The Best

I’m probably not the smartest guy you’ve ever met. If I am, you need to meet more people. However, I do know one thing:

The 1990s were the greatest decade ever.

You want proof? Excellent. I’m a lawyer, so I like stuff like that. Here’s your proof:

“Saved by the Bell”

The Best

Honestly, that should be enough to settle any debate. However, here are a few more reasons why the 1990s were the best decade ever:

-It was cool to wear a Bugs Bunny shirt to school

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-The Nintendo 64. I could have sworn those graphics looked just like real life.

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WCW v. NWO v. WWF.  Mondays were awesome.

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-Epic TV shows like “Friends,” “Seinfeld,” and “The Fresh Prince.” Two of those shows are now on “Nick at Nite.” That makes me want to cry.

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-Oh, and “TRL.” I miss the days when seeing a thirty-second clip of your favorite music video was the highlight of your day. Seriously, that show was the peak of MTV and still the best thing that ever happened at 4pm.

-The 1990s graced us with songs such as “Gangsta’s Paradise,” “Getting Jiggy Wit’ It,” “Wonderwall,” “Waterfalls,” “Black or White,” “Wannabe,” everything Lauryn Hill did back then, “Baby One More Time,” “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life),” “Vogue,” “Jumper,” “Push,” “Sabotage,” “Ironic,” “One,” every Hootie and the Blowfish song, “No Diggity,” “California Love,” “Hypnotize,” “Iris,” “Don’t Speak,” “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “1979,” “Mr. Jones,” every Boyz 2 Men song, and, of course, the greatest song in the history of the world: “Ice Ice Baby” (dum dum dum da da da dum)

-Oh, and “I Want it That Way.” That is the song of our generation even though no one knows what the lyrics mean. It’s that good.

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-In the 1990s, “TGIF” was more than just a phrase. I miss the 1990s.

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-“Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin,” and the “Lion King” were back-to-back-to-back Disney masterpieces. There would be a lot fewer wars, violence, and crime if we were all required to watch those movies each week.

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-The best movie in the history of the world was released in the 1990s:

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Nothing has ever captured my sense of wonder like “Jurassic Park.” Except for the Seven-Layer Burrito at Taco Bell.

[ Timeout: There are many more items to include, but it’s 1:00am. Thus, I’ll wrap this up soon. Time in. ]

Timeout

Finally, the 1990s were the best decade ever because we weren’t so obsessed with the internet. We were at the perfect point in the evolution of technology. An endless world of information was at our fingertips, but only at dial-up speed and if no one else at home was using the telephone. We no longer had to rely on Microsoft Encarta or World Book Encyclopedia to answer all our questions, but we couldn’t get an answer to every question within seconds. You had to work for it. Oh, you had a favorite song in 1997? Then go buy the CD for $20. Or if you were really tech savvy, you could download that bad boy on Napster or some other shady site while fighting through thousands of pop-up ads. There were no iPods or MP3 players. If you wanted to listen to a song away from home, you had a Walkman or Discman. Good luck using the latter when exercising. Today, we can download or stream a song within seconds from anywhere.

All these technological advancements are great things. However, it’s time for the old man rant. I miss the days when everything wasn’t so connected, so instant, and so constant. I miss the days when you would hang out with friends and family and you were hanging out with friends and family, not all the different people on their respective newsfeeds. I fear that we’re missing out on so many of life’s treasures because of cellphones. Magical things can happen when we’re focused on the people around us or when our minds are empty and open to the creative sparks that happen during times of mental silence. Instead, we often fill those moments by looking at a screen.

Zach Morris Phone

Be Bold

I met Vanilla Ice this week.

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It was an incredible mix of awesome, hilarious, and nostalgia.

It also taught me an incredible lesson.

Be bold.

How did I get to meet Vanilla Ice, arguably the greatest pop culture icon in American history?

I asked.

That’s it.

I saw on his website that he had a tour date in Washington D.C. this week. It was listed as a “private corporate event.” My first reaction was that I need to work for whatever company hires Vanilla Ice for a work event. My second reaction was that I need to get in that event somehow.

After putting it off for a few weeks, I decided to take a chance. I found a few different email addresses online that were affiliated with Vanilla’s website or management team. I emailed them all.

And then I told my story:

I’m a 31-year old husband, lawyer, and father of twins. However, I was once the only white kid in my class. I was once a seven-year-old cruising around on a one-speed bike singing “Ice Ice Baby” all the time. I was once a guy who tried to beatbox in the back of my Spanish class and some guys called me Ice Ice Andrew. It became my AOL screen name when that was still a thing. A bunch of years later, I started a blog with the same name. I make awkward rap videos. Some lawyer friends and I recently performed “Ice Ice Baby” at a charity event that raised over $300,000 for the DC homeless.

That was the story.

It worked.

His manager told me to come by after the event. I went. I hung out with some of his team. They did shots. They asked me to join. That could only lead to trouble, so I politely declined and calmly sipped on my Corona Lite instead.

And then I talked to Vanilla Ice. For five minutes. I told him my story again. We bro hugged.

It was awesome.

Be bold.

(I do have to clear the air about one thing. Vanilla Ice is a liar. Despite his famous proclamation, he does not glow when you turn out the lights. I tested it out.)

Me and Vanilla Ice:

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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.”

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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.

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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.

Poppin’ the Question

Our world is faced with so many challenging questions. I thought I should lend a hand and start answering them.

Which is the best boy band of all time?

Don’t worry, I’ll tell you.

Poppin' the Question

First, what’s the criteria of being a boy band? Good question. Unfortunately, Webster’s dictionary doesn’t define the term. Urban Dictionary does, but its definition is pretty offensive.

So here’s the rules:

(1)  If you play instruments, you’re not a boy band. Thus, the Beatles, BBMak, Jackson 5, and Hanson were not boy bands. They all had too much talent.

(2)  If you don’t do synchronized dance moves, you’re not a boy band. Thus, LFO was not a true boy band, despite the fact that “Summer Girls” was one of the finest works of art of the 20th Century.

(3)  If you are too cool to be labelled as a “boy band,” you are not a boy band. Thus, the Temptations are not a boy band.

So those are the rules. Now it’s time for both of you to find out which boys bands are the greatest of all time:

Here. We. Go.

5.  One Direction: This boy band has been tearing up the charts for the past three years and their poppy beats and spirited vocals . . . OMG, I can’t do this. One Direction is automatically disqualified for having a song named “Best Song Ever.” When I hear kids talk about how One Direction is the greatest boy band ever, honestly, I get defensive. “Are you serious? Have you ever heard of Justin Timberlake? Nick Carter? Nick Lachey?” And then I feel ashamed for arguing with an 11-year-old about boy bands.

Okay, here’s the real list:

5. O-Town:  O-Town represents the high point in the boy band craze, which was probably also the low point in American history. I know two O-Town songs. One is pretty bad. The other is “All or Nothing.” It is probably the greatest song ever recorded (no offense to Britney or Beethoven).

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4.  New Kids on the Block: These guys started the boy band craze. Sure, there were boy bands before NKOTB, but those boy bands didn’t have TV shows, action figures, or a song as righteous as “Hangin’ Tough.” I went to the infamous NKOTBSB concert a few years ago. It was amazing. And sad. Joey McIntyre cried. So did my soul.

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3.  Boyz II Men:  These dudes were so cool with their white suits, soulful voices, and matching overalls. Honestly, I feel kind of bad about labeling them as a “boy band,” but if the matching and synchronized tapping shoe fits, you gotta roll with it. However, these boys/men were not your typical boy band. They were edgy. They spelled “boys” with a Z. Ballerz.

2.  *NSYNC:  I’m a big *NSYNC fan. How can you tell? I put the little star in front of the name. I’m that legit. *NSYNC had so many hits. So many epic videos. So many sweet dance moves. Yet, they find themselves in second place. Why? Because *NSYNC was really just JT and JC and three random dudes who kept showing up in the background. That’s not a band. That’s an American treasure, some other guy who is probably wondering what went wrong after 2001, and three random guys.

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1.  The Backsteet Boys:  I loved high school and pretty much everything about the late 1990s and early 2000s. Life was great. TRL was on TV every day, getting on the internet was a really big deal, 9/11 hadn’t happened yet, and gas was ninety cents a gallon. If there is one song that defined my high school experience, the turn of the millennium, and the boy band and cheesy pop music era, it was “I Want it That Way.” Sure, the lyrics don’t make any sense, but it doesn’t even matter when everything else about this song is fantastic. If you don’t sing along when you hear this song, or at least hum a little, you are probably a terrorist or a Nickelback fan.

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Bye.

Awkward White Guy Rap (Vol. X) – Katy Perry

I love music.  It is one of the few times when I feel like I can truly be free.  Truly be me.

Unfortunately, God forgot to give me some musical talent.  Thus, it is truly an honor to be able to hang with friends who are amazingly talented and make some music together.

World, it is time for you to meet Jen, Evan, and David.  They are awesome.  For reals.

Awkward White Guy Rap (Vol. X) - Katy Perry

I don’t even deserve to be in the same room with these people when anything relating to music is going down (except to be the dorky lawyer who negotiates their future record deals).  Yet, we hung out for an hour over the weekend and made this cover of Katy Perry’s “Roar.”  I LOVE this video and I hope you do too!  Thanks for reading, watching, sharing, and for being YOU!

Life’s Toughest Decision

This week I’ve written about one of my heroes, what it means to be a man, the purpose of life, and identity issues.  Thus, I thought I’d keep up the trend of serious posts.

It’s time to talk about heaven.

It’s time to talk about Britney Spears.

My ladies:

Life's Toughest Decision

Theologians, scholars, and Presidents have all debated the important topic of which Britney song is best.  Well, President Obama, I have the answers you’ve been looking for.  Here’s the official list of the best Britney songs:

#5:  “Baby One More Time” – You will always remember and cherish your first love.  This song and, more importantly, this video were the greatest inventions of the 20th Century (computers, televisions, and slap bracelets are overrated).  Tragically, this song came out fifteen years ago.  That makes me very sad and a little depressed.  I miss TRL, Ricky Martin, $1/gallon gas, and not being in my 30s.

My classy high school notebook:

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#4:  “Piece of Me” – Britney kind of hit rock bottom in the mid-2000s.  That happens when the love of your life marries another woman.  However, she finally moved on from me and now Britney is back on top of the music world.  This song was her comeback anthem.  For that reason, if you are facing an obstacle in your life, you should listen to this song.  A lot.  If you’re not facing an obstacle in your life, you should still listen to this song.  A lot.

#3 – “Selfish” – I’m guessing that only those who are a bit too obsessed with Britney are familiar with this song.  Well, that’s a shame.  IT’S SO GOOD.  However, I love it for another reason too.  Within the confines of our homes, we all do weird stuff that we (hopefully) don’t do in public.  Well, when this song is played in our house, I change the lyrics to “Shellfish” and sing everything from our dog’s perspective.  I have no idea why, but it’s a family tradition.  Sometimes I feel sorry for our kids.

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#2 – “Toxic” – This was the peak of Britneymania (for me and the rest of the world).  THIS SONG ALSO WON A GRAMMY AWARD!  That proves to me that nothing is impossible.  That prestigious award and the music video for “Toxic” also confirms my long-held belief that Britney Spears is the greatest artist of our generation and probably the greatest in history (Michelangelo and Mozart are a close second and third).

#1 – Nope, it’s not “Dear Diary” or “E-Mail My Heart.”  Those songs are a little too deep for me.  Rather, it’s “Break the Ice.”  Again, this is a random choice.  However, I’m a history nerd and there’s a lot of history between me and this song.

In February 2009, I was still paying a lot of money to go to law school, we didn’t have much cash in savings, and the financial crisis was being mean to the entire world.  Plus, my future job was in limbo. Thus, we had to live frugally.  For Valentine’s Day, instead of jewelry or a spa day, I gave Amanda the (free) gift of dance.

Specifically, I put together an entire choreographed dance routine to this song and busted out a surprise performance on Valentine’s Day.  For two straight weeks, after Amanda went to bed, I’d go into our living room and practice my midnight dance moves.  On February 14, 2009, this once-in-a-lifetime (thankfully) performance went down.  There is a video.  However, it will not be posted here because (1) I can’t find it on our old computer and (2) it’s kinda creepy.  Alas, I’ve listened to “Break the Ice” more than any other song ever written.  Thus, it is Britney’s greatest.

THE performance (and our messy apartment):

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TGIF!  Have a blessed weekend! Thanks for reading.  Yo.

Awkward White Guy Rap (Vol. III) – Eminem

If I had quit on my marriage, I would have missed out on a lot of priceless experiences.  Most importantly, I wouldn’t have made a “rap” video with my wife:

Awkward White Guy Rap - Lose Yourself - Eminem

As you’ll see in the below video, Amanda’s “flow” is pretty amazing “interesting.”  Straight outta North Dakota. Yo.

Enjoy!  Please don’t hate.  We’re a teacher and a lawyer.  We’re not rappers.  (Duh.)

The first “Awkward White Guy Rap Video” (Biggie’s “Hypnotize”) can be found here and my first feature musical film can be found here (Dr. Dre’s and Snoop Dogg’s “Still D.R.E.”).  Stay tuned for the release of another crazy “rap” jam on Monday.