Monthly Archives: June 2015

HoraceParlan

What we’re listening to — Up and Down by Horace Parlan

Some cool swinging Jazz for a reasonably warm early summer’s day. This classic Blue Note track features a fine ensemble led by the impeccable Horace Parlan on piano and joined by the gifted Grant Green on guitar, super smooth Booker Ervin on tenor sax and the always solid George Tucker (bass) and Al Harewood (drums) providing the rapid rhythm.

With that warm, signature Rudy Van Gelder sound, the whole eponymous 1961 album is well worth giving a spin on the ol’ hi-fi. And with the standout title track Parlan confirmed that he was ready to lead and compose Jazz classics, something the 84-year-old legend continues to do to this very day.

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What we’re wearing — sneakers & shoes by Camper

The hardest trick to pull off in men’s footwear is to find the perfect balance between style and comfort. But when you wear Camper you can have your cake and eat it too. Not your run of the mill sneakers and shoes, Camper kicks are good looking enough to put a little zing in your outfit whether you’re wearing a suit and tie or chinos and a T-shirt. And for me, a guy who pounds the hard pavement of New York City on a daily basis, the comfort level is off the charts. Plenty of width, lots of flexibility for adjustments and heavily cushioned springy soles have made Camper my daily drivers more often than not.

With a multitude of super cool styles to fit every taste or mood and quality construction built to last, collecting Camper kicks can become an obsession. And with true fit across all the models despite their European origins, when you order a size 11 you’ll always be getting a size 11.

Not cheap but fairly priced for the use you’ll get out of them, Amazon or Camper’s own proprietary website are excellent places to purchase them if you can’t find them at your local shoe store. An excellent browsing experience, visiting Camper.com is a bit like being a kid in a candy store. Best of all, there are frequent sales and orders are fulfilled and shipped quickly so you won’t have to wait long to strut your stuff. For eye-catching style, comfort and durability Camper’s got you covered. What more could you want in a shoe?

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2015 F1 Grand Prix of Austria — Results & aftermath

Rosberg shows toughness and grit with commanding win in Austria, Hamilton 2nd for Mercedes; Williams’ Massa a hard-fought P3

The question in Austria after Saturday’s bizarre Qualifying that saw first Lewis Hamilton spin and then Nico Rosberg gift back the Pole with a spin of his own was whether Rosberg could overcome that error and fight his teammate for the win on Sunday. From the very start of the race Rosberg put that line of query to bed by forcefully grabbing the lead from Hamilton, charging by his English rival into turn one of the Red Bull Ring. After a hairy crash later on that first lap that took out Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari and the McLaren of Fernado Alonso and resulted in a Safety Car for several laps (both drivers were thankfully uninjured), Rosberg re-seized the initiative upon the restart, blasting ahead on this track that seems to suit him and building a lead he would not relinquish. Hamilton was also hurt by his own mental error when he crossed the blend line coming out of the pits on Lap 36. Not only did he emerge behind Rosberg but the stewards assessed a 5-second time penalty on the English Championship leader, essentially dooming his chances of victory midway through the race. With the win, Rosberg closed the gap to Hamilton to a mere 10 championship points and perhaps proved that he is not quite as mentally fragile as he has appeared in the past.

Pics courtesy GrandPrix247.com

Pics courtesy GrandPrix247.com

The usual Mercedes dominance left the fight for the last podium position down to the resurgent Williams of Felipe Massa and the very competitive Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel. Continue reading

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Notable passings: RIP Marcello Pisani, 1956-2015

The Vintage Rolex world has lost a titan — the great Marcello Pisani has passed away. The legendary Italian collector and veritable encyclopedia of arcane Rolex knowledge made his mark with his unparalleled research into special issue watches such as COMEX and British Military-issued Submariners. His willingness to share what he’d learned with his fellow collectors great and small really set him apart and made him the go-to guy for technical and historic questions, as well as pinpointing those all-important identifiers of authenticity.

I first encountered Marcello about a decade ago as I began my obsession with Vintage Rolex. Through private emails and public interactions on the vital Vintage Rolex Forum I can honestly say that I learned more from Marci than from any other source. More importantly perhaps, I learned what questions should be asked and how to go about researching the puzzles that presented themselves, many of which have now been solved thanks in no small part to M. Pisani. To say he was a mentor to me is a great understatement and yet it’s absolutely a fact that I was but one star in a veritable constellation of questing collectors helped by Marci. So you can multiply his edifying influence on me a thousandfold to get a rough idea as to how many lives he influenced and how much knowledge he shared.

It’s true that in recent years we fell out somewhat, mainly due to our disagreements over the meaning of the appearance of the Underline on Rolex dials circa 1963. Continue reading

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2015 F1 Grand Prix of Austria — Qualifying results

Both Mercedes spin on final Quali lap but it’s Hamilton’s lucky Pole while Rosberg blows it for P2; Vettel another P3 for Ferrari

When Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton spun his Silver Arrow at the beginning of his final Quali lap in Turn 1 of the Red Bull Ring, he must have thought he’d thrown the Pole away. His archrival Nico Rosberg was ahead of him on a blistering lap unaffected by the local yellow flag that Hamilton’s off generated. But coming into the last corner looking like he would snatch the top spot away from his English teammate Rosberg had a spin of his own, spoiling his chance to start from P1 and ceding the Pole back to Hamilton. Hamilton does seem to struggle on the short, twisty, up and down Austrian circuit while Rosberg seems quite comfortable. But if history is any guide Hamilton rarely relinquishes the lead when he starts from the front. So again it could be that Rosberg has in essence lost the Grand Prix on Saturday, as the mentally fragile German seems to have a hard time winning from behind when the lights go out on Sunday.

Pics courtesy of GrandPrix247.com

Pics courtesy of GrandPrix247.com

Ferrari had bewilderingly mixed results, with Sebastian Vettel running behind the high-powered Mercedes duo and fast enough for P3 but Kimi Raikkonen strangely in the pits on a rapidly drying track as time ran out in Q1, thereby getting bounced out in the first round. The Finnish veteran’s status and uncertain future with the Prancing Horse for next year was definitely not helped by that perplexing turn of events. He’ll start a lowly P18 and have to fight through a host of backmarkers for any chance of points. Williams’ Felipe Massa, last year’s Austria Pole-sitter, was not quite as quick this Saturday and came home P4, with teammate Valtteri Bottas a decent P6. Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, the impressive German racer who last week was part of the winning driver lineup for the victorious Porsche prototype at the 24 hours of Le Mans, converted that extra confidence into an impressive P5 (by contrast, his teammate Sergio Perez could do no better than P16).

17-year-old rookie Max Verstappen took P7 for Toro Rosso, Daniil Kvyat was P8 for the senior Red Bull team, Felipe Nasr had his first really good Quali in weeks with a solid P9 and Lotus’ Romain Grosjean got the last top 10 spot on the grid, although he did not turn a lap in Q3.

Both McLarens will start from the rear of the field because not only did they not make it out of Q1 but they also face a raft of massive grid spot and time penalties for engine change infractions. Red Bull’s Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo have also burned through their engine component allotments early and they too will face grid penalties on Sunday.

Top 10 qualifiers for the Austrian GP:

POS. NO. DRIVER TEAM Q1 Q2 Q3 LAPS
1 44 LEWIS HAMILTON MERCEDES 1:12.218 1:09.062 1:08.455 30
2 6 NICO ROSBERG MERCEDES 1:10.976 1:08.634 1:08.655 31
3 5 SEBASTIAN VETTEL FERRARI 1:11.184 1:09.392 1:08.810 21
4 19 FELIPE MASSA WILLIAMS 1:11.830 1:09.719 1:09.192 27
5 27 NICO HULKENBERG FORCE INDIA 1:11.319 1:09.604 1:09.278 22
6 77 VALTTERI BOTTAS WILLIAMS 1:11.894 1:09.598 1:09.319 26
7 33 MAX VERSTAPPEN TORO ROSSO 1:11.307 1:09.631 1:09.612 28
8 26 DANIIL KVYAT RED BULL 1:12.092 1:10.187 1:09.694 32
9 12 FELIPE NASR SAUBER 1:12.001 1:09.652 1:09.713 29
10 8 ROMAIN GROSJEAN LOTUS 1:11.821 1:09.920 22

Complete Qualifying results available via Formula1.com.

Tomorrow’s Austrian Grand Prix airs live on NBC Sports at 8AM Eastern. With so many nominally fast cars starting from the rear of the field the action from the Red Bull Ring should be fast and frantic. The battle for dominance between Mercedes teammates at the front could well be equally hectic. Hope to see you then.

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Gorgeous Lady of the Week — Alexandra Daddario

To make the obvious point, Alexandra Daddario has looks and a body that can stop traffic. But she also has the acting chops that make her more than just another pretty face. The 29-year-old native New Yorker began as a teen actress in soaps but she quickly graduated to feature work with a starring role in the Chris Columbus-directed big budget fantasy series, Percy Jackson & the Olympians. She played the hero’s love interest, an earthbound demi-goddess, which is some pretty good casting — with her huge blue eyes, dark brown hair and curves galore, Alexandra is definitely blessed with other worldly beauty.

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But Alexandra really broke through with her brave and sexy work on the first season of HBO’s mega-dark miniseries, True Detective, scorching the screen in her love scenes with Woody Harrelson. Fearless, strong, yet also vulnerable, her nuanced performance as Lisa Tragnetti, a young woman in love with an older married cop, put her solidly on Holywood’s A-list.

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So it was no surprise to see Ms. Daddario cast as Dwayne Johnson’s daughter in this year’s big budget 3D disaster epic, San Andreas. And you can look for her career to continue to ascend with leads in the upcoming William H. Macy-helmed comedy, The Layover, alongside the equally statuesque Kate Upton; and the latest Nicolas “The Notebook” Sparks’ film adaptation, The Choice, slated for 2016 release.

Alexandra Daddario in Cosmopolitan, 2014

Alexandra Daddario gracing the pages of Cosmopolitan in 2013

Talented, beautiful and self-possessed, it will be interesting to see whether she can succeed in comedy. But Alexandra is surely a natural for a classic Hollywood romance. After all, when she shoots those baby blues your way what choice do you really have?

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What we’re listening to — Tree By The River by Iron & Wine

Iron & Wine is such good band with so many fine songs that they definitely deserve a good, comprehensive post when time permits. In the meantime, here’s one of my favorite tracks of theirs, “Tree By The River” off of 2011’s Kiss Each Other Clean

Kiss Each Other Clean featured a much more heavily produced sound than the stripped down acoustic vibe of their previous albums. I really liked that more pop-y feel and “Tree By The River” has all sorts of 70s singer-songwriter influences and hooks while being saved from being maudlin or trite by the penetrating honesty of the lyrics.

But for those purists who insist that their I&W be consistently bare bones here’s a take with bearded mastermind Samuel Beam solo on guitar that could have come off of any of the early 2000s albums.

A bittersweet beauty anyway you play it. And best of all the entire album is a free stream with an Amazon Prime membership. Life is good.

More I&W to come…

LeMans24-2015

Race alert — The 24 Hours of Le Mans is live now

This year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, the grandaddy of endurance motor racing, is underway at the Circuit de la Sarthe in the Pays de la Loire region of France. You can catch literally all of the action live on the Fox Sports GO site or through their app by logging in with your cable provider ID and password. The complete broadcast schedule is below:

– FOX Sports GO (Saturday, June 13 at 8:30 a.m. to Sunday, June 14 at 9:30 a.m.)
– Saturday, June 13 (8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., FOX Sports 2)
– Saturday, June 13 (7 p.m. to 8 p.m., FOX Sports 1)
– Saturday, June 13 (11 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., FOX Sports 2)
– Sunday, June 14 (3:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m., FOX Sports 1)
– Sunday, June 14 (7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., FOX Sports 2)
– Sunday, June 14 (9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., FOX Sports 1)

Can Porsche put an end to Audi’s remarkable run of dominance in P1? How will Nissan’s Nismo fare in its debut race? And of course it’s time to find out who’s the top dog in GT: Corvette, Ferrari, Astin Martin or Porsche. Watch the whole thing live or tune in at your convenience — you’re bound to see something dramatic, unexpected and likely hair raising. After all, it’s Le Mans.

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2015 F1 Grand Prix of Canada — Results & aftermath

Hamilton regains momentum in Canada with decisive win, Rosberg a non-threatening 2nd; Williams’ Bottas breaks through for P3

Pics courtesy GrandPrix247.com

Pics courtesy GrandPrix247.com

After a gut-wrenching defeat in Monaco, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton righted the ship at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal on Sunday with a wire-to-wire victory. Having earned an emphatic pole it seemed nothing was going to stop the reigning World Champion from holding off his charging rival and teammate Nico Rosberg. Come race day, nothing did. Rosberg was never able to mount a real threat and in the end both Silver Arrows sailed to a seemingly comfortable 1-2 finish with the rest of the field well behind. Hamilton’s win reestablished his dominance in the Mercedes team and built his points lead back up to 17 after Rosberg’s lucky 2-race victory streak. It was a much needed return to form that demonstrated not only Hamilton’s peerless skill as a racing driver but also his mental toughness in the face of adversity after the bizarre own-goal in Monaco.

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For team Mercedes as whole, Sunday’s GP represented an ominous return to their untouchable speed and metronomic precision as a unit, particularly when compared with Ferrari’s stumbles this past weekend. After starting 3rd with an outside shot at victory, Kimi Raikkonen threw away a probable podium for the Prancing Horse with an unforced spin in the hairpin after his first stop for tires. That enabled his fellow Finn, the excellent Valtteri Bottas, to snatch 3rd and hold off Raikkonen for the position until the end of the race, earning team Williams its first podium of the season. On the other side of the Ferrari garage, Sebastian Vettel started from 18th on the grid with a poor Quali due to mechanical issues and a self-inflicted 5-spot grid penalty for passing under the red flag in rainy practice. But Vettel had a storming drive, slicing his way through the field to finish a remarkable 5th. His outstanding 2015 Montreal effort should be played as Exhibit A whenever someone whinges about how you can’t pass in Formula 1. Exhibit B could be Bottas’ Williams teammate Felipe Massa. Massa also started way back in the pack in 15th after technical problems in Quali. Yet the veteran Brazilian managed to fight his way up to 6th with another gutsy, aggressive effort from a savvy pro. So if the battle for the win seemed like a fait accompli, the fight for points behind the 1-2 slots was a wild ride all race long. Continue reading

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2015 F1 Grand Prix of Canada — Qualifying results

Hamilton regains mojo after Monaco disaster, claims Pole in Canada; Rosberg just behind in P2 and Raikonnen flies flag for Ferrari in 3rd

The boys were back at it in Quebec for Qualifying two weeks after the bizarre and memorable Monaco Grand Prix. With heavy rain washing out a lot of Friday practice time, there wasn’t much dry prep for the drivers to show their true speed until this very sunny Saturday in Montreal. But if there were any doubts about Lewis Hamilton’s state of mind after the incredibly disappointing end to his dreams of victory in Monte Carlo the Englishman appeared to lay them to rest with the fastest lap in Q3, claiming Pole for Sunday’s race. It was the 44th of his career, perfectly matching the number on his Mercedes Silver Arrow. Putting behind him the inexplicable decision to pit late for fresh tires in Monaco that essentially handed his teammate Nico Rosberg the victory, the reigning World Champion has so far been the class of the field in Canada. And as fired up as he his to taste victory and wash away the last race’s bitter taste he should be very hard to beat come race day. Hamilton’s renewed dominance left Rosberg the one grumbling about tire strategy, as he questioned the Mercedes pit wall’s solutions for finding more grip in the Super Soft tires in the dying moments of Q3. In truth, he wound up only a little more than .3 behind Hamilton. But if he doesn’t manage to get by his nemesis early on Sunday Rosberg knows that his lucky two-race victory streak could be over.

With Sebastian Vettel’s qualifying coming to a stunning end in Q1 due to power-sapping electrical gremlins, it was left to Kimi Raikonnen to fly the flag for Ferrari. The Finn responded with his best effort of the year and grabbed P3, only .3 behind Rosberg, where he should be able to fight for a podium or pick up something even better if the Mercedes’ duo take each other out. His position for good points certainly looks more favorable than teammate Vettel’s, who will have to battle his way to the front from way back in 16th on the grid. Williams’ Valtteri Bottas rebounded from his dreadful weekend in Monaco to take P4 and the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve looks well suited to the FW37’s pure speed. However, Bottas’ teammate Felipe Massa did not get the chance to make use of that advantage, as he too was bounced in Q1 with power plant woes.

Team Lotus looks to be making genuine strides after six race weekends with Romain Grojean and Pastor Maldonado P5 and P6 respectively. Now it remains to be seen if they can get a break from the woeful luck that has plagued them in 2015 and actually finish both cars in the points. Continue reading