Cafe 227

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Most Romantic City, Brought to You by Cialis

On the same day my neighborhood was ranked the second bloggiest 'hood in the U.S., I also learned that my hometown of Pittsburgh was named the country's most romantic city for baby boomers in a survey sponsored by Cialis (thus giving new meaning to the "Steel City" moniker).

This is horrible news for the city of Pittsburgh - the last thing the aging city needs is an influx of 45- to 60-year olds in search of love and companionship. So to all you baby boomers out there, listen up - Cialis' methodology was deeply flawed. In developing their rankings, Cialis looked to floral sales among major U.S. cities. Pittsburgh, of course, was ranked quite high in this category - but not because it's some mecca of romance. Rather, it's because everyone's dying, which has obviously led to a sharp increase in floral sales. If you're truly looking for romance, I'd start at the bottom of Cialis' list and work your way up. Miami was ranked next-to-last - you'll fit right in down there...

(The USX Tower, brought to you by Cialis.)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Kitschy Beer Fun That Makes Coors Light Taste Good

While visiting the in-laws in the Garden State recently, my brother-in-law and I traipsed down to the local watering hole. Poor Herbie's of Madison, New Jersey, is an absolutely delightful bar whose clientele is a mixture of students from the neighboring schools of Drew University and Fairleigh Dickinson and slightly older guys like us. It has cheap pitchers and great food. We got a table and ordered a pitcher of Coors Light. The bartender (Dennis) asked us if we'd like to try the new "beer lantern" his distributor gave him. We responded immediately that yes, we would so enjoy the "beer lantern." He proceeded to place ice in the middle of the lantern, fill it from the tap, and then flip on the light. The display was absolutely magical. A photo of a similar product is below.

Needless to say, every other table envied our beer lantern and quickly ordered one as well. Bartenders, heed the call: contact your distributors and order many, many of these devices so that we may all enjoy tasty beverages as coldly as possible and have them light up, magically, before our eyes.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Grandmaster Flash at the 930 Club - Maybe Nas is Right...

It was a night of contradictions for me. It was the beginning of April, yet it was snowing. I was at Ben's Chili Bowl at 4am, yet I wasn't eating anything.

Grandmaster Flash was spinning a Lil Jon track.

An 11-year old white kid was the best B-boy in the house.

I went to see Grandmaster Flash spin at the 930 club last weekend. As you know, Grandmaster Flash is a hip-hop legend. He was recently inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame along with the Furious Five, making them the first hip hop group to receive that honor. He was also the first DJ to use a turntable as an instrument, which I was perpetually reminded of throughout the night by a large sign on stage that said "Grandmaster Flash: The First DJ to Use a Turntable as an Instrument."

And for the first hour or so, he lived up to his legend. Despite coming on (much) later than expected, he wasted no time, masterfully scratching over tracks varying from Afrika Bambaataa to Nirvana. I was right up front, so close that I could make out the gender of the kangaroo on his beret. (It was female.)

To say that I was elated would be an understatement.

Then, he cleared a circle in the middle of the club to let the B-boys do their thing. That's when I first realized that something was awry. All the B-boys were skinny white teenagers, presumably from suburban Maryland. Well, all except for this kid, who won't be a teenager for a few more years...

He went by the name of "Shamrock," and he was actually pretty good. Nonetheless, his presence didn't exactly replicate the ambiance of the Bronx in the early '80s when Grandmaster Flash would lay beats down for Kurtis Blow, Melle Mel, etc.

After the Bethesda Breakers were done doing their thing, Grandmaster Flash apparently decided to mail it in. He set up his MacBook Pro on stage, put on an extended playlist that was heavy on contemporary southern hip-hop (which I'm absolutely convinced is destroying the genre), and occasionally shouted something incomprehensible over the mic.

No more scratching, no more using the "turntable as an instrument" - just intermittent barking as Lil Jon implored us to snap our fingers. It was like going to El Bulli and having Ferran Adria serve you a Whopper.

Of course, the crowd loved it.

I can't explain it. Maybe Grandmaster Flash is just too old these days. Or maybe I am...