Silicon Valley: What to look forward to in Season 4.

Season 4 of HBO’s Silicon Valley kicked off this past weekend and picked up right where it left off. If you enjoy the show and haven’t watched, do so and then come back to us. For those who have watched it, let’s get down to it.

It looks as if Richard Hendricks has decided to pivot yet again. With the new hatred for the new “Piper Chat” being the direction of the company, Richard decided to take his talent elsewhere. His decision to build a “new internet” seems wildly out of reach but every great tech company has to start somewhere. Can season 4 be where Richard hits his stride?

What to look forward to this season:

1 – Where will Richard’s new ideas take him. Obviously, there’s a Steve Jobs/Apple type spit happening here. Will Richard have the same success or be a complete failure? Can he match the success of Pied Piper or will he ruin it just the same? Will his former colleagues join him if his platform has a breakthrough? Whatever the case may be, our former CEO always comes through in the clutch so expect a light bulb to flash on.

2 – Dinesh/Gilfoye – The dynamic of these two are the nearly the best part of the show. The duo follows closely behind Erlich in hilarity (our favorite Erlich quotes) With Dinesh being the new CEO you’d have to imagine the two’s banter to be amped up this season. Gilfoyle’s animosity will be on full display, expect some of the best one-liners between the two this season.

3. Bachmanity – Everyone’s favorite degenerate has found himself backed against the wall. His ability to persuade the gang now falls on deaf ears. With control now favoring Big Head and his dad, Erlich can’t manipulate the group to do as he says. If this doesn’t set up season 4 to be the best, nothing will. Nothing is worse than someone with nothing to lose with their back against a wall. Tj Miller’s crass, shoot-from-the-hip, sense of humor should far eclipse previous seasons.

Nothing is as oddly funny as HBO’s Silicon Valley. Parodying the tech world shouldn’t be as humorous as this show makes it. With shows/movies like Beavis and Butthead, King of the Hill, Idiocracy under his belt, fans shouldn’t be surprised by creator Mike Judge. His knack for comedy has pumped out more than a few laughs. Silicon Valley shows no sign of slowing down and ought to have its best season yet.

Stream Silicon Valley on HBO Now/HBO Go. Otherwise, it airs Sundays at 10 pm, ET on HBO.




2017 NHL Playoffs: New York Rangers Advance To Second Round

Apr 22, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers right wing Mats Zuccarello (36) celebrates scoring a goal against Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price (31) during the second period in game six of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

On a night that began rather slowly, the New York Rangers came storming back to end the Montreal Canadiens Stanley Cup hopes. They now await the winner of the Ottawa Senators-Boston Bruins series.

The first 20 minutes weren’t top-notch, with the Canadiens controlling play. There was no doubt who the desperate team was. It shouldn’t be surprising then that they scored first, Alexei Emelin beating Henrik Lundqvist about six minutes in.

For those who follow the Rangers though that is no problem. These guys have made a living out of being resilient. Whether it’s a one or two goal deficit, they’re never out. Not by a long shot.

Quiet for much of this series, Mats Zuccarello broke the ice for the Rangers. His power play goal early in the middle frame tied the score, giving the Blueshirt faithful life.

As if that wasn’t enough, Zuccarello came through once again. That goal ended up as the game winner, sending Madison Square Garden into total pandemonium. In fact, I’m fairly certain screams of “Let’s Go Rangers” and “Round 2, here we come!” can be heard throughout Manhattan tonight.

Why wouldn’t they be? A rabid fanbase that hadn’t won a round since May of 2015 can taste victory once again. Zuccarello and Lundqvist made sure of that.

Moving forward, it’s clear the Rangers are in for another battle. Under new bench boss Guy Boucher, the Senators feature a stingy defense and an offense capable of scoring goals. The Bruins, meanwhile, have battled injuries but still remain dangerous. That’s thanks in large part to netminder Tuukka Rask and the scoring prowess of uber pest Brad Marchand.

Do the Rangers have what it takes to make it past the second round? While unknown, it’s impossible to bet against a team with so much heart, determination and resiliency.

 




Forrest Lamp: 2017 NFL Draft Player Profile

Forrest Lamp is going to make some money. The big guard from Western Kentucky is about to do something no other Hilltopper has ever done – become a first-round draft pick.

If you read various scouting reports and mock drafts, Lamp, who is 6-foot-4 and 308 pounds, could find himself off of the draft board between the early teens and late in the first round.  Moreover, he is listed as the top prospect at his position. If not for success at all-star games and a standout performance at the Combine, Lamp may fall in line with other Western Kentucky players, who have not been selected before the third round of the draft.

If scouting reports are correct, Lamp’s ability reminds many of Zach Martin of the Dallas Cowboys. That is, if Lamp is as successful as Martin has been in his first three years in the league, some team is going to get a steal. As well as, a future Pro Bowl player.

In this player profile, we will look at the strengths and weaknesses of Lamp as he moves on to the next level. We also include a few teams that will be interested in adding help to their offensive line.

Strengths

He has quick feet and great athleticism, which can hide some of his deficiencies playing against lesser talent. When given the chance to show what he could do against top talent, Lamp neutralized LSU’s Arden Key in 2015.

He is rarely bull-rushes and he processes quickly when defenders try to shoot the gap.

Weaknesses

Forrest Lamp will have to learn to keep hands in ready position and keep his arms close to his frame.  He is a positional blocker who lacks NFL power as a drive-blocking guard. His lack of girth will require consistent pad level and a little wider base.

Teams Interested

New York Giants, Miami Dolphins, Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars, Denver Broncos




Jacksonville Jaguars: Four Safest NFL Draft Options

The Jacksonville Jaguars may have Alabama on its mind. The SEC powerhouse has produced three players in this year’s NFL Draft that could help make the Jacksonville Jaguars better.

The Jaguars, 3-13 last season, spent plenty of money on defense this offseason. However, it is hard to believe this team could still make it a priority in the NFL Draft.

There are plenty of directions the Jaguars could go in the first round. The offensive line, linebacker, defensive line and running back are worth addressing with the fourth pick in the Draft. Here is a look at the four safest picks Jacksonville will have to choose from when the team makes is first round pick.

Jonathan Allen, Defensive Lineman, Alabama – It is believed the Jaguars will have a choice between Allen and LSU running back Leonard Fournette. San Francisco could select Fournette as high as number 2. That would leave Allen on the board, which should thrill Tom Coughlin, who has built teams through the offensive and defensive line.

Allen’s flexibility will allow defensive coordinator Todd Wash to move him inside against the run or line him up on the outside as an edge rusher. Jacksonville does have a need for more interior line play and a terror getting to the quarterback. Playing in a rotation for the Jaguars will also help, Allen remain fresh and should eliminate any fear of a shoulder issue affecting his play.

Allen has great speed for his size and build.

OJ Howard, Tight End, Alabama – If Howard is the Jaguars’ top choice, they may have to act fast. There are teams in the top 10 that might be willing to pull the trigger on making Howard their pick.

The Crimson Tide offense undervalued Howard. Not having a top-tier quarterback may have had something to do with it. Howard has been impressive the past two years in the postseason and helped his cause at the Combine. His size and agility make him a solid target in the red zone.

The Jacksonville Jaguars traded Julius Thomas and go into camp with an aging Marcedes Lewis, Ben Koyack, and Neal Sterling. None of them scare defenses as top receivers.

In theory, the team that could take him if the Jaguars pass on him at No. 4 is the New York Jets. Cleveland, Carolina, and New Orleans might be looking as well.

Reuben Foster, Linebacker, Alabama – Now that Jacksonville has let Dan Skuta go, this is a thin unit. The starters – Telvin Smith, Myles Jack, and Paul Posluszny – are solid. However, the depth is a bit concerning. Drafting Foster means there will be a shakeup in the starting lineup. If not at the beginning of the season, then at some point in 2017.

Foster is quick, sudden and a sure tackler. Furthermore, he will help the Jaguars in run defense. In addition, he is agile enough to cover a tight end over the middle.

There is a chance the Jacksonville Jaguars could trade back (to eight with Carolina) and still get Foster.

A unanimous first-team All-American and All-SEC pick. Foster also won the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker and was a finalist for the Bednarik Award, leading the Tide with 115 tackles, 13 for which went for losses including five sacks.

Forrest Lamp, Guard, Western Kentucky – Lamp has a chance to become the first Hilltoppers player drafted in the first round. Regardless, I have read some pundits who believe the Jaguars could move back in the first round to take an offensive lineman. In fact, Lamp could be the person Tom Coughlin and David Caldwell target.

The 6-fot-4, 308-pound guard has been on every team’s radar, drawing attention in postseason all-star games and at the Combine in February. If the Jaguars draft Lamp, it tells everyone the team is not happy with the performance of AJ Cann.

Compared to Dallas Cowboys’ star Zach Martin, one NFL executive thinks he is the real deal and a starter for years.

 




New York Yankees Have an Early Look of a Playoff Team in 2017

It is tough to get excited 10 games into a 162-game season, but through those first 10 games, the New York Yankees are giving the fans something to be excited over.

After a 1-4 start to the season, the Yankees are starting to show why Brian Cashman sold off some of the veterans last season in favor of the highly touted prospects and a farm system that looks to be the second best in Major League Baseball.

With the additions of Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge and the departures of veterans like Carlos Beltran, Andrew Miller, and Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees were on a new path; one that was going to involve the home-grown players to go with some of the veterans they still have.

After a shaky first week, the Yankees have slowly started to look like the team that people expected next season. Luis Severino is slowly starting to pitch like the top pitching prospect he once was. He struck out 11 batters over seven innings in a win against the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday night. Judge is already showing that he is developing into more than just a power hitter. Judge is already striking out a lot less and getting more hits to go with the towering home runs he hits.

Some of the players on the New York Yankees are off to sluggish starts; Sanchez is on the disabled list with a forearm injury and Greg Bird is hitting just .154 after he hit eight home runs during spring training and looked unstoppable.

However, what has helped is the strong starts from veterans. As Chase Headley, who a year ago could not buy a hit, is hitting .400 and looks like the person they traded for. Alternatively, Starlin Castro, who’s having a solid start to his second year in New York by hitting .350, or Jacoby Ellsbury, whose in desperate need of a rebound season after two straight disappointing years, is hitting .314. Moreover, Aaron Hicks is struggling in his first season in New York, is now hitting .313.

With the lineup producing early on, the Yankees pitching, thus far, is taking care of things. Everyone expected the bullpen to take care of things, which Tyler Clippard, Dellin Betances, and Aroldis Chapman have done; like when they pitched 2.2 scoreless innings on Friday night in a win over the St. Louis Cardinals, the starting rotation is starting to pitch well.

To go along with Severino’s terrific outing, Michael Pineda looked sharp in the Yankees home opener. Pineda took a perfect game into the seventh inning and struck out 11 over 7.2 innings. CC Sabathia, who is in the final year of his contract, has a 1.64 ERA in two early starts. Sabathia is making the transition from being a power pitcher into a veteran who uses finesse to get batters out.

After two rough first starts to the season, Masahiro Tanaka rebounded. He got deep into the game on Friday night against the Cardinals and showed why he is the ace of the rotation, going 6.1 innings in a 4-3 win. In addition, in his major league debut, Jordan Montgomery struck out seven batters in 4.2 innings against the Rays. Montgomery looked like he could become a permanent fixture in the rotation for years to come. Some think he could be what Andy Pettitte used to be for the Yankees. Thus, that lefty presence who won many games.

All of this equals a 6-4 start to 2017 and an excited fan base. Last year, a 9-17 start to the season buried the Yankees and they spent the year in an uphill battle. Now, the Yankees are off to a quick start and slowly looking like they could make some noise in 2017. The New York Yankees could cause shock waves this season. However, they have to keep up the pace that they are on currently. That current pace could get them into the thick of the American League playoff picture.

 




A Platinum Pass Is The Way To Go For Cedar Point Fans

With Opening Day at Cedar Point less than a month away, I thought I’d detail the benefits of having a Platinum Pass for the park.

For any thrill seeker, getting a Platinum Pass ( Platinum ) is an absolute must. First off, it enables you to go to Cedar Point as many times as you want during the season. Definitely a great benefit to anyone who visits the park regularly, it’s an absolute necessity.

I’m someone who enjoys roller coasters, and the Platinum Pass is easily the most used card in my wallet. Not only does it get you admission to Cedar Point, but also any Cedar Fair park across North America. This means you can ride Intimidator 305 at Kings Dominion, Diamondback at Kings Island, Leviathan at Canada’s Wonderland, or Fury 325 at Carowinds, with your Platinum Pass.

The benefit that I love most is the ability to enter the park one full hour earlier than the general public. With the popularity of Cedar Point in the summer, it’s nice to almost have the park to yourself.

This year, I plan on getting to the park for 9 am early opening, doing all my favorite coasters before it gets too busy around 11 am, and leaving around 1. Talk about a productive day.

Since I frequent the park so much, it’s nice that the Platinum Pass gives me free parking. Usually, a $20 charge, my Platinum Pass lets me avoid that. It also works at other Cedar Fair parks as well.

You can’t forget about the 10% discount you get on select dining and merchandise throughout the park. In addition, Cedar Point also has exclusive ride nights for Platinum Pass holders.

As Cedar Point continues to expand their water park, a Platinum Pass can get you unlimited entry there as well. Also, Dinosaurs Alive, a normally additional charge, is free for Platinum Pass holders as well.

For a coaster enthusiast like myself, the Platinum Pass is an absolute must. The benefits I obtain from it are worth the money for sure. I plan on going to Cedar Point quite a bit this season, and I’ve got my Platinum Pass to thank for that.

Follow Daniel James Gentile on twitter @dgentleman9288




On The Rise: Jacob Latimore Is Taking Hollywood By Storm

Hollywood is full of young actors and actresses looking to hit it big. Moreover, while it takes a lot of patience and perseverance, some are just born to be stars. One of those lucky ones is Jacob Latimore.

If you do not know of Jacob Latimore, do not worry. He is not one of the most recognizable names on the Hollywood scene. Although, chances are you have seen him and did not even realize it.

Latimore has appeared in quite a few Hollywood hits over the years. Some of the films featuring him are, Ride Along, The Maze Runner, and Collateral Beauty.

It is okay if you still know who he is because up until now there has not been much mainstream publicity for Latimore.

If you watch the BET Awards, you are one of those who knows about Latimore. He was a YoungStars Award nominee from 2012-15.

At 20 years of age, Latimore’s stock is still rising. In addition, you are going to have to acquaint yourself with him this summer.

Sleight opens up in theaters on April 28, 2017. The film, which received much buzz at 2016 Sundance Film Festival, got Latimore a lot of praise from the Hollywood world. Additionally, while nobody is predicting Oscar, the film could go a long way in solidifying new roles for the actor.

We have seen with actors such as John Boyega get that one big role can change your life. Before Star Wars, not mostly every casual moviegoer was aware of Boyega’s ability. We see that similar path with Latimore. While Sleight may not be as massive as Star Wars, it could be the role that catapults him.

Something that many do not know about Latimore is his singing ability. He performed a song for the film, Black Nativity. We might even see a full-length album from Latimore soon, it is just something to remember as his stock grows in Hollywood.

You have to appreciate young actors like Jacob Latimore. We have seen him take on supporting roles, but Sleight will be his first leading role. For many, it will be the first time they have seen Latimore on the big screen. He, without question, will be a major factor on the Hollywood scene.

 

Follow Daniel James Gentile on twitter @dgentleman9288