January 31, 2003 - Le Born
   Gratuitous Guest Link (Sponsored by WTBU's 'Radio V') - Seems 'American Idol' Kelly Clarkson once starred in a gay film. Entitled 'Issues 101,' Clarkson doesn't actually have any lesbian flings -- she ends up being asked for sex and going home with a guy. Thus, my interest here lies with the blurb on 'Joe Millionaire' finalist Sarah Kozer, who has appeared in various bondage and fetish films.

   She would be the one who did some softcore something with Evan in the woods during last week's episode ... nothing like that in her videos from what I can gather though.

   • I will not be writing a column about LeBron James now or in the immediate future. I don't want to watch his games. I don't want to hear about his gift Hummer. I don't want to know anything further about him. He was overexposed the first time he showed up on ESPN2, and the expected conclusion to all of it finally came to fruition today. LeBron has been stripped of his high school eligibility.

"Last Saturday, James was given two retro sports jerseys from a clothing store. The jerseys, honoring former Chicago Bears running back Gale Sayers and former Washington Bullets center Wes Unseld, cost a combined $845."

   There was no way this wasn't going to happen. It's just how it is ... something like this is the fruit of exposure. When you're a high school kid being wooed by NBA franchises, with a big payday looming ever closer, the reality is people are going to give you gifts, give you favors. Everyone wants to be your friend until that ACL tears or the bubble somehow bursts. And the best part of all?

   Only now is it the media's fault.

   It's been the media's fault all along, folks. It was the media's fault his games were moved to larger arenas, and put on pay-per-view. It was the media's fault he ended up on ESPN2. It was the media's fault he was discussed at length on SportsCenter. But by the same hand, it was the media "fault" he had that Hummer. That he was a star basking in the lights. LeBron James' game alone might have made him the number one pick in the NBA draft ... but the media sealed the deal.

   Something tells me he hasn't a complaint in the world.

   Perhaps my favorite part of this whole exercise is the dissention. Kevin Frazier just can't figure out why the Ohio High School Athletic Association is buggin'.

"Players get gear all the time. And they're just now talking about it? Clearly, they're targeting LeBron James because he's the hot story of the moment. Everyone wants to mess with him. And that's just sad."

   And why would "we" want to mess with him? Is it because he's 18 and drives a $50,000 Hummer? Because he's the twelfth second coming of Michael Jordan? Because he's dictacting to the Cleveland Cavaliers that he won't play for them ever? Poor LeBron. LeBron the victim. Villanized by those plantation-owner white folks taking his youth away.

"On the other hand, the OHSAA lost their hot commodity
over a petty matter. Way to go."

   To me, there's nothing petty about the rules. If they are broken, they tend to need to be enforced. That would be why they're the rules. This is apparently not grasped by Pete Sheppard of WEEI, who after tonight's second game tore into the OHSAA, saying roughly, "If he was a second stringer, nothing would have been said about this."

   Where to begin ...

   1) Second stringers don't tend to get a lot of free gifts.

   2) A second stringer would be much MORE likely to be punished, given he isn't making his state's athletic association tens of thousands of dollars.

   3) The second stringer's crime isn't announces as illegal on ESPN at the top of the hour. Odds are if it was, he'd be canned too for breaking the rules. That would be why they're called the rules.

   Perhaps all is for the best this way. It prevents the kind of horrific career-ending ACL injury that would make LeBron a folk hero for all the wrong reasons ... only to be remembered when his SportsCentury was made. His teammates can turn from the headlights and blink again, and return to their lives as an above-average basketball team. LeBron can accept all the free things he wants for the rest of his life ... as Frasier puts it, "Now, he can get rid of his Hummer and go buy a Bentley." And we can quietly seek the answer to the only real important question here:

   Exactly what are the two throwback jerseys made of to be valued at EIGHT HUNDRED FORTY-FIVE DOLLARS?

January 30, 2003 - Red Sux
   Today's Quote Ripped Completely Out of Context:

"(Whale City) governs itself by 'Plan B,' a type of charter allowed by state law."
-- The site of my stepping out to the real world has a
governmental system termed after the universal for 'backup plan.'

   • Save Fenway Park.. I mean, how can you not? If you're a Red Sox fan from New England, you just know it. Hell, you never even have to have been to Fenway to know it. It is the Red Sox, for better or for worse. And if you're lucky enough to visit there, you remember it ... because you might never be back.

   Somewhere in an underwear drawer there's a picture my father and I, taken by an usher at Fenway Park. A little Net digging seems to show it was from June 28, 1992 -- the only things I remember off the top of my head are the game was against Milwaukee, Dante Bichette had two home runs for the visitors and the Sox got trounced rather handily. It may have also been the first time I ever rode the T, but that has little to do with anything.

   Even considering I look like a dweeb, it's a photo worthy of framing. In the sections by Pesky's Pole, I'm wearing an autographed Sox ballcap and a new team T-shirt I'd just gotten for my birthday. Behind us, in all its glory, was The Monster.

   I'm wretching, and I haven't even written it yet. But I have to say it ... those were the days.

   As we sit here now, there's a good chance every Yankee-Red Sox game at Fenway Park this season has already sold out, thanks to a new plan which gives season ticket holders access to individual game tickets before the general public gets even a first shot.

   Described as an added perk for the abused season-ticketer, it allows them to buy as many as 64 additional seats ... something it would be stupid not to do, for those seats could then be sold to anyone else at an inflated value. An inflated value that would then offset the cost of having bought the original season tickets in the first place, a cost further offset if the holders sell seats for the games they won't be attending.

   The linked article also describes the process for Saturday's initial public sale, which will go similar to the Beanpot ticket sale I whined poetic about Dec. 11. As the story describes, "Those fans who traditionally have camped out on Fenway Park the night before sales will gain no advantage from doing so this year." Heaven forbid such an unfair process continue in a world where handouts aren't just the exception, they're the rule.

   Not having tickets to Opening Day, or any day for that matter, has never been much a problem to me in the past. The atmosphere around Fenway on that April afternoon is much more vibrant than what typically goes on inside. It's a time for Sox fans everywhere to look on the optimism of the New Year. A time to have a sausage, take a walk around the Souvenir Shop on Yawkey Way, collect a few "K" placards and just soak in what it means to be a baseball fan in Boston.

   But no one without a ticket will be able to walk around the park this year ... the Yawkey Way Concourse idea will be continued in 2003 and beyond, meaning that street and scene will be only open to those who secure seats.

   And even inside the park, things will be noticeably different. Because as Chairman Tom Werner told us so eloquently -- "Nobody likes watching a ball go into a net" -- the Green Monster will see 280 barstool seats placed where the net once stood. The famed hand-operated scoreboard will be expanded to include National League scores ... and a couple advertisements.

   Were things like this in 1998, I never could have walked idly up to Gate A, found a single seat for sale in the bleachers, and watched my first postseason game. I'd never have attended the sheer number of games I did as an undergraduate, spent the amount of time I did wandering around The Chapel, just enjoying that it was one of the greatest perks of a BU education.

   There never would have been the magic there is surrounding the place to me and countless others. It would have looked like everyone else's park -- covered in advertisements, but cramped, cracking and insufficient in every way imaginable. Renovated so much and so many times to mazimize revenue, to improve things for the "fans" while never delivering a championship product, that the very name in the brick --- at least until the rights are sold to a 3Com, a Qualcomm or a dot-com -- seemed not a title, but an insult to what the place was for so many of us growing up. A place a father and son would drive two hours to get to ... to sit in obstructed view seats in right field, to watch the home team get shellacked, but to have a day the kid and his dad could remember details of more than a decade later.

   But hey, at least they're saving Fenway, right?

   Barring extremely unforseen circumstances, this will be the subject of Tuesday's column. All the polish will be placed there, so pardon the rambling ... I didn't want to give it all away now.

January 29, 2003 - Ironic, For There's No Facts Here
   I didn't get to see much of Jimmy Kimmel Live tonight, but what I did see included Adam Corolla, sitting on the couch. They also seem to have done something skitworthy right before I tuned in ... there was a ventriloquist dummy stuffed into a deep fryer.

   Hey, I'll take what I can get.

   • Over the past couple of days, I've been fortunate enough to be sent a real, gen-u-ine "U.N. Peace Petition." Twice. Because of one of the recipient lists and the 'Reply To All' command, I've even been privy to a validity of war discussion by two men from Indiana I've met a grand total of three times.

   I don't have a problem with any of this, since reading e-mail is not that time consuming an activity in Cooch's World, but it does explain why I will now attempt to do somethng I'm in no way equipped to: discuss politics.

   I read enough of the argument forwarded to realize I disagreed with it, deleted it and now can't remember enough to quote it. It was something along the lines of we shouldn't attack Iraq because we're the ones who gave Saddam his weapons, and it will make the world hate us, and if you think 9/11 was bad, wait until what comes after everyone hates us. The one strong memory I have of the anti-war argument is that it highly praises the work of BU's own baby-eater, Howard Zinn.

   I think of Zinn in the same way I think of Michael Moore, and even to an extent David Horowitz, for those who think I'm merely bashing lefties. All make some very good points ... some very thought-provoking and strongly motivated points. But all have an agenda -- Zinn has an agenda just like the history books he says do in his People's History of the USA. You can quote them, but really, you're as wide open as you would have been in the first place. And Zinn and Horowitz are so incendiary, their arguments should be written on flash paper. But I digress.

   I would like it if no one broke into my car. I dare say I'd love it ... knowing that no person would ever take anything that was mine. I feel very strongly about this ... I don't want any person to ever break into my vehicle and take something that isn't theirs. But do I feel strongly enough about it that I write signs on my wall saying, "I Want You To Stay Out of My Car, Bub!"? Do I write a small bug in each day's update outlining that I still, in fact, would like criminals and ne'er-do-wells to stay out of my vehicle. Of course not.

   But so many people, be they friends, stars or whatever, feel the need to announce, "Hey! I want peace!"

   Well no fucking shit. And here all this time I've wanted nothing more than to have the draft reinstated, so I could march into the Middle East and go to war. God, do I ever love war. I like nothing more than being shot at and killing people. The only reason I wake up in the morning, I think.

   Know what I want? I want to hear what the weapons inspectors have to say. I want to hear the evidence. I want to hear the facts before I decide whether or not I'm going to scream for peace. I want to hear whether or not not going after Saddam Hussein is our best course of action. I want to hear if Saddam Hussein has a weapon of mass destruction with my country's name on it before I go out on a limb and say I'm for peace here.

   Nobody wants to go to war as a default action, people. Not even George W. Bush. Say what you will about his intelligence, but even he knows Americans dying in a foreign country means no votes in 2004. And hell, was it not the father he's trying to "vindicate" who lost his election because a weak economy at home erased the effects of a wartime triumph?

   No. All you want to say is he looks like a monkey. Yeah, that's pretty funny. Let's talk about Fat Albert's looks ... oh wait, that's immature. O.K.

   I hope peace is the end result of all this, because I'm certainly not volunteering myself to go to the front lines. But I don't hope for peace so much that I'm blind to the benefits of war.

   We need information, people.

January 28, 2003 - Least I Look Nice In Sweaters
   A Connection You Would Never Make, Vol. II: The man purported to be Frank in radio ads for Frank's Red Hot cayenne pepper sauce also does commercials for Mad River microbrewed teas. I have no idea what this means, but it certainly won't stop me from continuing to douse whole meals in Red Hot.

   Info You Might Care About: Dave Barry has a blog. When I first discovered this, it was much less official looking and much more mysterious seeming.

   Info I Might Care About More: My latest column is getting some actual attention.

"One of the few media members younger than Theo Epstein, Jon Couture says that Theo needs to pull a John [sic] Gruden with the Red Sox. A few tweaks here and there to an already established team. I think he's a week early in his Spring Training schedule though."
-- The Boston Sports Media Watch. And my statement on Spring Training came from no less than MLB.com. That said, I could still be wrong.

"Just try not to think that, while you're sitting at work on this, a couple of days after the Super Bowl, that it was on this day only a year ago that you reveled in New England's greatest professional championship in the streets of Boston. It was a day when all of New England came together on a freezing afternoon to share in the warmth of the Patriots' stunning win over St. Louis. It will never be the same again.

Or will it? The shock of the Patriots beating the mighty Rams was one of the greatest upsets since Lyle Lovett landed Julia Roberts, and it created good vibrations not even distributed by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. But the thought on many minds was, 'The Red Sox winning the World Series is the only thing that could be bigger than this.' Jon Couture is one of those folks.

In today's column for the Standard Times, he officially declares the baseball season in New England open, and compares Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein to Tampa Bay's Super Bowl winning coach Jon Gruden. 'An above-average mind brought to an above-average team. A man who made just a few tweaks to a quality product, and turned it into the league's gold standard,' he writes.

That's not a bad comparison. But how about this: If I told you after the 1999 season, when the Sox fought the Yankees in the ALCS, that the Patriots, Anaheim Angels and Buccaneers would all win championships before the Sox, you might have suggested that I put corks at the end of my eating utensils. Is 2003 the year? Let's just put it this way, we won't be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Sox' last title, which gives me a good 15-year window in which to be wrong."
-- Jan. 28 lead on Boston.com's Boston Sports Blog.

   I apologize for the shameless self-promotion. But these are the kinds of things that, once I grasp that this sportswriting is nothing but a pipe dream, I'll look back on with a smile someday.

   • It was one of those forgettable questions that could one day equate to something so much larger.

   It's no secret that, if you live in the northeast United States, that it's been cold this winter. Not just cold though ... cold enough to warrant throwing around 'frigid' and 'ghastly' and 'why the ____ is it so ____ing cold?' like so much fallen snow. While the temperatures haven't been record-breaking, the wind chill factors have been helped by temperatures that couldn't even be bothered to claw toward zero for much of January.

   For even the crustiest New Englanders, it's been rough. The adage I coined that November to February here is but a time to "get fat and have chapped lips" is proving very true, as evern walking to one's car each day proves worthy of hissing through teeth. Yet for a Californian with an occasional penchant for bitchery, things just become downright messy.

   Like many girls I know, Meg is small and, presumably, doesn't have the thickest blood or the best circulation. As is such, she gets cold very easily. As is such, as much as she likes to watch the falling snow, she does not like being unable to feel anything below her ankles. I don't blame her complaining about being so cold that it hurts, but it's just one of those things I don't notice. November to February, after all, is just a time to crack up automobiles and wonder why I never took up skiing.

   So Monday afternoon, as I did my traditional pacing while I wrote, Meg huddled on the couch in my chronically-cold house -- having a living room that's essentially underground and concrete-based isn't the best idea when the ground outside is frozen. She began to whine, and I went to console. She talked about how she was so cold it hurt. I tried to remedy the situation, but was the equivelant of trying to dry from a shower with an already-used towel. In her defense, she was thankful for the efforts.

   We talked about the cold, like we often do. She asked how I put up with it, and I explained it's just how it was. How years and years of Arctic abuse just build you up a tolerance to such things ... well, maybe not a tolerance, but a realization that it's just how it is living here.

   She looked me in the face, I awaited the question and it came.

"Well, why do you live here?"

   And I didn't have much of an answer.

   That's not true much at all, of course. There are many reasons I live where I do, be it family, friends, history or ease of being lazy. This is where I grew up. This is the culture that has molded me ... I've never been out of Massachusetts for a period longer than three weeks. And I'm the norm. The obits I read every night at work show that most live like me, and not like the Megs and Matt Bruces.

   I know the sports scene here like the back of my hand. I can get anywhere without much mental anguish. I drive like everyone else does, if not a little better. I understand the phenomenon behind parking in Boston. I am partial to the original clam chowder, trying the Hooters just opened in Springfield and one day discovering Historic New Bedford.

   And yet after another walk home where the wind is so cold, it's frigid as I rebreathe it inside, I have to wonder ...

January 27, 2003 - Turning Scrabble ... into Scrabble
   Convenient Things About Being Nocturnal: From 1 to 6 a.m., MTV plays five hours of nothing but videos.

And Now We Turn Our Eyes To Baseball
-- This is one of those pieces that could turn out pretty good if I actually find a voice. Plus, I learned the valuable lesson of if your column is sent in past your deadline, attempt to make it about the obvious subject

   • And thus, let's talk about the Super Bowl.

"Ooooooooooo. Ooooooooooo. Ooooooooooo."
-- Warren Sapp, while headbutting John Lynch during pregame warmups.

"That's why instant replay was put in, to right a wrong.
There was a wrong, and now it's righted."
-- John Madden, on the overturning of the
obvious Tampa non-fumble of an Oakland kickoff.

"Ruffles have ridges, not holes and tertiary structure."
-- Charlie, discussing the merit of "3D" Ruffles that end up looking like Crispix.

   But of the most pertinence to this conversation:

"Now I know why I don't watch football."
-- Someone, at some point in the 34-3 range.

   As MLS Cup 2002, which saw a record crowd attend a largely unappetizing matchup, was not a glowing advertisement for soccer, Super Bowl XXXVII, which had the game's highest ratings in five years, will not be destined for magical reenactments over the years to come. Both were events to be enjoyed if you were already a fan, but recruitment stations needn't have been set up around Qualcomm Stadium.

   Unless of course you live in the Tampa area and now found out your team is actually good ... but we won't discuss that.

   Tampa was so in control of this game, they acutally managed to stop the passing attack of both teams in the first half -- Oakland's by fierce defense and pressure on Rich Gannon, and their own by having receivers (Johnson, Pittman and Alstott leap to mind) who weren't on the same page as Brad Johnson. To me, it was pretty clear that Oakland would not be making a huge comeback in the second half just because of the way the Tampa defensive line was manhandling their Raider opposition. With it 3-3 and third down for Oakland, Greg Spires slapped 6'6", 335 lb. Lincoln Kennedy to the ground as he was running by him. Seeing the Raiders become the team trying to establish the run late in the first half set off alarms and flashing lights previously unseen.

   That said, I really thought Oakland would win the second half, or at worst the fourth quarter. Just how much better the #1 defense was than the #1 offense harkened back to the pregame knowledge of the early '90s, when no one short of Dr. Z gave the Bills a chance every year.


   • Seventeen of the games first 23 offensive plays were passes. This led John Madden to say, "The offenses are looking a little conservative." As happened during last year's game, my ears inexplicably started to bleed.

   • Would somebody mind telling me why the NHL All-Star Game is being played in South Florida? Has the league resurrected and merged with the RHI? Did they not get the clearance to build a new arena in the weather hotbed of Death Valley?

   • At the office Saturday night, as the sports editor was doing write-ups to Super Bowl reenactments he'd played on XBox, he asked me the name of some Tampa Bay free safety. Dexter something, kind of good ... All I could think of was Dexter McCleon, who clearly wasn't the right guy.

   And that's how I was introduced to Dexter Jackson, Super Bowl MVP. Insert your own Larry Brown comparison here.

   • Because it may come up in a future bar trivia game, the Super Bowl pregame show was sponsored by the following: Sierra Mist, Pizza Hut, 989 Sports, H&R Block, At&T Wireless, Nextel, Subway and Radio Shack. Please note we will not accept Charles Schwab, because they sponsored the 6-6:25 p.m. Kickoff Show, or Hanes Tagless Tees, who sponsored the night's Enhanced TV service.

   And in notes unrelated to the Super Bowl, Jimmy Kimmel Live remains mainly unwatchable. Tonight's gimmick was Blizzard Monday -- a takeoff on NBC's themed shows for the evening, it would spill fake snow for the duration of the program. The snow stopped halfway through though because Kimmel kept choking on it.

   My problems with the show pretty much begin and end with Jimmy's complete lack of repore with guests. Watching him try to do a monologue from his desk or interview ... he just can't carry a captivating, funny conversation on his own. Every so often, he'll create something completely hilarious, but there's nothing to keep it rolling.

   I'm suggesting he bring Adam Corolla out on camera with him ... someone he can actually interact with. Besides, thusfar I haven't see anything an actual writer would have needed to work to produce.

January 26, 2003 - Well Wasn't That Anticlimactic
   • Twenty-seven point victory by the Vegas underdogs. Gregg Easterbrook will have fodder aplenty on Tuesday.

   I've got a pad full of discussion fodder -- more from the pregame than the second half -- but given the affair was followed by no less than four hours of Scrabble, it will have to wait for another day. But let there be no doubt among you that if tonight was any precedent, Jimmy Kimmel Live is not long for this world. As cool as helicoptering Warren Sapp to Hollywood was, if there's no madcap skits, I'm off the bus.

   And just because, turns out the best prop would have been Tampa Bay -10.5 points -- the highest spread offered favoring the Buccaneers. Payout will be 5-to-1.

January 25, 2003 - Barefoot and Engraved
   • Let no one ever say again that my fandom knows no bounds.

Woman Claims Doctor Branded Her Uterus
With Alma Mater's Initials During Surgery

by The Associated Press

   LEXINGTON, Ky. -- A woman is accusing her doctor of branding her uterus with his alma materís initials before removing the organ during a hysterectomy.

   Stephanie Means and her husband sued Dr. James Guiler on Wednesday, seeking unspecified damages for emotional distress.

   The lawsuit said a videotape of the surgery clearly shows the University of Kentucky booster using a cauterizing tool to write 'UK' in letters 2 inches high.

   "They want to see that it isn't done to other women," said the coupleís attorney, Michael Dean. He added: "This is bizarre. I've never seen anything like this."

   Guiler did not immediately return calls Friday.

   The doctor performed the surgery Aug. 14 at Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington.

   Guiler received his medical degree from the university and last year was a sponsor of Wildcat Madness, a fund-raiser for the schoolís basketball museum.

   In New York, an obstetrician lost his medical license after carving his initials into a patientís abdomen in 1999. Dr. Allan Zarkanís lawyer said Zarkan had a brain disorder.

   There's so many jokes, but it is a woman's uterus we're talking about. Please use the comment board to make the jokes I fear to make.

   And just as a matter of public record:

"Even if I ignore the advantage I think Jon Gruden gives the Bucs, Iím still taking Tampa, because of a comment made a dozen years ago. As the Giants celebrated winning Super Bowl XXV, and an 11-year-old fan basked with his father in the first championship the kid could remember one of his teams winning, ABCís Dan Dierdorf summed it up ... great defense beats great offense."

Buccaneers 24, Raiders 20
The pick, as published in Sunday's Standard-Times.
Of the nine S-T pundits, seven went with Tampa.

January 24, 2003 - Take Osama and the Points
   Since I wrote, and was mocked for, my DDR Freak update of 1/16, I have played a grand total of zero games of Dance Dance Revolution. However, I did lead the Boston Univ. football team to a 5-7 record in its first season back on the field, with highlights including a 65-6 loss to Maryland, a 38-3 loss to Miami and a 41-21 loss to BC.

   At least I beat Rutgers.

   More favorites from the side-bet (t)sunami at BetOnSports.com:

   • Will there be a missed or blocked field goal attempt in the game? (Yes: $160 TW $100; No: $100 TW $120) - We're dealing with two very good kickers in this game, so there's a good chance neither will miss a kick. However, much as I thought there hadn't been a miss in either of the last two games, I was wrong -- there was one by my non-rooting interest in both games. The year prior to that I kne wwas a disaster -- St. Louis and Tennessee went a combined 4 of 7.

   Not a very good bet, but at least one to consider from an underdog's perspective.

   • Will either team score three unanswered times? (Yes: $160 TW $100; No: $100 TW $120) - I would guess netiher team will score three unanswered times -- I don't think the Tampa defense will allow the Raiders to run wild, and I don't think Oakland's D has enough to completely shut down Brad Johnson. I really think this will be a pretty close game, so the "No" side strikes me as a pretty safe bet.

   This goes against past knowledge: Even in the close games of Patriots-Rams, Rams-Titans and Giants-Bills, all three featured one team scoring three unanswered on the other. Nevertheless, I stand by my stand.

   Good bets seem to be hard to come by, as most have the kind of odds you'd expect and aren't the best choices. You can basically bet on everything -- for the Buccaneers first drive, you can bet on what the first play will be, whether they will achieve a first down, who will score a touchdown, how long their field goal will be ... they've got it all covered. However in the mess, I do have some favorites.

   • Will there be a Coach's Challenge in the game? (Yes: $100 TW $10; No: $100 TW $500) - Payout's even money if you take the next bet that the challenge won't be successful. You can get $100 TW $120 if you take either the Raiders' or the Bucs' first challenge to be unsuccessful ... which probably isn't that bad a bet, come to think of it.

   • On which side will the coin toss land? (Both heads and tails pay $110 TW $100) - Same odds can be gotten for both "Who will win the toss?" and "Will the toss winner also win the game?" Sadly, I can not find a historical list of how the tosses have landed in past games.

   • Will an extra point or field goal hit the crossbar or upright? (Yes: $100 TW $500; No: $100 TW $10) - They are 5/1 odds ... and how great would it be to see someone in a barroom frantically asking fellow patrons, "Did that nick the post? I swear that nicked the post!"

   • Which of the following will occur during the Super Bowl?
   -- Osama bin Laden will make an apperance.
   -- Elvis Presley will sing at halftime.
   -- Marilyn Monroe will sing for President Bush.
   -- Monica Lewinsky will be seated next to Bill Clinton.
   -- Monica Lewinsky and Hilary Clinton will share a diet coke.
   -- One of the Bush twins will get caught smoking pot.
   -- A Playboy model will run naked on the field.
   -- Saddam Hussein will sing the national anthem.
   -- R Kelly will sing "Bump'n'Grind" at the halftime show.
   -- Michael Jackson will join Tony Mottola in a SB Suite to watch the game.
   -- A FG attempt will hit the upright, be caught by the defensive team and returned for a TD.

   I'm not sure what I find funnier: that they slipped an actual football happening into the list, or that the odds for the Bush twins and the Playboy model are only 20/1 (versus an asanine 150/1 for the rest).

January 23, 2003 - I Bet You Will
   In the interest of being fair, this Buddy Thomas column went over very well with a lot of people in the office. It didn't do much for me, but I'll let you be the judge.

   Also, in the interest of employing you, fair undergraduate and degree-clutching reader, the S-T has lost a reporter and will lose a copy editor over the next week to other news organizations. I have no idea if we are hiring to replace both, but it wouldn't kill you to send your gorgeous resume down here, would it?

   (Copy) Editor's Note: I would link to my own resume, but my current happy employment has led me to deny it the update it so desperately needs.

   • The gambling world is at a fever pitch tonight as spam floods e-mail boxes everywhere. The Super Bowl of sports gambling, coincidentally called the Super Bowl, is just three days away!

   Just one day after receiving an offer for a year of Playboy (Warning!: German people!) at an incredible $1/issue price, BetOnSports.com mailed me a flier detailing more than 100 bets that can be made on their site regarding the game. This is despite my not having made a football bet, or any gambling for that matter, in more than two months. Nevertheless, a very keen move by these Costa Ricans with which I have perviously dealt.

   In Super Bowl XXXIV, my bet on the Titans (+7) was a wash when Kevin Dyson's shortcoming left the final score 23-16. One year later, my bet on the Giants (+3) was very much not a wash ... but we needn't go over that again. In 2002, I firmly believe not betting New England (+14) is what won them the game ... because the cosmos screw and allow screwing by my watch. Thus, I think I am uniquely qualified to comment, as I have (theoretically) gone 1-1-1 in the previous three games.

   Also, because like most stock tip givers and Gamblor pundits, I have no intention on making any bets this year.

   Odds offered are good at the time of publication. In no way do I condone gambling, but encourage it ... you better believe it. I haven't been to Foxwoods since October, for Christ sakes!

   • Will there be overtime? (Yes: 10/1; No: Bet $100 to win $6) - Had Adam Vinetieri missed from 48 yards in SB36, it would have launched the first overtime in Super Bowl history. Also, had Kevin Dyson not been tackled on the 1 in 2000, that'd likely have been an extra frame too.

   With only a three- to five-point spread likely at kickoff this year, the Raiders-Buccaneers matchup will likely be a close, exciting affair. Best offense vs. best defense ... a matchup not much unlike Super Bowl XXV, when the Giants beat the Bills by just a single point. With a 10/1 line, just a $20 bet could pay out $200 ... this might be the best prop to take a flyer on.

   • MVP's Jersey Number - Over or Under 13 1/2? (Over: Bet $180 TW $100; Under: $100 TW $140) - Only four Buccaneers have numbers below 14: backup QBs Shaun King and Rob Johnson, punter Tom Tupa and kicker Martin Grammatica. On the Raiders, six qualify: QBs Rick Mirer, Marques Tuiasosopo and Rich Gannon; punters Eddie Howard and Shane Lechler; and kicker Sebastian Janikowski.

   So realistically, only Grammatica, Janikowski or Gannon could win from the under group. A kicker has never won the MVP award, but the winning quarterback has in 19 of 36 Super Bowls. So if you think the Buccaneers will win the game, it'd be a pretty safe bet to take the over. Even if you favor the Raiders, they're a team where any of Tim Brown, Jerry Rice or Charlie Garner make very viable MVP candidates. Betting the under just throws your lot to Rich Gannon ... why BOS wouldn't pump the line up to 14 1/2, and include #14 Brad Johnson in the mix, confuses me some.

   • Will the first TD scorer celebrate with a dance routine? (Yes: Bet $100 TW $120; No: $160 TW $100) - This seems awfully arbitrary of a thing to bet on, but you're basically betting on whether the Tampa defense will score the game's first touchdown ... that or Zack Crockett. Even then though, this pretty much epitomizes the psychosis of online gambling. You're relying on a bunch of people in Costa Rica to decide whether or not someone danced after they scored. Crazy. Absolutely crazy.

   Besides, the 'Will the last TD scorer will celebrate by spiking the ball?' is a much safer yes bet at even money. As is the 'Will Cooch milk this into Friday's update as well?' wager at no payout whatsoever.

January 22, 2003 - Urinal Uetiquette
   I have decided that I will unveil "Crashing California: An L.A Story" on Feb. 1. That means a writeup of the whole trip, intro, pictures, everything ... all done, all edited, on February 1. Kind of my way of giving you, fair reader, something to do in the worst month of the year.

   Also, by scheduling a new feature's release date and announcing it as something worthy of fanfare, it helps me forget I get only about 35 readers a day. I suppose considering the only time I leave my apartment five days a week is to get the mail and go to work, 35 isn't that bad a number. But I try to downplay that whenever I can.

   Like I can help it I have nowhere to go. Welcome to the after-college experience, or as I like to call it, "You bitches are next!"

   • I keep an empty 20 oz. soda bottle at my desk, and each night, it gets filled and drank about 3-4 times. So I make more trips to the office rest room that your average employee might.

   This would be why I think of these things.

   In the men's room, there are three urinals next to three stalls. Two of the urinals are the normal type ... the kind you'd see if you wandered into Rasheed Wallace's bathroom. The third, however, is a urinal designed for small people ... placed about eighteen inches off the ground.

   I suppose so say it's not a normal urinal would be wrong -- it's the same as the others and just placed lower. This probably doesn't bear mentioning, but given nearly all commentary on my columns notes little more than grammar abuse, I can't be too careful.

   As far as I can tell, no one uses the mini-urinal -- each day, the water stays blue with the cleaner added the previous night. And at our office it's not really an issue, since there's never a rush on the men's room big enough to warrant all three being in use at once. But because I've been in lines at stadiums and such and had the question come up ...

   Is there some sort of mini-urinal etiquette?

   If the mini-urinal is the one that comes open, are you obligated to go use it? Not so much is it rude to stand there, but is it normal to wait for another urinal to become available? One that you won't pee on top of or attempt to crouch before and fall down? Have people seen others wave on children or little people to use the mini? Or does everyone take their low-mounted lemons and make handicap-accessible cups of lemonade?

   I suspect, given stadium goers often just piss in the sink if the wait's too long, that most everyone just goes wherever they can. Maybe the opera or the theatre ... somewhere with more class. Plus when there, people crouching to pee would have a greater chance of soiling expensiv eclothing, like a dickey!

   dick-ey - a: a man's separate or detachable shirtfront, b: a small fabric insert worn to fill in the neckline

   I suppose in some way this was inspired by this, so please direct questions there.

January 21, 2003 - If You're Wrong 48% Of The Time ...
   So Billy Corgan has moved on from Smashing Pumpkins to Zwan, who basically sound exactly like Smashing Pumpkins.

   This would have gone completely unnoticed and unmentioned if I hadn't have seen their video tonight. Not only does the band include his "longtime musical foil" from SP, Jimmy Chamberlin, but has a guitarist who's a dead ringer for James Iha and a female as d'Arcy was (and is). It's almost as though Smashing Pumpkins was forced to change its name due to bankruptcy.


   • The draft version of my column this week, along with apparently having a frightening lack of grammar, featured the mention of my failed predictions a lot more prominently. Last Tuesday, I advised to "tak(e) the points in both, but only the Oilers of old to win," but I'd actually believed the Eagles would win as well. The 0-2 in the championship games made me just 5-5 for the playoffs, but my editor spared me the embarassment ... saying if he couldn't remember my picks, he doubted anyone else could either.

   It all got me to thinking back to my NFL preview column of Sept. 3.

"In the NFC, there's no reason to believe any team, on paper, will keep the Rams and Eagles from their championship rematch. Philadelphia has been building to a Super Bowl crescendo since their resurgence began, crafting an increasingly solid lineup, in a weak division, around one of the league's elite quarterbacks, Donovan McNabb. Anyone who watched last year's Super Bowl can vouch for how the experts feel about the Rams, since the Patriots victory is still regarded as western civilization's least likely occurrence since Anna Nicole Smith got her own show.

Of course on paper, George O'Leary has seven college degrees and once saved a cat from a burning building.

The Rams have been great since stealing Kurt Warner from their grocer's freezer, but it hasn't hurt they played the Falcons, Panthers and Saints six times a season either -- St. Louis was 14-4 against them in the past three years.

That trio is now in the NFC South, where a grinning Jon Gruden will be having a field day in Tampa. Tampa Bay has vastly improved their offense since losing to the Rams in the 1999 NFC title game, with Keenan McCardell and Joe Jurevicius making great secondary targets to Keyshawn. It'll be near impossible for this team not to make the playoffs -- especially with Tom Tupa, one of the greatest punter/quarterbacks ever to play the game, lurking on the sidelines."

   So let me reiterate what I said in September:

   1) Philadelphia will play in the NFC Championship Game.
   2) The Rams will not. They will struggle in 2002.
   3) Tampa Bay will become a legitimate threat.

   That's a lot of nuts for one squirrel to just stumble across by accident.

   I didn't really have any pick for the AFC ... all I said of substance was nothing the Patriots ended up doing would shock me. But seriously, check me out with the sorta being right and shit!

January 20, 2003 - Justice in a West Coast World
   My byline first appeared in The Daily Free Press on Sept. 21, 1998. From that point on, I wrote 13 bad humor columns, 23 news stories and was the guy in place when the paper's E-Mail Edition began, but never once laid out a page in the paper ... odd since that's now my job more than anything else.

   Tuesday's paper, dated "Jan. 21, 2003," will feature a Science Tuesday that I at least helped the editor of that section get down in Quark. Exactly 1,583 days later ... my career's just smoking along.

   And all I had to do was graduate.

   • Through the wonders of Comedy Central having dead air at 2 a.m., The Ben Stiller Show was on tonight, as much as 2 a.m. Tuesday can be considered Monday night.

   It's funny to think about TBSS now, because looking at those who were involved with it, it's pretty amazing to think just what became of them all.

   • Ben Stiller, who had already been on Saturday Night Live by the time TBSS came around, directed both Reality Bites and The Cable Guy, has starred in There's Something About Mary, Keeping The Faith, Meet The Parents, The Royal Tenenbaums ... and has just generally made himself known as one of the funnier screen comedians in the country.

   • Andy Dick, though he may be completely and entirely insane today, was extremely funny as Matthew on NewsRadio and in The Andy Dick Show on MTV. Sure, both have now been cancelled, but that's likely due to his wearing women's panties, and not because he's untalented.

   • Bob Odenkirk already was and continued to become an amazing comedy writer. Going from SNL to Dennis Miller to Conan to Larry Sanders, he went on to co-create Mr. Show. which was, in a recurring theme, very funny.

   • Janeane Garofalo has been on most of the things mentioned above, since there four seem to move as a cabal, and on occasion she has been funny as well.

   This says nothing for the ensemble cast who, among others, included Colin Quinn. All in all, a show full of extremely funny people, who produced skits along the lines of "Cops in Medieval Times"

"I had an argument with my wife,
and I accidentally turned her into an ox."
-- Andy Dick portrays a drunken wizard in a 'domestic disturbance.'

   And in the glory of television, The Ben Stiller Show was cancelled after twelve episodes aired in 1992-93. Saturday Night Live, in contrast, has aired at least that many episodes since Will Ferrell left.

It's The Best vs. The Best
-- A stab at actual analysis ... what happens when great offenses and great defenses have played in the Super Bowl before. And I'm throwing my support behind Tampa, for none of the researched reasons.

January 19, 2003 - Hub Trio
   • Three trying tales for you today, each less interesting than the last.

Four Tattered Cans of Lard

   "He" said he would bake me a pie if I did his dishes for him. Being a large mark for pie, I eagerly welcomed the challenge, only to find out in order to do "his" dishes, I would have to first clean a large majority of his kitchen.

   It was the kind of project that easily could have been an entire update, but parts of it trouble me so much, I'd really feel bad identifying just whose kitchen it was. Suffice to say, "he" likes to cook with lard, but is not a fan of doing any dishes at any time. When using the George Foreman Grill, for example, it was not uncommon for him to eschew the fat-catching drip tray and let the waste products to drip down the edge of his sink, creating a lard waterfall reminiscent of this piece of fake vomit.

   At least the puke pancake picked up like one. After digging through the dishes to reach the bottom of his sink, generally caked with corn soaking in a rotting animal marinade, I nearly involuntarily added the actual variety to the mix. Though come to think of it, the stomach acids in that would have likely cut through the grease even better than the Comet Bathroom Cleaner that was the only effective chemical means.

   So rather than chronicling how ones cleans a mixing bowl full of three-day old cornbread batter, let's just say two and a half hours after I'd started, I'll now be receiving two pies for my efforts. And even beyond the pies, it was all worth it ... because I got to say this and mean it.

"It's not a perfect job of washing. There was lard in the bottom
of these glasses, and I couldn't reach to get it out."
-- Having cleaned under the microwave got me the free pass, methinks.

Firing Ice

   I missed much of the championship football of TV today -- a stroke of fortune, it seems, given how my picks turned out -- because I was running round the city, in town for the birthday of a friend.

   Her birthday dinner, on a suggestion I at the very least supported, was at Fire & Ice. If you have not been, the concept is basically going up to a raw bar, picking up a bowlful of ingredients from the various meats, veggies, and pastas available, choosing a sauce of your liking, and walking it all up to a giant grill in the middle of the restaurant, where it's cooked for you. A salad bar for the stir-fry crowd.

   The problem some have had with Fire & Ice, as they have vocalized to me, is that there's really not enough to it. Pretty much everything that you see and eat, unless you like mixing udon noodles with barbeque sauce and squid hunks, can be gotten somewhere else for a cheaper price than $16.95. And wherever there may be, you get to sit down, relax, hear conversation and leave not smelling like a grease trap.

   After a summer manning a Fry-o-lator and grill, just the sight brings back memories of hands burned by cream of broccoli soup and nights carrying grease traps across parking lots to the mysterious "Cooking Waste Dumpster" in the back. Vietnam flashbacks don't got nothing on me.

   Course, I may just be bitter about getting 21 oz. of Guinness and immediately not wanting it. Or paying $55 on a tip-included, two-person (of 13) meal bill that certainly wasn't more than $40. But those are some of those things that are nobody's fault, so I'll just blame the inanimate eight-foot grill surface, who now hides deep in my sweater with the welcome of a visiting rapist.

All I Need is a Restrianing Order

   In a little homage to the old This Week in Baseball, "You Make The Call!"

   A Gen. Xer in a band is having a bit of girl trouble. His Betty is sick of his games, and he's clearly done something to warrant her walking out on him. Just what we don't know, but she's so damn sure about it ...

   All he needs is a miracle!

   Our beau, desperate to get her talking to him again, begins to call and call on the telephone. Seeing that as easily rebuffed, he gets creative by faxing her "I'm sorry!" notes over and over. Yet she still won't crack.

   What a total bitch!

   As he paces in a window across the alley from her apartment, occasionally staring over hoping to catch a quick glance, our hero has an epiphany. A variation on something he saw in a commercial once -- he begins to e-mail her sad photos taken in a mall photo booth! Genius! Superb!

   And his girl, she knows not how to respond! Is it possible he really is being genuine? Which to choose?

   A) Faced with the overwhelming realization that she has been wrong all this time, and that her lead singer boi shouldn't even be giving her the time of day, she thanks her lucky stars Verizon's phone, fax and e-mail services made all this communique possible.


   B) Armed with unsolicited phone messages, faxes and pictures, she goes downtown and secures a restraining order against Mr. Leers From Across The Street.

   Ah, Verizon. I guess James Earl is right when he says you offer "Progress Everyday."

January 18, 2003 - Everything's Better With Icing
   A Connection You Would Never Make: The man who voices the commercials for Papa John's new 'Cinnapie' is also the narrator for the 'Icons' program on the only-available-on-digital-cable G4 channel.

   You would never make this connection because you likely have never watched G4, both because it's a network devoted solely to video games and because it's not very widely available. You would also never make it because your mind is full of important knowledge, unlike mine, which is full of information regarding the voices of little-known TV voiceover actors.

   But let's talk about that pie, shall we?

   • It's hardly a new technique for one company to steal the idea of their competitor and try to improve upon it. The Macintosh operating system, superior in many aspects, was ripped off by Bill Gates and turned into Windows. Sony's Betamax recording format, considered to have many superior aspects as well, was used in the development of the much more widely-accepted VHS. As chronicled here just weeks ago, the pastamaking world has been fractured beyond repair by the numerous attempts at marketing a pot with a strainer built into the lid.

   And then there's the national pizza chains.

   The following will be written, but posted, without further comment. I am a journalist, after all.

Appetizer Offerings Include ...
Cinnamon Opportunities
Domino's Pizza
Breadsticks (Plain, Cheesy),
Buffalo Chicken Kickers
Cinna Stix,
Domino's Dots
Papa John's
Papa's Chickenstrips
Pizza Hut
Breadsticks (Spicy),
Buffalo Wings
Papa Gino's
Cheese Breadsticks, Garlic Bread,
Plain & Buffalo Chicken Tenders
Little Caesar's
Crazy Bread,
Caesar Wings
Round Table
Breadsticks, Garlic Bread,
Garlic Parm. Twists, Buffalo Wings

January 17, 2003 - Brought Out Your Dead
   Thanks to those of you who expressed your overwhelming concern over my problems -- at least the one discussed yesterday. But I assure you there's no need for any concern or mockery.

   I can stop whenever I want. Much like Das Terriers can stop flubbing bubblies any day now.

   • Boston College has swept the regular season series from Boston University in 2002-03. While it's possible the two teams will meet in either the Beanpot (as they have four years running) or in the Hockey East playoffs, this will likely be the first BC sweep since 1986.

   It's a dark, dark day in Terrierville. But not so dark we can't have a pizza party.

   If you don't feel like registering, "Approximately 400 students packed the 1019 Commonwealth Ave. lounge for Student Union-sponsored free pizza and soda [Thursday] after Boston University hockey's 3-1 loss to Boston College." Student Union President Ethan Clay and his gang spent $1,200 on the event, and said, "Regardless of the loss, we wanted to celebrate BU's spirit. We're bringing this new pride back to BU."

   As hard as I ripped on the Student Union for being useless while a student, at least they're trying. I commend that, and I really like the idea. Plus if nothing else, it gives us all a chance to read quotes that should have never been published.

"I'm glad it's free, but I am mad that BC won," said Ash Shah,
a College of Arts and Sciences freshman.
-- 3rd Place. If you could boil a Boston University education down into one sentence, this is it. In that way, it's the greatest quote ever.

"I appreciated this," CAS freshman Suraj Parekh said. "Our tuition is finally paying off -- I was waiting for something like this."
-- 2nd Place. Just think. If the trustees had the foresight to raise tuition an extra 2% this winter, maybe everyone could have had grated cheese. To have a student make the correlation between "tuition price" and "pizza party" actually cheapens my degree, so I have the right to be apoplectic.

"I think it is phenomenal that they got everyone together," said CAS freshman David Weinshel. "It was a tough loss. They should go back to Newton."
-- The winner, going away. Considering 3,744 people went to the game, collecting 1/9th of them is a very poor 'everyone.' But those Eagle players might just take you up on a trip back to Newton ... since that's where their school is, you fucktard.

   Please, creator, let the quotees to find my posting via Google search and write me swear-filled hate mail. It would truly brighten this cold, dark night.

January 16, 2003 - But It's OK To Do It, Really
   As if shamed by his placement in the "Friends With Web Pages [They Never Update Because They Have Lives]," young Matthew Couture has created "CoochBlog," thus ending my monopoly on family-related drivel. Sad, because I was getting so good at it.

   And in a related story, it's small solace that my graduation came just months before the Boston University hockey team decided it would be better to fellate their peers at BC rather than beat them. 8-7-1 with Cooch on campus, 0-2-0 with Cooch in Whale City. Coincidence? Bullshit.

   • I'm doomed.

"In honor of the Fourth, I announce the new Cooch's World is offering theme music to go with the writing. Just aim your browsers to http://live365.com/stations/ddrfreak and crank up some of the world's finest songs from the 'Dance Dance Revolution' arcade games. DDR and Cooch's World, perfect illusions of a party where there is none."
-- DDR's only reference on these pages, from last Fourth of July. Via Fancy.

   I'm sitting on my couch, trying to focus on writing about where it's warmer and happier, and my mind keeps wandering across the room. I'm sitting in my cubicle, and I'm humming. Quietly, almost imperceptibly, but I notice I'm doing it from time to time. A song. One with no words, but a definite baseline that one could ... dance to.

   Since it's dastardly face has been brought back into my apartment, I can't stop playing friggin' Dance Dance Revolution. Just to say it, to read myself saying it about myself, I want to douse my eyes in gasoline, fill my ears with cotton and break my legs so that I might stop.

   The leg-breaking alone would stop it, because the game cannot be played properly with a controller. How do I know this? I tried to. I was tired. I wanted to rest, but couldn't until the update was done. I needed my distraction. My distraction has become DANCE DANCE REVOLUTION.

   When I was buying Meg her Christmas gift, my original plan had been to buy her both a PSOne and one of the earlier DDR games -- give her what she'd been clamoring for in the past year, and keep it away from me, because I knew this would probably happen. But then comes stupid eBay ... and I'm buying better pads and newer games for prices not equal to Gift Plan A.

   At first I was lucky. I had the skill that would keep me from preoccupation from the game and it's entire screwed-up culture. From the spinning black men on Santa Monica Pier, the crowds of people who laughed at my brother in a mall, the people who then cheered him when he earned their respect ... I had the panacea.

   I sucked at it.

   Not blindingly awful, as my status as The Whitest White Guy would suggest. But a definite suck ... a suck you could wrap your arms around and hold close to your bosom. Watching those arrows speed up the TV screen put me not so much in a state of catatonia, but gave a feeling of not being able to get impulses down the body at the same speed.

   It was a novelty ... something to be done in groups, for fun, with fellow suck monkeys. We would wallow in our inability to match foot to arrow, have a laugh at our jerky movements, then move on to the Scrabble games and pizzas of human interaction.

   But then, Meg gave me The Tip. She gave me the critical key to success at DDR ... one I dare no pass on to you, lest you become like me. Alone. Humming. Stompy to a techno trance beat. It did not make me superb, for I am still The Whitest White Guy. But I rose to the ranks of 'slightly better than average.' A dangerous place to be, I assure you.

   In this way, both the teacher has become the pupil and the gift giver has become the recipient. She finds such items funny, and will undoubtedly regale the comment system below with a thoughtful "haha. DDR DORK."

   As it has with Vice City, Tecmo Super Bowl and countless others through the years, this obsession will pass. No game can last forever, and this shall be no different. But for the time being, it gets my heart beating. It get me up, and occasionally causes droplets of sweat to form on my brow. And because of that I say this:

   While watching an episode of Comedy Central's Premium Blend today, a comic of Mexican-American heritage came on and discussed his trip to a strip club in the Old Country, most notably the lap dance he received. As the stripper walked in, he said, she did not comfort his fears that the stained chair he sat in was giving him syphilis. She immediately stood before him, spread her legs wide and said but four words, all gruffly:

"Show me your Coocher!"

   Over and over, she said them. And over and over, the comic repeated them to gales of laughter. "Show me your Coocher! Show me your Coocher!" And I sat on the couch, wanting so desperately to laugh, but so completely frozen by the repeated saying of my last name -- albeit spelled differently -- in reference to a Mexican hooker's genitals.

   That feeling I had then, of a confused, troubled moment, is the same one I have when I read what I'm about to write.

   Sweet fuckhell, I just might have become a DDR Freak.

January 15, 2003 - The Theo Epstein Apologist
   Crashing California Update: Due to actually having other things going on in my life for a change, the recap of my trip to California is moving much slower than anticipated. Given there are pictures involved, I will try to have it done by the end of this week, but no promises.

   But given I never promised anything and haven't posted a partial writeup or anything, you'll read it when it's done. Least I hope you will.

   'What The Title Means' Update: I have accepted a bet with the S-T's Managing Editor that the Red Sox will finish over .500 in the 2003 season. If I am right, i.e. the teams wins at least 82 games, he will buy me a steak dinner. If I'm wrong, I will buy him ... a Taco Bell dinner. As Dan put it, "I know what you make."

   I would have been offended if he wasn't right.

   • So on the working world equivelant of a broken play or a taped-on-the-door class cancellation, I saw Bowling For Columbine. To keep with the initial football metaphor, I give it a seven-yard gain -- you kept from losing big, and it actually made it a positive, but you're still short of the first down.

   If you've never heard of 'Bowling For Columbine,' it's Michael Moore's latest film and now the highest-grossing documentary ever made. A number of magazines you've actually heard of have placed it among 2002's Ten Best Films, a smattering of papers you may have heard of named it the Best Film of The Year. That said, there's probably a good segment of the country who will say it's the Worst Movie Ever Made ... such is the life of the politically-charged message.

   The one thing Micahel Moore has always had going for him is his skills as a humorist. He was doing The Daily Show-style stuff before that show even existed. Take, for example, his interview with a Michigan twenty-something who starts not knowing why he was #2 on his high school's bomb-making list and ends up revealing he both owns The Anarchist Cookbook and once made five gallons of napalm. By the way, he's jealous he's not number one ... he's always wanted to be the best at something.

   I remember watching 'TV Nation' as a kid and thinking it was hilarious ... completely oblivious to any of the messages Moore was trying to get across. No matter what you may think of him, you should respect that he sees just his message alone isn't enough -- the clip here of "A Brief History of America" may have been the funniest part of the whole movie.

   'Bowling For Columbine' isn't really so much about the Columbine massacre, though it is visited. The general message is "America is gun crazy, and it's mainly the NRA's fault." While other large industrial nations have gun death numbers in the tens or hundreds, we have them in the tens of thousands. Moore goes into some of the reasons he thinks so much gun violence happens here -- our nation's obsession with military spending and our media's creation of overwhelming fear of our fellow man, mainly with blacks, topping the list.

   He interviews several pro-gun wackjobs, from James Nichols, brother of now-incarcerated Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols, all the way to Charlton Heston himself, and pretty much allows them to discredit themselves. He also talks to two surprisingly well-spoken celebrities: Matt Stone and Marilyn Manson, the first of which makes a few points about the mentality of high school that completely escaped me until he said them.

   But a big part of his argument is comparing the U.S. to Canada. How a nation with 10 million families can have 7 million guns, yet have under 200 firearm homicides a year and generally have residents not lock their doors at night. How it's a country of rampant healthcare coverage, a non-psychotic and non-fear breeding media and how it's a nation where many nationalities can live together in a much more laid back fashion than they do here.

   So, move to Canada. It's really as close as he comes to offering a solution.

   I agreed with a great deal of what Moore said, but through the whole film I both desperately wanted and knew he'd never provide a concrete answer of what to do or how to solve the problems he's pointing out. As Meg put it later, "He's not an answer guy." True, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

   I'm taking a lot away from the movie, even if I disagree with some of Moore's overly simplified viewpoints:

   Matt Stone talking about taking a test to get into sixth-grade honors math, and how teachers told him if he failed it, he'd be completely screwed. "If you don't get into sixth-grade honors math, well, you won't get into seventh-grade honors math. And you won't get into eighth ... and you'll die poor and lonely." This is how it's not ncessarily taught in schools, but at least how it's assumed things will go based on past record. And it creates a very incendiary situation ... because there are smart kids who don't make it to that upper echelon and are stuck in the lower rungs. In a lot of ways, my brother fell into this in pre-senior year science classes. If you allow yourself to fall into the mindset of high school being the deciding factor in your life's path, which many do, this can be fatal.

   Feeling on the NRA, on which Moore is absolutely right. Though I think his allusion that the Klan and the NRA were somehow related at their creation, any group who would merely go to the scenes of school shootings right after just to affirm their rights of ownership is both looking for trouble and deserves our contempt.

   Just because I have the right to drink heavily seven nights a week doesn't mean I do.

   But the main thing I'll take away from the movie is the affirmation of my decision -- granted, partially made for me -- not to be a full-time news reporter. For someone who's supposed to be such a liberal, Moore tears into the press, who clearly votes the same way he does most of the time.

   Images, with which you can do what you will:

   • The 911 lines in Littleton, Colo., on the morning of the Columbine shooting, even while the shooting was still going on, were in a lot of ways blocked by calls from major media outlets trying to find someone to go live on the air.

   • A line-up of anchors, standing in front of a funeral home in Flint, Mich., doing teaser shots for the day's funeral of a six-year-old, shot by another six-year-old. One of them, in between takes where he summons up emotion for the camera, he screams about how he desperately needs hair spray.

   I know many people who seek to, or already have, made everyday news reporting their chosen career. Many of them are extremely good at what they do, and I wish all of them the best. That said, I have no desire to follow in their footsteps. I will stick to sports or features, where one can rarely say, "If it bleeds, it leads."

January 14, 2003 - Cooch, Aspiring Felon
   Looking at the date, it just struck me that Valentine's Day is but a one month away. Rants on what I think of Valentine's Day should be due to start in about two weeks, so please mark your calendars appropriately.

   Any of you who think I'm too proud should enjoy today's story. As should any of you who are breathing and literate, as always.

   • Having a fancy wool coat -- it's a blessing and a curse.

"Thanks for walking me to class, Dad."
-- Meg. She hates because she cares.

   This is what I get for being chivalrous. Staying overnight in Boston, and remembering just why four-foot wide plastic mattresses are not really conducive to sleeping, I walked the student to her first class of the semester. Nevermind there were still undergrads who make me look rightly destitute ... in the wool coat and fancy shoes, I was feeling quite stylish. Plus walking around with a backpack and Banes & Noble bag just gave the illusion I still belonged where I was, and made me feel quite the "touring alumni."

   As I managed to keep running into people I knew, crank that up to "visiting dignitary." If I'd gone to the mysterious and hidden BU Pub for lunch and a draught, I just might have needed to punch myself in the face.

   So after a visit to the old workplace and a general harassment of younger brother et al., it was time to get back in the car and return to deafening normalcy.

   This would be where things get interesting, so please start reading again.

    As usual, I lost track of time in the evening. Eating dinner and carrying on two conversations at once, time inevitably goes off on a track of its own. At 5:30, I was up, swapped sweaters and was out the door ... immediately realizing Problem One.

   P1) Upon retunring home, I had kept my wallet in my back pocket. However, I had not kept my keys in my front pocket ... which now sat on my mantle, on the other side of a locked door.

   I had nearly always avoided this problem in the past, going as far as to when living in the West Campus dorms, taking my keys and all my clothes to the shower with me. This stemmed from my roommate once leaving and, inexplicably, locking the door while I was in the shower. There's something very pattern changing about having to roust your RA from a nap in nothing but a towel, eyeglasses and badly-abused sandals. But that's really not fun for anyone.

   After determining that kicking down the door would create problems greater than the ones I already had, it occurred to me I had spare keys hidden outside for just such an occasion. Bounding through the main door to the outside, and hearing it click behind me, led me to believe there might be a Problem Two.

   P2) If the spare keys were not where I had left them, then I would have no way to even get back into the house's foyer ... where the maintenance man's emergency phone number, presumably my only recourse at that point, was posted.

   Of course, the keys were not where I had put them.

   So now I'm outside, with nothing but a spare key to my car. Inside are not only my apartment keys, but the fob I need to get in the employee door to work. No fear ... I'll ring the buzzer and someone will let me in.

   That part of the evening went according to plan.

   Course then I walk across the office to my desk to discover Problem Three.

   P3) I have the night off.

   Given Martin Luther King Jr. Day was still a full week away, it never occurred to me my holiday would be given in advance of it. So I never looked at the schedule ... and had an unexpected night off as my reward.

   Nothing about this happening was actually bad ... it just gave me even less time to think of a solution to Problems One and Two. I highly recommend getting yourself ready to go to work, going there, then discovering, "Well then. Guess whose suddenly got an empty evening to lounge!"

   Not really having a whole lot else to do, I went back to the apartment. Unfortunately, the keys had not materialized in my ten minutes away, so I attempted to buzz my neighbors and at least get the maintenance man's number.

   Yeah, my neighbors are either popular, at class or dicks at 6 p.m. Tuesdays.

   So I'm outside ... warm in my wool, but without anywhere within an hour's drive to go. Boston was a viable option, but I've never much been one for unannounced visits, especially at a school with a "no guest guest policy." So my mind wandered to my kichen window -- a good seven or eight feet off the ground, but with ... a broken lock.

   Fill in the blanks.

   1) This is not the first time I've ever had to break into my own residence, but it is the first time I've had to do it fifty yards from a busy intersection at rush hour. I'd like to thank the New Bedford Police Department for, if they did drive by during the whole process, assuming that such a clearly moronic escapade being done in clear sight and at a reasonable hour was being done for a very valid reason.

   2) I'd like to thank my father, who in helping a neighbor break into his house many years ago, showed me the easiest method to do this.

   3) My windows have a propensity for slamming shut if not propped open by sticks, so I would like to thank gravity for suspending its forces while I making my sprint directly at the side of my house and while I was attempting to scale a vertical wall.

   So if any of you perusing this are readers of mine in the Whale City area, happened to be at the intersection of Route 6 and Purchase Street in downtown this evening, and looked over to see an ass connected to a fancy wool coat hanging out a window, now you can match the bottom half to the headshot.

   In the end, it all worked out -- I saw a really thought-provoking movie which has been penciled in for Wednesday's update. And the ease of which I was able to leap an eight-foot wall has me believing that maybe I'm not as out of shape as I thought.

January 13, 2003 - The Lugging
   • Somehow or another, I keep ending up in the Kenmore Square Student Bankruptcy Zone carrying a basket of textbooks at the start of the semester.

   That's right, kids. We're coming to you live, once again, from Boston University's South Campus, which if I ever broke down and counted, is probably the location of more updates than any other locale.

   There's an odd paradox to it, really ... given I was in COM, and had textbook cost totals that were always closer to $100 than $500, I've probably carried more books that aren't mine that I ever did books I could lay claim to. And depending on if your definition of a book being mine includes my actually having taken it out of its cellophane, the statement may be true by a 2-to-1 margin.

   After a few semesters, I smartened up and started cutting my losses. Because there's a return/grace period at the start of every semester, I got into the habit of returning the books I a) knew I'd never read and b) could get away with not studying from at the end of the semester. Given I had a scholarship large enough that in my senior year it covered all my books, my cap & gown, and an exorbitantly priced diploma frame, it was a much better moneymaking scheme than your average four-team teaser.

   So on the night I usually sit in my house, relax, watch a little wrestling and a little CSI, I was in Boston. In my fancy new coat and my fancy shoes, I was walking around the BU Bookstore, helping Meg get set for the new semester. I then went to the Free Press, said my hellos to those who'll still look at me, then carried her heaviest possessions down two flights to the car, so I could carry them up three flights to her apartment.

   I ate classic collegiate take-out with former roommate Justin, while trying to squint at Joe Millionaire through the double blurs of a campus without cable. Then I went back to Meg's, unpacked some boxes and am about to go bed with a knife just forming in the middle of my spine.

   Don't think for a second I don't still miss it. If only I'd gotten to surprise The Youngest Cooch.

As Long As The Jets Are Out
-- Three out of four can only encourage me, so be sure to put all your free cash on the Titans and Eagles this weekend. Heaven knows I will.

January 12, 2003 - Quifrock And Badtrout
   • The DDR was expected. The Scrabble wasn't. And the orgy that followed ... well, to call it an orgy would be, how can I put this ... a "complete lie."

   There is the perception that because I am a copy editor, I both know a lot of words and am very good at games like Scrabble. Yet my team was the only one not to win a match in our two-game, three-team face-off. We tended to always be a letter short of something spectacular ... and really, I've already said too much about a game you didn't play.

   Unless you did play it, as a member of either "Team SoCo/Badtrout," "Team Ass" or "Team Can't/Yo." In which case, you know my DDRing more than made up for my contextual deficiencies.

   On a completely unrelated tangent, I wasn't sure I fully agreed with Matt Bruce's "Bachelorette" stance until this publicity photo cropped up:

-- With cutline: "Beautiful people, catty drama -- it's all television gold."

   Yeah ... might not want to make this one your personals photo, Trista. Least until you get the makeup artists to stretch the relevant parts of your face to the upper quadrants of your head.

   On a completely related tangent, Bill Simmons can go fuck himself:

"Our friend Brad, a huge Giants fan, was so stressed out during the fourth quarter, he spent 20 straight minutes screaming and spitting tobacco juice everywhere after every play, finally getting up and leaving with two minutes to go. Have you ever seen somebody just walk away from a game like that? I'm telling you, it happened. He couldn't take it. None of us could. Frankly, it's still too early to tell where that game ranked on the Levels of Losing for Giants fans ... it was like an hour-long stomach punch, followed by a decapitation and a bloodletting."

"The day's other running highlight centered around Giants rookie Jeremy Shockey. As we've mentioned many times in this space, New York fans have an irrational love for this guy -- he's good, absolutely, but New Yorkers react to him like he's a cross between Reggie, LT and God. When Shockey caught his first pass during the Niners game, the Giants fans in our room went predictably nuts, so Cousin Sal pulled the New York meathead routine and derisively screamed out, 'Shock-eeeeeeeeeeeeee!' He started doing it after every Shockey play, then expanded it to every Giants offensive play. For some reason, it never got old. Shock-eeeeeeeeeee! For everyone reading this who hates ShockeyMania, make sure you beat this joke into the ground whenever any Giants fans are in the room. We must band together and destroy them all."
-- This after Bill spends four paragraphs ripping on modern TV ...
oh wait, you mean Bill's a writer for a new show starting in two weeks?

   Just as points of order:

   1) I rarely toot my own horn, but anyone who thought the Jets were winning the Super Bowl when they would have had to cross the country three times (out to Oakland, back to Tennessee, out to San Diego) to do it, is an idiot. Travel catches up with everyone ... and I wrote this for Tuesday. Look it up: I may have picked them to beat the Raiders, but it was a toss-up game that would be their last "W." If there's going to be a "New England Patriots" in 2002, it'll be the Tennessee Titans. Also, as I wrote.

   2) Jeremy Shockey will take this playoff debacle and use it to become that much better for next season. And he will one day kill someone ... it may be inadvertant, such as in a bar fight, but when it happens, I will not let you forget it.

   3) The only way Jimmy Kimmel Live will ever succeed is if ABC lets Jimmy be Jimmy. Given they're owned by Disney, I think you know what the odds of that happening are. I pray that I'm wrong, but I fear I'll be right.

   And how often do I get to say that.

January 11, 2003 - Welcome Back To Bacon
   Today's inside joke-based title is brought to you by Jennie-O. Jennie-O: When the ham you're eating with breakfast seems like more than enough pig for one meal, try Jennie-O Brand Extra Lean Turkey Bacon. It's suspiciously like eating Kosher.

   • It's the last day of school. Not just the last day for the summer, but the last day ... forever.

   You're a senior, and you're on the way away. Far away. Off to a far-flung campus in a far-flung state, where you'll undoubtably drink a lot, make no friends and transfer out by Halloween. But you don't know that now ... all you know is you're free. Going to a town where there's actually stuff to do on a Friday night. Where there's bars and fast cars and the cops won't hassle you if, say, you drive to go muddin' in Mrs. Murphy's flower garden.

   You just got out of your last exam ... so it really is over. Not many students are left in the school, and all's about to be quiet. You're about to walk out the door for the last time, leave the grounds as a student for the last time. So what do you do?

   You spit on the wall. Maybe ding a table or write your name on a locker. Just a little something to remember you by ... I mean what are they going to do, suspend you? You're done!

   Cue Illinois Governor George Ryan!

"Outgoing Illinois Gov. George Ryan announced Saturday that he had commuted the sentences of all of the state's death row inmates and said he would 'sleep well knowing I made the right decision.'

Ryan, a Republican who did not run for re-election in November, acknowledged during his speech that his actions would not be universally applauded. But he said he felt he had no choice but to strike a blow in 'what is shaping up to be one of the great civil rights struggles of our time.'"

   Gov. Ryan ought to understand his move will not be universally applauded ... since unless he's extremely lucky, there's someone in the 156 people he pulled off Death Row that deserved to die. The phrase "deserved to die" would be dependant on the belief you think the death penalty is deserved in some cases, but I would think somewhere in a string of 156 crimes, there's something that would strike a raw nerve with pretty much everyone.

   Of course, if you are a blanket believer that all uses and versions of capital punishment are immoral and wrong, you would probably agree with someone who's a pharmacist by trade throwing a blanket commutation on so many different cases, undoubtably without the knowledge of the details of each one.

   On the one hand, you have a Governor ensuring that no innocent men sentenced to death are killed, which may be worth saving the lives of many who deserve that fate. I'm torn, because this might be a worthy cause done with the best intentions. As a pharmacist and a human being, Gov. Ryan certainly values the treasure of human life.

   But on the other hand, perception is reality. Running out that door for the final time, he leaves his initials on the wall. Just when it looks like George will quietly fall back into obscurity, his name goes to the lips of people across the country.

   And to the victims families. Read those quotes, and then the ones of the convicted murderers who are praising their miracle. Then maybe you can figure out why I was agitated enough to write this.

   Ryan wants to "no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death." as he was quoted as quoting in the AP article. Seems as though his moratorium on executions placed in 2000 would have already done that. I understand such pardons are routinely done at the end of gubernatorial terms, but if this was such a noble cause, you'd think he wouldn't have waited so long to have done it.

January 10, 2003 - Will
   Info I Should Have Picked Up On Sooner: Up until maybe three, four months ago, it never occurred to me that Sean McDonough was the son of legendary Boston sportswriter Will McDonough. As the younger's contract negotiations made it look like he was going to the Mets, it just kind of occurred to me there was probably a reason Will was so vocal about it.

   • Read this. They don't get much better than Will McDonough, and this piece does great justice to a great sportswriter. Does it get too drecky at points? Yeah, probably. But the guy did die.

   If I'm half the journalist he was at any point in his career, I'll be as happy professionally as I could ever expect to be. And after reading the tribute piece to him, nothing I could put forth about him would even be worthy as a mop up.

January 9, 2003 - Drinking From A Mason Jar
   Forgotten in the sheer excitement of being in California when the NFL season ended, my prognostication record for the 2002 regular season was 146-110, for a winning percentage of 57%. Worthy of at least quiet applause, I think. But in the interest of full disclosure, my record in games I bet on was just 15-23-1, for a rather disconcerting 40%. It seems my fantasy football affinity for drafting well, but starting the wrong players, is not limited to the aforementioned activity.

   It should be noted, however, that I did not lose a dime on football bets for the last five weeks of the season. Also, the BU Terriers football program has not lost a game since 1997. Anyone who chooses to overanalyze either of those facts has my permission to blow it out their ass.

   • Consider, if you will, the nominees for the 45th Grammy's Record of the Year. Why am I bringing up the Grammy's today? Well, I just read about them and it's Got Me Thinking.

   Note To You: Getting me thinking may or may not be in your best interests. Bear in mind all thinking has done for me lately is rationalized eating two pretzel rods and an ice cream sandwich as a viable "midnight snack" and that thinking is responsible for the attached 20 months of drivel.

   The five songs up for Record of the Year in 2002 span musical genres. Vanessa Carlton's "A Thousand Miles" is cheeseball pop, Nickelback's "How You Remind Me" is definitely rock, Norah Jones's "Don't Know Why" is easy listening (for lack of anything better), and Nelly/Kelly's "Dilemma" and Eminem's "Without Me" are rap. In making that the most represented genre, the Grammy's have essentially said 2002 was a year of rap, which to me means it was a Lost Cause.

   Exactly none of these five songs will likely have any lasting impact on the musical landscape -- it's fair to say that in a contest like Craig's 192-song throwdown *, they all might lose in the first round. Given who won the last two years, this certainly wouldn't be an issue there.

   What struck me as odd is the nomination of Dilemma, a song that on the surface is about love that can never work, but to me is about lying to your significant other. I suppose it doesn't hurt that the video is essentially centered around Kelly Rowland and Bandage Face lusting over each other while on dates with other people, but the words kind of back that up.

Check it, check it, check it, uhh
I met this chick and she just moved right up the block from me
And uhh, she got the hots for me the finest thing my hood done seen
But oh no, oh no, she gotta a man
And a son, doh'ohhh, but that's okay
'Cos I, wait for my cue and just listen, play my position
Like a shortstop, pick up e'rything mami hittin
And in no time (no time) I
I plan to make this one here mine and that's for sure
'Cos I, I never been the type to, break up a happy home
But uh, there's somethin 'bout baby girl I just can't leave alone
So tell me ma what's it gonna be? She said
(You don't know what you mean to me) C'mon

No matter what I do, all I think about is you
Even when I'm with my boo, boy y'know you know I'm crazy over you
No matter what I do, all I think about is you
Even when I'm with my boo, y'know I'm crazy over you

   Really, I know I shouldn't get involved with you, because you're already dating someone else, but shit, I just can't not. I suppose this is me overreacting because I want to rip that fucking Band Aid off Nelly's stupid face, but still.

   So I got to thinking about the songs Dilemma's up against.

'A Thousand Miles'
And I need you
And I miss you
And now I wonder
If I could fall into the sky
Do you think time would pass me by
Cause you know I'd walk a thousand miles
If I could just see you ... tonight

'How You Remind Me'
It's not like you didn't know that
I said I love you and I swear I still do
And it must have been so bad
'Cos living with him must have damn near killed you
And this is how you remind me
Of what I really am
This is how you remind me of what I really am

'Don't Know Why'
My heart is drenched in wine
But you'll be on my mind

'Without Me'
Now this looks like a job for me
So everybody, just follow me
Cause we need a little, controversy
Cause it feels so empty, without me

   They're all unrequited love songs! Nelly/Kelly is depressed because the other already gots someone, Vanessa's away from the one she loves, someone in Nickelback really fucked over their amour, Norah's can't figure out why she abandoned her beau and Eminem ... well, I guess self love and being completely obsessed with how great you are doesn't count for this discussion.

   And that's why he'll win. You heard it here first.

   * - There's a good chance that a comment Craig made Thursday -- "Even if you don't like how things are going so far, vote! It's crazy to think that people might stop voting because the majority is against them." -- is directed at me, given I left such a statement here after The Spin Doctors knocked Blur's 'Song 2' out of the party. I have no idea why I'm mentioning this, other than to say at no point that I ever hear 'Song 2' on a radio will I turn it off until it's complete.

   I wouldn't be so incredulous about the whole thing if the defeat wasn't to a bunch of fucking poseurs like the God-damned Spin Doctors. I actually kind of like their music, but in the future will immediately turn it off in a perpetual protest.

January 8, 2003 - Jarred Fruit And Pretzel Sticks
   (Thanks to the infinite wonder that is my mind, this was written Wednesday night and not posted before bed. The Management is quite proud of that one.)

   Today, we open with a Serious Question that may require Your Response on the Comments Thing:

   Tonight Fred, my boss at the S-T, received a spam message from a Sara Williams urging him to visit this very Web site. It was a very impressive spam -- it included an animated GIF with a picture of this site as it appeared during my trip to California, and urged a sign-up to some "increase your Web traffic service."

   What I can't figure out out is why he got it. He said he has visited the site in the past, but it's not like I posted his e-mail address anywhere or gave him a job to increase my site traffic. So I ask: Has anyone else received such a message about my site?

   It's not likely I can do anything to remedy their sending, but if I can figure who's being targeted, I can check to see how those people have been featured and not do it again.

   Your help would be apprecimacated.

   • Some days, I just see a story on the wires and immediately have the feeling I'll be hearing a lot more about it in the future:

Court Upholds Imprisoning of Combatant
by Curt Anderson, Associated Press writer

   WASHINGTON -- U.S. citizens overseas who take up arms against their country can be held as enemy combatants without the constitutional rights afforded other Americans, a federal appeals court ruled yesterday.

   The decision by a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond., Va., affirms the government's authority to detain indefinitely American citizens captured in foreign battles or those who participate in terrorist attacks against U.S. interests.

   But the ruling stopped short of approving those same powers over Americans arrested on U.S. soil, which legal experts said leaves a major question for courts to settle in the future.

    "They have substantially cooled what has been a legal hot potato," said Michael Greenberger, a former senior Justice Department official in the Clinton administration who now directs the University of Maryland's Center for Health and Homeland Security.

   The appeals decision overturned a lower court's ruling that 22-year-old Yaser Esam Hamdi, a Louisiana native captured in Afghanistan in November 2001, must see the government's evidence supporting its claims that he fought with al-Qaida and Taliban forces against the United States.

   Courts, the judges ruled, must be "highly deferential" to the government during wartime, even an unconventional war such as that against global terrorism. Hamdi, they added, is being held under "well-established laws and customs of war."

   "The fact that he is a citizen does not affect the legality of his detention as an enemy combatant," the judges said.

   Attorney General John Ashcroft applauded the decision, calling it "an important victory for the president's ability to protect the American people in times of war."

   "Detention of enemy combatants prevents them from rejoining the enemy and continuing to fight against America and its allies, and has long been upheld by our nation's courts, regardless of the citizenship of the enemy combatant," Ashcroft said in a statement.

   Frank Dunham Jr., a lawyer hired by Hamdi's family who has represented him in the case but has not met with him, did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

   Constitutional activists called the decision an abdication of the judicial system's duties to protect the rights of U.S. citizens. Some compared it to the decisions upholding internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, when the government was given broad latitude and later was forced to apologize for mistreating citizens.

   Other experts questioned the court's rejection of arguments that Hamdi should be treated either as a prisoner of war, subject to rights under the Geneva Convention, or prosecuted for crimes using traditional methods.

   According to the government, Hamdi was captured after his Taliban unit was overrun by Northern Alliance forces. He was at the prison uprising in Mazar-e-Sharif where fellow U.S. citizen John Walker Lindh was captured and later was transported with hundreds of others to a prison at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

   Hamdi was transferred to the naval brig in Norfolk, Va., after it was discovered he was born in Louisiana to Saudi parents. Hamdi and his family returned to Saudi Arabia while he was a toddler, but he never renounced his U.S. citizenship.

   Any time John Ashcroft is quoted as applauding something, it's a good indicator that someone will be downright apoplectic with whatever he's happy about.

   Dictionary Diatribe: 'Apoplectic,' which has recently become my new favorite word, is technically defined as "of a kind to cause or apparently cause stroke [an apoplectic rage]" or "greatly agitated." Not really what I've been going for -- I had thought it was more like 'incredulous' -- but it still works.

   In this case, as in the John Walker Lindh case, the answer was pretty cut and dry. But the problem with such legal decisions in never in the original case; it's the the precedent that they set.

   Considering a good part of the populace -- far from a majority, but a tangible percentage -- have convinced themselves this country is going to hell in a handbasket, this story should go over like crap in the pool. Clearly, the government will eventually parlay this into imprisoning innocent Americans who just happen to disagree with George W. Soon we'll all be in jail, Bush will have us in a war with England and he'll move the executive office from Pennsylvania Avenue to a creepy mad scientist's castle on a cliff.

   Or maybe we'll just keep using it to jail Americans who leave the country to fight against us.

   I'm far from a full supporter of George W. Bush, but I do know if either Shannon O'Brien or Al Gore had won their respective posts, I wouldn't be screaming that armageddon was upon us. Course, maybe that's just me.

   In other slightly disturbing, but generally happy news:

   • I flew through Charlotte ten days ago. And like the 21 people killed in the crash there, my trip did not start in that city either -- it was our first stop on the way out to L.A.

   • Wednesday's national high temperature of 88 came from Santa Ana, Calif. This is approximately 45 miles from where Meg is right now. Meanwhile, I slipped on ice no less than ten times on my walk to work tonight. No, I did not fall, but still.

   • In the past week, I have been asked "are you marrying Meg?," "when are you marrying Meg?," and generally how my visit to see my "wife" in Calif. went. On her side, her father has apparently been asking her about babies lately.

   • And we mustn't forget, I've found out my boss has read my Web site. Maybe putting the address in my e-mail signature is valid advertising after all.

January 7, 2003 - Hall Hell
   The sports staff of the S-T got me a little holiday gift ... presumably because I work so hard on that dandy column on spec. On my desk tonight as I arrived to work was a page proof of Monday's sports cover. It had a large picture of Jeremy Shockey pointing, and read:

"GIANT STEPS - Offensive explosion gives New York
an upset victory in San Francisco"

   Least now I have something to be tacked up next to Steve Buckley's classic "Hub Too Good For Nomar" and Buddy Thomas's "MLS Cup A Major League Snoozer."

   • Each year, perhaps the most interesting part of the Baseball Hall of Fame voting is to see what clearly insufficient players get token votes by stupid writers. While I understand that it's possible that they're just that -- token votes to friends and those they like -- the fact that one person was willing to put their name down as wanting John Kruk to take a place next to Babe Ruth and The (Popsicle) Kid boggles my mind.

   As expected, the big winner in this category is Darryl Kile, whose death helped him receive seven votes out of the 496 ballots cast. I find that far more erroneous than Vince Coleman receiving three votes, as Coleman was a two-time All-Star who led the league in steals six seasons in a row. While Kile was a three-time All-Star, the only categories he ever led were losses in a season (17 in 1998), earned runs allowed (the bad way in 1999) and walks allowed (the bad way in 1994).

   Elsewhere down the bottom:

   • Brett Butler (2) - Played 17 seasons, including stops in both San Francisco and L.A., the West Coast equivelant of dumping your Red Sox for pinstripes. In a lot of ways, he was responsible for my odd support of the Dodgers, which I never really had a reason for until Meg came along. He was an excellent leadoff hitter with speed ... that's as technical as I get.

   • Tony Pena (2) - I have two main memories of Tony. During his time with the Red Sox, I remember going to a game where, on multiple occasions, he swung so hard at a pitch he fell down. I want to say it was part of a doubleheader against Seattle, one I attended while recovering from chicken pox, but I can't remember. Regardless, it was comical to the point of being stupid.

   The other memory is from the 1995 AL Division Series against the Red Sox, where Pena's 13th inning home run off Zane Smith won Cleveland Game One and started a sweep. Bob Costas's call still makes me ill ... "oh man! Oh man! TONY PENA (something something something) sends everybody home!" From that point on he was off the Christmas card list.

   • Darren Daulton (1) - While I'm hardly an authority on the 1993 Phillies -- though one of you that is feel free to refute me -- Daulton may have been the most pivotal cog on that team. While he never did it for the long haul, it wasn't an accident his career's steroid-esque peak in 1992 and 1993 coincided with Philadelphia's only nineties foray beyond .500.

   Also notable because he taught me what a strawberry was, in terms of physical pigmentary deformities. The skunk spot, however, I learned from John Henson. And I'm not just asking for Talk Soup to return to the air, I'm begging.

   Lastly on the Hall, Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams came and went from the ballot this year without receiving a vote. It's nice to see the Philadelphia fanboy who voted both for Kruk and Daulton still hasn't forgiven him for that gopher ball.

January 6, 2003 - NFL to Giants: Oops!
   At press time, this is the headline on ESPN.com, with this story explaining it.

   Seems the ineligible man downfield call levied against the Giants on their failed field goal attempt was not the play's only penalty. Tackle Rich Seubert, who was thrown down by a defender as snapper Matt Allen's pass came his way, was actually an eligible receiver on the play, meaning San Francisco committed blatant pass interference. Penalties offset, Giants are due another attempt at the kick.

   While I'm all for full disclosure when it comes to national security, cheating on significant others and bodily rashes, this definitely should have been filed under "Kicking While Down" for a couple weeks at least. Yet at no point was I ever angered by this ... sadly, this shit happens all the time. While I can't think of a situation where my team benefitted from an official's muff -- and yes, that includes The Tuck -- there has to have been one at some point.

   I take my cue from Ernie Accorsi, Big Blue GM, because the whole thing depresses me to the point I'd rather never think about it again.

"The officials didn't blow a 24-point lead.
The officials didn't mess up the field goal in the first place."

   • My holiday season ends with Epiphany, so there seems no better to actually have an epiphany. Kind of my way of giving the big man a heads-up, I suppose.

   In my high school French class, we actually use to celebrate the Feast of the Epiphanies every January 6. I forget exactly why this came about, or how it connected to anything, but I remember it was an excuse for my French teacher to bring in pastries and her coffee maker. God did she love coffee, probably almost as much as I hate(d) it. Just seemed like no matter how much cream and sugar I put in, it just couldn't shake that disgusting coffee/boiling water flavor.

   Tuesday night after work ("tomorrow" by my writing, "tonight" by your reading) will be the first time I go back to an empty apartment since Dec. 23. Matt was down for the post-Christmas week, I was in California for the next week and I've been at the well-known Couture Compund since returning from there. Even on my working Saturday, my mother came with me to Whale City so she could disassemble her intricate Christmas mockup in my place. I would call all this time around people "being spoiled" if it wasn't the way normal people live their lives every single day.

   So nearly a week late, I've finally settled on my New Year's resolution. Not so much one I made as one I stumbled across.

   At some point this year, I'm either going to get a roommate/living partner, or move to a place where I have roommates. This could mean any number of different things, so please jump to whatever conclusion your personal morality and personality finds the most fatal.

   I've just reached the point where the convenience of living alone has been exceeded by my worries about spending a majority of my week bereft of human contact. I don't fear becoming a hermit ... it's just I often need motivation to get out and do anything beyond going to work and driving back home. Motivation I'm certainly not getting living by myself. My car has needed an oil change for approximately the last three months, and it never got done because I kept finding excuses to not move until late afternoon every day. Ten thousand miles is not exactly practicing what Arnold Palmer preaches.

   Of course, because this is a New Year's resolution, it could be ignored, intentionally forgotten or just swallowed by the status quo at any point in 2003. Because I do like to have one resolution that I follow in the long run, I've thus made a second, much safer one.

   At some point this year, I will buy an actual computer desk, and move my PC off the end table next to the couch. I've decided destroying the right-most cushion of my couch while typing is not something I want to continue, though actually finding a desk I like and can fit where I want it to is proving quite the project.

   The other factor working against me is I'll probably have to buy a flat panel monitor to make the computer fit anywhere other than where it is now. That or sit about three inches from the screen. Pictures would greatly help in describing this, but do I really want to be handing out decorating tips when I haven't hung anything on my walls in about six months?

   And really, do I ever want to be talking about decorating tips?

Flaws Were On Parade In NFL Playoffs
-- Wondered where the title of a "review/preview" NFL piece would be going ... this seems as good as any. Regardless, the pretend Boy Wonder likes the Jets, Titans, Eagles and Bucs this weekend, and hid most of it well enough to lie if those are wrong.

January 5, 2003 - Fudge
   Sometimes it takes a night of smoking bad cigars, playing pool and pop-a-shot, watching low-budget porn, and having beer poured on you to make you realize just how much you could never do these things on a regular basis.

   Writing "penis licker" on the fallen snow covering your car though ... well that's just good clean fun for everybody.

   • I would like to say something like "There was a time where a loss like this would have really ruined me. Just absolutely crushed me and generally made things awful in Cooch's World." I suppose I could say that anyway, as though it was a time that has long since passed ... that I am mature enough today to allow such trivial long-run events to roll like so much water off a water fowl's back.

   Well ... kinda.

   Meg called me this afternoon, not really christening her new cell phone minutes as much as telling me she was dressed like a farmer and that she slept with her window open last night. Should any of you doubt that I have very special feelings for this girl, please note that not only did I accept her call without hesitation (and talk for the better part of an hour) during a football game, not only did I accept it during a Giants game, I accepted it during a Giants playoff game.

   This is one of those moments where you're either nodding mentally at the screen, understanding this is an event of great significance in a Cooch-based relationship, or are disgusted that it's something that even bears mentioning. No problem if you're in the second camp ... just don't act indignant when I tell you I'm busy.

   As if it was destined to be referenced, she called right as the Giants extended their lead to its apex, 38-14. I remember relaying this, continuing to half watch the game while we talked and slowly realizing that reality was re-establishing itself as we talked. For this I am very thankful, because I have to believe if I'd been watching with my full concentration I'd have had a heart attack at worst and not had any voice left Monday morning at best.

   It's funny how I look back on this stuff after it's over, when my heart has stopped racing and I've reached a kind of peace with it, and be boggled at how riled up I'd gotten about it in the first place. Had I written this all immediately after the game, the entire update would have been some forced attempt at one-word poignancy, or a story about how all along, I've thought Jeremy Shockey was good, but couldn't catch. And how had he not dropped that third quarter, pre-collapse pass in the end zone that hit his hands, the Giants would have had 42 points and the 49ers would have eventually needed an onside kick to have a shot at winning.

   Italics to the Italics: This is one of those losses that, if only to him, will motivate Shockey to be that much better in 2003. He will learn to catch, he will become a legitimate superstar and he will lead the Giants to better things. I also continue to maintain he will kill another human being before his time on Earth is finished.

   My sadness about the collapse is greatly tempered by my belief that New York never would have beaten the Buccaneers in the Divisional Playoffs anyway, because despite the now-valid weaponry list of Barber, Toomer and Shockey, the Tampa Bay D would have forced a whole mess of turnovers. Plus Kerry Collins always follows these great performances (5 TD's in one half of 2000 NFC Championship, 4 TD's in Week 16 vs. IND, 4 TD's vs. S.F.) with extremely mediocre ones (see "Super Bowl 35").

   Yes, I am rationalizing on the second point. No, I don't care.

   As you might expect, there's not really a whole lot more I can say about this game. I'm aware blowing a 24-point lead could easily be construed as "choking," but I don't really think that's the case here. The Giants have never been a team that was able to play with a big lead, which is what makes it so amazing when they actually do to the end of a game. They are not 24 points better than the 49ers, and their secondary couldn't stop Terrell Owens, who I now thankfully have a tangible reason for disliking.

   But they could have won this game. They were clearly good enough to, and had enough weapons to keep San Francisco from being able to stop them all. They could have gone into Tampa and won down there too ... because as tough as it would have been for the Giants to score, the Bucs offense would have struggled too. The Giants were the NFC's hot team, and really, last year proved that even the entirely irrational can happen when momentum is involved.

   From the start of the season, I've said the Eagles will win the NFC. I still believe that, but a New York-Philly championship game at Veteran's Stadium might even have been enough for me to make the drive.

   But, it's all over now. For the first time in three seasons, I will have to watch a Super Bowl where I don't have a direct rooting interest involved. And for the first time in five months, you won't have to worry about reading any more wallow-laden football writeups on Mondays and Tuesdays.

   [Insert forced attempt at one-word poignancy here.]

January 4, 2003 - Back, And Bringing Biscotti
   In the delusional alternaverse in which I live my life, many people often ask me what I don't like in sportswriting. What kind of stuff that just makes me irrationally angry. Now, I could just say "People who write solely for the purpose of angering their readership and creating controversy," but it's so much better to just give a perfect example.

   Buddy's piece is so transparent it's almost sad ... I can see him sitting at his computer, smirking to himself. "This'll get them all real good." The fact that this actually was printed in an American newspaper and passed off as newsworthy makes me sick.

  Though I suppose in a way, I'm jealous of him. I wish I'd reached the point where I cared so little about my credibility, I could just write anything and be perfectly happy about it. Unfortunately for that camp, I still take it way too seriously ...

2002 Wasn't Perfect, But It Was Darn Good
-- I went to bed Sunday night ready to not write a column for my vacation week. I then woke up Monday morning in a panic and wrote this in the hour before we left for Disneyland. Truly a shining moment in the history of journalism.

   • In the Christmas afterglow, it's not uncommon to see people with money burning a hole in their pocket. It's not as common as seeing people with matches burning holes in their credit card bills, but there are a good number who get the big Christmas bonus of Grandma greeting cards and find themselves unable to keep the heft of cocaine paper on their person.

   While our President would surely encourage you to spend every cent you can find, including those you steal off of others, it's important for the consumer to know what they are buying. In the rush to get what we want, we often ignore important details that differentiate the sought product from a blatant knockoff.

   As shocking as it sounds, there are merchants out there who will copy successful products merely to try and hoodwink Joe Consumer. Shocking I know, but the mall is a dangerous place to tread. And it's not just because of parents who let their kids push strollers!

   Good plan. Not only are you needlessly filling the place with entities designed only to go, "MOMMY! MOMMY! I WANT A NEW DOLLY!," you're giving them a wheeled vehicle to ram into my legs. Good call. Yeah, it is really cute, isn't it. WHAM! WHAM! MOMMY!

   But I am here to help in the face of dishonesty. I've found four products lunking in the post-Christmas shadows, and I'm sure they're already on your list of must grabs. How do I know? Because who doesn't love pasta?!

   Called "Dago Salad" by many racist Americans, pasta is both the staple of the "can't cook" diet and the fancy meal men make when hoping to get sex. But which to choose? Each of the products below has advantages and disadvantages, more if your really have a problem hitting a colander from less than a yard.

The Better Pasta Pot
(As marketed by the made-up Invention Channel)

"Do you love delicious homemade pasta? Draining pasta means dragging out the colander to drain the boiling water, and that means splashing, scalding burns, and wasted food. What a mess. Now there's a better way to make pasta. The Better Pasta Pot has holes in the top for easier draining. Now you can cook perfect pasta right in the pot and pour out the liquid right through the lockdown lid. It features patented "Quick Lock" Italian designed handles that instantly lock on the lid. Just lift the handles and drain. It couldn't be easier. The lid is actually a built-in colander. The non-stick surface guarantees the pasta won't stick to the pot, so you won't waste a single piece. The Better Pasta Pot holds a full 8 quarts, which is the most popular size pasta pot."

Comes With: Small (2.3 qt.) pasta pot, Cheese Grater, Handi Chopper, Flexible Cutting Board, Pasta Spoon

Advantages: Only pot to have top lock via Italian-designed handles,
versus pedestrian "locking twist top."
Catch Phrase: The best idea since spaghetti and meatballs!
Cost: $19.99!

- - - - -

Pasta Pro
(As marketed by YouCanSave.com, among others)

"Pasta Pro has a locking lid that makes cooking pasta easier than ever. It is lightweight, and fits onto any stovetop. Use Pasta Pro to create a wide variety of great pasta dishes. Everything from linguini to macaroni to spaghetti can be cooked in this pot. Then, add the sauce, and your pasta is cooked, without the mess!

Step 1) Add your favorite pasta.
Step 2) Turn lid to locked position.
Step 3) Pour the water out, and keep the pasta in!"

Comes With: Small (2 qt.) pasta pot

Advantages: Red color would better match my kitchen decor.
Catch Phrase: It's that simple!
Cost: $19.95!

- - - - -

Pasta Pot Express
(As marketed by TVBuyIt.com)

"Cooking pasta is easy, but when it's time to drain, it can be a pain. Now there is the Pasta Pot Express, the perfect all in one cook, strain, and drain pasta pot. You just cook your favorite pasta, lock on the Pasta Pot Express drain and strain lid, and in seconds you've strained and drained right through the built in locking colander top. It's that simple. Since nothing sticks, cleanup is a breeze. Best of all, it's not just a pasta pot. Now you can brown a pot roast and drain the fat with ease. You can brown and drain chopped up meat for the tastiest tacos ever. Preparing potatoes has never been easier. Five pounds of carrots can be cooked and drained right through the locking lid. There's no better way to cook pounds of pasta, plus all your favorite dishes, than with the Pasta Pot Express."

Comes With: "Personal size" Pasta Pot Express, Perfect Pasta Spoon, Perfect Cheese Grater (that lets you grate both soft and hard cheese and absolutely anything you please), Amazing Hand Chopper.

Advantages: Italian colors and checkerboard pattern
creates wistfulness for Mario Andretti.
Catch Phrase: The super non-stick surface lets you make
rigatoni and cheese that's sure to please.
Cost: $14.95!

- - - - -

Pasta Wizard
(As marketed by that British guy with the bow tie and no Web site)

The newest kid on the pot block features a twisting lock top, can make more than just pasta (including vegetables, potatoes and God knows what else) and is generally the greatest product in the history of the universe.

Comes With: Small size pot, Handi Grater, Pasta Spoon

Advantages: The British guy with the bow tie is my favorite
informercial personality of all time.
Catch Phrase: It makes all the best kinds of pasta, including my favorite, BOWTIE!
Cost: $19.95!

   Merry Manicotti!

January 3, 2003 - The Back, Part Two
   • The National Weather Service lists conditions in the Los Angeles area today as being "Fair," with the high temperature sneaking above 80 degrees in the afternoon.

   The same service lists Agawam as receiving snowfall from 4:00 a.m. to ... Saturday. The additional accumulation, scheduled to top a foot by tomorrow, is added to four inches that fell while I was away and whatever was already on the ground. Grand totals are reaching as much as seventeen hectares in my perceived reality.

   In fact the snowfall is so heavy, the internship Charlie needed to be home for Friday to start has now been delayed to Monday ... just to ensure we both get to sit looking out the window imagining palm trees.

   So because we're now sure one Saturday of what will be menial work is the only thing that prevented four additional days of sunshine and Sunshine, I'll just sit myself down, welcome myself to Mitt's Commonwealth, and weep.

   Steady come the sobs, my friends. Steady like a falling snow.

"I had the right idea, really. I went to the shit shop at the local mall, only to find the lone shower curtain for sale had stars and moons all over it. Undaunted, I went to J.C. Penney, where I learned they make $35 shower curtains. I also learned that a 'Certified Bra Fitter' can help you get the quality fit you deserve, but that's neither here nor there."
-- Moving into that new apartment. (7/2)

"To answer your question Jay, Ted Williams was a ballplayer. He was a great ballplayer, in an era of great ballplayers, and the only reason his star doesn't shine brighter than the rest is because he willingly gave his prime to the United States military, serving as a fighter pilot in two wars. He was the driving force behind the Jimmy Fund, the namesake of the Ted Williams Tunnel, Ted Williams Highway and Lord knows how many other things around the region. He pitched Moxie. He caught fish. He excelled at nearly everything he attempted not on raw talent, but on the only thing that truly gets a person anywhere: the power of their mind."
-- The Kid, dead. (7/5)

"I don't so much have a problem with this boy suing the (Inglewood) police, since he clearly was assaulted. Really, I'm jealous of the kid. I want to figure out how I can punch a police officer and get several million dollars."
-- My race relations skills are better than most Klansmen. (7/10)

"Thanks to the fine folks at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, I can now tastelessly wonder, 'Isn't it a bit hypocritical to ask for a last meal of justice, equality and world peace when you beat a woman with a lamp and rifle, sexually assaulted her, stabbed her in the neck and shot her in the head?'"
-- The week reading about Death Row was a learned one. (7/12)

"By 5:40 a.m., it became clear sleep was no longer an option. I was comfortable, but the morning light pelting one in the face tends to deter the entire sleep-getting dynamic. So at 6:10, with Ash's Free All Angels blaring in my ears, I sat on a rock and watched the Sun rise over a lake."
-- My life as a greeting card. (7/21)

"Jon Couture Sex: Does not necessarily indicate real sex as the world knows it -- its most common meaning is 'A monumental affair or event, with lots of build up and waiting, and in some cases, dissapointment'"
-- I have no idea who said this or why it was said, but I nearly fell off the chair reading it. (7/24)

"I am the product of two financial schools of thought. My father has worked for phone companies his whole life. The only financial advice I recall gleaning from him is credit cards are designed for you to carry debt on them... they're easier than taking out a loan. My mother has worked for banks her whole life. The only financial advice I recall gleaning from her is never, under any circumstances, to listen to my father."
-- The conglomeration of opposing viewpoints. (7/27)

"The concept of dynasy/franchise modes, where one plays 30 or so consecutive seasons of a game, adding in factors like retirement, rapture, injuries and drafts has long been foreign to me. 'Who the hell has time for such things?,' I'd ask, incredulously considering myself better than any such loser who holes up in their home doing such things. Then I realized when you get sick of actually playing your team's games, you can just have the game simulate them. Goodbye, sunlight!"
-- Oregon fired me after four losses in Season 5. (8/3)

"Her shoes were far from sensible, revealing nearly all from toe to heel. Her jeans no good for warmth, for their flares were slit to the backs of her knees. There she stood, authentic paddleball in hand. Her dexterity was weak, but her heart was strong."
-- On my brother's birthday, I write about a club whore at Burger King. (8/10)

"The family will honor Headricks wish that his ashes be molded into memorial flying discs to be given to a select few family and friends and others who make donations in his memory, Ken Headrick said."
-- Frisbee inventor Ken Headrick dies, becomes toy. (8/13)

"Warning: Insufficient Pants"
-- Photo caption of the year, going away. (8/16)

"They came, they saw, they threw up in my downstairs toilet."
-- Celebrating Afghans like y'all oughta. (8/18)

"Bill Simmons, look out below. Way below."
-- I get the column. (8/20)

"Little less to go on, as I can't skate. Our neighborhood once formed a street hockey team and went to play another neighborhood. I can't recall if we won, but I do know a kid who played legit hockey was giving me shit because I wore glasses. He checked me into a snowbank, then held me head in the muddy snow. So I kicked him in the balls. He left me alone after that."
-- It was a fair fight. He could have kicked back. (8/25)

"It's really a very odd calm, something I'm only broken from if I'm reminded I should be depressed. Then I think it about it a little, get sad, then forget it happened. It's like those moments in my childhood when I'd realize I was blinking, consciouly think about every blink, then thankfully forget the whole thing and return to life as normal."
-- Day One without Meg. Your concern was truly appreciated. (9/1)

"I'm not that big of a beer drinker anymore, but if I was, I'd probably be steering clear of Samuel Adams products for a few months. The most notable thing they've had brewing lately is a cask-conditioned batch of Deep Shit Autumn Ale."
-- Opie and Anthony's sad goodbye. (9/3)

"How have we changed? Well, the stupidest portions of our society have learned the world hates us. Theu've learned we're vulnerable. They've learned to love the flag and all this country has given, and will continue to give us. Many of these are things the educated already knew, the educated who can now sell "These Colors Don't Run!" on T-shirts."
-- My continued muddling on 9/11. (9/10)

"The daily update, the blog, at least for me, has evolved by not evolving. My ass can write an update. Only my brain can write a column."
-- Re-reading my introspective updates often leaves me confused. (9/14)

"Monday Night Football should always be celebrated with ten cent wings, pool and Brian Rondeau drinking a blue cocktail out of a martini glass."
-- Interesting only to the Agawam Loop. (9/16)

"Welsh. It's not so much a language as it is a spelling accident."
-- Runner-up in Caption of the Year voting. (9/22)

"John Couture isn't listed in your email directory, but he should be! Congrats on a very accurate and entertaining read!"
-- Fan mail from San Diego! (9/26)

"You informed voters want to know why the Electoral College continues to stay in use? Take a look at the Question One tallies on November 6th."
-- FORTY-FIVE percent of voters threw support to ending the
state income tax this year. (10/2)

"Then there's the paradoxi I still can't shake: Going to the Warped Tour at Suffolk Downs and seeing all the alternative kids (with their spiked hair, piercings, homemade T-shirts and studded belts) talking to the other alternative kids (with their spiked hair, piercings, homemade T-shirts and studded belts)."
-- Wait, I actually went to the Warped Tour and enjoyed myself? (10/8)

"Tonight, as a scoreless game rapidly became a 7-0 one, there was a kid, had to be about eight, standing at the base of the stairs behind home plate, dressed in a full monkey costume. As the Angels rallied, as the Rally Monkey appeared again and again and again, this kid kept standing there watching... excited, but not really knowing what to do. As the scoreless tie was finally broken, Edison Field erupted, and a man who I presume to be this kid's father came over to him and lifted him onto his shoulders. The little monkey just starting waving his arms in the air and thumping his chest. As excited and happy as he possibly could be."
-- The highlight of the Angels playoff run. (10/12)

"It has stopped being fun, and thus, it's likely reached its end. People should not think the things I did about the Rams tonight."
-- Football betting's honeymoon is over. (10/13)

"Props, however, should be delivered posthaste to Mobile Bay, because somewhere in a pile of legalese and Latin, Alabama managed to bury the phrase, 'useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs.' Somewhere, there's an out-of-state intern giggling. If only because they needed to specify 'human' genitals.
-- 'Court Overturns Alabama Sex Toy Ruling' (10/15)

"Sixty-one thousand, three hundred sixteen people, the largest crowd ever for an MLS Cup (or any soccer game in New England), sat in the cold and watched two teams play in the Super Bowl of their sport. It was the kind of game that both shows soccer's growth as a sport in America, and shows why it will never make it to the mainstream. Scoreless for the first half hour. Then the second. Then the third."
-- Running my local team playoff mark to ... 0-4. (10/20)

"Also on the admin front, the New Bedford weather will now be offered to you daily by the CW Weather Pixie, as seen on Matt Boggie's site first. I made every attempt to pick the hottest one I could, because nothing would please me more than to know at least one of you was aroused by a small cartoon dispersing barometric pressure."
-- I'm always giving ... even sexual pleasure! (10/30)

"In no reality is that a duck. That's a spaceman with a beak on his helmet. A frightening harbinger of death wearing Nike soccer gloves. Kids are going to see that and have nightmares, there's not a doubt in my mind. If Attack of the Killer Tomatoes had the production values of the Oregon Ducks new mascot, it would have won twelve Oscars."
-- New Duck meets Old Duck. (11/1)

"Stupid Federal Reserve and his God damned rate cut. What if I don't want to spend money, Alan?! What if I want to leave that to all the idiots who can't afford pants without dung stains, but have a flat-screen TV?"
-- I talk about finance?! Least I doodled on the Federal Reserve. (11/8)

"So BUCB, in whatever form you get this message, let it be known I'm done. Finished. My usefulness to you is pretty much over. On the rare occasions I make an appearance at an event, it's going to be to freeload. Eat your donuts. Heckle. Actually play college bowl. Like sit with a buzzer and answer questions. It's nothing any of you have done, and I'm not holding a grudge about it. I just don't have the desire to put the time in anymore."
-- Note: On March 29, I will be directing BUCB's high school tournament.
Hyp. O. Crite. (11/9)

"Now, instead of a Monday to Monday flight, I'm stuck with a Saturday or Sunday (the first only if I cut work) to Thursday. A whopping four days ... just enough to get me acclimated to it being 80, then throwing me back into it being 30. It kinda makes me wish I was faking sick Friday to go to the BU-BC game."
-- [Expletives deleted.] (11/14)

"For the past week, I'm running on about a 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. clip. To be poetic about it, it fucking sucks. And it's not something one can stop, because sleep tends to happen when you're tired, and tired tends to happen when you're sleepy. As you can see, I'm in a proverbial death spiral, only without the glittery costume and overly made up parter which usually accompanies the figure skating version."
-- And when I wrote this, I thought it was temporary. (11/17)

"Today's Odd Fact Weaned From MTV Cribs: Rasheed Wallace, who lives in a Portland (Ore.) mansion and will make $16.2 million playing for the Blazers in 2002-03, has a refridgerator full of noted cola knock-off Simply Soda."
-- Now we know it's because his fortune went to the marijuana
they found in his car. (11/19)

"I'll stomach snow. ... I'll take a little rain. ... They should never breed. Their kid's heavy -- just lays around and leaves his shit everywhere."
-- Not a fan of the sleet. (11/27)

"It's altogether likely the last ABC programming Roone Arledge ever saw, the last thing he ever watched on the network he essentially made, was Diane Sawyer, a correspondent he hired, get talked down to by Whitney Houston, a (former?) coke addict doing little more than try to resurrect her flagging career and pimp her latest album by being a ghetto bitch on national TV with her bipolar, physically violent husband nearby. No wonder he died today."
-- Good-bye to Roone Arledge. (12/5)

"While eating at a diner nearby, I finally get through to Lonnie, whose Beacon Hill apartment I was now expected at ten minutes ago. The "I can't come because I'm in New York City right now" is met with the kind of chuckle one gives when being regaled with a far more elaborate excuse than would ever be necessary."
-- Bruins-Rangers from Fancy's corporate box at MSG. (12/8)

"Real good policy. Let's punish a person who wants to go to something so bad, they're willing to do nothing but stand and wait for an hour, two hours ... let's get them to stop working for what they want, and instead give it out as though it's a fucking raffle prize. Why would we reward work when it's much easier just to make it a crapshoot?"
-- The politics of ticket distribution, which I would weeks later flount. (12/11)

"Chester Cheetah doesn't want you to eat Flamin' Hot Cheetos."
-- And now having eaten them, I don't want you to either. (12/13)

"At 4:45 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, I was sitting at approximately the Fenway exit of Storrow Drive. I would reach Route 93 a half-hour later, but only after being rear-ended by a Saab. Upon arriving at Logan and racing Matt across the airwalk's moving walkways, I found Meg lying half-asleep on her bags. That's what kind of a fuck you should take me for."
-- I am an excellent boyfriend. (12/19)

"In the twelve-odd hours following me letting them know I couldn't come Sunday, (The Loop) marshalled everyone who was coming and essentially moved the entire affair to Monday, just so I could attend."
-- I'm wholly undeserving of my friends. (12/21)

"It probably doesn't take 22 holiday seasons for everyone to have this revelation, but given how fortunate I've been, it has. ... Christmas has always been family, and wintry weather, and giving and just a general feeling of warmth in the tundra."
-- And hopefully, it always will be that way. (12/24)

   The regular returns Saturday, as will my working world. Thank God I was already crying.

   The writeup of my trip, previously dubbed "Crashing California: An L.A. Story," will be less verbose and more graphic heavy than my trip to the Canaries. Pictures will be uploaded starting Saturday, and the whole shebang should be done by the end of the week.

   Briefly, we ate things on sticks before being regaled with delightful flavored steak, grew to hate the Tournament of Roses, got questioned by an L.A. police officer, watched the ball drop on tape delay, placed ass in the spot of a famous Mavis and got a free viewing of the latest Hustler magazine.

   Last one was only me though ...

Dec. 29, 2002 to Jan. 2, 2003 - California Love
   • If you need something else to read, scroll. See you in January.
2002: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2001: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05]