Taking a Hiatus

pleasestandbyI’m taking a hiatus for a month or two. Work life shit is getting real right now and I don’t have any real free time except for being a vegetable when I can squeeze that in. You can blame the FDA for taking a big shit on the industry I work in.

UPDATE (9/27/2016):

I’m thinking the hiatus is more like something permanent.

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Book Review: ‘The Curse of Lono’ by Hunter S. Thompson & Ralph Steadman

lono“The Curse of Lono” is a book I have wanted to read for a very long time. It was out of print my entire adult life until recently. Art book publisher Taschen re-released it in a big bulky hardcover format, which is both necessary and awesome, as it gives Ralph Steadman’s art a lot of real estate to live and breathe.

And that is what is cool about this book. It is a great combination of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson’s insane tales and Ralph Steadman’s always amazing illustrations and paintings.

The book sees Thompson go on assignment for Running magazine to cover the Honolulu Marathon. His coverage of that sporting event only really takes up one small chapter. The rest of the book is filled with tales of everything else that happened while he spent a month in Hawaii over the holidays in 1980.

This is one of my favorite Hunter S. Thompson books, now that I have finally read it. It reads like “Fear and Loathing…” but set in Hawaii. He covers a lot in this quick read. I even got a nice education on marlin fishing in the Aloha State.

The artwork provided by Ralph Steadman for this story is beautiful and mesmerizing. It adds to the tone of the book immensely. It is also extra special because he is one of the main characters in this story, as he traveled with Thompson to Hawaii to cover the marathon and to have a little vacation away from London.

Other than Thompson’s piece about the Kentucky Derby, this is my favorite buddy story about him and Steadman.

I got this book for around twenty bucks, which was a steal. The size and quality of this book make it something that should be around fifty dollars, new.

If you are a fan of Hunter S. Thompson or Ralph Steadman, this is a must-have. It won’t disappoint and it should provide a lot of joy.

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Cinema Carne: How Peter Luger Chooses Its Meat

When it comes to selecting the beef for the best steaks in the city, not any steer will do.

Watch as professional carnivore Nick Solares rides along with Jody Storch of New York’s classic steakhouse Peter Luger and learns how she hand selects the best cuts for her family’s legendary restaurant.

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Ranking the Helmets of the XFL

vince_mcmahon_xflMost people probably don’t remember the XFL. I think it stood for “X-treme Football League” but it never actually stated that anywhere. The thing is, it only lasted a year and the fact that it even got off of the ground was kind of amazing.

It was created by Vince McMahon, the owner of the World Wrestling Federation (now World Wrestling Entertainment). It was owned by McMahon and NBC Universal.

At the height of the WWF’s now infamous “Attitude Era”, the XFL was supposed to be the football brother to McMahon’s over the top and often times extreme wrestling promotion.

Ultimately, it failed and McMahon even referred to the league as a “colossal failure”.

There were eight teams in the league’s single season and they had fairly sweet style, if tacky 90s “extreme” is your thing. So I figured that I would rank their helmets, as I did this a while ago for the USFL (see here).

So here they are, ranked from least fashionable to most fashionable.

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TV Review: Young Justice

young_justiceI didn’t watch “Young Justice” while it was on. I only got into it once it was on Netflix and even then, it was clicked on mainly out of boredom. I wasn’t aware that it was a somewhat beloved show by many.

I was glad I discovered it on my own without a bunch of hype built around it. I was surprised with the quality and how adult the themes of the show were.

The animation is damn good, the story arcs are fantastic and the characters are all cool and likable.

The show follows the sidekicks of DC Comics’ most famous heroes and puts them together on a team where they are sort of a junior squad to the Justice League. It is sort of like Teen Titans but not as adolescent feeling, which is probably why it wasn’t a new Teen Titans show.

The first season is solid but the second season is excellent. The beginning of season two is slow and interest started to wane but after about four episodes, I was hooked. The season two story arc is one of the best sagas ever told in a DC animated series.

“Young Justice” is a quick watch. The episodes fly by at 21 minutes apiece. There are also only twenty or so episodes per season.

The DC cinematic universe could learn a lot from the tone and style of this show. I hope that once they get into making the Aquaman film, they take their cue from how the Atlanteans are handled on this show.

Sadly, the show was cancelled after the second season but there are rumors that it could find new life on Netflix. I think that’s a stretch, being that they are in bed with Marvel, but you never know.

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Top 30 Porters I’ve Had Recently

porterI’ve done a few beer lists about IPAs and I’ve counted down pale ales, stouts, German, Oktoberfest and pumpkin beers. So I figured that I would show some respect to porters, one of my favorite styles.

These aren’t all the porters I’ve had, as that number goes into the high hundreds, but they are the best ones I’ve had in recent memory.

1. Green Man Porter
2. Funky Buddha Maple Bacon Coffee Porter
3. Left Hand Hard Wired Coffee Porter
4. Founders Porter
5. Terrapin Liquid Bliss
6. Cigar City Puppy’s Breath
7. Highland Oatmeal Porter
8. Funky Buddha Nib Smuggler
9. Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald
10. Sierra Nevada Porter
11. Left Hand Black Jack Porter
12. Funky Buddha Last Snow
13. Cigar City José Martí
14. Guinness Dublin Porter
15. Nøgne Ø Porter
16. New Belgium Portage
17. Samuel Smith Taddy Porter
18. Southern Tier Porter
19. Ballast Point Victory At Sea
20. Stone Smoked Porter
21. Einstök Icelandic Toasted Porter
22. Breckenridge Vanilla Porter
23. Kona Pipeline Porter
24. Deschutes Black Butte
25. Ballast Point Black Marlin
26. Avery New World Porter
27. Asheville Brewing Ninja
28. Highland Thunderstruck Coffee Porter
29. Cervecería Mexicana Pay the Ferryman
30. Anchor Porter

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Book Review: ‘Miami Ice: Winning the NHL Rat Race With the Florida Panthers’ by Dave Rosenbaum

miami_iceAs the Florida Panthers started getting good again with a team I really enjoy watching, I wanted to read a book about their fairly short history. I am a Blackhawks fan but I have lived in Florida my whole life and frequented a lot of games during the Panthers big playoff run in the mid 90s.

“Miami Ice” is just about the only book I could find that covers the early days of the team. It was released in the late 90s, so it is pretty outdated but it covered the era I wanted to read about in great depth.

This book actually gets into how the team came to be. It chronicles all the early talks of expansion of the NHL into Florida. It even talks about the history of the sport itself in the Miami area. I never knew the Tropical Hockey League that existed for one season from 1938-1939. But that is just one cool little tidbit about Florida’s hockey history that I never knew. “Miami Ice” holds a lot of surprises.

Dave Rosenbaum penned a pretty awesome book here. It is immensely informative, as well as being an entertaining and fun read. It certainly doesn’t feel dated.

Whether you are a fan of the Panthers or not, this is a good book to add to your hockey library, if you have one. I’m sure I will thumb through it from time-to-time and still refer to it during drunken hockey debates.

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Top 12 Avengers to Still Not Appear In Film

avengersWith Disney and Marvel probably keeping the Avengers alive in some form or another forever, they are pretty lucky to have a nearly bottomless pool of characters to take from for future films.

We’ve seen Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye, War Machine and Falcon. We’ve also been introduced to Spider-Man, Ant-Man, Black Panther, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, the Vision, Bucky, the Wasp and soon Doctor Strange and Ms. Marvel. These are the characters that the franchise will build off of going into the next slew of films but even then, they’ll need to be replaced, at some point.

Here are other members of the Avengers in the comics who have not made their big screen debut, as of yet. These are characters that could carry the franchise further into the future, assuming people don’t start getting sick of these superhero films.

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Film Review: Ghost World

ghostworld4“Ghost World” is a film I really liked for a few years around the time it came out in 2001. I hadn’t watched it in a very long time but felt the urge to revisit it.

The movie is based off of a graphic novel of the same name by Daniel Clowes, who also created the comic series “Eightball”. Both of these comics have reached cult status.

Thora Borch stars as Enid and Scarlett Johansson stars as her best friend Rebecca. This film is the first time I saw Scarlett Johansson and I remember feeling at the time that I would definitely see more of her. I felt the same way about Thora Birch, even since seeing her as a child star before this film but she has stuck to mainly independent work. The cast is rounded out by Steve Buscemi’s Seymour, a lonely older guy that Enid develops affection for after a prank gone wrong, and the late Brad Renfro’s Josh, who serves no real purpose other than being the guy the two girls are crushing on. It is also worth mentioning that Bob Balaban plays Enid’s father and Illeana Douglas plays her art teacher.

Directed by Terry Zwigoff, who is known for his surreal feeling otherworldly films, the style of “Ghost World” doesn’t disappoint. Taking its cue from the comic series, it feels like a timeless world, more in tune with the 1950s with touches of the 60s and 70s, even though it is obvious that it is in modern day.

The soundtrack is fantastic and is still, to this day, one of my favorite of all-time. The music adds a lot to the film and it serves as the force that brings the characters of Enid and Seymour together and strengthens their bond.

Ultimately, this is a film about relationships and finding yourself lost in the world. On one hand it shows the relationship of Enid and Rebecca dissolving as they grow older and apart from one another. On the other hand, it shows the birth of something new between Enid and Seymour. In the end, Enid has to deal with everything she has known and relied on slipping away.

It is a sad film in many regards but it ends with a sense of optimism and hope. Although, some people I have talked to, interpret the ending as something really dark. I don’t quite see it as that black and white or depressing. Enid’s journey shouldn’t feel that dissimilar to things we’ve all gone through: feelings of loneliness, isolation, having nowhere to turn and feeling like everything bad that’s happened is your fault.

“Ghost World” is a fun movie. But it is a very human movie. Despite its subject matter, it isn’t a heavy film. It is lighthearted and you do care about the characters and hope all of them find their place in the world. With that, I think the film accomplished what it set out to do and from what I remember of the comic book, which I need to read again, it did capture its magic.

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Top 12 Cigars I’ve Been Smoking – May 2016 Edition

I like cigars. In fact, that is the industry I work in, which is why I was apprehensive in doing one of these lists, as some hardcore cigar nerd might accuse me of favoritism towards my employer. The truth is, I smoke a multitude of cigar brands, as do most people that work in the industry. It lets you know what else is out there and in a similar regard to craft beer, every cigar maker is different and unique. Plus, for the most part, we all respect one another and appreciate what we do.

So here we go, these are the top twelve cigars I’ve been smoking lately!


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