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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Word From The Wise

New column out today.


First Friday Fun

My new best friend Leily called back today to confirm that my request for two media passes be left at the Guggenheim for tomorrow night's First Friday party. In recent years, I've gone to events in Cincinnati and Louisville, similar perhaps only in name. But this I expect will be an entirely different ballgame. The Guggenheim? Art, music, drinks, pretty people? This should be fairly hot.

Seriously, tho, it's about time I start working this city. Hopefully I'll have a story for you, as my sister will be joining me and we've had this habit in recent years of laughing our heads off when we're together.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


When you're a college kid, there are two givens when you live with a few of your buddies:

1) There's always a porno cued up in the VCR.
2) You're always looking to pull a prank.

In my fifth year of college, these two facts came together in harmony more perfect than that from Paul McCartney's timeless classic, "Ebony and Ivory."

JB, Matt, Erin and I lived in the Hyde Park suburb of Cincinnati, but we still partied often in the college area of Clifton, about six or seven miles away. We all crashed in Clifton on a Thursday night and got back to our Hyde Park home at about 9 a.m. Friday morning. So there we were, all sitting in the living room, fully clothed early on a weekday morning, quite a rarity for this oft-hungover group.

That's when we heard a "Hello, anybody there?" come from the front door downstairs. We'd forgotten that the landlord was trying to sell the building, so an agent brought over a young couple to look at the house.

There were 12 stairs leading up to our second-floor living room, and as the agent and couple were walking up the steps, I casually got up with the VCR remote in hand, slowly lumbered out of the living room really without being noticed, and once it sounded like our visitors were on the 12th step, I hit PLAY on the remote and sprinted toward the back of the house and up to my third-floor bedroom, where I got in bed and pretended to be fast asleep.

I almost wish I could have been in the room to see the young couple's faces as they entered the room with a porno scene on the TV.

JB pulled an odd move when he ran past his own third-floor room and into mine to hide in my closet. And, just as you'd expect from an ABC sitcom, the couple came into my room, apologized for "waking me up," and then perused my space per my encouragement. "Sure, check the closets," I begged, but JB was on the other side holding onto the knob for dear life, a habit he clearly mastered in multiple ways back then.

Once the woman struggled enough with the knob, I told her it sticks and assured her there was plenty of closet space. If I really wanted to weird the family out, I would have gotten out of bed and opened the closet door myself, but I probably had a boner.

Review: Plunge

Since I’m a journalist for a start-up online operation, I make lots and lots of money.

And I can think of no better way to flaunt my $50s than by going to places like Plunge.

For those who don’t know much about the news business, we actually don’t get paid very well. But I still did find myself Tuesday night at Plunge, the rooftop bar above the trendy Hotel Gansevoort in New York’s hip Meatpacking district.

The drink list showed me that I could pay $15 for a rum and coke, and if I so desired, a bottle of liquor would only set me back $350. That’s hot.

I jokingly said to my friend Amanda, in town on business this week, that I’ll probably just order a Bud Light in a can. But when the unfriendly waitress finally did arrive, she said there actually were a few beers available, so I ordered a Stella, which has become my beer the last six months or so.

Perhaps the beers aren’t on the menu because they’re the cheapest items available. That, too, is hot.

Now I’m typically not much into this type of scene, where I know I’m the brokest bitch in the place. But it was fun nonetheless catching up with Amanda and looking at what few pretties dropped in early on a Tuesday evening. The lounge ambience – music, lighting, décor – certainly was enjoyable, just the people at places like this aren’t typically my flavor. But I can imagine that midnight on a Friday might be a lively scene to people watch, and with my sister Melissa scheduled for a weekend visit, perhaps I’ll have a different review for you in a few days.


Monday, November 27, 2006

Review: Nice Matin

I had brunch at Nice Matin back in July, but never went there for dinner. I've passed the place on weekend evenings a couple times lately, and it looks pretty hot.

So my friend Jackie, in New York on business, and I checked it out on Monday night and it was pretty impressive.

Because I'm paranoid about being out too late on weeknights, we arrived at about 7 and the crowd was still a little thin. It didn't take long, however, before most of the tables filled up.

I had the leg of lamb, and asked for a medium rare plus, drawing a stare from the European server and a comment from Jackie. Has no one heard of medium rare plus? Anyway, it was cooked just as I'd asked for it, and it was delicious. Jackie seemed to enjoy her salmon salad, and the Pinot Grigio seemed to go down fairly quickly.

The warm chocolate cake with ice cream on the side was an excellent capper. By the time we were done, the attractive wait staff had a full restaurant of tables to serve, a near surprise if only because it was the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend. But the music, lighting and chatter made for a delightful ambience, and with my sister visting this weekend, perhaps we'll call the cousins and meet up at Nice Matin for another brunch there.


Sunday, November 26, 2006

Perspective Schmerspective

I hate cliches, especially around the holidays, but it's hard not to find perspective this time of year. I went for a run in Central Park, and after admiring some of the street art near the Met, I walked home and passed a homeless man curled up in a corner near a church. I've actually seen this guy many times in my neighborhood.

And for the first time since I can remember, I actually stopped and asked him if I could get him anything. Without hesitation, he looked up and said in an unfamiliar accent, "Hell yeah, how 'bout some money for food, Papi?"

So because running in the park is one of the few things things New Yorkers don't have to pay for, I had no money on me. I ran up to my apartment and grabbed a few bucks, then around the corner to buy a slice of pizza and a bottled water. I slid three bucks in the bag with the pizza, and when I returned to him, he said he couldn't eat the pizza because he's diabetic.

So you know that question you hear in December commmercials, "What do you give the man who has everything?" Well, I need an answer for, "What do you feed the homeless man who has diabetes?" If you have any ideas, I'm all ears.

But back to perspective; I find myself often lamenting that I don't have this and that, complaining about seemingly insurmountable problems, whining about my recent breakup with the Baton. But if my life is such that I can take a few minutes out of my life and try to help a homeless dude in my neighborhood, and then I get to come home and sleep in my warm bed and head to my pretty good job tomorrow, I have way more than I think I do.

Again, sorry for the corny cliche, but instead of trying to find the hot young girlfriend, could this possibly be the way to go? Caring less about having a pretty girl on my arm and more about making the day of a complete stranger? I'll give it a try and get back to you. Meantime, my phone's ringing in the other room. It's probably one of my bitches.

Friday, November 24, 2006

And Another Thing . . .

I forgot to tell you, but the gal I took to Homecoming in my senior year of high school, now lives in New York. We got in touch a few weeks ago and met out for drinks on the Upper West Side Wednesday night. Her parents are up for the holiday, and her mom reminded me of how I came to the door all those years ago to pick her up for the big dance wearing my high-top basketball shoes.

Yes, I've always been classy.

Word From The Wise

New column out today.


Thanksgiving in Connecticut

ConnecticutHARTFORD, Conn. -- Remember John Charlton, Hot Carl, the Heater? Well, he lives up here in Hartford and was kind enough to entertain me for Thanksgiving Thursday.

So I got up here and drank all of his wine and enjoyed a lovely spaghetti dinner, and we're actually planning big turkey doings this evening, Friday, after some other out-of-town guests arrive.

Charlton lives in a nice, quiet, wooded area, which is always a welcome departure from the noise and overall hate of the city. Above is a picture of a bridge over a small fall right near a lake that's about 100 yards away from his house.

Remind me to tell you about my last trip to Connecticut, which involves an ESPN interview and chicken pox. I'll get to that later, when I'm not sitting on a stool and leaning on a bed as I type.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! Hope your weather is as nice where you are as it is here in Hartford. It's quite nice out. In fact . . .

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Movie Reviews: Charlotte's Web and Dreamgirls

"Charlotte's Web" was one of many books I was assigned to read in school and never did. I figured I'd wait until age 36 to see a movie in which a talking pig steals the show.

Though Anne from work has no children, she seems a kid at heart, but I'm not typically a fan of such movies, since I have none either. No kids or kid movies. But this was a good family holiday movie and I'm glad I saw it. I won't say I cried tears of joy, but it was a nice positive story and now I don't have to read the book. Honestly, though, it is worth seeing. Wilbur is a nice pig who deserves to live, and he and the Rat (voiced both well and appropriately by Steve Buscemi) finally work together at the end to save Charlotte's babies after she dies. Julia Roberts had a nice soothing voice for that role. All the spiders I've talked to have had soothing voices, so Roberts made her character quite believable.

That was Monday, and because I'm quite charming, Anne asked me to join her again on Tuesday for "Dreamgirls," which I thoroughly enjoyed. Because I don't try to guess the predictable conflict before it happens, like many cynics do, I wait for the movie to come to me. But once the negativity mixed its way into the story, it took off the way a good plot should. And while Beyonce and Jamie Foxx and Eddie Murphy delivered good headline performances, it was Jennifer Hudson who owned the film.

I only got into "American Idol" one time, in 2003, but that was enough. Anne tried to convince me that shows like AI are worthwhile because they help jumpstart the careers of talented performers who otherwise don't have the connections to get a break. Hudson is a perfect example both in real life, by advancing deep in the 2004 Idol and parlaying it into a successful career so far, and in her character, Effie White, who gets a lift late in "Dreamgirls." I'll let you find out whether she takes advantage of it. I haven't seen too many movies inspired by musicals, but this one was excellent, thanks in large part to Hudson.

Monday, November 20, 2006

OSU-Michigan -- Postgame Video

I've got a camera bag on one shoulder, a camera on the other shoulder and another camera with a 500mm lens mounted to a monopod in one hand, so the video taken by my small-time Canon PowerShot G5 in the other hand isn't great, but here are two clips from the moments after Ohio State beat Michigan.

I heard Jerry Bruckheimer is looking for a director of cinematography for his next $250 million movie. Do you think I should drop him a resume?

Word From The Wise -- OSU-Michigan Pictures

I'm really disappointed in my Ohio State-Michigan pictures. I didn't have good battery power, and with the fading light I must have used an incorrect setting for nearly two full quarters. Hopefully, I'll be able to redeem myself in Glendale. But first I have to get the green light from the honchos here at work just to go to Glendale.

Anyway, here are the pictures.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Word From The Wise -- The Audio Blog

As you know, I was doing some work out of Columbus on Saturday at the Ohio State-Michigan game. I'll post pictures and perhaps other content soon, but just wanted to share my audio blog, which is now on the MyFox network of sites.

Click here to listen now.

I haven't listened to it yet, so I don't know how it turned out, but any feedback is appreciated.



Friday, November 17, 2006


(On location blogging because I'm really cool.)

LOUISVILLE -- It doesn't really take much to make me happy, especially after what I endured trying to fly here from New York last night.

When I finally did reach my destination -- surprise, it was a bar! -- where a handful of Primpin' loyals kindly awaited, I was greeted with a complimentary beverage.

A short time later, when I tried to repay the friend with a return drink, another colleague joined in the conversation, so I ordered three draft beers.

"Six seventy five," the chesty brunette announced.

I almost died and went to Heaven, and it had nothing to do with the bartender.

$6.75 is what I pay for three-fourths of a Ketel One and tonic in New York. It's about what I pay for a bottle of Bud, with the tip. But six seventy five for three tall cold beers makes me want to maximize my value, so I think I might just go to the bar here in a short while and drink alone all day to take advantage of those savings.

Just kidding. When you rent a really hot blue minivan because it's the last car Enterprise has at midnight, you don't really drink (much) and drive. So I had two beers and switched to water.

28 hours until kickoff.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

What's In A Name?

When I worked in Louisville, there were two co-workers named Alison and Allison. After some time, folks just started calling Alison "One L" and the other co-worker Allison.

I tell you this because I'm in the middle of a "One L" dilemma myself. Or is it dillemma?

I think my birth certificate lists my name as John Phillip Wise, though I've used John Philip Wise when filling out important forms and so forth. Or perhaps vice versa. Either way, I know my birth certificate shows it one way and I use the other way. So Mom, if you're reading, is it one L or two?

Thanks a llot.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Word From The Wise

New column out a little early this week. It's Ohio State-Michigan week. I suggest you read it.

And remember, I'll be posting pictures and an audio blog, perhaps another column, from my perch on the sidelines, so check back often for all that stuff in a few days.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Barry3It's been well-documented, and not just here, that Barry Schwartz of San Francisco is a fairly funny dude.

He just doesn't look great on film.

Barry2An anonymous reader sent in some less-than-flattering pictures of him on Tuesday. And since I have to fill some space here, I'm just going to keep on typing.

Did you hear the one about Barry shitting his pants on spring break in Florida many years ago?

Barry1Or how about when he blew out his knee while dancing around a beer bottle at a bar, also many years ago?

When we did stand-up a couple of times together, I usually went after this dude Darren, and following him was OK because I had better shit. But Barry brought down the house the first time he got on stage, so I was the unlucky bastard who had to follow him. Add to the mix that I didn't have my best material that night, and it was an embarrassing 12 minutes for me. I guess that's better than an embarrassing 30 seconds, which unfortunately I've also endured a few times over the years.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Say It Ain't So . . .

ESPN's John ClaytonJust got word the other day that a few of my friends call me John Clayton, the knowledgeable but fairly dorkish NFL correspondent on ESPN.


John P. WiseNow I know I wear eyeglasses and I have perhaps a little bit less hair than I used to, but John Clayton?

That's just mean.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Still Puffy

My Sister MelissaSo my sister Melissa (there she is reading her favorite newspaper again) and I have been talking a little bit lately, comparing notes on life's recent struggles. She did offer up some relief this morning in the form of a funny story:

She and her husband and their two kids had just pulled into a parking garage in San Francisco Saturday. She drives a Tahoe and parks nervously in small spaces. So she found a spot but once she pulled into it, she wanted to see if the rear of the truck was hanging out too far. So she straightened things out and while looking out her driver's-side window toward the back of the vehicle, she also was rolling up the window, which caught her lip, which she said today is "still puffy."


I was introduced to Madison Square Garden Friday night. If there was a downside, it was that Axl Rose and Guns-N-Roses just happened to be playing at the same time that I was upstairs in a luxury box eating free food and drinking free alcohol.

Miles gets occasional box access through his job, and he was nice enough to ask me to join him and his group. It actually was quite a fun time.

One gal who was there with a date seemed to talk to every guy up there except her date. She gave me a hard time on several occasions when I tried to be respectful and keep away from her three or four times so the dude wouldn't feel so bad. I have no idea how their evening ended up, but mine ended in an argument with the cab driver who tried to stiff me on the change. I was on the phone at the time of the confrontation, and when I finally got out of the cab and returned to my call, my friend said she was quite surprised to hear me be such a condescending dick. Whether she was sarcastically telling me I'm always a condescending dick or if she was being serious, it was in no way a compliment.

Amanda Congdon

Amanda CongdonBecause there's no real easy word yet to describe someone who's gotten famous online, you use something like "internet sensation" to reference Amanda Congdon.

But that is soon to change. Congdon -- how about tech hottie? -- signed a deal with HBO to develop and star in a new comedy program. It's not yet clear what the show will be about or when it will release, but she told The Hollywood Reporter that it will include video online.

She remains part owner of Rocketboom, whose primary owner, Andrew Baron, founded and landed Congdon via a Craigslist ad. Baron gets little credit, presumably because he's not as hot as Congdon. She certainly is talented, but now with a high-profile gig, time will tell if she's worth the buzz, or if she's, as one tech insider put it, merely "a tempest in a D-cup."

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Jackass Friends

Jason BurokerSo next weekend really seems to be taking shape. Fly into Louisville Thursday and party with my people there, then up to Cincinnati for more old friends Friday and then onto Columbus for the OSU-Michigan game Saturday.

Regarding Cincinnati, this is what I have to look forward to . . .

Jeff GluckPictured top right is my old friend Jason, who for some reason turns nine shades of red the minute he opens his first beer of the night.

Below him is our dude Jeff. Jason and Jeff both hail from lovely Lima, Ohio, which might explain why Jeff looks like this.

barry2And on the bottom is Barry, shown here in his high school senior picture. He lives in San Francisco and we've talked about him before. He'll be in Cincinnati to watch the OSU-Michigan game. As you can see, he's not the most photogenic cat I've seen. But despite sporting a full boner in a family portrait, he's the funniest dude in the world. Fuck Borat.

Friday, November 10, 2006

More Old Media Friends

Paul KeelsHere are two more media friends I like. Paul Keels (right) is the radio play-by-play guy for Ohio State football and basketball, and Denny Janson (below) is the main sports anchor at a television station in Cincinnati.

The reason I mention them today is because I was reminded of a story that I think is funny, though you probably won't, but this is my blog and I'll write what I want to.

When I was getting my start in the media as a jackass sports writer for my college newspaper at the University of Cincinnati, I got to know these guys well enough for them to play an embarrassing gag on me.

Dennis JansonAs part of UC's Midnight Madness festivities to ring in the new basketball season, the school set up many kinds of activities, including a media celebrity all-star game. Nine celebs must have called in sick, because somehow I was asked to participate.

So there I am breaking a sweat, the youngest guy out there in front of about 10,000 people at the Shoemaker Center, running circles around a bunch of 40-somethings. A teammate grabbed a defensive rebound and threw the ball to me, about 80 feet away from the basket.

Janson and Keels were on the other team's bench, and only like two hecklers could, they began to count down quite loudly, "Three, two, one . . . " So for some reason I fell for it and heaved an 80-footer toward the far basket that came nowhere near going in, giving the ball back to the other team with about a minute still left on the clock.

Word From The Wise

New column out this week.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Old People

I hate to sound like an insensitive dick, but I've never been a fan of really really old people.

I just saw the oldest living graduate of Rutgers, age 110, sing the school fight song as part of ESPN's pregame coverage moments before the much-anticipated game between 8-0 Louisville and 8-0 Rutgers.

Television stations need to just decide against doing that, because way more people are uncomfortable or just straight up laughing than they are saying, "My, that Shar-Pei singing words I can't understand is so darn adorable."

Congratulations To Me

I'm happy as a jackass eating thistles.

Just got word today that my application for a photographer's credential for the Ohio State-Michigan game on Sat., Nov. 18, has been approved.

Plan is to party with some of my old people in Cincinnati on Friday, then up to Columbus Saturday, then perhaps stay with a friend there on Saturday night.

Keep an eye out for pictures for what is being billed as the biggest game ever in the biggest rivalry in all of sports. And I'll be on the sideline for all of it!

Not Missing So Much

I was fairly gaga when "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" first hit, and treated it as appointment TV for the first four episodes.

The last of which didn't do much for me, and I ended up missing the fifth one two Mondays ago.

Show No. 6 was Monday of this week, and I had no need to stay up for it. I can imagine it went something like this: A cast member had some personal drama, a crew member tried to say something funny and the executive producer struggled to get a show stacked on time, but it all came together at the end.

Wake me up if it gets better. Otherwise, I'm counting down the days until college basketball season begins. That's the real appointment television.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Celebrity Sighting

Martha StewartHad dinner at Sushi Yasuda in Midtown tonight. Only one table separated us from Martha Stewart and her dinner companion.

So I waited for her to hit the ladies' room. I followed her in and nailed her.

Just kidding. It was in the men's room.

Seriously, tho, when she did get up to leave, the pair sitting in the middle asked if we thought that was her, and it clearly was, but in New York, it's apparently weak to look impressed to see somebody famous, so you just go on back to your business.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Some Of My Favorite People

I get so caught up in myself on this blog that I thought I'd spice it up a little by saying hello to some other people for a change. So below are some of the good friends I've made in the news business over the years -- at least those with online bios.

BoelJohn Boel is one of the best in the business, as well as one of the best friends a guy could ask for. He's won 50 Emmy Awards, more than any other journalist in the country. I happened to be lucky enough to work with him in Louisville, Ky., and he's one of the reasons why I would go back there if New York doesn't work out.

MoI don't think you could pack more history into 30 months than I have with Maureen Kyle. John Charlton, who you'll meet shortly, wanted to introduce us in 2004 because she and I share a Cleveland connection. We played a little cat and mouse before timing became an issue, and we've gone from almost-kind of-nearly-somewhat dated to excellent friends.

HeaterCharlton is fondly known as Hot Carl and Heater, among others. And he just happens to be the nicest cat around. He's better at calling and keeping in touch than I am, but it's hard to return messages to a guy whose mom engaged me in a game of footsy under the table at Osaka on the night of his birthday a few years back.

AnneAnne Craig deserves a pat on the back. She just ran her first New York City Marathon on Sunday. Plus I'll take any possible opportunity to speak highly of her in order to stay in her good graces. Her job requires her to screen movies, but she's always allowed to bring a friend. Cough cough.

My, that was fun. I think I'll start doing this on a regular basis. Got a picture of yourself? Send it in!

It's For A Cop

Super TroopersRemember the movie "Super Troopers?"

I enjoyed the scene when the heavy-set cop with the bad mustache went into the fast-food joint and ordered a baco burger or whatever it was. The kid taking the order relays it to the grill guys in back over the microphone, then says, "It's for a cop." A confrontation ensues.

Anyway, such an incident pretty much played out in reality in New Mexico last week. Now, two cops are filing suit against a Burger King there after eating two burgers that had some weed sprinkled on top. Enjoy.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Breakup(s)

Pour salt in the wound. Add insult to injury. Kick a man while he's down. I don't care which cliche you prefer; just check this shit out.

I got dumped this weekend. Twice.

The Baton ended things after 15 months. That sucks.

But to make things worse Saturday morning, I went to pick up $50 from Pang, the laundress downstairs, for her third mistake with my clothing. She paid me but gave me a speech that in her broken English went something like this:

"Wise, you very nice guy. You come here, always talk nice and good customer. But I pay you three times, so after thees, no more."

Yup, Pang dumped me too, so I need to find a new laundress. It's actually OK. She ruined or lost some of my stuff on three different occasions. Now I'll just take my new six-word Chinese vocabulary and go somewhere else.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Word From The Wise

New column out today.