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by Joshua James posted Oct 14 2014 12:11PM
I found this study pretty interesting! A study from the National Cancer Institute finds coffee that benefits the health of one of our essential organs, the Liver! The study contends that either caffeinated or decaf coffee helps to boost liver health. What that means is that it's something other than caffeine that is beneficial to the liver, according to researcher Dr. Qian Xiao. While Qian and his team don't know what it is in coffee that provides its medicinal value, the fact is that people who consume three or more cups a day as opposed to non-drinkers, lowered abnormal enzymes that can hurt the liver. Even better, it didn't matter whether it was regular or decaf!

Do you think drinking coffee can boost liver health regardless of if it's regular or decaf? Do you drink regular or decaf coffee? Thoughts? Comment below!

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People : Qian Xiao
by Joshua James posted Oct 14 2014 10:14AM
Kicker Country Stampede - Day 2

-Taste Of Country
"Bro-country:" It's a relatively new term in country music, used mostly in reference to popular songs about drinking, hot girls with tan lines, tailgates and, well, drinking some more. Tyler Farr is so over the phrase, however — in fact, he admits he'd like to smack the person who coined it.

"A lot of my friends sing the new stuff, what they call bro-country," he tells AZ Central. "I mean, whatever. I have no clue what it is and whoever invented that term, I'd like to smack him upside the head."

It would appear the source is Jody Rosen, a journalist, music critic and author who brought "bro-country" to life when talking about Florida Georgia Line's massive song 'Cruise' in 2013.

"In short, 'Cruise' is bro-country: music by and of the tatted, gym-toned, party-hearty young American White dude," Rosen wrote at the time. "It's a movement that has been gathering steam for several years now, and we may look back on 'Cruise' as a turning point, the moment when the balance of power tipped from an older generation of male country stars to the bros."

True, Farr writes about whiskey, pickup trucks and girls, but he insists there's more to his music than just those things — he was actually influenced in his career by more traditionally-minded country stars.

"George Jones is a big part of my life," Farr says. "My stepdad played guitar for him for 15 years. I spent a whole summer with him, sat at the side of the stage and watched him sing. The first time I ever got chill bumps was watching George Jones sing 'Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes.' And then there's Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard. That's what I listen to when I'm heading to the river, going to the lake. It refreshes me and reminds me of why I do what I do."

Adds the singer, "Not that I don't like a lot of the new stuff."

Farr defends the themes behind bro-country — he says they're something many country fans can relate to. "I live in Chapel Hill, Tenn., which has the largest tractor pull in the south, and there's not a lot more that you do on the weekends than drink and party," the singer explains, "and I write what I know about. So I am gonna have songs that have partying and hot girls and pickup trucks. There's only so much you can write about. If I don't know anything about vacuums, I'm not gonna be a vacuum salesman. It's as simple as that."

Farr's new album — which houses the first single 'A Guy Walks Into a Bar' — is a mix of traditional music and 'new' music, which appeals to the younger generation.

"I've had people call my music new traditional, which I'll take as a compliment. I love traditional music," Farr shares. "But you've gotta get the young kids involved, too, and this was my way of getting the new generation involved without losing the roots, because if you lose the roots of country music, you lose the genre. I write and record real music about what I know about. That's all I do. And it's not rocket science"

Farr is currently on the road with his buddy Jason Aldean and the band who inspired the term bro-country, Florida Georgia Line.

by Joshua James posted Oct 13 2014 2:16PM
Garth Brooks has long been the biggest-selling act of the Nielsen SoundScan era, with 69.6 million albums sold in the United States alone since 1991. And insiders say that for the recently launched tour in support of his new album, Man Against Machine (due Nov. 11), he has got an even bigger goal: to overtake the marks set by U2 on its record-shattering 360° Tour of 2009 to 2011.

"He has been thinking about this for years," says one well-known Nashville touring executive. "I think this is a calculated, well-thought-out plan about how he would become the biggest touring act of all time."

It's a steep hill to climb: The attendance record of U2's 360° is 7.3 million and its highest-gross mark a whopping $736 million. But based on the numbers that Brooks' tour already is racking up — with most of the biggest markets in North America and the world yet to come — it's attainable. If Brooks, 52, can average 150,000 tickets sold in 100 markets (his opening 13 Chicago dates in September sold more than 180,000), he would more than double U2's attendance record. And if he can average $8 million per market (he did $12 million in Chicago) in those same 100 cities, the all-time gross record is also his. (The Chicago numbers were not reported to Billboard Boxscore; they represent the only tour data provided to Billboard from the singer's PR representative. Brooks and his management and tour reps all have declined to talk to the media or reveal details of the tour.)

Rewinding the Charts: 23 Years Ago, Garth Brooks Lassoed History

Despite Brooks' long absence from the market — he has performed sporadically since his 2001 retirement — the demand for tickets has surprised many industry veterans, even though his last full tour, behind 1998's Sevens, was the third-biggest in history. It drew, in terms of attendance, nearly 5.5 million people and grossed more than $105 million (country's first $100 million run) during its three-year run. To beat U2's records, his tour is based on three key strategies: ticketing, short lead times and playing enough shows to satisfy each market's demand.

Paradoxically, the singer's unusual approach to ticket pricing places him at a fraction of his market value: There is no VIP, premium, gold circle or scaling. In Chicago, tickets were $56.94, typical for the tour, plus $2.56 in tax and a $6 service charge, totaling $65.50. The low price and high demand would seem to set up a field day for ticket brokers, but so far it actually has achieved the opposite effect. While tickets are limited to six (eight in North Carolina) per person and Ticketmaster uses its array of anti-scalping measures to combat bots and brokers, Brooks is playing enough dates to satisfy demand at the primary level to eliminate the need for a secondary market.

"When you look at StubHub on these shows, you would expect to see tickets posted there for hundreds if not thousands of dollars," says a source close to the tour. "But you don't, because he has [offered] so much supply that everybody who wants to go is getting to go, at a reasonable price." (Even his series of dates at the Wynn in Las Vegas between 2009 and 2014 were priced at $175 and later $225, modest by Vegas Strip standards.)

How those multiple shows are scheduled is another unusual aspect of the tour. In an era when tickets are sold as much as a year in advance — and often an entire tour goes up at once — Brooks announces his about a week before the on-sale date. It's a practice that has been used regularly at the arena level by only one other artist: Prince. In his case, the aim is to generate excitement and urgency, but for Brooks, the strategy also may be another attempt to stymie ticket resellers. Two or three shows are typically announced in one market at a time, and then more are added as the on-sales progress, based on real-time statistics, website traffic and other factors in Ticketmaster's secret sauce. The call must be made — several times — to add new concerts while still selling for the previous one. "It's an imperfect science," explains one insider. "You have to sell to demand, and pull the trigger at the right time."

Brooks tour will no doubt be an arena record-setter in terms of attendance, depending on how long he stays out and how many dates he plays. U2, largely regarded as the biggest band in the world, played only stadiums on 360, in a configuration that boosted capacity by as much as 20 percent. Next in line is the Rolling Stones Voodoo Lounge tour of 1994-'95 at 6.6 million attendance, according to Boxscore. Brooks is third for Sevens, but a move up a rung now seems more than achievable.

An element of that tactic is one of the oldest in the book: a second daily performance in the form of matinees, common for country acts of yore but almost exclusively relegated to family shows today. "If you add in 100 shows that didn't exist," one agent says, "all of a sudden here's an extra $100 million on matinees alone."

The tour is just getting underway — the first date was Sept. 4 — and massive markets await in the Northeast as well as traditional strongholds like Nashville, Texas, the West Coast and Pacific Northwest, with secondaries and then, sources say, Europe and Australia next summer, and possibly South America. "He could sit in Australia for a two or three months," the agent says. Further, the ill-fated five Croke Park shows originally meant to start this cycle could have been worth $100 million total gross, and Brooks will surely make a huge play in Ireland before all is said and done.

Watch James Marsden Sing Garth Brooks With Lady Antebellum

Huge markets await, including Philadelphia, Washington D.C., New York, Boston, as well as traditional strongholds like Nashville, Texas, the West Coast and the Pacific Northwest. Brooks needs robust population bases to draw more than 100,000, but could conceivably do week-long runs in both Staples Center and the Forum in L.A., and Barclays Center and the Garden in New York. And, many believe, if when Brooks starts getting close to the record, he could head to secondaries with big buildings in the heartland. This tour has already proven it can add dates in a hurry, and buildings from Fargo to Biloxi are aggressively pitching dates.

Meanwhile, other artists are trying to stay out of Brooks' way, especially country tours.

"A tour like this is unprecedented in our genre, or any genre," says Rob Beckham, co-head of William Morris Endeavor's Nashville office, "and we all have to be aware of where he's going and when." Another Nashville agency vet adds, "It's one thing when an artist like Luke Bryan or Taylor Swift goes into a market and takes out ­$2 million, and quite another when Garth goes in and takes out $12 million. The numbers are so staggering that it takes the market a little time to recover."
by Joshua James posted Oct 7 2014 1:29PM

"KANSAS CITY – The small man with the big smile was standing by himself in a back corner of the Kansas City Royals clubhouse on Sunday night with a can of Pepsi in one hand, a 29-year-old World Series championship ring on the other and something on his mind.

"There's a lot of resemblance between this team and the 1985 team," said Art Stewart. "You say why? Well, we had a lot of good young pitching then just like now. We had great defense then. We had great speed then. Then there's the defense on this team. And this is an athletic team … All of this has come together because of the depth of the farm system. We get a [James] Shields in a trade for a prospect, we get a Wade Davis and a Lorenzo Cain."

2014 Playoff schedule: Start times and TV listings

If the Royals are in fact as good as the 1985 club that won the franchise's first and still only world title, no one would know it better than the 87-year-old Stewart. He has been with the organization since its inception in 1969, serving as the club's scouting director and head of player development for much of that time, and that was after spending 16 years as a scout for the Yankees.

He has been working in professional baseball longer than Kansas City's manager, 60-year-old Ned Yost, has been alive.

It was fitting, then, that the Royals wrapped up their first trip to the American League Championship Series since '85 with an 8-3 blowout of the Angels in Game 3 of the ALDS thanks to all the things Stewart mentioned, and thanks to the type of players – young, talented and either a direct or indirect product of their farm system – that he made his living delivering to Kansas City. They were the same ones he greeted one after another in the clubhouse with a variation on the same theme, "We showed them, didn't we?"

Alex Gordon, the No. 2 pick of the 2005 draft, had the night's biggest hit, a three-run double in the bottom of the first that knocked Angels starter C.J. Wilson from the game and gave Kansas City a lead it would not relinquish. Eric Hosmer, the No. 3 pick in 2008, stretched that lead to four with a 418-foot opposite-field blast in the third. And Mike Moustakas, the No. 2 pick in '07, restored that advantage by answering an Albert Pujols home run in the top of the fourth with one of his own in the bottom half for a 6-2 edge.


Tigers fall to Orioles in ALDS, could signal end to an era
by Michael Rosenberg
At 30, Gordon is practically an old man compared with the 24-year-old Hosmer and 26-year-old Moustakas, but they are only part of the Kansas City core that includes All-Star catcher Salvador Perez (24), shortstop Alcides Escobar (27) and designated hitter Billy Butler (28). Those players are not new to the Royals, but the hype of what they might do individually is finally being surpassed by the reality of what they are doing together. As a result, the team's much-lauded and long-awaited rebuilding plan is finally bearing fruit in October.

"Homegrown players were huge for us," said Yost. "I told the boys with about a week to go, 'Look, some of you guys haven't had years that you really wanted to have, but we get to the playoffs, nobody is going to remember that,' and we've gotten to the playoffs now. These kids are all stepping up big time and putting us in the position that we're in now."

Indeed, Perez had the biggest hit of the wild Wild-Card Game win over the A's last Tuesday, a 12th-inning walk-off single to left. Moustakas hit the go-ahead homer in the 11th inning of ALDS Game 1 in Anaheim and Hosmer repeated that feat with an 11th inning, tie-breaking blast in Game 2. For the postseason, Hosmer and Moustakas are batting a combined .407 with four home runs and seven RBIs.

Moustakas' homer on Sunday seemed to put the game out of reach, especially when Kansas City tacked on another run for a 7-2 lead. But the Angels immediately threatened in the fifth, putting two on with one out. It seemed that perhaps the team that had won an MLB-best 98 games was finally going to wake from its series-long offensive slumber.

Until, that is, center fielder Lorenzo Cain, in the postgame words of his manager, "came out of nowhere, like Superman," to pluck balls only inches off the grass and rob Pujols and Howie Kendrick of base hits. On the first, he had moved to his left and dove to snare the ball. On the next, he went to his right and caught the ball while sliding.

VERDUCCI: Huge NLDS homer latest sign of Matt Kemp's revival

Cain may have been the only person in the ballpark who couldn't fully appreciate the beauty of those catches because he had yet to see a replay, even though they had been shown on the center field scoreboard. He did know one thing, "The first one was tougher," he said of the sinking Pujols liner that he snagged with a backhand.

Perhaps the only thing that eluded Cain on this night was his desire to celebrate with the Royals fans back on the field. Someone had told him that the champagne bottles the players were drenching each other with were not allowed out there, so they dutifully went back to their own, private celebration.

Cain, a 17th-round draft pick, had been acquired along with Escobar in a 2010 trade with the Brewers that shipped one-time Cy Young winner Zack Greinke to Milwaukee. That deal was just as significant as the one two years later in which the Royals sent Wil Myers, who became the 2013 AL Rookie of the Year for the Rays, to Tampa Bay for starting pitcher James Shields and reliever Wade Davis.

Now 32, Shields hardly qualified as young (nor, for the record, is he Big Game James. Even after his solid six-inning, two-run outing on Sunday, his postseason ERA is still 4.96), but he certainly qualified as the kind of leader the Royals desperately needed if they were to turn the corner from pretender to contender. He tied for the staff lead in wins (14) while leading in strikeouts and innings pitched, and finishing second in ERA (by 0.01) and WHIP (by 0.069). Against the Angels, he allowed baserunners in all but one of his six innings but struck out six and walked just two.

Shields was followed for the final three innings by the game's most effective trio of relievers: Kelvin Herrera (an undrafted free agent), Davis (acquired as a spare part in the Shields trade) and Greg Holland (a 10th round pick), who combined to allow one run on two hits while striking out five Angels batters.

The last of those victims was Mike Trout. The best player in baseball on the best team in baseball homered in the first inning for what proved to be his only hit and his team's only lead of the series. Yet in the ninth inning, with rain falling from the sky and cheers that sounded like thunder accompanying them, even he was no match for Holland's heat, flailing meekly at the final slider that finished the Angels' season.

As Trout walked back toward the dugout, he looked back once, then twice, at the celebration on the field. He saw a young team, a talented team, a dangerous team. If Trout was looking for the club now worthy of being called baseball's best, he may have just found it." - Sports Illustrated (
by Joshua James posted Oct 7 2014 10:40AM

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