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Monday, July 31, 2006

TV Gag Update

Remember "Excellent TV Gag"?

Well, this video hit the web Thursday or Friday, but I've been out of town and was unable to post until tonight, so if you haven't seen it -- or even if you have, enjoy:

Thursday, July 27, 2006

One Word -- Dumb Blonde

PamNKidFamous whore Pam Anderson and musician Kid Rock are going to marry in France, then return to the USA to repeat their vows in California, Tennessee and Michigan.

First of all, very classy.

Secondly, when asked if she was nervous about the upcoming event(s), here was her reply: "Two words -- champagne."

Excellent TV Gag

I really like the morning show at the station where I work, but things got a little dicey today, and I wouldn't be surprised if industry sites or even YouTube picked this up before lunchtime.

Two dudes are tired of having their bikes stolen around town (that's their story, at least), so they've videotaped themselves stealing bikes, well, around town. Initially, you'd think their goal would be to compile a handful of videos of their crimes so they can show police how easy it is to steal in the city. The video they've distributed to the media is pretty telling; one brother shoots from across the street as the other uses an electric saw to cut through chain in broad daylight at Times Square.

So they came on the show before 8 a.m. Thursday for a demonstration. One brother seems the more polished PR guy and the other is handy with the tools and goggles. As handyman goes to work and the camera goes in tight to get a shot of the saw cutting through chain, yielding orange sparks, the other brother, not in the shot, is giving a verbal account, obviously killing time until the gag.

Just when the host and photographer seem to be locked in on an otherwise interesting but straightforward bit, the talker brother, who'd moved in close to the saw and sparks, falls on his back on the ground and goes Lloyd Christmas with the ketchup packet on his neck, screaming and writhing, all the while keeping mic in hand as TV camera guy lets his instinct take over with a shot of the apparent blood and pain.

TV pretty steps in and cuts the scene off, and after admonishing the devilish duo, the countdown to YouTube begins. Give the Ali G wannabes credit, as well as time to get home -- perhaps on their bikes –- to turn the TiVo on and upload the video.

It's 8:32 a.m. right now. Tick tock tick tock.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Officer Does Best Carl Lewis Impersonation

A police officer begins singing the national anthem at what appeared to be a funeral. Things didn't work out too well.

Preview: 'World Trade Center' Opens Soon

"World Trade Center" opens on Aug. 9, and now that I live in New York, there's a decidedly different vibe about 9/11 among those I'm surrounded by now than those I ran with previously in my native midwest. The few co-workers here with whom I've talked about it all agree that they don't want to see the movie.

But I will definitely see it. As tragic as it was and continues to be for so many families, there's no denying that Sept. 11 will forever figure prominently in American history. Saying that folks shouldn't see the movie is like saying we shouldn't include 9/11 in our children's history texts.

Sure there's a laughable disparity between school books and an Oliver Stone movie, but part of the complaint from 9/11 families is that "World Trade Center" is too real and too raw. This is indeed new criticism for Stone, known largely for departing reality and overdramatizing things just a touch. But it's probably welcome criticism as well, because something as sensitive as this needs to be told as accurately as possible.

And once that promise is made, I think seeing the movie becomes less of a choice and more of a requirement that every American must fulfill.

The prevailing anti-movie line is that there are thousands of still-grieving wives and husbands and children and parents, and such a project invades their privacy and hinders their efforts to try to move on and recover.

But this movie isn't about blame or government or oil or terrorism; it's about heroism and courage and survival, and I look forward to seeing if Stone can pull it off.

Will You See The Movie?

Monday, July 24, 2006

Not Hooked On Hookah

I have no idea what the name of the place was, but Saturday night, the Baton and I and several new friends ended up at a hookah bar.

Now I’ve smoked my share of marijuana over the years, but this was my first experience with a hookah in my mouth. I don’t think I’ll be rushing back for a return engagement any time soon.

There were five of us, and we ordered two hookahs, one mango flavored and the other raspberry flavored. (A math degree is not required to know that three female opinions always outweigh two male voices.)

Basically, when you were done sucking in the smoke, you pushed it out of your nose or mouth, then passed the hose to the person sitting to you’re right, then waited no more than 20 seconds before the other was handed to you. These steps repeated themselves for at least 40 minutes.

If I’d ever treated a weed-smoking session like that, I’d be high until Thursday. The 31st. Of August.

But this was not weed, thank God. By the time we were done, I was not disappointed to leave, and once we got outside, I joined Madelaine in feeling ill. She was worse off than me because I’m a loser with a tolerance for putting ugly intoxicants into my body. Did I mention we began drinking at about 3 p.m. at an art show at PS1 that day? Did I also add that it was past midnight at this point, and seldom throughout the day were we without a drink in hand? In case I didn’t, you now have all the facts needed to arrive at the important conclusion that I was pretty fucked up.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Hoylake Can't Tame Tiger, But TV Does

Tiger Woods roared back to the top of the golf world with his British Open victory on Sunday, and about two months after the death of his father, he showed an international television audience an emotional side that his critics had been hoping to see for a decade.

Much like Pete Sampras did in tennis for about a dozen years, Tiger has dominated his country-club sport but has shown zero personality or emotion in the process. I prefer to see the passion that they've lacked, but because I'm just some online news editor, no one could care less what I've got to say on the matter.

Those writers with heavier pens and therefore wider-reaching audiences, however, have often opined that a top player who lacks personality is barely better than a likeable loser.

But there Tiger was, a grown man who's been in the spotlight since before he earned his driver's license, a champion dozens of times over, a zillionaire with endless potential still only in his early 30s, a man who found a beautiful wife a couple years ago and seemed to have the perfect life, reduced to tears once his 18th-green embrace began with caddie Steve Williams.

Though the two still have some work to do on executing the celebratory high-five, the pair reminded those watching Sunday that all is well in the world of golf, even if it took the death of the father of the sport's best all-time player for us to realize it.

And you can't forget Chris DiMarco, the graceful runner-up who lost his own mother two weeks ago. Her death prompted him to consider skipping the season's third major, but he finally decided to play, and offered an awe-inspiring final round of his own. His birdie on 13 drew him to within one stroke of Woods, and after his round, he cited divine intervention for his 50-foot putt on the 14th that saved par.

But there weren't enough birdies available, and DiMarco finished two shots behind Tiger. Still, I'm only a casual golf fan but will remember this particular Sunday for quite a while.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Welcome To My Blog

So I dug up an old digital camera that has a short video function. I got really fancy with this one . . .

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Paper Chumpion

I learned the hard way back in my pre-teen years that hazing wasn't only for athletes and frat boys.

Those pursuing the fame and fortune that come with delivering newspapers every snowy morning before getting onto the elementary school bus with black fingertips also have their share of pranks to endure.

Much like NFL rookies who get duct-taped to goal posts by the grizzled training camp vets, I was the recipient of a darling little gag courtesy of Richmond Heights nemeses Brian Ganim and Jeff DeWerth.

Not long after I started delivering The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, the dangerous duo conspired to finish their nearby routes extra early, then mosy on over to my corner of the condominium complex.

Was it to bombard me with snowballs?

No; that would come the following winter. This was springtime, and on one splendid Ohio morning, I returned home from my route to find a stack of newspapers on my doorstep. At this point, the typical schedule had me running inside for a bowl of Post Super Sugar Crisp and perhaps a strawberry-frosted Pop Tart with lots of butter, then hustling down the street to catch the bus with Drakeel Burns, Jenny Norris and that one albino kid from two streets over.

But here we had a major problem, so I picked up the delivered-turned-undelivered papers, ran down to the woods and just ditched them behind some trees.

Shortly after the school day began, someone from the principal's office came to get me out of class, saying that my mom was waiting outside. Normally a pushover, she greeted me with, "you're going to deliver those newspapers before you do anything else, young man."

A bunch of neighbors had called to complain about their missing papers. I still suspect Miss Milde from Periwinkle Lane was in some way behind Ganim's and DeWerth's sinister machination. She never tipped me, and I hated her. My mom did too.

Anyway, I later learned that those clowns followed me on my route without me knowing, picked up every paper I'd laid down a moment before and then ran them over to my house, undoing my masterful effort of delivering the morning paper to friends and neighbors.

I had a few routes in my neighborhood back then. And when Miss Milde notified me a few weeks in advance that she was moving out of state and that her service needed to be discontinued on such-n-such a date, guess what I did on such-n-such a date?

Remember that old joke -- what's black and white and read all over?

Well, how about this one: What's black and white and smells like piss? That's right; I made sure that Miss Milde's paper was the last one I delivered that morning, and I took a big old whiz all over it. Bee-yotch!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Reader Mail

Starting to get some e-mail from readers, which is pleasing b/c this blog isn't yet public.

Anyway, one writer admitted being too lazy to sign up to add comments, but wanted her voice to be heard nonetheless:

"Dear Primpin', please add Terrell Owens to the Celebrity Plane Crash."


And while I'm at it, can I get a second vote for Denise Richards? One of the most overrated women in Hollywood. Just the other day, I was missing a brown sock from my drawer, and I flipped on the TV and thought I saw it on her forehead. Trim those eyebrows, girl!

So here's the updated Celebrity Plane Crash:

  1. Terrell Owens
  2. Denise Richards
  3. Janice Dickinson
  4. Chris Berman
  5. Carmen Electra
  6. Britney (but she can survive)
  7. Keanu Reeves
  8. Alec Baldwin (from brokedickdog)
  9. Gilbert Gottfried (from everybody with ears)
  10. Mace Windu (from brokedickdog)

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Yankee Virgins

My sister and niece are in town this weekend from San Francisco. I stumbled upon some Yankees tickets earlier in the week, and figured this would be a nice way to spend a Friday night with family I haven't seen in a couple of years, as well as the Baton, of course.

Missy is funnier than I am, and if you frequent this blog, you know that's actually not a difficult feat to achieve. Megan is 14, so there's still some innocence there that perhaps might be in danger as we all attend our first Yankees game. But things were going smoothly, both on the field and around our $10 non-alcoholic bleacher section.

Until the sixth inning.

You know how sometimes some people, usually younger guys with beer in hand, will appear out of nowhere in your row midway through a game? They bought the cheapest tickets, then spent the first 90 minutes of the game playing moundball, ogling the players' wives section from afar and scouting better, unused seats?

Four frat-looking boys crept into our row, but what was weird was that our seats were awful. We needed binoculars just to see the people with the binoculars. But into the four seats directly behind us they came, and seemed like they were having an F-bomb contest. Perhaps the conversation went something like this: "Let's go into that row over there and see how many times we can say fuck in front of those people who look like they're enjoying the game."

Other than those jackasses, the game was a good one. The Yankees turned a 3-3 game into a 6-3 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning before turning it over to superstar closer Mariano Rivera, who nearly blew it in the ninth, but eventually nailed it down and allowed us to watch the Yankees faithful celebrate another win at the old ballpark.

Black Week

Coming from somewhat of a sportswriting background, I used to think it was only football and basketball writers who wanted to be liked by their subjects. But after a week of watching one particular New York TV station's morning shows, it's white journalists in general who seek the acceptance, sports backgrounds notwithstanding.

Each morning, Monday through Friday, a black guest was soon to appear after the next commercial break, and on each occasion, the white TV pretty said, "Coming up next, (black guest) is in the house to tell us blah blah blah."

Why is it that only black people are in the house? And why is it that white people feel like they need to introduce the black guest as such? I'd have to assume that Maya Angelou, or even the lower-tier and tiresome Bill Cosby, would get a better introduction.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Cost Of Cold

I've never worked in a newsroom where I felt physically comfortable. Usually it's too cold, and I end up looking like a grandmother wearing an old sweater over my otherwise stylish collared oxfords.

Newsroom house cats say it's important to keep things a little cooler so all that expensive technical equipment doesn't overheat. That might be a partial explanation, but it's well known and never talked about by the underlings that news directors get a comfy holiday bonus from the home office at the end of the year depending on how far below budget they come in. So it's important to keep utility bills down.

But let's say that theory No. 1 is true. All that shows is that more care goes into the equipment than the people who operate it, as well as those who write, produce, edit and read the news. "If you're not dead, you're fine," seems to be the prevailing approach here.

What's also cold is that our government's very compassionate senators are considering a bill that would force the National Weather Service to shut down its Web site. Why? Because it undermines paid sites' abilities to make more money. So if you've ever gone to the NWS Web Site to freely find out the forecast in your area, passage of Bill 786 will make you unable to do that. Sure you can go to your local TV station's site for that information, but some senators actually think the NWS is doing a disservice by putting resources into online weather coverage, rather than using those same resources to, um, I don't know, devise a 40-day forecast? Prevent Katrina? Record scary promos that tell viewers to watch or die?

It will never stop to amaze me how political speak sounds like one thing, but always means another. Those in favor of doing away with the NWS site say they have the interests of Americans at heart, but why is it so urgently important for the AccuWeathers of the world to make X amount of millions, rather than merely Y amount of millions? So one company can stay "competitive in the marketplace," and more Americans can get jammed with yet another unnecessary expenditure?

For more on this developing story, click here.

Celebrity Plane Crash

Here's an updated Celebrity Plane Crash, thanks in large part to Janice Dickinson's appearance on a local news station this morning:

  1. Janice Dickinson
  2. Chris Berman
  3. Carmen Electra
  4. Britney (but she can survive)
  5. Keanu Reeves
  6. Alec Baldwin (from brokedickdog)
  7. Gilbert Gottfried
  8. Mace Windu (from brokedickdog)

Nominate someone for the Celebrity Plane Crash.


Monday, July 10, 2006

Zidane's Cup Runneth Over

I'm not necessarily up on the world soccer scene, but I've probably never followed a Cup as much as I did this one. I watched whenever my schedule allowed, and it seemed like it was always when France was playing.

And being the traditionalist that I always have been, I rooted for French superstar Zinadine Zidane to go out on a high note, that being his second Cup in three tries. France won on its home turf in 1998, getting two goals from Zidane in a 3-0 shellacking of world power, 2002 champ and 2006 fave Brazil. That, incidentally, was the year I myself broke into video-game superstardom, as my PlayStation World Cup '98 victories over Tom Cunningham are far too numerous to recall.

Nonetheless, it was quite disappointing to see Zidane's ejection in such a high-stakes situation. It was one of the few times in the tournament when the officials made a big call and got it right. The old headbutt to the chest plate was blatant enough to get sent off indeed, and it's too bad Zidane wasn't around to participate in the post-overtime PKs.

The bigger picture of the World Cup, however, showed me something else significant. It reminded me that athletes around the world -- Zidane's behavior notwithstanding -- are far more loyal to their fans than their Yankee counterparts. Want proof?

When was the last time you saw Kobe Bryant or Peyton Manning walk off the court or field with hands clapping above his head, acknowledging the home team's support? Soccer players do it, as do tennis players, and that's a sport full of internationals. Baseball sluggers will come out for the occasional curtain call and pitchers will tip a cap after a nice ovation twice a year. But the rule in Eurosports seems to be that you thank the fans regardless of the outcome of your game every time you compete.

And the arrogance isn't limited to the athletes, but the leagues themselves bestow upon winners of the Super Bowl, World Series and NBA Finals the title of "World Champions," when in fact only Olympics athletes and World Cup soccer players can call themselves such. Perhaps that's why foreign fans of sport are so much more passionate about competitions involving their nations than are Americans.

Here in the States, it just seems like no one cares about apathy anymore.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Baton Update

The Baton was accepted into Virginia Commonwealth University's Adcenter, the grad school she was hoping to get into.

VCU has the top-ranked, graduate-level advertising program in the country, so she's obviously excited, but also, and understandably, pretty nervous. One thing about dating someone so much younger is that, although I've only known her for less than a year, I've actually watched her grow up right in front of my very eyes. I'm proud of her for being accepted into such a program, but it's hard not to wonder where this thing will go now that we'll be 340 miles apart for 21 months. I know I'll be able to be patient, but I just hope she can do the same.

She leaves for Richmond in the middle of August. Please forgive if I don't update here as often.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Johnny Mac

I haven't drunk-typed in quite a while, but I'm doing it right now. There's drunk-dialing, drunk-texting and now, drunk blogging.

I caught up with my oldest cousin, Johnny Mac, who, other than being a relative and an all-around good guy, gives me a valuable lesson on Wise family history when I see him, which, honestly, isn't often. He was at my dad's funeral in 1992, and I saw him again at a cousin's wedding in 2003 before I moved up here in May. We've caught up twice here now.

Anyway, I tell the story about the night of my dad's funeral quite a bit.

Johnny's sister Sandy lived in Cincinnati, like I did, so she was able to drive me up to Cleveland for my dad's funeral in August 1992.

Two weeks prior, I had tried acid for the first and last time. I had a terrible eight-hour ride. Some friends would argue I'm still on that trip because I'm fairly freakish.

Anyway, on the ride up to Cleveland, I was hesitant to tell Sandy about my acid experience, but like I always do, I caved and told her, despite fearing some kind of judgmental reaction. She instead laughed her head off, telling me it was no big deal, that she and her siblings might have experienced some recreational enjoyments of their own over the years.

So two days later, there I was, in the cousins' basement, having a couple of beers with Johnny and Scotty. I don't think Sandy or Linda were there. It was night time, just a few hours after I buried my dad.

Is it a coincidence that the 1968 movie "Head" is on the TV right now as I type this?

So Johnny and Scotty walked me outside as I got ready to drive my mom's car home. It's at least a 25-minute ride, and unlike a lot of my friends, I could never drive high. Nonetheless, we smoked a joint and said our goodbyes. I was headed home.

I got fairly twisted around trying to find the main road -- Warrensville Center Road -- that by the time I got there, I was already baked out of my brain. I couldn't feel my feet on the pedals, so I parked the car and walked back to their house -- another interesting adventure. I was having a flashback just two weeks after my awful acid excursion.

I made it back to their house, and of course, Aunt Pat answered the door and I said, "Uhhh, I think I left my wallet in the basement; are Scotty and Johnny still around?"

So the boys, thank goodness, took me to some neighborhood bar and basically babysat me for a few hours until I was ready to drive back home. They stayed on with the beers, and I sat there drinking ice water, wondering if having Johnny drive was a better idea because he almost got us killed turning onto Belvoir.

"Hell, what do you expect? I was at an Irish wake all day," he recalled Thursday night.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Kobayashi Wins Again

KobayashiThe call came Monday night. Boss knows I'm a little bit of a photography enthusiast, and figured I'd want to get away from the office on the Fourth of July. I couldn't say no.

So there I was Tuesday. High noon, sweating my ass off, struggling to penetrate the mass of humanity and find the media booth. I need to tell someone I'm on some sort of list, so I can hang a Wayne-n-Garth-like credential around my neck. I'd like some preferential access so that I can knife through this moist crowd and get a good position.

Kobayashi, from Japan, was spending his Independence Day trying to once again outnasty 19 others in the annual Hot Dog Eating Contest at Nathan's on Coney Island. He succeeded ... for the sixth straight time.

Kobayashi is 160 pounds, but managed to swallow a record-setting 53.75 hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes.

When I asked his translator afterward what Kobayashi planned to have for dinner, the champ laughed and said, "Leftovers."

Now that's just disgusting.

Going Postal

It took five weeks for me to finally experience just once what everyone said I was going to see on a daily basis – the pushy New York a-hole.

Dressed in his adorable United States Postal Service costume, William was the prototypical tough guy from his comfy perch behind the counter, but I didn’t flinch. Twice he told me "that’s a complaint for the postmaster. You can tell—" and I cut him off both times. And I enjoyed it.

Because I’m equally macho, I do some selling on eBay, and I had to take a couple of packages to the post office Monday. I also had to take an item to be boxed right there. Armed with a Sharpie and the recipient’s address, I figured I’d just buy the box from William as he weighed my other items. But you had to go to another line to buy a box.

"You seriously can’t just sell me a box? I have to go wait in that line to buy one, then pack it up and get back in this line again?"

"That’s a complaint for the postmaster. You can tell—" whatever dude, I said as I handed him my credit card. When he turned back to me with the receipt a moment later, I noticed that the entire credit card number was printed on the merchant copy. The Baton got me hip to this; whenever you see that your number isn’t Xed out, scratch it out with the pen to prevent identity theft. I’m religious about it now.

"Wait. What happened? What are you doing?" William asked, getting louder with each syllable. He sounded like a whiny Jeff Spicoli when Mr. Hand ripped up his tardy senior’s schedule in "Fast Times At Ridgemont High."

"Preventing identity theft, William," I said with all sorts of uppity attitude.

"It was Xed out. We don’t want you to do that," in his continued whine.

"If it was Xed out, I wouldn’t have scratched it out myself."

"Well we don’t do that here. You’ll have to—"

"Sir, I work in the news business and almost daily we do a story about identity theft and credit card fraud. I always scratch my number out."

"That’s a complaint for the—"

MORE MONDAY NOTES: I had a small work assignment I needed to take care of in Central Park Monday evening. Right after I’d finished, I made my way back to a pedestrian path to begin my walk home. Keep in mind that it’s July in New York City. Monday’s temperature was about 90. It was humid and nasty. But that didn’t stop a 65-year-old looking guy from thinking, "Yeah, I think I’ll leave the house in this here trench coat, buttoned up all the way to the top, with some white tube socks and loafers."

Now I know on most days that’s a pretty nice look and all, but it just didn’t do much for me. A couple sitting on a bench watched my double-take, and when I turned back around, the guy’s reaction was priceless:

"How come you didn’t say hi to your dad, dude?"

STAY TUNED: I’ll be attending the famous hot-dog eating contest on Coney Island today. Hopefully I’ll have a good Kobayashi story for you.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Wish Upon A (Dead) Star

Remember, I'm in a new job, so I don't know most of the folks around here too well. Back in our very quiet part of the newsroom, one seemingly polite kid and I just saw a promo for an upcoming Star Jones interview on Larry King.

Me: "Sheesh, I'm so tired of Star Jones."
Kid: "I wish she would just die."

I think I'll like this kid. Anyone who's not afraid to hit the hate button in front of a relative stranger is splendid in my book. Add Star Jones to the Celebrity Plane Crash please.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Bad Comics Standing

I visited a comedy club last night and usually, isn't the emcee the one with the weakest act? He was the best one out there. Check out Mike Britt. Hilarious.

But the others: a pregnant white gal who couldn't stop badmouthing her husband, a white British dude who wasn't nearly as funny as he was knowledgeable about the World Cup, a black guy who was actually OK, especially with his Shaq-Kobe riff, and a big, hairy white dude with some R-rated material that was funny at first but eventually got tiresome.

The last guy was J.J. Ramirez, a Hispanic cat who clearly was called in on his day off because homeboy had nothing. Of course, his set was the longest -- at least 45 minutes but it felt like half a day. His entire schtick was asking patrons where they were from and then making stereotype references to those locations.

SIDE NOTE -- I'm not an expert on comedy, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, and I must say it's weird how the industry has transformed over the years. Nowadays, it seems the only group of the population of which it's OK to ridicule, if you're a comic, is white people and how they're all racist and so guilty of stereotyping.

Anyway, If you know me, you know I don't really get offended by much, but it was at times frustrating last night listening to these jackals bag on whitey but turn around and do the exact same thing for parts of their acts. Except Ramirez, who did it for his entire act.


Ramirez: "Where you from, gorgeous?"
Girl: "Guess."
Ramirez: "Japanese?"
Girl: "No, guess again."
Ramirez: "Fuck; I'm not guessing, I'm asking."
Girl: "Filipino."
Ramirez: "I knew you had the Asian thing going. Do you know karate?"

Is that offensive? Probably not, but I'm at a comedy club, paying $18 for two Budweisers, so please make me laugh.

And although I'll never claim to boast the hunky, leading-man look, I do know a thing or two about style. So for him to address me as Archie was just stupid. And then he made fun of one of my friends because he had reddish hair. All this while sporting an awful shirt with pineapples printed all over it, the top two buttons unfastened enough to reveal a darling gold chain, and what appeared to be a pair of loafers purchased on the same street table as a $15 Louie bag. Hooray Beer!

Even worse than Ramirez's act was the laughter he generated from an obviously forgiving crowd. I seriously couldn't believe people were laughing at his gameless effort. His best line didn't come until the end, when the lights came on and he said goodnight. The biggest laughs he got were when patrons got involved, like when Cedric, a skinny white kid visiting from Tennessee, was introduced, by Ramirez on the mic, to Frederick, a black dude from Brooklyn sitting in front of the Tennessee kid. Cedric, perhaps not accustomed to meeting black people, shook Frederick's hand and asked, "What's going down, man?" in his best DJ Qualls voice. Big laughs, but it hardly had anything to do with the comedian, who, by the way, on two occasions repeated the same joke. Just overall awful.

Saturday, July 01, 2006


Emil was a nice kid. Like a lot of confused teenagers, he was a little bit odd. I was in the in crowd cuz I'm really cool, and I'd say Emil was in there too. I guess that doesn't say much about Richmond Heights High School's class of 1988.

I kid. Emil was actually very likable. Except for one day.

Our basketball team would practice right after school, and we always finished with the figure-eight drill. If you didn't play organized basketball, you don't know what this is because it's incredibly useless and not something you'd ever see in a game.

Basically, the team forms three lines of four guys along the baseline. The guy in the middle starts with the ball, and he'll pass to the guy on the right wing and follow the pass. These two guys, and the guy on the left wing, are doing this while running up the court. The guy on the right who just received the pass then throws to the left and follows that pass, and so on down the court.

When the trio passes halfcourt, the next group starts. And you usually have two basketballs going at once, so when one group finishes, the ball gets thrown down to the next group in line waiting their turn.

I forgot to mention this; Emil thought he was John Elway.

So I'm on the left wing, flirting with Lissa Latina. The girls' team would come in and get their shoes on and stretch before their practice that immediately followed ours. I was looking off to the side when I heard someone yell my name. I looked up but it was too late.

Elway had thrown a perfect strike, a bullet, that must have had SONAR lock on my genitalia because from 90 feet away, he whizzed that basketball with all his might and it hit me square in the balls.

When I peeled myself off the ground 15 minutes later, amid the cackling of the Richmond Heights High School girls' basketball team running their pre-practice warmup laps around the outside of the court, I felt like my balls were in my stomach. It's an often-used expression, but it really did feel that way. I remember it like I remember how I got home last night. OK, bad example.

I can't remember what happened after that, but I probably scored 47 the next night on my way to all-American honors and a life full of fame, money and women.