How cool would it be for you and your dad to check out the Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio courtesy of Bud Light? It would be pretty sweet right? What if you have never been to an NFL game? It would make it even sweeter. Now let’s just put two All-Time greats into the mix. Too good to be true? Well that is what happened for two lifelong Pittsburgh Steelers fans.
You have seen Bud Light surprise fans with truly epic experiences; this NFL season, they are at it again. To kick off the season, Bud Light helped a son surprise his father – a lifelong Steelers fan who had never been to a game – with a trip to the NFL Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. The father/son were given a unique VIP experience, which included an unexpected visit from NFL legends Jerome Bettis and Hines Ward. Check out the video below.
Lexus jumps head first into the luxury coupe marketplace with the inaugural version of the RC-F.
Something I learned right away, the Lexus RC-F is not a “sporty” car.
It does not have “racing inspired” handling or a “peppy” engine. This was not going to be a review about a car with “sport in its DNA”. With rear wheel drive, a big front engine and tires made for canyon carving, the 2015 Lexus RC-F is a legitimate sports car with the stones to make some moves on the perennial champion BMW M4.
Looking at the RC-F is an interesting experience. I alternated characters in my language, inventing The Autosommelier, “Big and vibrant with pepper on the nose” The Horse Track Announcer Guy-”Look at the strength in the rear quarter” and the Lexus PR Guy -”In addition to the trademarked spindle grill which emphasizes the humble roots of the Lexus brand, the 2015 Lexus RC-F embraces the challenges…”
After an hour or two of this I started doing some research. Turns out, the familiar look was easily explained. The front half borrows heavily from its little brother, the GS and the back of the car is taken from the IS and IS convertible. If the people of California and Western Nevada are any indication the look of the car is a big success. I was approached at every gas station and grocery store parking lot I visited.. Men and women alike wanted to ask about the car and talk about the cars they’ve owned over the years. One woman in Mojave made the very astute observation that it reminds her of a bigger, stronger Mazda 6. Good catch by Patty from Lancaster. Not an immediate comparison but an accurate one with a tilt of the head and a squint of the eyes. Motortrend called it a Frankencoup, which technically is accurate, I guess.
In spite of, or maybe because of its blended frame and considerable heft, the Lexus RC-F manages a bold and impressive look. The flare of the lower front and the brake cooling vents anchor a line that sweeps over the hood with length and grace. Whenever the design threatens to become too fluid and ladylike another element rolls its shoulders and takes its seat.
In a word, the car is hot.
5.0 Liter Naturally Aspirated V8 with a 471hp engine.
In a Lexus.
I drove in constant fear of speed traps. At one point I had convinced myself that I was about to be pulled over for the smart ass move of driving at exactly the speed limit. Driving 65 in an RC-F feels like some rude joke. I drafted mental letters to State Senators, deploring them to consider an Autobahn approach to California travel. While the man had me down I debated the societal benefits of speed limits vs a merit based approach. With myself.
I did not pass others, I dismissed them. I spent hours in cruise control only to burst out with the flick of a toe. I felt like Mike Trout in a high school game. These fools can’t hang with me. I toy with them out of boredom and necessity, planning my jail breaks with some police per mile hack algebra and a prayer they wouldn’t double up on me. 0-65 is nice (4.4 seconds) but what about 65-100? And beyond? Not that I would… right?
Truth is the car is fast. It’s always waiting for you. It wants you to speed. It challenges you to speed. The struggle is real. Somehow I survived the week without a ticket. . In dash lap times and G-Force vectors help nudge you to a private track. On a long enough timeline, if you own this car, you will end up taking a track day. It’s inevitable. They should be sold with a day at the autocross. Lexus can contact me for more marketing ideas. They know where to find me.
On straightaways and mountain curves the RC-F performed very well. The TVD (Torque Vectoring Differential) settings of “track” and “slalom” made for miles of fun testing the difference in power and throttle availability over the road. Ultimately I spent more time in “Slalom”, I found it well balanced and suited for many road conditions. The nimble steering is responsive and accurate, the brakes effective and stable.
The 8 speed automatic transmission performed best in sport and sport + modes. At times I felt like I was waking it up from a cat nap when in “ECO” or “Normal”. It got there, it just took an extra second. The paddle shifters and manual style hand shifter give nice engine control in the hills and turns and reverts back to full automatic in an intuitive amount of time.
Stylish and functional interior design with luxury level comfort in a sports coupe. No real departures from the accessible luxury you expect from the Lexus brand. The automatic seats kept me comfortable for a pair of day long drives and the high bolstering held me in close during the more aggressive drives. The infotainment system relies on a mostly successful app suite that integrates your phone’s data connection. Cool dials and buttons that actually change the look and feel of the car are always fun too. In a car with primary focus on the engine and appearance, the RC-F’s interior holds up. It’s comfortable and stylish but traditional enough to offset the very bold exterior design.
5.0L 32 Valve V8
8 speed automatic transmission
10 way power seats
A few weeks ago I got the opportunity to go to Portland, Oregon to test drive the 2016 Lexus RX. I couldn’t wait for this media trip for many reasons. One reason was that I had the privilege to check out the RX. Another reason was that I have never been to Portland.
I have never driven a Lexus myself so this was going to be my first impression of driving a vehicle from Lexus. One of the things that I first noticed during the opening session was that looking back at the original RX to the 2016 model, Lexus really created the mold for luxury SUVs. If you see each of their models from the past you will see other companies trying to imitate their style. If a competitor looks to take any designs from the 2016 RX everyone will know it. The reason is that grille is very unique. It is a spindle grille and is rimmed by a strip of thick chrome. The sharp lines dominate the rest of the front especially with slit-like headlights to the arrowhead-shape that surrounds the fog lamps. Needless to say this is beautiful ride.
The day of the test drive I drove the Lexus RX 450h, which is a hybrid. The folks at Lexus gave me a few different paths to test out the RX. I chose one of the assigned routes and I was off. The first thing that I noticed about the RX was how quiet the ride was. All the outside noise just vanished. It was just me and the RX taking a tour of Portland.
As I was driving I noticed a rectangle shape image on the windshield. This displayed some key information about my drive. It would tell me speed, the direction I was going in, as well as alerting me to the changes of the speed limit as approached different sections of the road. It was a great reminder for me especially in an area I have never driven a car to alert me of the speed limits. This will definitely come in handy for those who travel. You ever notice when you are in a new place you never can find the speed limit in that town? Well with the display that pops up on the windshield the RX gives you that information. I loved having that feature in the RX.
The 2016 RX has a large 12.3-inch LCD screen that is located in the center of the dash. It doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb. The lower-end RX models have a smaller, eight-inch screen. To navigate through the screen you use a mouse-like joystick to control the many different systems. There is also a 360-degree panoramic view monitor that helps you know the distance from nearby obstacles at low speeds and when parking.
Even though the RX cancels out much of the outside noise, you still can get it loud as you want with the optional Mark Levinson 15-speaker package. The sound quality is perfect even with the base audio package. The sound just doesn’t pump the bass in the ride, but all levels are clean. It is to the point where you are enjoying an impressive sound but not having the car shake as your music plays in the RX. An ambassador from Mark Levinson explained that Lexus is the only car company that they will work with for their sound system. He told me that the acoustics in the Lexus models is a perfect fit.
The RX handles like a dream. It offers a very smooth, yet powerful ride. When you need to pick up the pace the RX won’t let you down. Under the RX 350’s hood is an upgraded and more powerful 3.5-liter V6 aiming to deliver 300 hp with direct injection, mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission. Based on this enhanced powertrain is the RX 450h’s Atkinson-cycle 3.5-liter V6. When combined with the electric motor generator, the combined output results in around 300 hp. All RX engines have been tuned in anticipation of high fuel economy ratings and low carbon emissions.
On the road the 2016 RX gives you an impressive dynamic capability. The entire chassis has been fortified to provide enhanced straight-line stability and control through turns. The vehicle’s body structure has been strengthened with added stiffness, helping to enhance its handling response while reducing engine and road noise in the cabin. Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) is standard, while Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) is available on select models. Each system is designed to help recognize loss of vehicle control, and help mitigate potentially dangerous situations with automatic and often transparent adjustments to help the vehicle maintain optimal traction. The RX also is offered in All-Weather Drive to help the RX’s handling performance and control on dry and slick surfaces alike.
Lexus continue to make safety is a priority with their Lexus Safety System+. This system helps you avoid or lessen accidents. It does this by using the Pre-Collision System (PCS) that is designed to detect sudden stops initiated by the preceding vehicle and can engage automatic braking in certain circumstances. If you are getting to close to another car or object the LX slows down automatically even if you are on cruise control.
What about the times where you as a driver need a break. The RX alerts you if you keep swaying in and out of your lane. If you make this a trend while you are driving you will see a coffee cup displayed on the monitor. The RX is encouraging you to take a rest from driving.
If you are looking for a new SUV and haven’t found the right one yet, maybe you should test out 2016 Lexus RX. You may find that this is the luxury SUV that you have been looking for.
Below is the power system on the 450h that I tested out in Portland. For more on the Lexus RX go to the Lexus website here.
HYBRID POWER SYSTEM
Type: Series/parallel system with gas engine and electric motors
Total System Power: 308 hp
Engine: V6, aluminum block and heads
Valvetrain: DOHC 24-valve with VVT-i
Displacement 3.5 liter
Bore x Stroke 3.70 in. x 3.27 in.
Compression Ratio 13.0:1
Horsepower (SAE) 259 hp @ 6,000 rpm (not including hybrid drive)
Torque 247 lb.-ft. @ 4,800 rpm (not including hybrid drive)
Maximum Engine Speed (redline) 6,200 rpm
Fuel System Port Fuel Injection (EFI, D-4S)
A proper cast iron skillet isn’t something you just casually add to your mix of available cooking tools. It’s a different sort of cookware beast. It’s both primitive and utilitarian, and timeless in more ways than one. The utility never goes out of style and the actual pan itself – if you can secure a good one – can be a staple of your kitchen for decades or generations to come.
There’s a certain degree of mystery surrounding this piece of cooking technology as well. From competing views on how best to use it to various approaches for proper care and maintenance, the cast iron skillet is a surefire conversation starter. Whether you swear allegiance to its superior cooking abilities or you’ve never owned one before, a cast iron skillet is something every man should have handy.
I’ve never used a cast iron skillet before. I’ve heard of them, sure, but I just never had the opportunity to try one out. So when FINEX sent a cast iron skillet for us to review, I wanted to make the most of the opportunity.
FINEX markets itself as the first brand to bring machine-polished, heirloom-quality cast iron cookware back to the States for the first time in over half a century. Founded in 2012, the Portland-based FINEX Cast Iron Cookware Company is helmed by Mike Whitehead, who got the start-up company going with two successful Kickstarter campaigns. According to a 2014 interview, Whitehead was raised in his father’s metal fabrication and welding shop. He wanted to know more about where his food came from and what was contained in it and this led the founder to “search for a healthier alternative to chemically lined nonstick pans.” With iron being part of his family’s fabric, Whitehead was able to push forward with the new start up. His goal was to manufacture a locally produced product that was an improvement on the classic cast iron skillet. That meant developing a new take that focused on an ultra-smooth cooking surface, a quick-cooling hand-polished stainless steel handle and a characteristic octagon shape that looks sexy and helps with pouring liquids. The end result is pretty successful.
I just moved into a new spot, so once all the boxes were unpacked, I wanted to give this new cast iron skillet thing a try. I read up on the how to maintain your skillet. Figured this was important because the last thing I wanted to do was mess up heirloom quality cookware after my first recipe. The FINEX cast iron skillet comes pre-seasoned with organic flaxseed oil, but the first few times you use it, it’s smart to add a little extra oil while the skillet is still new. The more you cook with the thing, the more oil you will add and the more seasoned the skillet gets. This doesn’t mean that you can’t ever wash the skillet. Don’t soak it or put it in the dishwasher or make other rookie moves like that, but rinsing in hot water and using a mild abrasive like a scrubby pad, coarse salt or brush is totally acceptable.
Okay, I knew how to care for the thing, but what to make? You can literally make anything in a cast iron skillet. That’s what makes these things so badass. You can do a breakfast hash, sear meat, bake things – you name it. If it needs heat and you can cook it on a stove or in the oven, you can pretty much do it with the skillet.
I decided to make beer glazed citrus chicken because I like all of those things and I wanted to try something saucy with my first skillet run. Here’s a link to the recipe. You can click over for the details, but essentially I made a zesty citrus glaze in a sauce pan, seared up some chicken in the skillet and then tossed everything together and into the oven to bake. The results were pretty amazing:
I really love how this thing can go from stove to oven and back with ease. It really opens things up from a cooking perspective. The skillet heats up quickly and evenly and the whole process was made more enjoyable because I know that this first meal is just the foundational layer of seasoning will grow as more meals are made in the skillet over time.
Was the handle quick cooling? On the stovetop yes, after the oven, not so much. I mean that should be painfully obvious, right? Well let the little burn mark on my left hand serve as a cautionary tale. The handle may look safe at all times, but any semi-intelligent human should know that this won’t be the case right after you take this thing out of the oven. Lesson learned / I have no idea how that happened. Purely the fault of the absent minded chef here. The skillet did it’s job just fine. Just something to keep in mind when working with an overly attractive handle like this.
Bottom line, this is a kitchen investment worth making. FINEX makes a quality product that’s completely manufactured in the USA. So I say support your primitive need to cook with iron. Support your country. Support your long term efforts to be a better cook. This is a long play cookware addition that requires a bit of upfront costs, yes, but it’ll grow with you and it’ll only get better with age.
Okay, the picture may have given it away, but I was never a fan of pop quizzes in high school. So far this year in 2015 the Ford Mustang has been the world’s best-selling sports car. This information was according to the IHS Automotive global registration data. It seems that the global Mustang momentum continues to build as production of the right-hand-drive model officially kicks off at Flat Rock Assembly Plant.
This year also marks the first year that the Mustang is available to customers around the world in more than 100 markets and the first time a right-hand-drive model will be widely available. During the first six months of 2015, customers globally registered 76,124 vehicles – a 56 percent increase versus the same period last year.
“Initial global response to the Mustang has been strong, and we are only in second gear,” said Stephen Odell, executive vice president, Global Marketing, Sales and Service. “We continue accelerating production and global reach with right-hand-drive models now coming out of the plant.”
The addition of a right-hand-drive Mustang to Ford’s global vehicle lineup allows export to more than 25 of those markets around the globe, including the UK, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, as well as Cyprus, Malta and a smattering of Caribbean islands. While Mustang is a new entry into the China market, it is already one of the nation’s top-selling sports cars, with hottest sales in Beijing, Guangdong and Shanghai.
Another right-hand-drive market eagerly awaiting units is Australia, where nearly 3,000 orders already have been received. Four hundred orders have been received in New Zealand, another right-hand-drive market where customer deliveries begin this fall.
And which colors are most popular among all-new Mustang customers? Initial sales show that in Europe, Magnetic Grey and Race Red are the most popular exterior paint color choices. Race Red is also the top choice for customers in China, followed by Black. Meanwhile, Black takes the top spot in both the U.S. and the Middle East.
We are two days away from the start of the 2015 NFL season. We are all excited. We can’t wait to make sure our fantasy lineups are all set, the snacks are ready, and team will make us proud. I am thinking that the players are bit more excited than we are. For Panthers QB Cam Newton, he prepared himself for the upcoming season in a unique way.
In July, Newton took a trip to Australia to train with the Richmond Tigers of the Australian Football League as part of the Gatorade Football Exchange Program. While he was there, Newton found some new ways to improve his game as he practiced with the team, sat in on team meetings and also took part in team meals to see how the AFL players train and fuel their bodies in preparation for their season.
The Gatorade Football Exchange is a once-in-a-lifetime training experience that allows athletes to immerse themselves in the training and culture of another footballer’s sport to demonstrate how different forms of football are played throughout the world and that athletes from these various sports all share the same formula for success: talent + hard work + the right sports fuel.
The game-changing Furylite silhouette has gotten a makeover for Fall with new designs sure to be a showstopper for the ladies.
The architectural elements first perfected in the 90’s have now been mixed with a gradient midsole and flashy details for the Furylite Sheer, as well as a floral camo inspired graphic pack for the Furylite Candy Girl – both of which are perfect for the fashion–forward sneakerista.
Not only are these the perfect runners to close your summer in style, the sneakers will keep you comfortable with a lightweight outsole to cushion your feet as you hit the streets.
Both the Furylite Sheer and the Furylite Candy Girl are available now for $75 at retailers including Reebok.com, Jimmy Jazz, Shoe Palace, Sneaker Villa, Urban Outfitters, and Finish Line.
The internet is all a buzz with the new Rolls-Royce. The model is called Dawn. Everyone at Rolls-Royce feels that it is the sexiest Rolls-Royce ever built. The car is called Dawn since they believe this car inspires you with the opportunities that every new day holds. It is an awakening, an opening up of one’s senses and a burst of sunshine. In its tentative, inchoate, anticipatory state, dawn is the world coming to light from the ethereal dark of the night. The early-day chill of dawn provides an erotic tingle on the skin, awakening the senses and passions as the day begins.
Compromise is not a word recognized in the Rolls-Royce lexicon. Indeed the company continues to live by the clarion cry of co-founder Sir Henry Royce to “Strive for perfection in everything you do. Take the best that exists and make it better. When it does not exist, design it. Accept nothing nearly right or good enough.”
The first part of this maxim – “Strive for perfection in everything you do” – guides the company’s every action particularly during the creation of a new motor car. The second – “Take the best that exists and make it better” – has been clearly evidenced in the success of both Phantom Series II and Ghost Series II as they were carefully updated in 2012 and 2014 respectively. And when Rolls-Royce judged that it was time for an authentic gentleman’s Gran Turismo to return to the world stage, it was guided by the third part of Sir Henry’s maxim: “When it does not exist, design it.” And thus, Wraith was born.
Now, the final part of this maxim has guided the Rolls-Royce design and engineering teams as they have worked to initiate a new age for open-top, super-luxury motoring. In a sector exclusively populated by the biggest of automotive compromises – the 2+2 seat configuration – Rolls-Royce has chosen to “accept nothing nearly right or good enough.”
Rolls-Royce’s new Dawn has taken inspiration from the Silver Dawn, whilst delivering a world first in super-luxury motoring – a cool, contemporary interpretation of what a super-luxury four-seater convertible motor car should be in 2015 – rare, refined and the most social super-luxury car there is.
Studying the open-top motor car sector, and specifically its high-value luxury niche, it became apparent to Rolls-Royce’s designers that customers were being short-changed. The myopic focus on one specific configuration – the 2+2 setup – was, in the view of Rolls-Royce, a compromise too far.
Commonly held, a 2+2 is a configuration with seating for the driver and one passenger in the front plus two smaller seats for occasional passengers or children in the rear. Space in the rear is most noticeably absent in terms of longitudinal leg-room, thereby reducing the comfort and practicality of the car. In the case of a convertible body type, this reduction in space is often the result of the manufacturer’s inability to package the convertible roof together with boot and rear passenger space. The result is a sector populated exclusively by open-top cars that Rolls-Royce would consider compromised and ‘anti-social’.
Beneath Dawn’s sleek exterior sits a 6.6-litre V12 twin-turbo engine. One engineered to deliver a surge of seemingly infinite power that will awaken your senses. A sensation that’s heightened the very second the roof quietly opens. This is open-top driving as you’ve never experienced it before.
Dawn is enthralling inside and out, granting you both freedom and control. Driver assistance gives you a truly effortless drive – a chauffeur without a chauffeur. A uniquely modern agility means Dawn is the perfect companion to the most vibrant of lifestyles.
Back in the day in the 1990’s Reebok released one of their most timeless running designs: the Ventilator. Incorporating Hexalite technology into the shoe to provide greater comfort and better shock absorption it was the perfect shoe for the faster, lighter runner. The durable lugged outsole was designed to give sure-footed traction for both on and off-road running. The visible archbridge in the middle of the shoe was perfectly placed to offer optimum motion control. And the name Ventilator? That came from the ventilated side panels that allowed cooling and breathability. The shoe was ahead of its time. Twenty-five years later the shoe is a classic. Still as light as it ever was but now worn for street fashion instead of road running.
This Reebok Classic x Shoe Gallery Ventilator collaboration pays homage to the thousands of Cubans who made the journey to the United States via the Mariel boat lift in the 1980’s. The shoe is a tribute to the American dream—which, for many of these immigrants was epitomized by the tantalizing prospect of purchasing their very own Riva Yacht. The blue sock lining and footbed pays homage to a yacht’s interior, while the translucent outsole and cleverly placed anchor on the sole give this shoe a firmly nautical feel.
The Reebok Classic x Shoe Gallery Ventilator is available now for $124.99 exclusively from Shoe Gallery
We are a week away from the NFL regular season. College football is starting up this weekend. It is time to start planning your meals and cocktails. What are you going to want to eat and drink while we celebrate that is football is back? If you are looking for some new ideas check out the recipes below. You can try your hand at Crown Wings, Adam Perry Lang’s George Dickel No. 12 Barbecue Sauce, The Team Captain, Chili Manhattan or Crown Royal Sour.
.3 cup Crown Royal Canadian Whisky
.3 cup Honey, SueBee
.25 cup Soy sauce, Kikkoman
2 Tablespoons Thai chili sauce
1 packet (0.75-ounce) stir-fry seasoning, Sun Bird
2 teaspoons crushed garlic, Gourmet Garden
4 pounds chicken wing drumettes
3 scallions (green onions), finely chopped (optional)
.25 cup chopped peanuts, Planters (optional)
Directions: In a large bowl, combine whisky, honey, soy sauce, chili sauce, stir-fry seasoning, and garlic. Add drumettes, tossing to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in refrigerator for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.
Set up grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat. Oil grate when ready to start cooking. Let drumettes stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Place on hot, oiled grill. Cook for 12 to 18 minutes or until cooked through, turning occasionally. Transfer chicken to a platter. Sprinkle with chopped scallions and peanuts (optional).
1 cup of Honey
1 cup of White Vinegar
1 cup of George Dickel Tennessee Whisky No. 12
3 cups of Your Favorite Barbecue Sauce
In a low pan, add honey, white vinegar and George Dickel Tennessee Whisky No. 12 over medium heat. Cook mixture until you hear a frying sound and alcohol is cooked off. Add barbecue sauce and stir to combine. Place back on fire and let simmer for at least 10 minutes.
The Team Captain
1.5 oz. Orange Juice
0.5 oz. Sour Mix
3 oz. Lemon Lime Soda
Directions: Combine ingredients in a tall glass filled with ice, garnish and stir.
Recipe courtesy of Butch Friedman and Kleila Dula at Passion8
. 5 oz. Sweet Vermouth
2 Dashes Black Walnut Bitters
.5 oz. Chili Cinnamon Syrup
Crown Royal Sour
1.5 oz Crown Royal Deluxe
.5 oz Lemon juice
Garnish with lemon wedge