Songs of Summer Showdown

songs-of-summerRobin Thicke’s Blurred Lines has definitely won the battle of song of the 2013 summer and led me to think what has been the best summer song over the past 15 years or so. Well guess no longer and let’s cut to the Songs of Summer Showdown.

I threw out the top summer songs of the past two years (Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke and Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jespen) as these songs are too recent and need to sit a little longer before we can pass judgment.

Here we go:

16

Round 1: Sweet Sixteen
Party Rock Anthem: LMFAO (2011) v. Macarena: Los Del Rio (1996)
Winner: Macarena

California Gurls: Katy Perry (2010) v. MMMBop: Hanson (1997)
Winner: California Gurls

I Gotta Feeling: The Black Eyed Peas (2009) v. You’re Still the One (Shania Twain)
Winner: I Gotta Feeling

I Kissed a Girl: Katy Perry (2008) v. Livin’ La Vida Loca: Ricky Martin (1999)
Winner: Livin’ La Vida Loca

Umbrella: Rihanna (2007) v. Jumpin’ Jumpin’: Destiny’s Child (2000)
Winner: Jumpin’ Jumpin’

Crazy: Gnarls Barkley (2006) v. Drops of Jupiter: Train (2001)
Winner: Crazy

Behind These Hazel Eyes: Kelly Clarkson (2005) v. Complicated: Avril Lavigne (2002)
Winner: Behind These Hazel Eyes

The Reason: Hoobastank (2004) v. Crazy in Love: Beyonce (2003)
Winner: Crazy in Love

Eight

Round 2: Great Eight
Macarena: Los Del Rio (1996) v. Crazy in Love: Beyonce (2003)
Winner: Macarena

California Gurls: Katy Perry (2010) v. Behind These Hazel Eyes: Kelly Clarkson (2005)
Winner: California Gurls

I Gotta Feeling: The Black Eyed Peas (2009) v. Crazy: Gnarls Barkley (2006)
Winner: I Gotta Feeling

I Kissed a Girl: Katy Perry (2008) v. Jumpin’ Jumpin’: Destiny’s Child (2000)
Winner: Jumpin’ Jumpin’

4

Round 3: Final Four
Macarena: Los Del Rio (1996) v. Jumpin’ Jumpin’: Destiny’s Child (2000)
Winner: Macarena

California Gurls: Katy Perry (2010) v. I Gotta Feeling: The Black Eyed Peas (2009)
Winner: California Gurls

jeter_back

Round 4: The Big Showdown
Macarena: Los Del Rio (1996) v. California Gurls: Katy Perry (2010)
Winner: Macarena

Wow, who would have thought that the Macarena would reign supreme for the past twenty years as the ultimate song of the summer? Can Carly Rae or R.Thicke rise up over the years and conquer the oddest dance known to mankind? Could the Macarena defeat 1993’s summer song Whomp There It Is?

The Case for Major League Baseball Realignment

The NHL finally got it right, and now it’s time for Major League Baseball to do the same and realign its conferences and divisions. No, throwing the Astros into the AL West this year doesn’t count, though it did finally bring balance to all MLB divisions. Note: the Milwaukee Brewers moved into the NL Central in 1998 to accommodate the two new expansion clubs, the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. This alignment never made any sense as it placed six teams in the NL Central leaving four in the AL West. And as a Cubs fan whose team plays in the NL Central I had a big beef. This left the Cubs with a 17% chance to win the division (all things equal of course) with the AL West teams at a 25% chance. That’s a big difference.

Okay, so the divisions are all at an equal 20% chance of winning the division but it just seems not quite right. I say let’s totally realign, abolish the existing leagues and start from scratch. I say this may just create more team rivalries than ever before.

So here goes:

American_League1

The New American League 
East Division
Boston Red Sox
New York Mets
New York Yankees
Philadelphia Phillies
Toronto Blue Jays

Atlantic Division
Atlanta Braves
Baltimore Orioles
Miami Marlins
Tampa Bay Rays
Washington Nationals

Central Division
Cincinnati Reds
Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Milwaukee Brewers
Pittsburgh Pirates

National League

The New National League 
Midwest Division
Chicago Cubs
Chicago White Sox
Kansas City Royals
Minnesota Twins
St. Louis Cardinals

Southwest Division
Arizona Diamondbacks
Colorado Rockies
Houston Astros
San Diego Padres
Texas Ranges

West Division
Los Angeles Angeles
Los Angeles Dodgers
Oakland A’s
San Francisco Giants
Seattle Mariners

So there you have it. I am sure most of the ball clubs would prefer this plan, heck it would save a ton on traveling expenses. Yes there may be some baseball trationalists who would scream bloody murder. But I say don’t get your panties in a bunch. MLB has finally come around to instant replay, why not leagues that make sense?

And hey did you see the Cubs division?  Their odds just may get to 21%.

Monday Morning Burn

1. I think after an eight month hiatus it was good go write the MM Burn again.

2. I think I used the following short playlist for inspiration as I drafted this burn.
• The Heat is Own – Glenn Frey
• Some Like it Hot – The Power Station
• This Girl is on Fire – Alicia Keys
• Burning For You – Blue Oyster Cult

3. I think it must be great to be an only child if only for 72 hours. Right Em?

4. I think my credit card is feeling some pain. See point 3.

5. I think the Rockaway Barn’s food tastes just like the Roxbury Black River Barn’s food. Though if eating outside I much prefer that of Roxbury. Something about the lake versus the street.

6. I think I’m excited that my favorite all-time ballplayer is getting a chance to coach in the majors. Congrats to Ryne Sandberg being named the Phillies interim manager. Congrats on your first managerial win against the red hot Dodgers yesterday. Let’s hope it leads to a full time position.

7. I think that I’m even more excited to go down to Philadelphia for a game on Saturday to see Ryno in action. Cubs v. Diamondbacks. Eric and I are going to have a great time. Eric is a Dbacks fan and me, well let’s just say I will be wearing my Sandberg t-shirt for the game.

8. I think next Saturday is going to be one long day. First, off to Reading, PA to see the Phitin’ Phils play at 1pm, then a drive down to Philly for the big game at 7pm. Fact: Ryno played for the Reading Phillies in 1980 and the Philadelphia Phillies in 1981. Double Fact: I collected baseball cards as a kid but never could afford Ryno’s Reading Phillies card. It now sells for a $1,000 on Ebay. Just saying if you happen to win the lottery.

9. I think Nu is going to have to eat a cheese steak or two.

10. I think after I wrote Friday’s post on summer beers to have before Labor Day, I went out and got a six-pack of Hell or High Watermelon. Also picked up some Sam Adam’s Octoberfest to get me in the fall spirit.

11. I think nothing beats fresh, sweet Jersey corn in mid-August.

12. I think Clayton Kershaw has become the best pitcher in baseball overtaking Justin Verlander. Fact: Kershaw went to high school with the Detroit Lions starting QB Matthew Stafford.  Super Secret Bonus Fact: Kershaw’s great uncle discovered the former planet Pluto.

13. I think I just played Alica Keyes twice.

5 Summer Beers You Must Try Before Labor Day

Two weeks remain until the unofficial close of the summer season, leaving you with just enough time to sample some of the best seasonal brews before the weather turns crisp and the ales turn to porters. So put down your Coronas, Landsharks and Bud Light Lime and get ready to tease your palette.

5. Samuel Adams, Bostonsam summer
Summer Ale

I know, call me a sellout. But hey, this is the first summer seasonal that I buy every year. Sam’s summer ale has been a staple of mine for many years. Bonus: Sam introduced Summer Ale in cans in 2013.

pennant ale4. Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn  
Pennant Ale ‘55

Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Pennant Ale. Although this beer is available year round it is definitely more appropriate during the pennant race.

3. Tie: Samuel Adams , Bostonblueberry ale
Blueberry Hill Lager

Crisp, unfiltered and fruity. This beer is available in the summer seasonal pack and nowhere else. Not to be confused with Sam’s Blackberry Wheitbeer.

bluerry belch

3. Tie: Bethlehem Brew Works, Bethlehem, PA
Blueberry Belch

Light and fruity and contrary to the name, it goes down easy and stays down.

2. Kona, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii’s Big Islandlongboard
Longboard Ale

Nothing says summer like surfing and beer. This Hawaiian ale is smooth, malty and slightly hoppy. Cowabunga Beer Dude!

watermelon wheat1. 21st Amendment, San Francisco
Hell or High Watermelon

This crisp, refreshing watermelon infused wheat beer is the perfect complement to any sunny day. I first tried Hell or High Watermelon on a visit to the 21st Amendment Brewery in downtown San Francisco with my cousin a few years back. He recommended the wheat beer and I was hooked from there. The problem was you couldn’t purchase this in the East, until this year. Now I have noticed this in many liquor stores and recently even on-tap. Delicious and worth your taste.

So there you have it, five six worth a try. I know there are many more that can be included, however there is just so much time. However if you are that passionate about a flavor, bring me a bottle and let’s taste together.

A View from the Top: Observations & Facts of One of the World’s Most Iconic Buildings

Image

Silfies’ kids high in the sky

I had the pleasure this past week of playing the role of tourist in New York City.  Although my company’s headquarters are a mere 30 miles away from Manhattan and I am in the city frequently, I rarely wander in to marvel at the city that never sleeps.

For quite some time my kids have asked and pleaded to go to top of the Empire State Building to view New York City and its five boroughs.  Since I have been in the Empire State Building numerous times for business meetings I never really had much of an interest in going there as a tourist.  After the one millionth request, I finally succumbed to the pressure of three clamoring kids and agreed to go.

Full disclosure: I have never visited the building’s observation deck.

Once we got to the Empire State Building I discovered there are clearly two audiences: 1) business persons and 2) visitors; and the staff and immediately area treat both very distinctively.    Since on this occasion I was a tourist I will provide you with some thoughts, observations and facts about this iconic building from a non-CRE professional.

  • The waiting (including line queues), admission and process of going to the 86th floor observation deck are very similar to those experienced at Disney World.  I actually think Space Mountain’s wait time is less.
  • Fact: the Empire State Building stands 1,454 feet, nearly 3x that of the Washington Monument, 555 feet.  (The Washington Monument is another iconic building I plan on visiting over the next month).
  • Several romantic movies have their climax take place on the roof of the Empire State Building, such as: An Affair to Remember and Sleepless in Seattle.  Oh the power of movie magic.  These movies make it seem like you can scurry into the lobby and quickly rise to the top where you will then be greeted by the love of your life and no one else.  Au contraire, it take a minimum 30-45 minutes to get up top and then the observation deck is extremely crowded.
  • Fact: the building was built in 1931 and took only 13 months to construct.
  • The views from the top are outstanding.  On a clear day it provides stunning views.  Who knew that it is 8 miles from the George Washington Bridge to the Empire State Building? I am sure many do, but the view from the Empire State Building makes the GWB seem only a stone’s throw away.
  • Fact: the Empire State Building houses 2.85 million rentable square feet
  • We climbed the last six floors to the 86th floor observation deck.  That was a little exhausting.  I can’t imagine climbing the 103 floors in the building (1,872 steps) as they do for the annual Empire State Building run-up.
  • Fact: King Kong never climbed the Empire State Building.  That’s just movie fiction.

So there you have it, if you haven’t yet done so plan a trip to the ESB, you won’t be disappointed to see a truly mixed use building in action.  Just plan ahead to avoid the waiting.

Monday Morning Burn

1. I think the Barclays Center in Brooklyn is a great venue. Good seats, good beer, good time. Mediocre team.

2. I think I impressed myself this past week by hitting the century mark at the gym. From my perspective I have 200 possible days to workout (4 days/week x 50 weeks), subtract many days out of that number for travel and I am about at 65-70% of total available work out days. Not … too… shabby.

3. I think the recent NRA statement of armed officers with semi-assault weapons guarding schools as the answer to gun control is ludicrous. I am all for the right to bear arms Amendment, but to have this drivel, insensitive statement reeks of desperation. Although Marlboro Township in New Jersey seems to agree with the NRA as they will have armed guards at school beginning in January.

4. I think it’s great to outlive the Mayan calendar. December 21 came and went without any issue.

5. I think the Denver Broncos look unstoppable. Peyton’s on fire and that defense is stacked.

6. I think I already received some good mustard and it’s not even Xmas yet. Does my enjoyment of mustard and beer make me odd? Does is make me more German?

7. I think I am not looking forward to be woken up at 4am tomorrow. Already received a 3:30am practice run this morning. Ah the youthful excitement.

8. I think Santa Claus is coming. “I know him.”

This is 40

The movie This is 40, starring Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann opens today.  This Judd Apatow written & directed movie is getting some good reviews (75%  by Rotten Tomatoes) and it is definitely one that I want to see.   The movie centers around a couple going on 40 and the trials and tribulations of life that they go through.  How appropriate since I just turned 40 myself.

I find Paul Rudd funny but it’s his every many persona that makes him a good modern day star.  Rudd has played some great characters in Anchorman, The 40 Year Old Virgin but his best roles were Roles Models and I Love You Man.

Let’s not have Rudd get us in a rut though.  It’s Leslie Mann that I am sure will steal the show.  I’ve been sweet on Mann since I first saw her in George of the Jungle and She’ the One back from the mid-90’s.  She’s attractive and has a great personality and charm that always lights up the screen.

So in honor of This is 40, and all  those soccer moms out there who feel they may have lost their mojo, I present my top list of sexy ladies over 40. Enjoy.

Leslie Mann

Savannah Guthrie

Julie Bowen

Shania Twain

Naomi Watts

Kristen Davis

Alyssa Milano

Lottery Card Winning Etiquette

The Holidays are time for giving and receiving.  Many people tend to give the gift of lottery scratch off tickets as small thank you for friendship and appreciation.  As I noticed many tickets being exchanged at work this season I was wondering what is the etiquette if a person wins a sizeable prize, say over $1,000?  Is the winner obligated to split 50/50?  Should the giver ask for a finders fee?

Here are some rules to follow when giving and receiving a lottery scratch off ticket this season.

Lottery Scratch-Off Etiquette

Receiver

A Dollar and A Dream – it is the time before you scratch that is the best. Dreaming of the “what if” scenarios and imagining sitting on the beach in St. Kitts.  Good Luck.

Scratch Your Ticket Off in Isolation – people around you will only be happy for you if you win anything less than $200.  Over that amount and they will begin to despise you and the giver as they wanted to be the winner of some of that sweet cheddar. So take you ticket behind closed doors and try to remain expressionless.

Be Grateful to the Giver – the giver is really trying to make a nice gesture and does want you to win a small amount of cash.  Kindly say “thank you” and joke in jest that you will share the prize if you hit it big.  The odds are against you for hitting it big, however the gesture of the potential prize splitting is a winner in its own right.

No Need to Share for a Winner under $200 – if you hit a winning ticket that pays out under $200 be free to keep all the money for yourself.

A Token Present is Expected for Winning Tickets between $250 – $1,000 – after you claim your money go out and get the giver a gift card to a favorite restaurant if the winnings are on the higher end, if closer to the $250 a Yankee Candle or 12 pack of beer/bottle of wine is appropriate.

Share the Wealth over $1,000 – You are not obligated to do so, but I put the rule of thumb at sharing 10% of winnings after taxes.  Yes, we all want the money for ourselves, but don’t be greedy, remember Karma is real.  The receiver and all of your friends will look at you with the person with true character and integrity.

Million Dollar winner – run and hide, run and hide.

Giver

Expect only a thank you – the receiver technically owes you nothing if they win.  Be happy for them, this is why you give them a scratch-off ticket as a gift.  If you only wanted the receiver to win a few bucks you should have just gave a Red Lobster gift card.

A Few of My Favorite Things, Today

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad

I never quite understood this song.  It has a nice melody but Maria’s (from the Sound of Music) favorite things are just not relevant any more.  Sure, back in the early 1940′s these things would make many simpletons happy but as I heard this song on the radio, it gets lots of play during the holidays, I couldn’t help wonder what Maria’s favorite things would be today.  Hmmm,

Boyfriends who love me and Taylor Swift tickets
Rudolph the Reindeer and Island of Misfits
Getting in engaged with four caret rings
These are a few of my favorite things

Starbucks lattes and 65 inch TVs
Mini iPads and iTunes no CDs
Labordoodle dogs that hang on purse strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Other girl bitches who know that I’m it
I walk this earth and I don’t give a shit
Did I mention I have diamond rings?
These are a few of my favorite things

When my credit’s maxed
When I’m strung out
When I’m feeling pissed
I simply remember my favorite things
And maybe my boyfriend will get kissed…