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Friday, October 7, 2011

Sugar Ray Leonard on Real Steel, Life Behind the Scenes and the Problem With Boxing Today


You might not think that Real Steel, the sci-fi action flick about a washed-up boxer and the junkyard robot he trains toward a fictional fighting championship, would carry much boxing credibility. But that’s where Sugar Ray Leonard comes in. The Hall of Famer was recruited by director Shawn Levy to choreograph the robot fights and most importantly, to advise the filmmakers on how to establish a humanistic relationship between the movie’s beleaguered trainer (Hugh Jackman) and Atom, the robo-underdog he takes on, that audiences will want to root for.

In anticipation of the Steven Spielberg-produced film’s release, Leonard sat down with Movieline to explain why Real Steel will bring people to tears, how his relationship with trainer Angelo Dundee inspired Hugh’s performance and the realism of Rocky.

So congratulations on Real Steel!
Thanks. It’s a great movie that I think everyone is really going to love.

What originally appealed to you about the idea of choreographing a robot boxing movie?
I didn’t know that this movie would be as complete as it turned out to be. It covers everything though — the physicality, the power and the intrigue of boxing in general. It also covered the emotional attachment and drama between the father and his son and the robot and the trainer. There’s such a mixture of emotions that are so present in boxing. It’s a sport that demands your attention. It’s really touching.

You mentioned that you didn’t know Real Steel would be so complete when you first signed on. Were you concerned about being part of a boxing film that might misrepresent the sport?
Well, after talking with Hugh Jackman and Shawn Levy, not at all. I wasn’t too sure about the whole story and the premise of the movie. Even though I read the script, I still didn’t feel it. It wasn’t until I was on set with Hugh choreographing this one robot. It was important for me that Hugh felt an attachment to Atom, the robot [he trains] because with trainers and fighters, there is an intimate connection there. I wasn’t concerned with his use of punches — because that looks good anyway — but I wanted him to show on his face that look of a passionate trainer. He pulled that off.

It’s so much more than that boom, boom, boom, boom. It’s that association between that little kid and his dad, and the dad and his fighter.

How did you establish the importance of that fighter-trainer connection with Hugh?
I kept stressing the importance of that relationship in my fights. I kept telling him stories about back in the day, when I was losing a fight and my trainer Angelo Dundee was shouting at me, “You’re blowing it, son! You’re blowing it!” He knew to say the perfect soundbite and look at me this certain way — not desperate but with a sense of urgency that was real. He looked at me that way, and Hugh had to have the same attachment to Atom, a robot. That was not easy to do, but he did it because he’s such a great actor. It’s so much more than that boom, boom, boom, boom. It’s that association between that little kid and his dad, and the dad and his fighter. Those connections there are most important.

You make it seem like that relationship between the fighter and trainer is almost more important than the skills and punches being thrown in the ring. Have you seen other boxing films that really got that fighter-trainer relationship right?
You see that in most fights, but films never really captured that the way that Real Steel has — and with robots, too! That’s a whole different arena. A boxer has so many emotions during a fight and Shawn Levy had to draw those emotions out of a robot. I took my wife and my mother-in-law and my kids and they all loved it. My mother-in-law and my wife cried because they felt that attachment. They cared about the people in this movie.


Do you envision that the future of boxing will involve robot fighters like Real Steel?
I really hope not, but phew! Boxing has taken a few black eyes in the recent past. The thing that bothers me about boxing is that there are just too many self-governing bodies. Champions don’t fight champions like they used to. To prove you’re the best, you have to fight and beat the best. I understand the way the sport operates now from a business standpoint, but at some point you’ve got to come to grips and compromise.

Who knows what can happen in the next 10 or 20 years from now? I look at this little gadget here [points at an iPhone], and I remember that I had one of the first cell phones and it was this huge thing with the huge base and antenna. Now look where we are. I could never have imagined this.

Does it scare you that people may no longer be stimulated by the amount of violence in human boxing and will need to see machines literally tear each other apart?
We have a younger generation of people who want instant gratification. We want action! We want entertainment! Hopefully that will be awhile before we get there.

Aside from Real Steel, do you have a favorite boxing movie?
The movies that I truly enjoy watching are The Champ — that’s one of my favorite films — and Million Dollar Baby. Was that good or what? Raging Bull and The FighterThe Fighter because I was a part of that history. There’s been some movies that have really hit home because they’ve resonated with fans because of that emotional context and involvement between the fighter and the trainer. People love to see people overcome the odds. And come on! Rocky! I saw Rocky the day before my first professional fight in Baltimore.

What do you remember about that experience?
It was the night before my first professional fight, and I was not the underdog by any long shot. But that movie was so inspirational and Rocky — or Sly — did these little things, these idiosyncrasies that real fighters do. That egg thing — drinking the raw eggs — I probably did that two or three times before I just said, “I don’t need this.” That was a well-scripted movie that really captured the life of a fighter.

And then years later, you had the chance to work with Sylvester Stallone on the television show The Contender.
I know. Can you believe that? All those years later, I got to work with Sly. You know, my life and my career have been amazing. Now, these 30 plus years later, I’m working with Hugh Jackman on a movie that I know is going to be a hit because it captivates the audience.

Do you have any aspiration to get back in front of the camera like you did on The Contender or more recently for The Fighter?
Not really. I’m at a point in my life where I enjoy doing this type of stuff. I’ve had my day in the sun. I’ve had a good life. I’ve done that. I don’t need that anymore. You can find me behind the scenes.

Video: Wozniak remembers friend Steve Jobs



AP Video

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak spoke with The Associated Press Thursday morning about his friend and former business partner Steve Jobs.

Funny Occupy Wall Street Protest Signs

by Justin Thomas


The Occupy Wall Street Protests have been ongoing for nearly three weeks now, and it’s showing no signs of letting up any time soon. In fact, the movement is spreading to other cities across the nation at an alarming pace. While the central message of the protests is still clouded in a haze of frustration and disorganization, many have taken to making protest signs to voice their concerns. While most of the Occupy Wall Street protest signs are pretty serious, some people have still managed to maintain a sense of humor. Check out these funny Occupy Wall Street protest signs:

funny occupy wall street signs

funny occupy wall street signs

funny occupy wall street signs

funny occupy wall street signs

funny occupy wall street signs

funny occupy wall street signs

funny occupy wall street signs

funny occupy wall street signs

funny occupy wall street signs

funny occupy wall street signs

funny occupy wall street signs

funny occupy wall street signs

funny occupy wall street signs

funny occupy wall street signs

funny occupy wall street signs

funny occupy wall street signs

funny occupy wall street signs

funny occupy wall street signs

funny occupy wall street signs

funny occupy wall street signs

funny occupy wall street signs

funny occupy wall street signs

funny occupy wall street signs

funny occupy wall street signs

funny occupy wall street signs

funny occupy wall street signs

Nuance to buy Swype for $100 million, report says

Swype lets you compose words by continuously dragging your finger from letter to letter instead of individually pecking at each key.

(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

Nuance Communications is spending $100 million to acquire Swype, the company behind one of the most popular alternative keyboards for Android devices, according to an Uncrunched report that cited unidentified sources.

Representatives for Nuance and Swipe did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Swype, founded in 2002 by Cliff Kushler, the inventor of the T9 keyboard technology for numeric keypads, is a text-input technology for touch-screen laptops and smartphones that utilizes swipes across the keyboard instead of tapping on the keys. The Seattle-based company, which has about 80 employees, expects its technology to be preloaded on 100 million devices worldwide by the end of the year.

Nuance, which dominates the voice dictation business for Windows, ventured into the mobile market in 2010 by releasing Dragon Dictation and Dragon Search for iPhone users.

Swype announced in July that it had raised $2.5 million in series C financing from existing investors Samsung Ventures, Nokia Growth Partners, Benaroya Capital, Docomo Capital, and Ignition Partners, bringing the company's total series C financing to $6 million.

20 Unusual Uses for Vinegar


Vinegar as your home’s superhero.

Chances are you’ve got a big bottle of vinegar in your pantry right now and that you only use it as a condiment. Prized for thousands of years, this fermented liquid was discovered by accident when products like wine, beer and cider spoiled, turning them sour. But did you know that vinegar – particularly the distilled white and apple cider varieties – has hundreds of household, beauty, medicinal and even horticultural uses? Here are 20 unusual, thrifty and eco-friendly uses for vinegar that you may not have thought of.

Hair conditioner

Silky, shiny, buildup-free hair using a single cheap, natural product? Sign me up! It may sound odd, but using apple cider vinegar as a rinse after shampooing really does work like a dream. It removes residue from the hair shaft and closes the cuticles. Just add half a tablespoon of vinegar to a cup of water, plus a few drops of essential oil if you like. Pour it on in the shower and then rinse it out. Sure, your hair will smell like salad dressing for a while, but once it’s dry, the smell dissipates.

Weed killer

A few rogue weeds can wreak havoc in an otherwise flawless lawn, vegetable garden or flowerbed and are especially annoying when popping up in the cracks of a sidewalk or driveway. Forget pricey weed killers full of toxic ingredients – household vinegar really does kill unwanted plants; stronger vinegar made for horticultural use, which is 25% acetic acid, works even better.

Underarm stain remover

Unsightly sweat stains can really ruin an otherwise beautiful blouse. Ironically, if you use aluminum-based antiperspirants, they’re even more likely to appear thanks to a reaction between aluminum compounds in these products and salts in your sweat. Spray full-strength white vinegar on the stain before washing and it will disappear.

Fabric softener

Add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the wash cycle and not only will it prevent lint from clinging to your clothes and keep colors bright, it’ll also remove soap scum from both the clothes you’re washing and the washing machine itself. Vinegar is also recommended in place of dryer sheets – simply add 3/4 cup to your washer during the final rinse cycle.

Sore throat remedy

Many people recommend sipping or gargling with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of warm water to soothe a sore throat. Add a few tablespoons of honey (also a seriously versatile product!) to this mixture in order to make it even more effective, and far more palatable.

Ant deterrent

Got trails of tiny ants weaving their way around your home? These annoying insects aren’t big fans of vinegar, so spraying a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water anywhere you have seen them can help encourage them to move out. The vinegar also erases the scent trails that they use to indicate sources of food to their brethren.

Sore muscle soak

Apple cider vinegar helps draw out lactic acid, which accumulates in muscles after exercise, causing that sore feeling. Mix a few tablespoons of vinegar into a cup of water, dip a cloth in the mixture and apply it to sore areas for 20 minutes.

Air freshener

Whether it’s smoke, mildew, pet odor or lingering whiffs of burnt casserole, bad smells can make a home less than welcoming. Store-bought air fresheners just cover up the smell with strong, clearly artificial scents, creating disturbing hybrid smells that only serve to worsen the situation. Acetic acid in vinegar absorbs odors, so spritzing it around the room will neutralize the smells. You can also use it to wipe down surfaces in the room that needs freshening.

Sticker remover

If you’re just getting around to removing that Kerry/Edwards decal from your bumper, or trying to peel a price tag off a new purchase, you’ll never guess what magic ingredient is about to make your life a lot easier. Warm a little bit of white vinegar on the stove top or in the microwave and then dip a rag into it. Hold the rag over the sticker until it’s thoroughly saturated, and it will peel right off without leaving sticky residue behind. This trick also loosens wallpaper adhesive.

Hiccup cure

Most doctors claim that hiccup cures don’t actually work, but tell that to the thousands of people who swear by vinegar as a way to ease these involuntary spasms. It’s not clear how a shot of vinegar would actually help – other than to distract you with its acidic flavor – but next time you’ve got a bout of the hiccups, give it a try.

Clean crusty paintbrushes

So you forgot to clean your paintbrushes last time you used them, and now they’re so stiff and crusty, it seems that you’ll have to throw them away. Not so fast! Fill a saucepan with undiluted white vinegar and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Dip the paintbrushes into the boiling vinegar, one at a time, dragging the bristles along the bottom of the pan. Continue this process until the paint is dissolved.

Dissolve rust

The acetic acid in vinegar reacts with iron oxide to remove rust from small metal items like hinges, nuts and bolts. Simmer them in a saucepan full of vinegar, then rinse well with water to prevent the vinegar from further affecting the metal.

Eliminate stale odors

You know how lunch boxes and other food containers can take on a funny smell after a while? Vinegar can take care of that, too. Either wipe down the surface well with white vinegar or, in severe cases, leave a cloth soaked in vinegar in the container for a few hours to absorb the odors.

Remove mineral deposits

Calcium and lime deposits from hard water don’t just stain coffee makers and bath tubs, they can actually clog shower heads and reduce dishwasher function. Run a mixture of half water, half white vinegar through your coffee machine to remove them. Use straight vinegar as a rinsing agent in your dishwasher to prevent buildup, and wrap a vinegar-soaked cloth around stained faucets until the deposits can be easily scrubbed away. To clean a clogged shower head, remove it from the pipe and place it in a saucepan full of white vinegar. Simmer for just a few minutes, being careful not to allow it to boil, and then wash off the stains.

Neutralize spice in foods

You’ve got a dinner disaster on your hands: one too many shakes of cayenne powder has turned your award-winning chili into an inedible five-alarm blaze, and your guests are waiting at the table. Vinegar to the rescue! Add white or apple cider vinegar to your food, one teaspoon at a time, to neutralize the spice.

Prolong the life of cut flowers

Bouquets of cut flowers brighten a room all too briefly, often wilting after just a few days. Squeeze a little extra enjoyment out of your arrangements by adding two tablespoons of white vinegar per quart of water in the vase, which will keep them perky just a little bit longer.

Glass, plastic, chrome and floor cleaner

A half-and-half solution of water and white vinegar will cut the grime on the shelves and walls of the refrigerator and eliminate spoiled food smells too. Full-strength vinegar will remove tough smudges on glass and make porcelain sinks shine. Make it into a paste with a little baking soda to scrub chrome, or mix 1/3 white vinegar with 1/3 rubbing alcohol, 1/3 water and 3 drops of dishwashing liquid for an economical floor cleaner. Just be sure not to get vinegar on marble, granite or slate surfaces.

Treat fungal infections

Fungal infections like athlete’s foot, toe nail fungus and dandruff are definitely no fun. White vinegar and apple cider vinegar can both be applied topically to affected areas of the body to kill fungus. For foot-related ailments, soak in a solution of one part vinegar to five parts water for about thirty minutes a day.

Tenderize and kill bacteria in meat

Marinate meat overnight in apple cider vinegar and it will be delectably tender. This can reportedly also kill the bacteria that causes food-borne illnesses, including e. coli.

Open drains and freshen garbage disposals

Clear a clogged drain without the nasty, headache-inducing chemicals. Dump about 3/4 cup of baking soda down the drain and chase it with 1/2 cup white vinegar, then plug the drain. Leave it for about 30 minutes before rinsing with a kettle full of boiling water. You can use the same trick to clean and deodorize garbage disposals, or freeze vinegar in an ice cube tray and grind them up in the disposal to clean and sharpen the blades at the same time.

Sprint iPhone pre-sales will be handled online; no in-store pre-orders, no wait lists


Sprint subscribers who have been waiting since 2007 for their carrier of choice to finally land the iPhone breathed a collective sigh of relief on Tuesday when Apple confirmed that the nation’s No. 3 carrier would soon offer both the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S. Sprint also confirmed on Thursday that it will indeed be offering unlimited data plans to iPhone users, and that pre-sales of the iPhone 4 would begin immediately while iPhone 4S pre-orders start on Friday.

BGR sought clarification on the pre-order process following an anonymous tip we received, and Sprint has confirmed that iPhone pre-sales will be accommodated entirely online. Sprint’s retail stores will not have the ability to take iPhone pre-orders, and the carrier also confirmed to BGR that Sprint stores will not offer “Device Wait Lists,” meaning customers cannot add their names to a list in order to be guaranteed a device on launch day. Sprint will begin selling the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S on Friday, October 14th.

New Mario Kart 7 screenshots – Tanooki power-up


A good amount of these screenshots show the Tanooki , a new power-up for the Mario Kart series.
Here’s how Nintendo describes it:

“Fans of the Tanooki power-up will be glad to hear that the Super Leaf makes an appearance in this latest instalment giving you both offensive and defensive abilities. Use your Tanooki tail to both protect you from incoming shells and to whip opponents off the track.”

Handmade Dutch Bike Is All-Wooden -- Down To The Spokes


jan-gunneweg1.jpgPhotos: Jan Gunneweg
There's a lot of wooden bikes out there, ranging from the glue-it-yourself, no-metal kind, to award-winning, high-end designer bikes. But this near all-wooden bike, handmade by Dutch industrial designer Jan Gunneweg, must be one of the most beautiful wooden specimens we've seen to date.

Made out of solid walnut and weighing under 35 pounds, the bike's unique cachet is all in the wheels, which each sport a thick wooden spoke. Drawing attention away from the metal support spokes, the wooden spokes create the impression that there is a continuous line from front wheel, through the frame and all the way to the rear wheel.
As Gunneweg tells Co.Design, the spokes "symbolize the legs of man," adding that "balancing the wheels was pretty challenging because of the width of the wooden spoke."
Another nice detail are the groovy wooden rims on both wheels:

Though it may seem paradoxical, wood and bamboo may actually be more sustainable as materials for bike design, due to the energy-intensity of steel and aluminium. Plus, the nature of wood and bamboo lends more easily to the do-it-yourself ethic, which may explain the recent explosion of handmade bamboo bicycles in places like Brooklyn, and even far off locales like Ghana, Africa.

Gunneweg, whose obsession is wood, has previously designed two wooden bikes before this version, and says that this latest model delivers a smoother ride. The bike will be available for sale later this month; for more details, visit his website.

New Trailers for 'War Horse,' 'Tintin' and Luc Besson’s 'The Lady'

By: Derrick Deane

War Horse
Debuting yesterday, the new trailer for Steven Spielberg’s wartime drama War Horse was met with mixed response. While it’s clearly being presented as Oscar bait (and no doubt the prolific director will have a reserved seat at Kodak Theater on Feb. 27), the grandeur and melodrama highlighted in this latest trailer has some folks still on the fence. Check out the latest trailer and let us know what you think. War Horse arrives in theaters on Christmas Day.

A new international trailer for Spielberg’s other December movie, The Adventures of Tintin, arrived today. Not much new here with the exception of some dialogue, but Tintin continues to pick up momentum as it approaches its December 21st release date. Take a look at the new trailer below.

When it comes to Luc Besson, he’s not exactly well-known for his long list of Oscar-nominated and Academy Award-winning movies. Rather, the French filmmaker is known more for his entertaining, high-octane action flicks ranging from La Femme Nikita and Leon: The Professional to launching the Transporter franchise starring Jason Statham.

So when the first trailer for The Lady appeared with Michelle Yeoh’s name as the lead actor, one would expect a kung-fu action fest to unfold before your eyes. After all, Yeoh apprenticed and co-starred with legendary action star Jackie Chan in a number of movies, so take a look at the trailer for The Lady and let us know what you think.
Good change of pace for Besson and Yeoh? Or should they get back to action flicks? The Lady doesn’t have a U.S. release date yet but opens in France in late November.

Van Damme Friday - Straight Gansta