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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Hold The Tongue

PAE Bizarre News/Images Bureau Chief brokedickdog reports that authorities in Slovenia are investigating after a piece of human tongue was served up in a hospital canteen. >> Read More . . .

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Family Tree

Cutaneous HornsOn Monday, both brokedickdog and friend Susan sent me a link to the following story about an Indonesian man's bizarre skin condition.

His body is covered with extraordinary tree-like growths, and he now speaks of his hope that an American doctor will cure his unique condition and help him rebuild his family life. >> Read More . . .

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Lying Liars

I know plenty of people who throw their arms up in the air and basically say something like, "All politicians lie. I never know who or what to believe. To hell with it; I'm not voting."

I'm often in line with this, as there are so many times when Candidate A says "Candidate B did this and said that," and Candidate B fires back later that day with a flat-out denial, punctuated by a, "It was actually Candidate A whose voting record would suggest such-n-such." It just goes back and forth and the whole thing makes you feel like more reliable information is available on TMZ.com.

And if politicians aren't lying with their words, don't think that means they're not full of shit. I just saw a clip on a local station of the hopeless Rudy Giuliani eating some corn flakes at a Florida diner, surrounded by photographers and of course, those hard-working, common-man voters. He flashed a big thumbs up as if to say, "My, these are sooooome corn flakes. If I wasn't campaigning, I'd still surely be here and I'd really be enjoying these people and especially this fine bowl of cereal." Good Lord, I'd ask when does it end, but for Giuliani, I'm afraid I already know.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008


This public service announcement is to be the final word on Tom Brady's Super Ankle Story.

Keyshawn Johnson on ESPN's "Sunday NFL Countdown" made a good point Sunday morning, and this is pretty much where I find myself coming out on the whole Brady nontroversy. "If there was really something wrong with Tom Brady's ankle, he wouldn't have been limping around in New York bringing his girlfriend flowers," Johnson said. "He'd be at the stadium in Foxborough getting around-the-clock treatment."

Emmitt Smith, who usually makes it hard for me to agree with him because I'm usually busy looking up words he's inventing as he speaks, made a good point too. "If I'm the Giants, I'd want to play the Super Bowl today. They went into Tampa Bay and won, went into Dallas the next week and won, and went into Green Bay the next week and won again. The layoff might affect their rhythm," Smith said.

But then, surprisingly, Tom Jackson, far older than Johnson and Smith, and presumably better able to recognize a non-story when he puts his horse-sized teeth around one, returned to the topic of Brady and his ankle, and showed that he completely missed the mark.

"What is the purpose of the boot? To distract the Giants? To distract the media?" He continued on in the same, ignorant direction.

The purpose of the boot is to protect Brady's ankle. Is it broken? Dislocated? Sprained? None of the above. It's just sore. Sometimes that happens in football, the big game played by tough, strong men who love to eat red meat and fornicate deviantly with strippers. Fe fi fo fum.

Does anyone think Brady is going to miss the Super Bowl? Of course not. The boot is just a precautionary step.

And though not classically trained in journalism, Jackson is a splendid analyst with good on-air skills. Alongside host Chris Berman, Jackson is a staple of the network's NFL coverage.

But he's become what so many in the media -- especially sports media -- have become: ignorant to his own shortcomings. Jackson's rhetoric shows he thinks it's logical for TMZ's cameras to wait at Gisele Bundchen's door until Mr. Boyfriend shows up, and how dare Brady give football analysts something to overdissect to fill the 24-hour cycle for each of the next two weeks before the Super Bowl? Do you really think Patriots coach Bill Belichick called Brady into his office and said, "Hey, No. 12, why don't you head down to New York tomorrow and visit your girlfriend? And put a little air cast on your foot in case there might be a photographer hanging around, and limp a little. Distracting the Giants I think is our only shot."

Sure Belichick is a secretive a-hole who will be required this week to release an injury report, but none of what the TV morons have analyzed for the last six days has been worth a fraction of the time they've spent on it. Especially in sports, the media creates the distractions about which they so frequently inquire and ultimately write. They use clever "Bradygate" nicknames as if the quarterback himself is to blame for the tiresome scenario. "Will this be a distraction?" is possibly the most polite way a reporter can ask, "do you and your teammates hate me and all the other idiots in my profession?" And even when they do get an answer to that question, it's not good enough to match up with the story they're wanting to write -- or that they've already written -- so they question it further just to get the last word.



I had to go to the place where I buy my mattes on Thursday, and I'd never noticed the view those guys have there in Long Island City, particularly at sunset. So I asked them if they have a roof. I went up there Thursday at about 5:15 p.m., when office buildings in Manhattan were still lit up and purple and pink clouds nestled themselves behind the Chrysler and Empire State buildings. It was quite a sight, one that was not at all matched when I went back with cameras on Saturday. So, um, here's a video clip I shot:

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Nine Minutes

People can do a lot in nine minutes. And people, especially television talk-show hosts, can do a lot in just one or two minutes, such as second-guess the actions of masseuse Diane Lee Wolozin, who called Mary-Kate Olsen three times before calling 911 when Wolozin discovered the dead body of Hollywood star Heath Ledger at his SoHo apartment on Tuesday.

This is one of the many things that is so unappealing about working in television. The second-guessing of some woman who at some point the media is going to paint as a failure in this tragedy. One morning show Friday had two hosts asking two guest analysts if Olsen and Wolozin could somehow be held liable. That's how we do it in America. We're always looking for a scapegoat, quick to dismiss that maybe Ledger was simply a pill-addicted loser, or maybe that that wasn't the case at all, that perhaps he was just the victim of a horrific accident for which there is no one to blame. Fewer newspapers sell when those to blame are not alive. We need to find out if there's anyone we can humiliate or just plain ruin.

I can ask you what you would do if you won the lottery, and you'd probably say pay all your bills, buy a big house, travel around the world, etc.

You can ask me what I would do if I only had one day to live, and I'd say I'd track down Charlize Theron. These are fun, hypothetical conversations to have to pass the time.

But you cannot begin to imagine what you would do if you showed up for work and were confronted with what looked to be a dead body. What goes through your mind? That it's a dead body? That it's a dead celebrity's body?

You hear from time to time about adrenaline flowing to the point where somebody saved a loved one's life by lifting a car off the ground or something. People do unusual things in unusual circumstances. So just as easily as it might be for one occasion to lend itself to heroism, it can just as readily produce the opposite effect, where the only person available does not come through under pressure. I don't think you can be charged for that, and I definitely don't think you should be raked on television like that.


Belichick The Comedian

Surly New England coach Bill Belichick apparently is considering a career change.

Belichick is notorious for many things less-than-friendly, including his secretive approach to his teams' injury reports over the years. The league requires every team to submit an honest report each week several days before the next round of games.

And with all the talk surrounding Tom Brady's is-it-or-isn't-it injured right foot, Belichick addressed the issue at a news conference at team headquarters Thursday.

"The injury report will be out next Wednesday and we're excited to give that to you," the coach deadpanned. "That form will be filled out completely and I can't wait to give that to everybody."

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Funny Video

(h/t Dave in Cincinnati)

We might be a few days late on this, but still quite entertaining nonetheless.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Review: Giants Win In Green Bay

No matter what trend or stat or Fahrenheit reading you put the most faith in, I thought before Sunday's Giants-Packers game that New York's nine-game road winning streak was the biggest thing to consider when trying to pick a winner before kickoff. San Diego didn't have a chance to upset New England, but I thought the Giants could pull it off against the Packers.

Sure Green Bay was the home team, but the smart money doesn't necessarily have to give the game to the home team in a rare cold-weather game. It's uncomfortably freezing for everyone, not just the visitors. And in this case, in fact, the cold weather favored New York.

The football Giants were -- and are -- playing hot football, and in any team sport, the postseason is the right season for a team to be playing its best. You don't always have to be the best team, but if you're playing your best, you can certainly beat the best team. Look at the Patriots' first Super Bowl championship, after the 2000 regular season, over the seemingly invincible St. Louis Rams.

The Boston Red Sox won their memorable 2004 World Series championship from the Wild Card slot because they were playing hot baseball. You hear the term "hot goalie" when hockey people are talking about how one player can carry a team deep into the NHL's Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Cleveland Cavaliers weren't the best team in the NBA's Eastern Conference last year, but they played their best basketball in April and May and eliminated a superior Detroit team.

In college basketball, the Florida Gators were a lock to repeat as national champs in 2007, but their first title the previous year was a result of clicking at the right time, not because they were the best team in the sport.

And the Giants? Now winners of 10 straight road games, they started 0-2, allowing 90 points in those first two games. They had a quarterback who looked just six or eight weeks ago like he wasn't capable of winning a high-stakes game. Now he's won three of them this month alone, all away from friendly -- most of the time -- Giants Stadium.

So why did I believe in the Road Warriors once more? Easy: Green Bay's offense isn't geared toward cold-weather success. A month ago, good friend, Wisconsin native and die-hard Packers fan John Boel lent some insight when he said, "I'd like our chances against New England in the Arizona heat better than in an NFC championship game in January in Green Bay." I agreed.

New York's offense features the hard-charging, two-headed rushing monster of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw. And with Manning rifling passes to reliable Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer, and with New York's defense playing with pride, this has become a very complete football team, and I don't expect New England to blow them out in two weeks.

BUCK, AIKMAN AT TOP OF GAME: FOX's broadcast was one of the best shows I've seen in a long time in high-stakes sports. And they did it practically seamlessly despite the sub-zero weather, which can often add an element of trickery to all those electronics. Even up to the bump-out music playing underneath 60 seconds of game highlights as the broadcast team signed off, the show was top notch. I'd never previously been a fan of Curt Menefee, but he earned straight A's Sunday night.

And I'll never tire of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, who were better than usual last night. Unlike their understandably unheralded BCS counterparts of Thom Brennaman and Charles Davis -- um, Charles Davis -- who called a mediocre OSU-LSU title game two weeks ago, Buck and Aikman get high marks for chemistry, timing, insight and occasional humor.

I really liked this nugget from Aikman when the Giants were taking their time with the clock when they began a new set of downs in Green Bay territory, game tied at 20-20 and less than five minutes remaining: "They're trying to figure out if they want to go at their normal speed, or if they want to slow things down between plays to chew up some of that clock." I thought he was going to say the Giants would only be giving themselves less time in case Green Bay gets the ball back and ties the game or takes the lead. But no, he made a much better point: "When you decide this late in the game to slow things down, especially when you've been having success moving the ball, you run the risk of disrupting your offensive rhythm and losing your focus."

GREAT SHOT, MAN: In late-game dramatics, control-room heavies direct their photographers to focus in on all the key players as a critical play unfolds. I loved the tight shot of Giants coach Tom Coughlin watching the game-winning kick send his team to the Super Bowl.

LOOK-A-LIKE: I couldn't help but think of jolly old St. Nicholas each time FOX showed Coughlin and his rosy cheeks. And if NBA player Darius Miles had normal hair, he and Plaxico Burress would be twins.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Best Day In A While

The Ohio State win at Michigan was no doubt outstanding two months ago, but old friend Jeff's visit this week simply led to more hours of debauchery, so Friday turned out to be one of the better days I've had since I've been in New York for about 20 months.

I was off work Friday, and he was in town for his own job Wednesday and Thursday, and stuck around to kick it with me and another one of our Ohio boys, Troy, who now lives in Bayonne. Troy and Jeff have actually known each other since they were six years old or something. For those scoring at home, that would mean they've been friends for 32 years. They're old. I'm glad I'm not 38.

But Jeff got up to my crib at about noon, and we got our one respectable endeavor out of the way early. A four-mile run in Central Park preceded a trip to Duane Rade, as Jeff, quite the basketball fan, would refer to it the rest of the day.

Snacks and beers in hand, we got back to my place at about 2 p.m. and awaited Troy's arrival. It was unseasonably warm for mid-January, so a visit to my roof was the next move once Troy got here. Jeff made up a new game once we saw an empty beer bottle standing about 10 yards away from us. Beer-bottle golf requires rolling other empty bottles toward the one standing, trying to knock it over. After several rounds, I learned that a roll is better than a toss when mine shattered into many, many pieces.

Jeff and Troy are some down-home, low-maintenace Ohio boys, which is why I wasn't surprised that our first stop at Mustang lasted less than 60 seconds. I wasn't disappointed to leave; I think we were just excited to see some atmosphere so we ducked in momentarily.

So it's about 6 p.m., and we walked a couple blocks down busy 2nd Avenue. Jack Russell's seemed attractive, what with its available seats at the bar in front of large color television sats.

Here's a testament to how cool we three city slickers were: as I talked on my phone to Jason in Cincinnati, Jeff was punching up Barry in San Francisco on his. Even cooler? When we passed the phones around so everyone could talk to everyone.

And because we're sports dorks, we had to settle some sort of trivia dispute, so who better to harass on his Friday evening at home than Cincinnati Reds beat writer John Fay?

After Jack Russell's, we rolled back to my apartment for a minute so Jeff could put on a scarf before we ventured downtown. He seems to favor what he now calls the Manhattan Loop.

We took the train to Union Square and stopped in The Coffee Shop, typically a trendy spot for New York pretties, but again, we were back outside less than a minute later.

We walked two blocks to some other bar for one, then down to Taj Mahal for some excellent Indian food. I never know if that neighborhood is considered Lower East Side or the East Village. It's on 6th Street b/w 1st and 2nd avenues. Anyway, if Bashir isn't outside to greet you when you arrive, at least tell your server he sent you. He was outstanding.

After that, we took the train uptown to P.J. Clarke's, which became a favorite bar in the fall, but I've since learned it used to be a hot spot for mobsters back in the day, and it definitely has that feel.

Two beers later, we cabbed it back to my place, grabbed a slice of pizza, picked up some more beer, had one or two, then figured at 1:30 a.m. it would only make sense to head down to Trinity Pub for one last drink.

Many drinks and way more laughs definitely made Friday the best day I've had in a while. And it was still worth it the next morning when I woke up to what smelled like a small apartment where three dudes crashed after a day full of beer and pizza.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Farewell To Arm?

Hungry Hungry Gatorsbrokedickdog today takes us to Taiwan, where a zoo worker recently reached through iron bars to try to remove tranquilizer darts before the Nile crocodile was supposed to receive treatment.

The croc eventually let go of the arm, and after seven hours of surgery, the veterinarian had his arm successfully reattached. >> Read More . . .

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008


NeurofibromatosisIn case you missed it over the holidays, brokedickdog has been promoted to PAE Bizarre News/Images Bureau Chief. His first contribution of the new year takes us to China, where Huang Chuncai, 32, suffers from a genetic disorder of the nervous system called neurofibromatosis.

Chuncai had 50 pounds of tumors before his first operation last year removed 22 pounds of tumors. An upcoming second procedure will remove about 10 more pounds.

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Thoughts On The NFL Postseason

My all-time favorite, the New York Giants, just finished off a nice upset win at Dallas.

OK, the Browns are my favorite and I could take or leave the Giants -- who lost twice to Dallas during the regular season -- either way. But here are some reflections:

+ Don't buy the dumb sportswriters' cliche about how "it's hard to beat the same team three times in one year." You know what? No it's not. There's a pretty good reason why you beat them the first two times: YOU'RE BETTER THAN THEM! I think it's even more difficult to beat a team that has beaten you twice already.

But the Giants are playing hot football right now, and as is shown in many sports over the years, a streaky team can often beat the supposed better team, even on the road and especially in the playoffs.

+ Road teams are 4-4 in the playoffs right now, including both games on Sunday.

+ I can't wait to hear again and again all offseason that Tony Romo went to Mexico to have hot hotel sex with Jessica Simpson for a couple of days during the Cowboys' postseason bye week. "Coach, you sure that wasn't a distraction?" Yo, pencilneck, do you know why it was a distraction? Because you couldn't stop making it one. Now get back up to the press room and load up again on the pasta buffet.

It absolutely kills me that the media relentlessly questions things that are a result of their own doing. I don't care at all who Romo is dating. If he was married to a non-celebrity, and slipped out of Dallas for a few days, it would not have been a story. The story had nothing to do with football, the Cowboys or even Tony Romo. Sportswriters made it a story because it was Jessica Simpson. Even the surliest of scribes have become gossip hounds.

+ Did anyone see when Romo overthrew Terrell Owens in the red zone late in the first half? And of course Owens made a small gesture because he's 8 years old in terms of dealing with his emotions? Did anyone notice Romo not react at either of Owens' drops of easy catches during the game? After each, the camera zoomed in tight on Owens, flashing that million-dollar smile as if to say, "I should have caught that, but I still look good."

+ When league officials say the sport is for the fans, ask them why they schedule the AFC Championship game for 6:30 p.m. on a Sunday. Or why they moved one of the Saturday afternoon games to Saturday nights -- on wild card and divisional weekends -- in recent years. For maximum ad dollars, or because the fans wanted it that way?

+ Chargers at Patriots looks boring; the Patriots should win that one. But Giants at Packers will be a good game. The Packers played 55 minutes of outstanding football on Saturday, and the Giants are 9-1 on the road this season, and they're extremely confident. It would be a nice story for Eli Manning to get to the Super Bowl when big bro Peyton seemingly had a far better chance this year, but it will be an even better story when everybody's hero Brett Favre leads the Packers back to it. Green Bay wins a close one.


Monday, January 07, 2008

LIVE BLOG: BCS National Championship Game

I haven't live blogged since Ohio State won at Texas 16 months ago, but I'm not at the game, nor am I at a party. I just inhaled some pasta, I've got some beers here and I'm amped to watch this shite.

And for some reason, Chris Weinke and Danny Wuerffel escorted fellow former Heisman Trophy winner Tony Dorsett to midfield for the incredibly weak pregame coin toss. This happened at 8:20 p.m. ET. More to follow:

8:26 p.m. -- Ohio State's Chris Wells bolts 65 yards for a touchdown on the game's fourth play from scrimmage. I don't want to get too excited about an early big play, because we remember what happened last year after Ted Ginn returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, but I will say this: The Bucks did not lack speed on that play. Nor did any of them break an ankle during end-zone celebrations.

8:30 p.m. -- Not surprisingly, John Boel calls from a viewing party in Louisville, where the fellas estimated I'd be at BAC .12 by now, but they're all impressed when I tell them I've just finished dinner and haven't even cracked open my first Budweiser just yet. Then LSU puts the finishing touches on an unimpressive three-and-out and punts it back to the Buckeyes.

8:31 p.m. -- Cracked open my first Budweiser.

8:37 p.m. -- A huge pass from Todd Boeckman to Brandon Saine puts OSU in the red zone.

8:45 p.m. -- LSU has the ball and it's 3rd and 6. FOX play-by-play guy Thom Brennaman says, "Third and sex." Hee hee.

8:50 p.m. - 9 p.m. -- Sent out annoying text to friends letting them know about this weak liveblog.

9:13 p.m. -- Still sending out these annoying text messages. Sorry peoples! And in the meantime, LSU has tied the game 10-10 in the second quarter.

9:16 p.m. -- Wells delivers a stiff-arm that would make Peter North proud. First down, Buckeyes!

9:17 p.m. -- Boeckman passes to Brian Robiskie for another OSU first down.

9:27 p.m. -- LSU seems to have settled down and is playing well. The Tigers are moving the ball well after blocking an Ohio State field goal attempt a few minutes earlier.

9:30 p.m. -- LSU goes up, 17-10, and is fully in control of this game. A 10-yard touchdown pass from Matt Flynn to Brandon LaFell puts the Tigers in front.

9:32 p.m. -- I went to the fridge to pick up beer No. 2 and, even though I put on about 10 holiday pounds and I look like Valerie Bertinelli did a year ago, I returned with the beer, and some chips and salsa. Despite my gigantic new gut, I can't guarantee that the ice cream will go untouched later either.

9:52 p.m. -- I've lost a lot of interest in this dumb-ass blog. LSU is up, 24-10, at halftime. And Thom Brennaman is OK for a national-title game. He's done plenty of big MLB and NFL postseason games, but should Charles Davis really be the analyst?

10:02 p.m. -- Could intermission promotions be any more queer? It's so uncomfortable watching Chris Myers -- what happened to him, btw? -- try to get the crowd into a field-goal competition between former OSU and LSU kickers. And after Josh Houston won it for Ohio State, Myers put his microphone in front of him without asking any questions, producing a very awkward "Um, thanks a lot. That was fun."

10:22 p.m. -- LSU looks solid on its first two plays of the second half, unfortunately. I love the 30-minute halftimes.

10:28 p.m. -- Beer No. 3. I am so fat.

10:34 p.m. -- Consecutive personal fouls against OSU turn what should have been a change of possession to another trip to the red zone for LSU. This sucks.

10:37 p.m. -- Three different Buckeyes couldn't bring down a 210-pound LSU wideout, and the score is now 31-10. Now Googling images of Valerie Bertinelli.

10:46 p.m. -- There's seriously nothing to blog about, especially since I'm fielding all kinds of text messages from trash-talking friends. I called out a friend who went to Ohio University, a notorious party school, for being anti-Ohio State. I enjoyed his reply: "Not at all. I went to OU for the weed, not the football."

10:50 p.m. -- Malcolm Jenkins, who's been beaten for at least one of LSU's touchdowns tonight, returns an interception to the LSU 11-yard line. And on 3rd and 1 from the 2 a minute later, Chris Wells is knocked backward for a three-yard loss. I agree with Tressel's call to go for it on 4th down, and it pays off as Boeckman finds Robiskie in the end zone to make the score 31-17 late in the third quarter. Sportswriting is easy when you're in your living room.

11:02 p.m. -- I held my hand up in the air with my fingers pointing skyward, and my thumb tucked underneath. I'm not indicating which quarter is beginning, but I'm letting the fridge know I'm coming for beer No. 4. Sincerely, Rich Decker.

11:03 p.m. -- I vow to begin my New Year's situps tomorrow, or sometime thereafter.

11:23 p.m. -- Is it 9:30 already?

11:29 p.m. -- There's 5:50 left in the fourth quarter, but I think Ohio State thinks it's the third quarter. That's the only explanation I can think of when I see the Buckeyes, trailing by two touchdowns, taking their sweet-ass time.

11:58 p.m. -- If they ever make a movie about Les Miles, I think Kurt Russell has the lead role locked up. Goodnight now.

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The Need For Speed

Let me tell you a little bit about speed as it pertains to college football.

Speed changed the game of football about 15-20 years ago. Smashmouth style was the norm for decades, but then Bill Walsh perfected the west coast offense in the early 1980s. Once the popularity spread, all those speedy athletes growing up in Florida suddenly had NFL futures.

But first they had to play in college, so Florida, Florida State and especially Miami grabbed them up by the dozen. And once schools outside the Sunshine State took note of the need for speed, NCAA football became a track meet.

Ohio State's John Cooper was probably the first Big Ten coach to bring in "athletes," those not necessarily dedicated to one position or another. They ended up playing skill positions for sure, often wideout or cornerback, and they usually returned kicks. He's known more for his awful record against Michigan and in bowl games, but Cooper doesn't get the credit he deserves for being a good recruiter, for helping bring speed to the Big Ten.

And Jim Tressel picked up right where Coop left off, as far as recruiting players with game-breaking wheels.

But let's not forget that speed is rooted in the south more than any other area. Sure Texas and California have plenty of it, but as far as an entire region, the south is where it is, and the SEC is Exhibit A.

Everybody wants to talk about how Florida's speed is what killed Ohio State in last year's national championship game. This is actually not true. Florida's team is what dominated the Buckeyes. Sure I'm a diehard OSU fan, but I have no problem admitting where the fellas might be weak. If you want to talk about a decisive edge in speed that resulted in an embarrassing Buckeye loss, we can talk about Florida State's dismantling of Ohio State in a Sugar Bowl 10 or 12 years ago. Cooper and the boys had no answer for Peter Boulware and company. Few did in the 1990s, and you can thank speed above all else for that.

Last year, OSU was slower, sure, but the Buckeyes simply played bad football. Missed assignments, ill-timed turnovers and other mistakes gave Florida several scoring drives on short fields. Certainly the Gators had a lot to do with OSU playing poorly. They were far hungrier, partly a result of hearing for six weeks how inferior they were to the favored Buckeyes. This time around, OSU has heard for a month how it will be overmatched, and for a year how it was slow and weak and undeserving.

But nowadays in the sport, the playing field is much more level. Just ask Michigan, or Appalachian State. Or plenty of other teams this year who were involved in any of the many upsets. Recent scholarship limitations haven't only made it possible for middle-of-the-pack squads to pick up higher-quality players they weren't getting five years ago, but by so doing, they're also taking away a blue-chipper from one of those Florida schools, for example. Just look at Louisville since 2000. Lots of Sunshine kids are leaving burn marks on the Cardinal Stadium turf in recent years.

So for a month now, the common wisdom has been that speedy LSU will run circles around Ohio State's cornfeds. Not so fast. If LSU wins, it will be because its Glenn Dorsey-led defense will have rattled OSU quarterback Todd Boeckman into making mistakes. If the Tigers can't pressure Boeckman, he'll have a nice night finding guys like Brian Robiskie and Brian Hartline. And if they're doing that, that means running back Chris Wells is probably chewing up nice gains on the ground as well.

So while Boeckman might be OSU's X factor, its defense has no X factor. The Buckeyes have future NFL stars on each layer. End Vernon Gholston and linebacker James Laurinaitis are studs, and cornerback Malcolm Jenkins is among the finest cover guys in the country. The Bucks didn't give up too many big plays this year, but even if they give up two, maybe three, tonight -- which is possible because the Superdome's turf track will reveal a slight edge in speed for LSU -- I still think Ohio State has enough firepower to get its score into the middle 20s. And if that happens, then the Bucks will silence those with the gigantic SEC boner and hoist another national championship trophy.

And finally, here's a video clip we shot at work a month ago when the BCS bowl pairings were announced:

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

Bruce Almighty

My boy Bruce, like me a Buckeyes and Browns fan, is a little bit of a ballbuster, often the contrarian. I used to call him out, but now I just let him do his thing because it's downright funny. He'd be a good sitcom or movie character.

So imagine my laughter when I got his reply to a text message I sent him after 11 p.m. Saturday, as the Jacksonville-Pittsburgh wild card game was nearing a memorable conclusion. Truly an exciting end game for all fans of the sport who might not have a strong rooting interest in either the Jaguars or Steelers.

Me: "What an awsom finish."
Bruce: "Fuck you. Pitt is in our conference (I think he meant division) a hole."

And then, one minute later, a second text message:

Bruce: "Just like rooting for Michigan."


Thursday, January 03, 2008

So You Think You Can Dance?

My excellent friend Chad tolerated my demands for him to dance for the camera at a recent holiday party in Cincinnati, and like the a-hole I am, I figure it only makes sense to post this thing. Not only are his dancing skills outstanding, but I'm fairly impressed with my own choreographical direction as well. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Catching Up (New Year's Day edition)

Been out of touch lately. Here's what's up:

Friday, Dec. 21 -- My flight got in too late for me to attend Dr. Schwartz's funeral in Cincinnati, but I spent the entire rest of the day out at their house. Drinks and food and many good people made the day a pretty positive one.

Saturday, Dec. 22 -- Good friends (and charter sponsors of my photography venture!) Amanda and Guy had their annual holiday party at their lovely home in Newport, Ky. I enjoy holiday parties.

Sunday, Dec. 23 -- Drove back to Columbus to catch my flight back to New York. On the bus ride back into the city from LaGuardia, a tourist seemed lost, so I helped direct her to where she needed to go. This is relevant.

Monday, Dec. 24 -- Worked a slow and quiet Christmas Eve morning, then got a call from the lost tourist, a German nanny named Christina. She convinced me to put on ice skates for the first time in about 10 years. Was a little unusual spending Christmas Eve with a total stranger, but was nice to go ice skating after all these years. At one point, we saw a guy get down on bended knee at center ice and propose to his girlfriend (watch the video).

Tuesday, Dec. 25 -- Caught an extremely early flight to Cleveland to spend a few days with Mom and Mike. Ate some food, exchanged some gifts, napped, then big Christmas dinner, then more napping. The perfect Christmas Day!

The rest of the week was kind of like Tuesday. I ate lots of food and caught up on some rest. We went out several times, but what mom made at home was the shiz-nit. Sausage and cheese casserole for one breakfast, blueberry pancakes (with oatmeal in the batter) for another, shrimp salad to snack on throughout the week, Slovenian sausage sandwiches. Mom's cooking is so outstanding, and diverse enough that we're thinking about doing a cookbook now.

Another great thing about the visit home is the ample supply of hot water that comes pounding out of the shower nozzle, a far different setup than what I have at my apartment here in New York, where I get water pressure comparable to what would leak out of a limp garden hose that a car might be parked on in your suburban driveway.

Holiday Sausage GagTypically I'm the one annoying mom with toilet humor, but she actually pulled a fast one on me. As I said earlier, she made some Slovenian sausages for breakfast one morning. We had plenty left over. When I was in the shower later that day, she thought she'd try to scare me by leaving a little surprise on the floor of my room. None of her three cats was capable of doing something like what is pictured to the right, and it also didn't help her plan that I could hear her laughing all the way downstairs when I came out of the shower. But a good try nonetheless, mom!

I returned on Friday, Dec. 28, and had a lovely weekend. I don't go out in Chelsea often, but I met Crystal at Kanvas, which looks more like my type of place online than it turned out to be in person.

St. John The DivineSaturday I finally got up to Harlem to shoot the enormous St. John The Divine (pictured, left), but was ill-prepared on the battery front, so a return trip is likely soon. New friend Bridget from work is also an avid photographer, but I wasn't the only one who planned poorly. She suggested we hit some art gallery before heading up to Harlem, and when we arrived, it was closed for the entire weekend.

I'm starting to dig the west side a little bit, and that was even before Bridget and I grabbed a beer and a burger later at The Dead Poet, a perfectly laid-back spot for a late lunch or early dinner on a cold Saturday.

Stayed in that night but met Sneha for a late brunch in Brooklyn on Sunday. She's a designer for a high-end label -- I think I've mentioned her here before -- and when she shot up out of her seat during "Eastern Promises" two weeks ago to say "Oh my God, that's my dress," I thought she merely owned it. Turns out homegirl designed what Naomi Watts was sporting in one of the movie's final scenes.

Speaking of "Eastern Promises," here are some recent reviews:

I Am Legend (Theater) -- Will Smith can usually do no wrong, so he makes a mediocre movie with a decent premise pretty good. But certainly not his best effort.

Eastern Promises (Theater) -- Good movie if you can handle heavy foreign accents that cause you to miss a line or two.

Perfect Stranger (NetFlix) -- Interesting ending makes up for a lackluster first 45 minutes or so. Halle Barry is good, Bruce Willis is decent and Giovanni Ribisi was given a couple of weak lines, but if not for the script he was very solid.

Glory Road (NetFlix) -- I'm not crazy about movies that take too many editorial liberties with true stories. It's an important part of American history that's gone largely untold, and Josh Lucas certainly was good, but there were certainly some script and timeline shortcomings.

Rushmore (Recent purchase) -- I hadn't watched this in six or seven years, but it didn't take long to remember how much I enjoyed it when it first came out. Wes Anderson and Jason Schwartzman both should have called it quits after this one.

Up next in the theater: Charlie Wilson's War, Atonement

New Year's Eve got pretty out of hand for me. One minute I was in the middle of an "Entourage" marathon on HBO, the next I was laughing my head off at the network's On-Demand "Extras" series finale. If you're still not familiar with Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, please aks somebody. I enjoy my couch.

So I think we're about all caught up. Write in with your New Year's resolutions. Or don't. Here are mine:

Sell a lot more of my photography, visit Africa, do my taxes early this year, run more, get back in the kitchen, listen to this guy more often, buy a new camera, sell stuff on eBay, drink less, organize my music, get more of my writing published, see Alli T. in person, sell my car, count to infinity, worry less, advance in my field, choose to be happy more, call fewer women, get rid of clothes I don't wear or anything else I don't use, read the fine print, learn how to make clam chowder, eliminate debt (heard that one before?), meet Jonathan Ames, reconnect with some old friends, actually eat the fresh vegetables I buy, learn Flash, read a manual and throw at least one party.

Happy New Year, y'all!

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