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. ]

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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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All-Stars

Hi.

Tonight is Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game. Unfortunately, I fell a few million votes short of making one of the teams. Maybe next year.

In the interim, I’ve put together a list of some of the All-Stars in my life. This list isn’t exclusive, but just some of the names I could think up at midnight. I just want to say thanks to these people for being awesome.

Amanda M.: I’m really glad I married this lady. She makes me laugh every single day.

Steve Ellis: I’m guessing none of y’all know Steve. I don’t know Steve. However, Steve founded Chipotle. Thank you, Steve.

Paul M. and Eddie W.: These guys are some of our BFFs. They make us laugh, they are always there to help, and they are incredible cooks.

Paul and I as (unintentionally creepy) Bert and Ernie, Halloween 2013:

All Stars

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Hannah M.Hannah inspired me to start this blog. She also loves the same kind of terrible music that I enjoy.

Tom Brady: He’s won “5” Super Bowls for my beloved New England Patriots. Thank you, Tom. We should hang out again:

My mom and Amanda’s mom: Both of them have stayed with us a bunch over the first few months of our kids’ lives. Their love, support, and help have been priceless. We would not have survived without them.

Joe S.We send a lot of snarky texts. Most of them are about baseball and the horrible grammar we see people use on Facebook. It is healthy to vent somewhere.

Steve F.: More snarky texts. Most are about crazy stuff our kids do, the highs and lows of being a lawyer, and how amazing our wives are at everything. Steve also makes me feel young when we hang out because he’s much older than me.

Josh O.: I look up to this guy more than I do any of my other friends. Josh is 6’6″.

Howard and Kelly A.: Howard has been one of my BFFs for 20+ years. They are the nicest people in the world. Kelly is also really short.

Kelly and Josh:

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Terrence C.This guy drives like a thousand miles to church on Sunday. He’s a wonderful, insightful, and funny guy who I am honored to know. He also likes Mexican food.

Kim and Matt H.These two model the love of Jesus in such incredible ways. Plus, their son is absurdly cute.

Vanilla Ice: Thank you for the inspiration and the greatest work of art ever created.

Dennis and Donna P: They are such incredible pastors, mentors, and inspirations.

Ryan Zimmermann: You’ve followed me from Virginia Beach, to UVA, to DC. Thank you for the support. You are also my favorite baseball player.

Joy and Hunter W.These two are crazy. Crazy because they are willing to do whatever it takes to build an incredible church community.

Andy DunnThis guy is the reason I wear pink, yellow, green, orange, and purple pants. He founded Bonobos.

“Wear the Rainbow.”

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Chris D. and Alissa K.: These two are hilarious. They are getting married in October. I can’t wait to celebrate their lives. However, I’ve been told that I have to stay at least 20 feet away from the microphone.

Charles C.This guy constantly challenges me to be a better man, husband, and father. He is from Texas. I am too.

Brian WilliamsHe is my favorite newscaster. He is also my baseball BFF and such a wise and thoughtful friend.

Chad and Kaci C.: Their lives are crazy, but they live them out with incredible grace, composure, and humor. We want to be parents like them.

Ben I.: This guy came to church one time and was volunteering the next week. He has been such an inspiration to so many people at our church.

Ron M.Amazing man. Amazing life story. Amazing musician. Amazing beard.

John C.Very few of my guy friends love shoes as much as I do. John does. #solidarity

Jen S. and David W.I could not live the thug life without them.

My grandparents: I would not be here without them. Literally. Plus, all four are magnificent human beings.

My kids: They have changed everything. For the better.

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Okay, time to go to bed. Bye.

 

Mission Accomplished

As I wrote about on Monday, I was pretty hyped for this week’s battle of the law firm bands event. This amazing musical throwdown is in its eleventh year, is hosted by Gifts for the Homeless, and has now raised more than a million dollars for the DC homeless community.

Well, it was a smashing success.

1. This year’s event raised more than $300,000 for the DC homeless. (fist pump)

2. Our band did such a great job. Yes, I’m biased, but we killed it. And by “we,” I mean everyone else in the group. I just showed up for a one-song cameo. The band performed Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone,” “Power of Love” by Huey Lewis, and Lady Gaga’s “Applause.” Oh, and one more song…

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3. We did a sweet mashup of Queen’s “Under Pressure” and Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” (which are two very different songs that sound nothing alike). We were nervous it would sound muddled, that people wouldn’t get it, and that I’d pass out from wearing a gold trash bag. Thankfully, none of those things happened, but I may have pulled a hamstring due to some awkward white guy dance moves. Here’s the video:

4. Thanks to everyone who came out and who donated. It was a blast seeing so many friends jamming out there with us. Our firm raised $40,000 for this event, more than any other law firm in DC, and had SO many people there! Holla. I was so happy that Amanda was able to attend and that our kids and the babysitter all survived. However, the babysitter, a former teacher, said Madison was the most strong-willed child she had ever seen. That sounds about right.

5. Most importantly, has anyone seen my gold necklace? I threw it into the crowd during “Ice Ice Baby.” P. Diddy will be really mad when I tell him that I lost his $50,000 necklace.

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See you next year. Word to your mother.

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):

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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.

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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.

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Bye.