Cafe 227

Friday, June 30, 2006

Handy Dandy 4th of July guide to instant party - just add booze and shake vigorously.

In anticipation of the 4th of July, I figured I would share some tips to make your weekend a happier and more safe one. A good Fourth of July to me usually revolves around a barbecue, lots of drinks, fireworks and good friends.

If you crave barbecue but do not want to fire up the grill (or live in an apartment building that has just banned grills) - you can pick up some great barbecue food from Rocklands. Just do me a favor and stay away from the Dave's Insanity sauces they have on display. I love to eat hot food - but this sauce just about kicked my ass. I do realize that any sauce that needs to be described in the superlative is probably one not to be messed with. Also mind you, the good people at Dave's Insanity offer hot sauce and pest control at the same time so you have been forewarned. I have learned my lesson - but DAMN - it does taste good.

Good drinks go well with good barbecue - whether from your grill or from Rocklands. Make sure you stock up on enough beer or margaritas...whatever alcohol suits your fancy. Not all alcohol has to be in traditional form though - get creative! Another party favorite is the watermelon filled with booze (not to be consumed at family barbecues). The first time I had one of these was in high school. I do NOT think that we used the 'best quality vodka' or even this thing you call 'champagne'. We probably used Popov or Everclear - but those with refined tastes can adapt this recipe to their liking. Some have said that you can refine bad vodka into good vodka. I have never tried it, but friends of mine say it works and it IS on the Internet so it has gotta be true.

So we've covered some food and some alcohol.

Now - if you are like me, there is nothing better than a good cigar after a fine meal. My friend (and yours) Tampa Tony (or Tamda Tony if you like) has a new gadget to help to pare down your cigar from a phat unwieldy one to a nice sleek one. I am quite partial to the silver Splitta. I wonder what other products Tampa/Tamda Tony has invented? I will be watching this site for updates. This site probably deserves its own post - but I'm feeling lazy. I'll revist Tony after the vacation.

The 4th of July is not complete without fireworks. If you are brave enough to go down to the mall - beware the crowds and take the metro. If you are looking for a good place to watch the fireworks - find a friend with a boat on the Potomac, go down to the waterfront, OR head up to the Washington National Cathedral. I know it sounds strange, but you can get a great view from the grounds of the Cathedral and Mount Saint Albans. The Mount is the highest point in all of DC, and the views from various areas around the Cathedral Grounds are breathtaking. If you are taking pictures, check out these tips.

After all the festivities are done, catch a cab for free or hitch a ride with sober friends. You don't want to drive drunk because you might spill something. Oh yeah....and watch out for cops. If you do get pulled over and get taken down to the pokey, just act better than this guy.

Happy Fourth everybody! I am off to Bourbon shortly to enjoy a few frosty pints before starting the weekend off right.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

"There's No Place Like Home..."

Whoever uttered those words couldn't have been more wrong. Oh, how I wish I were back in Hong Kong or even Phnom Penh right now instead of here in Northern VA, in front of my computer, doing work so banal that sitting in a plane for 12 hours watching Martin Lawrence movies seems absolutely exhilarant by comparison.

Anyway, since I don't have the time, desire, or wherewithal to post anything interesting this week (too much catching up to do at home and work), I guess this is a good time to present the opening montage to the hit television series 227. As you may or may not know, this humble blog is the virtual manifestation of a little after-hours hangout we run off of U Street called "Cafe 227." Cafe 227, in turn, is an homage to this fine show, which in our estimation was the crowning creative achievement within a genre of comedy performance commonly known as the "sitcom" (i.e., "situational comedy") that was popular in the United States during the 1980s. ("Sitcoms" were eventually replaced with interminable episodes of American Idol.)

And why did we name our little nightery after this show, you ask? Well, among other reasons: (1) it was based in Washington, DC, and so are we; (2) the mantle falls off of the fireplace at the end of this montage, as does our mantle in real life; (3) the castmembers frequently congregated on their front stoop, as do we; and (4) I had a huge crush on Jackée when I was 10 years old (what boy growing up in the '80s didn't?).

Feel free to sing along if you remember the words...

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A Crash Course in African-American Culture

Well, I'm (unfortunately) back from southeast Asia. It didn't rain once in Phnom Penh during my visit, even though it's the peak of the monsoon season there. Yet ironically, I've witnessed nothing but torrential downpours since my return to DC. The constant rain and ubiquitous dreariness is not helping my post-vacation depression...

Anyway, I have a number of thoughts about and stories from my trip to Hong Kong and Cambodia, none of which I will share here. After all, I suspect that no one gives a shit anyway.

But I will share this...

During my time in Hong Kong, I read a movie review for Crash in the HK Magazine (Hong Kong's slightly inferior version of the City Paper) . Crash was just released in Hong Kong, and the reviewer was lamenting the length of time it took to be released there. The reviewer attributed this delay to the fact that Asian (and specifically Chinese) audiences are perceived to be generally unfamiliar with and uninterested in entertainment with African-American themes. "Makes sense," I thought at the time.

So, on my return flight home, I had the misfortune of being on one of those old Boeing jumbo jets that have the centrally-controlled television monitors. In other words, United Airlines had sole discretion over what video entertainment to dull our senses with over the 11-hour flight. Now, bear in mind that (1) well over half of the passengers on the flight were Chinese citizens (judging by the customs lines in San Francisco) and (2) United shows the same videos on a flights between Hong Kong and San Francisco throughout the month of June. Bearing these two facts in mind, and also considering the previously established hypothesis that Asian audiences are generally uninterested in African-American-themed entertainment, you would think that United would not show Big Momma's House 2 and Last Holiday as the first two movies on an 11-hour flight.

But they did.

So, I have two theories for this. Either (1) United really doesn't understand it's client base on key international flights (although they did serve us a cup of Ramen Noodles as a mid-flight snack), or (2) they were trying to not-so-subtly prepare the passengers of Chinese citizenship for the large dose of African-American culture that we got upon arrival at the San Francisco International Airport. I suspect the latter, because I find it hard to believe that United would be so oblivious.

Anyway, this whole post was simply an excuse to link to this superb article in the NY Times today titled "10 Years Wiser, Jay-Z Offers his Reflections of a Hustler." If only this were published last week, United could have passed this out along with the customs forms on my flight...

Not to Get All Political On You...

But this latest transgression by Rush Limbaugh BEGS to be discussed in as many fora as possible. So... Mr. Limbaugh... which part of this whole "law" thing did you not understand? That when you fly your private jet into the U.S. from the Dominican Republic, odds are good that you will be searched? That ugly, fat bastards like you shouldn't be carrying Viagra around, particularly when you don't have a label with your name on it? Or that when you cut a deal with prosecutors to avoid prosecution for illegal possession of prescription drugs, that maybe you should be a little more careful?

In any event, I am glad that our "porous" borders that are allowing immigration that is "surging out of control" are still secure enough to catch assholes like you.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Fundraiser for Cafe Collage

It seems like forever since Cafe Collage suddenly closed its doors after a year in business. I remember attending the ANC's tavern license approval meeting for Cafe Collage, where the proprietors' supporters (myself included) showed up to voice our support for the enterprise against a small but vocal neighborhood opposition group. In their view, a "residential" street such as T Street was no place for a coffee house and cafe that served alcohol. In my opinion, this argument was flimsy and a bit capricious- especially since a much bigger, much louder bar (Cafe Saint Ex) is located RIGHT NEXT DOOR. I imagine that the opposition's real problem was with the ethnicity of the proprietors and the likely clientelle - Ethiopian. God forbid that people of color come back into the neighborhood to socialize after being displaced - think of what would happen to the property values!

Anyway, whatever the opposition's true intentions were (which, despite my speculation, I really don't know), they were successful in scuttling the proprietor's plans by finding an architectural code violation that required a costly and time-consuming renovation. I really didn't think the Cafe would ever reopen. Quite a disappointment, really - they were the only non-chain coffeeshop within walking distance of Cafe 227 (Sparky's doesn't count because I don't consider anything south of R Street to be within walking distance). Also, their spicy and strong Ethiopian Harrar blend was the best cup of coffee in the city, in my opinion.

Therefore, I was overjoyed to receive a letter from Tito, one of the proprietors, announcing that they do intend to reopen once they've undertaken the necessary renovations. To that end, they're holding a fundraiser Monday evening (June 26) at U Turn Cafe (near the corner of 11th and U Streets) at 7pm. There will be an art auction and Ethiopian folk music, and all donations are tax deductible. In addition, U Turn will donate 40 percent of all drink receipts to the proprietors to help them in their efforts.

I plan on stopping by, and I hope you will too...

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Terrorists Don't Hate America, They Just Hate ME

Now, call me a solipsist, call me paranoid or call me insensitive to the families of those who have been killed by terrorism, but I think that I have cracked the code of the terrorists. They are not after our profligate Western lifestyle or seeking to convert everyone to their religion, they are simply after ME.

I have attended schools in D.C. and New York.

After riding on the super fast AVE train from Madrid's Atocha Station to Sevilla, the terrorists bombed it.

After staying at a hotel on London's Russel Square, the terrorists bombed the area, including the bus I rode.

I thought it was coincidence until I heard last night that there was a plot afoot to bomb a federal building in Miami. One of the proposed targets was, of course, the building in which I work.

The final straw was when Miguel Cabrera swung at a pitch during an attempted intentional walk. As Deadspin rightly noted, this action is reserved only for members of Chico's Bail Bonds, most notably, Kelly Leak. Clearly, Cabrera seeks to destroy my alter ego, just in case the terrorists leave something behind.


Rest comfortably, dear readers... just don't stand too close to me.

Random Topic - Distinct Songs

Circumstances have arisen whereby I feel like I am having the same conversation with vastly different people on a regular basis. The conversation basically goes like this: Person A says, "I like Song A because it is different from just about any other song out there, even from other songs by Group A (singers of Song A)." Person B replies, "That is a great point, I also like Song B for the same reason." This inevitably leads to Person C (me in many cases) pondering aloud, "I wonder what OTHER songs there are like that?" Now, the criteria for which songs merit inclusion in this "conversation" seem to shift: for some it is a song with a distinctly different sound than the artist's other works (Group 1), songs with distinct "breaks" or sound changes within the song (Group 2), and songs that persons who might not like any other song by the artist would like that song (Group 3).

I now offer examples of each Group from different types of artists:

Group 1

"Vox" by Sarah McLachlan
"Amen Kind of Love" by Daryl Singletary (I'm partial to this as it's my wedding song, so be nice)
"Fast Cars and Freedom" by Rascal Flatts -- thanks to Velvet for this one
"Everything Will Be Alright" by The Killers

Group 2

"Politik" by Coldplay
"Port of Amsterdam" by David Bowie
"Bad" by U2

Group 3

"New York, New York" by Ryan Adams [sometimes "Rescue Blues" as well]
"Friday Night Lights OST" by Explosions in the Sky
"You'll Think of Me" by Keith Urban

These are just some examples that have been bandied about... please feel free to add or disagree (preference for the former over the latter), but help me to be better prepared for the next time I have this "conversation," presumably tonight.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

We're Ghana Beat the Black Stars!!!

It is nice to see U.S. soccer finally getting some props. After showing the world just how pathetic we can be in our first match against the Czech Republic, Sam's Army spurred the Yanks on to a 1-1 tie with the Azzurri (which roughly translates to "vaginas" in English). Now, with a victory over a very talented Ghanaian squad and some help from the aforementioned Fascists from the Country Shaped Like a Boot, the U.S. can advance to a second round shellacking at the hands of Brazil.

Should this happen, however, we must all consider this a successful World Cup. Should the U.S. lose to Ghana, we should still be proud of our boys playing with one of the premiere teams in the world (again, the aforementioned floppers-whose-cuisine-is-based-solely-on-the-New-World-food-tomato).

So... take a few minutes from your work day on Thursday and cheer your head off for the boys in red, white, and blue... it's nice to see Americans get bloodied and keep playing on...

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Divorce Really IS Painful for Kids

A recent story has brought a painful issue to the world's attention; apparently, a divorced couple is fighting over whether their 8 year-old son should be circumcised. No, you read that right, he's EIGHT.

Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but when I was eight, I was happily playing Little League, enjoying my Atari 2600 (did you know it was the most "poplar" video game system? maybe that's why you only find it at flea markets and in grandparents' attics), and generally trying to stay out of trouble. I did NOT have my foreskin discussed in court proceedings.

There are several other creepy things to come out of this story. First, the poor kid allegedly has painful bouts of inflammation that prevent him from wearing anything but loose fitting pajamas. That'll make life easy if you're eight.

The other creepy thing is that David Llewellyn, an attorney from my hometown of Atlanta, SPECIALIZES IN CIRCUMCISION CASES. Now, I'm an attorney and many of my friends are attorneys as well. I had no idea that a.) there were any circumcision cases making their way through our courthouses or that b.) you could specialize in them. Good for you, Mr. Llewellyn, for finding that one thing that makes you happy and working hard at it. If we meet, however, I would respectfully request that we refrain from "shop talk."

Sunday, June 11, 2006

A Parting (LateNight)Shot...

Before I depart for a while, I would like to revisit the LateNightShots phenomenon one more time. As I mentioned previously, our humble blog has been getting a lot of traffic from LNS' web site, but because the web site is password protected, I have no idea what they are saying about us. Nonetheless, out of curiosity, I went back there this morning. I was going to try to "hack" in by entering log-in information that could plausibly work based on some educated guesses (i.e., username:, password: smithpoint). I was immediately taken aback, however, by the picture on the welcome page, which I hadn't seen before...

Is that...CLINTON PORTIS?!? That sure looks like Clinton Portis. Can someone PLEASE confirm that this is Clinton Portis? Does anyone from Deadspin read our blog? If so, you guys are Clinton Portis experts - this is him, right??

It's not that I'm starstruck - after all, Cafe 227 is no stranger to celebrity. It's just that, well, I LOVE Clinton Portis. He's hilarious. His press conferences are brilliant, and so are his Eastern Motors spots ("where your job is your credit"). Basically, what I'm trying to say is that Clinton Portis is currently my second favorite non-Steeler football player, right behind Marc Bulger. And if Clinton Portis is a proud member of the LateNightShots super-exclusive social club, well then, I've completely misjudged them. They're alright by me.

(On the other hand, if they just posted some random picture of Clinton Portis and four anonymous white girls on their web site to exploit his star power for their own benefit, well then, I'd have to say that I feel a bit misled. But I'm sure that's not the case.)

Not Cambodia, but damn close

Hello All!

I have not been able to write anything for a couple of weeks. I am sure none of you noticed or cared, but that's allright. Aziz, stay safe in Cambodia and tell A. I said hello. I am about to begin week 4 of training down here in Georgia. The weather has not been too bad as of late, but I am sure once July comes the thermostat will be on the "hell" setting. We have our first test on Tuesday and I am looking forward to it being over. I have been busy doing shooting, driving (tomorrow), running, drowning (er, swimming), falling, punching, and the usual pushups/situps/pullups/horse race activities (for those who don't know what a horse race is, get on all fours like a horse and walk around your apartment/office/room for three laps). The food makes me shit once or twice a day, but at least it is free. I miss seeing Autumn and it gets boring down here. So, the moral of the story is if you have someone you love or even like a lot don't take it for granted. Five months is a long time but as you can see I have almost completed one month. I still have not gotten paid yet, but that is for a different bitching session. Here is the website of the facility if anyone is curious Wynne, sorry for not writing back. I completely forgot. I am in Brunswick, and not Atlanta. If you are ever in the area let me know. Aziz, I am disgusted by your reports of high STD rates in senior citizens. I was perfectly happy not knowing that information. To everyone else, stay safe where ever you may be and practice your horse racing!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Going on Sabbatical

I'm going on sabbatical, and I won't be back for two weeks or so. Consequently, Johnny Shades will be on a brief blogging hiatus. See, where I'm going, they don't have such things as "bloggers" or "high-speed internet access," but they do have things such as "monsoonal rains" and "avian bird flu."

Where am I going, you ask? Why, Cambodia of course.

Why am I going, you ask? Well, it appears that Cambodia is the only place on earth where my company or clients can't possibly reach me, with the possible exception of the Darién province of southern Panama. I'm planning on going there next year.

And besides, everyone's going to Cambodia. Get with it, man.

Now, I know what you're thinking: "Aziz, er... Ajit... I mean, Johnny Shades, how am I going to entertain myself over the next two weeks without your witty observations and pithy commentary?"

Well, by my count, Cafe 227 has 11 contributors and, coincidentally, the same number of regular readers. I'm confident you'll be able to entertain each other for the next two weeks.

Alternatively, here are some suggestions:

  • Peruse my archives. I thought this post was particularly clever. This one as well.
  • Read other, more compelling blogs. "Real" blogs, as it were. I recommend Velvet in DuPont and Overcaffeination. Oh, and you can find a few more here.
  • Buy a tray of baklava. Spring for the large, which includes 54 delicious pieces for only $21.90 (plus shipping). That should last you about two weeks.
  • Go to the zoo.
  • Watch A&E's coverage starting Monday, June 14 of the Rock Paper Scissors championship, hosted by Dave Attel and featuring my close, personal friend, Master Roshambollah. Seriously, if you fancy yourself as someone on the cutting edge of sweeping cultural trends, start following RPS now. Not only was RPS recently featured in Rolling Stone (considered by some to be the pop culture bible), but it is also being used to settle legal disputes. Trust me, RPS is the new poker. (As an RPS insider, I should know...)
  • Tear yourself away from your computer and go listen to some live music. If you're in DC, get on Ajit's e-mail list, find out where he's playing next, and go see him. Seeing an Indian as big and scary-looing as Ajit play the acoustic guitar with such skill is a transcendent experience. If you're in NY, check out Creeping Weeds at Fat Baby (on Rivington between Ludlow and Essex) on Saturday, June 17. They'll be in town for some ass-hat's birthday party.
  • And if all else fails, have a conversation with an artificial intelligence bot. It will potentially keep you occupied for hours, and it'll probably result in more stimulating conversation than the tripe banter you have with your coworkers. To wit: I asked Joan, "Is it hot enough for you?", and she replied, "Love is very important for humans." Now that's what I call interesting banter.

See you in a few weeks...

The Perils of Publishing a Monthly*

Just got my July/August edition of The Atlantic today. The cover story is a very thorough and very topical profile of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. This article is sure to generate a ton of interest, since al-Zarqawi has established himself as America's nemesis in Iraq and continues to be a thorn in the side of the U.S. troops in their efforts to...

What? What's that you say? Al-Zarqawi was killed three days ago?

Um, is it too late to change the cover story?

What the heck, I'll still read it. After all, he is my doppelganger.

[* In the curious lexicon of The Atlantic, "monthly" is defined as 10 times per year.]

Friday, June 09, 2006

New Jack City Revisited

It has been almost three weeks since I witnessed that mugging in front of my house. (You remember that mugging, right? The one I told you about, where I sat idly by, frozen by cowardice, unwilling to even shout something out of the window as the helpless victim was being attacked? Yeah, that one...)

Anyway, as you probably already know, that post somehow found it's way to the victim. He and I have been in touch a few times since then, and he seems to be recovering well, but he was injured pretty badly. NBC-4 news interviewed him a few nights ago. You can see the story and video here. He was brave enough to go on the record to speak about his experience - something that
I imagine was not easy for him to do. The statistics don't lie - crime in the Third District has been on a noticeable upward trend this year, and it doesn't seem to be subsiding. Hopefully, Jason's interview with NBC-4 news will increase awareness of the problem and prompt the city and MPD to expand its crime prevention efforts in the neighborhood.

Jason - thanks for sharing this with us, and we continue to wish you a complete and speedy recovery...

Much Ado About Nothing

I gave my two-week notice at work last week. The millisecond after the words "I'm leaving" crossed my lips, my produtivity ebbed to a trickle. I am now bored beyond belief. I have read every news story written in today's papers (yes, all of them). I have looked at pictures of people with progeria on the Internet. I have read the scathing, male-hating lyrics penned by my new favorite songstress, Lily Allen (ladies, check out "Not Big" if you want a good laugh). I have examined every feline on in order to find the perfect cat (preferably, a white one I can call "Montecore" after the white siberian tiger that mauled Roy).

The only thing left to do is blog. So, here are some small tidbits:

I went to go see the remake of The Omen last night. I generally tend to be scared of my own shadow, but I found this movie to be particularly scary, not to mention gory as hell. The kid who plays Damien Thorn, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, is so creepy he makes Mohammed Atta look like Strawberry Shortcake. While Harvey Stevens, the kid who starred in the original, was nominated for a Golden Globe a for his performance, I don't see how he could be any scarier than the new Damien. The cast is rounded out by Julia Stiles, Damien's mom, and Liev Schreiber, who is successful at turning the character of Mr. Thorn into a sniveling weenie. If you like horror movies, this is not too bad. Not as cool as Saw, though.

Next, everyone will be happy to learn that the sex tape of R. Kelly having sex with an underage girl will be available to the public. I'm not saying that it will be playing at the Arlington Cinema 'N Drafthouse, but if kiddie porn is your thing, it's out there for your viewing pleasure.

Speaking of sex tapes, as written on, O.J. Simpson has recently entered the fray. Man, talk about a jack of all trades. This guy does it all! He's been a professional athlete, an actor ("Nordberg"), a murderer, and now a porn star caught doing blow and singing "If I Only Had a Brain" on tape. WOW. Someone should really give this guy a lifetime achievement award.

Just got a call that I need to do an exit interview shortly, so that's all for now. Sayonara, suckers.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

An Actual Exchange between Me and My Mom...

Via telephone...

Mom: "So do you still have that beard?"

Me: "Yeah..."

Mom: "Oh, did you hear that they killed that Zarqawi guy?"

So it's official. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has replaced Vlade Divac as my doppelganger.

Two Quick Must-Reads

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

George Bush is Really a Robot Operated by a Little German Guy

Oh, those crazy Germans. Hilarious, I tell you.

Yeah, like their leader is any better...

Don't Kiss Grandpa

I was going to write this post earlier, but I've been too busy puking in my mouth. The article "STDs Running Rampant in the Retirement Community" states that STD rates among seniors are skyrocketing, due largely to an increase in Viagra and no risk of pregnancy.

In the article, a gynecologist states that she treats more cases of herpes and HPV in the retirement community than she did in the city of Miami. Let's stop and consider this for a moment. Miami is a hotspot for the young, trendy and beautiful. The fact that it's a hotbed for rampant sexual activity (and therefore is a breeding ground for STDS) does not surprise me. The fact that this is due to OLD PEOPLE FUCKING does.

Everyone is afraid of growing older. Since I am still a young asshole, I am still at the stage where things like car payments or buying a house (or anything else that requires that I behave with the slightest modicum of responsibility), inspire the fear of God in me. Imagine having to kiss goodbye to your mind, your independence, of having to wear a product called "Oops, I Crapped my Pants". And, on top of all that, having to be afraid of some geriatric Casanova or some wrinkled whore spreading their filth.

Watch out, Uncle Junior. Your death may not be as sanguinary as I've hoped, but You may get yours after all.

Monday, June 05, 2006

A Social Club Almost as Exclusive as Cafe 227

Mr. Why.I.Hate.DC gets a permanent place on my blogroll for his hilarious commentary about "LateNightShots," which is "a closed social network which allows you to explore Washington DC's social landscape and bar scene. " He postulates that this club has some affiliation with the Georgetown community. Having gone to Georgetown, I can understand how he draws this conclusion, although their members don't appear to be as lame as the Stewards or the Chimes (who even have their own lame lexicon). But I wouldn't be surprised if there is some overlap.

A quick glance through the comments to the post also uncovers the Capital Club, another uber-exclusive DC social club that is so exclusive, it only admits 100 members! I just wasted the past 30 minutes perusing their photo gallery. There appear to be a lot of white people in the Capital Club. I saw one black person, although I think he was a guest rather than a member. I didn't see any Arabs. (Although I suppose Arabs such as myself have our own super-exclusive social clubs that white people aren't invited to...)

Neither of these social clubs, however, is nearly as exclusive as Cafe 227, which currently has 3 active members and a dozen or so alumni/"friends-of-the bar." Nor are these clubs' events on par with Cafe 227's events. Did the Capital Club or LateNightShots bring you an "adult"-themed party last year complete with Japanese Anime video entertainment, scantily-clad bartenders, and two of DC's dopest DJs? Nope - but Cafe 227 did. And we don't even have a minimum net worth requirement...

[UPDATE: Here are some more details from DCist. Top-rated bar among members of the LNS? Smith Point. Most common neighborhoods? Georgetown, Glover Park, and Ballston. Most common skin color? Brown. (Haha, I just made that last one up. It's white.) There is perhaps a grain of truth in stereotypes after all...]

[UPDATE #2: My site-meter tells me I'm getting a TON of referrals from LNS' web site. Come on guys, let me in! I'm dying to know what you're saying about Cafe 227. You're probably just jealous that you've never been invited over. Of course, It's waaay over on U Street near all the shady-looking people who listen to Rare Essence and eat chili half-smokes etc., so you probably wouldn't come anyway...]

So There's This Soccer Tournament That's About to Begin...

and several of my friends and I are very excited about it. We have also noted that the corporate world is equally excited about it and would like to remind you that this event is about to begin. To that end, there are many, many World Cup ads dotting the media. Also, it is nice to know that between organizing free concerts, conversing with heads of state, and releasing really good albums, Bono STILL has time to do voiceovers.

A sampling of some of the ads out there:

1.) Nike has developed and run some pretty sweet ads to go along with its Joga Bonito (I assume "beautiful game" in Portuguese, the native language of the Cup holders?) campaign. You should be able to kill about 20 minutes here.

2.) Courtesy of the blogger, a copy of Bono's ad discussing how the peace in the Cote d'Ivorie is a direct result of their World Cup qualification. Maybe we should have a World Cup for AIDS?

3.) Adidas has an extremely effective ad that is shown in two parts, part 1 is here and part 2 is here, that is quite fun except will not play well in America as most U.S. of A.ers will think that "them there kids speakin' Spanish is picking guys already wearing jerseys," or something like that. Thanks to Michael Ottolenghi, the best Luxembourg Jew of Italian heritage I've EVER known for dredging these up.

4.) However, one thing that the U.S. does better than ANYONE is rap. And now, in the wake of 8 Mile and the startling resurgence of Bubba Sparxxx (how many of you knew that this was a comeback?), it is okay for white people to rap. Sometimes. What is odd is when the niche markets of white rappers and U.S. soccer collide to give us Clint Dempsey a.k.a. "Deuce." Thanks to Deadspin for this gem. Oh, and Don't Tread on ME Deuce.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

This is Very, Very Troubling

That's what D.C. Council member Phil Mendelson said in response to this incident, in which two murder suspects pulled off a feat of near-impossibility by escaping from a D.C. jail. Their brilliantly-concocted escape plan involved (now bear with me, as this gets kind of complicated): (1) smashing through a window using office furniture; and then (2) taking a metro bus to the Orange Line's Minnesota Avenue stop.

I guarantee that if they were commuting to work rather than escaping from prison, the metro bus would've been delayed by 30 minutes...

Saturday, June 03, 2006

The Unintentionally Hilarious Consequence of Contrived Hipness

I love reading The Economist for a myriad of reasons. At the top of the list are (1) its thoroughly engaging yet hopelessly opaque coverage of particle physics/quantum mechanics (which I will discuss in greater detail at a later date) and (2) its repeated attempts at hipness and the unintentionally comedic consequences thereof.

For a quintessential example of the latter, you'll have to look no further than its special Summer 2006 supplement titled Intelligent Life - "The summer 2006 issue of our magazine on trends for smarter living" - which arrived in my mailbox today.

The third article of the issue (which I was able to get through in one, um, sitting as I was recovering from the consequences of last night's trip to Ben's Chili Bowl) is called "Bubbles & Bling." The title is cringe-inducing in its own right. But I decided to give it a chance anyway:

"Today, the most high-profile consumers of Cristal are rap artists, whose taste for swigging bubbly in clubs is less a sign of a refined palate than a passion for a 'bling-bling' lifestyle that includes ten-carat diamond studs, chunky gold jewellery, pimped up Caddies and sensuous women. In his number one hit 'Hard Knock Life', Jay-Z raps, 'Let’s sip the Cris and get pissy-pissy'. Cristal has been so visible at Mr Combs’s concerts that onlookers have wondered whether the venerable champagne house was sponsoring the event."

First of all, who exactly is The Economist's target audience here? Judging by the articles on hand-crafted watches, Mozart, and luxury cars, as well as the advertisements (Hermes, Mont Blanc, Lexus, etc.), the target audience is decidedly not me. It's my father (but in a parallel universe where my father is a wealthy real estate speculator rather than a purveyor of Middle Eastern groceries). And my father (metaphorically speaking) doesn't know who the hell Jay-Z is, nor does he care about Jay-Z's apparent urinary incontinence when drunk. In other words, wouldn't The Economist have been better served by discussing this topic in more general terms rather providing a specific example and confusing/potentially alienating my allegorical dad?

Second, The Economist's use of colloquialism is regrettable as it is (although I can forgive their use of "bling-bling" as they had the good sense of putting it in quotations). Their improper use of colloquialism, however, is downright embarassing. I'm referring, of course, to "pimped up Caddies." Now, I consider myself somewhat of a minor expert on urban colloquioalism, mainly because I grew up in the hood. Also, I watch a lot of 106 & Park. Given my credentials, I can say with a high degree of certainty that the generally-accepted form of the idiom is "pimped out Caddies." An esteemed publication such as The Economist should know this. Maybe they should hire me as a copy editor.

Now if you'll excuse me, it's 7:30pm on Saturday night. I need to go sip on some sizurp and puff on some dro. As The Economist might say, I'm a git crunk tonight.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

These links are piling up...

  • A new political party is being formed in the Netherlands: the Charity, Freedom, and Diversity party. Apparently, "Charity, Freedom, and Diversity" is a new euphemism for "Pedophilia." What's their platform, you ask? Why, "allowing pornography to be broadcast on daytime television, with only violent pornography limited to the late evening." Also, "[s]ex with animals should be allowed," although "abuse of animals should remain illegal." Please insert your own gratuitous Mike Cooper joke - I don't have the energy today.
  • This is pretty cool. I'm astonished that Google isn't involved.
  • Five things no bar should have, according to Chuck Klosterman. Not to worry Chuck, Cafe 227 is completely devoid of all these things. Come by for a drink sometime.
  • Another Klosterman article. This one's about text messages. Or the invention of the wheel. Or something. (As you can see, Cafe 227 loves Klosterman despite his occassional pleonasmic tendencies.)
  • Finally, but most importantly: America Online, an internet service provider and relic of the 1990s, would like you to vote for DC's hottest bartender. Sadly, none of the proprietors of Cafe 227 was nominated (understandably so, since Cafe 227 is more of a speakeasy than a bar). However, a friend of Cafe 227 - Hank - was nominated. Even though Hank currently tends bar at Adams Mill, which I despise almost as much as Lauriol Plaza, we go way back to his Third Edition days. He's always given me nothing but top-notch service. So, go to this web site right now and vote for Hank. (And if you're interested, here's the online ballot for DC's hottest female bartenders. But I simply can't take this poll seriously after they inexplicably failed to nominate Patrice from Tonic, who just happens to be the definition of "hot"...)