Ray Jr. on Sports

 

  1. The Final Four-I have to admit; this is one of the more exciting Final Fours in recent years. To no surprise, North Carolina is there, but if someone would’ve told me that Gonzaga, Oregon..and especially South Carolina would be there, I would’ve had your head examined. But here they are, among the final four teams in the NCAA Tournament.
  2. My picks for the National Championship-Well, I’ve been rooting for North Carolina to get back there (and play defending champ Villanova again, until they got eliminated) and I stand by that prediction. And I would like to see South Carolina continue their Cinderella story and make they’re first ever titled game.
  3. My pick to win it all-In a possible All-Carolina (North vs. South) final, I will predict the Tar Heels to become National Champions for the first time since 2009, which would be their 3rd under HC Roy Williams. Sorry South Carolina, but your upsets will end in this game, provided you get past Gonzaga.
  4. Archie Miller leaves Dayton for Indiana-Most Pitt fans don’t like this because he turned down the offer to join the Panthers as HC to stay at Dayton. Last week he left to join the Indiana Hoosiers, a legendary team, but also a team who hasn’t won a championship since 1987 under HOF Coach Bob Knight.
  5. Should Miller have left Dayton? Most will say no, but I would say yes because he put the team on the map with 3-straight NCAA Tournament appearances and an Elite Eight appearance in 2014. Plus, he was named the Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year this season. He’s exceeded expectations in Dayton. But the expectations will be high in Indiana.
  6. Should Keith Dambrot have left Akron to join Duquesne? Now this one is interesting. I would say no because he left a good thing in Akron, taking them to the NCAA Tournament 4 times and the NIT five times. He also coached LeBron James in high school, so that part of his resume’ will always stand out. Going to Duquesne will be a challenge for him, and apparently, he’s up for it.
  7. What did LeBron James have to say about Dambrot’s hiring? His comments were funny but supportive: “I support everything that Coach D do. He’s paid more dues than any other coach in Akron history….Did he get a seven-year deal? He probably got a pay raise, too. He’s going to have to take me to lunch when I get back.” Classic
  8. Another Pitt Basketball Departure-But at least this time, it’s an understandable one. Assistant Coach Jeremy Ballard will leave the school for the same position at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) a year after being hired. Ballard feels that the VCU spot is better for him and you can only respect him for that. But another Pitt departure is another black eye for the school.
  9. The current state of the team-Well for now, the smoke has cleared after they saw four players depart this month. But HC Kevin Stallings certainly can’t cry over spilled milk of long; he has 2017-18 to think about. He has two more scholarships to fill, and it doesn’t take Einstein to know that he will check the graduate-transfer circuit. Here’s hoping that he’ll find some scorers and rebounders in his team after the departures of Mike Young and Jamel Artis.
  10. Uconn’s Geno Auriemma wins AP Coach of the Year-I need to add ‘again’ to the end of that sentence because all this dude does is win. It’s his 9th AP Coach of the Year award, he also won his 7th WCBA Coach of the Year award, and he’s on track for his 12th National Championship at Uconn. Wow. Just imagine his trophy case.
  11. NBA News Well, as the regular season continues to wind down, there’s no surprise that the Golden State Warriors (61-14) are still the best in the league. Will they win 70 again? Perhaps, but I bet you a dollar that they don’t care if they do, or don’t. Winning 73 last season was a record, but it didn’t give them a ring. San Antonio (57-17) is right behind them, and Houston (51-23) are 3rd As for the East, the defending champion Cleveland Cavs (47-26) lead Boston (48-27) by a hair with Washington (46-29) and Toronto (45-30) right behind them. Should be interesting how they finish.
  12. Can the Cavs get it together-TI feel that LeBron James is distracted with arguing with folks in the news and frustrated with the team’s struggles on the court? He’s the leader. Once he gets his head straight, the rest of the team will follow. But they’ve also been dealing with lots of injuries too. Time will tell.
  13. Russell Westbrook does it again-Does what you ask? Come, one man, another Triple-Double, but this time, it’s the highest-scoring triple-double in history with 57 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists as OKC beat Orlando 114-106 in OT. Impressive.
  14. NBA MVP Race-I mean, is there a debate? Sure James Harden has led Houston back to the playoffs, and LeBron can probably qualify every season, but you gotta give it to Westbrook. He’s leading OKC all by himself after Kevin Durant left. The Human Triple-Double should get the MVP award.
  15. Carmelo Anthony is at peace with the reduced role with Knicks-I mean seriously, what is it going to take for this dude to get out of New York? The team is going nowhere and if he’s trying to get a ring. He needs to flee while he still can. Hopefully, someone will orchestrate a trade in the offseason.
  16. Are the Seahawks listening to offers for CB Sherman? Apparently, they are, and I think it’s stupid. He’s the best CB in the game, but he also can be disruptive and disrespectful to coaches, and I feel that HC Pete Carroll is sick of it. Nothing’s gonna happen, but I hope Sherman keeps his intensity on the field.
  17. Still no word on Martavis Bryant’s reinstatement-And I hope this continues to humble him because being suspended for a year is nothing to blink at. He needs to realize that an NFL career shouldn’t be taken for granted and the Pittsburgh Steelers can win without him.
  18. Big Ben’s decision-I didn’t think he was dramatic, but now I feel that the Steelers QB is being ‘a little’ dramatic in making it known that he will play for a 14th I can understand him taking some time, but he just answered a question days after losing the AFC Championship Game. He knows it’s not best to operate via emotions. He’ll be back.
  19. Pirates news-As their first game of the season is around the corner, the Pittsburgh Pirates almost have their starting pitchers set: Gerrit Cole, Jameson Tallon, Ivan Nova, Chad Kuhl and possibly Tyler Glasnow and Trevor Williams for that 5th I’m glad that Drew Hutchinson is not because he wasn’t good enough. Shame on the team for trading Francisco Liriano for him.
  20. Pirates Outlook-If their pitching will do well, I can see the Pirates finishing 85-77 this season. But will they make the playoffs as a Wild Card? Not sure. Time will tell.

 

 

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmedaitoday.com

Follow him@urbanmedaRay on Twitter

Facts About Heart Disease

Many health conditions can result in what is termed heart diseases, such as arrhythmias, heart infections, coronary artery disease, diseases that affect blood vessels and congenital heart defects. The most common meaning of heart disease is any blockage in the blood vessels, arteries or the heart’s valves, which can result in a heart attack or stroke.

 

There are many things that put a person at a higher risk of developing heart disease. Some factors are out of a person’s control. For example, the older you are the more likely it is you will develop heart disease. Men are at an increased risk, but women’s risk goes up after menopause. Also, having a family history of heart disease makes it much more likely that you will experience the condition.

 

Not everything that increases a person’s risk for heart disease is out of that person’s control. Eating a poor diet that consists of high amounts of fat, salt and cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease. Smoking is another huge contributor to heart problems. Not managing high blood pressure or diabetes through medication and lifestyle changes also increase a person’s risk. Being overweight, leading a sedentary lifestyle and not properly managing stress are all things within a person’s scope of control that also increase his risk for heart disease.

 

How can someone tell they might have heart disease? There are several warning signs to watch for. Chest pain and shortness of breath are obvious symptoms, but many people write them off as indigestion or fatigue. If your legs or arms experience sudden pain, turn numb without reason or are constantly cold, this is a definite warning sign that something is wrong with your cardiovascular system. Other possible signs include experiencing lightheadedness on a regular basis, fainting and feeling a fluttering sensation in your chest.

 

If you suspect you or someone close to you is suffering from heart disease, medical attention is needed to properly diagnose and manage the situation. The doctor might prescribe medications to lower your blood pressure, thin out your blood or lower your cholesterol. If medications alone are not enough to manage your heart condition, the doctor might recommend undergoing various medical procedures such as angioplasty or coronary artery bypass surgery.

 

Medications and medical procedures are not the only ways to manage heart disease. Making certain lifestyle changes can at least help with your condition. If you smoke, you need to quit immediately. Take any diabetes or blood pressure medicines faithfully, and monitor your cholesterol levels. Change your eating habits so you consume more foods with low saturated fats, whole grains, and vegetables. Exercise regularly and work to lower your weight if you are overweight. These changes may take time, but each day that passes that you continue with your current lifestyle can actually bring you closer to your grave. news@urbanmediatoday.com

Take the Show on the Road with a Great Bike Rack

by beconrad

 

Riding your bike is a great way to get some much-needed exercise and enjoy the great outdoors. The problem is that many modern roads are not fit for bicycle traffic. Even though bicycles are technically allowed on most roads, a number of factors make riding on many of them difficult and even dangerous.

 

Major roads through the town may have wide shoulders and ample room to ride, but they also host large numbers of cars and trucks. To make matters worse, that vehicular traffic often uses the shoulder of the road to enter and exit parking lots, make turns and otherwise inhibit bicycle riders.

 

Some bike riders take to the smaller country roads, but that option comes with its own dangers. Country roads are often winding, with sudden curves and hidden blind spots. That can make it harder for motorists to see you and your bike. Country roads also tend to be narrower than other streets, making it harder for bicyclists to get off to the side when cars and trucks approach. In addition to those hazards, narrow country roads often have no shoulders at all, or shoulders that consist solely of loose gravel, dirt, and other unstable surfaces. Those uneven surfaces can make it hard for bicycle riders to maintain their balance during a quick swerve or other emergency maneuvers.

 

The absence of public road options does present some challenges to avid cyclists and fitness enthusiasts, but it does not have to spell the end of their riding careers. Bike paths and other specialty riding areas provide bicyclists with another option and the chance to ride safely. Bike paths also provide cyclists with a way to meet others who share their enthusiasm and passion for the sport.

 

While bike paths are great, cyclists need a safe way to get there and back, and that is where a good bike rack comes in. Choosing a bike rack is not difficult, but it is important to look for a few key features.

 

One of the most important factors to look for in a bike rack is ease of use. The best bike racks make it easy to lock your bike in place quickly, without undue stress or difficulty. If possible, you should check out the bike rack in person and practice taking your bike on and off the rack.

 

Security is another important consideration when buying a bike rack. You are not the only person who loves your bike; there are plenty of thieves who would like to get their hands on it as well. A secure lock that is hard for thieves to pick but easy for you to operate is an absolute must.

 

The right bike rack gives you added freedom and allows you ride far from the fast-moving cars and trucks that ply the modern roadways. Knowing what to look for in a bike rack is the best way to protect your ride and enjoy your favorite sport.

 

UMT Sports Update

As the Month of March comes to an end, here’s what’s happening in the world of sports….

                                                 College Basketball

 

  1. Final Four-3 weeks after the NCAA Tournament began with 68 teams, only four remains. #1 Seeds North Carolina and Gonzaga, #3 Oregon and #7 South Carolina will battle for the right to advance to the National Championship Game. Each of these teams has proven themselves worthy of winning their respective regions and have played a huge part in making this a very exciting Big Dance. Oregon will face North Carolina, while South Carolina will face Gonzaga.
  2. South Carolina and Oregon-When the early brackets were filled out, no one could predict that these two teams would still be standing as we’re used to seeing these schools succeed in College Football, not basketball. After pulling off the huge upset over Kansas, Oregon makes their first Final Four since 1939 while the Gamecocks make they’re first ever Final Four after upsets of #2 Duke, #3 Baylor and #4 Florida.
  3. Uconn still dominates Women’s college hoops-In an age where upsets are pretty common, the University of Connecticut Huskies Women’s basketball team is one of the few exceptions. They rule women’s basketball, and it looks like they’re headed to another National Championship, which would be their 5th straight and 10th Oh, and the last time they lost a game? 2014, or 863 days ago.
  4. Duquesne finally gets their Head Coach-Weeks after parting ways with Jim Ferry, Duquesne hired former Akron HC Keith Dambrot as the next man to lead their men’s basketball team. Dambrot has an impressive resume, compiling a 305-139 record in 13 seasons with the Zips. If he’s looking for a challenge, he’ll get one with the Dukes, who’re looking for a huge light in their longstanding ‘tunnel.’

 

National Football League

 

  1. Seahawks are listening to offers for CB Richard Sherman-Suprised aren’t you? Why would the Seahawks do such a thing? The reports are that it’s because the All-Pro CB had a rough 2016 which included two blowups at coaches on the sidelines and apparently HC Pete Carroll is getting a bit tired of it. Plus, they owe $11 million over the next two years on his contract as well, but then again that’s probably the main reason why Sherman won’t be going anywhere.
  2. RB Marshawn Lynch (kinda) makes it official-Carroll has also stated that his former RB is officially contemplating a comeback to the NFL, one year after announcing his retirement. If he does, the Seahawks still own his rights as well as $19 million due to him over the next three seasons. The Oakland Raiders want him for sure, but it would take the Seahawks cutting or trading him for that to happen.
  3. The Las Vegas Raiders-Speaking of those Raiders, it was made official that they will be relocating to Las Vegas…in 2019. The NFL owners approved a near-unanimous vote of 31-1 (that one team being the Miami Dolphins) of the eventual move. They will remain in Oakland the next two seasons.
  4. Martavis Bryant Update-The Steelers WR has been suspended for one year for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, and now it appears that Martavis Bryant’s reinstatement to the league appears ‘imminent’ according to a league source. The deadline to reinstate players was supposed to be March 28th, but apparently commissioner Roger Goodell is taking his time.

National Basketball League

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers struggles-The defending champs are going through it, and now they’re no longer the best in the Eastern Conference as the Boston Celtics now have that title. It’s no surprise that the Cavs are frustrated as the playoffs loom. G Kyrie Irving takes responsibility for their slump as he said “I think we all had to do it. But for me more importantly…I had to look in the mirror and just wasn’t doing enough..” here’s hoping the team follows his lead, especially LeBron James.

 

  1. Washington Wizards win Division Title-Yep you read it right. The former Washington Bullets finish in first place for the first time since 1978-79 when Wes Unseld was still patrolling the paint. These days you have John Wall getting it done, and he deserves NBA MVP votes for it. HC Scott Brooks deserves NBA Coach of the Year.
  2. Knicks Joakim Noah suspended-It honestly seems like the NY Knicks are cursed. They can’t get themselves together on the court and are as much of a mess off the court. The Knicks F was given a 20-game suspension for alleged PED use, and it will start immediately.
  3. Warriors F Kevin Durant expected to return in the regular season-The prize free agent signing of the Golden State Warriors suffered a costly injury that stated that he would miss the rest of the regular season, but according to the team, Kevin Durant could return for the regular season, which will end April 12th. Apparently, this is a way to keep Durant from going into the playoffs in a rusty state.

National Hockey League

  1. Penguins Goalie Controversy??-Could be after starter Matt Murray has struggled of late and backup Marc-Andre Fleury has looked pretty good. They need to do whatever it takes to defend their Stanley Cup championship as the NHL Playoffs loom. The Pittsburgh Penguins are 46-18 and are currently on a 3-game losing streak while sitting in 3rd place in the Metropolitan Division.

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

Follow me@urbanmediaRay on Twitter

www.ncaa.com, www.yahoosports.com, www.nbssports.com, www.espn.com

Are You In A Fashion Rut? Put These Tips To The Test

These days, it’s a good idea to always look your best. You never know when a photo or a video will be taken of you. From security cameras to smartphones in everyone’s pocket, you never know when your image will wind up online. In order to look your best, keep reading.

Only buy clothes that are flattering to your figure. Do not think that you must have every fashion trend that is available, even if it does not look good on you. No matter how trendy an item is, if it is not flattering to your figure, don’t consider buying it.

Keep your haircut low maintenance. Everyone runs into time crunches when preparing for meetings, outings or other events, and having an easy to fix hairstyle cuts the time needed to get ready. Many fashionable hairstyles are available that will allow you to bounce quick and still maintain a great look.

Skimpy tops are comfortable to wear in hot weather, but be careful if you are a big busted gal. Your figure needs good support, and you will feel more secure if you wear a sports bra under a lightweight top that has skinny straps and no shape of its own.

Come with a style that is unique to you. Many people are fashion followers, but what stands out is a fashion leader. You have to have a certain kind of personality to do this, however, once you do it, you can receive compliments on your unique style.

A great fashion tip is to always dress appropriately depending on where you’re going. This is especially important for parties because so many different parties require their own special attire that guests are expected to wear. You don’t want to show up to a cocktail party under dressed or do the exact opposite.

Skinny jeans are what is in style now. These kinds of jeans are snug around all areas of your body, from you waist and rear end, all the way down to your ankles. The best part of these jeans is that they look good with pretty much any pair of shoes!

If you are going to a formal event and aren’t quite sure what to wear, you can’t fail with a simple black dress. No matter what the decade, a simple, little black dress has always been in style and will never go out. Consider this next time you aren’t sure what to wear.

If you find a classic skirt, linen shirt or pair of jeans that fits you perfectly and makes you look and feel fabulous, buy two of them. Designers make their money by making changes every year so that customers will buy new items each season. You may not ever be able to replace that beloved item that gives you so much pleasure and confidence.

Make sure whatever you wear; the clothes fit you well. This is especially important for people that are shorter in stature. Large clothes make a person look messy. They make an overweight person look larger and a short person looks shorter. Make sure you buy clothes that fit you well or have them altered.

One great fashion tip to try out is throwing on a scarf. This is a great tip because the scarf can almost be considered the ultimate add-on due to a number of color combinations as well as how easy it is to put one on. They are also extremely portable.

Be aware of your body type. If you are tiny, use soft and muted patterns that are fitted at the waist to increase the appearance of your overall length. Yet if you are fully figured then you are going to want to cover up to keep your image intact. If you have a pear shape, wear light colors on top with dark bottoms.

Don’t buy clothes that don’t fit you, vowing to yourself that you’ll “get into them.” While it’s an admirable goal, it rarely works out that way. The vast majority of women never do “get into them,” and just end up wasting money on sometimes expensive clothing. Lose weight first; then go shopping.

If you wear leather, take care of it. When you buy a leather garment, ask the salesperson what kind of animal was used for it and what the tanning process was. Find out the specific care steps you need to take both rights after purchase and over the lifetime of the garment.

To stretch your wardrobe’s versatility, fill your wardrobe with a variety of scarves and belts in different patterns and styles. You can use these to add a splash of interest to a solid colored top. You can use these in countless combinations to create a different look each time without needing to buy a different outfit.

Wine colors, such as deep purples and dark reds, have been in fashion all year and are expected to be in fashion for the fall and winter as well. Burgundy coats, mahogany dresses, and plum skirts are all some great choices. Just make sure to get wine-colored accessories as well.

Your hair has a lot to do with the way you look. Because of this, your hairstyle simply must represent you well. Women in business need to have a classic, powerful look. If you are always on the run, make sure to choose a manageable look.

An hourglass figure looks sexy on all women. Even though society makes us believe that the extremely thin women are the sexiest, this is far from the truth. Men love women with an hourglass figure. Always wear clothing that complements your curves. If you do not have curves, fake it by wearing a high-waisted skirt or a stylish belt.

Apply this advice, and you can’t go wrong. With the advances in technology, you never know when you are being recorded. Someone could snap a picture of you on their phone at any time. Always try to look your best and use the advice you were given here to help you.editor@urbanmediatoday.com

NBA Update

The Cleveland Cavaliers at one point in the not so distant past had at least a five-game lead while sitting atop of the NBA Eastern Conference. That is now a distant memory as the Boston Celtics led by Isaiah Thomas are on a four-game winning streak and now lead the Cavaliers by half a game. Right behind Cleveland is Washington who is on a three-game winning streak of their own. Yep, the John Wall-led  Wizards who are only two and a half games back with nine games left in their regular season. By the way, did I mention that the Toronto Raptors are on a five-game winning streak and they are only a game behind the Wizards which means they are only three and a half games behind Boston and Cleveland.

 

Confused? Well, let me make it simple. There are eight playoff spots available in the Eastern Conference; actually, there are only four spots available. Cleveland, Boston, Washington, and Toronto have already locked up four spots.

That means that in the Eastern Conference Atlanta, Milwaukee, Indiana, Miami, Chicago, Detroit, and Charlotte are all playing with the hope of the getting last available playoff spots in the conference.The intriguing thing about this situation is that between Atlanta (who is currently in the five spot )and Charlotte (who is 12th) the two teams are only separated by four games. The Hawks are currently on a seven-game losing streak, and no one is on a hot streak at the moment. But keep an eye on ATL  they will either snap the current slump or play themselves right out of the post-season.

 

Now out West Golden State still has the best record in the NBA with 59 wins and only 14 losses and the San Antonio Spurs are right behind the Warriors with only two games separating the two teams.Houston, Utah and the L.A. Clippers are following with the closest team (Houston) behind by six games, and with the regular season winding down they will not catch the Spurs or the Warriors. But all three teams have clinched a play off birth, which means that there are only three spots left in the Western Conference.

 

Currently, Oklahoma City, Memphis, and Portland own the final three spots and the only team in any real trouble is Portland. The Trail Blazers are tied with the Denver Nuggets at the moment, but Portland holds on to the head to head tie breaker and thus are the eighth seed. Denver has hope because their season comes down to which team can win the most games in the nine games left in the season. I give the nod to Portland because they are on a three-game winning streak and won 7 of their last ten games. Denver lost four of their last ten and can’t afford to repeat that scenario. There is a possibility that Dallas or New Orleans can sneak up on Portland and Denver in these final games of the season, nine-game but that would take either catching fire and nine-game winning streak. I don’t see that happening.

 

So, right  with nine games or less left in the regular season, the playoff seedings looks like this:

 

Eastern Conference :

#1 BostonsCeltics

#2 Cleveland Cavaliers

#3 Washington Wizards

#4 Toronto Raptors

#5  Atlanta Hawks

#6  Milwaukee Bucks

#7  Indiana Pacers

#8  Miami Heat

 

 

WesternConference:

#1 Golden State Warriors

#2  San Antonio Spurs

#3  Houston Rockets

#4  Utah Jazz

#5  Los Angeles Clippers

#6  Oklahoma City Thunder

#7  Memphis Grizzlies

#8 Portland Trail Blazers

 

 

(All of my sources come from NBA.com)

Reach out to me with comments, predictions and questions  at New@UrbanMediatoday.com

Follow me on twitter @UMTSportsreport

 

Trevin A Jones

Feed Them What They Want Using These Tips

Cooking is a wonderful art to learn. Whether it is purely for nutritional purposes or for the joy of creating a meal from scratch for your family and friends, the relaxation that can be associated with this skill is immense. But if you were never taught the basics of cooking, and finding your way around a kitchen is not your forte, here are a few handy hints you need to know.

When cooking any recipe, use the best ingredients that you can afford. Splurge a little on imported cheeses or better quality meats when you can, so that you can experience a restaurant, quality-tasting meal at home. To enhance the experience even further, try to creatively plate up the meal with a little thought, for something different now and then.

Easy measuring cup clean up. Many baking recipes call for sticky ingredients such as butter, honey, syrup or peanut butter. Instead of having to wash out a gooey mess every time you need to reuse the measuring cup, spray the inside of the cup with non-stick cooking spray. The ingredients will slide right out, and you can reuse the measuring cup right away!

When cooking a big meal, try to do your prep work the night before. This saves you time when you’re getting things ready for your dinner the next day. Have everything washed, chopped, and ready to go. You’ll thank yourself because there is less stress the night of the big meal.

It is extremely embarrassing to have lumps in your gravy. It happens to everybody from the beginner cook to the master chef. There is a simple trick you can use to eliminate them. Drain the gravy through a fine strainer and discard the lumps. This technique can be used for other sauces or soups too.

One of the things that you will need to realize when you are making meats or fish is that you need to spread your seasoning evenly. Adding too much seasoning in one area of your food can reduce the flavor or lead to a tangy taste that will reduce the quality of your meal.

Substitute Greek yogurt for mayonnaise in creamy salad dressings. If you are on a diet or just trying to eat healthily, you can still make creamy salad dressings with healthy ingredients. Just substitute the mayonnaise in them with a low-fat Greek-style yogurt. This will make the dressing much healthier.

Kneading is a tiring task, but the constantly moving board makes it even more difficult. Have you tried a few unsuccessful tricks to secure the board? Try the simplest of all which always deliver the best results. Place a damp towel under the board you are using to knead the dough. It will keep the board in place.

A coffee grinder isn’t just for coffee. A coffee grinder works just as well as a food processor for some jobs. This is especially true for small jobs when you don’t want the trouble of lugging out a huge processor and then having to wash all the parts. Nuts and peppercorns grind perfectly in a coffee grinder, even sugar if you need a quick substitute for powdered sugar in a recipe.

When you learn to cook for yourself, do not be afraid of cooking in large batches. The freezer becomes your friend once you are making your meals. Surplus food that you prepare, but will not use immediately, can be stored almost indefinitely in your freezer. Cooking in large batches is the best way to maximize the utility of your cooking time.

One of the greatest things that you can do is to cook with family members or friends. When you cook with someone else, you will be able to pick up on tricks that they implement and will be able to better yourself as a cook. Talk to them to see how their thought process works, to elevate your expertise.

Garlic is amazing but comes at the cost of smelly hands. Rub your hands thoroughly on the interior of a stainless steel sink after working with garlic or other odoriferous cooking ingredients. This handy trick cleanses your hands, so the smell will not be transferred to what you are going to touch next.

If you want a healthier diet, use less oil when you cook. Oil and butter have lots of fat. Replace them with a nonstick cooking spray, and you won’t notice the difference.

Eggplants tend to turn black during cooking unless you treat them properly. Add a spoon of milk to the cold cooking water and add the plant to that milky water. The eggplant will not change its color during cooking and will make your dish more appetizing when you serve it.

You may or may not have heard of schmaltz, but it is a very useful component when cooking. Schmaltz, otherwise known as chicken fat, is very rich. The flavor of schmaltz is deeper than duck fat and can be used for many things, such as cooking meats or poaching fish.

Before preparing any dish, you must ensure that your utensils are clean. Bits of food on your utensils could contaminate the dish you are cooking. This can cost you a lot because it might cause bacteria to spread.

Read the recipe fully before you begin any cooking endeavor! Just reading the list of ingredients does not ensure that you are fully prepared to complete the meal. There are many different techniques and tools that may be required so do not be too ambitious when tackling a new recipe.

One of the best cooking tips for moist and flavorful meat is to take the time to marinate. The simple truth is that the longer you marinate your meat, the more intense and enjoyable the flavor will be. A good rule of thumb is to marinate overnight whenever possible ” longer is even better. For safety sake, be sure to keep food covered and chilled in the refrigerator as it marinates.

There is no longer need to hold onto any fear of the kitchen. By following these ideas and learning the basics of cooking, you will be rewarded. With a little time and practice, you will be whipping up gourmet meals to impress your friends in no time at all.

editor@urbanmediatoday.com

NCAA Final Four (You didn’t see this one coming!)

If you have been following the NCAA Men’s  Championship  Basketball Tournament and filled out a bracket with Gonzaga, Oregon, South Carolina and North Carolina in your final four. I want to see your bracket!

When the sixteen teams left in the tournament resumed play last Thursday, there were three number one seeds, two number two seeds and three number three seeds with an 11th seeded Xavier looking like the Cinderella team. Well, after this weekends action there are only two number one seeds ( North Carolina and Gonzaga), a third seed (Oregon) and a true Cinderella in seventh-seeded South Carolina.

So let’s pick up where we last left off. Thursday Oregon started the “Sweet Sixteen” action with an exciting 69-68 win over an upstart Michigan team. The Wolverines down by two the half went back and fourth with the Ducks until the Green and Gold held on for the one-point win.  Gonzaga, the top seed in the West, held off a Mountaineer charge beating West Virginia 61-58 and Kansas destroyed Purdue by 32. The big upset Thursday was 11th seeded Xavier knocking off the second seed in the West, Arizona by two points.

Friday North Carolina the top seed in the South had their way with Butler 92-80, South Carolina destroyed Baylor by 20 points, and UCLA with its’ high-powered offensive attack fell to Kentucky 86-75. The exciting game of the night was Florida beating Wisconsin by one point  (84-83)after Gators Guard Chris Chiozza drove the length of the court and nailed a three-point shot at the buzzer from the top of the key in overtime for the win.

That set up the “Elite Eight “ action that transpired this weekend. Xavier, the lowest seed of the eight remaining teams, turned into a pumpkin when the Musketeers ran into a buzz saw named Gonzaga 83-59. Saturday night the Oregon Ducks put a lid on the Kansas Jayhawks who were the number one seed in the Midwest Region. The Ducks took control of the game from start to finish and sent the Jayhawks packing with a 74-60 whipping. Jordan Bell was the man for the Ducks blocking a tournament-record eight shots to go with his 11 points and 13 rebounds. Oregon held an eleven point lead at the half and fought off a  Kansas desperation come back attempt in the final six minutes of the game for the win. Gonzaga and Oregon made the first half of the “Final Four”  a West Coast members only club. The Bulldogs have never been in the “Final Four”  before, and the last time the Ducks were in the NCAA championship semi-finals was in the inaugural tournament in 1939, and that year only eight teams were in the entire tournament.

Sunday four teams battled in two games to decide the second half of the final four in exciting fashion. South Carolina has never been in a “Final Four” and standing in their way was a familiar foe in Southeastern Conference member Florida. The Gators were the fourth seed in the East, and the Gamecocks were only the seventh seed. Each team had won a game in the two times the schools met in the regular season. The contest was played at Madison Square Garden, and the Gamecocks would go into the half time down by seven points. In the second half, the Gamecocks and Gators would go back and forth until South Carolina’s  Sindarius Thornwell (The SEC player of the year), and his teammates took over to secure a seven-point win. Thornwell led the way with a game-high 26 points as South Carolina beat Florida 77-70  propelling itself into the first NCAA Championship Semi-Finals in school history.

The second game of the day decided who would get the final spot in the NCAA Championship Semi-Finals and the Wildcats of Kentucky appeared more than ready to take on the number one seeded North Carolina.  The Last time these two schools met the final score was 100 to 103 with The Wildcats coming out on top. This time the Tar Heels were ready for Kentucky taking a five-point lead into the half (38-33). In the second half, Kentucky’s Malik Monk and North Carolina’s Justin Jackson and Luke Maye would be key in the nip and tuck battle. At one point in the second half, Jackson was fouled while sinking a shot from beyond the three-point arc and converted the free throw completing a four-point play. Late in the game, UNC went on a ten to nothing run, but in the last 40 seconds of the game, Monk sank a three pointer tying the game at 73. But with 15 seconds left in regulation the Tar Heels immediately in bound the ball, drove the length of the court and guard Theo Pinson found Luke Maye open for a 15-foot jumper that tickled the twine with .3 of a second left on the clock. The bucket gave the team from tobacco road a 75-73 win and a trip to the “Final Four” next weekend in the Phoenix.

So, now we have two teams making the first “Final Four” in the history of their schools programs ( Gonzaga and South Carolina), another school (Oregon) making it to the Semi-Finals for the first time in 77 years and the school ( North Carolina) that’s going back to the “Final Four” for a NCAA record 20th time. Saturday, April 1, 2017, South Carolina and Gonzaga will face off to decide which school gets to go to their first NCAA Championship game. Followed by Oregon trying to stop North Carolina from enjoying their second consecutive title game. This year’s championship game will be Monday night April 3rd and again if you say you saw this coming . I want to see your bracket; reach out to me at  New@urbanmediatoday.com.

Trevin A Jones

(Follow me on twitter @UMTSportsreport)

Ray Jr. on Sports

  1. Pitt Pro Day-As the NFL Draft nears, this was a very important day for the University of Pittsburgh NFL Draft prospects (especially those who weren’t invited to the NFL Combine) 14 of those prospects had a chance to market themselves in front of scouts from the Pittsburgh Steelers and several other NFL Teams by performing various drills at the Steelers and Panthers UPMC South Side Facility Wednesday afternoon.
  2. Who made the most impressions?-Well, to no surprise it was RB James Conner, QB Nate Peterman, OL Doran Johnson, Adam Bisnowaty and TE Scott Orndoff who caught the attention of most of the scouts, but WR Dontez Ford, linebacker Matt Galambos, defensive tackle Tyrique Jarrett and cornerback Ryan Lewis and K Chris Blewett also got looks, and Lewis really turned heads when he ran a 4.3 40.
  3. Who gets drafted? Just like I said at the NFL Combine when 6 Panthers were invited, I feel that they are the ones who will get welcomed into the NFL on Draft Day. Conner, Peterman, Johnson, Bisnowaty, Price and Orndoff will hear their names called. But Lewis, Ford and possibly Blewitt could get signed as undrafted free agents, and then it’ll be up to them to show those NFL teams their worth.
  4. Pitt Basketball-It’s a shame that more bad news continues to come from a team that suffered their worst lost since 2000 as G Damon Jones became the 4th player to leave the school. He follows G Justice Kithart (dismissed), Corey Manigault and Crisshawn Clark out the door from a Pitt team that has basically lost the majority of their 2016 recruiting class. And it gets better:(Not really) my Dude, the Big Man Rozelle Nix and fellow redshirt junior forward Jonathan Milligan could depart too as graduate transfers as they work to finish their degrees. Wow.
  5. Why is this happening? It’s simple: Most of these kids were recruited by former HC Jaime Dixon and they do not want to play for Kevin Stallings. He obviously knew that so he basically left that door open for them to depart with the goal of bringing in more of his own recruits in addition to the seven 2017 commits that he already has. Pittsburgh Post Gazette’s Paul Ziese wrote a Wednesday column that this isn’t a good look for the team, and I agree with him.
  6. NCAA Tournament The Sweet 16 is here, and I have a new favorite team (since defending national champ Villanova failed me) and it’s North Carolina. I think they have what it takes to win it all, especially after losing the title game to Villanova last season. The Tar Heels face a very good Butler team Friday night and I expect them to prevail.
  7. Kentucky Wildcats To be honest, I think a lot of folks are underestimating this team and I’m one of them. I didn’t even realize that the Wildcats were in the Big Dance, much less a #2 seed, but here they are in the Sweet 16 and will play UCLA Friday as well. Both teams are hungry, that might be the game of the night.
  8. Georgetown fires HC John Thompson III I was sorry to hear this news as Thompson had coached this team for 13 seasons. Unfortunately, he was unable to duplicate the success that his father, John Thompson Sr. had done during his 27 seasons as the Hoyas Coach, which included the 1984 National Championship. After getting the Hoyas to the Final Four in 2007, Thompson III hadn’t gotten them back to the Big Dance in the last 4 seasons. I wish him the best.
  9. Steelers Free Agency After the Steelers signed 3 outside Free Agents (CB Coty Sensabaugh, RB Knile Davis, and DL Tyson Alualu) all is quiet at their headquarters. They may be done as the NFL Draft nears, but as I’ve said before, NFL Free Agency lasts well into the Summer.
  10. Davis and Alualu I like these signings because they address immediate needs for the Steelers. The kicking game has been horrible, which is where Davis comes in and he was pretty successful in that spot with the KC Chiefs. Plus, he backed up RB Jamal Charles and did pretty good. Alualu could prove to be a solid backup behind DE starters Cam Heyward and Stephon Tuitt who spent most of 2016 injured (Heyward missed the majority of the season) he had 17.5 sacks in his years with Jacksonville, but I hope he can stop the run.
  11. What about DeAngelo Williams? Well, he will be 34 this year, which is old for an RB, but he basically hasn’t made up his mind about playing in 2016. I can’t see him returning to the Steelers as Davis is a physical clone of him, but you never know.
  12. What about RB Adrian Peterson? I’m a bit surprised that he’s still on the market, the Minnesota Vikings were glad to rid themselves of his injuries and $14 million salary, but you know the dude can still play, so why are teams (outside the Seattle Seahawks) biting? Well, because of money. I think Peterson needs to lower his asking price, for at least 2017. I think a team like the (groan)New England Patriots could get him, or maybe the Green Bay Packers. We shall see.
  13. Colin Kaepernick He’s still available too, and despite what our President says, I think Kaepernick will sign on with a team who needs a reliable backup. What he did on the sidelines doesn’t mask his abilities and the man made a statement which an American is free to do.
  14. NFL Free Agent signings definitely not as many as the first few weeks, as Philadelphia signed former 49ers WR Quinton Patton, the Packers signed DT Jean Francois, and the New Orleans Saints re-signed DE Daryl Tapp.
  15. Russell Westbrook As I stated before, this man is the NBA MVP, hands down. He has his OKC Thunder in contention and he’s today’s Oscar Robinson: The human Triple-Double. In addition to his 35th triple-double of the season, Westbrook is the first in NBA history to post a perfect triple-double by going 6-6 from the floor and 6-6 from the foul line. Impressive.
  16. Cleveland Cavs struggles Yep, they don’t look like they want to repeat as this team 6 out of their last 10 games and are now one game ahead of the surging Boston Celtics for the best in the Eastern Conference. Star F LeBron James states that the team lacks individual toughness. He may be right, but I think they’re totally distracted and still dealing with injuries.
  17. NBA Standings in addition to the Cavs (46-24) and Celtics (46-26) as the best in the East, the Golden State Warriors (57-14) still rule the Western Conference and has the NBA’s best record, with the San Antonio Spurs (54-16) right behind them. MVP Candidate James Harden and his Houston Rockets (49-22) are 3rd in the West.
  18. Derrick Rose wants to win Well if he really does, then he needs to get out of New York this summer as he was a one-year disappointment and distraction on a dysfunctional team. I think he should accept the deal as a role player on a contending team. He would make a difference and the team would benefit from him.
  19. USA Wins World Baseball Classic It’s always classic when our country wins these tournaments as they beat Puerto Rico 6-0 Wednesday night. Congrats to the Pirates Andrew McCutchen, Josh Harrison and former Pirates manager Jim Leyland for getting it done.
  20. Pirates Well, Spring training is wrapping up and the Pirates have a positive vibe about them. I honestly hope it will carry over into the regular season because this team needs it, man. I hope the do well in spite of their frugal front office.

 

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

Follow him @urbanmediaRay on twitter

 

Best location for spring break

When someone mentions spring break, the majority of people think about wild parties with joyful college girls and boys. However, we should not forget that spring break is an excellent time for family vacations. There are many families who decide to use this period of the year to go on road trips, outdoor camping or to visit some popular beaches. In case you are looking for the best location for family spring break, we will provide a short list of suitable destinations.

Alabama Gulf Coast

In case you are still making plans with your family about this trip, you are probably taking many things into consideration. There will be some family members who would like to be involved in boating and fishing. Others will like to play tennis or go swimming. Of course, some people prefer visiting zoos and parks or museums. If you are in a situation like this, we highly recommend the Alabama Gulf Coast because this is the area that has all these things and much more. There are many sandy beaches and not all of them crowded. You can also visit some attractions like Gulf Shores Zoo and Gulf State park.

Las Vegas

Some people may be surprised when they see this suggestion, but the fact is that Las Vegas is much more than a Sin City where gamblers spend days and nights trying to get rich. In the last decade, Las Vegas is a destination that is ideal for any type of family. Even though it is quite easy to spend a small fortune while you are there, with a good plan and affordable accommodation you can have a fun and affordable spring break vacation.

Phoenix, Arizona

If you are a fan of warm and pleasant weather in spring then you can’t go wrong if you choose Phoenix as your next family spring break destination. This is especially true for the people who come from the north. You won’t find the crowds that you can expect during spring break in some other destinations and the prices in this city are more than reasonable. In addition, baseball enthusiasts can witness training games too because Phoenix is the home of Arizona Diamondbacks.

Yellowstone National Park

Those looking for an unforgettable spring break experience for the whole family should put Yellowstone National Park on their list. Needless to say, this is one of the most exciting parks in America and in the world too. The best part is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to stay there. Take some of the tours offered there and enjoy your time.

Quebec City

If you are in the mood to visit a foreign country during Spring Break, you can visit Quebec City one of the most beautiful cities in Canada. At this time of the year, many hotels and other types of accommodation are offering discounts. Don’t forget that you and your children can enjoy many different winter activities in the mountains around Quebec City. editor@urbanmediatoday.com