Thursday, June 21, 2012

Don't Rock The Boat, baby!

In my economic development days someone once told me that the key to success is "Don't Rock the Boat."  I found this odd, but now I know why...

You've got five apes in a cage. You've got a banana hanging by a string in the middle of the cage. You've got some stairs going to the banana. Now pretty soon one of those apes is going to go for the banana and as soon as he hits the stairs you take a hose and you spray all five apes with freezing cold water for five minutes. Now, some time passes and pretty soon another one of the apes is going to make the same attempt with the same result. All five apes get sprayed with a cold water. Now you turn off the cold water. You never use it again. One of the apes is going to go for the banana. He hits the stairs, the other four apes pounce on him and beat the shit out of him. Right? Okay, understandable. Now you replace one of those original apes with a new ape. After a while that new ape is going to spy that banana and when he goes for the stairs, the other four apes are going to jump on him and beat the shit out of him. Right? Now, time passes, you replace another one of the original apes with a new ape. That new ape is going to go for the banana. The other four apes beat the shit out of him. Right? Including the first new ape who has no idea why he's so enthusiastically beating the shit out of this poor guy nor why he himself had the shit beat out of him. Okay? Now you keep replacing these original apes with new apes until finally you've got a cage filled with fives apes who have never had the freezing cold water sprayed on them and never the less not one of those apes will never attempt to climb those stairs again. Why not? Because that's the way it's always been done around here.-- Jackson Evans, The Contender

Special thanks to DW for passing this along.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Advice from Seth Godin

My daily read of Seth Godin's blog, the guru of marketing.  The clip below is from his recent MSNBC appearance giving some simple advice...

"Humility, empathy, generosity, patience and kindness, combined with the arrogance of the brilliant inventor, are a potent alternative." SG

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Shining Eyes

"...It really makes a difference what we say, the words that come from our mouth" Benjamin Zander

This TED Talk is by far one of my favorites.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Red Snapper Season

Being on the water is truly my therapy, wether its fishing or just boating.  This weekend a few friends and I took an early morning trip to Venice, La ... what i consider to be the Fishing Capital of the Gulf to participate in the opening of Red Snapper season.   As to be expected we had a blast and caught our limit.   The seas were fairly calm and allowed us to run due south out of Southwest Pass to reach about 300 foot of water. The big snapper action came just a few feet off the bottom, which was pretty hard to reach when I was unprepared to fish at that depth.  It seems using 6 oz. weights take the bait about 10 minutes to reach the bottom in 360 foot of water.  Although the time spent waiting on the bait to reach the floor was well worth it... every time equaled a strike!

As for bait we tried everything from froze pin fish, pogies, hard tails, cigar minnows but the most action came on squid.  The frozen fish mostly attracted sharks, which is quite aggravating.  Overall the day was wildly successful and I can't wait to do it all over again!   I now have my sights set on the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo coming up next month.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ship Faced Sunday #1

When I first moved to Baton Rouge I became instantly fascinated with its cajun culture.  Maybe it was the encouraged cocktail at a luncheon during one of my first days on the job or the weekend trip to the local VFW to learn how to Jitterbug.  It was a rich and desired culture that spoke to me in ways that only this beautiful place could... work hard, play harder.   This motto, paired with my love for the water encouraged my first major purchase, a boat subsequently named Ship Faced.   Looking back on it, the name certainly radiates post college adolescence but the good times had on the boat have fully lived up to its name.

This weekend marked the first voyage of a summer tradition, Ship Faced Sundays.  Each Sunday in the summer my friends are invited to venture the waterways of Lake Maurepas.  Located about 30 miles south of Baton Rouge, the lake is fed by three rivers and leads out to Lake Pontchartrain and ultimately the Gulf of Mexico.  We begin our trip on the Diversion Canal, onto the Amite River and out to the west side sand (mud) bar,  continue across the Lake to the Ticfaw River.  In each of these rivers we make stop at unique bars such as Canal Bank, Pier 13, Blind River Bar, Tin Lizzys, and the Prop Stop. It wouldn't be out of the norm to share a beer with one of the cast members of Swamp People (as I did last summer) or see alligators lurking in the lily pads.  Some of the bars are built in the midst of massive cyprus trees and can only be accessed by water.  The Prop Stop is so busy during peak season that if you don't arrive early you'll have to anchor in river and wait for a river taxi.  The Prop Stop made famous the specialty drink of choice on the river known as, The Worm Bucket.   The drink begins with a flavorful gummy worm, served over cubelet style ice (Sonic Ice as its called in the South) in styrofoam worm buckets made with a mixture of Sprite, Grenadine, Pineapple juice and Rum.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Heading to the Cape

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
~Mark Twain

Here's to my upcoming trip to Cape Cod. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Louisiana Old Fashioned

A classic beyond classics.  Still having the taste of this classic in mind from my recent vegas trip, I leaned on my good friend for the recipe.  The ingredients are common but the mix is truly art.  

Nick Kosevich, an acclaimed bartender submitted this to

"The words “Old-Fashioned” were used in reference to a cocktail in print in 1895 and not until 1973 did the recipe appear with fruit. Some of the older recipes for the Old Fashioned might have included Curacao and maraschino liqueurs, which is how that inedible neon red orb we call a maraschino cherry eventually came into play. Even before 1895, the basic definition of a cocktail was the original recipe of the Old Fashioned. In 1806 the word “cocktail” was first published² and was given the definition of “a potent concoction of spirits, bitters, water, and sugar. A kind of bittered sling.” All of the classic cocktail authors, including David Embury, considered the Old Fashioned to be of the utmost importance; it’s one of the six basic drinks listed in David Embury’s classic 1948 cocktail book, The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks."

You can read more here: Cocktail Metamorphosis 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hang Loose

As summertime rolls around and we get prepared to head out on the waters of Louisiana bayous, rivers and lakes I am always searching for that new song that puts me in the slack water mood. Usually its something from CCR, Tab Benoit or newly discovered classic rock.  I happen to run across an interesting group called the Alabama Shakers via a recommendation by one of my favorite email newsletters Bearings.

After downloading their album, I've pretty much kept them on repeat for the past week or so.  They've been described as a "much-hyped garage band rocking the heart of dixie."  I can't get enough of the lead singer's raspy voice.  Its edgy and cool... a perfect a jam for riding around on the boat.  So check out one of my favorite songs thus far (they are all good!).

Don't worry sweet baby!
Don't you ever worry 'bout a thing.
Put them worries on the shelf 'n' learn to love yourself
Don't be your own worst enemy.

Hang loose, hang loose
Let the ocean worry 'bout bein' blue.
Hang loose, hang loose.
Go with the tide and I'ma take care of you.

Come with me sweet darlin'.
I got a seat ya ticket for the plane.
We gonna fly to Waikiki, it'll just be you 'n' me.
And we'll let the sun melt our cares away. 

Hang loose, hang loose.
Let the ocean worry 'bout bein' blue.
Hang loose, hang loose.
Go with the tide and I'ma take care of you.

Alright, we gon' be alright.
Alright, you're gon' be alright!

Hang loose.
Hang loose!
Hang loose.
Hang loose.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Viva Las Vegas!

As you can see, all the post from 2010 & 2011 have disappeared ... this was due to moving the blog.   Anyhow, onward with 2012.   Spent the weekend in Vegas with some of my closest friends Jamie and Jon.  Having been to Vegas many times before, this trip centered around total relaxation.   Goal...  brunch, cocktails, pool, spa, cocktails, dinner, repeat.   And we did just that!   A few new discovers on this trip to share...

The Jamie Griffin mixologist special, The JG Old Fashioned with Woodford. (will post recipe in the near future). 

Chandelier Bar at the Cosmopolitan Hotel & Casino 

Gold Lounge, here was an interesting new place to check out.  It is a classy shrine to "Viva Las Vegas" great Elvis Presley.  It's decor meshes perfectly with that of Graceland, from cow hide couches and longhorn chandeliers to black and gold toilets.   If you ever stop by be sure to ask for Michele, she'll treat you well and mix your perfect drink of choice. Also, if you'd like to skip the never ending line...ask for "Jack Ross" its code for VIP. 

Vdara Spa... hot tub, steam room (don't forget the eucalyptus towels), dry sauna... shower... Swedish massage and end with some quiet time in the meditation room.  Would definitely recommend this spa to my friends.   

Sage: Main Day Boat Scallops w/ braised Oxtail/Wild Mushrooms/Salted Caramel Reduction! 

Terrace Pointe CafĂ©:  Beautiful view with delicious Turkey Burger and Mint Julep.  I also ran into Kip Holden, an old friend and Mayor of Baton Rouge, LA.  It was nice to catch up and hear about the City's progress since my time as economic development director for him.  Good company, classic cocktails and one of the best views made this place close to perfection. 

If you manage to wonder off the Strip to enjoy some of the local establishments... remember this number (702)-247-4000.   Outside of the strip it is almost impossible to hail at cab.  This number is direct to the dispatch line.  When you speak, every cabbie in the city can hear your location, so be brief and provide your location for pick up.  Don't let them know where you are headed... of course cabs want the longest run possible.  

Hit  the Bellagio Sports Book for some exciting sports action, I bet the Preakness this weekend and was able to catch the race with guys at the Aria Casino.  Luckily I hedged my bet on the horse Creative Cause with the winner of the Derby "I'll Have Another" -- breaking even is a Win in my book. 

Other suggestions would be Craps at the Bellagio, Black Jack at the Venetian and Three Card at the Cosmo. 

Special thanks to the weekend goes to my dear friend Jamie for the luxurious accommodations and southern hospitality.