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Friday, October 30, 2009

Good Food, Good Drink, Good Music, Good Fun and Good Feelings

Food, Drink and Music

I recently visited the legendary Memphis Smoke restaurant, bar and live music venue in Royal Oak to take in a concert by The Wall Clocks.  They described themselves as an indie rock band, but they are really so much more.  I witnessed some wicked guitar playing as the Clocks ran through some originals as well as a mini set of covers.  The crowd was small but appreciative and the food was amazing.  I highly recommend the Beef Brisket sandwich done Memphis Style (on a hamburger bun with cole slaw).  The brisket comes slathered in Memphis Smoke's sweet BBQ sauce.  I regret not bringing any of it home so much I sung the blues.  During a break the bassist of the Clocks handed us a bill for their album opening which was last night (Thursday) at the Hard Rock Cafe downtown.  Although I did not get to go I am sure it was good.

Drink and Fun

Last Saturday a few of us went out to watch the MSU vs. Iowa game at a local Ferndale establishment called Rosie O'Grady's.  O'Grady's is located on Nine Mile Rd. west of Woodward and is a huge bar with this awesome "$2 domestic pints during a televised Michigan sporting event" deal.  But the wait for a table was so long (2 hours) that we decided to pass for the time being and head to Dino's Lounge for dinner.  I strongly suggest the B.F.J. ( Big, Fat, Juicy) burger.  It comes stuffed with four cheeses and pepperoni and is served on a sesame seed bun with all the trimmings.  The only draw back to Dino's is their draft beer selection and beer prices (no specials).  But I made due with a bottle of Pabst.  

Halfway through dinner a live band started to play.  I do not remember their name but the lead singer was pregnant.  They were pretty good but the music was so loud that no one could hear anyone else at the table, whatever, if it's too loud you're too old I guess.

After dinner we went back to O'Grady's and had a few $2 Miller Lites as we watched the last second demise of the Spartans.  Then we turned on the Red Wings game, which was also a disappointment.  The table next to us at Rosie's was playing the quarters drinking game, and it took us three tries to get the channel switched to the Wings, but the place is so huge.  We saw a bus boy whose shirt said "Go To Guy" on the back... as he clearly was the go to guy.

Good Drink

Bud Light Golden Wheat is on special at The Rock On Third in Royal Oak.  Bottles are $2.50 for beer of the month.  It's sweet tasting, but still good, not quite Bell's Oberon, but like a cheaper version for when you can't taste anymore.

Good Feeling

ExOfficio Logo

I recently was gifted some underwear for helping run music at a wedding.  But these underwear are no fruit of the looms.  EXOFFICIOS Give-N-Go boxers are a high tech, breathable, boxer brief with something to prove.  Designed for rugged outdoor activity and camping, the Exo's, as I call them, keep you comfortable and dry all while offering tremendous support for the nether-regions.  I teach tennis for a living and these bad boys give me more than enough support with maximum comfort.  Guys, if you don't have a pair of these, get one.  That's right, just one.  Exos are good for at least two or three workouts without a wash.  Just for kicks, they were field tested and approved by the African Wildlife Foundation.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Rad shows this weekend and Lazy Boy DUI

I like to find out about new music in the Detroit area as much as I can.  I also love going to see live music of all kinds.  That's why I have checked out concerts that are happening this weekend in the Detroit metro area and am making my recommendations.  

Mercy Lounge 1

First up, Emmy Lou Harris will be playing at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor tonight starting at 8pm.  Harris is of course a world famous country music/Americana singer/songwriter.  With her she will be featuring the Red Dirt Road Boys and Buddy Miller.  I could not find anything on the Red Dirt Road Boys but I did, fortunately find Buddy Miller's myspace page.  Although he is from Nashville he does not have the polished glitzy sound to go with.  His sound is stripped down and more raw than most Nashville contemporaries.  Kind of like the White Stripes of Country/Blues.  He does have some slower songs, but even those seem more genuine due to the "lack" of production.  My favorite is "Gasoline and Matches" a duet with his wife Julie.  So if you are in the Ann Arbor area tonight check out Buddy Miller, a guy Steve Earl calls, "the best country singer working today."  Also check out the website

Just to prove to you all that I'm not only a country music fan and that I like all types of music I have to mention Tigersapien.  Tigersapien is an electronic/dance foursome that hails from the cities of Philadelphia and New York City.  I think what is rad about this band is that they perform live with more than a laptop or a synthesizer.  There are live drums, guitar, etc.  They will be playing the Magic Stick in Detroit on Saturday (tomorrow) the 24th.  They report on their myspace page that they are currently unsigned to a major label, but they sound pretty polished.  Their music is pretty danceable but I like their name and band mascot the most.  The tigersapien is a human with a tiger head, pretty hilarious.

Lazy Boy DUI

Add your reclining chair to things you may not operate when you are having a beer or nine. 

In the small Northern Minnesota town of Proctor comes this story about a man who has pled guilty to crashing into a parked vehicle while driving his motorized recliner home from a local bar.  The man is 62 year-old Dennis LeRoy Anderson and authorities report that his blood alcohol level was 0.29 at the time of his August 2008 crash.  According to the AP article, the motorized chair was equipped with a stereo and cup holders and powered by a converted lawnmower.  The judge has ordered 2 years of probation for Anderson.  

This is just proof that genius inventors also like to go out for a few beers too.  We are glad you're ok Dennis.  Don't let this keep you down.  We can't wait for the motorized ice fishing shack!

Happy Mole Day!

I have to mention this because I am a total science geek.  

Today, October 23rd (10/23), across the nation and even the world, chemistry people are celebrating Mole Day.  Now this is not the kind of mole that burrows underground and into your back yard ruining your bushes or vegetable garden.  This is the molecular mole.  One mole of a molecule is equal to it's atomic mass in grams (see website).  There are 6.02 x 10^23 molecules of a any substance in one mole of the substance.  The number, 6.02 x 10^23 is called Avogadro's Number after Amadeo Avogadro who made this discovery.  Therefore Mole Day officially begins at 6:02 am and lasts until 6:02 pm today.

To celebrate Mole Day this year you can start by saying the Mole pledge.


(Background:  When saying the pledge of allegiance to the U.S. flag, one faces the flag.  If no flag is present, one should face our nation's capitol, Washington D.C.  When saying the pledge to the mole, a real mole is usually not present.  So, one should bend over and face the earth!)

I pledge allegiance to the mole, and to the science from which it comes, one SI unit, extremely divisible, with micromoles and millimoles for all.     (Provided by R. Thomas Myers - Kent State University, Kent, OH)


I pledge allegiance to the mole, to the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, and to the atomic mass for which it stands, one number, most divisible, with atoms and molecules for all.                                       (Provided by Sylvia Cooper - Morgantown High School, Morgantown, WV)

Thanks to the National Mole Day Foundation, Inc. for the website  Log on to find more mole info!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Wilco, Manoogian Mansion and a Tour de Ferndale


Tonight at 7:30pm Wilco will play a show at the Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor.  Price for the tickets is $30, which is not bad for an act like Wilco.  Their most recent album, Wilco (the album) on Nonesuch Records is out now and will probably be featured at their show tonight.  I have never been to a Wilco show, but I've heard they are sweet.

Wilco (the alternative rock band) is a result of the split of the popular alternative country band Uncle Tupelo.  Jay Farrar went his way forming Son Volt and other solo projects while the rest of the members led by Jeff Tweedy formed Wilco.  The term "wilco" refers to the voice procedure term "will comply."  Find more history of the band and their music here.

Manoogian Mansion

The Mayor of Detroit is supposed to live in the Manoogian Mansion in downtown Detroit.  But Mayor Dave Bing does not want to.  It costs $160,000/year to maintain the 4,000 sq. ft. mansion that was a gift to the city of Detroit in 1966 by the Manoogian family, founders of Masco.  I say if Bing doesn't want to live in it, the city should sell it to a brewpub or microbrewery to transform it into a restaurant/bar/brewpub a la McMenamins on the west coast.  Bing maintains a condo in Detroit so that he could run for mayor.

Tour De Ferndale

Ferndale has some popular night spots.  The WAB, The PostComo's, Dino's, they're all so crowded during the weekend.  But what about the other guys?  The bars that don't attract the young crowd on traditional bar nights.  I think those are the real champions of downtown Ferndale.  They are the heart and soul of any neighborhood.  They are legendary bars that can do without the glamor and glitz that the others relish in.  They have a history that you can't make up, and they have a cozy feel to them.  They make the neighborhood what it is. 

Tony's Sports BarThanks to Brett Callwood's review on metromix for the pic

My brother and I started our night off at Tony's.  A small sports bar with a strong baseball theme on Woodward Ave. north of 9 mile.  We sat down at old worn out bar that looked like it had seen some things next to some older gentlemen who were there for the Phillies vs. Dodgers playoff game. When we ordered our drafts (miller lite for me of course) they came in oversized pint-and-a-half glasses.  There was a simple piece of paper advertising the world famous chili for $3.50.  It seemed that most of the patrons had just finished either softball practice or a game and were there for a couple beers.  The total capacity of the place said 78.

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After Tony's we walked in the freezing cold down to the New Way bar, also on Woodward but closer to 9 mile.  When we walked in the place was dark and there were only 3 people there.  One was the owner, one was the bartender, one was just a lady who said she was old enough to be our mom (she didn't look that old).  It seemed like a good place to see live music.  On the way out I picked up an add for the band Bazooka Jones that is playing there Saturday night starting at 10pm. We decided to have just one beer there (cash only, no tabs).  They were also watching the Phillies vs. Dodgers game.

Danny's Irish Pub, Ferndale, MI

The last stop on our Tour was the best.  We walked further south on Woodward, just north of 9 mile to Danny's Irish Pub.  There we picked up a game of darts (no points cricket) with a younger looking guy that seemed to be a regular.  The crowd here was younger but the feel was still neighborhood bar, cozy and dimly lit, and you probably wouldn't want to touch the floor with your bare feet.  The juke box was also a pleasant surprise, featuring albums from Iggy Pop, The MC5, The Jam and Operation Ivy.  There was an old guy at the bar in suspenders that looked like he didn't know where he was.  I am not sure if he could talk.

After losing $1 in darts and then winning $3 in darts we decided it was time to go.  It was still a work night for one of us.  But I was glad that we decided to leave the house on this Thursday night to plunge ourselves into the neighborhood bar scene in Ferndale.  They are not fancy, you won't find hot young coeds slurping vodka cranberry and it won't be crowded.  But you will find a community that loves to go out for some beer drinking, dart throwing and good times.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Obama wins Nobel Prize and Motor City Brew Tours...

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It sort of comes as a surprise to me that Barak Obama, our president, won the Nobel Peace Prize today.  I think he was shocked too, since one of his aids had to wake him up (at 6am) to let him know he won it.  When I heard that I was like, "Obama sleeps in past six?"  I was up before the president this morning!  I guess he can't be awake 24 hours like I thought.  Anyway, I first heard the news this morning when I turned on the TV.  But there are countless articles about it on the internet, this is just one from the Wall Street Journal.  Obama was awarded the prize for his actions dealing with new countries and nuclear power and also for his commitment to communicating more openly with other world leaders.

Now on to the fun stuff...

Motor City Brew Tours has been in operation for less than a year but I think this is a winning idea.  It was founded by two gentlemen from the Royal Oak area who are salesmen during the day but love beer and want to spread the word about craft beer in southeast Michigan.  Steve and Bryan are currently offering tours of breweries in the Detroit area using the Night Move bus as transportation.  

You can take one of their tours or they will let you customize your tour with three breweries that you want to see.  The tours include a tour of the brewery with the brewmaster, free tastes/pints, lunch, Q&A with the brewer and specials on pints and beer to go (growlers).  

While visiting their website I was able to browse some of their pictures from recent brewery tours.  It seems as though the groups are small (around 10 people) and fun.  The breweries that I saw were Bastone in Royal Oak, Dragonmead in Warren and BNektar in Ferndale.  They have a great video slide show on YouTube.

I have not been to any of the above mentioned breweries and have not been on a tour with Motor City Brew Tours but I would gladly participate in one.  I think this would make for an awesome "mancation" or bachelor party activity.  Kudos to Steve and Bryan for this idea, it's beer-tastic!  What about chartering trips to famous breweries around the country... or even... the world.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Ye Olde Saloon, The Reefermen, The Waybacks and more!

Ye Olde Saloon, Royal Oak, MI

On a recent trip to my favorite saloon in Royal Oak, Ye Olde Saloon, (notice the Old English spelling) I was fortunate to catch half of the traveling cover band known as The Reefermen.  Their set at Ye Olde was not much to look at.  The acoustic guitarist and singer/tambourine/harmonica player both sat the whole time.  But the songs they covered they did with such soul and ease it seemed as though they were just jamming on the back porch for no one but themselves.  In fact these two guys were so laid back we thought they might take long breaks between songs.  Their set included songs like Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues", Stevie Ray Vaughn's "Pride and Joy" and a Led Zeppelin medly.  It was like we were watching an unplugged version of a Reefermen show, while cracking jokes about what kind of activities they partake in before a show and during breaks.  It's bands like this that make Ye Olde a great place to sit down, have a Pabst (draft) and listen to some good music.

The Zeppelin cover got us talking about a band called The Waybacks.  My friend who runs the site suggested I check out the band on YouTube because of a set they did at Merlefest where they covered Led Zeppelin's entire II album.  So that night I did check it out and it was amazing.  The guitarist for the otherwise old timey folk and bluegrass band is James Nash and can really pick.  Their Zep set also included vocals by John Cowan, a fantastic bluegrass artist in his own right, who sounds eerily similar to Robert Plant.  The banjo and violin solos also add some bluegrass flavor to otherwise very crisp and clean covers of these classics.  I have only included one video but be sure to check out the others on YouTube under "The Waybacks Merlefest."

I have recently moved to Ferndale, MI. and live extremely close to the downtown area which brings me to my next topic, The Magic Bag.  The Magic Bag is Ferndale's premier night time event showplace.  They host live music acts as well as brew and views and special screenings of movies.  Although I have not visited the venue yet, I may not be able to help myself this October.  Tonight at the Bag, Living Colour


performs starting at 8pm.  Then tomorrow the Mega 80's


(probably the greatest 80's cover band of all time, more like of all time) plays starting at 8pm.  The list goes on and on and includes a brew and view of The Hangover, concerts by Brandon Calhoun (check out past post on Four Green Fields and drunken bingo) and Mason Jennings.

Norm MacDonald will be at the Royal Oak Music Theater tonight for a show at .  MacDonald, stand up comic and actor, is famous for his dry, sometimes raunchy humor that won him a stint on Saturday Night Live hosting The Weekend Update.  He also starred alongside Artie Lange in the movie Dirty Work.


The kids these days like to describe big screw ups and mistakes as "fails."  Well I just discovered this blog called failblog that posts pictures, videos and news stories about "fails."  I have not integrated "fail" in to my vocabulary yet but if you have you will probably enjoy this site.
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