Friday, October 30, 2009

Free-For-All Friday - Sabres are Red Hot!

** NOT ORIGINAL CONTENT - Written by's Matt Mankiewich **

MAPLE LEAFS (1-7-2) at SABRES (7-1-1)

Season series -- First meeting this year, but the Sabres hold a five-game winning streak over their Northeast Division rivals, two at home and three at the Air Canada Centre. The last win for the Leafs was on Dec. 12, 2008, a 2-1 victory in Buffalo.

Big Story -- No question it's Buffalo's perfect three-game road trip, capped off with a solid 4-1 effort over the Devils at the Rock Wednesday night. The Sabres allowed two goals or fewer in each game on the trip.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Guest Blogger Thursday - CMuck's Life in Frisco

I have begun bicycling again in San Francisco. I never feel more alive in this city than when I am in motion from it. Zipping by through the Sunset neighborhood (South West SF just under the park for you out of towners) I live for the almost dying several times on my commute dodging the many cars that seem to mindlessly almost kill anyone without there whits several times in just a moment. I have dodged cars to have them almost hit someone else., but that's not what this blog is going to be about.

I want to talk about getting on and off the public transport on the days I am either too sleep deprived or just too lazy to charge through my daily three to seven mile pedal trek through the city. Without really meeting any of them, several people have made an impression this past week.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuesday Brewsday - North American Breweries

Did you know that Upstate New York has a brewing corporation of its own that spans three continents, and includes several notable North American brands? North American Breweries based in Rochester, New York is exactly that. While they don't own as many brands as AB-InBev or SAB Miller they still command a significant market share while remaining majority American owned, which neither of those behemoths can claim. They own and operate Dundee Ales & Lagers, Labatt USA, and Genesee Brewing Company.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mad About Music Monday - Homemade Jamz Blues Band

Any guitar aficionado or Blues fan needs to hear about today's featured artist. The Homemade Jamz Blues Band from Tupelo, Mississippi is well accomplished. They've released two albums, played with B.B. King, recently had their late-night show debut and even have one of their guitars displayed at B.B. King's Blues Museum. You'd think this would be a bunch of twenty-somethings or some odd thirty year old's I'm speaking about. No no, these are teens.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Steaming Sundays - Couples Retreat

In likely one of the most advertised movies of the year, hides a hilarious gem that is both romantic comedy, buddy flick, and picture perfect travel movie. The film was shot on-location in Bora Bora, French Polynesia at the St. Regis 100-villa resort. This ensemble cast includes; Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Jon Favreau, Faizon Love, Kristin Davis, Kristen Bell, and Jean Reno.

This comedy is worth a look especially since you're not forking out anything but an hour and a half of your time. Check out this week's Streaming Sunday feature, Couples Retreat.

Football in Europe?

Sure, there's the European Football in Europe but American Football? I really don't like that they're trying to have teams travel across the pond and play. There is no way that these teams are performing to their maximum. I mean is there any way that Tom Brady will do half as well as last week? (That's an obviously loaded question) But kidding aside this is ludicrous. I support games played in Mexico and Canada, technically those places are in the Americas, but not London. Just because certain NFL markets can't sellout is no reason to force our players overseas and risk their path to the Super Bowl.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

... And We're Back

We took a minor hiatus last week to relax and enjoy the beautiful weather and tinker with some of our daily posts. We've added some new features to our blog and will be unveiling more as they become available. New to the blog is Reactions. After each blog post is a set of reactions you can select, a little like Facebook's 'like' feature. We have Funny, Interesting, Awesome, Cool, & Weird, this provides readers to post a comment without writing out a message in the comment field. Also we're beginning to feature Jump Breaks. This allows us to have shorter articles on the homepage of the blog and to create more interaction within our blog pages. Click on ENTRY CONTINUES HERE >>> to view the article.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Guest Blogger Thursday - Mike D's Trappist Monks

Anybody that may know me, probably is aware that I am not the biggest fan of organized religion. I`suppose that might be a little strange considering the topic for today is on the Trappists. Trappists, who are part of a Roman Catholic order abide by the very strict rules set forth by Saint Benedict who lived in the 500's AD in Italy. These philosophies and rules are intriguing as they follow an almost extreme sense of seclusion and solitude. They live a life mostly in silence, speaking only when necessary. Most of their time is spent between studying, prayer and work related activities. They are almost entirely self sufficient, as they are known to grow their own crops and live stock as well as produce many goods such as cheeses, breads etc. The ones that interest me the most are the ones that (you guessed it) brew beer!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Forgetful Friday - Alice in Chains (self-titled)

In November of 1995 Alice in Chains released their self-titled album after reuniting with Layne Stanley after a brief hiatus from the band for rehab, and time for his UNREAL side-band Mad Season. (Oddly enough I've only recently first heard of Mad Season on SIRIUS' Lithium 24) The album "Alice in Chains" had three major single releases for this album. The best-selling and most well-known is 'Grind', accompanying were 'Heaven Beside You', and 'Again'.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Guest Blogger Thursday - JBrown's Political Rant

So here it goes, get ready. This is going to be more like a political rant than anything else, just some things that have been specifically bothering me and some other people I've talked to about it... ready. set. FRUSTRATION!

O-O-O-bama. Seems to be the man of the new millennium these days. To be honest, he's not doing such a bad job now is he? First of all, the first 100 days in office was like sex. All we could do was stare and oogle. I personally was drooling. Here's the thing about his first one hundred days, there were a lot of reversals from the previous administration and some big promises. He certainly had some large shoes to fill, actually, he brought some new, large, shoes to the table. Health care, Guantanamo bay, Iraq/Afghanistan/North Korea/The rest of the World, climate change, apparently the 2016 Olympics (which I say, if Chicago really wants some Olympics, give them the Special ones...) and whatever else happens during the presidency, for instance, getting a cop and a professor together for a beer. Anywho, there's a lot going on that have all been placed in front of that one man. It's pretty intimidating. Thank god he has a lot of people to help him... wait. No. The people who are supposed to be helping this process, the select few people who are to represent us more individually, Congress, seems to be in a world of their own.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Website Wednesday - IMDb

The Internet Movie Database is an outlet for unlimited movie and television knowledge. They bill themselves as the "biggest, most award-winning movie site on the planet." They give you accurate, unbiased information on just about any major motion picture or television show ever released. If you're watching a show on TV and wonder if that is the actress from Big, then sign into IMDb type in Weeds then click on Celia Hodes. There you will find out that Elizabeth Perkins was indeed the actress that played the love interest of Tom Hanks in Big. (Added treat: here's Tom doing the Big rap on the Jonathan Ross Show)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tuesday Brewsday - Guinness 250th Anniversary Stout


This year Guinness & Company brewery at St. James Gate in Dublin, Ireland turns 250 years old. In 1759 Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000 year lease on the unused St. James Gate Brewery and ten years later he exported his first barrels of Guinness beer.  Fast forward 250 years and you get to 2009 and the 250th celebration of Guinness.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Mad About Music Monday - Rodrigo y Gabriela

To begin this, the second week of October we have a special instrumental group for you to enjoy. Rodrigo y Gabriela is an acoustic duo hailing from Mexico City but finding residence in Dublin, Ireland. If that move seems interesting to you you should hear their style. They first met in a thrash metal band in Mexico City drawing heavily from the world of metal music. Mix in their Latin background with some Spanish and Mexican styles and top it all off with some techniques picked up while performing on the streets of Ireland and you get the unbelievable duo of Rodrigo y Gabriela.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Streaming Sundays - The IT Crowd

The IT Crowd is a British comedy starring Chris O'Dowd, Richard Ayodade, and Katherine Parkinson on Channel 4 in the UK. The seasons are only six episodes long and it just finished up it's third season. If you have Netflix, you can watch all three seasons (1, 2, 3) streaming instantly.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Special Apperance Saturday - College Humor Prank War

For two weeks in a row we have a Saturday post, HURRAY! To kickoff this weekend we'll be enjoying a Prank War between two College Humor employees. Streeter and Amir are two of the higher profile employees of College Humor and if you follow their website at all you probably have seen them in skits or even seen a portion of this Prank War.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Forgetful Fridays - Daft Punk's Musique

This Friday we take you back to the late 90's once again, this time for some dance music. French techno geniuses Daft Punk burst onto the scene in '95-'96 with their hit single "Da Funk". Most people first came across the duo of Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter with their 1997 international hit "Around the World," but I got in on the ground level. Daft Punk is one of the very few artists that I can say that I knew of before they hit it big time. I owned both the single from "Da Funk" (which is the CD lost and topic of today's post) and their first album 'Homework,' way before "Around the World" hit MTV.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Guest Blogger Thursday - White Lioness from Slovenia

Its 22: 00. End of practice. Need ten minutes to relax, let go and tune "back to myself".

My coworkers go for a drink usually ending up intellectualizing or gossiping, I have enough, I go home. In a week, we have a premiere. Last week is tense, egos are strong, everybody's tired, sensitive and trying hard to keep cynicism inside their mouth and smile on the face. I wish I could always be shinny and happy but sometimes you have to learn how to except your own shadow and inability to be calm under every circumstance. Everybody's doing their best trying to keep their moods in check and most of the time balancing relationships between each other becomes more dramatic than play itself, especially in theatre where all devils run around free.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Website Wednesday - Sabres.NHL.TV

Believe it or not one of the four major North American sports just started their season, but you wouldn't know it because ESPN doesn't cover sports they don't have the rights to air. The NHL just began it's 92nd season in Stockholm, Sweden and Helsinki, Finland. For the third year in a row the NHL choose to begin its season in Europe attempting to market the league to an international audience, much like the NFL has done with Mexico. The marquee event for this season will the Winter Classic to be held at Fenway Park on New Years Day 2010 with the Boston Bruins hosting the Philadelphia Flyers. This will be the third season that the NHL plays an outdoor game at an alternate sport's stadium.

Christopher Cross & The Legendary Roots Crew

As previously announced via our Facebook feed, Christopher Cross performed his song "Ride Like the Wind" with the Legendary Roots Crew on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tuesday Brewsday - The Great American Beer Festival


The Great American Beer Festival (GABF) is held annually in Denver, Colorado. It began in 1982 by Charlie Papazian, a nuclear engineer, homebrewer, and current president of the Brewers Association who hosts the Great American Beer Festival.

This year's event was held September 24th through September 26th featuring 495 breweries with over 3,300 beers competing in 78 different style categories, however only 2,100 different beers were served in the hall. I know only two thousand different beers to choose from, so sad.

The GABF is the benchmark for American brewing. It is really one of the few ways that most regional brewers are to recieve critique of their beers from a national audience. Since most brewers only supply their brewpub or at best, local establishments, almost all of their beer is never sampled by a larger crowd.

Here is the entire event from set-up, all four sessions, and the tear down all within one minute. Check it out.

Here are are the top brewery awards handed out at this year's festival: (taken from the GABF website.)

2009 GABF Brewery of the Year Awards

Winners are determined based on the results of the competitive beer judging held at the Great American Beer Festival. Breweries are awarded points based on medals won, and these points are tabulated to arrive at the results. The following criteria used to rank breweries and break ties by awarding points. See Beer Competition for more information.

Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year
Sponsored by Briess Malt & Ingredients Co.
Chuckanut Brewery, Bellingham, WA
Will Kemper 

Large Brewpub and Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year

Sponsored by Brewers Supply Group
Pizza Port Carlsbad, Carlsbad, CA
Pizza Port Brew Guys 

Small Brewing Company and Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year
Sponsored by Microstar Keg Management
Dry Dock Brewing Company, Aurora, CO
Dry Dock Brewing Team 

Mid-Size Brewing Company and Mid-Size Brewing Company Brewer of the Year
Sponsored by Crosby & Baker Ltd.
Flying Dog Brewery, Frederick, MD
Robert Malone 

Large Brewing Company and Large Brewing Company Brewer of the Year
Coors Brewing Company, Golden, CO
Dr. David Ryder

Other notable winners at this year's festival were:
Belgian-Style Witbier - Silver Medal
Belgian White - Big Dog Brewing Company, Las Vegas, NV

American-Style India Pale Ale - Bronze Medal
Blind Pig IPA - Russian River Brewing Company, Santa Rosa, CA

Belgian-Style Lambic or Sour Ale - Bronze Medal
Supplication - Russian River Brewing Company, Santa Rosa, CA

American-Style Stout
Stonefly Oatmeal Stout - Third Street Aleworks, Santa Rosa, CA

American-Style Lager or Premium Lager
Totally Naked - New Glarus Brewing Co., New Glarus, WI

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mad About Music Monday - Terence Blanchard Group 'Choices'

To kick off this first week of October we have the newest work from the Grammy Award winning jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard. He is a New Orleans native releasing his second New Orleans themed album post Hurricane Katrina. His first was A Tale of God's Will (A Requiem for Katrina). In this first album his band performed with the 40-piece Northwest Sinfonia, and took home the Grammy for Best Large Jazz Ensemble in 2007.

Terence has also scored over 40 films most of which were Spike Lee films. He began with work on Jungle Fever and appeared most recently in the four-part HBO New Orleans/Katrina documentary "When the Levees Broke", and the non-Spike Lee period piece Cadillac Records. Here is a small clip of his Salute to Jazz at this year's Grammy's.

Here you can follow the progression of their latest release "Choices." This playlist features five webisodes highlighting the evolution of this album from concepts, beats and melodies into a melting pot of jazz, blues, and spoken word. This album features neo-soul singer Bilal and Princeton professor Dr. Cornel West. Dr. West's interview in the fourth webisode is remarkable and I highly suggest you take the time to watch that below. To quote Terence, "The thing that I love about him is that he has the ability to put into words things that we all feel about, but don't know how to put into a concrete idea."

After watching the webisodes you're left wanting to hear more and see for yourself how all of the music turned out. Below I have embedded The Terence Blanchard Group performing on the Tavis Smiley show about one month ago. Listen to the words of Dr. West meld together with the music as it rises and falls with each solo and movement. So here is two songs from The Terence Blanchard Group performing songs from their new album, "Choices".


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Streaming Sundays - It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

The Gang from 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' are back for their fifth season on the FX network. I often describe 'Always Sunny', as it's also known, as the worst show on television. Now I don't mean worst as in the content is poor, I mean worst as in the content is in EXTREMELY poor taste but done so with such comedic talent that the show cannot be overlooked.

Well known actor Danny DeVito joined the cast in season two and has been a wonderful addition to an already misguided and dysfunctional group of friends. 'The Gang' take on the Mortgage Crisis in episode one of season five. Check out that episode below. Enjoy killing some time on this the last day of the weekend.

To get more Always Sunny, tune into the FX Network Thursday at 10pm. Or if you haven't seen a single episode yet, buy the 1st & 2nd Seasons for cheap on Amazon.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Special Appearance Saturday - The National Parks: America's Best Idea

Finally, a topic has roped me into posting all seven days this week. I hope you find this topic to be worthy as well.

Over the course of the past week I have been watching PBS' 6-Part Special THE NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICA'S BEST IDEA. As Ken Burns himself stated during an interview with Tavis Smiley, "It's not a travelogue; it's not a nature film, though there's great stuff of nature. It's about ideas and individuals. It's about stories. And I think that's what makes it different from other things about the national parks."

As a child my parent's sought to it, either for their own interest, interest in nature, or for the sheer economics of traveling with a family of seven, to see the nation by automobile on our summer's off. We stopped at a good number of the major National Parks in our system. I was quickly won over by the rolling hills, snow-capped peaks, and grass-filled plains. I've recently revisited a handful of them as an adult and their majesty almost seems to have aged like a fine wine over the years.

This country is magical. The land speaks to us, and it is no wonder that it were these lands that a number of Native Americans called home. You can almost feel the presence of a higher being when you just stop to take in the grandeur of it all. As you stay still you can hear several species of birds sing their song, the wind rustles leaves on the ground and branches in the trees, the fresh air empowers you with strength and fragrance, all the while water nearby carves the land and nourishes all the life around you simultaneously. You come back to your senses as a member of your party snaps a branch as they approach your peaceful stance.

It is exactly this environment that our National Park Service fight to protect, and this is their story. All 6 episodes are available streaming online until October 9th. So connect that computer to your TV and learn about the wonder that is our National Parks. Then, more importantly, get off of your ass and see them for yourself. Come out west and see with your own eyes what John Muir spent most of his life protecting, Yosemite Valley. Or simply visit the nearest National Park to you.

View the Full Episodes: (Available until Oct. 9th)


Friday, October 2, 2009

Forgetful Fridays - Pure Funk

When I was in high school I purchased what was to be one of the best dance discs I would ever own. That CD was "Pure Funk" featuring various artists from Curtis Mayfield, Issac Hayes, Kool & the Gang, Rick James, etc. Every track on this CD is a classic, but I think they knew that as they put it together 20-some years after most of these songs were first released.

I'm not one for most of the 'dance' music that is out today. Many have simple beats, uninspired lyrics, and most simply try to see which song can bust the nearest subwoofer first. On the contrary, most funk songs have great topics to sing about, some of the catchiest hooks (as can be seen by hip-hops sampling of said hooks) and a playability decades later that I doubt anything released in the past few years will be able match.

Below I have embedded Earth, Wind, & Fire busting out their hit single "Shining Star". Also, if you click HERE you can view Earth, Wind & Fire's interview with late night PBS personality Tavis Smiley. Check out Pure Funk for more wonderful funk tracks.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Guest Blogger Thursday - Amanda K.

Quite possibly my favorite time of the year is autumn. In Central New York, fall comes when the weather turns from warm (mid 80s cannot be considered hot) to cool (after mid-Septemtber, CNY should be considered lucky to see temperatures above 70 before May). The sun is hidden most days by gray clouds that bring with them rain and the leaves on the trees turn from green to all shades of orange, red and yellow. Come Fall, New York State Tourism releases foliage reports and updates them weekly to keep the public up to date on the best areas to visit according to whether or not they are close or past their peak.

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