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Monday, December 29, 2008

My Year In Review, Part II

(In case you missed Part I)

Are you like me? Do you let email pile up? Be it your work or personal inbox, do you do a poor job of filing, saving and deleting? I do. And with about six weeks left in my job at FOX, I found myself staring at an inbox that had 7,800 emails in it. I had to do something.

And what did I do?

I thought of you. Yeah, that's right. I thought of you.

I went through all of those emails and set aside some funny stuff, and just a few other good ones, with an eye on the end of the year. So just when you thought you'd read every Year-Ender list, here's one more. The best of my 7,800 emails that didn't get deleted. Enjoy!

+ I forget exactly how many seconds after John McCain's VP selection announcement that this site went up.

+ More than you'll ever need to know about penile fracture.

+ brokedickdog sent in a great video of a dude nearly breaking his neck doing the traditional Preakness Stakes Urinal Run. I tried to go back there the other day, but the video was taken offline. I searched on YouTube, and found a decent consolation.

+ For fans of top-quality music videos. I'm pretty sure Wall sent this one in.

+ If Arun sends in something from The Onion, shall we attribute Arunion?

+ Cool slideshow of New York, with narration, also from Arun.

+ Can't remember who sent me this short note in 2008:

"Good to hear from you, John! Hope all is well. Right when you can."

+ And some silliness from Mom over the summer:

"Is it okay for me to call Cindy McCain an airhead?"

+ Intern Kevin kept things light for us at FIM over the summer.

+ I think LA Sue sent this to me.

+ Inspiring words from my boy Lee in California:

"Take care of yourself John…and remember…life is short…don’t be a slave to just survive…do what you love and you’ll find everything you need."

+ An email from one of my dudes in Cincinnati, who would probably prefer to remain nameless here. We both enjoy making fun of the business I work in:

Jon Stewart's name for dumbass TV reporters who don hip waders and do live shots in flood waters: "human dipsticks."

Make sure you get that list of July 4 safety tips ready for the web page, Wise. I want to make sure I know how to not blow myself up.

My old TV finally died about a month ago, so I had to buy a new one. Kinda the first time I've watched hi-def on a regular basis..... Let's just say HD doesn't do any favors for (Ken) Broo or Kit Andrews.

I know Denise Richards has a seat on your plane-crash plane..... I was never really sure why, but I trust your judgment. But now, I'm watching her reality show on E.....it's all becoming clear to me. At the same time, I can't stop watching it. She's such an idiot."

+ My friend Lee sends me lots of links, and I'm usually at work and in the middle of things so his contributions often fall by the wayside. But this is an excellent read if you have a few minutes.

+ brokedickdog or Wall sent this in. It is excellent. Watch it now if you can. NSFW.

+ Genius marketing from the 1970s.

+ Odd imports usually come from brokedickdog.

+ "While making small talk with an older female patient, she mentioned that the "Kentucky Jelly" on her breakfast tray had a very strange taste. When I asked to see the jelly, the woman handed me a foil packet labeled 'KY Jelly.'" More similar stories here.

+ Bad motorcycle wreck. I hate the unfunny "wait for it" line, but seriously, wait for it.

+ Another goodie from brokedickdog.

+ Outstanding video in real-time, but stick around for the slow-motion replays.

+ Complete morons can be seen right here.

+ Sweet mugshots.

+ Don't be this person.

+ No surprise here.

+ A Cubs fan does something cool.

+ From Wall, regarding my Celebrity Plane Crash:

"If Clemens is not already on that bad boy, get him some first class reservations."

+ From my boy Dave in Cincinnati:

Props to Kristin finding the perfect birfday card for me. On the front: a picture of two women talking:

"Where's your birthday party at?"
"Don't end a sentence with a preposition."

(Open card, same photo on the inside)

"Where's your birthday party at, bitch?"

+ This is not from 2008, but you should watch it anyway.

+ If you know my man Frank from FOX, you know he's incredibly nice and polite, and certainly he doesn't try too hard to be funny. Which makes his stuff even funnier. I sent this email to a friend at some point this year:

"Some building maintenance dudes are doing some work in our small-ish area on Monday. So seven of them (all wearing union sweatshirts, old jeans, workboots) felt the need to come down just now and have 7 different conversations for 10 minutes, as they examined the wall they’re going to knock down or whatever, then they split after about 10 minutes. The wall is where this one, tiny, TI-99-looking printer from 1980 is stationed. When the guys were filing out, my dude Frank says, “Did you guys fix the paper jam?"

+ Another note from Dave in Cincinnati:

"Wichita....... The city for people who find Cincinnati too stimulating."

+ I never get tired of watching live news gone wild, especially in a 3-minute compilation format.

From John in Cincinnati:

"Did I ever tell you guys about the people who had indoor/outdoor carpeting for a yard? It was on my street when I grew up. We drove by one time and the lady was out there in her bath robe, smoking a cigarette, VACUUMING the front yard."

+ From brokedickdog:

A Tale Of Enchantment

A Fairy Tale...

One day, long, long ago....... there lived a woman who did not

whine, nag or bitch.

But this was a long time ago....... and it was just that one day.

+ Don't be the first guy to pass out in front of your friends.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

My Year In Review, Part I

Tiresome are the lists re-capping the best sports stories of the year or the most bizarre photos. Every single news site has every single list imaginable, but one thing I don't necessarily see too often is bloggers posting their own personal year-enders. I suppose that's mostly because no one cares. But I've been away for too long, as the new job is a great challenge and leaves me exhausted at the end of each day, unable to post.

So, herewith, are my five most memorable days of 2008:

+ Friday, Jan. 18 -- Wall Hits The Big Apple: Ohio bud Jeff Gluck was in New York for work one week in January. Fellow Buckeye Troy Freel, the proudest Bayonne resident you'll ever meet, came into the city for a day of food, drink and laughter. The fellas were a little overserved, so they crashed on my spacious living-room floor after we had one last drink on the roof with an interesting new friend we met on the subway.

+ Friday, May 9 -- Barry, Zack and Jason Hit The Big Apple: I met Barry and Jason about 20 years ago in Cincinnati, and we've been good buds ever since. Barry's in San Francisco now, but we planned a New York weekend for almost a year. We kicked it for a few days, but Friday was probably the best, as we hit Alex Grey's Chelsea studio, ran up a $200 bar bill in just a couple hours at Molly's Wee Pub and then threw down at Anthony Bourdain's joint Les Halles.

+ Friday, April 18 -- Amanda and Friends Hit The Big Apple: Great friend Amanda van Rooyen and some of her out-of-town friends meet once a year for a girls weekend reunion, and this year New York was lucky to have them. An afternoon rooftop drink or three led to a lazy walk in sunny Central Park before the girls split for dinner. I caught back up with them at my favorite SoHo bar, Pravda, for a long night of vodka reviews.

+ Saturday, March 1 -- Alli Hits the Big Apple: I met Alli in aisle 6 at the Kroger on Bardstown Road in Louisville back in 2004. We'd been in touch here and there, but never really hung out until she visited in February. The Saturday of her visit took us to the Guggenheim, Canal Street for a fake designer bag, dinner at Lattanzi and drinks at the Pig and Whistle.

+ Friday, July 18 -- Pat Kuhl and Crew Hit the Big Apple: Pat, Eric and Tim brought their Louisville act up to New York because they're dorky baseball fans who wanted to take in Yankee Stadium before it was torn down. The Saturday game was plenty fun, but I think I enjoyed Friday better. Dinner at Eletarria, then drinks at the B Bar, PJ Clarke's and the Auction House preceded a late pizza run. This time, three dudes crashed in my living room, eclipsing the previous mark set months earlier by Gluck and Freel.

OK, so that list seemed to be about other people visiting New York. Let's talk about me now for a minute. Below are my three other favorite days of the year.

+ Saturday, Sept. 6: Just returned from a productive and satisfying two weeks on the road covering political conventions, and little more than 24 hours after my arrest at the RNC, I woke up well-rested in my own bed on a Saturday morning. My first task was to watch Ohio State play on the big screens at Blondie's. I then came back to the crib with my boy Steve as new friend Jema was setting up her party at my apartment. Her friends started to arrive late in the afternoon during that terrible downpour you might remember. Many drinks later, we left for the train to get down to Vig 27, my first visit to that cool bar. I'd heard reports that the fun continued there and afterward.

+ Saturday, Aug. 9: Great friend Frank and me like to meet for a beer every now and then. And on one aimless summer Saturday afternoon with no schedule of which to be mindful, we hooked up at the very cool Cafe Noir. Of course a beer turned into two and then of course a third. We sat at a table next to a huge open window, next to a cool pianist named Lon Kaiser, who was awaiting the arrival of the beautiful woman he was going to marry in just seven short days. Overall, Frank and me were there for a good four or five hours, and of course one of the waitresses coughed up the digits and asked for an invitation when I told her I like to plan frequent parties. Surprise, surprise; she turned out to be a complete flake. Nonetheless, Frank and me had an excellent time, and, he being of stronger judgment than I, called it a night when we left. I, however, hustled home, showered the buzz of myself, and went back out to some rooftop party to meet up with my boy Dave. It was there that we met leggy Meggie, the gal I photographed in my luxurious home studio in November.

+ Saturday, Nov. 8: After months of those we-need-to-have-a-beer types of conversations with my boy Miles, we finally committed to meeting out one night at Lucy. He and his lovely wife, Rachel, brought their darling friend Elisa, who told me on our most recent date that Nov. 8 was the date we met. Nearly eight weeks later, I'm meeting her family on Saturday. I'd better get a shave.


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Content vs. Competition

I'll never claim to be a pioneer in online news, but I have been at it for nearly a decade and I've been progressive enough that I'd like to think I'm near the leading edge.

The thing that frequently turns me off about the news business in general is this long-holding take that we're not allowed to openly acknowledge the competition. If only our viewers could see us!

It's always been the norm in a newsroom to keep one ear -- and both eyes -- on the strategically placed monitors. On the occasion that one of the other stations has a story your station doesn't have, the knee-jerk battle cry is often to send a crew and play catch up, often times at the expense of a better story that's already in-house.

I'm not saying a station should go on-air and parrot its direct rival, but I think it's fairly Mickey Mouse to pretend this rival doesn't exist either, especially consdering how many scoops might dictate your editorial meeting tomorrow morning.

I'll never forget the story my dad often told me about when he was a star quarterback at powerhouse Cathedral Latin High School in Cleveland in the late 1940s. He said his coach required all players to stop their pregame stretching and applaud when the other team came out onto the field. Classy and respectful. Ya know, the complete opposite of the modern-day television newsroom.

Anyway, this is where my new gig comes into the conversation. In just a week, it feels like we're moving in a direction much healthier than what I'm used to. Sure you want to beat the competition, but there seems far less of an obsession with the local rivals.

I'm obviously not on the broadcast side, so certainly my view is incomplete. But online here, we scour other sites, not just AP wires and in-station broadcast content, and if there's something good done by someone else, by all means, we post it. Is it lazy? Is it stealing? It's neither. You have to remember, we're not providing content for our competitors. We're providing content for our viewers and users. Sure we give the necessary and appropriate attribution and even link back to the original source material. But the bottom line is that our "viewsers" don't care where the information comes from; they just want the information. And those are the people we serve.

The news business has changed dramatically in recent years and will continue to do so. Gathering, producing and distributing content is a completely different ballgame than it was just five years ago. And if you still want to be a player five years from now, then you have to think of your consumers first, not the competition.

And thanks in large part to social networking, the information industry is evolving daily as well. Dave in Cincinnati saw something on a blog today, sent me the link, I checked it out, Googled a few keywords, found the initial report, and then wrote my own short story, of course properly citing and linking back to the original source.


Sunday, December 07, 2008

Felton Spencer

I've told this story a couple times lately, so here it is in blog format for both of you.

Felton Spencer was a star (read: tall) basketball player at Louisville back in the day, and played in the NBA for more than a decade.

Shortly before I left Louisville before New York, I saw him at a bar. I hadn't quite been overserved at this point, but I definitely was juiced enough to feel courageous to say hello to someone almost twice my size.

Trying to figure out which way was best to appear like a really cool white guy, I vacillated between, "How you doin?" and "What up, player?"

The end result? "How you playin?"


Thursday, December 04, 2008

eVite Gets An F

Sorry to those of you who got a bunch of eVite reminders today. It's definitely a problem on their end.

I sent a reminder on Monday and was planning on sending another one on Friday. I don't know what I'll do.

Anyway, for those not in the know -- my mail lists are in disarray -- we're gathering at 9:30 p.m. Saturday at Swift Hibernian Lounge.