SwiftKey Update Brings Emoji Prediction, ‘Oxygen’ Themes, and More Languages

Microsoft today released an update for SwiftKey that includes a handful of new features including emoji prediction and enhancements to 3D Touch gestures.

Users who tap on the emoji key will now see a new prediction panel that automatically suggests up to 18 relevant emoji depending on what they type, saving them the trouble of searching through the entire list.

The update also includes eight new “Oxygen” themes adding up to a spectrum of vibrant colors for SwiftKey keyboards. The new hues can be found in the Design section of the app and include Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Light Blue, Blue, Purple, and Pink.

In addition, Microsoft said it had made substantial improvements to the responsiveness of 3D Touch gestures in SwiftKey on supporting iPhones, including those that trigger cursor control and cursor movement. Haptic feedback has also been implemented for some keyboard actions, such as opening the emoji panel.

Lastly, SwiftKey added support for 15 new languages including Egyptian Arabic, Tanglish, Bambara, Wolof, Mossi, Greenlandic, and Northern Sami. See here for the full list.

SwiftKey is a free download for iPhone and iPad on the App Store. [Direct Link]


10 Best WordPress Themes to Choose From for Your Next Website Project

10 Best WordPress Themes to Choose From for Your Next Website Project

The digital world is spawning at an exponential rate. Every hour, roughly 1,000 websites are created. We’re talking petabytes of new data every single hour. To understand the sheer size and volume of that, there’s one million gigabytes in a petabyte or 1,000 terabytes. Considering that the human mind is estimated to be able to hold 1.25 terabytes of data, one petabyte is equivalent to approximately 800 human minds.

While those numbers could most certainly shock and awe you, the truth is that many of the newcomers to the online world rely on the WordPress platform to help streamline the process of getting their website up and running quickly and easily. With over 100 million websites and counting, WordPress is by far the most popular CMS in existence. That might be why the WordPress theme market is burgeoning and exploding.

However, with tens of thousands of themes in existence, how do you know which WordPress theme is the best one for your next website project? While this can most certainly be a subjective topic, these pre-built themes, which offer a far smoother transition into cyberspace, are scooped up in droves.

Some of these themes are terrific for ecommerce stores while others are great for starting a blog. However, the best theme for your project will be based on a few criteria. Not only should they be aesthetically appealing to the eye, but they also need to be mobile responsive. Considering that Google’s search is now a mobile-first index, and mobile searches far outpace desktop, responsiveness in design is important.

When a design is responsive, it looks and functions just as well on mobile and tablet devices as it does on desktop. However, building a responsive design on your own is no simple feat. Trust me, I’ve built loads of them. And unless you rely on a system like Twitter’s Bootstrap, building responsive designs for different media types is an exhaustive endeavor. That’s why some of the best WordPress themes have placed special weight on this one crucial aspect.

Related: CMS Battle for Beginners: WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal (Infographic)

How to choose the best theme for your website.

Whether you’ve just started a business, or you’re trying to figure out the type of business you want to start, there are some things to look for when selecting a theme for your WordPress site. Some themes offer great support for ecommerce stores while others are terrific for membership-based sites. Either way, you’ll usually need some plugins to make everything function smoothly with one another.

After nearly two decades of software engineering, web development and SEO mastery, I can tell you that there are 7 critical categories that any software application or extension (i.e. WordPress theme) is judged on.

1. Ease-of-installation: While there are tons of WordPress themes out there, the best ones are easy to install. There should be a simple interface that will help you get started quickly and easily, without a lot of fuss or programming know-how.

2. Degree of customization allowed: Pre-built add-ons, tailor-made plugins and a high degree of customization make themes that much more powerful. While some themes focus on a high degree of customization, others don’t.

3. Mobile usability: Mobile usability is crucial. Considering Google places heavy weight on this, finding the right WordPress theme that supports a responsive mobile design should be one of the defining factors in your quest for the ideal theme.

4. Overall speed: As a developer, I can tell you firsthand that your style of coding counts for a lot. It can either be bogged down by excessive code, or be light and compact. The latter is important to facilitate the overall speed of page loads, which is a crucial factor when it comes to things like SEO and visitor retention.

5. Aesthetic appeal of design: The aesthetic appeal of the theme is important. How polished is the look and feel? Does it look amateur or professional? People pay acute attention to design, so be sure to select the right theme that supports a high-quality design.

6. Customer reviews: Reviews are important when it comes to any product or service. And, when it comes to discovering the right theme, you should do your due diligence into the experiences of others. What’s the general consensus on that theme? Are they authentic reviews?

7. Ongoing support and upgrades: Support is an important aspect in any business, especially in one that requires constant evolution and upgrades to keep up with core upgrades to the WordPress platform. Be sure that whatever theme you purchase, that they provide some sort of on-going or limited support and that they’re constantly evolving, upgrading and adding new features.

Related: 25 Reasons Your Business Should Switch to WordPress

Top themes for WordPress sites.

While any list of themes for WordPress might be considered subjective, the preceding list of criteria help to laser-focus the approach to finding the perfect one. Below are what I consider to be some of the best themes that are out there.

1. X-Theme

I’m partial to X-Theme. It’s the theme that I presently use on my blog. And I’ve had an incredible experience with it. It hits all 7 of the criteria that I’ve laid out and does so particular well. X-Theme was created by ThemeCo, and it offers a highly-customizable, mobile-friendly, easy-to-use interface for your WordPress website. This one is definitely worth checking out.

2. Avada

Another one of the most versatile themes I’ve come across out there, Avada is one of the best-selling themes of all time and was created by Theme Fusion. It offers up a powerful design interface, allowing you to customize nearly all of the graphical elements of your WordPress site.

3. Hexater

Hexater is a fantastic theme that allows you to quickly and easily customize your site without investing hundreds of hours trying to figure out how it works or having a PhD in graphic design. This theme offers quick-to-market renditions for things like product launches, ebooks and niche authority sites, as just a few examples.

4. BeTheme

BeTheme is a massive theme built for WordPress with over 260 variations that can be launched with a single click. This powerful theme is beautiful, responsive, fast-loading and highly customizable. The company offers fast and reliable support, lifetime updates and the framework is optimized for SEO.

5. The7

The7 is one of the most customizable themes that are available for the WordPress platform. It includes a visual composer with a beautiful design wizard and over 750 theme options, along with over 26 pre-built websites that are quickly and easily launchable with a single click.

6. Flatsome

Flatsome is a great theme if you’re planning to run an ecommerce store with the WooCommerce plugin. It’s by far one of the best-selling WordPress themes for WooCommerce out there. It’s highly customizable, provide on-going updates, is fast-loading, boasts a responsive design and has beautiful pre-built designs with on-going updates.

7. Uncode

Uncode is a WordPress theme that gives you with the ability to create beautiful designs within an ultra-fast-loading framework. There are over 200+ layouts, a versatile visual composer and provides over 30 ready-for-market designs to get you up and running quickly and seamlessly.

8. Genesis

Gensis is a framework for WordPress that allows you to create beautiful and stunning websites that are highly customizable. This theme offers a light-weight design that’s highly optimized for speed, and provides advanced customization options, giving you the ability and flexibility to build just about any type of website with the framework.

9. Pixelgrade

Pixelgrade offers a visually-stunning WordPress theme that’s designed for a variety of situations, best suited for a variety of occupations such as restaurateurs, photographers, bloggers, designers and more. The theme is customizable, responsive and very easy-to-use.

10. Storefront

Storefront is a bulletproof WordPress theme that was specifically designed for the WooCommerce add-on. It’s a great way to build an ecommerce store quickly and easily, offering up extensible customization options with a fast-loading framework that makes creating an online story easy and straightforward.


The 5 Best WordPress Themes for SEO Visibility

The 5 Best WordPress Themes for SEO Visibility

This article is part of a series created in partnership with SiteGround. Thank you for supporting the partners who make SitePoint possible.

Theme selection to optimize your website’s SEO is more important than you might think. SEO can easily be negatively affected by poorly written themes. Specifically, the following points can hurt your SEO or the user experience causing your search engine rankings to suffer:

  • The inability to remove spammy links. Too often free or low-cost WordPress themes are given away in some campaign to generate leads and come with code and links that can hurt your organic search visibility.
  • Poor usability can result in higher bounce rates
  • Non-mobile friendly designs will suffer to Google’s SEO scrutiny
  • Poor design will result in a lower average time per page which tells Google your content isn’t relevant resulting in a lower ranking
  • Slow loading time from a bloated them will also go against Google’s best practices for SEO
  • Regular updates and ongoing support. Very few free or low-cost themes are patched for security purposes or upgraded when new versions of WordPress rollout. This leaves your site open to all sorts of vulnerabilities from hacking to poor SEO performance.

These all contribute to the overall user experience, and will consequently affect your SEO. With that knowledge as a base, we set out to find the top five WordPress themes for SEO visibility. This list will outline our top five and give you insights into how they will strengthen your site’s SEO performance.



According to Brian Dean, renowned SEO expert, SEO WP is his top recommendation for SEO optimized WordPress themes. What makes it so special?

  • From the minute you download it, you a get blazing fast theme load time of only three seconds, which greatly improves the SEO of the website and the overall user experience.
  • Your website is fully responsive and will look great on any webpage. They validate every site with a Google mobile-friendly check.
  • Consistently updated each month to have the best written code for SEO and to make sure it is free of all known bugs.
  • Lightweight design and code cuts the average size of your site in a third.

In addition to a solid SEO foundation the theme comes with a free live composer page builder which allows you to customize the theme to any layout you desire.


Read more about the SEO WP theme or read user reviews and try it out on ThemeForest.

2. BoomBox


BoomBox is a solid theme choice right out of the box. It was designed specifically for SEO because its purpose is to cater towards creating viral content and building popular websites that generate a large amount of traffic each day.

Much like Reddit, BoomBox has a neat front-end submission feature built in so visitors can submit content for voting without visiting the back-end admin section of the website. You also get the option to vote on posts based on your desired emoji response. This feature is, of course, optional.


Read more about BoomBox, get user feedback, and download the theme on ThemeForest.

3. Salient


Salient is a multipurpose SEO-optimized WordPress theme that is well known for being a high-quality product. It comes with a specially tailored version of Visual Composer’s drag-and-drop builder to make even the most novice website designer to pro status in no time.


Salient boasts 150+ professionally designed templates so you can get your site built efficiently and to your standards. It also has over 3,500 icons, over 700 fonts, and unlimited color possibilities including gradient colors.

If you want truly customizable and full SEO optimization right out of the box then head over to ThemeForest and download Salient.

4. X Theme

X Theme

One of the most popular themes of 2017, the X theme has taken the WordPress theme market to a new height by introducing the concept of stacks. Currently X has four different stacks to choose from:

  1. Integrity – Perfect for professionals, creatives, and business sites.
  2. Renew – Designed with a flat look that showcases your content in an easily digestible format. User-friendly content keeps visitors on the page longer which is a key metric in any SEO analysis.
  3. Icon – Crafted for more modern blogging sites. It gives a minimal design that gives the blog’s words the spotlight. This site will run lighter with fewer design elements which gives your site an SEO boost in the speed category.
  4. Ethos – Built with magazine sites in mind. Ethos highlights engaging content that promotes click through rates and with it a more respectable bounce rate.

X Theme

Like many of its heavyweight counterparts, X comes with a front-end page builder. You get a free license for Cornerstone with each purchase.

To give the X theme a shot or to see some live demos check out ThemeForest.

5. Schema


As far as SEO optimized WordPress themes go, Schema is among the highest in demand in the market. It combines SEO support with unparalleled load times. It is advertised as being the fastest loading ultra friendly SEO WordPress theme on the market — a statement that is echoed by all the 5-star reviews you will find on MyThemeShop. Knowing full well how much loading time affects search engine rankings makes Schema a smart choice for those looking to maximize their site’s performance and still roll in under budget.


As you can see they don’t just talk about SEO optimization results, they test them. One of the ways Schema sets itself apart is by utilizing a vast library of shortcodes that work with rich snippets to help you rank higher on search engines. They also code with Google’s SEO best practices in mind and write quality code to make the site even more friendly to Google’s algorithm.

To read more about Schema or try it yourself, check out MyThemeShop.


Now that you know which themes are top shelf, you can move forward into deeper testing and tweaking of your site’s settings and content to rank even higher. Follow this short SEO checklist for best SEO practices:

  1. Run a quality check against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines
  2. Make sure your website is mobile friendly
  3. Make sure your website loads quickly

Finally, no matter the theme, you can still mess up your SEO with your content and configuration. Remember to supplement your theme’s built-in SEO with high-quality content written for humans (not search engines) and a solid SEO plugin like Yoast or All In One SEO Pack.

If you’re looking for somewhere to host your WordPress site after you’ve got your theme choice figured out, take a look at our partner, SiteGround. They offer managed WordPress hosting, with one-click installation, staging environments, a WP-CLI interface, pre-installed Git, autoupdates, and more!

If you’re looking for somewhere to host your WordPress site after you’ve got your theme choice figured out, take a look at our partner, SiteGround. They offer managed WordPress hosting, with one-click installation, staging environments, a WP-CLI interface, pre-installed Git, auto-updates, and more. They even have a tailor-made plugin, SG Optimizer, which optimizes and speeds up client sites tremendously!


Take Five: World markets themes for the week ahead

A computer screen showing stock graphs is reflected on glasses in this illustration photo taken in Bordeaux, France, March 30, 2016. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

A computer screen showing stock graphs is reflected on glasses in this illustration photo taken in Bordeaux, France, March 30, 2016. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

Following are five big themes likely to dominate thinking of investors and traders in the coming week and the Reuters stories related to them.


July could prove to be the month that marked a tipping point for world bond markets. After numerous hints and suggestions from policymakers, investors seem to have decided central banks are preparing to wind down their ultra-loose monetary policies. The focus this week will be on Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s semi-annual testimony to Congress on Wednesday, even though she is likely to stick with the line that one more hike can be expected this year. How the market judges her words will be reflected in the Treasury yield curve. The gap between two- and 10-year yields has picked up this month since hitting its narrowest in almost 10 months in late June as investors wondered how an absence of inflation chimed with expectations of rate hikes. The chart below shows just how far yields have been compressed. The last time all maturities on the benchmark curve, from one-month bills to 30-year bonds yielded at least 1 percent was Sept. 12, 2008, the Friday before Lehman Brothers collapsed.

(For graphic on U.S. yields in rate suppression era click reut.rs/2tYn7T6)


Not all central banks are climbing aboard the policy-tightening bandwagon. The Bank of Japan on Friday offered to buy unlimited amounts of Japanese Government Bonds as a broad sell-off in debt markets pushed 10-year JGB yields to their highest since early February and significantly above BOJ’s target of zero percent under its yield-curve-control policy. But will the BOJ be able to keep yields down when all around others are rising? And what will this mean for the yen? The BOJ may have to turn back from its slow stealth tapering efforts but it could mean spreads between Japanese yields and those in Europe, the United States or even in Australia will widen and the yen will become the preferred funding currency.

(For graphic on Asia yield spreads click reut.rs/2ux8004)


The latest Reuters poll for the euro/sterling exchange rate shows analysts expect the pair to barely move, stuck around the 88 pence level over the next year. But the pair’s actual performance differs markedly from the median forecast from the start of this year. Forecasts suggested sterling would strengthen against the euro but, instead, the euro is up nearly 5 percent higher since January. Some analysts say this reflects a strength in the euro zone economy they had not expected. Layer in continuing ECB taper-talk, and some scepticism about the possibility of the Bank of England raising rates this year, and the euro could strengthen further against the pound in the remainder of 2017.

For graphic on Euro/sterling actual vs Reuters poll forecast click reut.rs/2tZJ982)



The second half of the year for U.S. stocks is setting up for a battle among sectors as the tech sector flounders after the runaway gains seen earlier this year. The sector is close to ceding its crown as the year’s best performers to healthcare. At the other end of the table, telecoms have nearly slipped under energy stocks as the year’s biggest laggards. The remaining sectors are clustered around the 9 percent return on the broad S&P 500. Capturing sector shifts and beating the benchmark has become crucial for fund managers facing an onslaught from ETFs which now own more than a third of the top U.S. benchmark.

(For graphic on S&P 500 sector performance click reut.rs/2toxaPE)


A key metric coming into sharp focus for financial markets is wage growth, or lack thereof, across most developed markets. While the global economy and corporate profits are on a synchronized upswing for the first time in more than 6 years, this is yet to trickle down to salary slips. With labor markets running at or near full capacity the pressure to raise wages is slowly rising. That could see profit margins getting squeezed at companies that are not able to pass on higher costs to their customers.

(For graphic on real wages – UK, U.S. and Japan click reut.rs/2tZ9JOq)

(Reporting by Dan Burns in NEW YORK, Vidya Ranganathan in SINGAPORE, Ritvik Carvalho and Vikram Subhedar in LONDON; Compiled by Nigel Stephenson Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)


10 Most Epic Wrestling Entrance Themes You May Not Have Heard

Even in 2017, hopelessly lost in a deadening creative malaise – the prospect of John Cena and Rusev feuding two years later, having undergone zero in the way of character development in the interim, is bloody depressing – WWE still excels at entrance themes.

Bobby Roode’s ‘Glorious Domination’, penned by the excellent CFO$, is the aural translation of the word “epic”, performed by what can only be described as a choir of warriors. With it, WWE managed in ten seconds what TNA failed to do in ten years: present Roode as a genuine superstar. Shinsuke Nakamura’s ‘The Rising Sun’ blast beats/violin fusion is the sound of the language barrier being annihilated. Asuka’s ‘The Future’ is a three minute-long cruel taunt. The booking may be criminal, but the entrances are blessed.

There is much to life outside of the WWE bubble. More expressionistic – often far superior – wrestling matches. Shows promoted in a more logical, sports-oriented context. And, ironically, more variety with nary a stipulation in sight. This also extends to the all-important entrance theme, which, if used correctly, does as much to get a performer over as years of painful graft and painstaking fine-tuning.

Even WCW, rightly derided for its dime store bargain bin knockoffs of classic WWF themes and grunge anthems, was the proverbial broken clock…

Susumu Hirasawa is a legend within avant garde musical circles – so much so that a (tenuous) association with the wacky world of pro wrestling was one of the less weird things about him.

Hirasawa, who composed this synth-based masterpiece under a pseudonym, was not a fan of puroresu. This was his guess at what “wrestling sounds like”. If only it was. Hirasawa’s vision of it is both relentless and beautifully ambient – an evocation of a late night teenage Tokyo joyride, with its spectral synths and juddering precision drum machine. Choshu’s Revolution Army stable thundered through New Japan in the early 1980s. This, a bleeping, shuddering blast of hypersonic BPM, was the perfect soundtrack for that revolution.

Choshu was a hugely over hero of the youth movement in the mid 1980s. Though it may be a result of permanent millennial fascination with that decade, ‘Power Hall’ still sounds impossibly cutting edge in 2017. Imagine how cool, how futuristic, it must have sounded back then.

It works as a electronic masterpiece in its own right, with just enough swelling grandeur in the background to associate itself with the sport.

“May not have heard” might also be as much of a stretch as “epic” here, but this, the most brilliant so-bad-it’s-good wrestling theme ever penned, warrants inclusion here as civic duty.

Great wrestling themes – generally, there are exceptions, even here – must be immediate, attention-catching. The use of the “sting” – shattering glass, sirens, gongs – is not prevalent by accident. The intro to ‘American Males’, however, is thirty seconds long. The effect of this endless bubbling bass and revved engine guitar is one of sheer anticipation. It must be building to something of blow-away quality. It’s just so d*mn assured, like it’s unzipping itself because that bulge simply cannot be constrained any longer.

What it builds to, instead, is some squeaky-voiced sap droning “American Males! American Males! American Males! American Males! American Males! American Males! American Males!” Count it: that is seven times. The verse is something Trey Parker would consider too OTT even in the realm of parody. “When you see them comin’ better run for cov-ah! Girls you don’t need a weekend lov-ah – eurgh – American Males!”

The subsequent guitar solo is unintentionally hilarious. You’ll never in your life hear anything lower in the mix. It’s as if it’s embarrassed to be associated with the rest of the song.

Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger walked to the ring for his one-and-done NXT bow to the strains of CFO$’s ‘Thuhn-Der’. It was fine. It hit the right notes of Liger’s more famous New Japan theme without plagiarising them outright. It was frenetic and heroic, with just enough blippy anime bluster to convey to a new audience who Liger was.

As adequate as it was, it was no ‘Ikari No Jushin’.

The opening sting sparks compulsory air drumming before setting off in a synth-heavy gallop wholly befitting of Liger’s gutsy superhero act. There was an element of corniness (no bad thing) to Liger. His full body suit and ornate mask was an OTT revamp of Satoru Sayama’s Tiger Mask garb, itself directly fashioned after another anime hero. Ikari No Jushin ably complimented it with its rapid vocals and equally sudden and histrionic key changes.

The searing pace is what really captures Liger’s essence. Liger was one of the most influential junior heavyweights of all time, having innovated the still-jaw-dropping Shooting Star Press. ‘Ikari No Jushin’, a breakneck voyage of an entrance theme, could barely keep up with him in his pomp.

WWE has the market cornered on entrance themes, we’ve discussed that. Perhaps the only way of beating them at their own game is liberally borrowing a gem from their library and sprinkling a f*ck-tonne of F words over the top of it, much like TAKA Michinoku has done in Japan in recent years.

There is much to admire about its opening sting. The jukebox coin drop is why-did-nobody-think-of-it-before perfect – but requires an awesome theme to back up the balls-out bluster. TAKA subsequently lobs out the fruit as well as the two veg with a spoken word segment in which he confirms that “TAKA is coming…motherf*cker.” In brilliantly accented English, he also threatens to “kick you a**.”

And thus begins the familiar clipped shamisen, which, appropriately enough for a number that betters the original by utterly bludgeoning it, turns the old transitional distorted guitar riff up to 11. Up to 11 also go the hilarious spoken word interludes. “Hey you, a**hole. Listen to me. You know my name, do you know who I am? My f*cking name is TAKA Michinoku!”

What’s extraordinary about the theme is that TAKA portrays himself as this super-powerful specimen when in fact, the only physical change he has undergone since leaving the WWF is the creaking emergence of swelling dad bod.

That’s not a blight on the man; a slight Japanese performer must also have a f*ck-tonne of talent to stay relevant in the western mainstream for two decades.

One general rule of wrestling theme entrances thumb is: if you’re foreign, make d*mn sure everybody gets used to the idea within a matter of seconds, else you run the risk of not pigeonholing yourself through your ethnicity.

Eddie (Eddy) Guerrero was lumbered with a particularly stereotypical ditty in WCW – a lowriding bass number spiked with lazy mariachi leanings. Juventud Guerrera’s theme was similarly region-specific. It’s a miracle he didn’t lead a bull to the ring. Trumpets also blared over the speakers when the Mexicools faction entered WWE arenas in the mid-2000s (though in fairness, their entire act was based on being Mexican.)

Happily, Penta El 0M has selected a far less cumbersome tune than his Mexican predecessors (and his recent enforced name change). ‘Thrill Switch’ starts inauspiciously with an anonymous guitar squall and drum fill, threatening to approach the generic hard rock territory into which so many wrestlers land – before settling into a wavy trip-hop bassline and an almost mournful synth pitying his opponents.

Wrestling themes have mastered the epic, the intimidating and the fabulously naff. This is a rare cool wrestling theme.

While CFO$ have continued Jim Johnston’s wonderful lineage of crafting awesome entrance themes, the best modern composition must be Ayumi Nakamura’s Kaze ni Nare, used by the psychotic Minoru Suzuki. It’s both epic in and of itself and perfectly suited to one of the most idiosyncratic performers on the planet today.

Suzuki is a freelancer, a status echoed by the introduction. The gust of wind is almost an anti-“sting”, heralding Suzuki’s arrival from the wilderness to reclaim his throne as the most vile sh*t-kicker in any given promotion. Once he materialises, the building is shaken by pounding drums and loud duelling guitars – one heavy and distorted, reflecting his relentlessly stiff offence, the other a picked western acoustic chord progression conveying his status as puro outlaw.

It’s a really a masterpiece; every arrangement is reminiscent of his multi-faceted character. The guitar gives way to delicate piano and beautiful, haunting female vocals. Suzuki has a sick sense of humour, kicking his ring boys off the apron with a sadistic leer – which might explain his theme’s sudden departure into the realm of the beautiful.

It’s blackly comedic irony; a masterful psychological touch lulling opponents and fans alike into false security.

The beauty of the Ravishing Rick Rude act is that there was so, so much to hate about him, all of which born from perhaps the most primal human emotion of all: jealousy.

Rude’s “stripper” WWF theme – heavily borrowed from, yes, “The Stripper” by David Rose & His Orchestra – was wonderfully sleazy, modernised for the excess of the 1980s with ridiculous wailing saxophones and sharp synths. Good as it was, it only really conveyed one aspect of his rounded personality. Rude was an aberration, in that he was a former WWF star who was better in WCW than he was up north, and didn’t need to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into developing his character. He cut the mullet off. His musculature was still unbelievably impressive, even leaner. He was stripped of both the Stripper theme and the cartoonish connotations of it. This Rude, still a total p*ssy rat, was tougher and meaner.

“Simply Ravishing” was the perfect musical capper. It teetered dangerously close to a babyface theme, with its triumphant synths and awesome OTT soul vocals, but it just made you hate the man all the more, especially with lyrics subverting the cheesy bombast (“His body’s chiselled/Abs all in a row/You’d think he was sculpted by Michelangelo!”).

This impossibly brilliant a**hole just had to have the best music, on top of everything else.

The Fabulous Freebirds were among the first acts to popularise entrance music in the golden days of the territory era (Gorgeous George and Mildred Burke innovated the practise in the 1950s), flying to the ring to the tune of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s southern pride anthem ‘Free Bird’.

By the mid 1980s, using copyrighted music simply became too expensive, precipitating the age of in-house compositions but not prohibiting faction leader Michael ‘PS’ Hayes, an accomplished musician in his own right. He, in conjunction with James D. Papa, penned ‘Badstreet USA’ for use by the Freebirds going forward. It’s a shame that the song is synonymous with their faded force, for it is a sublime, early Van Halen-esque rock number dripping with the cool the Freebirds possessed at the height of their WCCW run with the Von Erichs.

It begins with a bass string-plucked heartbeat before the drums strut right up to the top of the mix, joined by a sleazy, arrogant guitar riff and growling, emulative vocals. This being the height of the 1980s there is, naturally, a caterwauling solo tacked on the end of it.

This wasn’t Hayes’ last contribution to the wrestling music sphere; he also recorded ‘Freebird Road’ as a tribute to his fallen Freebird comrade Terry ‘Bam Bam’ Gordy. You shouldn’t laugh – the inspiration behind it is as sweet as the harmonies – but Hayes does air guitar on Gordy’s grave in the video.

For whatever reason – maybe the revisionist shorthand of New Generation = Tripe Gimmicks, maybe the fact that the Doink gimmick was tripe for far longer than it was awesome – many fans simply refuse to believe that it was, for a few incredible months in 1993 at least, something quietly special. Several times this Author page has recommended matches performed by Matt Borne’s evil heel; several times has this been met with a punctuation mark-as-epithet:


Yes, Doink. Borne’s Doink was a genuinely eerie heel character in an otherwise foreign menace-filled age, leering to the hard camera from an ironically comfortable distance as if penetrating your nightmares from an unreachable, immovable peripheral. His taunts, best deployed in a forgotten classic opposite Marty Jannetty, were similarly unsettling.

So too was his original WWF theme, Nightmare Clown – a bastardised version of ‘Thunder and Blazes’ which plummets into a hell-circus the nanosecond after the slide whistle blows and the car horn beeps. Doomy, ominous synths give way to maniacal laughter and even more ominous spectral synths.

The shift from fun to fear is so sudden, it feels as if a trapdoor opens beneath your feet – an apt means of conveying Borne’s criminally underrated in-ring psychology.

It takes balls of solid steel to begin any modern composition with a cheesy plonking of the piano keys.

This is how the legendary Mitsuharu Misawa, one of if not the absolute greatest in-ring performer in wrestling history, made his way to the Budokan Hall ring, inspiring the equally awesome ‘Glorious Domination’.

The notes rise and fall before fading out entirely. It’s a grandiose statement. as if to say: We’re just warming up; you have no conception of just how epic this thing is going to be. And epic it is; a rapid fire blast of drums kickstarts a propulsive beat timed perfectly to the deafening chants of “Mis-awa! Mis-awa! Mis-awa!” that invariably followed his march through the crowd. A swell of space age synthesisers shower it with futurism, and much like Choshu’s Power Hall, it’s perfect; Misawa led AJPW’s 1990s youth movement. Doubling down on the theme, the sound of ray guns squiggle out in the background.

It’s also unintentionally comedic in places; just before the first minute mark, the thing breaks down into this funky interlude utterly at odds with Misawa’s stoic intensity. It almost mirrors his matches in its many moving (though interlinked) parts, evoking glory and determination.


Lake Union fireworks show to reflect Pacific Northwest themes

Preparations are underway to make the Independence Day celebration at Seattle’s Gas Works Park a blast.

“There is a grand opening that’s never been seen before. We want to keep it as a surprise, but you want to be here on time for what Seattle Cancer care has put together. The entire evening is put to a Pacific Northwest themed, very patriotic music track that will be simulcast all the way around Lake Union,” said Richard Anderson, president and CEO of Seafair.


Preparations are underway to make the Independence Day celebration at Seattle’s Gas Works Park a blast.

“There is a grand opening that’s never been seen before. We want to keep it as a surprise, but you want to be here on time for what Seattle Cancer care has put together. The entire evening is put to a Pacific Northwest themed, very patriotic music track that will be simulcast all the way around Lake Union,” said Richard Anderson, president and CEO of Seafair.

For three days, crews have been setting up fireworks that will launch from a barge in Lake Union.

“Thousands of individual rounds, including 10-inch shells,” said Heather Gobet, Western Display Fireworks owner. “They will travel 1,000 feet into the air and burst 1,000 feet across.”

She says this year’s show will include “more intricate single shot items” that can be better timed to the musical program.

Equipment has been brought in to shoot the fireworks in a variety of patterns, including effects that will appear directly on the surface of the lake.


The show is expected to last 20 minutes, but Gobet says planning began almost immediately after last year’s Independence Day, because the pyrotechnics need to be ordered nearly a year in advance.

“From there we work with Seafair to develop the musical program, show choreography, and endless logistical details,” she said.

Lead pyrotechnician Tom Bates says planning for the fireworks show began in April.

“It’s loud, especially with these walls. It reverberates in here. I’ve never been in the military, but probably like being struck with a mortar or something. I mean it really echoes in here,” Bates said about being the only person on the barge during the show.

This year, the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Seafair Summer 4th fireworks show will be preceded by a display in appreciation of the Alliance for sponsoring this year’s main show.

Seafair recommends walking, biking or using a ride-share company to get to Lake Union. Organizers have created a bike valet for riders and partnered with Uber for discounted rides.


Buccaneers Unveil 2017 Game Themes

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced today the themes for each of their 10 home dates during the 2017 season, highlighted by two primetime Ring of Honor Games. Late owner Malcolm Glazer will be honored at halftime of Tampa Bay’s Thursday Night Football game against the New England Patriots, while Super Bowl-winning head coach Jon Gruden will be inducted at halftime of the team’s Monday Night Football contest against the Atlanta Falcons on December 18.

The Buccaneers open their preseason home slate against the Cleveland Browns on Saturday, August 26. Halftime entertainment will be provided by the team’s Junior Cheer program. The Buccaneers are celebrating their 20th season of the Junior Cheerleaders, which is a program designed to promote self-esteem, commitment and discipline for girls ages six to 14 years old.

Tampa Bay will conclude its preseason schedule by hosting the Washington Redskins on Thursday, August 31. The team will celebrate the NFL’s Youth Football initiative, which is focused on providing youth football participants with safe and accessible places to play, as well as programs and initiatives that address the importance of proper coaching, health, safety and wellness, academic and life skills development, and character education programs.
On September 17, the Buccaneers will play the Chicago Bears in their regular season home opener with a 1:00 p.m. kickoff. The game will also mark the regular season debut of a host of new Raymond James Stadium renovations such as the completely redesigned West Stadium Club, a new team retail store and an expansion of the Hall of Fame Club.

LEARN MORE: West Stadium Club

Two weeks later, on October 1, Tampa Bay will play host to the New York Giants at 4:05 p.m.. The Buccaneers will join in supporting the league’s Play 60 campaign, which is designed to tackle childhood obesity by encouraging young fans to be active for at least 60 minutes a day.

The Buccaneers will host the first of their two primetime Ring of Honor games just four days later, on October 5, when they face off against the New England Patriots on Thursday Night Football. The team will be honoring late owner Malcolm Glazer, who bought the team in 1995 and oversaw one of the most impressive organizational transformations in sports. In addition to Glazer’s induction, the Buccaneers and the Patriots will each wear their Color Rush uniforms.

After two road games, the Buccaneers return to Tampa to host the Carolina Panthers on October 29. The team will take part in the league-wide “A Crucial Catch” campaign, with uniforms and the stadium featuring pink accents to show support for breast cancer awareness. In addition to the game, the team will be raising funds for the cause with their fifth annual Treasure Chests “Finish at the 50”: 5K, 10K, Fun Run & Corporate Challenge Powered by Jabil, a certified road race held in the shadows of Raymond James Stadium. The race will be held on Saturday, October 7 and the first 500 participants to sign up will be a part of the halftime performance on October 29.

When the team takes on the New York Jets on November 12, the Buccaneers will honor the country’s military with the annual Salute to Service game. While the organization honors the men and women who served or continue to serve our country year-round, this day will showcase the Buccaneers’ appreciation efforts for our military with specialized tributes throughout the gameday experience, highlighted by a halftime induction ceremony for new service members.

The Detroit Lions will visit the Buccaneers on December 10, in a game that will recognize Tampa Bay’s Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee. The NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year program recognizes players league-wide for their excellence on and off the field, culminating in the announcement of the award winner during the NFL Honors award show, the night prior to the Super Bowl.

The second of Tampa Bay’s two primetime Ring of Honor games comes on December 18, when the Buccaneers will face off with the NFC South rival Atlanta Falcons. The game will see Super Bowl-winning head coach Jon Gruden – who is part of ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcast team – inducted into the Ring of Honor at halftime. Gruden, whose 57 wins are the most in franchise history, guided the team to a 12-4 record in his first season, en route to a Super Bowl XXXVII victory.

The Buccaneers conclude the regular season with a showdown against the New Orleans Saints on New Year’s Eve, when the team will celebrate with a “Thank You Fans,” fan appreciation day.

The Buccaneers continue to offer season pass memberships at a wide variety of price points. Memberships start as low as $45 per game for adults and $22.50 per game for youth. For more information or to speak with a Buccaneers account representative, please contact 866-582-BUCS (2827) or visit Buccaneers.com.


Men’s fashion weeks: relying on American TV-inspired themes of days gone by

Men’s fashion weeks: relying on American TV-inspired themes of days gone by

A model walks the runway at the Louis Vuitton Spring Summer 2018 fashion show during Paris Menswear Fashion Week. Catwalking / Getty Images

If the garments shown last week at men’s fashion week in Paris are any indication of how men will be dressing come spring/summer next year, we are in for a bit of a shock.

Luxury designers seem to be in on some sort of market secret to which the public is not yet privy – one that demands an influx of Hawaiian-style shirts and colourful Harrington jackets.

Menswear has been heavily influenced by sport – graphic T-shirts, bomber jackets and athletic- inspired trousers have been popular of late. But brands showing at Paris took a wholly unanticipated approach with their spring/summer 2018 runway shows, relying on American TV-inspired themes of days gone by. They took to dressing their models at times as characters from old American Western flicks, and at others as stereotypical tourists vacationing in Europe.

Let’s start with the Hawaiian shirt – a cringeworthy item of clothing an example of which, typically, most American dads have hanging in the back of their wardrobes, reserved solely for tropical excursions with the family. Dsquared2 re-introduced the trend at men’s fashion week in Milan only days earlier, and it certainly continued in Paris.

At Balenciaga, creative director Demna Gvasalia took the image of the American father to heart, inviting his male models to bring their children to the catwalk. While some walked with toddlers saddled on their hips, others showed off bright Hawaiian shirts – garish yellow and orange shades, palm trees and all. Another version showed a triad of blues, pinks and purples in an abstract foliage-inspired pattern. A Hawaiian shirt on the Paul Smith runway depicted a tropical evening, with palm trees billowing beneath a large moon and vast sky full of stars. Another one illustrated underwater life, with fiery coral reefs and fish.

At Louis Vuitton, it seemed almost every second model wore one of these dated shirt styles in bright blue and red floral designs, stamped with Louis Vuitton lettering across the chests, or in light green or navy styles that could double as safari shirts. At Cerrruti 1881, the style made an appearance in a slightly more tailored, off-white version with brown- and mustard-hued leaf motifs.

Mustards and yellows stood out on the runways – a suggestion, perhaps, that the fashion-conscious man will step out of his comfort zone in terms of colours next summer.

At Hermes, a burnt-red, almost burgundy, tone was the highlight pigment, seen on knits, trenches and a crocodile-leather jacket. Muted, military tones were also abundant among the brands, as were the opposite: electric, cobalt blues incorporated into collections from Billionaire, Louis Vuitton and Issey Miyake, to name but a few.

Many vivid, neon tones were seen on vinyl materials – another throwback to past eras. Vinyl or shiny PVC and faux leathers were the fabrics of choice for raincoats, trenches, trousers and zip-up Harrington jackets. In some instances – like Berluti’s yellow vinyl jacket with a subtle sheen, paired with off-white trousers and a jacket, or Lanvin’s bright-green version, threaded through the belt loops of trousers and tied at the waist – the concept worked well, giving the typically cheap material a sophisticated, street-cool update. The gold rain mac paraded by Julien David might even have some selling power among men who favour flamboyance.

But, when plastic-y textiles were paired with bold text spelling out “Europa!” over checked and denim button-down shirts at Balenciaga, the cool factor was not all that evident.

A similar theme opened the Louis Vuitton show, as models wore uber-tight spandex bicycle shorts and sporty, contoured athletic leggings along with socks and sandals (just as the boys at Prada had worn a few days earlier in Milan).

Suits, for the most part, were of relaxed silhouettes – unfitted and at times boxy, again playing off the stereotype of the middle-class American man, rather than the tailored Parisian gent – though suits by Dior Homme, Alexander McQueen and Balmain were expectedly slim-fitting.

Hues of lavender and mint green were spotted on suits at the Haider Ackermann show, with exceedingly sagging trousers, displaying the elasticated waistlines of boxers underneath, and blazers unbuttoned, revealing bare chests. Styling was somewhat bizarre, with simple, black flip-flops completing the men’s looks.

At Thom Browne, suit jackets were either abnormally high, at waist length, or uncannily long, reaching mid-thigh. Gender norms were questioned, as some of the male models were dressed in button-down and pleated skirts and dresses, too.

Worthy of mention are the shirts that were introduced at Valentino. Conventional collars were replaced with long strips of fabrics – such as those used on women’s blouses to tie loose pussy bows at the neckline. Instead, one strip would artfully drape over the centre of the shirt, buttoned underneath the opposite side’s collar and then left loose, creating the appearance of an asymmetrical, haphazard tie.

To wrap up without mentioning denims would be irresponsible, to say the least, as jeans have become more and more acceptable in high fashion.

At Balenciaga, cuts were straight and slim, and at Junya Watanabe, the denims were patchworked. Not the most fashion-forward approaches, but it quickly became clear that these Paris collections heralded a more regressive style revolution.


LA fashion show sparkles with Las Vegas themes

Image result for LA fashion show sparkles with Las Vegas themesLOS ANGELES — Jeremy Scott, creative director of the fashion house Moschino, presented a splashy Las Vegas-themed collection in Los Angeles on Thursday.

Miranda Kerr, Hailey Baldwin and Stella Maxwell walked a catwalk lined with bright neon signs to slot-machine sound effects and Elvis’ “Viva Las Vegas” at the MADE Fashion Festival.Image result for LA fashion show sparkles with Las Vegas themes

Betty Boop and pinup girl appliques adorned sweaters and coats; hot rod flames decorated leotards and blazers; and sequins ran wild on everything from pastel suiting to men’s Speedos.


Substratum and its themes arrive on Samsung Galaxy S7 running Nougat

Substratum theming is now available on the Galaxy S7 running on Android 7.0 Nougat. What’s more is that root is not mandatory for Substratum to work, but note that the theme engine should be compatible with the ROM in concern. Before proceeding, you must remember that this is still beta testing and there will be bugs.

Before Substratum existed, themes were either obtained from apps on the Play Store or were part of older custom ROMs like CyanogenMod. Substratum is very unique in that, it lets you do whatever you want to the system UI. You can have three different themes installed on your device and you can select individual elements from each theme to show only what you like. That’s some serious customization power in your hands right there.

How to install Substratum and apply themes

    1. Start by installing the APK from here.
    2. You will need to download a theme from the Play Store, which also doesn’t rely on Android System or Theme-ready Google Apps as these are root specific.
    3. Once the theme is installed and ready, you will receive a notification on the same.
  1. Open Substratum and look for the theme. On some smartphones you will need to scroll down to find the button on the bottom-right to enable/install
  2. Tap on Install.
  3. To apply the theme, simply Reboot the app.

Read: Top 20 Substratum themes you can use

A word of caution: Android System and SystemUI elements should NOT be applied yet as they could be unstable and cause your device to crash.