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Friday, March 28, 2008


So the Democratic race was interesting because it was close until about a month ago, but now it's interesting for another reason.

It's nice to see that under the pressure of merely trailing in a campaign, Hillary's team has stepped up the attacks and shown how uncool it is under duress. And on nearly every occasion, Obama has been game.

Can't help but wonder how Hillary would handle a real international crisis like, say, the one that began five years and 4,000 troops ago?

If Obama never made one more campaign appearance, he'd still get the nod because with each story Hillary tries to claim as her own, she loses believability with almost every syllable. We hear so much about change, and every politician always has the answer for everything -- today it's that they'll both fix the mortgage crisis -- but it's becoming clear how hard it will be to trust this woman.

And this isn't even about her recollection, her having misspoke or misremembered the 1996 events in Bosnia where she allegedly hustled under fire from plane to waiting security cars. This is about a speech in the last day or two where she recalled some poignant visit with a man from Ohio. Maybe he was an old farmer or some tired factory worker; I really don't know. But she played up the emotional aspect of it to a point where you thought the occasion genuinely touched her. So it was pretty uncomfortable for me to watch someone tell such a story by looking down frequently at note cards. I don't know about you, but if I'm telling a story about a significant moment in my life, do I really need someone else to write it for me beforehand?

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sweet Sixteen Notes

CARACTER REVEALED? -- Louisville's Derrick Caracter announced this week he's turning pro after this season.

The full-figured sophomore has NBA strength, hands and feet, but playschool judgment. He has the potential -- upside, we call it -- to be an excellent pro player, but not the ambition to tap into it. He will have a very short career in the NBA before spending his life in scenic Europe for another decade. At least he'll learn about history.

But before firing up the jabwagon -- oops, they already did here -- don't jump to the conclusion that Caracter thinks he's ready for the NBA game. Could be he's just ready to leave college.

Don't think for a minute that coaches are afraid to make a guy miserable enough that he'll leave and free up a scholarship for someone more deserving. Caracter was heavily recruited -- and just plain heavy -- long before his senior year of high school. But then he didn't play his senior year, when he committed to Louisville. And then he got to school overweight and you know how much Rick Pitino loves out-of-shape guys. Caracter even earned a suspension at one point, and never came close to reaching his potential. You think Pitino was hopeful he'd come back for his junior year? No way. I guarantee he ran him out of there.

MILLER TIME: It's pretty interesting seeing a boy turn into a man. I went to some basketball camps in high school, and at least two of them had a special guest named Sean Miller. Once a child phenom who with his dad took their basketball circus on late-night television -- Miller was a whiz with an array of ball-handling tricks -- Miller grew into a serious high-school recruit and eventually played at the University of Pittsburgh.

And I've been following him ever since. And it was cool seeing him lead Xavier to a nice defeat of Bob Huggins' surprising West Virginia team in Thursday's Sweet Sixteen. For the sake of my bracket, I hope UCLA beats the Muskies in Saturday's Elite Eight game. But for the sake of sentimentality, I'd love XU to get to the Final Four.

GUMBLE FUMBLE: Surprising that CBS Sports -- which hasn't only owned the NCAA Tournament forever, but they do a great job with it too every year -- let an error get by its video editors. Greg Gumbel's taped 30-second VO during Michael Beasley highlights late in the first half of the UCLA-Western Kentucky game included the erroneous excerpt, "Beasley led all freshmen in rebounding this year with 12 points a game."


Monday, March 24, 2008

The Ohio State University

Wall just called to drop a pretty good point on me. When your favorite Buckeyes are relegated to the JV, er, the NIT Tournament, you seek out small silver linings like this one, though this one in particular speaks to a much larger fact.

"Dude, it's pretty cool to sell out the Schottenstein Center for a Bruce Springsteen concert, then remember you've got an NIT game scheduled for the same night. I think they just said, 'Why don't we just go down the street to our other 13,000-seat, on-campus arena and play it there?' How many schools can do that?"

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Pardon The Imitation

CBS trotted out its version of "PTI" during halftime of Sunday's second-round game between Villanova and Siena, and it was fairly weak.

Studio analysts Clark Kellogg and Seth Davis took questions from host Greg Gumbel, and when one of the analysts disagreed with the other's answer, he was able to hit a Timeout button or an Airball button.

It was a terrible attempt to steal something from ESPN's quite successful "Pardon The Interruption" or "Around The Horn." CBS has done a masterful job doing the NCAA Tournament for more than two decades, so it was surprising to see such a gimmick. Just go back to doing games and decent feature stories at halftime, and leave the gags to the other nets.


Friday, March 21, 2008

Duke Basketball

Had Belmont held on to upset Duke yesterday, college basketball nation would have rejoiced and ignorant fans everywhere would be overheard at the sports bar shouting "Duke sucks" in between gulps of draft beer and bites of chicken wings.

It turns out the latest research shows ... Duke does not suck. Coach K does not suck. I'm not a huge Duke fan, but I appreciate and respect anyone who maintains that level of success over a lengthy period.

Coack K has won three national championships. In the current era, that's pretty darn close to a dynasty. Not one title, or two. But three. He won two in a row, then waited nine years, and won a third. That's impressive and not at all easy to do.

When people rail against Duke, their argument includes flawed logic: "Yeah, they're good, but that's because they always get the best kids." So does that make their success any less respectable? Should we put an asterisk next to Duke's 1991, 1992 and 2001 national title years in the record books? No. Of course they get the best kids. Want to know why? It's because Duke is the best program out there and kids want to go there. Folks call Duke the Yankees of college basketball, but the playing field is obviously far more level in NCAA hoops than it is in baseball. There are far more teams and, oh yeah, college basketball doesn't pay its players tens of millions of dollars.

If your favorite team won the way Duke did, then maybe your coach would get the commercials that air every March. Survival of the fittest, yo.

Duke is successful indeed because it gets the best kids, which is a byproduct of its success, not an unfair advantage. There are no unfair advantages. Fair to me kind of means equal, balanced or level, and everyone is trying to get an advantage, so if you're winning more consistently than most of the other teams in your sport, you've achieved a fair advantage. Unless, of course, you're doing things illegally in recruiting or in other areas; only in such a case would we use the term unfair advantage.

When one program has an advantage over another, that program wins games and maybe championships. And last I checked, that's what every team is trying to do -- recruit the best players, win games and hopefully championships. Duke just does it better than everyone else. That should be respected, not ridiculed.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Cue Up The Blame Machine

I have a secret to tell.

I made a mistake at work today.

You did too probably.

Fortunately, our missteps didn't lead to the deaths of seven unsuspecting people.

But someone made a mistake on the job on Manhattan's Upper East Side a few days ago, and a construction crane collapsed, turning an otherwise lovely Saturday in New York's late winter into the scene of a national tragedy.

And for the last 48 hours, the local news is doing what local news always does -- looks for a scapegoat.

No matter which station you watch, those hometown anchors you love so much tell you go to their Web site and vote in surveys or leave your comments on a forum so we can all talk about whether we think safety precautions were sufficient there, as if we were familiar with that particular construction project before the collapse. It's far less of a discussion or conversation than an exercise in unanimity. I mean, are viewers of local TV news truly the collective authority when it comes to construction safety standards?

But that's the mentality of the the three-staged news cycle: Tragedy, Reaction and Blame. It's ridiculous, and it once again recalls the conversation about which came first: the public's need/want for this type of stuff, or the news agenda dictating the public's need/want?

Everyone makes mistakes at every workplace every day. Sure the logical perspective doesn't do much to bring back to life seven people who were sons, daughters, parents or siblings. I get that; I really do. As insensitive as it sounds, shit happens; life can indeed be unfair. I wish we could leave it at that, but when the shallow culture isn't obsessed with the sex life of a celebrity, or the sex life of a governor, or shoot, the sex life of the new governor now, the shallow culture is looking for someone to blame, humiliate and straight up destroy.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Jason's Next Art Show

My dude Jason Buroker has another art show coming up in Cincinnati. Please go to it and buy his work.

For those of you in Cincinnati, it's at the Creative Gallery at 1319 Main Street on Friday, March 28. I think that's in or at least near the Over-The-Rhine neighborhood. Anyway, Jason's show starts at 6 p.m. and lasts until, according to his Web site, "the wee hours." Sounds like a serious party.

If you haven't heard me talk about Jason, he paints with phospherescent light and his work is amazing. He says time is a fourth dimension to his work, as the colors in his pieces change for minutes or even hours after being charged with various light sources.

A Web site cannot do his work justice, but for the curious, check out his gallery here. And make sure to mouse over some of his pieces, as they will change color after a few seconds. But again, his is the kind of work that must be viewed in person, and you should do that on March 28.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

An Open Letter

Dear Digger Phelps:

You weren't terrible as usual during the regular season with your analysis, but now that I'm glued to the set the last eight days or so, please stop with your annoying habit of asking yourself rhetorical questions.

ESPN's studio analysts just went around the horn with their picks for today's top games: "I think Duke wants to win today to get a rematch with who? North Carolina in tomorrow's ACC final."

Oh, really, does Duke want to win today? Is that what you think?

"Oklahoma is a good team but not good enough to win today. Why? Because Texas' guards didn't play well yesterday and I'm sure they want to redeem themselves, and they'll get it done today against the Sooners."

Dude, the questions and the "get it done" line have been incredibly tiresome for years. Get some new game please.

Thank you.


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Fear Factor

When you see or read interviews with people who've achieved at least a small degree of success in any area of life, routinely there's a question about failure. We all know that old expression about how it's not considered failure if you learn from it and so forth.

But it's interesting that the opinions about failure seem to vary among these successful people. Many say they're not afraid to fail, which explains their ability to block things out and focus only on the current task. In athletics, coaches will tell their players, "If at the end of the game we come up short on the scoreboard, but we all know we gave it our best, then we'll still walk out of here a winner." That might sound so very Disney, but there's a significant amount of truth to it.

On the other hand, I just watched a short interview with UCLA freshman phenom Kevin Love, who in a few weeks will lead the Bruins to their first national championship since 1995 (as long as another starter's ankle injury heals soon). But Love said he's actually afraid to fail. And that surprises me because the majority of the time you hear folks say they're not afraid, yet Love has been a success story his entire young life.

He suggested that comes from his perfectionism; he's always trying to do everything the right way. Perhaps when you set the bar so high for yourself and you're still achieving your goals, than maybe there's no such thing as failure, so he has no idea what he could possibly be fearful of.


Friday, March 14, 2008

Random Rants

I've developed a solid interest in "Pardon The Interruption" over the last year, but the show before it, "Around The Horn," can certainly be annoying.

At one point today, the scribes were talking about whether NBA superstar LeBron James deserved to be on the cover of iconic women's magazine "Vogue." George Clooney and Richard Gere are the only males to ever appear on the cover before him.

"I'd like (James) to win a championship before he's doing Vogue magazine and Saturday Night Live and all that," Jay Mariotti said. "Is he really a cultural icon?"

Yes, Jay, he is a cultural icon. Want to know why? Because sports reporters like you made him one nearly 10 years ago. Expectations are no longer set naturally or realistically. They are set by the very media that begins covering phenoms when they are 12 years old. And then we tear them down when they get mixed up in the wrong things -- you know, drugs, girlbeating, not winning an NBA championship -- before they're 20 or 25. No teenager should have to live his life on camera, yet we expect it routinely, and then we express shock when the once-coddled star athlete has difficulty adjusting to adult life.

Another rant . . . I used to be down with Bruce Bowen and his pesky defensive habits. But you don't put your arms in the air as if you've done nothing, all the while simultaneously dropping your knee on the dome of Chris Paul, the new face of the NBA who was on the floor battling for the loose ball that you yourself didn't fight hard enough for. Bowen deserves his suspension.

Finally . . . I've long been and will always be a fan of Bob Knight. When you only know one career for four decades, and in that career you've often been combative with those who cover you, once you join those who cover you, there might be a critic or two. But Knight isn't asked to be cutesy on ESPN's college basketball set this week, so that's why it might look a little awkward or stiff. I think he's doing as good a job as you'd expect from a half-crazy former coach who's probably doing his old buddy Digger Phelps a favor more than he's actually enjoying his new gig. He's not a TV guy by any stretch, so just listen to the words that he's speaking, and you'll find that his honest and insightful takes are actually pretty interesting. How could they not be?

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Drinks On A Schoolnight?

Ran down to West Chelsea last night to see my friend Firth MacMillan's gallery opening. And when I say West Chelsea, I mean West Chelsea. I ditched hopstop's recommended plan of taking the 6 train to 51st street, then jumping on the E train to 23rd. Instead, I took the 6 down to 28th and walked a good half hour to the Hudson Guild.

I didn't really know Firth was into photography. The last opening of hers I attended, about a year ago, was ceramics. Not necessarily a man's cup of tea, but you still want to support any artist friends you might have and gallery openings are seldom a bad time.

But last night, she rolled out some soft-focus photography, and I was blown away. I'll let you try to guess what the image is of on the front page of the site I gave you in the first paragraph. I hope she puts more of her stuff online for y'all to see. She had about eight or 10 large prints that for my eyes seemed to prioritize color slightly ahead of shape. Firth truly has a gift, and I think you'll be hearing about her more in the future.

After that, it was off to Pravda, my favorite vodka bar. OK, it's the only bar I enjoy that bills itself as a vodka bar. And here I am thinking I'm in the know by ordering Ketel One the last 10 years or so, but the smartender last night recommended Russian Standard, and I'm fairly certain that's my new fave. Much smoother and even lighter, but doesn't lack an end result. I had a different kind of buzz after a couple of them. As you know, I typically avoid libations on a schoolnight, but it was a going-away party for my dear friend Sneha, who's on a plane at this minute flying to Egypt to spend a week before moving to Italy for a new fashion design job. She's the gal who I saw "Eastern Promises" with in December and she jumped out of her seat when Naomi Watts was wearing a Ralph Lauren dress that Sneja designed. She's fancy.


Uncomfortable Moment At Work

It's not uncommon for me to cause uncomfortable moments because I often steer conversations in inappropriate directions, but this one bordered on extremely awkward.

There's a lovely young black gal who just started working on my floor. I'm the first one in every morning and sometimes she's the second one. So we'll sometimes talk for a few minutes, and just a moment ago she told me she saw Eli Manning at Macy's the other day. She closed the story by saying she didn't think he's attractive, so I asked her what kind of dudes she does favor.

Me: "Oh, so you like black men, huh?"
Girl: "No, I said Brad Pitt," she replied with her strong-ish Haitian accent.

I really don't know how I got "black men" from "Brad Pitt." Perhaps because I'm a moron.

I guess it wasn't that uncomfortable, but not entirely a laugh-out-loud moment either. I'm going back to work now.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Urgent Update

I've lived in this luxury penthouse suite for nearly two years now, and I think a half hour ago was the first time a neighbor knocked on the door for one of those simple little, "Hey, John, mind if I borrow . . . .?"

I really need to quit hanging around in my boxers.


'Creepy Gnome'

(h/t brokedickdog)

A town in South America is living in fear after several sightings of a "creepy gnome" that locals claim stalks the streets at night.

The midget, which wears a pointy hat and has a distinctive sideways walk, was caught on video last week by a terrified group of youngsters.

>> Read More

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Client 9

New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer looks to be out of a job. Here are some thoughts:

  • I'll call him a loser for cheating on his wife and presumably lying to her and the family subsequently, but I won't necessarily call him a scumbag for financing prostitution. Being sexually deviant I'm guessing is not always a choice. At some point during your adulthood, or if you're an 18-year-old girl on Spring Break and Joe Francis' "Girls Gone Wild" camera crew is approaching, you realize you've got quite the sexual appetite. Some people have active imaginations that turn into hungry physical desires and even perhaps unusual fetishes. I've read some pretty dark stuff over the years, and one common theme about prostitution is that those who buy it aren't only turned on by the sex, but moreso by the illegality of it. There's a thrill factor there for those who love danger. In fact, those who pay for sex are often "normal" men leading "normal" lives who have decent jobs and wives and kids. Don't judge a person for his or her sexual preferences.

  • But I will call him a dumbass. And you should feel free to judge harshly about his choices considering his job title and marital status. When all you do in your professional life is achieve, it's probably safe to say you're a man of strong character. But sooner or later, you need to realize that you cannot simultaneously be paying for sex when your business card reads "Governor, State Of New York." Especially if you're married. These things typically do not mix well. If you're the governor, stop paying for sex, and stop having sex with anyone other than your wife.

  • I never get why wives almost always show up at press conferences taking the stand-by-your-man approach when the heroic husband is announcing that he's an adulterer. He's committed the ultimate sin. You don't owe him an appearance just because a bunch of reporters have gathered around a podium with a state seal on it.

  • I also don't get why people like Hillary Clinton and others say things like, "We've got the Spitzer family in our thoughts and prayers right now. We know this is a tough time for them." That makes it sound like hooker-boy is a victim here, and he's the farthest thing from it.


  • Friday, March 07, 2008

    Googling Me

    A lady friend recently told me she was surprised there was very little to find about me when she Googled me.

    But because I'm the most arrogant a-hole I know, I'm fully aware of how to get lots of Google results when searching my name. She searched "John Wise," but we all know "John P. Wise" is the way to go in 2008, right?

    So if you Google merely first and last name, and skip the middle initial, you get these clowns:

    + This guy is one of the first John Wises I remember seeing out there online. He has a Photo Of The Day blog, which occasionally has some really good shots.

    + I remember seeing this guy in early searches as well. It seems all the John Wises I find have east coast roots, and this one was a Massachusetts clergyman from 1680-1725.

    + This guy is who you get in touch with when you have questions about the Balloon Society of Central Pennsylvania. And at some point, I know you will.

    + Homeboy says, "To the right, you'll find what's new in this place." But when you look to the right, the last update is July 31, 2005. I never liked this guy.

    + When I was changing majors the first time in college, the choices were either General Studies or Toxicology and Molecular Epidemiology. That's what this dude is into. To each his own, right?

    + Another smart guy runs the Wise Laboratory of Environmental and Genetic Toxicology.

    + John Wise is the Mayor of Enumclaw, Wash.

    + I agree with medical cartoonist John Wise that laughter is the best medicine.

    + Financial representative John Wise will call you once a week during dinner to try to offer his products and services, even if you ask to be taken off his call list.

    + Another smartie-pants. Maybe I should have gotten into medicine. Nah, there are way more ladies to be had in online news.


    Wednesday, March 05, 2008

    Weekend Review

    Had a bittersweet Saturday morning as an old friend was visiting from out-of-town. One minute, I was listening to a voice mail from old dude John Charlton about how he seems ready to buy my car that I've been spending $360 a month on for the last two years as it sits unused in my mom's driveway in Cleveland. What a relief that could turn out to be.

    But the next minute, Mom's calling to tell me that Mike has cancer. I think I'm aware of plenty of those who regularly read this blog, and let's just say I don't think they're the church-going type. But for anyone else who might be prone to pray, please say what's up and ask for some love for my stepdad, Mike Evansa. He begins six weeks of five-times-a-week radiation treatments next Monday. Thank you.

    Including the weekend and other goings-on lately, here are some recent visits:

    + Haru
    + PJ Clarke's
    + The Auction House
    + The Pig and Whistle
    + Lattanzi

    Tried to step into Becco in the theater district, but they were complete a-holes before the door could even close behind my incredibly firm ass. We were sent packing. Not cool.

    And some recent rentals:

    + The TV Set -- Very good movie, sometimes comical, on the evolution of a television show from pilot to air.
    + Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room -- Good documentary on the Enron collapse.
    + This Film Is Not Yet Rated -- Good documentary on how movies get their ratings, which is a secretive and sometimes inconsistent process.
    + So Goes The Nation -- Good documentary on the 2004 campaign, shot mostly in the great state of Ohio.
    + The Lives Of Others -- Excellent.

    Monday at work, we did a story about how Americans are not getting enough sleep, and it affects their work. I'm certainly one of those people, having to work every morning at 5 a.m. But pay close attention to the supermodel when you look at the image in this story.


    Tuesday, March 04, 2008

    Meet The World's Smallest Bodybuilder

    Tiny Bodybuilder(h/t brokedickdog)

    At just 2 feet and 9 inches tall, Indian muscleman Aditya 'Romeo' Dev is the world's smallest bodybuilder.

    Pint-sized Romeo is well-known in his hometown of Phagwara, India, for his ability to lift 1.5kg dumbbells despite his overall body weight of only 9kg.

    Every day, crowds flock to the local gym to the see the mini-muscleman in training.

    >> Read More

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    Monday, March 03, 2008

    Walking To Work

    I take the bus from my luxury apartment near 85th Street and get off at 68th Street, then walk a couple blocks to work each morning at 5 a.m. in the pitch dark.

    It's pretty safe, considering I walk past a police station and then a firehouse along the way.

    But this morning, that didn't stop some curious- and somewhat dirty-looking jackass with a couple of duffel bags on the ground in front of the firehouse from approaching me and asking if I could help him. I gave him no eye contact and not even one syllable, just kept walking.

    "Thanks a lot man. I'm a fireman."

    I'm fairly sure he wasn't a fireman, but if he was, he could have asked a colleague inside the building where he allegedly works for a hand.

    Now that the day has passed, I'm kicking myself for not lobbing a smartass reply to him.

    What would you have said?


    Bar Patron Pissed Off In Men's Room

    (h/t brokedickdog)

    A New Zealander ended up in court after punching a man over a breach of urinal etiquette that would have made Dice Clay proud.

    Edward Aldridge, 47, punched his victim twice after he used the urinal next to him in a pub in Christchurch.

    Aldridge accused his victim of looking at him, reports Metro.

    Twenty years ago when the foul-mouthed and unfunny Clay was filling up his 15 minutes, he called this act prick-looking.

    >> Read More

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