Best Place: New Orleans City Park and NOMA
I have been blessed with the good fortune to travel to many places on this planet, and anyone who knows me would easily tell you that I am a solid advocate of a culturally rich, urban lifestyle. But from time to time, the bustling streets and tall buildings can be a little too much, and you have to find even an iota of tranquility. Fortunately, I was able to do so, right here, in New Orleans. The New Orleans City Park has got to be one of the most serene places in this part of the world. It boasts 1,300 acres of walking paths, trails, and ample space for a peaceful bike ride, located in the heart of the city…There are a lot of things to dislike about New Orleans, or about the general ideal of urban life, but this is truly not one of them. In fact, I think that a few growing environs in our state—yes, Houma and Lafayette--should take notes, and make an effort to preserve such broad portions of their own green spaces, before expansion transforms potentially serene treasures into mundane, concrete jungles.
Best Clothier: Ermenegildo Zegna
Okay, here is Rule #1: every man should own at least one suit, because it is the mark of a respectable gentleman.
Rule #2: If you should only own one suit, it should be black. That is because a black suit is timeless in appearance and nearly always appropriate.
And so, if I might make a recommendation to every man out there, whether buying that first suit or buying the next suit: do yourself a favor, and spend the extra money on a finely crafted, well-tailored Zegna. Trust me, you can spot the threading of a cheap suit from a mile away. Fortunately, this company has around been for 100 years, and it has always produced a product befitting of kings and corporate raiders.
Best Food: Bolthouse Farms Beverages
Okay, so this is how the story goes: I was doing some routine shopping one afternoon, and I ran across these things in the produce section of a Winn Dixie. My first one was the C-Boost beverage, which contained so many cherries and pureed mangos and apples that I was overwhelmed. Later, I tried the Green Goodness, which looks quite odd, but---OH MY GOD!!! These beverages are amazing!!!
Best Television Show: Kings
This was a tough one for me. ABC’s Flash Forward deserves some very high marks of originality, and I do like True Blood on HBO. But I think that I have to give it to NBC’s Kings for stealing my attention completely. The NBC program is based on the Old Testament story of David, the shepherd boy who rose to the throne in Israel. His is a story that has always fascinated me, and so, it would only make sense that a television adaptation would get me going. The show has been cancelled, to be sure, because it was a little heavy for those unacquainted with the biblical story, and because it seemed to move to slowly. But I still place this one-season epic in my annals of television, right alongside Picket Fences and The West Wing, both of which, admittedly, were far more serious television.
Best Car: The Fisker Karma
The tumult in our economy brought much of Detroit to its knees in 2009, and it might have opened the door to an entirely new generation of car makers. Sure, we see pretty concept vehicles all the time, but none ever make it to mass production. But I am hoping that is not the case with the Fisker Karma, a car designed to use gas and electricity in a new way—and to look good while doing it. (For the first 50 miles, the Karma uses no fuel, but the gas used to charge the batteries of the vehicle.) The Karma is supposed to reach something akin to 100MPG for commuters travelling less than 50 miles per day, and that could be a really good thing…for those of us able to pony up about $90K in 2011.
Best Book: Seizing Destiny
Richard Kluger’s book is a masterful retelling of our nation’s history, and it is the best explanation of “manifest destiny” that I have heard since Sherry Jones’s 9th-grade, history class. Of course, this recommendation will fall on deaf ears, but I still say that every American needs to read this book.
Best Toy: The Blackberry Tour
In 2008, I had made a decision. I had realized that I had become “too plugged” into the world, and that my RAZR, or its companion Bluetooth earpiece, never left my side. I had been spending hours on the phone everyday—and it had to stop. And so, I had jettisoned the cellular phone and the world of instant availability…But, in September, I re-entered that world, and I am so glad I did. My “Crackberry” is the best thing that has ever happened to me. It is not just a mobile phone; if it was, then it would be meaningless. Rather, it is a conduit for all of my favorite podcasts; it routes all of my emails automatically; and it serves as my MP3 player, my web browser, my navigator, my news source, my camera, and my video recorder and viewer…Simply put, I LOVE MY CRACKBERRY!!!!
Best Movie: Invictus
This story about a nation in transition is really sharp and compelling. Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon do great jobs in portraying the two men who brought a nation together with a rugby tournament. It will make you believe in the impossible.
Best Musician: Fedde Le Grande
This title could have gone to a lot of people this year, and I am actually going to admit that Lady GaGa was not one of them. But Fedde Le Grande has to be one of the coolest DJ’s out there right now (next to my buddy and New Orleans's own, Perry Alexander), and I enjoy everything that he puts out.
Okay, that is it for now. I plan to write more actively this year, so stay tuned, but for now, have a great holiday weekend.