Thursday, August 26, 2010

Rule #49

It is impossible for a great athlete to resist shifting his/her feet while standing for the National Anthem.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Crab Shack

There's a show on Food Network called "The Best Thing I Ever Ate." The program asks Food Network stars to recall the best things they've ever eaten. They describe in great detail every bite, every ingredient and flavor that made that particular dish so memorable.

It's possible (and very likely due to the over consumption of Warheads as a kid) that my palette is incapable of experiencing such profound bliss from a bite of food. But like a crutch, I depend, or better yet, relish in the collective dining experience that accompany what would otherwise be just a meal.

Last weekend I went to Jimmy Cantler's Riverside Inn in Annapolis, MD. This is the quintessential crab shack. It's a local gathering place nestled in a residential area a few miles away from downtown Annapolis. The Riverside Inn sits on the edge of the still waters (I guessed it was the Chesapeake). The gravel parking lot was packed when we pulled in around dusk. There was a festive atmosphere between the foodie tourists and young midshipmen with their families. The patio overlooking the docked boats and the river was bustling with laughs and the sound of wooden crab hammers hitting the picnic tables. A man with a cooler set up a make shift cash bar and supplied the crowd with Miller Highlife tall boys and Arnold Palmers. We follow a group down the stairs to the dock where crab boats unload crates of fresh caught Maryland Blue Crabs directly into bins. Although the crabs and especially the clam chowder were better than average, I won't remember Cantler's for the food. The two hours spent waiting to be seated on the dock, sipping a spicy bloody mary from a Solo cup were equally as satisfying to me as the 1 hour we spent eating on the patio. The night reminded me that as much as I love tasty food, the food alone does not make the meal.

I was five when I first visited Medieval Times: Dinner and Tournament. Today I skim the website and see a kitschy roadside castle, its cartoonish and historically inaccurate with costumes that rival those of a middle school drama production and a menu that could double as the Sunday Senior Citizen special at Denny's. But in my mind's eye I remember a wildly different experience. Twenty years ago I recall walking across the parking lot-- a dark sea of boxy cars I couldn't see over. I spotted the torch-lined draw bridge at the entrance of the fortress and the silhouette of the facade slowly revealed itself. It was as real of an adventure as I could imagine. Moments later I knelt on a paisley pillow before a King to receive my knighthood. Just as his majesty's sword touched my shoulders I snapped my head towards my dad's camera with a look of pure amazement. I wore a red and black cardboard crown. The contest that ensued in the arena-style stadium was an epic story of pageantry and drama. At the end of the night my brother and I ran across the parking lot flailing our souvenir wooden swords and shields-- mimicking the choreographed battles from the show.

Not to be overly sentimental, but when I try to think of the best meals I've ever shared they don't always include great food-- but the one thing never missing is great people.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Tiny Desk Concert

From behind my own tiny desk I present to you people doing much more amazing things from behind a tiny desk. This NPR Music's Tiny Desk Concert features Raphael Saadiq performing three tracks off of his 2008 album "The Way I See It"

For his Tiny Desk Concert, Saadiq brought a remarkable accompanist in guitarist Rob Bacon. The two had just gotten off a plane, but in their impeccably tailored suits and their grand smiles, they looked fresh and played an inspired acoustic performance. As you watch, keep an eye on Saadiq's guitar work: You'll see how his years as a bassist influences many of his licks on his Taylor acoustic.

I guess there isn't enough room back behind the desk to do "It Feels Good", a personal favorite of mine.

Check out NPR Music's channel on Youtube for the latest performance.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Don't Call it a Comeback

Eldra "El" DeBarge, leading vocalist for the 80s sibling group, "DeBarge", is back stronger than ever! After being released from prison in 2008, El was making rounds at the Conga Room and playing small venues in LA and Washington, DC. But his triumphant return into the national spotlight came the night of the 2010 BET Awards where he performed to a packed house.

DeBarge is best known for their 80s dance hits and ballads such "Rhythm of the Night" and "All This Love." But their sound has influenced hip hop and has been sampled for such iconic hits as Biggie's "One More Chance", and most notably El's ubiquitous piano hook made famous by 2Pac's "I Ain't Mad at Cha" and again by Blackstreet on "Don't Leave Me."

Here is a recent interview with El performing one of my favorites "Time Will Reveal". Perhaps this song choice is fitting as surely only time will tell what he has in store for his comeback album.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Matt and Kim - Daylight (Troublemaker Remix)

Straight off the FIFA 2010 Soundtrack here is Matt and Kim's bright and catchy 2008 single remixed featuring a few verses from De La Soul.


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer Libation Series 2010: Square One Organic Cucumber Vodka

Founding Farmer's eco-friendly restaurant in DC is one of the few places that features a cocktail using Square One Organic Vodka. Their Cucumber Delight is garnished with a cucumber wheel and two perfect honeydew and canteloupe spheres.

If you're like me and don't have the appropriate bartools to scoop perfect balls of melon into your collins glasses then try this recipe:

2 oz. Square One Cucumber
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. of powdered sugar
1 cucumber wheel and mint sprig for garnish
Combine ingredients in a cocktail tin and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Strain into a glass, fill glass to top with club soda, stir once and garnish with a cucumber wheel and a mint sprig.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

World Cup Pick

I could care less who wins the World Cup. Let's be real. Soccer is not America's "thing."

Don't get me wrong, I happen to think that Soccer players are among the best conditioned athletes in the world. Just not in America. It's not our sports culture. Beyond AYSO, there is little interest in soccer for the best young athletes in our country. They usually break out and play football, basketball or baseball. Between the big three sports which typically garner the highest participation/interest at any high school across the country we also have regional preferences toward sports peppered throught the nation (e.g., waterpolo, wrestling, lacrosse). The truth is America's loyalty to the sport of soccer is superficial. Can you name who won the last MLS championship? or who won the last NCAA Div. I Tourney? How about more than 3 players on your city's MLS team? Do you even know that your city has an MLS team? I apologize, but for the millions of American's out there who don't know, the MLS stands for "Major League Soccer."

We've got the The Lakers, The Yankees,the Superbowl, and Barack Obama. That's good enough for me. I'm sure one day we'll (US) rise among the ranks of the world's greatest soccer teams (Argentina, Brazil, Italy) but untill then I think a tournament every four years is plenty of soccer for me.

As a vaguely interested soccer fan, but mostly as an overall sports fan, I will probably watch the most anticipated matchups of group play leading up to the tournament. I even filled out a bracket.

And for no reason other than I think they'll be the best dressed, I chose Italy. I'm going against the odds here and favoring the reigning champions. I also speak a little Italian.

Dolce & Gabbana designed the travel suits for the Italian team this year. Check it out.

East Coast Lakers Fans Flock to Boston

For game 3 of the NBA Finals Lakers fans from across the country wore the purple and gold proudly in the TD Garden.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The Jello is Jiggling...

Derek Fisher scored 10 points in the 4th Quarter of Game 3 of the NBA Finals. Watch his emotion as he delivers the finishing blow to the mentally defeated Celtics with under a minute to go.

Aloe Blacc

Theme song to HBO's "How to Make it in America"

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Rule #48

Take a chance once in a while . Put your iPod on shuffle and don't skip through any tracks. Your bound to find something great.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Thanks Coach Wooden!

"The most important word in our language is 'love'. Second is 'balance'-- keeping things in perspective..."

-Coach John Wooden

Watch this segment featuring Coach Wooden that aired on ESPN just a few months ago. The interview examines the Wizard of Westwood not as a basketball legend but as a man. The way he lived his life, simply, with loyalty and honesty will continue to serve as an example beyond the realm of sports.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Old Spice B.O. Blocker 15


Walk on the Wild Side

A few clips from BBC's Walk on the Wild Side. I am strangely entranced by British comedy, although I have never found it to be exceptionally funny. It's as if their accents make my eyes glaze over as I watch intently, waiting for something funny to happen. It's a weird thing. I remember tuning in to Mr. Bean (when it weekday mornings on HBO) and never laughing out loud. Not once...

See if this compilation of clips does anything for you.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

NIKE: Write the Future

Nike's marketing department is out of control and the best in the world. For those of you who are big soccer (or should I say football/futbol) fans, here is a commerical featuring some of the sport's greatest heroes. And for those of you who are only into international soccer every two years (or should I say Americans), here is Kobe Bryant, Homer Simpson and Gael Garcia Bernal.

Like I said. Out of control.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Great Cover

When a band covers a classic tune it can either come off as endearing or down-right offensive.
I once butchered "Let's Get it On" at a karaoke bar. I mean.. I really butchered it. All I remember was a table of semi-pro karaoke patrons giving me the death glare, as if they wanted to see me disintegrate on stage and have the janitor come sweep me under the door.

This is an example of a great cover because it stays true to the original song. They didn't change it much and try to make it their own, but the accuracy they maintained in spite of a drastic change in instrumentation (produced completely with toy sounds) is impressive. Also note how the singer does his own thing with the vocals, rather than attempt a faux- Michael McDonald voice. He doesn't attempt to do a soulful big-man voice. He sticks to what he knows and it works.


Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Winner - A Tribute to Rec. League Basketball

The last time I played "rec. league" basketball was 7 years ago. A group of my high school friends who for many summers congregated at the school yard to play pick-up games decided to join a league. From that day we were known simply as "The Living Legends", a name that derived from a popular hip hop group, but not a reflection of our skills as ball players (maybe it was wishful thinking).

We had a decent team and as I recall, we were a force to be reckoned with among other teenage teams in the area. We were all decent athletes, we pushed the ball and played a fast-paced game, which in retrospect I'm sure was a characteristic we picked up from watching "And 1" videos and our Lakers (who were '3-peat' World Champions at that point). But our team's tragic flaw was our short tempers.

Unfortunately our season came to an abrupt end one hot summer night. Tensions rose during a close game against another young team in our league. An elbow was thrown after a basket and one of our guys lost his cool. I took the ball down court and watched my teammate sprint out ahead of me. I soon realized he wasn't making a cut to the basket, but rather a bee-line to the guy who elbowed him. He charged up to him and collard his sweat-drenched white tee. I caught a glance of the rage in his eye and knew at that point the game was over. The benches cleared and fists flew from both sides. Let's just say the rest was a blur. Ten minutes later we stood huddled outside the entrance to the gym like some helpless kids stuck out in the rain. The director stood on the steps above us and banned us from the league for life.

Today I'm playing rec. league basketball again. I play on my office's team. I would say we are equally tenacious as the "Living Legends" and a slightly more civil team of economists, paralegals and trial attorneys. But what we have in civility does not make up for the heart and competitive spirit that defined the "Living Legends" With a 5-0 record we're one game away from clinching the 1 seed in the playoffs. And on that note, here is a tune that makes me feel like a winner. Enjoy. Go play basketball!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Rule #47

Do your best and forget the rest!

Monday, April 26, 2010

You're Made That Way

I like the idea of small, intimate studio audiences kind of like they used to have on shows like MTV Unplugged.

Here's a performance that predates the short-lived MTV show. The Doobie Brothers were some of the most soulful R&B artists of their time. I wish the audio quality for this vid was slightly better but I think their hair. the outfits and the antiquated synths add to the groovy effect of the song.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Congratulations D-Mac!

Doug "D-Mac" Mckain, author of the The Douglas Daily and photoshop extraordinaire in a truly "Rudy-esque" underdog story will be attending the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) next fall. Props to the soon-to-be oldest undergrad in LA.

Hate it or love it, the underdogs on top.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Phoenix @ DAR Constitution Hall (DC)

Come check out my favorite band Phoenix on April 26th at the DAR Constitution Hall! Enjoy this acoustic version of a classic. Onetimetoomany

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Rogue States

Picture courtesy of some random Flickr account (sorry)

Since the governor of Virginia declared the month of April "Confederacy Month" I have silently protested by refusing to go to VA for the Month of April. A year ago this would mean nothing, and I would likely have no problem doing this but since discovering Ray's Hell Burger in Arlington I am faced with a perplexing moral dilemma. Rather than give into my burger cravings and patronize a business that pays taxes that in some way helps Virginia and its ridiculous governor, I opted for some local fare.

A burger place on Conneticuit Ave. recently opened up which ironically (not in the tired hipster way) is called Rogue States. At the restaurant standard of $7 per burger not including premium toppings this place is pretty steep for a walk-up burger joint. I ordered the basic "Rogue States" burger with cheddar cheese and grilled onions. Rouge States skillyfully forms each of their patties folded with a unique flavor profile of spices and herbs (i.e., jerk, habenero, curry or basil patties). Burgers are smoked over wood chips and grilled to medium or rare.

As unique as the place seems it is difficult to overlook how Ray's in Arlington has influenced this burger joint such as the table-ready condiments, picnic style tables and even the usage of soft airy brioche buns.

My burger was cooked medium and the patty cooked down to a smaller size than I would have liked to see for a $7 burger. The bun overpowered the patty and although the signature burger is infused with cilantro, I tasted nothing extraordinary about the meat itself.

I would give this place another try, perhaps for the jerk or curry blended patties but from what I can discern from my first trip it's nothing to write home about.

A Song For No One

It's that time of year again! The Lakers are on what looks to be a very promising playoff run. The sun is out and the weather is warm. And as I prepare for yet another big move back West from the DC to SF, here is some sweet driving music that'll surely be in heavy circulation on my iPod as I make it up the coast for my annual pilgramage to San Francisco on the third Sunday in May.


Friday, March 05, 2010

The XX

Here's some ammunition for your next dinner party, or friendly gathering. Groove to the mellow steal guitar riffs of these young Londoners. With great background music at least you'll have a good reason to tune out that one guy who won't stop shut-up about his "huge plans to invest in real estate".... riiiight.


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Awe Struck

Brian "B." Reith (not coincidentally pronounced "Be Right") is a Christian rapper from Milwaukee, WI, proving that talent can be found in the most peculiar places. When my cousin forwarded me this track a few days ago he described B. Reith's lyrics as "Eminem-ish (yet toned down, positive and less annoying)". What do you think? Give him a shot and temporarily forget any negative preconceptions you might have about Christian music. Enjoy this one.

Check out the story behind this song and CLICK HERE

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Back to the Grind

Last week I remedied the emerging symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder by spending the week in LA. February in LA is basically the first week of May in NYC.

The trip was a whirlwind of food and Sebastien Tellier's latest album, Sexuality (of American Apparel fame). The album was in heavy circulation at my brother's place and I haven't been able to get him out of my head all week! Still on the fence about his beard, but his music is definitely catchy. The man has got style.

Here's a popular track from his 2005 album Politics called La Ritournelle (of Ugly Betty fame).

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Office Jams - Vol. 2: Stranger in Moscow

Snowpocalypse. Snowmaggedon. Blizzard 2010. The snowstorm that has buried DC in the past week is finally coming to an end. It has put us all out of work, stuck indoors and immobile. Heres a likely for your cabin fever and help you get back into work tomorrow.

Enjoy the one day week and President's Day weekend!

Friday, February 05, 2010


Intervention airs on A&E. The show takes an in depth look into crippling drug and alcohol addictions. If you haven't tuned in yet, then check your local listings soon for this eye-opening documentary series.

Here is a clip from a show on "huffing". . .

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Exception to Rule #46

Craig Sager-- He can pull it off

Rule #46

Dress appropriately. There is a fine line between classy and comical.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

West Coast PDT?

Not quite. But clandestine bar entrances are spreading faster than gourmet food trucks.

La Descarga is Koreatown's latest hipster magnet. A Cuban cocktail bar and cigar room. Boasting an eclectic Rum collection in the hands of a bartender from Doheny, it seems like the stars are aligned for this place. Check it out.

Read about it on Thrillist HERE

Passion Pit - Swimming in the Flood

They opened for Phoenix last summer in NYC, but you might have heard them on Gossip Girls. Check them out at Coachella in April.