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Thursday, June 28, 2007


Certainly in a city with 8 million people you see some unusual stuff from time to time, regardless of how early in the morning it might be.

And this morning was no exception.

I was walking behind a drunk man at about 5 a.m on my way into work. There is a police station a block west of my office, and there's some construction going on there, so those saw horses are out in front and a path between two of them is blocked by yellow police crime-scene tape.

The drunk guy stopped there, ripped a few feet of the yellow tape off for himself, and started to walk away. When I returned my gaze on him a moment later, he was snaking the tape through the loops of his fancy denim shorts. Yes, he was using police tape as a belt at 5 in the morning.

Until I moved to the fashion capital of the world, I had no idea how important it is to accessorize.


My First NYC Blackout

No, not that kind of blackout. I've already had a few of those up here.

But during my routine post-work nap Wednesday afternoon, I was awakened by the sounds of jackhammers next door. A new apartment building is going up and I've been listening to the construction for nearly a year, and will continue to hear it for another two years.

But usually the jackhammers are drowned out by my noisy air-conditioner, which conked out at about 3:30 p.m. yesterday. Everything conked out. The blackout hit the Upper East Side and lasted for nearly an hour. My seventh-floor luxury apartment heated back up immediately on a humid, 90-degree day, and that sucked. And once the power came back on, I was sweating and fully awake and it would have been too late in the day to try to resume the nap.


Goodbye Liz

Probably more than any of my male friends, I feel like I once had a special connection to Liz Claiborne, who died here in New York on Tuesday.

When I was dating the lovely Valerie about 10 years ago, I was pinching pennies to save up for a wedding I was in on Hilton Head Island. She and I had just started dating, and about the same time she told me about the stock guy who quit the Liz Claiborne store where she worked, I was telling her about this upcoming wedding.

Apparently the dude asked her out and once she said no, he quit. So I picked up a few shifts in the back room, and added "Women's Clothing Store Stock Chump" to my lengthy list of awful jobs I've had over the years. The extra cash came in handy and the hours were flexible. I occasionally miss those days, just as thousands will miss Claiborne, who died after a long battle with cancer.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

iWon't Buy One

Don't know if you've heard, but Apple has some gadget coming out this month.

Sheesh, there certainly is a ton of buzz around this iPhone, and there has been for six or eight months. Considering what it puts right at your fingertips for just $600, the hype is presumably well deserved.

But I must say I'm surprised it's being rolled out on the Friday evening (6 p.m. EDT) of a holiday weekend. Typically not short on confidence, or competence, Apple must be having some reservations about its new toy. The computing giant figures whatever shortcomings its first edition will have by the time the masses return to work and or shake off the July 4 hangover, the iPhone buzz will have died down in favor of the real news of the week -- what is Paris wearing to her Out Of Jail party?

Making things doubly confusing is the care Apple is rumored to be taking in getting the iPhones to retail. PAE has heard that instead of shipping via UPS or FedEx or U.S. Mail, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company is flying reps to points all across the nation, arming them with the iPhones and having them personally deliver the product to many of the stores that will be selling them on the first weekend. This whole thing makes very little sense to me.

Will you buy an iPhone?

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Paris Update

It's funny how so many of the reporters covering the Paris Hilton jail release -- and really most of the Paris stories -- began their live reports with a sarcastic comment about how ridiculous the media firestorm is over what really amounts to a non-story, especially in light of the real news of the Ohio pregnant woman's death. Do network honchos and newsroom managers get tired of the smartass remarks? Do they even take note of them?

Paris is one of those many stories that often brings up the following question: Did the media sometime in the last generation begin to force-feed the celebrity stories to us, in effect dictating to us what we thought we should want to know as news consumers?

Or did the media simply pay attention to the masses' pre-existing preferences, and shape its agenda in typical reactionary fashion?

What do you think?


Sunday, June 24, 2007

"You're Not Gay, Are You?"

A short guy about 60-ish with a beer belly and gray facial stubble was staring at me on the street this evening. When I turned to look him in the eye and ask him how I could help him, he stepped to me and initiate the following conversation:

"You look familiar, do you live around here?"
"I do."
"Do you ever go down to the village?"
"A little bit."
"Have you been to The Eagle?"
"You're not gay, are you?"


Thursday, June 21, 2007

This Should Scare You

If this doesn't scare you, it should.

There used to be a time when the guy who covered health at the local TV station could quietly contribute a few bucks to his preferred choice for governor. But now that everything has a paper trail that leads to a newscast or a blog, "Give 'Til It Hurts" has new meaning.

So you'd think journalists, and especially their bosses, would tighten things up. Not so. Not at all.

That local TV reporter's preferred choice for governor might be the one proposing a major health initiative that could in some way benefit the reporter, giving the public even more reason to be skeptical of journalists. And again, this is just a local TV example.

What about those who work at cable mainstays CNN and MSNBC, as well as the networks? Or how about the Wall Street Journal or New York Times? There's a handful of those named in this story. How many other names aren't included?

Sure, journalists are human, and like everyone else they have opinions. Jerry Springer used to do a little commentary on the day's big story at the end of his early 1990s newscasts at Cincinnati's WLWT-TV. Even some sports guys used to do an occasional 60-second opinion piece after the scores and highlights. Again, local TV -- no harm, no foul.

Because journalists are closer than the public to the big stories they cover, they're likely to have an even more informed take on issues and candidates. But I remember learning what the term "conflict of interest" meant back when I was 19, and it's a hard rule to forget about.

So to make things easy, to remove any gray area, to help keep some separation between journalism and politics and also to help keep them both a little more honest, newspapers and broadcasters need to implement an across-the-board prohibition of campaign donations by their employees. It really is that easy.

Do You Agree?

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Monday, June 18, 2007


My dude Bruce stood me up twice this weekend, and I was cool with staying in Friday, but Saturday, at about 10:30 p.m., I ended up sending out a couple text messages to see if anyone was doing anything exciting.

Remember Blaney? The gal I met on the subway platform a few months ago? She replied promptly and said she and her girlfriends were just finishing dinner out and that they were going to ps450, a 25-ish joint in Murray Hill.

Despite being an accountant, Blaney is gorgeous, or that's at least what I'll say here because I know she reads me and I need her to help me with some tax questions before a Wednesday deadline. When you're clueless about the new money coming in from selling art, you want to play by the rules, and Blaney is nice enough to allow me to pick her brain.

But she really is hot, though.

So I rolled down to 30th and Park Avenue and saw a long line that wasn't moving much. I can handle being in a bar full of 20-somethings, but for some weird reason waiting outside in line, where people are not spilling drinks on you is far less appealing. I texted Blaney and told her I'd just gotten in line, and prepared myself to stand quietly with hands in pockets for about an hour.

It did take almost that long, but when I finally reached the door and was about to present my ID to the doorman, Blaney texted me the following message. "I think we're going to leave. Are you still out there?"

That's pretty funny, but in the minute or two between the time I got that message and when I got in the door and saw Blaney and her group, one of her girlfriends saw a dude she liked so they decided to stay.

In the year that I've been up here and in the eight months since I've been broken up with a girl far younger than I, a bar full of 20s hasn't really been doing it for me. But for some reason this ps450 was pleasantly tolerable. On each trip to the bar, another patron always seemed to strike up a conversation with me, including, later at night, perhaps bespectacled with beer goggles, two lovely young film industry hopefuls named Heather and Sasha, who promised to attend my next party, which I think is going to be July 28. Please mark that date down.

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College World Series Report

BoelPrimpin' Ain't Easy senior correspondent John Boel reports today from Omaha, Neb., where the Louisville Cardinals are playing in the College World Series, that he went to a bar there on Saturday night that made the Kentucky Derby infield look like nap time at playschool.

"I felt like Bob Domine as I stepped into a fenced-in concentration camp of college kids easily numbering a thousand, and I felt like I belonged until I remembered I was 45 years old."


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Movie Reviews

I joined NetFlix a few weeks ago. Here are some quick reviews so far (Great, Good, Average, Bad):

+ Casino Royale -- Good. Daniel Craig was excellent in his Bond debut. As always in the 007 franchise, cinematography was excellent.
+ Borat -- Good. It should be getting harder and harder to do the fuck-with-people type of humor, but Sacha Baron Cohen pulled it off hilariously.
+ Pursuit Of Happyness -- Great. Definitely deserving of all the hype. The uplifting moment could have come a little earlier, but Will Smith gave a great effort.
+ Stranger Than Fiction -- Good. Will Ferrell un-pigeonholed himself in "Melinda And Melinda," and showed similar range again.
+ Thank You For Smoking -- Great. Aaron Eckhart deserves more buzz. He was outstanding in "In The Company Of Men" a decade ago, and hasn't disappointed once since.

In The Queue . . .

+ Casablanca
+ The Last King Of Scotland
+ Eddie Izzard


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Rather vs. Moonves

It's funny that the news business that icon Dan Rather helped shape is amid a transformation that, without it, his verbal spat with CBS chief Les Moonves would not be news at all.

Don't let his new dot-net business card fool you; Rather is clearly old school. Which explains his criticism this week of Moonves and CBS' decision to lure news cheerleader Katie Couric to fill the network's evening chair last year.

Rather meant no -- OK, only a little -- slight to Couric by saying Moonves has been trying to "dumb it down" and "tart it up." He definitely, however, meant to jab Moonves when he said of him that Moonves "doesn't know about news."

This really isn't that big of a deal. You've got old-school news guy calling out a network chief exec. Is that surprising? Of course Moonves doesn't know news. You can't know about news and simultaneously be an effective network chief. If you come from the news side, you stay in news and you don't aspire to such an executive position, nor would you attain it if you so desired. And if you're on Moonves' salesy side, in most cases, you only know statistics, numbers, demographics, viewers and shares. You make decisions based on research -- albeit limited -- not on your gut. Those are two very different things. More often than not in today's newsrooms, the right news decision is scarcely the one made because it grabs fewer viewers. And low ratings means a constant updating of the resume. Sadly, less real news means more viewers.

These days, it's all about reaching younger audiences who have newer, faster, cooler, more numerous options now at their disposal. Rather doesn't think the 6:30 p.m. institution should change as much as the options have. But the New School says we need to Paris Hilton-ify our news every chance we get. Whether Moonves slides to the left on that scale, or even if he's in the middle, the Rathers see little to no need for the side of celebrity with their meat and potatoes.

These are legitimate criticisms by Rather, and while Moonves wasn't inaccurate in the words he used to react, that there was a reaction at all was probably the wrong move. And after he spoke, the company directive was to refer media inquiries to the network's EP of the "The CBS Evening News," who just poured more gas on the fire, making the network look no less cheap than Rather, who, by the way, wasn't looking for a microphone; he just happened to make his honest remarks during the course of an interview with MSNBC's Joe Scarborough.


Monday, June 11, 2007

Sopranos Finale

Americans love drama, tragedy and complaining. And it's in our nature to play the devil's advocate.

Which is why everyone is whining about the way "The Sopranos" ended last night.

I was more surprised and confused than disappointed. I don't mind the blood, but I don't need it either. And considering "The Sopranos" will go down as HBO's best-ever drama, if not its best original series entirely, the hype and anticipation leading up to the finale had expectations set pretty high.

But the only violence we saw in the 62-minute closer was when Phil got whacked. Sure there were some other excruciatingly quiet moments that were uncomfortable enough to make even the laziest couch potatoes -- and I'm merely guessing here -- sit up straight. That it ended, however, with the family of four sitting happily in the booth of a dive restaurant before the screen cut to black makes me think HBO is leaving room for a big-screen finish in a year or two.

I really did, for a minute, think that Time Warner Cable picked a terrible time to experience technical difficulties, but that's exactly what HBO wanted.

What do you think?


Friday, June 08, 2007

Paris Update

I'd like to steal a page out of the book of my idol, O.J. Simpson. Literally.

I think I'm going to write a book called "I Didn't Kill Paris Hilton, But If I Did, Here's How I Would Have Done It."

Never before her has anyone else been more undeserving of his or her 15 minutes. She's like the David Eckstein of celebrity whores. She gets the most out of the least. This bitch must die soon.

What's your take on Paris?


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Beyonce And Me

I'm normally not a huge Beyonce fan, nor does my friend Joe -- of Joe's Wedding fame below -- call me a whole lot, but these two things came face-to-face with each other Thursday afternoon.

As you know, I nap frequently in the afternoon when I come home from work. My alarm was set for 5:40 p.m. today, but at about 4:45 p.m., I was just putting my arm around a tearful Beyonce -- yes, that Beyonce; is there any other? -- who was distraught over something. Maybe she was losing her creative edge. Maybe she noticed her bank balance had dipped below a hundred mil, or perhaps she was considering leaving Jay. Z for an online news editor.

Regardless, I began to impart my often helpful words of wisdom to the beautiful gal, but there was Joe, calling on the cell phone, stealing from me my lean-on-my-shoulder-if-you-need-to-Beyonce moment.

I scrambled to turn the phone off and tried to hurry back to sleep, but of course it was too late. There would be no return to continued glory. Beyonce will have to wait for another day.


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Weekend Review: My First Art Show, Joe's Wedding

Flew into Dayton Thursday night and sat on the plane next to Mike Moses, who played basketball on those great St. John's teams of the 1980s. Like me, Moses was flying to Dayton for a better price, though Cincinnati was the final destination for each of us. And when his ride bagged out, I chipped in with the assist and got him to the Queen City. Tell Chris Mullin I said what's up.

You've probably heard me talk about Mindy, the twin sister of one of the Survivor finalists from a couple years ago. She met me at Teller's in Hyde Park as I was eating a lovely penne with chicken and watching LeBron James turn into the man the NBA has been hoping for in Game 5 against Detroit. What a performance.

I was done with dinner and Mindy had to leave and the first overtime ended in a tie, so I hustled over to McMurphy's to watch the second OT and waited for my dude Jason and his new girl to show up. McMurphy's was decent.

Then it was off to Mount Lookout Tavern, one of my old hangouts back in and after college. Though I've gotten a few years older, the crowd at that bar unfortunately has not, so it was a brief visit.


This was the big day. Started with a TV appearance to promote my first art show. It went well, but I'm sure you might have another interpretation when you watch the clip, which if I can figure out how to upload will be up here this week. The interview was fun nonetheless. Old girlfriend Heather is a producer at WCPO in Cincinnati, so she lined it up for me. Very cool of her.

UPS PackageAfter tying up some loose ends, I got to the Madison Wedding Mall in Covington in mid-afternoon to start setting up. I found the box I'd shipped from New York, full of every piece I was trying to sell. Despite my having scribbled "FRAGILE, HANDLE WITH CARE" all over the box, the fine folks at UPS went Kobe Bryant on it by literally tearing it a new one. Some one is going to hear a complaint at some point about what you see above.

Then came probably the biggest surprise of my life. My back facing the front door as I was talking to one of the Wedding Mall vendors, I noticed her gaze shift over my shoulder toward the door. I turned to find Mom and Mike. If you know me, you know I seldom have trouble speaking. Well, after staring at the parents for at least 15 seconds without saying a word, I burst out with quite a femme-sounding "Oh my God" or something like that. Whatever it was, it couldn't have sounded too manly. I was speechless.

Mom and Mike drove 5.5 hours down from Cleveland to suprise me, and I really don't think I've ever been surprised like that. That was very cool of them. The gesture was appreciated even more when they said they just wanted to come down to say hi and chill for an hour, then head back to Cleveland. They couldn't stay for the show. They just wanted to support me with my debut. Sure I was disappointed they had to leave, but their reasons were legit, so I showed them back to the highway a short time later and suddenly I had about one hour until the show.

The event was to begin at 6, and I arrived promptly at 6:05 p.m. Tom brought a case of wine and when we walked in together, there was Jeff Gluck in the back, perusing my stuff. Jeff drove more than an hour down from Troy, Ohio, just to take a look, say hello and show his support. He had to split early as well. Very cool of him.

So things started kind of slowly, but after 8 or 9 or so, the mall had filled out, as had one of my pockets. People kept coming up to me and handing me money. I'd sold a lot of my work, mostly what I'm calling my photo-strations. I take pictures of popular New York City landmarks and art them up in Photoshop. It is not dificult to do, and they're apparently good enough that noted collectors Nancy and Roger Stephens bought eight pieces between them, and Nancy now wants to display my work at her brand new gallery in up-and-coming Newport, Ky. It was quite an evening.

The funny thing is that this event was far from the only memorable portion of the evening.

Chad and his bikeA small group of us went to a bar down the street after the opening, and after about an hour or so, my dude Chad -- an avid bicycle rider and collector -- figured the best thing for us to do would be for me to ride on the handlebars of his vintage 1973 Schwinn (pictured, right) all the way over to Newport for continued debauchery. I'm typically not used to another guy telling me "Your ass is going to be sore tomorrow," but after visiting two weak spots there, we thought it would only make sense to ride over a second bridge, over to Cincinnati, for a late-night bite at Shanghai Mama's, the hip, un-Cincinnati joint that attracts the pretty after-bar crowd. They let Chad and I in anyway.

On the way, there was no shortage of loud-mouthed jackals taking guesses of Chad's and my sexual orientations. It's amazing how two dudes doing something a little unusual at an odd hour must clearly mean to others that the behavior can only be attributed to homosexuality. One frat-boyish looking moron chased us down the bridge as Chad pedaled faster, zig-zagged away from the hooligan and calmly told him to get away. At that very moment, I was only able to think of 7 million other places I'd rather be than on the front handlebars of a bicycle speeding downhill after 2 in the morning. But thanks to Chad, we escaped this tough guy's sinister intentions with ease.


Woke up a little later than planned, but after shaking off the effects of being overserved at the establishments the previous night, I was off to the package store to send my art back home to New York. Still keeping my fingers crossed.

Visited Nancy at her Newport joint and we agreed that she'd take a look at my Web site and get back to me this week. I'll send her a few of my 12-by-18 prints and she'll have them on display in the next week or two. I guess this makes me an official artist! Hooray me!

Several hours later, as I was waiting for the downtown shuttle van to take me to Joe Beckman's wedding, I looked in my camera and realized there was no battery in it. I'm smart.

The wedding was outstanding. Caught up with J.B. Ward and his wife of 10 years, Mary. We sat and reminisced the entire time, until I decided I'd had enough to drink that it would be OK for me to make an appearance on the dance floor. I'm actually not bad if I've been drinking, but I don't like to say that because that's just like a lot of other dudes.

I was among the large group of men admiring the way Robin moved on the dance floor. Because I have very little game, especially with beautiful women, I continued to sit with J.B. and Mary. But when the party people met up at the Hilton in downtown Cincinnati after the reception, I began the effort.

RobinRobin (pictured, right) and I visited Havana Martini Club and were followed by a guy from an entirely different wedding party, just some schmuk who thought she was hot. Once I flashed the wad of cash topped by a hundy from the previous night's art show, he knew -- or at least assumed; we all know I'm broke! -- he was up against some tough competition. So I ordered two drinks for us, which presumably reminded him of his third-wheel status. Needless to say, he peeled of to his own group, and Robin and I finished our drinks then headed off to Shanghai Mama's for a 3 a.m. feast.


The only thing worse than having to drive up to Dayton International Airport on two hours sleep, arriving at 3 p.m. for a 5 p.m flight is finding out your flight was actually scheduled to leave at 7 p.m. I could have gotten some more sleep. Or done anything but sit in the Dayton International Airport.

And then, of course, my connection to Washington was delayed, so I had to wait an extra hour for a connection to Philadelphia, where I waited another extra hour for the final leg to LaGuardia. Then a delay in the baggage, then the bus, then the train ... I was finally in my apartment at 1 a.m. Good thing I took Monday off from work.

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