Rory McIlroy looks to put Honda Classic disappointment behind him at WGC Cadillac Championship

DORAL, Fla. - Rory McIlroy loves what Donald Trump has done to the Blue Monster. The room décor at the resort? Not so much. "I'm staying in this Tiger Woods Villa here and there's pictures all over my room of him," McIlroy said at his pre-tournament press conference. "I sent him a message last night: 'Can't get away from you here. I can't go to the bathroom without looking at you." McIlroy, of course, is trying to shake off blowing a two-shot lead at the Honda Classic. "Looking at last week as a whole, definitely a lot of positives to take," he said. "I think I was up there in putting in the statistical categories, I drove the ball really well. I was just disappointed with how I played coming down the stretch. It obviously wasn't what I would have liked. But I feel like my game is there to get into contention again this week and that's what I'll try and do." McIlroy said he got in some good practice sessions at the Bears Club in Palm Beach, working a lot on the shot that cost him down the stretch Sunday. "A lot of the shots that I faced on Sunday on the back nine were right to left wind and I was holding the ball up and I was losing it left," he explained. "Any time I have a right to left wind, I always fight it. The only one that I did execute well was the 5 wood (from 245 yards) on the last. That was the one when I really needed (it). It's in there and I know I can do it. It's just a matter of repeating it more often I guess." *** Gil Hanse, who blew up and redid the course with the help of Trump's bankroll, has been receiving nothing but compliments from the players. Ernie Els called it a "masterpiece." Hanse basically put fangs back into a Blue Monster that had been wearing dentures the last several years with winning scores at 20-under. "I think that it was probably about a 7 before and now I think we are 8 and a half to 9 difficulty wise," Hanse said. "It was one of the surprising things yesterday talking Continue Reading

Review: Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear headphones

Can you really take a top pair of headphones, shrink them, cut the cost and still keep all that oh-so-good sound? That's the challenge that Sennheiser ( tries to meet head on with its new Momentum On-Ear headphones (available here: Last year, Sennheiser released the original Momentum over-ear headphones, one of the most comfortable, well-rounded headsets I've ever tested. And earlier this summer, the sound giant followed that up with the Momentum On-Ear editions. These new cans are meant to be more wallet-friendly and a bit more convenient, although they're not nearly as impressive as their sleek big brothers. At first glance, the Momentum On-Ears seem to make few compromises to hit the new $229.99 price point. They truly look like a pair of Momentums hit with some shrink ray, maintaining the typical Momentum high-end aesthetic. You still get that soft leather-ish headband and the stainless steel attachments leading into the earcups. Sennheiser's clever and easy-moving sliding mechanism lets the earcups feel both secure and easily flexible, and that's back, too. The earcups, as you'd expect, are smaller, but they still feel mostly comfortable. They're padded in a material called Alcantara, which I knew nothing about until I did some quick research. Turns out Alcantara is pretty popular in yacht upholstery and on your ears it feels a lot like a slightly softer suede. The Alcantara feels nowhere near as extra-comfy as the Memory Foam featured in Sony's X line, but it isn't annoying and bothersome, either. It's not quite as comfortable as last year's Momentums, though. The Momentum On-Ears are much like other on-ear headphones, so while they're comfortable for short spells, during long flights, you'll find yourself constantly adjusting their positioning, or taking them off altogether. This is nothing new for on-ear headphones, of course; it's really only worth mentioning because last Continue Reading

Makin Waves with Lambertville’s The Paper Jets

The Paper Jets are a Lambertville-based power-pop band with strong, intelligent lyrics and a Beatlesque, Cheap Tricky sound that soon can be heard on a fifth release being produced in the quartet’s home studio at the abled hands of drummer-engineer Frank Lettieri Jr.The band’s second LP, “Everyday Forever,” is expected to be released by year’s end, possibly on a large independent label. An exclusive video for the anticipated single, “Say I Can,” can be enjoyed above.In their home rehearsal/recording studio, I chatted with The Paper Jets — also vocalist-guitarist-keyboardist Brian Erickson, lead guitarist Mike Virok, and bassist Scott Austin Miller — about the new material. Some will be played for the first time on May 7 when they make their lCourt Tavern debut playing for longtime friend Brittney Dixon, the club’s general manager/promoter. For more about the band, visit READ: More Makin Waves columns Question: You’ve gone back to being a four-piece rather than a power-pop trio?Frank: We always felt that we were missing a little bit. It was fun being a trio, but we felt like if we had the opportunity to make an addition, it would benefit the music. And it’s done that. Q: You’ve put the brakes on live shows to record ‘Everyday Forever,’ but you’ve scheduled one for May 7 at the Court Tavern. Comment on why you’re looking forward to that show and why it will be special?Brian: Scott is brand new. The Paper Jets have never played The Court Tavern either.Frank: We’ve played in different bands or at the Halloween show.Brian: Frank and I did a Halloween show with the two of us and two of the guys from Small Planet Radio. We were The Replacements for Halloween.Q: So you’re close to Brittney, who you’ve played for a bunch, but this is your first time playing the Court for her?Brian: Yeah, she did The Saint, The Rail, Hamilton Stage Continue Reading

Restaurant review: Viaggio in Wayne

Drop everything, head to Wayne’s new Italian spot, Viaggio, and order the chicken. Yes, the chicken. Yes, this is a rare and ringing endorsement of what is the most notoriously boring dish in most restaurants.And no, it’s not Parmigiana or Francese. Those Italian-American favorites happen to be banned from the premises of Viaggio, a strip-mall restaurant that seeks to present food as it’s cooked in Italy. With his chicken, chef-partner Robbie Felice presents an unforgettable interpretation of cacciatore that involves brining the breast and stuffing a delectable herb-cheese-breadcrumb mixture under the skin, then serving it over mushrooms whose flavor has been amped up with chicken-leg confit and ground pancetta ($29).Felice, at age 26 a serious talent to watch, is a former sous chef for the restaurant group of Mario Batali and Joseph and Lidia Bastianich. Now, many chefs have toiled in big-name restaurants, and you wouldn’t always know it from their own creations. Here, the influence is clear: Felice’s best dishes bear intense, soulful flavors that evoke those of the acclaimed Babbo in Manhattan, where Felice was once an extern before rising to sous chef at the group’s B&B Ristorante in Las Vegas.This 3½-star rating is the highest for a restaurant in Passaic County in the nine years I’ve been The Record’s reviewer. The most significant drawback: hard metal chairs that dig into your sides. They should be replaced.Fried calamari in a lemon butter sauce, at Viaggio restaurant in Wayne.Too bad, though, because aesthetically they fit right into a dining room decorated to evoke a Tuscan farmhouse, with gracious sconces on brick columns, tablecloth-less wooden tables, and lights strung across a patterned ceiling. You can just imagine the vines and fig trees off in the back, instead of the busy open kitchen.You’re set up nicely here with a crunchy-crusted loaf from the famous Sullivan Street Bakery in Manhattan, Continue Reading

‘Sugar!’ sweet to Alice Ripley, new film fest

The inaugural Boardwalk Film Festival is kicking off in Asbury Park, and Alice Ripley, for one, finds it the perfect spot.The Tony Award winning actor ("Next to Normal," "Side Show") and acclaimed musician stars in "Sugar!," which is making its New Jersey debut at the festival."That’s a touchstone for me, culturally, where Bruce Springsteen started," Ripley said. "I definitely was influenced by his music, so it’s kind of like coming home. I’m going to be there and am looking forward it.""Sugar!"  co-stars Robert Clohessy ("Boardwalk Empire," "Blue Bloods") and features musician and actor June Millington, co-founder and lead guitarist of the groundbreaking all-female 1970s rock band Fanny. It tells the story of a group of 50something women harkening back to their rock roots and secretly forming a new band, which goes viral. Ripley calls her character "basically my alter ego." GO SEE A SHOW:  Score off-Broadway tickets for $20"Asbury Park, I say this lovingly, the underdog — I really relate to that," she said. "That’s kind of what 'Sugar!' is about. This movie I think could be a mouthpiece for women in their 50s that are tired of being told to behave themselves. It reminds me of 'A Star is Born,' which was always my favorite rock movie. I play Leslie, a suburban mom who has a teenager that’s going through a lot of angst and a husband that’s running for public office and he wants me to behave myself and I’m out late at night, carousing."Ripley, along with Kathryn Danielle, Millington and Sheila Earley, recorded the film's music, which features songs in part by Joan Jett and Graham Russell of Air Supply."It’s really fun because all of the ladies in the band, we all play," Ripley said. "We’re all musicians for real. And there were so many women involved in the production. It was really incredible, I’ve never Continue Reading

Average stock fund pops in third quarter

The average diversified U.S. stock fund soared 7.7% from July through September, according to preliminary data from Lipper.The third-quarter gain, the best since the first quarter, brings 2013's average gain to 21.6% through Friday, vs. 20.5% for the Standard and Poor's 500 stock index with dividends reinvested through Friday. If the year were to end here, it would be the best year since 2009.Powering the gains: a surge in small-company stock funds. The average small-company growth fund jumped 12.8% the third quarter, bringing the 2013 gain to 32.2%. Funds that track the large-company Standard and Poor's 500 stock index gained an average 5.7% for the quarter and 20.0% for 2013.Biggest improvement: precious metals funds, up 11.4%, thanks to a big rebound in gold prices. Gold started the quarter at $1,192 per ounce, and closed Monday at $1,326.50, an 11% gain.Top three fund categories:• Leveraged funds, which use futures and options to amp up gains and losses. Add a little jet fuel to a ramped-up market, and you get an average gain of 14.6% for these funds.• Health and biotechnology funds, up 13.9% for the quarter and 38.3% for the year. Big pharma companies, such as Merck, have largely gotten past their patent expiration problems, and offer juicy dividends, as well.Smaller biotech companies have been heating up, as well, both because of new drug discoveries and because of mergers and acquisitions. "The high-flying momentum trade has been biotech," says Jim Lowell, editor of Fidelity Investor, a newsletter.• Global science and technology funds, up 13.4% for the quarter and 22.5% for the year. Got a smartphone? Love it? Now you know why tech is booming.The top fund for the quarter, as of Friday: Direxion China Bull 3X fund, which uses leverage to return three times the Chinese market's gains and losses. The average China fund leaped 11.6% for the quarter. Direxion's highly juiced fund soared 93.6%.Top diversified fund that doesn't use leverage: Continue Reading

Taco Challenge launches new ReSurfaced

Tacos are one of the first sparks for urban renewal beginning Thursday afternoon as the ReSurfaced urban outdoor community concept moves into semi-permanent digs on a vacant lot in Phoenix Hill.Vibrant red and blue shipping containers are already settled on the lot. Canteens and sheltered dining areas cut and welded by Core Design flank East Liberty Street on one side and South Shelby Street on the other within sight of Bargain Supply and the Liberty Green housing development east of downtown. Coming soon is a patio surface with 300 LG&E manhole covers nestled into gravel. By the fall, the nonprofit City Collaborative, sponsor of ReSurfaced, expects to have raised enough funds to construct an adjoining soccer field.Two weeks of events kick off at 5 p.m. Thursday with tacos and drinks sold by Festival Cuisine & Spirits, the city concessionaire that also caters Waterfront Wednesdays at Waterfront Park."We thought we had a good idea when we went to other cities and saw the kind of community building that happens ... the ability to bring people together from all over the city in a constructive way," Mayor Greg Fischer said Tuesday at a news conference announcing the latest iteration of ReSurfaced. "ReSurfaced has now become a brand."While the party goes on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights for the next two weeks, the real Mexican muscle moves in Saturday afternoon, when from 12 to 4 p.m. June 4, Slow Food Bluegrass will sponsor $3 tastings of tacos made from locally produced ingredients styled by some of the city's finest chefs."We are looking forward to a fun, family-friendly event," said Summer Auerbach, president of the board of Slow Food Bluegrass.Restaurants participating on Saturday afternoon include Mayan Cafe, Wiltshire on Market and the Kentucky Taco Company for the chance to win "Best Taco," "Best Vegetarian Taco" and "Most Creative Taco," to name a few categories.  All foods feature Continue Reading

From Future to Willie Nelson, these are the 15 acts you have to see at Summerfest

Whatever way you want to celebrate at Summerfest's 50th edition, there are acts just for you.Say you're interested in reminiscing about the Big Gig's past? You can take in sets from music legends like Paul Simon, who was among the first amphitheater headliners at Summerfest, or Tom Petty, who has played Summerfest's amphitheater more than any other artist.If you're looking to scout up-and-coming talent, you can spot acts like Chance the Rapper collaborator Jamila Woods. There's local talent too, like Milwaukee rapper and headliner IshDARR.With 800-plus acts playing across 11 days, there are an infinite number of possibilities.Below you'll find our 15 top recommendations, broken down into three categories — headliners, up-and-comers, and local acts — listed in order of occurrence. You can find more Summerfest recommendations each day during the Big Gig in the Journal Sentinel and on the Tap Milwaukee Facebook page.Search through our interactive schedule — and discover local and recommended acts, search by time and genre, and more — at 5 HEADLINERS1. Paul Simon: At 75, Simon refuses to coast on nostalgia, evident on last year's adventurous "Stranger to Stranger" album, although you can expect to hear the hits at Summerfest. (7:30 p.m. June 30, American Family Insurance Amphitheater. $73.95 to $117.90 at the box office, (800) 745-3000 and IshDARR: After packing several thousand people at a 6 p.m. Tuesday gig during Summerfest last year, the Milwaukee party rapper has earned this closing headlining slot. (10 p.m. July 4, Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard)3. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers: The cream of the classic rock crop, Petty's Heartbreakers is celebrating its 40th anniversary on what Petty has suggested might be the band's last tour. (7:30 p.m. July 5 and 6, American Family Insurance Amphitheater. $63.75 to $134.)4. Future: With two No. 1 debut albums to his Continue Reading

Lyft’s Zimmer on Uber battle: ‘We’ll ultimately win’

SAN FRANCISCO — John Zimmer isn't shy about making bold pronouncements when it comes to Uber, the ride-hailing industry's Goliath to Lyft's David."I think we'll ultimately win, yes," the Lyft co-founder tells USA TODAY. "Our focus on the U.S. has been helpful."Lyft has indeed taken a narrower path to success by focusing on the domestic market. Founded in 2012, three years after Uber created the category, Lyft made itself known with the fuzzy pink mustaches that adorned its cars.But Zimmer's confidence is mitigated by the fact that this battle is getting grizzly, thanks largely to Uber's mushrooming footprint. Reports surfaced this summer, which Lyft executives denied, that the company was shopping itself around to a range of suitors — including Uber.By most standards, Lyft has done well with venture capitalists. The company has raised $2 billion, which includes a $500 million investment from General Motors in late 2015. Its private market valuation is estimated at $5.5 billion. It has 315,000 drivers and just hit 17 million rides a month, up from 7 million a year ago.In contrast, Uber has raised $15 billion and is currently valued at $68 billion and operates in more than 60 countries. It has more than a million drivers, and has completed 2 billion rides.And while little is known about the exact unit economics of both companies, the widely held belief is that both are using their capital to keep prices low in order to grow market share. Uber recently shelved its plans to compete in China after an expensive incentives program that failed to dent rival Didi Chuxing.Both Zimmer and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick have made plain their desire to provide a service that eliminates, for many people, the need to own a vehicle. Once that hook is set, ride-sharing companies could charge more, in theory.Ride sharing is thought to be a $40 billion market, and given fairly low barrier to entry — namely compelling tech Continue Reading

COOKING UP A HOOKUP. The man of your dreams may be just a bowl of pork dumplings away

According to the old wives' tale, the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. If old wives are right, most of us new girlfriends are in trouble. A huge number of New York women don't cook, and if they do, it usually involves a microwave and poking holes in plastic wrap. Enter "Cooking for Mr. Right: More Than 150 Recipes to Land Your Man." This primer to manipulating men into thinking you are a goddess in both the kitchen and the bedroom presents a matrix for the single gal to woo and land a mate, by dividing all men into simplistic categories based on appearance, hobbies and financial status. I picked three men and made three different dinners to see if the book's tips worked. Would I get lucky? Is cooking really the secret ingredient to dating success that has been eluding me all these years? Romancing the palate Date No. 1: THE STARVING ARTIST 3 Hearts 'Starving" is a pretty successful graphic designer (okay, so he isn't exactly starving) from Brooklyn in his mid-30s. According to the book, this man is "relentlessly focused in his drive to create." I am supposed to "inspire his passion," which is a lofty goal just for roasting zucchini and beating some egg whites. The main course is Hunan Pork Dumplings with HotSauce, and they're a lot of work. The dumpling filling is easy enough, but filling the wonton skins proves disastrous. So I focus on the book's other advice to distract myself from the mess. I'm supposed to dim the lights (in my studio apartment this means turning one off) and fill the room with candles before waving a ylang-ylang incense stick around for 10 minutes. This is apparently an aphrodisiac. I have no idea what a ylang-ylang incense stick is, so I light some candles from the blackout emergency kit my mom sent me. Finally, I need to boil the wontons until they float on top of the water. I leave them alone for maybe four minutes and return to find wonton separated from pork, both floating on separate sides of the Continue Reading