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Friday, November 30, 2007

Holiday Photography Sale

Sorry for the obnoxious spam on Thursday, but in case you were the one person in North America who didn't get it, I'm trying to raise some money for a new camera and some other things in 2008, so here's a link to my holiday photography sale. Thanks for your support!


Swedish Vomit

(home sick from work today. The computer is my friend.)

When he's not trolling YouTube for unicorn videos, John Boel is splitting time as the Swedish Vomit Bureau Chief. That's right; the short clip below is what you find if you search Swedish Vomit on the world's most popular time waster.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sean Taylor

I don't know where I stand on the Sean Taylor tragedy. Word is that he began to turn his life around once his daughter was born last year, after numerous thuggish behaviors. I'd like to believe that, but isn't that what friends and family always say about tragic figures?

While I try to figure out my take, you should read this column by Jason Whitlock. Sometimes I wish columnists didn't have their headshots atop their pieces because what should be important is what you're reading, not the color of the skin of the person writing it. But Whitlock often tackles race, which is a subject I like to read and think and talk about, especially as it applies to its place in sport. Many times the mere mention of the word "black" makes Americans uncomfortable, but without the dialogue, nothing will ever improve.

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Reality Check

Thanks to those of you who have inquired about my recent interview to be on a reality TV show. Just for clarification, it was just going to be one episode, not an ongoing thing like "Survivor" or something.

Anyway, I learned my fate Wednesday, and you will not be seeing me anytime soon on the Lifetime Network. I'd like to think it was not because of my crooked teeth, which the lovely casting director said she liked a lot. She claims she meant it as a compliment.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Back TwinUsually, this is the type of stuff that brokedickdog will send in, but I found this early Wednesday morning.

An 11-year-old girl in China has lived with body parts of a parasitic twin growing out of her back, and is finally going to have an operation to remove them.

The fetus' protruding chest and arm have grown in size along with the girl's own body. But the fetus is now so big that it is damaging her health.

Her parents, who have saved up for the operation since her birth, say they now have enough money for the surgery to go ahead. Read the full story here.



Lawrence of Arabia -- Again, I joined NetFlix six months ago because I wanted to watch some of the classics that I just never bothered to see over the years. Add this one to the list of good movies, but like "Gone With The Wind", "Casablanca" and "Citizen Kane," I don't think these are among the top five movies of all time.

Ocean's 13 -- Wall said he thought this movie "wasn't bad, but wasn't good either." Sometimes I like a little mindless entertainment for two hours, even if it's via the chase-the-money route. I hope they make Ocean's movies for 10 more years. Damon, Pitt and Clooney, and their cast of mostly lesser-known but likable (Casey Affleck, Don Cheadle, Scott Caan) buddies make this otherwise uncomplicated movie enjoyable.

No Country For Old Men -- In the 18 months I've been in NYC, I'd never locked myself out of my apartment.

Until yesterday.

So to kill two hours before my super could let me in on Tuesday, I sat down for this one and actually enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I've picked up a cough this week and was thinking about how annoying it was when the movie just kind of ended in the middle of a conversation. But definitely worth seeing, even if the theater I went to charged full price at 2:45 p.m. on a weekday.


Monday, November 26, 2007


(h/t Wall)


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Alternative Fuel

I've officially gone green, and you can too.

If you're wasting away a Saturday afternoon on the couch, and looking for a little extra heat, don't turn up your thermostat. Just keep your laptop on and toss that power supply cord on the couch next to you. That little black box will keep you so warm that it will shock you out of your nap at some point.


New Unicorn Video

Remember Charlie and Candy Mountain?

Well, thanks to newly appointed Unicorn Video Bureau Chief John Boel, I present to you "Planet Unicorn." Enjoy:

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Postcard From Cleveland

Here's what's going on at the folks' house in Cleveland so far:

Mom's gumbo was outstanding. She'd worked on it for several days because I'm worth it. Don't even think about asking for the recipe.

But I will tell you about the roast-beef rollups. Take it easy, Barry.

* Bibb lettuce
* Sliced roast beef from the deli
* Fresh asparagus spears
* Fresh slices, red pepper
* Garlic/herb cream cheese

Spoon the cream cheese into a plastic ziploc bag. Cut a small corner of the bag so you can pipe the cream cheese (rather than spread sloppily) down the center of the lettuce. Roll up a slice of the roast beef and place above the cream cheese. Add an asparagus spear and a red pepper slice. Grab by the ends of the lettuce, almost folding like a taco. Eat three or four of them.

After the late dinner, I helped them figure out their DVD player, which I think I did last year too. They couldn't figure out how to get it to play. After some brainstorming and technical troubleshooting, I showed Mom and Mike where the PLAY button was on the DVD player. It now works. No charge.

Then we watched "Casino Royale." I sure wish I could rock a tux the way Daniel Craig does.

I enjoyed 7.5 hours of deep, comfortable, uninterrupted sleep for the first time since, well, probably last Christmas when I was last in Cleveland. Woke up to find a few bucks on my dresser and Mike eager to take me shopping. Is this the Ritz-Carlton? No, it's Cleveland, but if you haven't been here, you should ask somebody.

In fact, I should come home again next weekend.

Came home from shopping for a late breakfast. Mom's blueberry pancakes were outstanding. All this work; I think I need a nap.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Fallout: OSU-Michigan

Let the fallout begin, first with the resignation of Michigan coach Lloyd Carr.

As a fan of college football, it's a sad day, as Carr was known around the community as a player's coach, a Michigan man, a guy who didn't necessarily care about an occasional rift with a reporter here or there. He always had his players' backs, and ran for the most part a clean program that earned him a national championship 10 years ago.

But since that championship, Carr picked up an illness known as John Cooper Syndrome. Nice guy, good recruiter, wins lots of games. But those that matter most -- the season-ender against a bitter rival and a subsequent bowl game a month later -- have been unfriendly to Carr in recent years. Once Jim Tressel replaced Cooper at Ohio State, Carr fared poorly against the Buckeyes. He lost his first two, then won once in Ann Arbor with a far superior team in 2003, then dropped his last four to the Buckeyes. And the Wolverines have lost their last three bowl games under Carr.

But as a fan of Ohio State, it's an even sadder day, for the reasons mentioned above. Those in the Columbus camp rooted for a Carr contract extension. In a rivalry as big as this one, it became psychological. Michigan doesn't have weak recruiting classes. The maize-and-blue is always loaded with talent. For some reason, however, the Wolverines couldn't come up big in big games under Carr. Handing Penn State its only loss in 2005 is about the only big win in recent years I can think of off the top of my head.

OK, onto Friday . . . the group was quite busy on the emails. Nervousness and excitement ruled the day. Lots of folks sent the usual jpegs of the anti-Michigan pictures (the 3rd-grade class picture with the Michigan kid sitting by himself, the picture of Osama bin Laden wearing a Michigan sweatshirt, etc.).

No one was doing any work that day. My boy Bruce put it best when he said Friday that he "spent more time dressing for work than actually working."

And from Abby, who works in a hospital: "I'm not even listening to what my patients are saying today. I'm just focusing on the game!"

Now, onto Saturday. It began with 10 friends in the crib at about 10 a.m. I've never been a fan of Bloody Marys, but others like them, and my apartment is close to the bar where we watch the Bucks. So my place it was. And of course Erin brought a very cool bootleg DVD of Jack Nicklaus dotting the I in the Minnesota game last year. And I didn't need to fret too much about having misplaced my OSU Marching Band CD, as Steve had all the staples on his iPod, which he plugged into my stereo.

The surprise of the day came when homeboy Bruce produced a nifty little bookmark for both Steve and I. On first glance, just a little ticket. Take a second look, though, and you'll find it's an unused Appalachian State-Michigan ticket from that enormous upset on the season's first weekend. Very cool move, Bruce.

So the noon hour approached, and most of us walked the cold, eight blocks with open containers on busy Upper East Side streets to Blondie's. Steve is well known at the bar, and his standing table of six was accommodated. It amazed me though, how about 15 of us walked in at different times and told the same manager checking names at the door, "We're with Steve's table."

I got shut out of my usual seat, but that was OK, because I just bellied up with Carly and Monica, two lovely friends in our group. The game was actually pretty boring, but the atmosphere was far from it.

And thank goodness for digital cameras and cell phone outgoing/incoming call logs, because I was able the next day to somewhat piece together what happened to everybody after about 5 or 6.

Saturday's victory was especially outstanding because 2008 is a leap year, allowing OSU fans one extra day of gloating before the next meeting.

Our boy Wall writes in to say he "will now be refering to the big game as the most tradition rich game in all of sports. it is no longer the greatest rivalry since michigan sucks so bad they can't compete with the bucks." Good point.

And just for a stroll down memory lane, here's my PAE entry last year after OSU beat Michigan in Columbus, 42-39:


I've got a camera bag on one shoulder, a camera on the other shoulder and another camera with a heavy-as-hell 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?


Friday, November 16, 2007

This Week's College Football Road Map

OSU-Michigan Grudge MatchI'm still honing the Photoshop skills, so this isn't great, but hopefully this will put you in the mood for Saturday's huge game.

And of course, there's a new Road Map out this week.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Recent Downloads

Here are the last 10 songs I've downloaded:

  • Air -- Playground Love

  • The Feeling -- Sewn

  • The Killers -- When You Were Young

  • Feist -- 1234

  • Snow Patrol -- Set The Fire To The Third Bar

  • Amy Winehouse -- You Know I'm No Good

  • Thievery Corporation -- Lebanese Blonde

  • Red Hot Chili Peppers -- Snow (Hey Oh)

  • Snow Patrol -- Signal Fire

  • The Stranglers -- Golden Brown


Monday, November 12, 2007

Cooking With John

I make all-star style chili. I started making it nearly 10 years ago. It's my mom's recipe. In fact, one night before a chili cookoff I made a T-shirt that read, "My Mom's Chili."

It's been nearly two years since my last batch, but when my dude Bruce told me he'd come over Saturday to watch Ohio State, I figued I'd make some. Then my friend Mary said she'd come over too. They both liked the chili. I was so inspired that I made another batch tonight.

And while I won't reveal my secret ingredient, I will tell you that you should not include a sliver from the old wooden spoon you use to stir it. The lesson here is, when you see something odd in the bite you're bringing close to your mouth, don't just assume it's some odd-looking food and shovel it into your mouth. It very well could be a normal-looking wooden-spoon sliver. Those do not taste good.


Heads Up

Just your garden-variety story about the typical HIV-positive homeless man in his 50s who raped a sleepwalking college student near the parking lot of a White Castle a few days ago.

If this isn't a big story for the next few months, I don't know what will be.



Idiocracy -- Sorry, Jeff, but I couldn't get into this movie. I do not recommend this to anyone. Boring and unfunny. Surprised to see Luke Wilson jump on this.

Zodiac -- Some friends told me they thought this was too long, but I didn't mind it. Gyllenhaal, Ruffalo and Downey team up for a pretty good overall picture.


Friday, November 09, 2007

Review: Real Time With Bill Maher

I don't doubt that I'm uncultured, but I just witnessed something I don't see very often.

The host of a live television talk show got heckled as I was watching. Bill Maher had three guests on tonight, one of whom was conservative pundit Chris Matthews. I was in the kitchen when I noticed Maher had cut himself off from saying something because of a disturbance in the crowd.

Minutes later, one person had been escorted out and several others remained in attendance to disrupt the live show. I'm a big fan of Bill Maher, but it was still cool seeing a live interruption based on political passion.

If you missed it, check your TV listings to watch for the reruns this week on HBO. It happens about 20 minutes in.


This Week's College Football Road Map

New Road Map out this week.


Thursday, November 08, 2007

Weekend Review

Sorry it's a little tardy this week.

Old college roommate and all-around great friend and good dude Dave was in town last weekend. His lovely bride of nearly 10 years Allison also was aboard. They lived here some years back, in fact pretty close to where I live now on the Upper East Side.

Steve SchirripaWe had plans to hit the Guggenheim for First Friday. I've made a decent contact there this year who's been sweet to put my name on the media list, but something always comes up. This time, it was Dave's and Allison's nap.

Not to worry, as I met them at Becco, a pretty hot Italian joint near the Midtown West area. I think it's better to say "near Midtown West," than to say, "the West Side near Times Square." Yuck.

Eighteen months up in this piece and I'm already a New York snob.

After dinner there, we rolled back over to the East Side for a couple of beers at my new fave bar, P.J. Clarke's. If I hear correctly, this bar used to be a hangout for 1970s mobsters.

Saturday was just another day at Blondie's, watching the Bucks improve to 10-0.

Sean AveryBut Sunday, typically an uneventful day for me, proved to be outstanding. Old dude Troy had Knicks floor seats for their home opener against Minnesota. We sat in the second row behind the basket, right behind two New York Rangers -- goalie Henrik Lundqvist and winger Sean Avery (pictured, right here above) -- and their dates, one of whom was hot. The other gal looked more like someone I'd see walking to Wal-Mart in the far east suburbs of Cincinnati -- or the south end of Louisville (lest I forget to offend all my Midwest peoples) -- not next to a millionaire stud NHL player. The tattoo right above her ass crack said "Lola," but it just as easily could have read, "Cracked-out Euro ho."

Steve Schirripa (way up there, top left), better known as Bobby Baclava from "The Sopranos," wasn't too far from us, and Chris Rock, seated down the sideline next to David Duchovny, covered his face when I tried to take a picture of him from about 30 yards away.

After the game, Troy and I walked back to O'Reilly's Pub, where we'd had a beer before the game. On the way there, Troy and I struck up a conversation with some gal walking next to us. She said something rude to Troy, so I said something rude to her. Then she made a face, looked at me and said, "Oh my God, dude, you're so southern." I think she meant that as an insult, but a minute later, Troy and I had a beer in front of us, so we talked to the darling hostess for a half hour and then booked.

Pretty rare for me to be out on a schoolnight like that, but I did it again on Monday. New friend Kristen was in town on business, and we planned for me to meet her after I got out of work at 2 p.m. at Capital Grille. I figured this would be a one-drink afternoon and some good conversation, but the next thing I know, I'm calling it a night at 11ish -- correct, no nap on Monday! -- after we'd also found our way to Tonic and P.J. Clarke's again, before sushi at Haru.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

New Details

Several of you told me that the bio column to the right was jacked up in recent weeks, so I made a few tweaks and it should now be showing properly. I added a bunch of new details and links, so take a minute and have a look.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Digger Phelps Is Awful Again This Year

As you know, I enjoy college basketball. And in case you don't remember, I correctly picked the Final Four in last year's tournament. But no, I did not win the office pool.

And with a new season now upon us, I just watched the first 10 minutes of an early season basketball version of "GameDay" on ESPN. And of course, there was Digger Phelps -- the master of talking and simultaneously saying nothing -- reminding me once again why he's so bad at his job.

If you watch a lot of NCAA basketball, be prepared to hear these things often for the next five months:

+ Get it done, as in, "They can really get it done."
+ Why, as in, "They can really get it done. Why? They have the senior leadership and . . . "

Digger doesn't need to ask himself why if he's just going to keep talking and not take a breath. In the second example above, remove "why" and tell me if that changes anything Phelps is trying to say. But once Digger finds a little trick, he uses it more than Charlie Sheen would.


Update: Eight-Limbed People

8-Limb GirlThis just in from our Eight Limb Bureau Chief brokedickdog . . .

(Story first published in May 2007)

A toddler born with eight limbs and believed by some to be the reincarnation of the multi-limbed Hindu goddess Vishnu, is set to undergo a 40-hour operation to remove half of her limbs. Read more.

UPDATE, Nov. 6, 9:15 a.m.

When brokedickdog sent this in, I had no idea it was going to be a big story today. That's because I only looked at the picture and didn't read the story about today's surgery. Here's a more current story.


Saturday, November 03, 2007


Recent views:

Mail Order Wife (NetFlix) -- Excellent movie. You don't know right away if it's a mockumentary or a documentary, and I won't spoil it here. But very well done.
Knocked Up (NetFlix) -- Had many funny moments, but tried to be too serious. This is called Adam Sandler Syndrome. Certainly worth renting though.
Running With Scissors (NetFlix) -- Pretty dark and depressing, but Augusten Burroughs' memoir-turned-movie ... ah, fuck it. This movie sucked.
Gone Baby Gone (Theater) -- Excellent movie. You could hardly tell it was Ben Affleck's directorial debut. As actors go, I've preferred his brother Casey over him for about 10 years, and he didn't disappoint in his first lead role.
Michael Clayton (Theater) -- Good movie, but not great. Clooney is never not good, and it was a good story. Had a splash of "Erin Brockovich" in it, a point about which I'm indifferent.
Rendition (Theater) -- I like movies with an intercontinental flavor, especially when dirty politics are involved. Jake Gyllenhaal's iron is almost as hot as Steve Carrel's the last couple of years, and he was indeed very good.


Friday, November 02, 2007

This Week's College Football Road Map

New Road Map out this week.


Torre's The Story

I kind of like that the Los Angeles Dodgers just gave a dose of Yankee medicine to the New York Yankees on Thursday.

The Yanks pulled a playground move by making their Joe Torre and Alex Rodriguez announcements late Sunday/early Monday, as the Red Sox were beginning their World Series celebrations. The goal there was to steal some of hated rival Boston's championship thunder.

But the Dodgers turned the trick on Thursday, announcing they'd hired Torre as their new manager just after the Yankees introduced Joe Girardi as their new manager.

On a day when Girardi was supposed to be baseball's top story, it turned out instead to be Torre.