Shob Cheye Metal


Shob cheye metal. For those of you who are neophytes to the Bengali language (i.e., anybody who is reading this outside of Bangladesh), the headline translates roughly to “more metal than all.” Why is this, you ask? At the end of the long and winding trail that brought my family and I back to Bangladesh, I am pleased to report that heavy metal music is alive and well in the soul of Bengal.

Contrary to what English speakers of planet Earth or dogmatic adherents of monotheistic religions may believe, music is often referred to as the universal language that binds us and brings us together in unfettered harmony and happiness. Nowhere does this sentiment ring truer than among heavy metal aficionados throughout the world, where mere 64th notes, guitar squeals, and blast beats coalesce into a community of initiates who proudly raise the banner of metal music with vigor in every land.

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Your Attention Please, Here’s My Baby


In life, there are two kinds of people: those who crave attention and those who receive attention. Then again, there are others like me who relish the freedom of drifting peacefully on the silent backwaters of life without any interruptions, minding one’s own business and left to feed our indulgences.

Then, you have a baby and boom! — the limelight doth shine ever so brightly upon the bundle of joy produced from your own loins. This, however, is not a bad thing, particularly when living in Bangladesh. In fact, it can provide the perfect diversion to maintain a low profile while appeasing the teeming masses of curious passers-by wishing to lay their eyes on a blonde-haired, blue-eyed baby for the first time in their life. Babies — the perfect fashion accessory to complement any occasion, especially in a culture that unequivocally adores infants.

As a foreigner living in Bangladesh, your personal homeostasis is blasted to smithereens the moment you step off the plane. Sometimes, this state of being can even begin when you board the final leg of your trip to Dhaka. At first, I braced myself for the usual line of interrogation from strangers on the street: “what is your name, what is your country, how do you feel in Bangladesh, can you get me visa?”

Admittedly, this rigamorale became annoying several months into our first jaunt back in 2002, so I was preparing my stoic defenses for these moments well before our return earlier this month. Turns out, I had absolutely nothing to worry about. When you have a baby in tow, you can feel safe betting every dollar and asset you own that he or she will become the center of attention in any situation, capturing the hearts and minds of people all across the country.

Meet my baby daughter Gemma — the Heir Apparent Bideshi Queen of Bangladesh.

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Idiot Family Abroad: Back to Bangladesh

Image of me returning to Bangladesh

Much has changed since the last post on this blog. San Francisco gifted away the Super Bowl in February, breaking my drunken heart on our nation’s grandest of holidays; Major League Baseball’s spring training has given way to the 2013 regular season, though yet again, somebody forgot to tell Mike Scioscia and the Los Angeles Angels that these games in April count; oh, and I think NBA basketball is still going on somewhere.

The biggest change? My family and I have recently moved halfway across the world to the global mecca of population density — Bangladesh. I come here firmly entrenched on my lovely wife’s coattails for a refreshing change of having too much time on my hands to waste on writing blog posts, suckling on the teat of the gravy train alongside my infant daughter as we both rely on ol’ mom to provide our proverbial daily bread.

While she slaves away as an international aid worker, I’m left to dwell in an apartment that has quadrupled in size from our measly abode in Washington, DC, while I am in charge of changing a few diapers and administering liquid and solid nourishment to our seven-month-old daughter. So, contrary to the American doctrine that existence beyond its borders is tantamount to living amongst hellfire and brimstone, life is good.

With this, the scope of this blog will change somewhat, so I apologize to the one or two followers out there. Initially, I thought of launching a new travel blog to write about the new misadventures in Bangladesh and beyond, but figured that was too much work and a likely waste of purchasing an additional domain.

What does this mean? It really means that the sights have broadened from slamming so-called sports heroes and toasting good eats in ‘Murica to examining perspectives on political dysfunction in both the U.S. and my new home, which share some alarming similarities. I shall also chronicle the day-to-day events here, which typically amount to about a month’s worth of “excitement” in the U.S. wrapped up in the course of 24 hours…24 hours of mind-boggling bewilderment.

Oh, and I’m sure I’ll write about food at some point (like, all the time).

So if you’re still reading, I promise to continue delivering sub-par material with a slight change in subject matter. Bishmillah rahman-er rahim, amen.

(Yes, Facebook friends, I re-used the photo. Sue me).

Super Bowl Sunday: A Moral and Civic Duty

Image of Super Bowl Sunday oath of allegiance.

Once again, the holiest of American holidays is upon us. In honor of this hallowed occasion, we will offer forth a ritual sacrifice 1.2 billion chicken wings, 29.7 metric tons of nachos, and enough beverages of all types to fill our planet’s oceans 35 times over.

Already, we have been granted the grace of our football gods as CBS will televise the event, sparing us from the torturous four-hour neural assault from Joe Buck and Troy Aikman on Fox Sports. The game is also being hosted in New Orleans — a city that embodies the festive atmosphere of Super Bowl Sunday better than any other location in the U.S., and does so during the other 364 calendar days each year. Moreover, my favorite team, the San Francisco 49ers, has earned the right and privilege to entertain billions of spectators on the largest of stages.

But above all else, Super Bowl Sunday has the power to unite our divided nation by providing tradition and common ground for us all to simultaneously eat, drink, and be merry with one another in front of TV sets throughout the country.

But is everybody on board?

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I Just Called to Say ‘I Love You’ – The Manti Te’o Saga

Image of Stevie Wonder as Manti Te'o

Music legend Stevie Wonder depicts telephone calls between Manti Te’o and his phantom girlfriend.

Wow, what a week. President Barack Obama proposed major legislation to regulating guns, signaling one of the boldest moves in his presidency to term. We witnessed an unapologetic Lance Armstrong offer up a confession in an exclusive interview with Oprah Winfrey, admitting to the world he had indeed used performance-enhancing substances throughout his career.

Yet, we have been blindsided by a story that has completely dumbfounded sports fans and regular people alike. The tale of Manti Te’o and his phantom girlfriend has inspired the imagination of an entire country and, in doing so, claimed an impressive victory in a veritable television sweeps week full of top-tier news stories.

How did he do this? The bizarre-o-meter is off the charts and is unlike anything I — and many others — have seen in my life of sports addiction.

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An Ode to 2013

Image of New Year 2013 banner

You probably haven’t noticed, but this blog has been idle for the past several months due to a severe bout of prolonged laziness coupled with the birth of my first-born child. Part of me also found the prospect of continuing this blog troublesome in that it might lump me in with that horrid psycho-babble book released last year under a similar name.

Rather than sue the author of 50 Shades of Grey like any patriotic American should do, I have vowed to carry out my journey through the blogosphere in a more cynical and pointless fashion than ever before. Accordingly, I will begin this trek in the most clichéd form of January article: the New Year Forecast.

Below, I present to you a handful of things we can eagerly anticipate in the year 2013.

Too extreme! The latest and greatest fitness fads

Each new year, we renew our broken promises to ourselves to get back into shape. If you are like me, you probably know at least half a dozen friends, co-workers, and/or family members who have enrolled themselves in Crossfit—the newest and most extreme fitness fad American culture has concocted to date. Who knows, you might even be a part of this new species of gym commando yourself. While I can appreciate the philosophy of Neanderthalism and its tenets of using physical supremacy to bludgeon fellow human beings for the right to eat the last scrap of wooly mammoth steak, the mainstreaming of this ideology in the form of exercise has triggered a level of disdain that I typically reserve for yoga.

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Food Truck Fetish Fridays: A Barbarian Visits Tapas Truck

Image of Food Truck Fetish Fridays food truck

Let me begin this Food Truck Fetish Friday post by saying that tapas are not my cup of tea. While I have long admired the nation of Spain for its collective embrace of daily siesta nap culture as necessity, folklore of El Cid and Don Quixote, and a storied tradition of running with—and being gored by—enormous angry bulls, I have never cared for their saucer-sized contribution to the scene of international cuisine.

Or at least that is the notion I have always firmly ingrained in my mind because I rarely indulge in tapas. Like, ever. You see, my perception of this style of dining gravitates toward the quintessential American school of thought: it’s freakin’ lame, much as it is perceived in Birmingham, Kansas City, Memphis, or anywhere that prides themselves on the value of sizable portions, which, judging by our restaurants and waistlines is…THE ENTIRE U.S.A.!

I also have innate biological restraints to tapas that are hardwired deep into my inner circuitry. Being a self-conscious barbaric male precludes me from seeking out this form of nutrition when I need to satisfy my appetite. Typically, these dishes are served alongside glass pitchers of fruit-infused, pinkish sangria to groups of 24 year-old female interns on Capitol Hill. Apparently, these young ladies enjoy paying $15 for each paltry appetizer plate in a fleeting attempt to relive their trials and tribulations as study-abroad students in Barcelona.

Me? I know where I belong and that is usually sitting in a dark, dank dive bar with a lukewarm beer in one hand, an overstuffed roast beef po’ boy sandwich in the other, and my mind flip-flopping back and forth as I decide whether it is advisable to carry my foodstuffs with me when I get up to use the bathroom.

Well, wouldn’t you know—my next stop on the free food truck lunch tour was…the Tapas Truck.

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