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5 Ways to Reap the Benefits of College Football

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Basketball season officially ended with the Heat narrowly taking the Championship Title after a grueling seven-game series. Heat and Spurs fans alike are hanging up their hats, and many are already taking to Facebook and Twitter, lamenting the lack of sports and asking, “How many days until football season?”

Football fans come in all shapes and sizes, and they have varying loyalties. Some only watch college ball, some prefer the NFL, some bet on college games on Saturdays and blow their takings on the Sunday NFL games. Fans primarily interested in college football (and particularly the financial aspect of the games) can find it difficult to understand how to break into the betting related to college football.

1. Legality

This is the first place to start. Sports betting is legal in Las Vegas, Nevada and Atlantic City, New Jersey, as well as online. But check your local and state laws concerning Internet wagering to avoid any trouble. Once that’s out of the way, it’s important to figure out what kind of wager you want to make.

2. Point spread

This takes certain odds into account. Consider Team A and Team B. The odds have been determined as Team A 3.5 Team B (meaning Team A is favored to win by at least 3.5 points). If you bet on Team A, the team must win by at least 4 points for you to win the bet. If you bet on Team B, they have to lose by three points OR win the game (points irrelevant) for you to win.

3. Over/under

This isn’t the hottest new pop dance step or some intense yoga position; it’s a term in betting that relates to points scored. This type of bet doesn’t have anything to do with who wins, but the total points on the scoreboard at the end of the game. The over/under is also predetermined, like the odds in the point spread. Bettors decide whether or not they think a team will score more or less than the over/under score. And it’s simple enough: pick one, and if you’re right, you win.

4. Straight bet

This is also called a money line bet. It involves picking the favorite or the underdog to win. The odds are determined, and money comes from betting on the underdog and then having them win.

Taking Teams A and B from before, if Team A is listed as +160 and B is listed as -160, Team A is the underdog. One hundred dollars bet on the underdog team, if they win, pays out the margin ($160 in this example). Betting on the favorite, Team B, with a $160 bet pays out $100 if they win. If the favorite loses, the bettor has to pay out the original bet of $160.

5. Be smart

I once made an uninformed bet with my father concerning a college football team, and I got myself a month’s worth of extra chores when I lost. The next time we wagered, I made sure to go online and research my team’s winning record against my dad’s team and so forth.

I won this time, and we had a nice father/daughter “date,” complete with ice cream. My point is: gambling is supposed to be fun. Set limits on spending and quit while you’re ahead. Don’t get into trouble, and don’t bet money you can’t live without. And research what you’re betting on before you put the call in.

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Entertainment

How to Throw a Game of Thrones Party

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Winter is coming. Okay, maybe it’s not (yet), but this summer is a great time to get everyone together to celebrate George R. R. Martin’s fantastic novels and the hit HBO series Game of Thrones.

Everyone’s talking about it; why not throw a party to celebrate the books and the show that’s on everyone’s mind? Here are some great Game of Thrones party ideas that may create a party as epic as the original story.

What every Game of Thrones party needs

As of 2013, four seasons of the Game of Thrones HBO show have been green lit, and three have been filmed. Season 4 won’t air until 2014, but that gives fans plenty of time to read the books and catch up with the show.

Watching and reading aren’t as fun if they’re done alone, though. Celebrate properly with a viewing party to remember. . . .

1. The decorations

There are plenty of printable designs online of house banners (and plenty of DIY instructions to make them at home), wanted signs, and other character posters. Tables can be decorated with dragons and, in addition to adorning your walls, house banners can be used as designs for place mats.

One of the best parts of the books and the show is the maps that were created for this world. Print-outs of those maps would look great on walls, doors, and tables to bring the party fully to Winterfell. There’s no limit to the creativity of the decorations; the details can be set right down to handmade Game of Thrones wine glass charms and specialty labels on the bottles.

2. The food

It should come as no surprise that there are tons of Game of Thrones recipes out there and even an official cookbook companion for the series: A Feast of Fire and Ice. Now any meal can feel like a Winterfell feast. From full course meals to finger food, there’s a perfect dish out there for every party.

Fans can either replicate meals as described in the series or create new dishes inspired by characters and items in the story, such as making dragon eggs from colored hard-boiled eggs or cakes shaped like the castles in the series. Between the official recipe book and the recipes to be found around the Internet, there are instructions for Game of Thrones-themed drinks, main courses, desserts, and appetizers. A chef of any skill level and drive should have no problem providing food for a Game of Thrones-themed party.

3. The entertainment

Rather than just watch the show, add a little extra fun by setting up Game of Thrones bingo. Partygoers can mark off squares as they show up in the show, and the first to get a bingo doesn’t just get all of the glory of winning but can score a prize (like a copy of the book, for those who have only watched the HBO show).

From Game of Thrones-themed invitations to the food and the show, a viewing party is a great opportunity for friends and fans to come together and immerse themselves in George R. R. Martin’s amazing world. And of course, don’t forget that this can also be a summertime party as well, and there are plenty of other great party ideas that will make every get-together this summer and beyond into something to remember.

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EntertainmentFashion & Style

Funny Or Die? Be Dude…Bro

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Dude V.S. Bro. Every since puberty we’re being groomed to be manoliths of the kingdom of male-hood. But, as we all know we gotta keep control of our earthy follicles of hairy mandom. No one wants to see your blankets of sheep hair in the shower any more, especially in our houses where the fruit of our pledge loins need to clean up all of post mess cleaning under carriages and goopey drain hair. Enter “Dude House” presented by  Phillips Norelco, Funny or Die and your favorite dude from Workaholics on Comedy Central – Adam DeVine.

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Entertainment

Last Minute Tips for Graduation Parties

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Want the best advice ever for planning a graduation party? Have the party a place where the host is comfortable, clean-up is easy and it’s worth showing off. This can be anywhere from the garage to a restaurant, but keeping the host sane is critical. No matter who’s hosting the event, there’s a good chance the grad also has a core group of friends happy to help with the planning, so get them involved.

Start by keeping it simple, simple, simple. Play it conservatively, and don’t feel like a party needs to rival student loan amounts. Focus on what the grad enjoys and what the host enjoys–for example, if a host loves to BBQ, that should be the focus of the food. Hire a caterer only if it’s in the budget, and take advantage of everyone’s natural talents, whether it’s DJing or making the cake.

Grad Party Tips to Use

Cleaning house for a graduation party can be stressful, and it’s not always feasible to get a deep clean in. If that’s the case, just make sure the kitchen, foyer, bathrooms that will be used and room for the party are clean. Guests shouldn’t be heading anywhere else anyway, so it’s not the time to deep clean the bedrooms or closet. Clean what will be seen, and focus on cleaning throughout the year from here on out.

When it comes to beverages, simplicity is also key. Choose bottled water and no more than two sodas–one diet and one without caffeine. If the party will be outside, that’s great, but always have a Plan B in case weather doesn’t cooperate. No single host can do it alone, so ask for backup and have people in charge of the drinks, garbage and food. To get the word out, take advantage of Facebook invites, but make sure friends can’t invite friends–otherwise, it will turn into an epic party (and not in a good way).

Get Nostalgic

For memorabilia, a single 8×10 portrait of the graduate on a thick matte so everyone can sign their well wishes is more than enough. Another option is Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” as a guestbook. Also consider a poster board with pics for the graduate, grade school photos. When choosing food, keep it alcohol-free, stock up on bottled water, have a few finger foods or serve “just desserts.” Hosts can also choose a food theme (preferably the grad’s favorite), food on a stick and/or cupcakes instead of cake.

Candy makes great centerpieces, but they’re not necessary. Favors aren’t required for grad parties, either. Get party supplies at an affordable price by comparing prices online, or duck into the local dollar store. Supplies are often only used once, so don’t overspend. Get creative, make it personal and shop the discount stores for great deals.

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Entertainment

A Beginner’s Guide to Regional American Music

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With 50 states and almost 314 million people, the music of the United States is varied and diverse. Rooted in the country’s multi-ethnic culture and history, American music has changed the world, with some of the biggest recording artists of all time drawing upon their homegrown influences in the creation of their own styles and sounds. From country to bluegrass, from grunge to heavy metal, American music as as dynamic and idiosyncratic as the nation itself. Here’s a beginner’s guide to regional American music.

1. New York City

Unquestionably the most famous city in the world, New York City has a music scene to rival that of entire countries. As the focal point for all things American, the sounds you’ll hear upon entering the city will represent a variety of different sources, and yet, all intrinsically New York: hip hop, disco, punk rock and salsa music, the latter borne from the city’s rich South American immigrant heritage. No guide to music in New York would be complete without mentioning the world famous Broadway theater, which sold over $1 billion in tickets in 2012.

2. Seattle

The largest city in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle was not known for its music until the grunge explosion of the mid-1980s. Led by bands like Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam, the gloomy skies of Seattle became home to the nihilistic, dirty grunge sound, an image and perception that persists to this day. The area has now become home to indie and alternative acts like Death Cab For Cutie and The Presidents of the United States, as well as heavy metal groups like Metal Church, Nevermore and Queensrÿche.

3. Austin

Everything is bigger in Texas, they say, and so is the music. Known as the “Live Music Capital of the World”, the city is well known for its annual South by Southwest Festival, one of the largest music festivals in the world, which pulls tens of thousands of attendees who hear everything from electronic music to Texas wedding music. Austin is home to Janis Joplin, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Lucinda Williams, among many other artists.

4. Nashville

Nashville, Tennessee could arguably be considered the birthplace of modern American music. The Grand Old Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame shaped the entertainment landscape in the United States for well over a generation. Down the road, Memphis made names like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and Jerry Lee Lewis immortal.

5. San Francisco

The sun, sand, surf and sex of San Francisco made the city a haven for the counterculture movement of the 1960s. From surf rock to punk rock to heavy metal, San Francisco has always been the place to go for music that’s a little off the beaten path, giving the world bands like the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and the Creedence Clearwater Revival.

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Entertainment

7 Go-to Songs for Any Wedding Reception

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A wedding is a grand celebration of the union of two people and the start to a new life together. Friends and family gather from near and often far to take part in these festivities and to kick off the newlyweds’ entrance into matrimony. At the reception, it is important to keep all guests feeling included and entertained. Hour after hour of club bangers may cause the mothers-in-law to shift uncomfortably in their seats while on the other hand, a whole set of smooth jazz threatens a snooze fest. The key is variety and crowd-pleasing, happy mediums. Here are seven wedding song favorites to play at the reception that pump up the party, appeal to all ages, and ensure the tears are left behind at the ceremony.

Get your guests to groove-shake in sync

Nothing pulls the masses onto the wedding reception dance floor like a** song** that has a well-known dance. “Shout” by Otis Day and the Knights gets guests to drop it to floor and then raise the roof while “The Macarena” by Los Del Río is a 90’s staple that, quite literally, everyone and their mom knows. The Spanish lyrics may escape some, but the cardinal direction, step-by-step dance is a beloved (if slightly corny) classic.

Bring out the inner songbird

Jazz up the reception with songs people can sing along to. Romance-inspired tunes that suit a wedding well are The B-52’s “Love Shack” and Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer.”  The catchy choruses in these songs hold refrains that speak to the fun loving pop star residing within. Get ready to make the wedding party a little ol’ place to get together and give love a shot.

Please the crowd with some all-around favorites

Oldies but goodies bring the generations together on the dance floor and are sure to keep the party footloose throughout the wedding. Songs that guests can both dance to and sing along together will raise the energy level to new celebratory highs. The Beatles “Twist and Shout” and The Monkees “I’m a Believer” are smile-producing, hug-inspiring, and happiness-generating wedding song classics. Los Lobos “La Bamba” also encourages party-goers to get up and dance – although in the case of matrimonial revelry, a little bit of grace is certainly not necessary.

These are just seven examples of songs that can be played at a wedding reception to get the crowd up and moving. The list of dance and love tunes is endless and every wedding is unique. Picking classics such as these keep the party going with songs that are easily danced to, sung along to, and enjoyed by all.

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Entertainment

How American Idol Judges Get Their Jobs

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One of the many reasons American Idol as popular as it is, are the colorful personalities behind the judges’ table. The show wouldn’t be half as successful (or interesting) if the judges were dull, humorless people who contributed nothing to the entertainment already provided by the aspiring contestants. But it’s their unique selves, as well as their respective backgrounds in the music and entertainment industries, that gets them the position.

Simon Cowell: Striking Gold Twice

American Idol judges are chosen for how much entertainment value they can bring to the role. For the acerbic Simon Cowell, it was a no-brainer: he was a judge on Pop Idol, the original reality/talent show that he developed, and had already made a reputation for not biting his tongue when it came to giving out criticism. Cowell knew that he had the expertise and insight to make a star, and when his business partner Simon Fuller, developed American Idol, Fox executives specifically asked that Cowell reprise his “nastily charismatic” role.

Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson: Balance and More Balance

But his stinging barbs needed to be balanced – as much fun as it would be for viewers to watch Cowell tear into a hopeless contestant, there had to be limits. For that, Fox brought in Paula Abdul, with the express idea that her “nicey-nicey vibe” would serve as a foil to Cowell’s insistence that he be given free rein to condemn as he saw fit. Lastly, Randy Jackson was brought in as a buffer for the legitimate (and entertainingly ratings-friendly) tension between Cowell and Abdul: as a talent manager and music producer for Columbia Records, Jackson possessed Cowell’s experience in the workings of the music industry, and mirrored Abdul’s “sugary sweet” charm and quirkiness.

Ellen DeGeneres: When Lightning Doesn’t Strike Twice

The formula proved so successful for American Idol that the three judges presided over thousands of auditions for the next eight years. Even when Abdul left over a pay dispute with Fox, the network attempted to replace her role with similar personalities. Ellen DeGeneres became the new judge (after the hiring of Kara DioGuardi as a fourth judge to inject some change into the show), and was met with criticism for not being part of the music industry, and for being the unecessary comic relief of the judging panel. DeGeneres’ tenure lasted just one season.

Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler: The Odd Couple

When DeGeneres, DioGuardi and Cowell all left at the end of Season 9, Fox hired Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler to provide more of the humor that Paula Abdul had brought to the role. In particular, Lopez was brought on to and fan support that Idol lost when Abdul left the show, and the collective failure to strike gold with Ellen DeGeneres. The mantle of the “nice” judge fell to Tyler, as Randy Jackson shouldered the responsibility of being the “bad” judge in the wake of Simon Cowell’s exit.

Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj: A Sign Of The Times

Despite the presentation of music auditions, American Idol has always been about entertainment. When ratings dropped beyond expectations, producers took the deliberate step of casting judges they felt would connect with younger viewers. Enter Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj to boost the show’s ratings, with Keith Urban hired to balance the two female judges. However, despite the estimated $18 million Fox payed for Carey, her bickering and catfighting with Minaj has done more to harm ratings than recharge the show in the face of younger, fresher competition from other networks.

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Entertainment

Bear Crosses The Border

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A titillating video which is sure to get a chuckle. I could barely hold back the giggles, pun intended. The Labatt Blue commercial that has gone viral on the Internet is full of puns itself. A frisky bear being frisked while crossing the border. A sexy border guard flirting with a bear. This video short shows that the Labatt Blue company has a sense of humor.

Crossing the border from Canada to the United States, a bear is impatiently waiting. While being patted down, there is a reference to finding something. What, the video does not show, but whatever it was, the guard could barely keep her hands off of the…bear. Whatever she found, she brought to a party after work with the bear. A sure sign that a bear with beer is a welcome party guest. Raucous and witty, this video shines an interesting light on the comings and goings of traffic between the nations. Bearing in mind that a bear with hair would share, his beer, where, anywhere it would seem. Not to mention that without wearing clothes the bear was, well, bare! It could be said that the bear was baring it all.

But did the bear declare the beer? It seems that the border guard invited the bear with the beer to a party of border guards. Was the bear out of place? How could a frisky bear with beer be out of place?

Truly a must see video, the Labatt Blue Crossing the Border commercial is sure to gain more than a bare minimum of viewers. Enough with the puns, you really should see the commercial for yourself. If you can bear it.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeV_YJMMmWk[/youtube]

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Entertainment

The Top 5 Speaker Companies

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There are literally thousands of speaker companies in the world, and many of the best products on the market today come from small, sole-proprietor custom shops that would be unfamiliar to the average consumer and unattainable to any of us with an average checkbook. The following five companies have been chosen as “tops” in part because of the quality of their products and in part because they are large enough to provide consistent customer service and support of those products.
Case in point? The product designated as the world’s best speakers cost $200,000 and look like an arcade game from the 1970s.

  1. Bose

The critics of Bose speakers say they’re all marketing, but the fact is that marketing counts for something. As with others on this list, Bose has the advantage of combining superior quality and sound management with an international retail and customer support infrastructure that can actually service its customers. The speakers are also so good that they outperform most of the digital media a consumer is likely to play on them.

  1. Sony

Let’s not kid ourselves. Sony has made itself rich and huge by producing consumer products, not ultra high end products for the most discerning audiophile. However, the fact is that most discerning audiophiles won’t be able to tell the difference between a Sony speaker and the most expensive speakers in the world as long as they’re playing digital content.

  1. Focal

You’ll have to go into a specialty audio store (fellow Seattleites, check out Seattlehifi.com) to find Focal speakers, but they’re a great option if you’re trying to get the biggest bang for your buck. Focal made its name making super high-end speakers, some of which carry six-figure price tags, but they also offer kits for as little as $599.

  1. Sonos

Sonos is a relative newcomer to the audio industry, but for practical purposes its products have to appear on any list of great speakers, as much because of their input system as because of their output. Designed to connect with digital players – especially smart phones and tablets – through wifi and Bluetooth, the Sonos product line fits modern consumers’ needs better than most other products on the market. (Besides, Consumer Reports likes them.)

  1. Pioneer

Pioneer belongs on this list for the many of the same reasons that Sony and Bose do. Pioneer products are sold and serviced widely. They have built massive market presence by selling quality products. And they sell products that can fit virtually any budget and audio system requirement. Their speakers may not deliver quite the same quality as their competitors, but consumers who go with Pioneer save money, gain peace of mind, and can’t hear the difference.

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Entertainment

How Producers Make Rap Lyrics Radio Friendly

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Rap lyrics can get pretty vulgar, but producers don’t let that stop a song from being successful on the radio. Instead, they make radio friendly lyrics stations can play without worrying about being penalized by the FCC. There are a few different ways this can be done.

Clean Studio Versions

The easiest way to create a high-quality song that can play on the radio is by asking an artist to record a version that’s free of curse words. This is significantly more expensive than bleeping or blurring out nasty words and carries less cred with audiences. It does provide a copy of the song however that is the same quality as the rest of the songs on an album. An additional benefit of creating a clean studio version is that companies which do not produce, sell or play music with bad language will be able to use the song.

Reversed Curse Words

A popular method of creating radio friendly music is using a computer program to reverse a curse word. This makes it technically appropriate for the air, but fans easily recognize the word used. Artists have done this in the past to great suggest. However, this method may not be as family friendly as some radio stations demand. Even though the government wouldn’t have a problem with it, radio listeners (and advertisers) might feel differently.

Bleeping

Bleeping out curse words is an old practice that was used in live broadcasts. There really was something at the ready with a bleeping button to mask any nasty language someone might try to get on the air. Today’s bleeping is done quite differently – although DJs still have the ability to bleep words out.

When a producer bleeps out curse words, he or she will often use a purposefully funny or annoying beeping noise. This is for audience appeal. They make it especially obvious that the songs are being changed for the sake of censorship.

They may also choose to use funny sounds – like barnyard animals, women sighing or cash registers ringing – in order to reinforce other factors of their music being taken out by removing the swear words. Namely, how tough or raw the music, message or artist is.

Curse words are a staple of rap and hip hop lyrics. They encompass the disregard artists often display for the horrors of the world around them. Typically, songs are filled with visions of violence, aggressive and meaningless sex and excessive displays of wealth. The harsh language included bolsters that image by purposefully being offensive. As big of an impact as they make on the music, the government still feels the language is too inappropriate for the air. Playing songs including curses results in big fines for radio stations, so creating air-friendly versions becomes a necessity.

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