’s death. She later changed her story to two masked intruders committing the murder. Her final defense rested on the claim that Arias killed him in self-defense.

The sentencing phase of Arias’ trial begins today. And two years after Alexander’s death, his family will finally have closure.