Smart living

There are many unique cars out there, but the Smart Car has always gotten plenty of attention. These cool videos are worth checking out to learn more about this innovative vehicle, including some safety stories that may surprise you!

  

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Stunning cam model Monique

There are tons of cam models out there, but few are as sexy and beautiful as Monique from CamWithHer.com as you can see in the slideshow above. We particularly like the photos she took of herself, which gives you a glimpse of how much fun she can have with the camera. The schoolgirl pic is also a classic, and you can see she likes to sport all sorts of lingerie.

Check out the video below and you’ll get a great preview of what you can enjoy if you decide to look up and interact with Monique at Cam With Her! Enjoy . . .

  

Drink of the Week: The Fáilte

The Fáilte.If you’re looking from tips on how to pronounce the name of this week’s drink, you’re barking up the wrong tree. For one thing, my secretive communications with the dark forces that provide me with free booze and some very decent cocktails from time to time are all done via e-mail and gaelic doesn’t happen to be one of my languages. (My languages include English and, of course, fluent Pig Latin.) I’m pretty sure, it’s not pronounced “the faulty,” however.

I do know that it was developed for Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey, a brand which we’ve featured here before but of which you should not be ashamed to be ignorant. It had very limited distribution here in the States prior to be being picked up by the Jim Beam liquor monolith last year. Now, this brand is getting enough attention that even I’m hearing about it repeatedly and getting bottles thrown at me.  The whiskey itself is a very decent choice, particularly for Irish whiskey fans who might be looking for reasonably priced alternatives to the two very well known — and admittedly very lovable — iconic Irish brands. I also appreciate the effort they’re taking to making up more Irish whiskey cocktails.

Today’s drink was actually created by Declan Byrne. Aside from having a very cool  name that makes me think he might be actor Gabriel Byrne’s cooler older brother, he’s the President of the Irish Bartender’s Association. I imagine that to be an extremely august body, similar to the Jewish Tsuris Purveyor’s Guild. It’s actually a pretty delightful drink, though we discovered one controversial element, which we’ll deal with after the recipe below. Also, fáilte means “welcome,” which is nice.

The Fáilte

2 ounces Irish whiskey (preferably Kilbeggan, naturally)
1/2 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/3 ounce amaretto liqueur
1/4 ounce cherry syrup
2-5 dashes chocolate bitters

Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake as if possessed by a mad leprechaun. Or, if that’s a bit too much, shaking vigorously will also do. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Sip and contemplate how very rarely chocolate and whiskey have been combined.

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Which brings us to the interesting apparent disagreement regarding the Fáilte. I’ve actually altered the recipe above from Mr. Byrne’s original to allow for somewhat less of the chocolate bitters for a very specific reason — I didn’t really care for this drink when I went with the full five dashes. However, I liked it a lot when it cut the dashes down to 2, 3, or even 4. While I fully expected the combination of Irish whiskey and chocolate to be a case of two great things that go great together, for me, the flavor of the Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters I was using just dominated the drink in a way I didn’t find at all pleasant.

Wondering if perhaps I was using the wrong type of chocolate bitters, I found that my source at Kilbeggan had actually used exactly the same brand as I and loved the result. Could our taste buds be so different? Maybe. Or maybe it was something to do with the fact that they were using Monin cherry syrup and Luxardo amaretto, while I was using Torani cherry syrup and Disaronno amaretto. These are all pretty standard brands; could the flavor be so different? Well, I’m too cheap/poorly paid to find out, so I resorted to cutting down a bit on the chocolate bitters and the result was pretty darn good. Might the five dashes be perfect with those different brands? Could the flavors be so different?

Readers are, of course, fáilte, to try out both combinations of brands and amounts of bitters for themselves, but I found what works for me.

  

Travis Rice on Why Red Bull’s Ultra Natural is the True Progression of Snowboard Competition

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Travis Rice is a name that has been tattooed onto the timeline of snowboarding, and not with the shaky haste surrounding that ungodly shoulder portrait of your ex-girlfriend, but rather a progressive focus that continues to grab the sport by the horns and steer down previously uncharted terrain.

Rice’s incredible talent has not gone under the radar, and over the years, he has won countless accolades, from Snowboarder of the Year, to X Games gold, to even #13 on Snowboarder Magazine’s list of most influential riders of all time. This sort of notoriety is something that a budding athlete in any sport could only dream of, but it is what Rice has done beyond his fame to shape the sport that is uniquely compelling and powerful.

After successfully competing against the highest echelon of snowboarding’s elite, Travis Rice took his massively inventive style and spearheaded filmmaking, starring in and creating some of the most widely acclaimed, bestselling videos in the sport’s history. Positive feedback surged around films such as 2008’s “That’s It, That’s All” and 2011’s “The Art of Flight,” yet he continued to expand in ambition, eventually setting his sights on creating a new kind of competition – one that would wholly enlist his vision of what competitive snowboarding has been progressing towards all along.

Following a one-off appetizer with Quicksilver called Natural Selection, Rice’s competitive concept was eventually adopted by the bright minds at Red Bull, and in their traditional spirit of working with athletes and making big ideas a reality, Supernatural was born in 2012 as part of their signature series.

Round Two?

This weekend marks the dawning of another killer installment in the Red Bull Signature Series: the Ultra Natural, bigger and better than anything previously seen, and broadcasting across the country, Saturday, March 30th at 1:30 PM ET on NBC.

The event is not only another one of Rice’s trademark creations, which blesses it with inherently mesmerizing watchability, but unique in the fact that it stands apart from conventional snowboarding contests.

In your mind’s eye, try to conjure up a few images regarding televised snowboard competition. Dew Tour? X-Games? Surely, this mental picture wouldn’t be complete without snippets of footage involving highly pre-meditated, rehearsed insanity, all bursting forth from the legendary superpipe, slopestyle and big air events that viewers have grown accustomed to since snowboarding hit the TV screen.

To get an idea of what NBC is broadcasting this weekend, you may want to wipe the aforementioned slate clean and transplant in a heavily powdered, 50-degree slope, peppered tirelessly with countless features that allow for an infinite number of line, trick and style variations. The concept of a singular path with rehearsed action points is out the window, and in its place steps the looming beast that is Bald Face, British Columbia. This is the arena that Rice handpicked to host this year’s Red Bull Ultra Natural, and on Saturday, you owe it to yourself to watch 16 of the world’s best snowboarders showcase their extreme talent and battle for gold.

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Justified 4.12: Peace of Mind

SPOILER WARNING: This post will appear following a new episode of Justified. It is intended to be read after seeing the show’s latest installment as a source of recap and analysis. As such, all aspects of the series up to and including the episode discussed are fair game.

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Well folks, I’m man enough to admit when I’m wrong. And boy was I wrong about the Crowder/Givens Alliance I thought was hinted at in “Get Drew” before getting into motion in “Decoy.” We bloggers aren’t always perfect, if you can believe it. As it turned out, Boyd and Augustine’s mutual doublecrossing was a lot simpler than all that. Each side planned to work with the other for as long as they had something to gain from it and not a moment longer. Because there was no way of knowing when that moment would come, they each had contingency plans in place. Plans that moved forward even while the partnership was still (ostensibly) in place, including Colt shooting Mort, the aptly named Tonin sniper. But as we saw this week, inter-gang alliances can reassemble just as easily as they fall apart. Because in the crime business it’s less about what you’ve done for me lately than what you can do for me now.

With Drew Thompson in custody, the game should be over, but he refuses to cooperate with the investigation of the Tonins until he knows Ellen May is safe, a fact that’s relayed to the Tonins via a mole in the Marshals’ office (or perhaps the U.S. Attorney’s). So begins another game of hide and seek, only the tables have turned: this time, it’s the bad guys who have the inside scoop and the Marshals who have to do the seeking. Suddenly, Nick Augustine needs the Crowders again, so he goes to see cousin Johnny. It makes sense, Johnny is easily the most vulnerable of the bunch. Both Boyd and the Tonins have put a target on his back, the former due to his now public betrayal and the latter because betrayal or not, his last name’s still Crowder. So a new alliance is forged when Johnny calls Limehouse on Augustine’s behalf, and ends the moment he fails to broker an agreement. But Augustine doesn’t have time to waste, so he immediately calls Boyd and offers him the deal of the century: the money to get Ellen May and his cousin Johnny. He does all this with Johnny standing right in front of him, using the man’s own cell phone. As Omar Little would say, “It’s all in the game though, right?

So Ava heads to Noble’s Holler to buy back Ellen May. She and Limehouse have one of those conversations that’s meant to get right to the heart of a person, to show who they really are. In so many words, Limehouse asks her if buying back Ellen May will really give her that eponymous peace of mind she’s been seeking all season. He tells her he’s “been wonderin’ lately what it is makes us forget who we are,” referring to the fact that he’s been forced to sell off parts of the Holler his clan has owned since Emancipation. But he’s also talking about Ava, and how he doesn’t even know who she is anymore. “I can’t do this,” he says, “and you shouldn’t either.” It’s no coincidence it’s the proposed buying and selling of a human that gets him thinking about all this.

There’s just one issue though, and it’s that Limehouse has already get Ellen May go. He’d already pondered the last question he asked Ava, “All these things you’ve done, with no mind to the consequences to other people, are you gonna have peace of mind when this is all over?” And his answer was no. Limehouse offered Ava the opportunity the make the same decision, to strive to be a better person, but she never even considered it. None of that matters though, Ellen May is gone, so the choice was purely hypothetical. Maybe part of the reason Limehouse let her go was out of fear that he’d have a harder time sticking to his convictions with the temptation of $300,000 cash being stuck in his face. But the more important factor was the similarly themed conversation he’d had with Ellen May earlier, one of those “hatchet conversations” that “cuts through the bullshit.”

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