Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
On Friday night, I braved the wintry temps and hiked aaaallll the way from my apartment on 15th St to the Black Cat, on 14th Street, to hear the French Kicks -- a band whose chords closely fit the textbook definition of indie rock.
While more officially from Brooklyn, I’ve learned that the band is actually quasi-local. Lead vocalist and keyboardist, Nick Stumpf, and his brother Lawrence, the bassist, are both from the area. That could explain Stumpf's love affair with DC's music venues:
We played the Rock and Roll hotel somewhat recently and it was great. Good size, great back stage room, nice folks. The Black Cat is great too though, always love playing there. Those two and 9:30 are all among the better places to play in the country actually, so D.C. wins.
The quartet knows how to put on a good show, pleasing the hipster crowd. Their dreamy pop sounds and catchy harmonies kept my head nodding, and the musical talents (and adorable indie rock star good looks) kept my eyes on the stage. The energy level hovered around 6.5 volts -- leaving me yearning for something slightly more upbeat for a live show, but at the same time reminding me why they’re great itunes companions for cooking or walking to work. Their set included mostly their newer songs, but a few of the oldies, including "You Could Not Decide." Admittedly, I was a little disappointed, as fan of their older records. But that didn’t stop me from enjoying their new sounds from their most recent album, Swimming, which got pretty good reviews, as Pitchfork describes in this illustrative adjective bomb:
Thick with both a springtime twinkle and autumnal heartache, Swimming makes good on the band's early promise. Trading layers of mood and melody and meaning for layers of Pro Tooled artifice, French Kicks have razored off the bullshit, leaving a core of beguilingly honest tunes.
From listening to Stumpf's crooning melodies, you can probably guess which vinyl records keep their turntables warm -- including 80's rockers the Pixies, The Kinks, and The Cure. So it's no wonder that their latest EP, Covers, includes their own interpretation of songs written by the late greats, such as Lindsey Buckingham, the Ramones, and the Shirelles.
Check out their website: http://www.frenchkicks.com/
Find them on Myspace here: http://www.myspace.com/frenchkicks
Breakfast this morning = concert review. Stay tuned.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Check out the video of Rahm Emanuel roasting Stephen Colbert. Highlights below, via HuffPo. Definitely worth the watch in spite of the amateur videography.
From Rahm's speech:
On Joe Biden: "Unfortunately, Joe Biden couldn't make it here tonight. Joe's the one who predicted that President-elect Obama will be tested by a crisis in the first six months of his presidency. What he didn't mention: the crisis will no doubt be over something Joe said."
On Steny Hoyer: Stephen is a guy who knows that no matter how smart or successful he is, he'll always play second fiddle to Jon Stewart. If he thinks that's humiliating, try standing behind Steny Hoyer."
On Sarah Palin, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Lieberman: "I'm scared of Stephen Colbert. I'm not alone. My colleagues in Congress, political operatives, the top minds in Washington, even some of the people in this room -- we're all scared of Stephen Colbert... We're scared of Stephen Colbert in the same way Sarah Palin is scared of a geography bee. We're scared of him the same way that John Edwards is scared of the National Enquirer. Mary Matalin is scared of Stephen, and she's seen Carville naked! ... Even Hillary Clinton is scared of Colbert, and this makes no sense to me -- she is a woman who braved sniper fire at the Battle of Bosnia's Airport. We're frightened of Colbert, but we know that deep down, underneath the Republican character you see on TV, there's still a good man, there's still hope for him. It's the same way we feel about Joe Lieberman."
On DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton: "In Congress, Eleanor is allowed to speak, but doesn't have a real vote or a final say. So she has the same role I used to play with Nancy Pelosi."
From Colbert's speech:
On Alan Greenspan: "Alan Greenspan is here, and we're in the middle of a once-in-a-century financial meltdown, so of course the question everyone is asking is, How did Alan Greenspan land Andrea Mitchell? Seriously. Keep kissing him, Andrea, he's going to turn into a prince one of these days."
On Ben Bradlee: "Ben Bradlee is here -- nice to see you Ben. Congratulations on your latest children's book, 'Grandpa, What Was Print Media?'"
Typically, I’m not much of a party host. Not because I have annoying roommates or I secretly live with my grandparents, or anything. Rather, my apartment is the size of a large shoebox and the limited seating situation means that guests that number more than eight are relegated to the floor. So when I decided to play host last night to about a dozen grad school friends, I was naturally a little anxious. In an effort to get them to immediately forget about their lame seating accommodations, I felt the need to overcompensate by serving intoxicatingly delicious beverages.
My drink of choice: the deceptively simple spiced rum and hot cider.
I scoured the intertubes for a recipe that would meet my expectations. Luckily, there are hundreds -- most of which have an estimated prep time of approximately 10 minutes. The ingredients vary depending on your preference. In addition the most basic elements of rum, cider, and cinnamon, you can accent the drink with: orange slices, cranberry juice, apples with cloves, apples without cloves, lemon wedges, ginger, wine, brown sugar, butter, honey....and even milk.
I stuck with the basics: cider, spiced rum, cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg, and one freshly squeezed orange. The preparation is about as simple as it gets. (For all you lazy hosts out there, this one's for you!). Combine all the ingredients, minus the rum, into a medium-sized pot. Let it come to a simmer and then remove from heat. Add the rum and serve -- preferably with a cinnamon stick for some added flavor.
Needless to say, all party-goers were quite happy regardless of where we were sitting.
One recipe can be found here:
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
* 1 apple
* 2 teaspoons whole cloves
* 1 orange, thinly sliced
* 2 quarts apple cider
* 1/2 cup light brown sugar
* 1 teaspoon allspice
* Pinch grated nutmeg
* 1 cup dark rum
* Cinnamon sticks, garnish
1. Stud the apple with the cloves.
2. In a medium pot, combine the studded apple and remaining ingredients except the rum.
3. Slowly bring to a simmer over low heat.
4. Simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Remove from the heat and add the rum.
6. Discard the apple.
7. Ladle into mugs and garnish each with a cinnamon stick.
8. Serve immediately.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
From the NYT:
It was among the juicier post-election recriminations: Fox News Channel quoted an unnamed McCain campaign figure as saying that Sarah Palin did not know that Africa was a continent.
Who would say such a thing? On Monday the answer popped up on a blog and popped out of the mouth of David Shuster, an MSNBC anchor. “Turns out it was Martin Eisenstadt, a McCain policy adviser, who has come forward today to identify himself as the source of the leaks,” Mr. Shuster said.
Trouble is, Martin Eisenstadt doesn’t exist. His blog does, but it’s a put-on. The think tank where he is a senior fellow — the Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy — is just a Web site. The TV clips of him on YouTube are fakes.
So are we to believe that Sarah Palin actually knows that Africa is a continent?
Correction: I got a little ahead of myself. The hoax is the fake McCain advisor who claimed credit for the Palin comment. But this brings up an interesting point (that I, of all people, should take note) about fact checking. In an era of the 24 hour media cycle and news flying at mach 10, especially in a presidential campaign, there is fierce competition out there to be the first to report on salacious tidbits of information. Do we blame Eisensdadt for tricking the MSM and bloggers, or does the blame fall on journalists and bloggers who didn't do their homework? Or perhaps we, the consumers, are to blame. In such a competative environment, it's easy to flock to sources that back up the claims that you want to believe, filtering out the less supportive sources. There will always be hacks spewing false information so it is also up to us to vet the sources where our news comes from. If only we had a series of tubes which could help us do that.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Thus, I was delighted to discover that Vidalia is celebrating their 15th anniversary of serving yummy food by giving YOU a little present! They're offering a three-course tasting lunch for a recession-deal of $19.90 -- which apparently references the restaurant's address - 1990 M Street. Clever.
More deets at Metrocurean.
For all of you twitter poets out there, it is your time to shine! Enter this twitter haiku contest and you could win a new MacBook air for your clever poetry.
Need a haiku refresher? Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry. It consists of 17 syllables broken up into three phrases of 5, 7, and 5 syllables respectively.Here is an example:
Write your own haiku.
May the forces be with you.
Win a MacBook air.
The best part of a haiku, in my opinion, is that it doesn't have to make sense. So go forth, young poets, and let your creative minds lead you to MacBook prosperity.
This paper – this “Call To Action” – represents the next step. It is not intended to be a legislative proposal. Rather, it details my vision for both policy and the process in the upcoming health care reform debate. The plan contained outlined here addresses health care coverage, quality, and cost. Many components will require an initial investment but, over time, will vastly improve the quality of the health care Americans receive and reduce the cost of that health care, ultimately putting our system on a more sustainable path. It is my intention that after ten years the U.S. will spend no more on health care than is currently projected, but we will spend those resources more efficiently, and will provide better-quality coverage to all Americans.
Is it me, or does this resemble Hillary's plan more than Obama's, given the mandate for coverage?
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
"...despite the current economic downturn, we must forge ahead with this urgent priority. The system is broken. And it's no longer just patients demanding change. Businesses, doctors and even many insurance companies are demanding it as well"
More (much more) on this topic later. Yoga is calling my name very very loudly.
So here's why: I'm sitting at Tryst, one of the best people watching and procrastination locations in DC. Hence, in the spirit of indiscriminately turning nouns into verbs (i.e. verbing), I am trysting.
- Main Entry: 1trysting
- Pronunciation: \ˈtristing, especially British ˈtrīst\
- Function: verb
- Etymology: Middle English triste appointed station for thoughtful ponderers, probably from trist, trust confidence, trust.
- Date: November 2008
2 : The name of my blog.