Super Bowl for Nerds

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by Marc Mitchell

dncc_logo_dnc2008_1_500.jpg Tons of events, corporate sponsors, dedicated fans, traffic, people descending from all parts of the country and world, and lots of bright lights. Super Bowl?  No, it's a political convention. I'm on my way to Denver for the DNC convention, and it feels like I'm going to a Super Bowl weekend.

I've been to Super Bowl a few times and the weeks leading up to it are always spent figuring out which events to go to, how to snag a hotel room, securing a rental car in a scarce market, and coordinating with friends and acquaintances who are going to be in the event city.  This week has been no different and I'm amazed at how similar the lead-up to the two events has felt.

Former veterans of their craft are everywhere, talking heads will abound, and the real bigwigs are determined by who can get tickets to which events and parties. Sounds like Super Bowl to me.

The Land of Pleasant Living

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by Jan Cherubin

mdbluecrab.jpg I live in Los Angeles where you can get pretty much anything you want, except for one thing I covet: Chesapeake Bay steamed crabs. I grew up in Baltimore and I miss the crab feasts of my youth.  So, every year my thoughtful husband has a bushel Fed-x’ed out to Santa Monica in either May, June, July or August (because crabs are good only in months lacking an “r” ). And we invite nostalgic ex-pats and brave newcomers into our West Coast yard to indulge in the pagan ritual that is so cherished back in Maryland, officially The Land of Pleasant Living. 

However, if things continue the way they’re going, unfortunately even those still dwelling in the Land of Pleasant Living will be left with a raving craving. Last year, Maryland had the lowest blue crab harvest since 1945. There are only about 120 million crabs in the bay and apparently that may not be enough for a sustainable population. Overfishing, pollution, and yes, global warming are the causes.  There seems no end to George W. Bush’s pillage. So it is all the more fitting and important that I sing in praise of the joyful, toothsome oceanic bacchanalias of my childhood.

The Silence of Summer

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by Lisa Dinsmore

celts2.jpg With the NBA Finals over (Yeah Celtics!), the Stanley Cup won, March Madness completed and the race for the Triple Crown decided, we can finally relax because the demon (a.k.a. the Super Sports Freak) has subsided…at least for now. Summer is upon us and the only sport we need to worry about is baseball and no one really cares about the outcome of these games until Labor Day. Well, except my husband…and millions of other men around the world.

I had no idea what I was getting into when I married a sports fanatic.  When we were dating it didn’t really seem important. Then when we moved in together, I realized that if I wanted to spend any quality time with The Man, I better get interested in the game. Any game. I initially picked basketball because it seemed to have the least amount of rules and was over quickly. Of course, my skill at retaining useless knowledge and obnoxious competitive streak soon had me winning the office pool for March Madness and using my husband’s vast love for the game to help me pick the right players for my Fantasy Basketball Team, which I also won. The men in the pool, i.e. everyone else, were not amused. 

Deal or No Deal?

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by Laraine Newman

saletag.jpgTis the season of Sample Sales, or so it seems when the mailers start arriving announcing this 40% off (but it's in downtown LA) or that 80% off, but not until two weeks from now when I’ve completely forgotten about it and f*#k it anyway, where’s the instant grat? I subscribe to Daily Candy and Top Button, the latter being exclusively an online sample sale site. There is also a mother at my younger daughter’s school whose clothing line I happen to love that has her sample sale around this time too.

It’s taken me a long time to become a savvy shopper when it came to these 'deals’.  I was the sucker that clipped the coupon for something at the market I would normally never eat. I would be under the illusion my family might try the yogurt covered zucchini chips for 50% off. Invariably it would linger past its expiration date and get thrown out. This always jettisoned me into the  ‘I’m gonna be homeless someday, why oh why did I waste my money like that??” fear fantasy.  I would vow never to make that mistake again and I finally learned that the only coupons worth clipping for me are batteries and toothbrushes.  Do I really need that 35¢ off the second four pack of Charmin? Hell no!

Da Tango!

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by Ethan Harari


This thing is so awesome.  I would mortgage my soul for one of these (Satan, if you're reading this...).  It may be red on the outside but the inside is all green.  Since the engine is completely electric it is carbon emission free.  It can legally cut lanes at blistering speeds, 0-60 in 4 seconds... thats faster then the Lamborghini Gallardo!  

You and your passenger sit like F1 pilots in seats actually taken from fighter planes.  The designer claims its very safe using the same roll-bar technology that NASCAR drivers use. 

Still aren't impressed. Watch this...

The Smart Car

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by Laraine Newman

terrasse1.jpg Around 6 years ago, our family took a trip to France. Our friends have a house in Ramtuelle, a Medieval city built in a circle overlooking the sparkling Mediterranean. Honest, it does sparkle. We frolicked on Pamelonne Beach, made famous by the production company filming And God Created Woman with Brigitte Bardot and we ate at Club Cinquante Cinque (55). 

You know how you often hear “oh, the restaurant’s right on the beach”? Well, Club Cinquante Cinque (55), really, really IS right on the beach. Sitting around a large table in the canvas-shaded patio of this beautiful place, we had no idea how hard it was to get a reservation. Our girls, aged 12 and 7, adapted to the lifestyle like seasoned European travelers.  The kids ate everything that came to the table. Fried smelt were eaten like potato chips…that is, until the real thing came along (one of the restaurant’s specialties). Lena and Hannah devoured catch of the day and seasonal vegetables such as artichokes without the usual suspicion, wrinkled noses and coaxing. Score! After 2 weeks in Ramatuelle, we went off to Paris. 

A Visit To The Bookbinder

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by Laraine Newman

charlene01.jpgMy husband’s last name is Einbinder.  We’ve always assumed the German translation (one binder) meant that it was the moniker for the trade of bookbinding. It’s a rare name. In fact the only other person we’ve ever met with any connection to that name is the movie director Mike Binder. One day, years ago, at the Pumpkin Patch in our neighborhood, we struck up a conversation with him.  Blank Man, a movie he directed, was absolutely the funniest movie that year.  It still holds up.  David Allen Grier kills in it.  Of course, he always kills. It turned out that Mike’s last name was shortened from Einbinder.  Since then, when we see him places, we exchange that twinkle of recognition of our ‘kinship’.

Recently I decided my copy of The Joy of Cooking deserved better than duct tape holding it together.  Months ago I’d read an article in Daily Candy about Charlene Matthews who practiced the lost art of bookbinding. I put it in my email archives under “of interest”. I’m actually getting things done on my list of long avoided tasks and this was one of them.  What an adventure. 

Espionage as Sustenance

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by David K. Israel

spying.jpgMy junior year of college I worked as a spy. At the age of 21, I liked to refer to myself as The Youngest Spy in the World. There was no real way of knowing if this was true or not.

There was no Facebook.

This was 1989. Before the Internet. Before hostesses stopped asking “Smoking or non?” and before toothbrushes started looking like sneakers. 

Today, kids probably have more opportunities to become spies at an earlier age because kids now do everything at an earlier age. They go through puberty earlier, they experiment with sex at an earlier age and they probably get hired as secret agents earlier, too. Which means I probably no longer hold the unique distinction as being the guy who was once The Youngest Spy in the World.

Not So Fit

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by Lisa Dinsmore

My husband Dave is a high-tech whore. He jumps on nearly every bandwagon that touts the latest and greatest computerized gadgets. So, it goes without saying that we’ve been waiting for the Wii Fit Balance Board, ever since it was announced. We were one of the first people to get the Wii and though we are currently more obsessed with Rock Band, our excitement for this new toy/fitness product was hard to contain. Until we started using it.

We aren’t exactly fitness freaks, but we’re not couch potatoes either. I’m trying to put on a happy face about turning 40 this year and I have to say this “game” is not making the transition any easier. We figured it couldn’t hurt to try and get into even better shape, since we’re fighting a losing battle with time. Little did we know this machine was not on our side. In fact, a British couple is already suing Nintendo for hurting their daughter’s feelings by telling her she’s overweight. Denying the truth doesn’t make it go away. You can’t hide your extra pounds on the Balance Board.

You're Never Too Old To Rock

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by Lisa Dinsmore

As much as I hate to admit it, my husband Dave was right. It hasn’t happened often in our over ten years together – married seven with nary an itch – but it has been occurring more frequently, much to my dismay.

theband2.jpgHowever, I guess even he has to be right some of the time and in the instance of his “insane” (my words) purchase of the video game ROCK BAND last November (2007) I would actually say he was a genius. If you haven’t heard of it you must not have teenagers or been living under a rock. We, like all of our friends’ kids, are completely addicted. In fact, the upcoming release of ROCK BAND 2 has us almost as excited as we were about the iPhone.

What’s crazy about our behavior is we are not video game people. Actually, we both were in the arcade heyday of the 80s, but now most of the games have too many buttons to push and too much violence to lure me into wasting my time. Though Dave’s the King of Technology, except for the Wii, he’s rarely tempted into the gaming world. That fateful day in November changed everything. He suckered me into going to the Best Buy on a Saturday by promising to let me purchase a new game for our Wii console. I don’t know if he was already planning on buying Rock Band, but once he saw they had a few kits in stock, he just had to have one. It was rumored to be the “must have game” of the holiday season and Dave is never one to be behind the technology curve.


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