News

End of an Era: The Final Hours of Toys “R” Us

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No more Toys “R” Us kids. I guess the next generation will sing, “I don’t wanna grow up, I’m an Amazon kid. There’s a billion toys on Amazon that I can play with.”

Today, June 29, 2018 is the last day for customers to shop at Toys “R” Us before it closes all of its remaining stores in the United States for good leaving in its wake a great deal of sadness. The iconic toy retailer filed for bankruptcy in September of 2017 with $4.9 billion in debt, a vestige from its $6.6 billion acquisition by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Bain Capital Partners and real estate investment trust Vornado Realty Trust in 2005. Five months later, it announced plans to liquidate its U.S. business. Sadly, roughly 30,000 workers are out of a job and no one is getting a severance. The 16-foot tall statue of Geoffrey the Giraffe that greeted visitors at Toys “R” Us headquarters in Wayne, New Jersey will be moved to a children’s hospital in the state.

There has been an outpouring of nostalgia for childhood toys shopping. I remember growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, and my mother taking me to Toys “R” Us in New Jersey for Christmas shopping. Those trips to Toys “R” Us were some of my favorite childhood memories. The new generation of kids will never know the experience of wandering that much retail space dedicated to fun. Electronics and devices took over their lives. Most of these kids don’t know HOW to play with toys. Some of them go to the playground and don’t know what to do such as swing or kick a ball. They are programmed to stare into screens and play with games on the smartphone, which is sad.

As we bid farewell to Toys “R” Us and Geoffrey the Giraffe, remember what has gone before: FAO Schwarz, KB Toys, Lionel Kiddie City, Woolworth, and the plethora mom and pop shops. The stores close, but the memories remain.

Toys “R” Us wrote an emotional farewell to their customers on its website, saying:

“Thanks to each of you who shared your amazing journey to (and through) parenthood with us, and to every grandparent, aunt, uncle, brother and sister who’s built a couch-cushion rocket-ship, made up a hero adventure, or invented something gooey. Promise us just this one thing: Don’t ever grow up. Play on!”

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Music, News

Joe Jackson, the father of music icons Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson, has passed away at the age of 89

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Today, June 27, 2018, at 3:30 AM, Joe Jackson, the patriarch of the Jackson family, has died from pancreatic cancer at the age of 89 in a Las Vegas hospice. He was a guitarist who put his own musical ambitions aside to work in the steel mills to support his wife and nine children in Gary, Indiana. Joe Jackson was perhaps the most successful parent managing his children in the history of music. He masterminded the careers of The Jackson 5, and then Michael and Janet Jackson as solo artists.

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Sports

Happy 20th Anniversary, “The Last Shot”

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20 years ago yesterday, on June 14, 1998, NBA legend Michael Jordan hit ‘The Last Shot’ to seal the Chicago Bulls’ sixth NBA title! It was perhaps the most iconic shot in NBA Finals history. With 10 seconds remaining, Michael Jordan started to dribble right, then crossed over to his left, pushing off Russell, and made the shot, which gave the Chicago Bulls an 87–86 lead. It would be the game-winning jumper, and the climactic shot of Michael Jordan’s legendary Bulls career.

Michael Jordan’s last shot as a Chicago Bull felt like a Hollywood ending.

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Sammie’s Graduation Day, City College, 2008

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Music

Happy 20th Anniversary, “It’s Dark and Hell is Hot”

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Twenty years ago, on May 12, 1998, platinum-selling rapper DMX released his debut studio album, It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot under Ruff Ryders Entertainment. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, and sold 251,000 copies in its first week in the United States. Hot singles such as “Get at Me Dog“, “Stop Being Greedy“, “Ruff Ryders Anthem” and “How’s It Goin’ Down” helped It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot sell over four million copies.

In the aftermath of 2Pac and Notorious B.I.G.’s murders there was a bit of a void that needed to be filled in hop-hop. At the time there were only two rappers strong enough to filled that void Jay-Z and DMX. Where Jay-Z represented the slick talking, getting money hustlers of New York, DMX represented the gritty streets of New York City with his raw emotions and realism, and showed a new generation of rappers that hardcore hop hop was not dead. He was a rising star in the world of hip-hop and often compared to 2Pac because of the bald head, tattoos and his authenticity.

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News

Jimmy Fallon Goes Back to the Past in Epic ‘Saved by the Bell’ Sketch!

The Tonight Show

February 4, 2015, late-night talk show host Jimmy Fallon took viewers back to the year 1993. The year that Michael Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to their third consecutive NBA championship, the World Wrestling Federation debuts Monday Night Raw on television in the United States, and Wu-Tang Clan put Staten Island on the hip-hop map with Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). In addition, that year, seven teenagers graduated from a factious high school called Bayside High School on the show Saved by the Bell.

Jimmy Fallon did a sketch that reunited Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Tiffani Thiessen, Mario Lopez, Elizabeth Berkley, and Dennis Haskins, original members from the hit TV show, Saved by the Bell. They reprised their iconic TV roles.

Saved By the Bell Reunion

Saved by the Bell Reunion

In the sketch, a “teenage” Jimmy Fallon reminisces about his high school years. He and Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) recite some of the lyrics to the Saved by the Bell themed song before “A.C.” Slater (Mario Lopez) joins them by the lockers. They discuss the “Big Valentine’s Day Dance. A.C. Slater informs them that he is taking Jessie (Elizabeth Berkley) to the dance that comes down the stairs with a textbook in her hand. A.C. Slater dances in a black leotard displaying his jubilation of taking Jessie to the dance. Jimmy tell his friends that he is not going to the dance because he is moving to New York to become a comedian and live his big dreams.

“I want to be on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ host my own talk show — and who knows, maybe one day date Nicole Kidman.” He says.

Zack Morris has a hard time believing his high school friend could ever score with the famous Hollywood star and respond, “Jimmy going on a date with Nicole Kidman is like Jessie becoming a stripper,” poking fun at Elizabeth Berkley’s infamous on-screen role Nomi Malone in the erotic drama-comedy film Showgirls.

Then Jessie exclaims how “excited” (remember the caffeine pills in “Jessie’s Song”?) she is through the halls that Jimmy is moving to New York the next day. Principal Belding (Dennis Haskins) walks in saying his signature catchphrase “Hey, hey, hey, hey! What is going on here?” to know why Jessie is so excited. Seconds later, Kelly Kapowski makes her appearance letting Zack know that she is pregnant. Zack does his signature “Time out!” that temporarily freezes all of the characters around him.

The eight-minute scene ends when the gang sang “Friends Forever” that Principal Belding now disc jockey Richard “The Big Bopper” Belding is playing on the school’s speakers. The song is by the band Zack Attack that Zack Morris is the lead singer and guitar player of.

Thanks for the Memories, Fallon!

Fallon and Zack

From the fashion, the big cell phones, and theme music, this homage nailed every detail of the original show. As someone who grew up watching Saved by the Bell reruns every morning, I enjoyed every second of the sketch. Other than Mr. Belding, none of them really aged in twenty years! The reunion brought back so many childhood memories. Too bad Neither Lark Voorhies, who played Lisa Turtle and Dustin Diamond, who played Screech, made appearances. It would have been awesome to see all the original cast members of the show together one last time!

 

By Shamarie Knight, 5th Feb 2015

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Sports

My Top 5 Sports Moments of the Last 20 Years

Michael Jordan’s Last Shot as a Chicago Bull

Michael Jordan's last shot

Michael Jordan’s last shot as a Chicago Bull was also one of the most clutch shots in NBA history. Michael Jordan stole the ball from Karl Malone, then slowly dribbled down the court and paused at the top of the key, eyeing his defender, Jazz guard Bryon Russell. With 10 seconds remaining, Jordan started to dribble right, then crossed over to his left, possibly pushing off Russell, although the officials did not call a foul, and scored. The game-winning shot not only completed the Chicago Bulls’ second three-peat, but also solidified “Air” Michael Jordan as the greatest basketball player of his generation. Jordan’s last shot in a Bulls uniform was too perfect!

New York Giants Upset Undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII

David Tyree's epic catch

The Patriots entered the game as 12-point favorites after becoming the first team to complete a perfect regular season since the1972 Miami Dolphins, and the only one since the league expanded to a 16-game regular season schedule in 1978. The Giants, who finished the regular season with a 10–6 record, were seeking to become the first NFC wild card team to win a Super Bowl, and were also looking for their third Super Bowl victory and first since they won Super Bowl XXV seventeen years earlier.

The highlight of the championship game is Giants’ wide receiver David Tyree making a leaping one-handed catch pinning the football with his right hand to the crown of his helmet for a 32-yard gain. It was one of the best plays ever! The New York Giants would go on to win Super Bowl XLII by the score of 17–14.

Muhammad Ali lights Olympic Flame

Muhammad Ali lights Olympic Flame

At the Games of the XXVI Olympiad, millions of people witnessed “The Greatest” Muhammad Ali, the former three-time heavyweight champion and “Sportsman of the Century” lit the Olympic torch during the opening ceremonies of the games and received a replacement gold medal for his boxing victory in the 1960 Summer Olympics. It was an incredibly moving moment. Muhammad Ali was suffering from Parkinson’s, and he had the honor of lighting the flame. Many people cried and loved Muhammad Ali even more. He was still the champ in their eyes!

Mike Piazza Homerun After 9/11

Mike Piazza Homerun after 9/11

On September 21, 2001, New York Mets great Mike Piazza hit a home run to help give the Mets a 3-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves. It was the Mets’ first game at Shea Stadium after the tragic 9/11 terrorist attacks. The home run was very symbolic for not only Mets fans, but also the city itself. It was a reminder that New Yorkers are strong and can overcome anything. Terrorists are not going to stop them from living their lives.

”This isn’t life and death, this is baseball,” Mike Piazza said after the game. ”I went up to a couple of guys and told them, ‘God bless you and God bless your family.’ Life is precious. We learned that here.”

Tiger Woods Wins 3 Majors in 2000

Tiger Wins!

Tiger Woods was not only a superstar in golf, but also the face of the sport by the year 2000. That year, at the age of 24, Tiger Woods became the youngest golfer to achieve the Career Grand Slam by winning the U.S. Open, The Open Championship, and PGA Championship. The accomplishment solidified Tiger Woods as the most dominant force in golf.

By Shamarie Knight, 4th Jun 2015

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