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Deck footwear is one of the timeless classic shoes that are used for fashion as well as for durability. The look of these shoes can find their origins rooted in the Native American moccasin. Today, deck shoesare available in stores in different designs, styles as well as colors. I got my first pair in the mid-eighties during the height of the preppy movement. My navy blue pair of Sperry Top-Siders , the casual cousin of my Bass Weejuns, were an intricate part of my New England, prep school inspired wardrobe. Flash forward twenty plus years, and deck shoes STILL have major swag!
The Sperry Top-Sider is a brand of boat shoe designed in 1935 by Paul Sperry. The Top-Siders were the first boat shoes introduced into the boating market and have never left. Sperry was an avid boater who, like most boaters, risked injury while walking on the slippery deck of his boat. His successful design was inspired by the pattern of grooves or cracks on his dog’s feet and combined a leather upper-shoe with a herringbone pattern of grooves on the sole. The cutting of grooves in the sole of the Top-Sider was an implementation of a process of splitting or siping a shoe sole invented and patented in the 1920s by John Sipe.
Sperry’s shoe quickly became popular with boaters not only for its non-slip sole but also for its white color, which prevented the shoe from leaving marks on a boat’s deck. The shoe remained a niche product until 1939 when the U.S. Navy negotiated the right to manufacture the shoe for its sailors. As a result of the Navy contract, Sperry’s business was purchased by the U.S. Rubber Co., which then marketed the shoe across the country.
Since the Top-Sider’s inception, other deck shoe companies have sprouted up providing the public with their version of this timeless shoe. Sebago offers their Dockside and Timberland their, classic 2-eyed boat shoe. However, if you have deep pockets and want what I hear is the best boat shoe money can buy, check out Quoddy’s Handsewn Boat Shoes. Or, if you want something with a little finesse, try a pair of Paul Smith’s Hasburys. As for me, I’ll stick with my Sperry’s.
The Nielsen Co. monthly survey of U.S. mobile consumers from January to March show Google Inc.‘s Android is desired by 31 percent of the people, up from 26 percent last year. Apple Inc.‘s iPhone was desired by 30 percent of those surveyed, down from 33 percent last year.
Research in Motion Ltd.‘s Blackberry phone is third most-desired at 11 percent, a decline from 13 percent last year. But, 20 percent of the people are still undecided about what smartphone to choose next, representing a huge potential market-share for any of the big smartphone companies.
I have had my HTC EVO for almost a year and I am extremely happy with it. I am always looking for cool apps that will improve my experience with it.
If you love listening to music on your Android device, here is an awesome app that I recommend. The app is called MixZing Media Player and it is one of the most advanced media player apps around. There are some amazing features that are included with this app which include: mood player, home screen and lock widgets, mp3 tag editor, automatically download missing art, an equalizer, recommends new music, videos, photos, and genre and video music browsing.
As with any application, there are things that I like and don’t like. Here are just a few. I like that this app provides recommended music both from your library as well as rhapsody music. The home screen and lock screen widgets look slick and are easy to operate. The app is also great about being able to retrieve most missing album art covers. For each song that the app plays, there is tons of detail on the artist and album. The app also comes with 10 free downloads with pro.
The equalizer is amazing! I really like music and it’s nice to be able to adjust the highs and lows of what you’re listening to.
There is only one thing I didn’t like about the app, and that was the ads. But, what would one expect? The app is free to download. If you want to get rid of the annoying ads, simply upgrade to the Pro version. Enjoy!
A magnitude 8.9 earthquake slammed Japan’s eastern coast Friday(3/11/11), unleashing a 13-foot (4-meter) tsunami that swept boats, cars, buildings and tons of debris miles inland. Fires triggered by the quake burned out of control up and down the coast, including one at an oil refinery.
Our hearts go out to those that have been affected by this disaster. Fine Distinctions stands in support of Japan and asks that you do so as well. You can make a contribution to their relief by making a donation to the Red Cross.
I am by no means a connoisseur of television, but I do love a good story. I mean seriously, who doesn’t? That’s what made HBO’s “The Wire” so compelling. The writing and character development were superb.
While convalescing from a surgery, I recently got hooked on “Brick City”, the Forest Whitaker produced, Sundance Channel documentary series, that is every bit as compelling as “The Wire”. Yet, what makes this show even more irresistible is that it is real-life. The show, shot in a fly on the wall style, focuses on Newark, New Jersey, Mayor Cory Booker, and other city officials and residents.
The quality of the characters with their ongoing narratives are skillfully woven together into a irresistible and stimulating arc. I watched all five, one-hour episodes, in one sitting!
Some of the most compelling characters in “Brick City” are those whom few outside of Newark know: the Street Doctor, a former felon who ministers to troubled youth with his group, the Street Warriors; Ali Muslim, another ex-convict who has used a job with the Newark sanitation division to turn his life around; King Sau, leader of a support group for the relatives of murder victims; Dashaun (Jiwe) Morris, a young member of the Bloods gang who is balancing his sudden success as an author with maintaining his credibility with other gang members; Jayda and Creep, star-crossed lovers in the tradition of Shakespeare with a South Ward twist; she is a Blood and he is a Crip. Then, there is the city of Newark itself, cast as character. The title, “Brick City” is drawn from Newark’s nickname and a nod to the city’s toughness.
However, the undoubted star of this documentary series is Mayor Cory Booker. Often viewed by some residents of Newark as impractically idealistic, Mayor Booker passionately proclaimed in his state of the city address, “I’m not the kind of guy who wants to have my ship rot in the harbor, “I’d rather be sunk at sea than be timid.” This is definitely a guy who will fight for what he believes in.
As viewers, we get a chance to see the political inter-workings of the mayor trying to attract corporate investment back to the city, juggle massive city budget cuts and deal with reducing crime in the city. Heavy is the head that wears the crown!
Viewers also get to witness how dedicated this brother is, in taking Newark to the promised land, even if it means carrying the city there on his own back.
I’m currently watching season two of “Brick City”, which focuses on the re-election of Mayor Corey Booker as well as the attempted murder trial of Dashaun (Jiwe) Morris. I highly suggest you check it out. To find out showtimes, go to the Sundance Channel online.
We know that most folks like to make New Year’s resolutions and most are determined to be healthier in the new year.
With this in mind, we asked our good friend Christopher Gould, Clinical Exercise Specialist and creator of CG Philosophie®, to share with us.
KDS: Can you tell us what CG Philosophie® is?
CHRIS: CG Philosophie® is the cerebral approach to fitness. It is the approach that is used by the intellectual person that needs to understand and think about everything they do before they do it.
Everything we set out to do, every step we take in our lives starts with a thought process.
With this as the foundation, the question I want you to think about is, What is your Fitness I.Q.?
1. What is a Target Heart Rate? What is my specific target heart rate?
A target heart rate is the amount of beats per minute your heart needs to reach in order to improve aerobic capacity (stamina) and burn fat. The formula to determine your specific target heart rate is 220 minus your age multiplied by 0.65 or (220-age)*0.65. This is the heart rate you should achieve to burn fat during low intensity exercise such as walking on the treadmill at a slower pace, circuit training (3 consecutive movements without rest) or utilizing an elliptical machine. (note: 220-age*(0.75) is the high end of low intensity cardio output. No need to exceed this number of heartbeats per minute during exercise).
2. How many repetitions should I do to build/maintain muscle?
Muscle maintenance and growth occurs at a range of 8-15 repetitions per movement. If you’re unable to lift a weight 8 times, it’s too heavy and you increase your risk of injury. If you can lift a weight more than 20 times with relative ease, it’s a bit too light. Note that lifting light to moderate weight with a 12-15 rep scheme increases muscular endurance. Activities such as holding a baby or carrying groceries will become easier with greater muscular endurance.
3. What is metabolism?
Metabolism is the amount of energy (calories) the body burns at rest. You can increase metabolic rate by increasing muscle mass and improving your cardio-vascular conditioning. Add a few pounds of muscle and make your your body more efficient at burning fat!
This should help you improve your fitness I.Q….The smart way to a new you!
KDS: Thanks for the info, Chris. Can we get you to come back in a few months for a follow up?
CHRIS: No Doubt!
My earliest recollection of my desire to keep my appearance fresh was in 1980. At 12 years old, I snuck to watch American Gigolo on The Movie Channel. The scene that influenced me the most was where Richard Gere begins singing a Smokey Robinson tune. One-by-one he begins opening drawers of neatly, color coordinated button-down dress shirts and ties. With sportcoats lined up on his bed, he begins to carefully craft each ensemble from head to toe. The scene ends with him fully suited up in front of a tri-fold mirror. Lacing up cap toe oxfords, shined to perfection and the final piece – a striped knit tie. Perfection! From that point on, I have attempted to stay on top of my clothing game.
GQ magazine has become my go-to playbook. It’s a guidebook to improve my personal style.
I’ve never been interested in trends. I would describe my style as classic and timeless. GQ has certainly been a resource to help me fill in the blanks when structuring my satorial image as well as teaching me the importance of quality over quantity. Over the years, I’ve also learned about important items such as fit. Additionally, structure and fabrication go a long way when scouting out pieces for your wardrobe. Most important, I’ve learned to never cut corners on picking out quality shoes and accessories. Armed with this valuable information, I’ve picked up pieces that stay with me for more than a few seasons.
Although GQ has more than covered expanding my style knowledge, the magazine also supplies enough cultural commentary, celebrity profiles, features on a number of topics (i.e., sex, politics, and grooming advice) to keep me in touch with what’s going on in the world from month to month.
I’ve collected the magazines through the years. They are an inspiration for me and I’m sure you’ll find them informative and inspiring as well. Check them out! You can now catch GQ online at www.GQ.com.
A few weeks ago I was getting ready for work. In the midst of my morning routine, which includes watching the Today Show, a new three-part series called “Is Civility Dead?” was airing and caught my attention. I actually became familiar with the term civility a few years ago through a colleague image consultant who specializes in this area. The term civility is now more common, but is the practice a common one?
Growing up, I remember how my parents and other influential adults in my life would remind me to mind my “P’s and Q’s”. Manners actually used to be a big deal. I was taught to say thank you, please, and excuse me, was not permitted to interrupt an adult conversation, and would be disciplined if I even thought of using any form of profanity. Saying “shut up” and “butt” were considered bad words in my household! I also remember the strict standards my parents enforced in terms on what television shows I watched, what movies I saw, what books I read and which friends I hung out with. If any of those things were questionable, my parents intervened. Perhaps they were a bit protective, but I have no regrets. They were only attempting to make me a respectable young woman.
Rudeness is all around us these days. From loud talkers to litter bugs and people rushing in the elevator before you can get out, we have become a society that accepts and sometimes rewards bad behavior. Celebrities like Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian have gotten fame and money from careers that began with their sex videos. Reality shows like The Real Housewives series, Bad Girls, and Jersey Shore to name a few, have promoted shouting matches, physical fights, promiscuity, inappropriate language and rude behavior in general. It all makes for good TV, right? But it doesn’t stop there. Politicians and other “talking heads” take pride in publicly bashing and defaming each other.
Technology and the Internet have also become huge platforms for incivility. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a public place while someone is in the same space talking loudly on their cell phone. Seriously, people. I don’t want to be involved in your conversations! It’s also become a common practice to text while you’re in the company of someone. I can understand one or two, but when you’re texting through an entire dinner…that’s where I draw the line. How many of you have been on Facebook and seen a profile picture of young woman who is half naked or a status update where someone is spewing vulgarities or dissing another person? Technology such as cell phones, iPads, iPods and laptops have made us disengaged from real, face-to-face human interaction. And social media has invited people to behave in ways that they never would before. What has happened to us? Has getting attention and being in the spotlight become more important than being kind and respectful?
A new Rasmussen Reports survey finds that:
* 69% of Americans think their fellow countrymen are becoming more rude and less civilized
* 14% say they’re becoming kinder and gentler
* Another 17% aren’t sure which way they’re headed
* 43% of adults still say it is rude for someone sitting next to them in public to talk on their cell phone
* 62% say Americans are more rude to sales personnel or people waiting on them than they were 10 years ago
* 57% say sales and service personnel are more rude to customers than they were 10 years ago
Amy Alkon, author of I See Rude People, believes that we need to begin treating strangers like our neighbors and to begin giving small acts of kindness. I can’t say that I disagree with her. But I also think that parents have to be civil and be the example to their children. It’s not cool for your children to overhear you cursing someone out or treating someone rudely. They imitate everything that YOU do. Raise them to have a conscious awareness of what they are doing. Give them boundaries and teach them how to respect themselves first and then respect others.
This is a topic that I could go on and on about, but I’d love to hear your thoughts. Weigh in when you get a chance.
I’ve had my Pandora station set to Bilal for about a month to refresh my ears. My wife and I have tickets to his upcoming concert and I wanted to get reacquainted with some of his old stuff as well as hear some songs off his new album, Airtight’s Revenge. Eventually, after hearing some of the new material, I went ahead and picked it up. The album is nothing short of amazing.
Let me warn you. If your ears are accustomed to listening to heavy rotation, corporate marketed, radio-friendly R&B artists, this may not be the album for you.
My personal aesthetic tends to gravitate to the more cerebral and avant-gard-think of Stevie Wonders’ Secret Life of Plants, Bowie’s The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars or Prince’s Black Album. Bilal delivers on this level.
Airtight’s Revenge is truly different from mainstream R&B. The album expands the definition of what black music should sound like. The listener is treated to a sampling of rock, funk, folk and jazz music. The lyrical content on the album covers everything from relationships, politics, metaphysics all the way down to pimp talk. The album is airtight and is taking revenge on the mediocre.
Vocally, Bilal sounds a lot like Prince at times, conquering both main and background vocals without coming off like he’s mimicking him. One of my favorite songs on the album is ‘Little Ones’, a song dedicated to one of his children who has some developmental issues. All the things he desires his child to have are tenderly expressed on the track. Anyone with children should be able to relate. You may even be driven to tears.
My second favorite track is ‘All Matter’, which deals with our existence and love on a metaphysical level. “One great big small thing, like pollen in the spring breeze, a speck of dust in this vast universe…like a raindrop in the sea of consciousness, it’s all matter.” If you’re not truly listening, all of this will go right over your head. Even the albums artwork might go over your head if you’re not paying attention. The cover pays homage to a famous photo taken of Malcolm X.
If you’re already a Bilal fan, you probably will have no problem with this album. It will probably go to heavy rotation status. At the very least, it will be palatable for you. For those who are new to Bilal, challenge your ears. Crack open a bottle of wine, sit back and elevate.
There are a few things that I can count on each September as we head into autumn. I can count on the kids going back to school (thank God!), huge fluctuations in our Ohio temperatures and Keepers of the Art bringing quality hip-hop to Akron via their Annual Hip-Hop Showcase.
For the past three years, Keepers of the Art (KOTA), a local non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of hip-hop, have brought legends of the game to our city. Their vision is to not only entertain but to also inspire and educate. Artists such as Dougie Fresh, Slick Rick, KRS1, Big Daddy Kane, and Buckshot from Black Moon, are a few who have rocked the stage courtesy of Keepers of the Art for a mere five-dollar entrance fee. Could a hip-hop head be more blessed? Well, yeah…but, I’ll get to that later.
This year, the city that “WITNESSED” its most recent hometown hero leave, received some verbal consolation for their loss, from arguably one of the best MC’s to ever hold the mic, Rakim Allah.
The show, held at Akron’s Lock 3 Amphitheater, was opened by Slum Village and the legendary group Whodini. Up and coming artists, Butta Verses, Navy Blu and A-Minus also represented. It would be and understatement to say that the show was hot!
Now, about that blessing…Due to my friendships with members of KOTA, I’ve had the opportunity to take pictures each year. I don’t consider myself to be the best photographer, but my friends at KOTA allow me to do this out of mutual love for hip-hop. I’ve included some of my flicks from the day below the break. Shout out to KOTA. Much love, fam!
Make sure you check out the KOTA website. The site provides information on shows they do throughout the year plus information about the annual showcase. If you’re able to make it to Akron next September count on getting some quality hip-hop. I know I will.
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