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Monday, July 30, 2007

Amanda Update

Great friend Amanda, seven months pregnant now, sounded a little differently on the phone today. I asked if she was breathing through her nose or something, attributing it to Cincinnati allergies, but she was quick to correct me: "I am breathing heavily because I have a baby up to my eyeballs."


Review: My Party

I've been here in NYC barely more than a year, and I had my second successful party on Saturday. The weather was here; wish you were beautiful.

It got off to a slow start, as it thoroughly resembled the 2007 U.S. National Swordfight Championships until 10:30 or so. Mostly dudes.

But gals eventually started to show up in pairs, and things were nicely balanced at about 11.

My apartment got so crowded that a lot of folks headed up to the roof. Fortunately, the rain held off and the entire party moved up there after midnight. I was preparing my usual array of food plates until then, before I finally decided to start enjoying myself and drinking some of the many beers people were bringing. I'd bought 72 beers and had some wine and liquor, but watching every other arrival walk in with a sixer told me I'd have a full fridge for the next month. However, when a friend and I -- the last ones down from the roof -- came back down at about 4 a.m., there were only about a dozen or so beers left.

And once I'd gotten to the roof at 12:30 or so, it was outstanding. Work people, non-work-people, complete strangers, it was a solid vibe. I probably had about 40 people up there for at least an hour or so, then some folks started to call it a night.

At one point, I'd told my gorgeous friend Sapna that I need to stop bringing her around my male friends because the next time I talk to them, they always say the same thing: "What's up with your friend Sapna? She's hot. Is she seeing anyone?"

A split second later, Dave shot back with something smart about how eight days before my party I left an invite with a lovely hostess at one of my favorite restaurants, a hostess I'd never met.

A split second after that, there she was, pushing through the rooftop door with two of her girlfriends. Being beautiful and incredibly sharp, and overall quite likable, she ended up being the talk of the party. Hopefully this won't be the last time you read about her.

As she and I were enjoying good conversation on the southern edge of the roof, I heard the sounds of appreciative party-goers who were nice enough to pick up all the empties and toss them into a couple of garbage bags.

The next morning, I ran back up there to pick up a few bottle tops and cigarette butts, but for the most part, things were cleaned up. Now it's time to fix up the apartment, which I'm sure I'll be skilled enough to turn into a week-long project.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

This Just Happened

Here's how I got a dirty look from an overly serious co-worker just a few minutes ago:

She said to another co-worker: "... and I just don't trust the trainees to get it all done by Monday."

Me, walking by and having nothing to do with the conversation: "You don't trust the trannies?"

Try the veal buffet. I'm here through Sunday.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

More Catching Up

OK, today we have sports, celebrities and camel toe. Enjoy!

+ Here's why it's difficult to enjoy watching regular season baseball:

My Cleveland Indians beat AL East-leading Boston last night, which is cool. But the score was 1-0, there were only a total of eight hits between the teams, only two walks, only five men left on base and the Indians didn't even need to bat in their half of the ninth inning, yet the game took 2 hours and 45 minutes to play.

I don't mind the lack of offensive fireworks, but a game like that should take two hours, maybe 2:10 tops.

+ Forgot to tell you in Monday's Catching Up segment, but I was walking uptown Sunday and what caught my attention was a loud woman on her cell phone. What kept my attention was the moose-knuckle in the crotch of her skin-tight gym leggings. This was without doubt the grossest camel-toe violation I'd ever seen in my life. She was in her mid-50s, but trying to look like she was only 48 or so with fake boobs, collagen-injected lips, fake tan and a tight top that was tragically far too short. One would think someone so caught up in vanity would know to a) wear underwear, 2) not wear those pants and D) stay home.

+ It's 11 a.m. and I've already eaten three doughnuts at work. The boss brought them in. He's pretty cool.

+ What will end first, violence in the Middle East or racism?

+ My walk-home-from-work friend Kelly and I turned the corner from 67th Street onto 3rd Avenue the other day and walked right past Matt Lauer. Kelly said "Hi" and I said "Hi Matt," as if he was some dude who worked on our floor. Mr. NBC said hello and kept walking with his two young daughters, and Kelly and I laughed because we both acted like everyone who works in television must know each other. Surely, he went back to work and wrote on his blog that he bumped into John and Kelly from the rival news organization across town.

+ What's new in baseball? A-hole Barry Bonds and steroids. Football? Michael Vick and dogfighting. Basketball? Game-fixing by referee Tim Donaghy. NASCAR? It's NASCAR. Shoot, even cycling is scandal-ridden. And hockey has the worst TV ratings? I don't get that.

+ Speaking of Vick, the NFL Wednesday told him to stay away from Falcons' training camp. An unconfirmed report from a PAE correspondent in Atlanta suggests that the NFL's message to the troubled quarterback sounded more like, "Staaayy. Staaaaayyyyyy."

+ I can't not weigh in on Lindsay Lohan, who says the cocaine in her pocket was not hers. And her family says she was trying to help her assistant, which clearly explains why she was speeding while drunk at 2 in the morning right in front of a police station in Santa Monica. Now it all makes sense.

In a joint statement released this morning, Lindsay's parents -- one a former coke whore and the other an alcoholic recently released from prison -- said, "We are under the impression that the police, the media and the general public were all born yesterday."

This is quite reminiscent of the after-school-special-ish stories you hear about the troubled teen who pleads with her mom about the cigarettes found in the inside pocket of the varsity jacket, "Mom, I was holding those for Ashley. I swear they're not mine."

It's human nature to be curious and want to experiment, to want to rebel and to want to save your own ass when your plan backfires. But you grow the F up and it then becomes human nature to admit you did something stupid, especially when the whole world is watching. She's a 21-year-old zillionaire with a huge future in her pocket, right next to the bag of coke. After you spend a few bucks on someone to cart your drunk-ass around, but maybe hire some advisors who will help you not look like such a stupid whore. Whatever illegal acts you've committed are bad enough, but the denials make things so much worse and make you look like total white T. Unfortunately, our weak and shallow culture will only be more willing to see Linday's bad movies and buy her weak music. All because she's a party girl with great tits. I mean, would there be such a clamor if the troubled celebrity was Miranda July?

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Catching Up

Sorry, been out of the loop for a while, so let's get caught up:

+ Went to Robert Moses Beach with Christine and got a nasty sunburn on Sun., July 15.

+ Spent the week crying about my sunburn, and finally peeled off I think one full layer of skin from my back over this weekend.

+ Wednesday, Sylvia was nice to take me to "Old Acquaintance" at the American Airlines Theater. I'm not a Broadway expert, but the play was actually very good.

+ Wearing my salmon pants -- no, they're not pink -- that got some predictable comments from some drunk construction meatheads at the bar we visited for a quick bite before the play, I arrived a little tardy because of the steam pipe explosion at Grand Central Terminal. I live on the 4/5/6 line, where service was closed off just moments before I'd gotten on the train. Finally, a legitimate excuse for my tardy habit.

+ The old lady sitting next to me, married to the man whose hearing aid kept making loud beeps so that the entire theater could hear throughout the entirety, grabbed my arm as I SILENTLY paged through the Playbill for about five or 10 seconds to find the name of one of the actresses as she appeared in Act One, asking, "Could you please not do that?" I have no problem with deaf people, but paging through the program for several seconds was far less of a distraction than their two-hour, two-man circus.

+ Watched the movie "Reno: 911" last week. That was excellent.

+ Went to McAleer's Pub on the Upper West Side for Bruce's birthday on Friday night. He's got some pretty cool friends, and I invited them to my party, still on for this Saturday, July 28. Also was nice to invite some street strangers who I met that night. We'll see if they show up. And remember Homecoming Date Lisa? She and her husband came out for a beer too. I think the last time we hung out they bought me a beer then as well. I need to buy them a beer or two next time.

+ Started to get the crib ready Sunday for next weekend's party. First order of business was to carve out the tuna-flavored science project from a tupperware container in my fridge. Some would call it moldy; I'll just say it was growing a beard.

+ Edited a lot of new images over the weekend and ordered some more. My stuff is going in a gallery in Newport, Ky., as soon as I get it there, probably in a week or two, and I might have another art show there in October. Please stay tuned for details on that.

+ The Barry Bonds pool I organized at work is shaping up nicely. If Bonds surpasses Hank Aaron's home-run record anytime between July 28 and Aug. 5, I win $105. Let me reword that. I get to keep the $105 I've already spent. Before Opening Day, I collected $5 a head from co-workers just to promote a little inter-office camaraderie, and you wouldn't believe how many people complained about the rules and procedures and this and that ... all while handing over their money. Suckers!

+ I can't figure out which hour of comedy is better -- Thursday's "30 Rock" and "The Office" on NBC, or Sunday's "Entourage" and "Flight Of The Conchords" on HBO. "Conchords" is awesome. It might be a touch dry at times, but I heard over the weekend it's pulling the best ratings of any show HBO has placed in the post-"Entourage" slot, so don't look for it to go anywhere anytime soon.

+ Fifty bucks says the investigation into Tim Donaghy reveals more NBA refs are involved in betting on games they're officiating. This could blow wide open, but then again, that's what I said more than a year ago about Rick Tocchet and his NHL gambling ring. That story just kind of disappeared, right?

+ And I must admit, I watched the David Beckham debut Saturday with anticipation similar to that of LeBron James' NBA debut in 2003. It was exciting to see him take the field in the 78th minute, though no fireworks followed. After abhorrent behavior Friday night, my Irish guilt kept me indoors Saturday night, and watching the Galaxy hang tough with Chelsea from my couch turned out to be a pleasant alternative.

+ Best line I've heard recently, during a conversation about how weak ESPN's "Who's Now?" debate is. John Boel said last week, in a mock tease voice, "Tonight on Who's Now, dogfighting legend Michael Vick takes on Rainmaker Pac-Man Jones." That's pretty funny. That "Who's Now?" piece is awful, just as most of ESPN's stuff is, but methinks ESPN's love affair with itself will only lead to an expanded field next year of 64 contenders. I can't figure out who I despise more, Chris Berman or Stu Scott.

Thoughts On Who's Now?

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Monday, July 16, 2007

New Column

Scott Salyers' Dream Comes TrueRemember when I used to be Who-Dey, the back-up Cincinnati Bengals mascot?

We're rolling out a special NFL preview section this week at work, so I thought I'd write a silly column about the good old days.

Read it here.


Saturday, July 14, 2007

Friday Night Out

Grabbed a happy hour beverage with Sylvia at the very hot Private Park, the impressive outdoor bar at the Hudson Hotel near Columbus Circle. A very cool spot, but if your wallet is like mine, it's only the kind of place to have one or two drinks. I'd need a loan to spend a whole evening there.

Later that night, a sizable group met at Uva, a surprisingly cool wine bar within walking distance for me on the Upper East Side. Most UES joints cater to frat boys and beer pong, but Uva was perfect for the occasion, which was co-worker Arun's birthday.

And Cincinnati Reds beat writer and old friend John Fay is in town for the Reds-Mets series, so it was nice of him to visit us out.

I'll try to bring some funny back into the mix. I've just been real busy working on a new dance move for my next party, which is July 28. Hope you can make it.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007


I'm much funnier in person.


Chris Berman Must Retire

Wow, what a great night of television Monday night. Home runs and Chris Berman. "Back back back back" never gets old. Nor does screaming, "He hit that one to Alcatraz."

Now, I realize readers of With Leather think he's cool, but Berman is really bad and has been really bad for many years.

Attention, terrorists: Can someone see to it that Wednesday's post-breakfast-buffet flight from SFO to Bristol, Conn., has some, um, complications?


Sunday, July 08, 2007

Barry Update

barry2It's getting pretty close to 20 years since I've known my good buddy Barry (pictured, right). He's a pretty funny dude who's never without a funny or embarrassing -- usually embarrassing -- story about himself and flatulence and/or defacation.

I'm no slouch when it comes to such anecdotes -- remember my very first blog entry? -- but I couldn't carry Barry's toilet paper.

There was once a comic who made a joke about how dumb guys thought throwing a dirty shirt in the dryer for 10 minutes right before going out was helpful. "Warm equals clean," he said.

And Barry used logic similarly faulty last night while out watching ACDSHE, an all-girl AC-DC tribute band at a bar in San Francisco.

Barry is never without gas, and he figured since the band's music was so loud, no one could possibly smell what he had brewing. Well, Barry was wrong.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest

Joey ChestnutCONEY ISLAND -- For the second straight year, I had the privilege of working alongside some of the nation's finest journalists covering one of America's most important events -- The Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest.

Wednesday's spectacle was indeed historic, at least by competitive eating standards, in that American fave Joey Chestnut finally ended the reign of Japan's six-time defending champ Kobayashi. Chestnut downed an impressive 66 hot dogs -- a new world-record -- in 12 minutes.

So here is a link to some of the coverage I provided, including still images, a video clip or two (Flash Player 9, please) and even some audio blogs. Most of the written content on the page you're linking to is from the Associated Press. And there's a renegade sentence fragment that obviously doesn't make sense near the bottom. Please ignore it. Thanks, and enjoy. I'm off to eat some hot dogs.

PS -- My friend Barry voiced a surprisingly sensitive opinion yesterday when I told him about my trip to Nathan's. He said he thinks it's disgusting that we celebrate these events while at the same time we pretend to care about the dozens of nations where children die of starvation by the hundred each day. Sure he's not the first to say it, but just something to think about. What are your thoughts?


Interstate 71

A friend emailed me today from what I presume was a mobile device on her way from Tampa to Miami. She said the five-hour drive was too long, and while maybe that was for her, it got me to thinking a little bit.

Certainly I live in the greatest city in the world. For more than 13 months now. And among the many reasons why Manhattan is so great is convenient public transportation. I don't need a car, though my $368 payment is still due each month on a 2003 Honda Accord that's been at my parents' Cleveland crib since last summer.

Riding the bus and train each day is indeed quite convenient, but those four- and five-hour trips up and down Interstate 71 are surprisingly among the many things I miss about my Midwest.

Be it summer or winter, the drive has always been a nostalgic event for me, and one that I've made probably 50 times round-trip. I began making those drives in 1988, when I was a full-haired freshman at the University of Cincinnati. My first drive home was in the car of a fellow freshman named Rich Koroly. He had some junker of a station wagon, but was kind enough to give me a lift home for Thanksgiving that year.

As we approached Columbus, I asked Rich, "Do you smell something burning?"

The next thing I knew, he was looking at the floorboard beneath my legs, where orange flames were shooting up toward my pegged jeans. Remember, this was 1988.

What Rich had warned me about was that the floorboard was rusted out, so before our journey, he slid into place a half-inch square of wood so I wouldn't have such a clear look at Interstate 71 underneath me. I don't know how he affixed the plank, but he covered it with a rubber floor mat, and I threw a couple of newspapers on top. The combination of things just seemed to be too much, and we found ourselves on the side of the highway moments later. All that seemed to be missing was Chris Farley and a movie crew.

We did end up making it home safely, but I'll never forget that particular trip. And there have been dozens of other memorable drives along that stretch. Making friends across Ohio gave me reason to stop here or there over the years. Listening to Jim Rome on the radio often made the trips pass by much more quickly, as did becoming an owner of a cell phone. The arrival of outlet malls didn't hurt either. And I hear there's an adult store at the Washington Court House exit. Cough cough.

The scenery was never all that great, but knowing I was heading home more than made up for that. No matter what time of year, I always seemed to make my return from Cleveland in a much fuller car than I was in when I'd left Louisville or Cincinnati. If it was an accumulation of gifts in December or the acquisition of a piece of hand-me-down furniture in July, seeing Mom and Mike always feels like Christmas.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Weekend Recap

Friend Christine moved out of her apartment over the weekend, so she wanted to have one last gathering at the old place.

She was still moving late Friday night, so she asked friends to show up no earlier than midnight. I got there at 1 or so, and the next thing I know our small group was on the roof, watching the sun rise a few hours later. My first NYC sunrise.

Things settled down at about 6 a.m., and other than a run through Central Park on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon, most of the day was spent relaxing indoors.

An old girlfriend, Susie, stopped by for a little while Saturday evening to buy some of my photos. She's an attorney in Atlanta these days, and got into town earlier in the week. Thinking Mexican, I suggested Rosa Mexicano for dinner on Thursday night, not knowing it's a chain. So much for earning some points for that, but the place still is excellent. They're famous for making guacamole fresh from scratch right at your table, but the food overall was quite good. Earlier, as I stood outside waiting for her to show up, I saw my old high school Homecoming date Lisa waiting to get seated. That was pretty funny.

And I can't remember the name of the bar where Susie and I ended up after dinner later Thursday, but it was a pretty cool place around 53rd and 9th. The music was quite good, and it prompted me over the weekend to dust off Moby's 1999 "Play" album and give it a listen for the first time in a few years. I'd kind of forgotten about him.

Sunday was outstanding. I went to another rooftop party late in the day, but this one was 51 floors up. I practically could have shaken hands with the Empire State Building. My new friend Kari also works in news and had a fair amount of media people over. Despite that, we were able to enjoy ourselves.

One guy named Rob caused quite a stir when he busted out his brand new iPhone. Perhaps you've heard about these lately? He showed us curious gawkers a thing or two, and I have to say it's pretty hot. Rob also negated my rant about the seemingly less-than-confident-Friday-at-6 p.m.-on-a-holiday-weekend release. He said he expects Steve Jobs to announce -- weekend box-office style -- some impressive sales figures today or Tuesday, yet another feather in Apple's fedora. I'll buy that, tho we are several hours into the new week already. Tick tock.

Anyway, it was cool watching the sun rise from one rooftop on Saturday morning and watching it set on another roof 36 hours later.

Also this weekend, thanks again to Netflix, I watched two more movies. "The Queen" was excellent, and "Notes On A Scandal" was decent.