Top 5 Olympic Events:

Last night, a friend and I were arguing over most watchable Olyimpic events. He said this synchronized diving event stunk and that it was one of the worst the Olympics had to offer. He said it would be in his bottom three events in all of the Olympic Games. Meanwhile, I said it was pretty cool that two people could be on the exact same page spinning and flipping while plummeting to the pool at the rate of  9.8 m/s^2. Anyway, here is a list of the Olympic events this year. What are your top 5 events? And if you feel like it, include a bottom three. I can already tell you that Archery and Table Tennis would be in my top 5! Good luck!

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Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Ride a Bicycle!

Today, We are talking about the reason you should ride a bike. But that is not the whole story for today. Any of you that know me know that I am pretty active with certain organizations. I have done a number of Work Camps, Relay for Life and others. But it wasn’t until I came out to California that I gave any thought to diabetes, in particular, juvenile diabetes.

Diabetes is a metabolic disease in which your blood sugar remains high, often at dangerous, life threatening levels. The reason being that the body either cannot produce insulin or won’t respond to insulin. Type 1 Diabetes is the form where the body cannot produce insulin and the person either has to inject insulin or wear a pump. This is the form of Juvenile Diabetes.

For my first job out here, working on the set of Wipeout, I was introduced to my boss and later learned he had a son with Juvenile Diabetes. He has been working tirelessly to raise funds in hopes of finding a cure, for as of right now, there is no cure for diabetes.

My guest today is Anita Phillips. She has decided to join the fight against juvenile Diabetes and raise funds for this cause by biking 72 miles. Today, I am going to let her take the spotlight, because today, she finally deserves to have it all on her! She will give you her 5 reasons for riding a bike below, but remember the reason she is doing it! Please take a moment to check out her link as well and if you feel moved, donate to her cause. Without further adieu, here is Anita’s statement and list:

For me it was simple. Get in shape, be healthy, stay motivated. I rekindled an existing love for mountain biking and through that discovered a new passion for road cycling (it was the need for speed that hooked me). I wanted to set a goal to keep me riding, and I wanted to ride for a reason. That’s when I discovered JDRF’s Ride to Cure Diabetes.

I became familiar with JDRF when I started working on the TV show “Wipeout” back in 2010. One of the executive producer’s has a (now) 7-year old son who suffers from type 1 diabetes. I can’t imagine what life might be like living with diabetes but I do know that you have to be quite strong to endure the daily care, and more importantly the ups and downs that go along with the disease.

So that’s it. That’s why I am riding. I want to give Charlie, and every child out there living with diabetes, the experience of a carefree childhood; The kind that everyone deserves to experience, without being tied down or limited by diabetes. I hope that you are inspired to help in some way, whether it is a donation, large or small, or even participating in a JDRF fundraising event yourself.

For more information, check out my page: http://www2.jdrf.org/goto/anitaphillips

So with all that said, here’s my Top 5!

Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Ride a Bicycle

5.         See Your City In A New Light

It wasn’t until I started riding my bike that I really got to learn about my town. I’m used to jumping into my car and zooming off, with no regards to my surroundings. Now I’m learning new ways to get where I need to be and have found that occasionally I get there just as fast on my bike. I’ve discovered quaint coffee shops and hidden trails. Once I was riding along the road when I saw some ducks fall into a storm drain. I stopped, along with my cycling group, to rescue all 7 of them. Had I been in my car I probably would have never noticed those cute little ducks fall to what might have inevitably been their demise.

Rescue those ducks!

4.         Traffic Sucks

If you live in LA then you know all about the stress of traffic. A 15-minute drive can be an hour-long drive if driven at the wrong time of day. Though sometimes you don’t have a choice, I am sure more often than not you could probably complete your commute via bicycle. Probably would take half the amount of time and I am sure you would arrive at your destination much more relaxed. Bicycles lanes are growing throughout Southern California and it’s becoming easier to get around by bike.  I know a lot of drivers get irritated with road cyclists. I’ve been honked at and nearly hit myself on a few occasions, but don’t let the rotten seeds give the law abiding bike citizens a bad name. I follow the rules of the road when I ride as if I were in my car. I like my bike and value my heath and safety.  Red means stop.

Beat the Traffic

3.         More Money In Your Pockets

A bike is cheaper to buy than a car. If you need a car but can get away with using a bike a few days a week it is still worth every penny. Just think of what you could save in gas, auto maintenance, insurance, parking fees, gym memberships, etcetera, etcetera… the list is endless.

Straight cash Homie.

2.   It’s Good For The Environment.

Cycling is the most energy efficient form of transportation ever invented. No smart, electric, hybrid car is going to beat that.  Cycling reduces water and air pollution, takes much less materials to make than a car, and has a zero carbon footprint. The world as we know it won’t last forever because of how we treat it. It may seem like a minuet contribution but the more people who make the switch (even just a little), the bigger the impact.  Let’s start breathing a little easier.

1.       It’s Good For Your Health

This one is obvious. It’s not like forcing yourself to eat something you don’t like because it’s good for you type health but better. It’s been studied and proven that cycling for 20 to 30 minutes a day can help you sleep better, look younger (flushes those nasty toxins out of your body), helps beat illnesses (lowering risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure and obesity), keeps you fit and trim (bye-bye thunder thighs) and even makes you a better lover. More oxygen? Yes please.  Being physically active improves your vascular health, in turn boosting your sex drive.

Anita and her team hanging out.

Good luck to Anita on her ride! For more information on her, her quest, and on JDRF, check out Anita’s webpage: http://www2.jdrf.org/goto/anitaphillips

Who is the Most Vile Villain?

 

Every hero story needs to have a Villain. A lot of the time, the villain that the hero has to overcome is actually, what to us, makes us love the hero. So whether the villain is Darth Vader, Hal, Hannible Lecter, The Wicked Witch, the Joker, the Devil, The Lannisters, The Church, Phil Leotardo, or any number of super villains and Disney villains, go through and try to pick out some of your favorites! Mention them down in the comments.

Top 5 fun TODAY moments with Team USA!

The Today show made a list for this site dealing with the Olympics! Check it out.

Check out the video here!

Who Would You Love to Talk With? (Lord of the Rings edition)

So, if you could learn the life of one of the characters from Lord of the Rings through their own accounts, who would it be at why?

Aragorn? Gimli? Legolas? Gandolf? Other?

 

Leave your reasons why down in the comments!

Top 5 Olde-Timey Cocktails You’ve Never Had!

Welcome back to a food Friday. Even though we aren’t dealing with food today, this list will provide perfect ideas for your weekend. Today’s list is Top Five Olde-Timey Cocktails You’ve Never Had. Most of these drinks people have heard of, but rarely order when out. I know that its always easier and always more of a sure thing and always cheaper to just order a Miller Lite at a bar, but after making this list, I am going to try every single one of these drinks!

My guest today is Anna Sturgeon. Anna was nice enough to hire me for a job out in California. She is, for some reason, a huge Cincinnati Reds fan. We here at the Top 5 don’t hold that against her because if we made a Top 5 Shortstops in baseball, Brandon Phillips would easily be on it. Anna came up with this list on her own an submitted it to me and I couldn’t have been happier to make my list to correspond. Here is what Anna has to say and her list to follow:

I credit and thank “Mad Men” for the resurgence in popularity of the classic cocktail. I know it’s hard to beat the image of pounding Jager Bombs until you throw up on your shoes, but nothing is classier than knowing a good cocktail. You might have heard of some of these, but until you experience their definitive blends, you can’t discount these classics.

5) Tom Collins – The perfect way to describe this often discussed but seldom drank cocktail is carbonated lemonade meets gin. The perfect summer cocktail, it is both fizzy, sweet and stiff. The name of the drink is a little more than convoluted and I’m sure back in the days before Netflix and Pinterest were available to distract the masses, people thought it was a total gas to name a cocktail after a prank that wouldn’t even stand up to Punk’d criticisms. Back in the late 1800’s people would begin a conversation saying that Tom Collins, a cheeky bastard, has started a rumor about them, and urge the rumored to seek Tom Collins out. After a flurry of searching, the teller of the tale would laugh at the gullible mark, who would feel foolish. Yeah, I don’t know what that has to do with gin.

Plus, what’s not to love about a cocktail recipe that instructs you to drink it while it is “lively”

Jerry Thomas’ Tom Collins Gin (1876)
(Use large bar-glass.)

-Take 5 or 6 dashes of gum syrup.

-Juice of a small lemon.

-1 large wine-glass of gin.

-2 or 3 lumps of ice;

Shake up well and strain into a large bar-glass. Fill up the glass with plain soda water and drink while it is lively

Tom Collins

4) The Old-Fashioned – The name itself oozes old cocktail charm. The mixture of delicious bourbon, whiskey or brandy (bourbon is really the only way to go) is cited as the originating the term “cocktail,” an 1806 newspaper wrote that it was a “potent concoction of spirits, bitters, water and sugar.”  Don Draper’s cocktail of choice, it is not for the faint of heart, the bitters are a tough hang and the super-sweet of the maraschino cherry can be overwhelming. But a perfectly made Old-Fashioned can be perfection in a glass.

Old Fashion (1903 recipe)

Use old-fashioned cocktail glass. Sugar, 1 lump. Seltzer, 1 dash, and crush sugar with muddler. Ice, one square piece. Orange bitters, 1 dash. Angostura bitters, 1 dash. Lemon peel, 1 piece. Whiskey, 1 jigger. Stir gently and serve with spoon.

Don Draper with an Old Fashioned.

3) Singapore Sling – Fresh pineapple juice, Cherry Heering (so old fashioned you’ve probably never heard of it), Benedictine (ditto), and gin. The perfect summer cocktail, it’s creamy to the point that people often thing there is a dairy component added, similar to a Pina Colada. Invented sometime before 1915 by Ngiam Tong Boon, a bartender working at the Victorian hotel Raffles Hotel Singapore, it has become the signature drink of the hotel and quickly became a shadow of its former self with pre-mixed juices but the resurgence of old time cocktails has allowed this former glory to shine again.

The Recipe: Combine in a tall glass: 1.5 oz London dry gin (Beefeater or Tanqueray), 1.5 oz Cherry Herring or Bols cherry brandy, and .5 oz fresh-squeezed lime juice. Add ice, stir, and top off with 1 oz chilled seltzer. Float .5 oz Plymouth sloe gin over the top, stick a straw in it, and garnish with a lime wheel perched on the rim.

The Double “S”

2) Rob Roy – Created back in 1894, this was also made at a hotel bar, the Waldorf Hotel in NYC. This embodies everything a classic cocktail needs – scotch, vermouth, bitters and a maraschino cherry. Extremely similar to the Manhattan, the largest difference is that Rob Roy’s are created with Scotch rather than rye or now more commonly made with bourbon or Canadian whiskey. The drink is so simple but can be altered to be made sweet, dry, or perfect. The standard Rob Roy is made with sweet vermouth, so there is no need to specify a sweet Rob Roy when ordering and it is often garnished with a maraschino cherry whereas a dry Rob Roy is made by substituting dry vermouth for the sweet vermouth and topped with a lemon twist. The last and less common version is the aptly named perfect Rob Roy is an equal combination of both dry and sweet vermouth. Created in honor of the opera Rob Roy, this is a cocktail that will make even the most pallid day seem classier.

-1 1/2 oz Scotch

-1/4 oz sweet vermouth

-Angostura bitters to taste

maraschino cherry for garnish

Preparation:

-Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice.

-Stir well.

-Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

-Garnish with a cherry.

Rob Roy

1) Gin Ricky – My all time favorite drink. Refreshing and drinkable, this is little more than fresh lime juice and gin with a bottle of bubbly soda water waved beside it. Second only a glacial runoff, the Gin Rickey is a peerlessly cool, dry drink. Gin Rickey was named for Missouri politician “Colonel Joe” Rickey, who invented this concoction during the hot, muggy summer of 1883 in Washington, DC while he was busy shit-disturbing and making bets about who would become the newest Speaker of the House. I’m not sure if it is Col, Joe Rickey’s gentlemanly gambling ways that make me love this cocktail so much or just its crisp refreshment, but the shout-out in The Great Gatsby also doesn’t hurt.

Gin Rickey

-Put 3 or 4 ice cubes into a tall glass.

-Squeeze in 1/2 lime and drop in the rind.

-Add 1 1/2 oz gin.

-Top off with chilled club soda or seltzer.

Gin Rickey

Amazing list! Well done Anna. LIKE A BOSS! Here is my counterpart:

5. Old Fashioned – Like Anna said above, this is a classic. Mad Men is a show that has completely changed the way TV has done period pieces, and one of the things it has done is make smoking and drinking cool again. And drinking an Old Fashioned must be pretty cool. I feel like I want to go to a bar right now and order one…then I realize I don’t have $19 to spend on a drink. CURSE YOU DON DRAPER!

The Old Fashioned

4. Sazerac – I picked this drink for one main reason…for the one ingredient in it that was banned for a long time. That one ingredient is Absinthe. Although you only “swirl the glass with the Absinthe”, that seems good enough for me to make this list. I have always been fascinated with Absinthe and the history of it since College when I found out about Oscar Wilde’s obsession and thoughts with it. Oscar Wilde has been quoted as saying, “What difference is there between a glass of absinthe and a sunset?” and “After the first glass [of absinthe] you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see things as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world.” Not to mention Absinthe is a crazy cool looking liquid…its naturally GREEN! Alas, with most drugs (and that is what alcohol is) people started to blame the use of it on violent crimes and as early as 1898 countries started to ban the use of Absinthe. The USA banned it in 1912. Even though you can now get in some parts of the world again, I don’t think it will ever be as Oscar Wilde had it. Too bad.

-1 teaspoon of sugar syrup
-3 dashes of bitters
-2 – 2.5 ounces whiskey

Fill small old fashioned glasses with ice and set aside to chill.

Stir the above ingredients with large ice cubes until thoroughly chilled. Empty the old fashioned glasses and swirl a dash of absinthe in each one – discarding any left over liquid. Strain the liquor into each chilled and swirled glass. Twist a peel of lemon over each glass and drop it on top as a garnish. Serve with a small glass of ice water on the side as a chaser.

Sazerac (including the bottle of Absinthe)

3. Manhattan – These next two drinks I just personally believe are as classy as it can get. For this one, you must be a whiskey lover. I am not a huge whiskey guy, and I would prefer a the number 2 drink on this list over this, but both just seem way too classy to not have back to back.

-1 part Italian vermouth
-5 parts whiskey
-1 dash angostura

Stir (never shake) the above in a bar glass with ice. Strain in to a cocktail glass and garnish with a single maraschino cherry – if it does not have a stem, place it on a toothpick.

Manhattan

2. Martini – Now, I have never had a martini before (that’s why it’s on this list), but like most of you, I think of one thing when I hear it…James Bond. However, doing some research into the drink, I find that James Bond is probably an idiot when it comes to drinks. The main reason is, you NEVER shake a martini. That isn’t just because that is not the classy thing to do, you just don’t because it is a white liqour drink. All white liquor drinks are stirred because shaking introduced bubbles, introduces too much water, and the shaken wine (vermouth) makes the final result murky. Incidentally, if you absolutely must have it shaken – it is not a Martini, it is a Bradford. Now, a Bradford still sounds super classy, but no where near the level of class as the sound of a Martini.

-1 part Lillet Vermouth (French)
-7 parts best quality gin (Tanqueray No. 10 is recommended)

Stir the ingredients in a bar glass and strain into cocktail glass. Add an olive on a toothpick.

Martini

1. Tom and Jerry – To be completely honest, this drink is completely nostalgic for me. My grandpa used to make these at Christmas and I was never old enough to enjoy one before he died. I honestly don’t even know what one is or how to make one (Any of my aunts, uncles or parents reading? Please put Bill Leinenkugel’s recipe if you know it down in the comments). All I know is that he loved them and every Christmas, he would sit down in the basement playing blackjack with anyone who bellied up to the table and he would deal those cards with a smile on his face sipping those Tom and Jerrys. He would teach his grandkids how to play until they were able to play for themselves, then the choices were all theirs. And he loved taking money from anyone he could sitting next to the fire in the fire place. I wouldn’t be surprised if those were some of the happiest memories of his life. I know they were some of mine.

Tom and Jerry

That does it for this week of the Top 5. This also concludes the first month of this site being up! Thank you to everyone who reads it daily or checks it once in awhile. Thank you to all the guests that have taken some time to make a list and submit it to me. Remember, anyone can submit a list using the user ideas tab up at the top menu of the website. Leave what you will be trying (or just what you will be drinking) this weekend down in the comments and have a safe and wonderful weekend.