1) Tell us about your first entrepreneurial endeavor with Mayor Cranley, J&J Golf.
Build it and they will come! J&J (John and Jeff) Golf. In grade school (I can’t remember our exact age—maybe 10) John and I built a little 9-hole golf course in the field/John’s yard behind our homes in the heart of it all (Price Hill). For 50 cents, neighborhood parents came with their pitching wedges to play golf (some were repeat visitors). We had scorecards, “tee boxes,” flagsticks and all. The “greens” were really “browns” (i.e., dirt), but we managed. I think we made about $90 on that “business,” that we invested of course. We also had a putt-putt course in my yard (the whole deal: 2x4s, colored golf balls, a windmill maybe). (BTW we played a good amount of chess, RISK and ping-pong too…oh, that’s the next question.)
2) You are known as the best Ping-Pong player in all of Curiosity. Want to share some of your wisdom with the rest of us?
Imagine someone you’re mad at and hit the ball as hard as you can! It’s therapeutic. (Teasing.) OK, so I’ll be modest here and say I’m really not that good. (Ask Andy Snyder. I think he’s won 2 out of 20 now, including a 28-26 Battle Royale). Another trick is not to hire any more Michael Coles in the next intern class (holy smokes, he was crazy good). That’s all I’ll reveal; it’s tournament time!
3) Tell us about some of your many celebrity sightings.
When I was a young fella living in New York City, I worked a bit in the Warner Brothers Studio Store on 5th Avenue. I saw a lot of celebs come through there as they shopped Fifth Avenue. I remember Michael Jackson coming through wearing a surgeon’s mask on his face (likely coming off one of those nose operations or something). He’s a big spender. The system made us run a check on his credit card as he already threw down about $100,000 in the previous store, buying up stuff all over Fifth Avenue. It was fun to see a lot of Yankees baseball players come through as well. And I remember sitting next to “James Bond” (Pierce Brosnan) at the Blue Dolphin Restaurant in Kauai. I liked how everyone just let him be. Saw Harrison Ford in Jackson Hole, Wyoming (he lives there and uses his helicopter to help out as ski patrol). And I think I saw Scarlett Johansonn somewhere…
4) What is the most ridiculous thing you have spent more than $10 on?
A haircut at Roosters (the barber shop you pass on the walk through Great American to the office/East Garage). What a rip-off: $35 for a haircut, plus tip. Shoot, I don’t have that much hair! That’s like $1 per hair. Now, you do get a little shoeshine and scalp massage with that, but come on. Show me a $15 barbershop where I can talk some sports and politics and I’m good.
5) What are your top 2 pet peeves?
A. Someone who throws a cigarette out a car window when they are finished. Jerk—you’re going to blow up my car!
B. People who are overly self-consumed. Get over yourself!
6) Of all the cities you’ve been to, which did you connect with more than any other? Why?
Palermo, Sicily. This is where my great grandpa is from. Believe it or not, there’s a Dattilo island, which apparently has a beach for just two people. It was fun going back to the roots and it’s beautiful as well (especially the Aeolian Islands). And, yes, probably mafia connections. So be nice.
7) All-time favorite movie line, go. Why?
“Carpe Diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.”—Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society. (Of course, Apple likes this too in their recent ads.)
A great reminder to pursue your passions, have fun and make the most out of your time.