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SZA Teased New Music From Lizzo, Calling It ‘The Best Song I Ever Heard In My Life ‘

While plenty of her own fans are clamoring for SZA to give a timeline on new music, the R&B star was spending her weekend gushing over new music from another great new voice in the space – Lizzo. After dropping “Good Days” on Christmas Day of 2020, a return to form that reminded fans of the melodic power and narrative thrust of all the best SZA songs, the TDE singer tweeted yesterday that she’d just been exposed to “the best song I ever heard in my life” via new music from Lizzo.

Never one to hold back she also shared that the song made her cry, though she didn’t share much more information or reveal whether or not it would be a collaboration between the two — we can dream, right? Obviously, fans are excited to get a new project from Lizzo, too, but she released her breakout album Cuz I Love You in 2019, not all that long ago, while Solana’s breakout CTRL was all the way back in 2017. It’s been four years since her last drop, so fans are understandably a bit more antsy. Still, the support between these two women is a great thing to see, and once I hear whatever song SZA is talking about in the tweet, odds are I’ll be crying too.

Can we get it soon ladies? 2021 has already been rough, a great new pop song would be welcome.

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The Grizzlies Weathered The Storm And Are Looking Dangerous

When reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Ja Morant suffered a left ankle sprain in late December, the Memphis Grizzlies were in a perilous position. Morant’s injury came (very) early in the season, leaving the team with time to recover. However, many saw the Grizzlies as merely a fringe playoff contender and, with a potential three-to-five week absence for the team’s best player in conjunction with ongoing injuries for Jaren Jackson Jr. and Justise Winslow, the margin for error was slim for Taylor Jenkins’ team.

Almost on cue, the Grizzlies lost four of the next five games, falling to 2-6, and skepticism reigned on a national scale. Even in a season that is producing highly volatile results for myriad reasons, Memphis faced a substantial uphill battle, particularly with Morant not yet back on the court. Then, the pieces started falling into place for the Grizzlies, beginning with an unexpected home win over the Brooklyn Nets on Friday, Jan. 8. That victory did come over a short-handed version of the Nets, led by Caris LeVert, but Memphis did what they needed to do in order to emerge victorious and, almost two weeks later, the Grizzlies haven’t lost since.

Memphis picked up their fifth consecutive win on MLK Day, outlasting the Phoenix Suns in a nationally televised contest. That performance was indicative the Grizzlies’ recent success, with seven players scoring in double figures and an eighth player (Gorgui Dieng) adding an efficient eight points in just 15 minutes. Granted, the return of Morant, who has played the last two games, was enormous for Memphis, but the Grizzlies played without arguably their second-best player in Jonas Valanciunas on Monday, and they were able to win anyway.

Of course, Morant is still a significant catalyst for the Grizzlies, and much of this early-season period was simply about weathering the storm until he returned. Memphis managed to post a 4-4 record in his absence, which was huge even in a small sample, and Morant is averaging 22.6 points and seven assists per game, all while shooting 53 percent from the floor at the lead guard position. It is undeniable the way Morant sets the tone for this Memphis team, something on display to close out Monday’s win over Phoenix over a rather sensational three play stretch.

Elsewhere, the theme has been quality depth, with 12 players already taking the floor for at least 100 minutes this season. The team’s second-leading scorer, Dillon Brooks, has actually struggled to the tune of 37 percent shooting in 2020-21 and, as noted previously, Valanciunas missed Monday’s game and he is in the NBA’s health and safety protocol for an unspecified time period.

From there, however, Memphis is coaxing high-level play from its supporting cast. Brandon Clarke is averaging 13.2 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, finding his efficiency offensively during the team’s five-game winning streak. Kyle Anderson served as the team’s de facto backup point guard in Morant’s absence and, using his length and overall acumen, Anderson’s defensive impact has been substantial for the Grizzlies. Grayson Allen brings badly needed floor spacing, both in shooting 36 percent from three-point range and simply having to be guarded by the opposition. It was also beneficial for the team to have a steady hand in Tyus Jones at the point guard spot, with the veteran bringing stability even as he battles with shooting efficiency issues in the early going.

Perhaps the biggest infusion for the Grizzlies arrives from the team’s rookie class. It has long been a running joke that Memphis operates with “Draft Twitter” in mind, targeting several darlings of the analytical and scouting communities in recent years. That was certainly the case in 2020 with the selections of Desmond Bane and Xavier Tillman and, right on time, both are contributing at a lofty level in their first professional seasons.

Bane, an older college wing from TCU, came out of the gate as a solid defender, and he is connecting on a robust 48.9 percent of his three-point attempts. While that figure is unsustainable for almost anyone, Bane was billed as a potential high-level shooter, and the Grizzlies are in dire need of additional floor spacing to give Morant, Valanciunas and company more room to operate.

Bane’s fellow rookie, former Michigan State big man Xavier Tillman, stepped in for Valanciunas as the starting center on Monday and didn’t miss a beat. Tillman is well-known for his defensive acumen and physicality, both of which are translating immediately, and he is shooting 56 percent from the floor while bringing an additional threat as a short-roll passing fulcrum.

When all is said and done, the Grizzlies will need a great deal from Morant in order to reach their goals, and it could be said that they were fortunate to avoid disaster during his multi-week absence. Still, he is now back with no signs of slowing down and, eventually, Memphis should benefit from the return of Jackson Jr. and Winslow. With the injection of talent and NBA readiness from players like Bane and Tillman, Memphis might be more dangerous than previous thought and, in a season that some speculated could tumble into darkness when Morant went down, the Grizzlies suddenly appear to be in solid position as the calendar shifts to late January.

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The Original Buffy Actress Was Mocked For Asking To Be Removed From Films If Trump Is Edited Out Of ‘Home Alone 2’

Kristy Swanson isn’t what she was back in the early ’90s. She was an “It” girl then, appearing in major films like Mannequin Two: On the Move, the Charlie Sheen vehicle The Chase, and the Charlie Sheen Top Gun parody Hot Shots! More importantly she was the original Buffy Summers, in the 1992 film, also called Buffy the Vampire Slayer, that eventually birthed the far more popular TV show, starring her replacement Sarah Michelle Gellar. In the decades since Swanson has become a Trump supporter, even being invited to the White House to meet the big guy. So when calls erupted, including from Macaulay Culkin, to edit the outgoing president out of the Christmas favorite Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, she had his back.

[met president https://twitter.com/KristySwansonXO/status/1237064590871035915%5D

“If Cancel Culture is really going to have Donald J. Trump removed from the John Hughes movie ‘Home Alone,’ then in support of MY PRESIDENT,” Swanson wrote, “I’d like to have myself officially removed from the John Hughes’ films, ‘Pretty In Pink’ and ‘Ferris Buhler’s Day Off.’”

It’s true: Swanson’s first two films (after the Disney TV movie and reclaimed object Mr. Boogedy) were Pretty in Pink and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (which she misspelled). She played, respectively: “Duckette,” aka the girl who catches the eye of Jon Cryer’s Duckie after Molly Ringwald’s Andie (wrongly) chooses Andrew McCarthy’s bland Blane; and a perky student whose teacher is played by former Nixon speechwriter Ben Stein.

Neither film would lose much without her, much as Home Alone 2, written by Hughes, wouldn’t lose much without Trump, who had a habit of demanding movie productions shoot a cameo if they were shooting in buildings he owned. (In that case it was New York City’s Plaza Hotel, which, being in the middle of a financial fallow period, he may not have fully owned then anyway.) Most of these films, after humoring him, threw his footage out. But not Home Alone 2.

Still, the response to Swanson’s request was swift and fierce, with fellow actors not holding back.

Other people also weren’t sure what she was on about.

Or reminded her that her peak is well into the past.

Some suggested editing her out of another film while we’re at it.

(Via The Daily Dot)

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Alec Baldwin Is Leaving Twitter ‘For Now’ Weeks After His Wife Was Accused Of Pretending To Be Spanish

In the final days of 2020, social media became fixated on a matter that didn’t involve the 2020 presidential election: Has Hilaria Baldwin, wife of beloved and respected actor Alec, been pretending to be Spanish? We learned her first name is actually Hillary, that she was born in Boston, and that the accent she sometimes uses in public appearances is not her own. Now, some three weeks later, her husband has up and quit Twitter, albeit maybe temporarily.

“Twitter is like a party where everyone is screaming,” the actor wrote. “Not much of a party. Goodbye for now.”

Baldwin gave no explanation beyond a clear annoyance with the social media giant’s general intensity, even if it’s gotten far more chill in the week-and-change since the man he used to impersonate, Donald J. Trump, was permanently banned, along with reams of conspiracy theorists. But one could sense some subtweeting in the allusion to “everyone” “screaming.” After all, a few weeks back, lots of people were screaming at his wife, or at least joshing about her alleged appropriation of another culture.

Hilaria has defended her embrace of Spanish culture, saying it comes from growing up in both Massachusetts and Spain. “We celebrate both cultures in our home—Alec and I are raising our children bilingual, just as I was raised,” she said when her secret was outed. “This is very important to me. I understand that my story is a little different, but it is mine, and I’m very proud of it.” In any case, he could have at least waited for Wednesday to leave.

(Via Deadline)

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The Trump Administration Dropped Their Anti-Progressive, Slavery Minimizing ‘1776 Project’ On MLK Day, And People Were Appalled

Donald Trump is on his way out the White House door, but he clearly has some fight left in him. On Monday, aka Martin Luther King Jr. Day, his administration unveiled two curious things. One was a bizarre garden honoring tons of random historical figures. Then there was “The 1776 Project,” their long-threatened response to The New York Times’ 1619 Project, which aims to reframe how we look at America’s past in relation to its embrace of slavery for nearly its first century. And it was what a lot of people expected it to be, which is to say a mess of historiography that downplays slavery, attacks “progressives,” and many more whoppers besides.

It ran some 45 pages, half of which was a reprinting of the U.S. Constitution, and it purported to be a “definitive chronicle of the American founding,” attacking “destructive scholarship” that might view the nation’s past through the lens of the bad things it did for so long.

“States and school districts should reject any curriculum that promotes one-sided partisan opinions, activist propaganda, or factional ideologies that demean America’s heritage, dishonor our heroes, or deny our principles,” it reads.

It was, in short, a lot. It attacks higher learning. (“Colleges peddle resentment and contempt for American principles and history alike.”) It lumped “progressives” in with “fascists” and “communists” as “challenges to America’s principles.” It even attacks those who teach the nation’s grim history with non-whites. It asserts that pointing out that the founding fathers were “hypocrites” for preaching that “every man is created equal” while owning slaves was “untrue, and has done enormous damage, especially in recent years, with a devastating effect on our civic unity and social fabric.” (You can read the whole thing here.)

People online were quick to highlight the most jaw-dropping parts. There was its minimization of slavery.

Its distortion of the civil rights movement.

And lots of other weird ahistoricisms.

There was also a curious overuse of the word “facts,” which struck some as fishy.

Some didn’t think it looked like a work of serious history.

Others pointed out the terrible timing of releasing all this on MLK Day.

Those who read it all felt worse afterwards.

There was a lot of unflattering words for those who were involved in its creation.

Though some assumed it was really just Stephen Miller.

But at least there was (allegedly) not a trace of young Trump guy Charlie Kirk.

There is a silver lining: Many of those involved in it are about to be out of a job.

(Via Forbes)

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Deion Sanders Is Offering A Reward For A Special Boombox Stolen Out Of His Truck

Deion Sanders’ tenure at Jackson State University began with great fanfare, as the Hall of Famer took the job last fall and began assembling his staff in preparation for the season after the SWAC moved all of its football games to the spring. The Tigers are currently preparing for the February 21 start date to the season, but Coach Prime was a bit distracted on Monday as he had some other things on his mind.

In the wee hours of the morning, his truck was broken into at the hotel and while Sanders isn’t too worried about the broken window or most of what was stolen, he did put out a call to the good people of Jackson, Mississippi: Find my boombox.

Sanders is offering an undisclosed reward for anyone that can find his stolen boombox, which he says holds a special sentimental value to him after it was given to him by a friend for his birthday. It is a reasonable request from the legend, who closed his message by saying, “I love you Jackson, I appreciate you. There will be a reward. Please, find my boombox. Streets, please, find my boombox. God bless ya.”

We’ll see if Sanders’ missing boombox turns up and it seems he is trying to take the diplomatic approach to this manner. It’s also good to hear that the Tigers had a great practice, one that would be better if that boombox happened to turn up soon.

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The NFL Will Not Host An In-Person Scouting Combine This Year And All Draft Workouts Will Be At Pro Days

The NFL Scouting Combine has become one of the league’s biggest offseason events, as the NFL world descends on Indianapolis for the weeklong festivities to see the best prospects do on-field drills, testing, and workouts, while also getting the chance to interview players on site.

Fans have grown to love the Combine as well, as we all love watching the Underwear Olympics, as Mike Mayock used to affectionately refer to them as, where guys run as fast as they can and jump as high as they can in an effort to boost their draft stock by flashing their athleticism out of pads. This year, however, there will be no Scouting Combine, at least in it’s normal, in-person form. Instead, the league announced on Monday in a memo to teams that they will host interviews via Zoom and all workouts will take place at school Pro Days.

For the top prospects and players from the big schools, this will have little impact on their draft preparation, but it is a blow to those from small schools who get a chance to impress at the Combine with the eyes of the NFL world watching. With workouts only happening at Pro Days, the likelihood of top decision makers watching every school’s Pro Day and having the chance to fall in love with a prospect from a small program is less and that can hurt those guys’ draft stock.

From a team perspective, the biggest hurdle, which the league addresses in the memo, is getting medical info on players, as teams prefer to get their doctors in to poke and prod at players to vet their health themselves. The league will be working out ways to do that themselves and get that information to teams from an NFL level. Media interviews will also take place through the school as players will get a chance to promote themselves that way, which isn’t quite the same as the Combine media room, but it’s a wise choice by the NFL not to have hundreds or thousands of people coming into Indianapolis this spring.

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Conor McGregor Says Him Fighting Manny Pacquiao ‘Is Almost A Certainty’ In 2021

Conor McGregor is gearing up for a fight with Dustin Poirier this coming Saturday in the main event of UFC 257, his first UFC bout in over a year since beating Donald Cerrone on January 18, 2020.

While the one-time pound-for-pound king wants to re-establish himself in the Octagon as one of the lightweight division’s best, he can’t help but also have one eye on a big-time fight with former multi-division boxing champion Manny Pacquiao. Pacquiao hasn’t fought since July 2019, when he won a split decision against Keith Thurman to retain the WBA super world welterweight title, and has been eyeing two 2021 fights. Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford have both made pushes to get in the ring with the Filipino star, but the massive box office draw of a McGregor fight would likely be too good to pass up.

McGregor confirmed this week that a fight is “almost a certainty” and “should happen in 2021,” with it nearing the phase of contracts being drawn up, via an interview with Sportsnet.

“It’s almost a certainty,” McGregor said. “I’m hearing there’s contracts and all coming. It’s that close. So, I don’t, I haven’t spoke — it should happen 2021. Like I said I want to get my MMA game going a bit more as well. Look, I’m fighting Poirier who’s a southpaw, Manny’s a southpaw. I’ve been fighting professional boxers in the gym, sparring with southpaw boxers in the gym in preparation not just for Dustin but for Manny. I’ve had shorter, 5’5 rockets coming at me, you know what I mean.”

The question seems to be when, not if, McGregor and Pacquiao step in the ring. One would think the two would want to wait until they can do it in front of the biggest possible live crowd because they would surely sellout most any arena they wanted — even if we already saw how McGregor fares in a boxing ring with an elite talent in the Floyd Mayweather fight. That would likely mean a fall date, which could have Pacquiao look for an April or May date with Spence or someone else and McGregor schedule another UFC bout in the spring/summer.

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One Of Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘Vagina Candles’ Reportedly Blew Up In A UK Woman’s Home

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop enterprise has inspired a lot of jokes, as well as a lot of concerns about the efficacy — not to mention safety — of many of its pricey and sometimes absurd New Age-y products. But nothing captured the ridiculousness of the company like a line of candles entitled “This Smell Like My Vagina.” Whereas some Goop wares are based on potentially harmful pseudoscience, their “vagina candle” merely seemed like devastating self-parody. But it turns out that too, may be dangerous: As per The Sun (and caught by The New York Post), one of them blew up in the home of a woman from the UK.

One Jody Thompson told the British tabloid that the “vagina candle” burst into flames in her living room. As per The Post:

“The candle exploded and emitted huge flames, with bits flying everywhere,” Jody Thompson, 50, told the outlet.

“I’ve never seen anything like it. The whole thing was ablaze and it was too hot to touch. There was an inferno in the room,” the media consultant from Kilburn, North London, added.

Thompson, who lives with her partner, David Snow, said they threw the flaming candle out the front door.

“It could have burned the place down. It was scary at the time, but funny looking back that Gwyneth’s vagina candle exploded in my living room,” she said.

Neither Paltrow nor Goop have yet to comment on the alleged incident.

The candle launched about a year ago and it runs $75. According to the Goop site, it’s “made with geranium, citrusy bergamot, and cedar absolutes juxtaposed with Damask rose and ambrette seed.” The saucy title, the site claims, began as a joke, when Paltrow cracked that it smelled like her nether-regions. That crack, they say, “evolved into a funny, gorgeous, sexy, and beautifully unexpected scent. (That turned out to be perfect as a candle.)” The site also advises users to, in all caps, “KEEP AWAY FROM THINGS THAT CATCH FIRE.”

(Via The Sun and The Post)

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Halsey Congratulated Olivia Rodrigo On Her Success With A Custom ‘Drivers License’ Cake

Unless you’ve been living under a rock somewhere and not paying attention to anything going on in pop music since 2021, then “Driver License” by Olivia Rodrigo has been on your radar since it came out a few weeks ago. The debut song from the former Disney+ star turned bona fide pop phenomenon is already surprising Spotify by breaking streaming records and earning huge co-signs from the likes of Taylor Swift and more, oh, and prompting potential responses from her rumored ex-boyfriend and co-star Joshua Bassett (who is having a less than ideal start to the year).

Well, add another pop star fan to Olivia’s growing list, because today Halsey took the time out of her own busy schedule to send a customized cake celebrating the song’s success. With a frosted take on a potential drivers license for Olivia and a sweet congratulations at the top — plus, are those macaroons embedded in the sides?? — the gift obviously made an appearance on the rising pop star’s Instagram story as a subtle flex.

Instagram

WIth fans who are songwriters themselves like Taylor and Halsey on board, it’s no surprise that ordinary folks are blown away by “Drivers License” too, and I’m pretty sure everyone involved is looking forward to the next new song from Rodrigo. Considering how dark the last several months have been, her success is a bright spot and a moment of hope that one day soon, we’ll be able to see her performing live.