Goodbye

Saying “goodbye” is one of the hardest things to do in life.

That is why I like to say “goodbye” with awkward dance moves and a little bit of sweat.

Enjoy!

Thanks to David and Jen for hanging out, having some fun, and not laughing at my “dance” moves (too much). It’s pretty funny that we filmed a video for “Bye Bye Bye” and “Gangsta’s Paradise” on the same day. Diversity is the spice of life. Yo.

Goodbye

On a related note, which is the best boy band of all time? Here is your answer.

One Night

I spend most of my work days sitting at a desk.

I spend most of my work days staring at Microsoft Word.

I spend most of my work days resisting the urge to eat all the free cookies in the break room.

But not this Thursday night.

Oh no, not this Thursday night.

This Thursday night. I will rap. I will dance. I will wear a crazy costume.

For work.

One Night - 4

This Thursday night, June 26, 2014, is the 11th annual “Banding Together” battle of the law firm bands throwdown in DC. Other than free burrito day at Chipotle during Teacher Appreciation Week, it is probably my favorite night of the year.

Here’s why:

1. This event raises more than $275,000 for Gifts for the Homeless, an amazing charity that provides clothes for the DC homeless community. This proves that lawyers are capable of doing good stuff.

2. I get to perform on the same stage where the Foo Fighters, Arcade Fire, the Killers, Kings of Leon, Radiohead, and the Roots have all jammed. I apologize for hurting those bands’ street cred.

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3. I get to perform with some amazing, talented, and funny people:

Sutherland Comfort. We’re often mistaken for the Wu-Tang Clan.

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4. 1,000+ people go to this thing. Although a lawyer battle of the bands might sound kind of lame, it’s not. It’s pretty [[ insert whatever is the most current word for hype/cool/ill/dope/ ]].

5. I’ve made the Washington Post twice for this event. Unfortunately, both times I was shown wearing the (fake) red Kangol hat pictured above.

6. A bunch of my awesome friends go. You should too. Please?

One Night

7. I’ve been practicing the Running Man. For work.

8. Sarah Jessica Parker would be jealous of my on-stage wardrobe changes.

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9. Our firm really supports this thing. We raised $45,000 for our band last year. People at our office buy Sutherland Comfort t-shirts. They also scream really loudly to help cover up my slightly-worse-than-average rapping.

10. I’ll be singing one of the most important songs in the history of the world.

In short, I’m a little bit excited about Thursday night (but also fearful that I pass out or fall off the stage and end up on Tosh.0). If you are in DC that night and want to help support the homeless community, come on out and watch some lawyers get turnt (or turned?) up! The event starts at 7:00pm and is going down at the Black Cat. Sutherland Comfort will start rocking the stage around 9:15pm. Tickets are $10. If you can’t attend, but would still like to contribute to this awesome cause, you can do so here. Finally, if you feel compelled to babysit two adorable twins that night so Amanda can attend, that would be the illest.

Wonders

I’ve written a lot about parenting and family issues lately. It’s time to take a break from the personal stuff and get back to issues of global importance.

First up:

What is the greatest one-hit wonder of all time?

Great question. Thanks for asking. Here’s the answer:

Honorable Mention:

Vicki Sue Robinson – “Turn the Beat Around” – This song makes me wants to jump out of my seat and dance all night in the club.  Unfortunately, I’m a bad dancer and I’m too old and too married to dance all night in a club.

The Heights – “How Do You Talk to an Angel?”  AOL Instant Messenger?

Sinead O’Connor – “Nothing Compares 2 U” – This sorrowful ballad should be in the Top Ten, but a deep, intense, and powerful song like this one deserves to have the words in the title spelled out.  Is that 2 much 2 ask?

Okay.  Now on to the Top Ten.

10.  Marky Mark – “Good Vibrations” – As an awkward white kid growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, two guys gave me hope that anything was possible: Larry Bird, a seemingly non-athletic white guy, was one of the best three basketball players on the planet, and Marky Mark, a seemingly untalented white rapper, made one of the best rap songs ever.

“Vibrations good like Sunkist.”

Marky Mark GIF

9.  Modern English – “Melt With You” – This song is so good that Amanda and I planned to do a ridiculous choreographed dance to it as the first dance at our wedding back in pre-YouTube 2005.  However, we were 22-year-olds planning our own wedding and we ran out of time.  Plus, some of the lyrics would have been an awkward way to kick off a wedding reception.

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8.  The Calling – “Wherever You Will Go” –  During my first year of college, I did three things: (1) eat waffles; (2) play Halo; and (3) listen to this song.

7.  Tag Team – “Whoomp! (There It is.)” This is an oft-forgotten song that, well, should never be forgotten. I remember a bunch of us singing this jam in gym class in elementary school. No one knew the words so it would be thirty seconds of awkward mumbles followed by a bunch of prepubescent kids yelling “Whoomp! There it is!” My only problem with this song is that the video is depressing: 1993 was a long time ago.

6.  Des’ree – “You Gotta Be” – I recorded this song on a cassette player while listening to Deliah one night back in the mid-1990s. I later listened to that tape all week during a basketball camp in 1996. It was my hype song. My roommate laughed. Then he stole all of my basketball jerseys. I still miss my Penny Hardaway jersey.

5.  O-Town – “All or Nothing” – A few months ago, I made a list of the best boy bands. O-Town was on that list. 98 Degrees was not. Hundreds of thousands of Nick Lachey fans sent me nasty emails. No offense to Nick and his frosted tips, but this song is the reason why O-Town was ranked higher. It’s a masterpiece.

o-town-liquid-dreams

4.  Gary Glitter – “Rock and Roll Part II”This song has no words other than “heeeeeeeeey,” but I could still listen to it all day long. Even at 31 years old, I still go nuts when I’m at a UVA game and this (jock) jam is played. Confession: I sometimes play it when the kids are doing tummy time.

2002 (Surprisingly, UVA actually won this football game):

2002

3.  Macy Gray – “I Try” – While some of the songs on this list are cheesy, this one is a moving and powerful work of art. I love it. I also love the fact that Macy Gray and her unorthodox voice and style became a star. 15 years after this song was released, I still sing it all the time (usually when I buy a pack of Double Stuf Oreos after swearing to give them up).

2.  Vanilla Ice – “Ice Ice Baby” – In Exodus, God, in burning bush form, tells Moses to take off his sandals because he was standing on holy ground. We do the same in our house when this song is played.

Vanilla Ice

1.  Francis Scott Key – “The Star-Spangled Banner” – This song is awkward, I don’t know what “spangled” or “ramparts” mean, but America is cool and this is our jam.

America

Bye.

Round Two

I enjoy my job. A lot. However, the last six weeks have been tough. It’s been really sad to leave my amazing wife and kids at home each morning to go sit in an office and stare at a computer all day (and sometimes night). It’s especially tough because the kids are so happy in the mornings when I leave and, well, they are less so at night when I return.

It’s all good though.

It’s time for paternity leave, baby babies.

I took two weeks of paternity leave in April. It was amazing. However, it also felt like I was Ivan Drago in Rocky IV. It was a battle. It was exhausting. Much like that Creed-killing Communist, I lost the fight. It was just diapers and feedings for fourteen straight days. Checking the mail and taking the dog out were my recreational activities. Going back to work seemed like a vacation.

Now it’s time for Round Two of paternity leave.

We’re going to try to stretch our family wings a bit more this time. Of course, there will be plenty of diapers, feedings, and naps, but here are some other things that will be going down during these two weeks of paternity leave (I hope):

1. The kids are going to their first Nationals game! I feel bad for subjecting them to decades of frustration as a Nationals fan, but at least they’ll be in “good” company.

Round Two

2. No alarm clocks will be set.

3. I got a new bike last weekend. It’s shiny. I’ve been too scared to ride it because of the nasty weather and my massive work bag I’ve been rocking on the trail. I will ride it this week. A lot. Next week too.

4. We’re going to Charlottesville! We considered hanging out in San Francisco for a week, but my work schedule was a bit up in the air and the thought of 12 hours of flight time with two babies was terrifying. We’re excited about giving the kids a tour of our family history, visiting Monticello for the first time (I’m ashamed of that fact), and eating way too much food at some of our favorite college spots.

Round Two - UVA

5. I’m going to read a book. It has been a year.

6. There will be another silly “happy X month” photo. Sorry, kids.

Two Months

7. I’m going to eat at Taco Bell. For breakfast.

8. I’m playing a game of basketball at the Verizon Center. Amanda and the kids will be there too. I’m hoping John Wall will sign the kids’ heads.

9. I will not gain any weight on paternity leave this time, but…

10. We will eat at Dairy Queen. At least twice. I need a Blizzard.

11. It’s been about a hundred years, but rap videos will be made. The kids have been going on and on about how badly they want to be in a rap video. It’s time. Yo.

12. An epic cookout with 273 other tired parents and their kids will occur. We’re hoping we can leave our kids there for a few hours and no one will notice. I want to go see “Godzilla.”

13. The 183-foot high pile of clean clothes on the guest bed and the 392-foot pile of dirty clothes on our bedroom floor will be eliminated. By me. Amanda flooded the house last time she did laundry. That’s my game.

14. We will go on walks. Our dog will likely pout after a few dozen feet, lay down, and then I’ll be forced to carry him home. Our neighbor with the Greyhound will laugh.

Napoleon Confused

15. We will go to the neighborhood playground. I will play basketball and destroy the local middle schoolers. Amanda and the kids will pretend they don’t know me.

I. Can’t. Wait.

(All of this is subject to Amanda’s written approval.)

Happy weekend, party people!

The Other Side of History

There are two sides to every story.  Of course, there is the story you read about in the news, history books, and Wikipedia.  However, to get to the real story, you need something else.

You need a rap video.

The History of the Supreme Court

It’s time to tell you a story.

The History of the Supreme Court

Here’s the good news:

(1)  I didn’t get fired.
(2)  I have two rookie co-workers who I persuaded to join me in this rap video.
(3)  I didn’t get fired.

Enjoy!

Some of the lyrics are pretty dope, in a dorky lawyer way, so I wanted to include them here.  Please do not cite these in a brief or research assignment. You will probably be disbarred…

In East Philadelphia, 1787,
America was born, the Constitution was written,
We won the war,
Now we were free,
Supreme Court was created in Article Three.
But a couple of guys,
Who were up to no good,
They said the power of the courts was misunderstood,
If Congress passes an unconstitutional law
What can the courts do?
Court said in Marbury to strike it down under judicial review.

The party didn’t stop,
McCulloch came next,
The states said their powers were greatest under the Constitutional text.
C.J. John Marshall, he took a long pause,
Then he ruled that the federal government is top dog under the supremacy clause.

For 100 more years the feds were feeling so good,
Then President Truman showed up in the neighborhood.
Seizing steel millz and cruising along,
Rapping bout how the President be so strong.
SCOTUS stepped in said – “Whoa, Truman, hold on,”
We got a three part test that gonna prove you wrong.

In 1954 Chief Justice E-Dub started laying down the law –
Civil rights for all the people –
Brown v. Bd. said separate is not equal
The Court didn’t stop there, civil rights couldn’t be ditched,
Loving v. Virginia – all races can get hitched

It’s a new century, Y2K, and Nov. 7, 2000 is election day,
Florida can’t get it straight and it’s a tie score,
SCOTUS said GW’s the winner in Bush v. Gore
2010 campaigns are back and SCOTUS don’t mind it,
Dropping mad cash for candidates in Citizens United.
2012 will healthcare get the constitutional axe?
John G. Roberts says “NO, we’ll just call it a tax!”

Fast-For-Ward a bit to the present day,
You be thinking “What’s the court gonna say?”
Well there’s Noel Canning v. NLRB,
Are recess appointments constitutional?  We’ll have to see.
Obamacare is back with Hobby Lobby
What can the government require of a private company?

That’s the history of the Supreme Court, as told by a lawyer rap band,
Now let’s give it up for the highest court in the land.

Awkward White Guy Rap – Britney Spears

We all have a Fountain of Youth, a Moby Dick, or a Holy Grail that seems unattainable, uncatchable, and unreachable.  It might be those last five pounds you just can’t shed, running a six-minute mile, or beating the fiftieth level of Candy Crush.

For me, it was performing a Britney Spears song.

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No longer.

Due to the help of one amazing singer (Jen!), a spirited violinist and his flashy blue violin (Jackie!), and two uber-cool brothers (Dave and Phil!) who make up one-half of an amazing band (The Unlikely Hero!), I found my Holy Grail this past weekend.

Thanks for watching!

A special thanks to Jen, Jackie, Dave, and Phil for making this video possible!  Huge thanks to Paul A. for letting us use his camera and for Capital City Church for letting us jam in the office to film this silly video.  Finally, thanks to Britney Spears for the inspiration.

Seriously, watch The Unlikely Hero video linked above.  They are so good.

Oh, and this video helps explain my Facebook post from Thursday:

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G-G-G-Great-Grandparent Rap

My four grandparents are some of the greatest blessings in my life.  They have all taught me so much and impacted my life in such tremendous ways.

I got to hang out with two of my grandparents in Virginia Beach over the weekend.  As I noted yesterday, I spent most of my time in The 757 eating the amazing cookies, sweet potatoes, and pies my grandmother (a.k.a. Memama) lovingly made.

However, in between caloric throwdowns, my grandparents made a rap video:

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These awesome heroes were born in 1933.  80 years later, they made a rap video about their soon-to-be-arriving great-grandchildren, Austin and Madison.  Not only was it incredible, but it was beautiful too.  Even more impressive, there were no practice sessions, no memorized lyrics, and no cue cards hidden behind the camera.  Rather, like me at an Indian food buffet, they just dove in and went for it.

I love this so much.

You can check out other silly rap videos here.  Be warned, none of them are as epic as this G-G-G-Great Grandparent Rap.