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DubiousCraves: Bago De Touriga (Terroso), 2004 (Douro, Portugal)

Bago De Touriga - Terroso 2004, $12-16 where available.

Behold! This is the greatest red wine you will ever taste in your lifetime!

I usually try not to make guarantees when it comes to stuff like this, but recently I had the pleasure of tasting this wine at (of all things) a wine tasting.

Hailing from the hillsides of southern Portugal, Terroso de 2004, has a very earthy and heavy taste to it that's perfect for seasoned red-wine drinkers. It was so good, in fact, that I was inclined to go back and have second and third glasses.

Moderately priced, Terroso is a perfect holiday gift for me, ahem, the wine enthusiasts on your list.




I Also do a Radio Show

Apologies for being so sparse on this blog thing of mine. I've been ridiculously busy the past few weeks or so trying to get this radio show/podcast off the ground.

I'm already five episodes in and busy editing the latest one as we speak.

Check it out whenever you get a chance. Even better? Subscribe to it on iTunes!

Thank you all again for the continued support of my blog and everything that's been put into it.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.



The Essentials: Get On the Good Foot...

Men in modern society, for the most part, have a very narrow scope when it comes to their shoe selections. They rarely tend to venture past that worn-down pair or Rainbow or Reef flip flops and the pair of brown loafers worn for every special occasion from your 12th birthday to your older sister's college graduation.

It's time to refine your palete before you run the risk of being labeled "that guy" who still wears New Balances with khakis:

1. The Chelsea Boot

Made famous by British bands like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, the chelsea (or dealer boot, for the England natives), became an essential part of the gentlemen's wardrobe from the mid-60s on.

Air Lucarno Chelsea Boot with Nike AIR Technology by Cole Haan. $430. zappos.com.

Chelsea boots are best worn with slim cut pants and suits, becuase the boot itself is usually made of a skinnier design. As long as you keep the boot simple (i.e. - brown or black), the rest of your outfit should, and will, follow suit.

2. The Classic Samba

A quinessential staple for casual Fridays and weekend getaways.

Adidas Samba Classic Soccer Shoe. $40. adidas.com

Pair it with a khaki suit, but make sure you lose the button down and opt for a lightweight polo or t-shirt to maintain the laid-back look.

3. The Wild Card

As much as I would like for all young men to follow the guidelines of sofisticated style, you always need to leave room for a little imagination.

Nike Vandal Supreme High. $140. nike.com

A new favorite of mine would have to be these incredible Nike Vandal Supreme Highs that I scoped a few months ago. I have yet to secure a pair (the soles have wood grain accents, for crying out loud).

No matter what you decide, make sure you're comfortable and go a little crazy if you like. You won't go wrong, though, if you keep it simple and make it your own.



DubiousCraves: Lasonic i931 Portable iPod Ghetto Blaster

As much as I hate to perpetuate the stereotype that has come with the ghettoblaster-carrying era of the urban mid-80s, there is something utterly irresistable about the Lasonic Portable iPod Ghettoblaster.

The nostaligic qualities alone make it the perfect summer gift for your freinds, family and even (most importantly) your damned self!

It has an AM/FM tuner, 3.5mm stereo auxiliary input, USB input and SD card reader for direct MP3 playback. The only downside is the incompatibility it has with iPhones, but the auxillary jack should clear that up.

Lasonic's RAP-UP limited-edition Ghettoblaster, $169, lasonic.com

Not only would you be the talk of probably all of your friends, but this is definitely something that could be handed down from generation to generation.

Radio Raheem would be proud.



New Music Review: Diddy – Last Train to Paris

It's bad enough most of us are still trying to get the taste of Press Play out of our mouths, but Diddy has done it again with his art nouveau-inspired album, Last Train to Paris.

First announced (almost seven months before the projected release date), during an episode of Making the Band, this album is anything short of a train wreck.

Promising fans that he's going to "bring a new sound", Diddy is more than confident in his talents as a rapper and producer.

A screenshot of Diddy's LSTP iPhone app that keeps you updated with everything from concert dates to Twitter posts.

But this is just a bunch of hot air out of the wrong end of Bad Boy's head-guy-in-charge.

He should have stuck to things he was go at, like throwing white parties, and left hip-hop to the professionals.

Listen Now (but you really don't have to): "Diddy Bop"


DubiousTips: Staying Fit on the Go

Work, school, children, parents, stress, deadlines, coffee runs and lunch breaks – these are just a handful of the many distractions in our lives that keep us from eating healthy and staying fit. But there is hope. Here are a few tips and tricks of the trade to stay active in an overactive world:

  • Regardless of how much free time you may have at the end of the day, do NOT exercise at night. The added flow of adrenaline could keep you awake for anywhere up to four hours after you leave the gym. This does not bode well for the morning after.
  • If you can schedule it, try to work out a weekly routine with a partner a few days a week; preferably someone who isn't prone to convincing you to skip out on workout days. The added pressure of not wanting to stand up or reschedule with your partner will give you enough motivation to keep with the routine.
  • It's perfectly okay to "workout" at your desk, but don't be that obnoxious co-worker that turns at-your-desk butt crunches into a spectator sport. We've come here to work and complain about work, not watch the strained look on your face.
  • Treat your workout routine as a sacred ritual; A time when you can release all the stress and strain that you might be carrying. This will make the experience seem more enjoyable and less of a chore.
  • There are a handful of iPhone apps, like iFitness and the "100" collection, that can help stay in shape without missing a beat. Check them out on the App Store in iTunes under "Healthcare and Fitness".



DubiousSighting: Baked Bakery and Coffee

The view outside my window. I could get used to this...

It's about 8 a.m. as I write this post and I couldn't help but wonder something: why don't I ever see more black people at coffee shops in the morning?

At first, part of me thought that it was just a scheduling conflict, of sorts, you know? Most people usually don't make it into work these days until about 9 a.m or so, right?

But then, as I took a closer look at the types of people coming into the coffee shop, I realized that it's really a certain caliber of human being that frequents these types of establishments at such an ungodly time of the morning (both black and white, mind you).

The same caliber that's been responsible for adapting that old adage: "The early bird gets the worm."

They say that there's no real rest for the wary, and now I've finally figured out what that means now after the countless times I've heard it.

It means that in order to be truly successful in this life, you can't allow yourself to be satisfied with the status quo. You always have to have that fire in your belly, so to speak.

It was with this revelation that I also realized that I hadn't felt said "fire" for a long time until recently (which is rather odd for a 22-year-old).

So, I suppose, there is much to be said for that much scrutinized, but often underrated "early bird" crowd that flocks to the nearest java spot. They've got a lot to accomplish in a very short period of time, or to "catch the worm", if you will.

This is a mentality that I could definitely get used to...


New Music Review: M.O.P – Foundation

"Ante Up!" – This is probably the anthem that most hardcore hip-hop enthusiasts are familiar with. Yes, there was a time when M.O.P muscled their way to the tippy top of the rap mountain with head bangers like "Cold as Ice" and the "Ante Up!" remixes with Busta Rhymes and Remy Martin.

But this doesn't mean that their rise to fame, in the late 90s, wasn't riddled with label disputes, petty in-fighting and money woes.

Through it all, they've been able to come from the ashes and release a preview of, Foundation, their ninth studio album overall and first album with the E1 Music label.

Foundation, right off the bat, has something that most hip-hop of this sub-genre doesn't: Intensity.

And I'm not just talking about the bang-your-head-in type of intensity. There is a certain rawness and reality that comes with many of the tracks on the album. The most complex and heavy track is "Prep Foundation". There's not much I can say other than it is definitely the track to be on the lookout for.

The full album is slated to release December 29th, but for anyone that's even remotely familiar with the rap game, release dates are usually taken for a grain of salt.

Listen Now: "Prep Foundation" and "Blow the Horns" featuring Busta Rhymes.



New Music Review: Jeremih

This young upstart has had a quick rise to the top of the charts over the past few months.

With his signature track, "Birthday Sex", backing him up, most people would look at this artist and think that he has everything going for him and then some.

Unfortunately, I am not most people. The biggest problem with this album is not all-star production cast (Mike Schultz of Def Jam Records), or the official backing of L.A. Reid, Island Def Jam's chairman and executive VP of A&R.

No, it's more so the fact that Jeremih, (pronounced Jere-mee), is just not very good on this album. While one can applaud him for keeping the guest list of supporting artists down to a bare minimum, the album just doesn't have much of a voice.

There is no unique or defining factor that separates him from the rest of the watered-down, sorry excuses for R&B floating around the charts right now. And as much as I would like to give him a chance, I really just can't.

Granted, women are still going to get weak in the knees every time they hear the tell-tale "Girl, you know I-I-I-I" reprieve, but Jeremih's novelty is going to fizzle out faster than most of those same women would like to think.

Listen Now: "Birthday Sex" and "Imma Star (Everywhere We Are)"



The Essentials: Summer Survival 2.0

It's hot. And I don't mean "hot" as in oh-I-gotta-put-on-shorts-and-a-shirt hot, I mean the kind of excruciating heat that keeps most normal human beings from stepping out the house between the 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Unless they really have to.

Between the recession and the rising temperatures, it's hard for a man to stay cool, fresh and dry, but there are a few ways you can make the heat a tad bit more bearable:

1. Shave and a haircut.

Doesn't get much simpler than that. Keeping the hair on your dome to a bare minimum is one of the best ways to stave of a possible case of heat exhaustion and inflammation of the skin.

When getting rid of the winter/spring shag, be sure to take extra care before and after going under the blade. I recommend using Grooming Lounge Beard Master Shave Oil, $25, and American Crew Post-Shave Cooling Lotion, $17. Both of these products are great for keeping you cool and smooth after a mid-morning shave.

Haircuts should be as close to the skin as you'd would prefer, the first time around. Every time after that, you should cut your hair about a quarter of an inch less. This way, you can ease into the cooler, fall months without looking like you just got out of boot camp.

2. Powder it down.

For some reason, men have forgotten that their ancestors and the ancestors that came before that all used some (albeit archaic, at times) form of body powder to keep dry and cool before heading off to work. Hell, there were generations of men who would forgo a shower or bath, altogether, opting for a full-body "powdering" before engaging in the days events.

By no means am I recommending this, but it never hurts to throw a little powder over the shoulders and back, down the chest and legs, as well as on any other part of the body that might be prone to, ahem, heavy perspiration.

LeBron has the right idea.

Gold Bond Medicated Body Powder, $6, has been my favorite for a few years now but you can also go for Johnson's Baby Powder, $5, if you have more sensitive skin.

3. Pucker up.

The lips are the most under-appreciated parts of the male body. For years, we've been taught that if we lick 'em every now and again, the saliva will be more than enough to stave of any kind of dryness.

Thankfully, the majority of us are not L.L. Cool J, so we have to take more conventional approaches to making sure those soup coolers on our faces are adequately hydrated.

As hard as this sounds, the easiest way to maintain this is to carry a modest-sized tube of lip balm on you at all times. Brands like Carmex, Burt's Bees, Nivea for Men and Blistex all make exceptional products that make sure your lips don't resemble cracked earth after a drought.



New Music Review: Busta Rhymes - "Back on My B.S."

After the bomb (and I don’t mean that in a good way) that Busta Rhymes dropped back in 2006 titled, The Big Bang, a great deal of fans started to doubt whether Mr. Rhymes was going to be capable to delivering the same kind of heat heard on albums like Anarchy and Genesis.

Before all hope was lost, radio listeners were given a taste of what Busta and his crew were working on with the song, “Don’t Touch Me… (Throw Da Water on Them) during the fall of 2008. It was with this single that Flipmode fanatics everywhere rejoiced as we were treated to glimpses of the old Busta Rhymes.

Rhymes’ newest record, released May 19th, teeters on the edge between throwback and club banger. Tracks like “World Go Round” support Busta’s rhymes with the kind of synth-bass beats found in a techno club but still have the substance to keep the die-hard fans happy.

It’s understandable why Busta has to play devil’s advocate with his current, mainstream sound but it’s good to hear that he’s found a stable balance between the past and present.

Busta Rhymes - "Respect My Conglomerate"


DubiousEndorses: Black Eyed Peas' "Boom Boom Pow" music video

Aside from the shameless plug for the newest HP touch screen desktop, the Black Eyed Peas have pulled out a gem with the video for their hot single, “Boom Boom Pow”.

Let’s put it this way, if Hype Williams, director for the “Universal Mind Control” video, and the Black Eyed Peas collaborated on this song, there is a good chance that this video would have been a very strong contender for video of the year.

Black Eyed Peas - "Boom Boom Pow" music video.

Futuristic and very digital, the “Boom Boom Pow” video is a perfect example of what happens when you don’t shortchange your budget when it comes to visuals. Between Fergie rocking a skin-tight bodysuit and Taboo actually doing something decent with his hair, there’s nothing negative you can really say.

Unfortunately, it's going to take a lot more than a few digitized geometric shapes and some choreographed pop n' lock moves to get the nasty taste of the "Fergalicious" video out of our mouths. Their current effort, though, is definitely a step in the right direction.


Tech Review: The Zune HD

Having gone through the lion's share of Apple products in the past 7 years or so, I found it quite refreshing when I came across this device on the Gizmodo.com website.

Given the fact that I don't have the right media credentials to get any pertinent information on its specs or release date, I've left it up to Gizmodo and friends to provide the skinny on what's to be expected and what's still in the dark:

OLED 3.3-inch multitouch screen at a 480x272 resolution, web browser (IE-based), Xbox Live integration (Xbox will get Zune's videos instead of their own separate version), HD radio receiver, 720p TV output and streaming music directly from the Zune store via Wi-Fi.

Here's what we still don't know:

• Will the Xbox platform also get access to the Zune music library? THAT would be a huge coup for the Xbox platform over the PS3, being able to stream music on the fly just like the Zune HD.

• How much will this supposed Xbox music support cost? Our guess is that it'll be free, if you have the unlimited-rentals Zune Pass, but you never know.

• Will this go the other way? Will you be able to access Xbox Live's game trailers and videos on your Zune? Will the two repositories merge?

• How about Live Anywhere, the damn cellphone/mobile device Xbox Live access that was first shown off in 2006 that we're still waiting for. Will Zune HD be the device that FINALLY gets this?

• Xbox games on the Zune? Is this what Microsoft is waiting until E3 to announce? That the Zune will be getting not just games, but Xbox-quality games? Xbox Live Arcade games? They'd have to be retooled for the touchscreen Zune controls, sure, but slapping the Xbox brand on it will sell some Zunes.

• How much will it cost? The OLED touchscreen probably isn't cheap, and if that supposed Xbox game integration is true, that means costly hardware to back it up.

• Where's the Zune Phone? Even if everything we surmised above is true, there's still one caveat: it's not a phone. People only have so many pockets, so it doesn't matter how great a mobile device is—if it's not their phone, which must be taken around everywhere, it'll get left behind much of the time.

I suppose we'll just have to wait and see...


DubiousCraves: Nike Air Yeezys

I really don't like to promote people who have very little problem promoting themselves, but there is something beautiful and undeniable about the (fairly) new set of sneakers that are the product of a Nike and Kanye West collaboration.

Air Yeezys evoke a certain swagger and genius of design that's unparalleled.

Unfortunately, it's rather hard to find a pair at all in Charleston, so it would be in your best interest to make that trip to the source and cop a pair of your own: the Internet. Be careful, though. Just like custom-made Dunks, for every legitimate seller in the world, there are 100 more willing to swindle you out of your hard-earned cash without any remorse.