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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

No Words Necessary

(h/t Jeff Gluck and Steve Slazyk)

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

E-Mail Cleansing

If you've ever seen my apartment or my desk at work, or if you've listened to me tell a story, you know I'm a little on the cluttery side.

The same disorganization is evident in all my email accounts, of which I have five. But by far the busiest is my work account.

I've probably sent about 4,000 emails since June 29, but once every couple weeks I'd go into that SENT folder and search a particular key word so I could delete 200 or so at a time.

But today I figured I'd go ahead and open up some room in the old Outlook, so I higlighted (gulp) all 2,276 and clicked on that big, black X. It was a very courageous move, so congratulations to me.


Saturday, October 27, 2007

Last-Minute Halloween Costume Ideas

If you're like a lot of guys -- jackass, dork, meathead, poser, wannabe -- who somehow tricked a girl out of your league into being your girlfriend, and you're thinking about dressing up as Adam and Eve or some cliche couple for a Halloween party tonight, think again.

PAE's Chicago correspondent Marcus Riley sent in quite a helpful link to a Web site for tough guys to examine before heading out to bob for apples or trick or treat.

PS-Have you ever noticed how all pretty people think they're ready for their close-ups? Look at some of the pictures on that site; between the fake tits, puckered lips, suggestive poses or swirls shaved into the side of your bad hair, everyone seems to think they're models. As if that would make them important. Have fun getting back to your restaurant job, fucko.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

This Week's College Football Road Map

New Road Map out this week.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Interesting Evening

I get a fair amount of press releases from PR people. I did PR in my first real job out of school, and it sucked. So I empathize with those who do it. Journalists typically aren't a nice bunch; they often speak ill of those who e-mail out a release and close it with, "I'll follow this note with a phone call next week."

I don't mind it. They're doing their jobs, and I'm glad that some cat named Charlie was doing his job last week because it allowed me to attend a pretty cool event Monday night.

Jim KochRemember those radio commercials in the 1990s, where you had a very polite-sounding man named Jim Koch talk about the beer he loves so much? Yeah, that Jim Koch (pictured right, standing, speaking, with beer in hand, being rich as hell).

The proud founder of Samuel Adams was at a pretty hot American restaurant called davidburke & donatella on the Upper East Side to tout a new product and to introduce some food pairings with some of his already well-established beer flavors.

About 40 people -- mostly hungry media folks -- gathered Monday, including seven at my table. We were all pleasantly surprised at how well the beers complimented the appetizers. My favorite was the Samuel Adams winter lager with the lobster risotto.

Koch and restaurant chef and co-owner David Burke spoke before each pairing was served, passionately describing the food and drink we were anxious to inhale. Koch was actually pretty funny and you could tell he loved beer so much because the first words of each of his four or five short speeches were always something like, "Sorry to interrupt your drinking, but next on the menu is . . . ."

The last of the many highlights of the evening was the blind tasting of Koch's new Utopias beer, a 54-proof number that tasted more like a cognac or a brandy. Servers delivered three snifters -- one with a cognac, another with the Utopias and the third with a port. The cognac, we later learned, is rated one of the world's finest, tho I can't remember its name. Same with the port, which was a 1994 Fonseca, as if I know what that means. If it's not beer or Ketel One vodka, I'm hardly an alcohol expert, but apparently that 1994 Fonseca is the shiznit, in technical terms.

But this Utopias, according to Charlie's press release, is an uncarbonated drink that blends several brews -- some aged more than a decade -- and it ended up getting more votes than those other two highly acclaimed liquors. It's still considered a beer, and apparently will make a great gift for alcohol lovers this holiday season. They're available in a collectible, brew kettle-shaped, numbered bottle and will retail this season for $120-$140, despite that eBay listing above that at last check had it at more than $300. Only 12,000 bottles will be available.

And of course I couldn't be out at a social event without embarrassing myself, so . . . the lovely gal at the restaurant next door who directed me to DBD four hours earlier was still outside when I came out, so we resumed our conversation. In her heavy Italian accent, we talked about Europe and foreign languages. Again, I'm a little buzzed at this point, so after she told me that Spanish and Italian have many language similarities, I started dropping my limited Espanol on her. And when two tourists approached us, I assumed they were Italian as well, so here's how my introduction went: "Me llamo Juan; mucho gusto." Her reply: "I'm Israeli, but that's cute Juan."


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I'm So Over ESPN

ESPN is excited about its precious little "E:60," which debuted last week.

It's just the latest perfect example of how the sports leader has a huge man-crush on itself.

The show's intro doesn't have music playing underneath video of controversial sports figures or memorable highlights. Instead, it shows black-and-white video of ESPN's reporters who will be leading the program. The average-looking Rachel Nichols hails a cab in Manhattan. Jeremy Schaap comes out of a New York subway stop. Does Jeremy Schaap really take the train?

And then, sure enough, before the first story in this week's edition, part of the show is the actual pitch meeting where Nichols and a team of brainwashed "E:60" producers talk about the hard-hitting story they plan to deliver on ... the daughter of the Los Angeles Lakers owner. Nice lead.

It begins with some pictures-- no narration -- of Kobe Bryant slashing to the hoop and then some other Lakers highlights. Then, on Nichols' second word of the script, she violates a fairly basic preference of journalism: "For over two decades . . . . "

C.C. Sabathia throws the ball over the head of the Red Sox batter, for example. Use the preposition to describe a location. But don't use it as a time reference. Instead, say ESPN has annoyed me for more than 10 years.


Funny Video

Just shut up and watch this.


Monday, October 22, 2007

Review: 60 Minutes, Vanity Fair

I seldom go political over here, but did anyone see "60 Minutes" last night?

As if I needed more reason to be skeptical of the Bush administration, Katie Couric got Valerie Plame Wilson's first interview since conservative columnist and part-time a-hole Robert Novak outed her as a CIA covert operative in 2003.

Obviously, the scandal is far from new, but it's always interesting and important to hear directly from the source, especially when we haven't yet had the privilege until now. And personally, I'm a little bit interested in this story, because her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, was taken hostage in Kuwait along with my friend John Charlton, the son of a diplomat, in 1990.

Now I know the right will again stop at nothing to discredit the Wilsons, but in our culture of endless political denials and short memories, the one, simple question that needs to be asked is, why smear the Wilsons? What did she do? What did he find?

The answers are easy: Nothing, to both, that could merit a deliberately egregious leak from the White House to a self-proclaimed journalist like Novak.

And when I got in bed a few hours later, after watching my Cleveland Indians intentionally lose Game Seven, I continued reading a story (Vanity Fair, November) I'd begun last week about a Halliburton spinoff and its fraudulent practices that have led to dozens of lawsuits against the contracting giant in Iraq. If you have the time, it's really worth the read.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

This Week's College Football Road Map

New Road Map out this week.


East Coast Bias

I can't think of any better evidence of the east-coast bias in sports media than what I just saw a minute ago.

ESPN led its late "SportsCenter" with the Joe Torre story. Not only is it not the biggest story in sports today, but it's not even the biggest story in baseball.

Sure it's huge here in New York, but last time I checked, ESPN has viewers everywhere. The biggest story in sports at this hour is the Rutgers upset of visiting No. 2 South Florida tonight (which, of course, I predicted), but I can understand if it gets pushed to the second story because the game just ended and they're tying up some loose ends.

But the biggest story in baseball is the ALCS Game Five that as of this writing is still in progress. The Torre story has been in play for seven hours, and I think those who care are already in the know.

ESPN sucks.


Does Art Imitate Life?

Ear in ArmLeave it to brokedickdog to find this one.

He sent this in last week under the heading, "This seemed like a good idea at the time."

Click here to find out what the hell this is all about.


Monday, October 15, 2007

All Thumbs

Recent NetFlix watches:

Conversations With God -- One thumb up
The DaVinci Code -- One thumb up
Prozac Nation -- One thumb up
Maxed Out -- Two thumbs up
Freedom Writers -- Two thumbs up
Fracture -- One thumb up
Bobby -- Two thumbs up
The Secret -- Two thumbs up
The Future We Will Create: Inside The World Of Ted -- One thumb up


The Great State Of Ohio

Isn't it a great time to be from the great state of Ohio?

I'm a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, and fellow alums have recently emailed me grief for supporting Ohio State football more vociferously than UC football, despite the Bearcats' surprisingly splendid season.

I obviously want my alma mater to do well, but I've been watching the Buckeyes since I was a kid, and it's lovely to see OSU ranked No. 1 during what was supposed to be a rebuilding year.

There's also the matter of the Cleveland Indians, who blew open a tight game in extra innings early Sunday morning, sending themselves back to Jacobs Field tied, 1-1, with Boston in the ALCS.

One bandwagon I will most definitely jump on is that of the Cleveland Browns. At 3-3, the fellas have a week off before playing two very winnable games against St. Louis and Seattle. The Orangehats could very likely take a 5-3 record into Pittsburgh next month.

And of course LeBron James and the Eastern Conference champion Cavaliers tip off a new season in a couple of weeks, and are among several contenders to win the East and return to the NBA Finals.


Friday, October 12, 2007

This Week's College Football Road Map

New Road Map out this week.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hollywood Hot Five

Charlize Theron"Esquire" magazine finally made a smart move and named Charlize Theron the sexiest woman alive.

As you know, Ms. Theron has topped the Hollywood Hot Five here on PAE many times the last 18 months, but it's been a while since the list was last updated.

So here's the new one:

  1. Charlize Theron

  2. Jessica Alba

  3. Scarlett Johansen

  4. Kate Beckinsale

  5. Eva Mendes

Also receiving votes (in alphabetical order): Jessica Biel, Cheryl Burke, Thandie Newton, Jessica Simpson, Hilary Swank, Gabrielle Union

Who's on your list?


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Weekend Recap

I'm too tired to give a full recap on my Ohio/Kentucky visit, but not much exciting to report anyway. So here are a few short tidbits:

+ This guy is a genius.

Jason is an old friend of mine and I'm lucky to say we've kind of reconnected over the last year or two. Write down his name on a piece of paper and put it away somewhere. Then, in a few years, when he's huge, you'll say you heard about him before he got there. His Web site is cool, but it does no justice to his paintings, which, when you see them in person, will make you question everything. I visited his home studio on Thursday night and was amazed at his talent.

+ Our boy Barry also was in town over the weekend. He displayed great courage by saying, "Screw this," and packed everything up to move to San Francisco nearly three years ago. He too has some big things ahead, but I can't divulge them here.

+ Jason took Barry and I to his neighborhood joint Hoggies for some hangover food on Friday. Yes, it's called Hoggies. That's enough on that.

+ My art show went well Friday night. Thanks to the many of you who wished me well or showed up or asked how it went. Thanks to gallery owner Nancy Stephens for hosting me. And thanks also to those who made purchases. I enjoy receiving money, especially if it means you're putting something up on your wall that I created.

+ Later, walking up to meet friends at a bar, a gal was standing outside of it so as to inhale a cigarette, so we began to chat. I typically don't like being around cigarettes, but just like any other man of strong will and principle, I talked to this one because she was hot. Her immature male friend, standing inside the doorway, thought he'd play the role of stand-up comedian for their friends and gyrate in front of the windowed-front door and make fun of my shirt that I was wearing a little more open than most men wear theirs. It's funny; I've gone with the open shirt for about five years now, and the only place where people aren't comfortable with it is in Cincinnati. I used to be quite critical of Cincinnati, but after a couple of positive visits the last 12 months, I've relaxed that view some. After all, I did spend 14 years there, so there certainly are many good friendships that I cherish. But it's also the only city where a few friends are former friends. That city loves its judgmentalism, as well as its grudges. And its light-colored blue jeans, brown shoes and plaid buttondowns from The Gap, and if you're a male wearing something else in Cincinnati, there is something seriously wrong with you. It's weakly comical.

So after funny guy was done showing Brittany that he viewed me as a threat to blow up his spot, she and I walked in and had a drink together. Jason and I talked to her and her hot friend Caitlyn for the entire time we were there. Except for the five minutes I spent recovering from when Jason hit me in the balls. For the most part, though, just some good, old-fashioned conversation.

+ I'm glad I paid for a nice hotel room that I returned to at 9 a.m. so I could sleep until 11 a.m. That was the deal Saturday, before I rolled over to Tom and Margie's to shoot their 10-week-old baby Ella. Then over to Guy and Amanda's to shoot their 3-week-old baby Reese. I haven't yet closely examined my shots, but something tells me I'm far from a portrait guy.

+ Drove my rented Impala down to Louisville, where the social turnout was surprisingly disappointing at Brendan's on Saturday night. Perhaps Cincinnatians aren't the only ones with a grudge!

+ But it was certainly excellent to see this guy. John Boel has become one of my best friends in recent years, partly because he's the kind of guy who will go to Dutch's in Louisville to watch his beloved Green Bay Packers by himself on a Sunday and order a pitcher of beer and just one plastic cup.

+ Sunday was boring except for the gathering at Ben's crib, where I drank a few beers, ate lots of food and watched the Tribe lose Game Three to the Yankees.

I guess that was a full recap. You may wake up now.


Thursday, October 04, 2007

This Week's College Football Road Map

New Road Map out Thursday.

Instead of my usual five games, I picked six, so you can lose more money than normal.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

IM Session

Big HandRemember this picture? Brokedickdog sent it in a month or two ago, but I have no idea where he got it.

And as you know, I enjoy a good gag, and I couldn't resist when a co-worker from Los Angeles IMed me today. Here's what ensued (her name has been changed to protect the very innocent):

(Co-worker) (3:11:22 PM): was that seriously your hand?
(Co-worker) (3:11:25 PM): that was WRONG
(Co-worker) (3:11:29 PM): soooooo very wrong
FIMjpwise (3:14:13 PM): yeah, i was stung by four or five wasps a couple summers ago and i had to take this whack-ass medicine and it totally inflated my hand like that for the entire rest of the day. i have a lot of other pictures of it that are far more embarrassing.
(Co-worker) (3:15:24 PM): embarrasing isn't the word!
(Co-worker) (3:15:32 PM): the only thing that comes to mind is WRONG
FIMjpwise (3:14:48 PM): totally.
(Co-worker) (3:16:16 PM): did it hurt?
(Co-worker) (3:16:20 PM): are you yanking my chain
(Co-worker) (3:16:36 PM): cuz i'm looking at the picture and i just don't see it
(Co-worker) (3:17:43 PM): you're lieing
FIMjpwise (3:17:05 PM): well, the stings hurt right away, but then it felt kind of numb, so i didn't really even feel the medicine. the doctor was actually a neighbor of mine, so i went straight to his house and luckily he and his niece were there. she's a nurse, and she's pretty decent looking. she'd just gotten married that summer, but she said i said some pretty bizarre things to her in my medical fog.
(Co-worker) (3:18:27 PM): but what happened to your fingernails?
(Co-worker) (3:18:48 PM): do you have a picture of the other side?
FIMjpwise (3:20:48 PM): oh, did you notice? i don't know if that picture shows them or not, but they kind of stretched a little bit with the hand, but then they kind of dried up and got all loose on me, like when you peel after a sunburn. by the time i woke up the next day, they'd fallen off.
(Co-worker) (3:21:56 PM): SHUT UP
(Co-worker) (3:22:00 PM): you are seriously grossing me out.
(Co-worker) (3:22:21 PM): I need to go vomit
FIMjpwise (3:21:32 PM): you asked!
(Co-worker) (3:22:37 PM): glutton for punishment.
FIMjpwise (3:21:50 PM): word.

Eight or nine minutes go by . . .

(Co-worker) (3:30:11 PM): (Another co-worker) says you're lieing to me.


Jason Is Funny

Talking to an old buddy today before I head to Cincinnati this weekend, planning what we'll be doing, and some names of some other old friends came up.

Jason: "Yeah, he always had some hot girlfriends."
Me: "You mean (Girl A) and (Girl B)?"
Jason: Laughter. "Yeah, but (Girl B), her mouth was . . ."
Me: "What, were her teeth jacked?"
Jason: "No, but when she'd open it, words would come out, and it wasn't pretty."


Celebrity Sighting

I keep seeing celebrities lately. My after-work buddy Kelly and I walked right past tall, gray and very old-looking Ted Danson on Monday.


Reason No. 436 To Hate ESPN

I feel sorry for Tony Romo, and it's because of the industry in which I work.

Pop conversation this week has experts now asking, "Is Tony Romo the next Brett Favre?"

I have two reactions to this question:

1) No.
B) Hell no.

He's not a bad quarterback. In fact, he's quite good and will no doubt have a nice career.

But the TV news industry is such that we spend our hours wondering and analyzing and speculating. It's no different in sports. ESPN has 24 hours to fill every single day until the end of time, so even the most preposterous arguments have to be given consideration.

And once Romo's career is sidetracked by an injury-prone reputation, a mediocre season or two or a failure to win in the postseason, he'll be run out of Dallas and the next argument will be whether Tony Romo underachieved.

He will have underachieved in the eyes of the experts, those who have such an erection over the thought of being the first to pose the comparison between Romo and Favre. Remember, one of ESPN's big themes is "Next." If I recall, that awful glossy adverzine they launched a decade ago had four up-and-coming pro athletes on its inaugural issue with "Next" as the headline. Is Kobe the next Michael? Is LeBron the next Kobe? Is O.J. the next LeBron? Who cares?

Want to know why Romo is no Brett Favre? Because when you think of Favre, you think of him starting nine zillion straight games since 1937 or whatever. You think of his renegade gunslinger reputation and his zest for the game. You think about him battling the Cowboys a couple of times in the playoffs before finally getting to the Super Bowl, and winning it. He got to another Super Bowl the following year and remained a postseason staple a few more years after that. You also think about that Monday night game in Oakland when he lit up the Raiders after his dad's death.

What do you think about when you hear Tony Romo's name? Oh, isn't he the guy who tried to date Jessica Simpson? Or is he the one who botched the snap on a last-minute field goal attempt that would have won a playoff game last season? He's both.

ESPN, please go fuck yourself now.

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