Friday, February 26, 2010

My New Obsession: Live From Daryl's House

Thanks to the hegemonic campaign of cultural oppression carried out by my parents (and yours too if you count the Boomers as your immediate predecessors) I have an asynchronous fondness for all things before my time and that totally includes Hall and Oates. Recently having moved to Philadelphia has only accelerated my appreciation for the '80s, and perhaps all of recorded history's greatest blue-eyed soul duo. The fact that they met at Temple University while my father-in-law was wrapping up his residency there somehow entwines our destinies. Like it or not, I feel close to Hall and Oates in a spiritual way.

So, of course I'm obsessively digging Please enjoy at your leisure as Daryl hosts artists of all shape and size at his home in upstate New York for transcendent jam sessions interspersed with candid segments where Daryl schools his guests on topics ranging from 1980s recording techniques and music journalism to home restoration, indoor pools, and the merits of New York state chardonnays (as opposed to that swill they make in California).

Since it's Friday, and I want to slide all funky-style into my weekend, I'm watching Episode 10, featuring Chromeo and it's completely awesome with new and exciting versions of classic Hall and Oates tunes, as well as a few Chromeo joints. The closing 'No Can Do' number is sensational.

Mao Asada's Olympic Music: Rachmaninoff Prelude in C Sharp Minor Op. 3

The women's free skate program on the Olympics last night was an altogether impressive show. During which, I was really intrigued by the dark music that accompanied Mao Asada on her silver-medal performance. So a little Google magic later, I've identified it as Sergei Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C Sharp Op. 3.

Originally a composition for the piano, Mao skated to an orchestral version like the one shown below by the Kremlin Chamber Orchestra.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Busta Rhymes on the Slide Trombone

While watching this video of a live, Philadelphia performance of John Legend's Slow Dance on yesterday, I was shocked in a delighted kind of way to see Mr. Flip Mode himself, Busta Rhymes, playing back-up on the slide trombone. (Forward to 3:00 in the video for the sultry, surprise cameo.)
Apparently Busta Bust isn't just about the fast lyrics and bomb ass beats, but also prone to the sexy soul of the backup brass. One more layer of texture to his musical melange, and that I can appreciate.

I saw Busta Rhymes in college, playing the high-school intimate Leede Arena, where he stopped the show in the middle of a song to upbraid some poor white kid he'd noticed wasn't really feeling the flow. Apparently the kid wasn't bobbing his head, or tapping his feet, nothing; just apparent physical indifference to Busta's beats and rhymes. So Busta turned the spot light on this guy, laid into him for about 30 seconds with a shocking screed laced with F*** words, finished him with the race card, and then went back to his jams as if nothing unusual happened. I seem to remember the crowd being a little wigged-out at first, but then obediently getting back into the groove for fear of seeming not down with Flip Mode.

So it's good to see he has a softer side, even if he keeps it on the D low.

Though I looked in the John Legend video, I didn't notice Busta's typically ever-present sidekick Spliff Star (who was most definitely in the house that night at Leede Arena). His Wikipedia page is worth a read because it betrays his thoroughly un-street backgound as William A. Lewis holding a BA in Communications from Franklin & Marshall College it tidy, exurban Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I wonder how he got in with Flip Mode Squad on the weakness of that Amish-country cred?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Orbit Gum Flavor Explosion

That's Orbit's new 'Pina Colada' (l) and Citrus Mint (r), discovered at Wawa this weekend while driving from Philadelphia to Sag Harbor. Since then I've bought more packs of gum this week than the average for the upper quintile of teenage girl gum-chewers. (A shot from the hip, that, and not true statistical fact. But it sounds true. Seems that teenage girls always had gum on them. Not that that prevented them from splitting pieces to share. Too bad you can't do the same with smokes.)

Thanks to Wawa's ever-prescient placement above the coffee condiment bar (where you start thinking about two things: 1. the pending enjoyment of your hazelnut cream-laced Brazilian world brew; and 2.the consequences of such caffeinated indiscretion - bad breath.) I've been a fan of Orbit for a while now, judging it to be the longest-lasting and of the juiciest taste across the familiar line of evocative mint varieties (pepper, spear, winter...). 

This isn't meant to be a critique of the work week I had in front of me, but I was more excited than I should have been to see the new line of Orbit flavors augmenting the staid old mint and cinnamon parade common to sugarless gum. The variety and boldness borders on the ridiculous from the above, Pina Colada, to Maui Melon and some energizing blends involving acai, pomegranate. More on the naughty side, there's Sangria and something flirtatious called 'Fruitini.' Now that we've breached the barrier of alcohol flavored gums, I'm anticipating upper and hallucinogen line-extensions next quarter. 

Monday, February 22, 2010

Jayson Werth Has MLB's Best Facial Hair

Apparently, Jayson Werth spent the entire off-season concentrating on his beard. And to spectacular effect!

More at

Friday, February 19, 2010

Monday, February 8, 2010

Facebook Account Hijacked

Just remember that when you leave yourself signed-in to Facebook you risk reputation-damaging misrepresentations. In this case, my wife took a quarter-pound bite out of my street-cred by posting lovey-dovey remarks about miracles, birth and love and babies and blessings. Look at my company on this wall, and I think you'll have to agree this isn't my kind of tea party.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


The much ballyhooed storm of this weekend panned out big time. The snow started last night around 8pm and by 10 it was coming down like bananas, and drunk knuckleheads on Market street between 2nd and 3rd were ambushing cabs with snowballs.

We woke up with at least 2 feet of snow on the ground, high winds and more snow coming down. I went outside to dig out our cars and the drifts were at least knee deep on a tallish dude. It transformed Old City and Philadelphia in general. The streets were deserted so we walked around with the dog, went to Reading Terminal and enjoyed the complete absence of crowds and the rare environmental ambiance.

Presented below, for perusal at your leisure, is a collection of original photography that feebly attempts to capture the rare, ephemeral beauty of Philadelphia after an enormous snow storm.
Parking lot from my porch. Cars caked in snow.

3rd Street, Old City, devoid of cars per Philly's original design.

Old City Coffee, the only local establishment bold enough to be open.

Dude on the corner, snow on the civic accoutrement.

Nobody's riding these bikes anywhere.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Stimulus Bill at Work

Last night I walked back to my hotel from dinner in Uptown Charlotte, North Carolina past an impromptu construction site where a crew was working on a smallish hole in the street. It wasn't clear whether they'd made the hole to repair something or were addressing one of the sinkholes that have been plaguing regional roads lately as a result of winter precipitation. (I've picked  up an out-sized awareness of this threat from watching the local TV news in my hotel room.)

Anyway, there were at least 5 trucks parked along the street, a backhoe and dump truck and 3 pick-up trucks. All of them idling and flashing their yellow lights. In the front truck, the two boss dudes where chatting away like neighbors.

Back at the hole, there was one man digging up a storm with a shovel while 7 (seven!) others stood around peering over each others' shoulders to supervise the digging.

Now that it's tax season, I'm wondering what I've been paying for all year.