Forrest is gearing up for his Eco/Archaeological/Adventure Bachelor Trip here at the Mayan Riviera, Quintana Roo Mexico with 5 of his soul brothers. Men's Health Magazine will be covering the action and so will we...
Source: Yahoo - Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher had a pretty productive relationship when they first came into the NBA together, winning three titles with the Los Angeles Lakers and forging a friendship that belied the differences in their personalities and their skills.
"It's not because our games are similar, it's not because of talent similarities or any of that," Fisher said Wednesday after the Lakers practiced for Game 4 of the NBA finals against the Boston Celtics.
"It's just that we've experienced a lot of good and bad things together. Because we've been through those fires, we're just comfortable relying on each other, and I think he knows and I know that if anything in the world happened, if there was one person that would stand up and say, 'I'm here for you,' you know, it would go both ways."
A tough and emotional point guard with a history of clutch performances, Fisher made five baskets in the fourth quarter to lead the Lakers to a 91-84 victory over Boston on Tuesday night and a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven NBA finals.
His signature play this time wasn't a long-distance heave — like the one he sank against San Antonio with 0.4 seconds left in 2004 — or a series of jumpers like those that turned things around in Game 4 of the finals against Orlando last year.
Instead, Fisher helped clinch the victory over Boston when he followed through on a breakaway layup before being flattened by three Celtics — including 300-pound Glen "Big Baby" Davis and 6-foot-11 Kevin Garnett. Fisher, who's 6-1 and 210 pounds, converted the three-point play to turn it into a seven-point game.
"He's very, very, very, very tough — mentally and physically," Bryant said. "He doesn't back down from anything or anyone."
Fisher played the first eight years of his career with the Lakers, winning three titles in the Shaq-and-Kobe era before signing with Golden State as a free agent in 2004. It was only then that Bryant appreciated what kind of friend and teammate he had.
"Fish and I, we've always been close, though I think when he left we became even closer, as weird as that seems," Bryant said. "Everything happens for a reason. It's kind of good to see him kind of come full circle and be back here again."
Fisher was traded to Utah in 2006 and spent a year there, but when his daughter, Tatum, developed eye cancer he asked to be released so he could move to a major city where she could be treated. He said Wednesday that she's doing "great"; she and her twin brother Drew will turn 4 this summer.
"I'm hoping that I can bring them a big, gold trophy as a gift for their birthday," Fisher said.
Fisher was moving back to Los Angeles to be near the doctors — with or without an offer from the Lakers. The fact that the team needed a point guard at the time, had the cap room and realized what it was missing since Fisher left makes him think that there's "something else higher than me that was in control of all that."
It didn't hurt that the Lakers added Pau Gasol soon after, and then made it to the 2008 finals — his first season back — before losing to the Celtics. Last year, Los Angeles repeated as Western Conference champions and beat the Magic for Fisher's fourth title.
Now they're in the finals for their third straight year since Fisher returned.
"Of course, anytime I'm on a team I expect to win, but it's hard to imagine that it was planned out," he said. "But, you know, I'm a believer in a higher power, and it's quite an interesting plan that He had."
With two more victories, Fisher and Bryant will earn their fifth title in 11 years as teammates, a tenure that has coach Phil Jackson comparing their partnership — both personal and professional — to a couple of Hall of Famers he coached with the Chicago Bulls: Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.
"It's not unusual for players that have played together ... to have a relationship, especially when you have winning," Jackson said. "They have a wonderful relationship, not only in communication but also in knowing how to play with each other in a way that's supportive."
Fisher is the more vocal of the two, the one more likely to call out his teammates with a motivational speech like the one he delivered before the start of the fourth quarter on Tuesday night. Bryant relies instead on a quiet intensity; there's often little doubt how he feels, but you have to read it on his face.
Bryant compares the difference in styles to Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. Fisher said he's the more peaceful of the two, finding a way to fit in among strong personalities like Bryant, Jackson and Shaquille O'Neal.
"My only concern is for us to win," he said. "I love everybody. But if we don't win, I don't love you as much."
Source: CMT (LAS VEGAS) - Carrie Underwood's new single is called "Temporary Home," yet she's continuing to prove herself as a permanent fixture in country music history. On Sunday night (April 18), she became the first woman to win the Academy of Country Music's entertainer of the year trophy twice. It's also the second year that the ACM's top award was fan-voted.
Just moments after accepting the trophy, Underwood took questions from reporters backstage. Asked if she was surprised by her win, she replied, "Oh, my gosh, yes! I know my fans are awesome and they come out to support me every single night when I'm onstage. They are the most amazing fans anybody could hope to have. But I was like, 'I don't know ... .'" She conceded she thought she had a little chance, then sheepishly admitted she voted for herself -- which elicited a round of laughter among the press.
Despite the milestone in the entertainer of the year category, Underwood shied away from taking too much credit for representing country's new class of female artists.
"It's not just me," she said, still out of breath from her acceptance speech. "It's Miranda [Lambert]. She was all over the place. It's Reba, who always continues to show us how it's done. There are so many beautiful, strong, extremely talented and smart women who are just making headlines left and right, and I'm honored to be with them. It's amazing company, and I think it's only going to get better."
Underwood and Lambert kicked off the show with Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Travelin' Band," flanked by Brad Paisley (who later won his fourth ACM Award for male vocalist), John Fogerty and Charlie Daniels. In the pressroom, Underwood praised Lambert as "so cool because she's so real" and expressed her delight at sharing the stage with Fogerty, whom she cited as one of her longtime musical favorites.
With a wedding to hockey star Mike Fisher in the works, Underwood fielded a question about how she's getting ready for big day.
"I'm just taking care of myself, which is what I always hope to do for anything," she said. "I constantly have events coming up, whether it's ACMs or other awards show or some other television appearance. I'm always trying to be my best -- not just to look my best, but to feel my best, too. I'm on tour right now, so I have to keep myself healthy and really take care of myself. So it will be more of that. I'm not a big stresser. Mike would love me if I weighed 800 pounds."
She also told a reporter that she never dreamed this big as a contestant on American Idol in 2005.
"Whenever I was on Idol, I was just hoping to stay there for another week," she said. "That was as far as my calendar would go. I don't think anybody could have possibly predicted any of this. Just because you're on Idol, or you win Idol, doesn't mean you're an instant superstar. There's a lot that goes into it, and a lot of it has to do with luck or fans or God. There are a lot of different factors. It's amazing for me to get to sit in a crowd like this [at awards shows]. I used to watch them on TV when I was little, and I'd root for my favorites. Now I think maybe there's some little blond girl in a small town crossing her fingers really hard for me."
Source: CNN Health - Have you ever felt cut off from other people, even if there are plenty around you? Maybe you felt all alone in the world, but you were making other people feel lonely without even realizing it.
New research suggests loneliness can actually travel from person to person, spreading up to three degrees of separation. That means if your neighbor's cousin's friend is lonely, you may have a good chance of being lonely, too.
The results, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, were also mentioned in the recent book "Connected" by Dr. Nicholas Christakis at Harvard University and James Fowler at the University of California, San Diego. The book explores how happiness, obesity, smoking and a slew of other behaviors and habits are contagious among groups of people who know one another.
John Cacioppo, a psychologist at the University of Chicago who has written a book called "Loneliness," teamed up with Christakis and Fowler to study the effect of this phenomenon in social networks.
The authors focused on data from the Framingham Heart Study, which has followed thousands of people in Framingham, Massachusetts, since 1948. The loneliness research looked at the second generation in the study, which includes 5,124 people.
In the heart study, researchers kept in touch with participants every two to four years, asking them about depression, loneliness and other issues. They also kept a record of their friends. This allowed Christakis, Fowler and Cacioppo to look at the subjects' social networks over time.
If a direct connection in your social network is lonely, you are 52 percent more likely to be lonely, the researchers found. At two degrees of separation -- a friend of a friend -- it's 25 percent. At three degrees, someone who knows your friend's friend, it's 15 percent.
By helping lonely people on the periphery of a social network, "We can create a protective barrier against loneliness that will keep the whole network from unraveling," Christakis and Fowler wrote in "Connected."
The results are surprising because "we think of loneliness as something that affects a person who is by himself or herself," Ed Diener, professor of psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said in an e-mail. He was not involved in the study.
But it makes sense that the way a lonely person behaves could influence others, and those people could respond in kind to more friends, social scientists say.
"If lonely people act out behaviors that alienate others, some others will learn to enact those same behaviors, sometimes in reaction against the lonely person," Diener said.
Loneliness is defined as perceived social isolation, and it's not based on the number of people around you, Cacioppo said. Evolutionarily, it was important for early humans to know how many peers they could count on, work with and survive with, as well as who would betray them, he said.
"That's why the quality, not the quantity, of relationships is what's related to whether someone feels isolated or feels satisfied with their relationships," he said.
Cacioppo's earlier research says people have different baseline levels of loneliness, meaning some people have a greater need than others for social connection. From that perspective, it follows that someone who is highly sensitive to disconnection would more strongly promote lonely feelings in the network, he said.
Both lonely and nonlonely people prefer nonlonely people, and sometimes the lonely are even harsher to others who feel disconnected than the nonlonely people. This helps leave the lonely people with fewer friends, Cacioppo said.
In the social network study, mood did not affect how loneliness was transmitted, he said. Participants were asked how depressed they were, and this did not seem to affect whether they passed loneliness along the network.
The study also found that loneliness spreads much more easily among women than among men, citing the idea that women may be more likely to express and share emotions, as well as the observation that there may be greater stigma associated with loneliness among men. Happiness, by contrast, does not seem to have gender distinctions in the way it spreads, according to Christakis and Fowler's research.
People who are lonely may be motivated to seek social connection, increasing the likelihood that others around that person will be exposed to loneliness, the authors said.
Loneliness spreads more quickly among friends than family, but this finding may be limited to older people, as the average age in the sample was 64 years old, the authors said. Cacioppo, though, said the pattern generally makes sense because the cost of leaving a friendship is less than cutting off a family member, so people are more likely to isolate themselves from friends than close relatives or spouses.
Although these effects are stronger in person, they also have implications for online social interactions, he said.
"If you have an important friend and they are really grumpy and say nasty things on email, you may walk into the next room and be grumpy to someone else," he said.
The findings have implications for communities, Cacioppo said. City planners and policymakers should consider interventions such as sidewalks that allow neighborhood residents to interact more in public spaces, so that if someone is feeling down, others can help bring that person out of it.
In terms of therapy, it's important for lonely people to understand the condition and what it does to the brain, he said. Those who are lonely tend to view things as more threatening, and if they understand that, they can help themselves temper such strong reactions.
"We can correct our tendency to want to act grumpy to others," he said.
Diener said the research is important, building off of the "Connected" authors' earlier work on social networks.
"This series of studies shows us that we don't just live in individual worlds, but are influenced often in unconscious ways of which we are not aware," he said.
Source: LA Times - I heard that Nathaniel Ayers, musical genius and inspiration behind the film the Soloist, performed at Agape in Culver City on the eve of Christmas along with Rickie Byers Beckwith. Wow, how I would have loved to be there! Anyhow, here's a clip from 60 Minutes demonstrating the beautiful friendship formed between LA columnist Steve Lopez and the schizophrenic homeless musician Nathaniel Ayers.Steve Lopez has chronicled the life of Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, who sleeps each night on one of skid row's most dangerous streets, in his columns listed here.