January 31, 2004 - And It Begins Again
   Crimes Against Capitalism: I'm all for discount shopping and media superstores, but any store selling the widescreen version of Mr. Baseball for $5.99 and any version of Empire Records for $24.99 should be immediately disbanded.

   Not even considering Empire Records is frequently on television and that Mr. Baseball features President Dennis Haysbert telling Tom Selleck how to operate a squat john, for one film to be four times as expensive as the other clearly shows why almost all Media Play locations look like they're temporary businesses opened in former department stores.

   The fact that they sell edited CDs like their friends at Wal-Mart is just icing on the cake I made for them baked with hate.

   UMass 3, Merrimack 1 -- I'm not sure what's sadder ... that this ended up being the first Hockey East game I made it to all season, or that I rationalized cheering for UMass because a Merrimack win would keep BU within one point of sixth place in the conference.

   As for the actual game, about all you need to know is that since joining Hockey East for the 1989-90 season, wee li'l Merrimack has never finished a season higher than 5th in the conference. They quite simply aren't the size to compete with most of the schools, and they were outclassed by a "16th ranked" Minuteman team that has been giving me night sweats all winter.

   Fear not, however. This BU team has a post-Beanpot "we're pissed off" run in them that will peter out just in time to lose in the Hockey East semis.


   • There's plenty more to say about today -- not the least of which is Julie shaming me into getting a ribs and chicken platter I knew I couldn't eat, then mocking me when I couldn't finish it -- but I'm writing this so close to the actual Super Bowl game, I'm already having my first heart attack thinking about it.

   I'll keep notes on them during the game, but the Vegas over/under on the heart attacks prop is 4.5. And God forbid the game is close ... as the write-up reminds, I spent nearly the entire fourth quarter of Super Bowl 36 with chest pains and unable to breathe.

   Yeah, this is short shrifting a day where I went to mall, spent $67 in a Newbury Comics, saw a hockey game, drove halfwayacross the state, then drank beers in my basement while the cat ate the plastic from the CDs ... and that's just the stuff I'm putting in print. But I do want to offer congratulations to Brian, who tied an all-time Loop/Posse recrod by bowling a 210.

   Congrats also to Alison, who got hit on by a drunk 18-year-old, which was far more entertaining than it even should have been.


January 30, 2004 - 99 Pounds, 163 Wings
   A First Time For Everything: I'd never gone to a show and been told, by name, to "Fuck off" by the lead singer before. Course, I don't usually go to shows where the lead singer is my boss, but it is nice to have this one of life's little pleasures out of the way.

   In his defense, I'm sure I deserved it. After all, I was just sitting at the bar drinking a beer.


   • It's nice to see that one of the most insufferable Boston sports fans around absolutely refuses to make peace with what Roger Clemens did nine years ago, but feels bad for the most insufferable group of fans to have never won anything in sports history.

I wasn't able to mention this until now, but I still feel terrible for the Philly fans. What happened two weeks ago was borderline excruciating. It wasn't just losing the three consecutive NFC title games; it was the way they lost them -- one decent performance against a superior Rams team in 2002, then two straight stink bombs at home. There wasn't a memorable game in the bunch. None of them qualified as a Stomach Punch or anything, but the cumulative effect of all three games was almost as bad.
-- From here.

   I don't care if the Sixers, Phillies and Flyers win about 25 combined titles in the next century ... more power to them, as I have nothing against the Philly fans I know personally. But I will revel in every second that the Philadelphia Eagles continue to blow it when it counts. It's the gift that keeps on giving.

   In Other Philly News: I actually told someone today that the Wing Bowl chicken wing eating contest is a city event akin to the Boston Marathon here. I think that says about all you need to know about Philadelphia in a single sentence.

   In Other Angst News: I'd like to thank my coworker Steve DeCosta for making me cry by filing this story from the Super Bowl about how easy it is to be a sportswriter. It's good to know that everyone I've told the exact opposite to in the past year now thinks I'm a liar, but hey, so it goes.

   Exactly a handful of you know the special bonus reason why this story made my brain explode. Consider yourself special for having this window into the mind of me, the egomaniac webmaster jerkoff loser guy.


January 29, 2004 - Start Making Sense
   Paris Hilton Follow-Up: There was some sentiment yesterday that, without makeup, Paris Hilton is extremely unappealing. I personally feel her only shot is when she's not painted up like a clown, and to back this up, I'm posting this picture.

Hi. I have problems.
-- I will not comment on what is wrong with this.

   Bill Simmons, by the way, is slowly winning me back, if only because he linked to the greatest source of Quotes Taken Completely Out Of Context in Internet history, Florida high-school All-State linebacker Willie Williams talking about his recruiting trips to Florida State, Auburn, Miami and (coming next week) UFlorida.

"He took me to the hotel. This place was beautiful, nicest place I've ever stayed. It was called The Radisson. I was impressed."

"We could see [the pilot] and he could see us,'' Williams said. "One time, the plane starting shaking. So I asked [the pilot] 'Is everything OK?' He turned around a gave me the thumbs up and didn't say a word. Then when it happened again, he did the same thing -- thumbs up. I looked at the other guys and was like, 'This guy has to be related to Ebert or something.'"

"UM looks like it has a real good business school," Williams said. "After going on these trips and living like King Tut, I think business is something I want to get into."

   If you start laughing too hard, just remember one day, Willie Williams will be a millionaire and I may have to interview him. Though really, that may be worth laughing harder.


   • You want to know what's wrong, specifically, about having two weeks between the conference championships and the Super Bowl? It allows 6,400-word preview articles like this to be written.

   I'm all for using stats to propose theories on how a game will turn out. But when you close your article with this comment:

If the last three weeks are just part of the standard ups and downs of the regular season Carolina Panthers, just like the losses to Atlanta and Dallas, then we are probably headed for a New England rout. But if Carolina's playoff performance truly represents advancement to a higher level of skill, then we have one heck of a good game on our hands.

   you really ought to follow that with saying, "Um, yeah. So we don't know. But thanks for those last 20 minutes!"


January 28, 2004 - Not Quite 1,000 Words
   Brushes With Those Brushing Greatness: If you saw Tuesday night's episode of The Daily Show reporting on the New Hampshire primaries -- or saw any of the replays today as I did -- you got to see my former colleague and short-term landlord Eric, who now works in Concord and got raked by Rob Corddry.

"You scooped me in Iowa. You did! Eh, it's all water under the bridge."
"I did?"
"Water under the bridge ..."

"But you're still a son of a bitch!"

   He did go up there because he wanted to cover the primary.


   • Were you a kid that liked puzzles? Do you still like puzzles? Are you what one could consider observant? Well, today's Picture of the Moment is just for you.

   How many wisecracks can you make off this one pho-o?

Paris & Nick

Backstreet Boys member Nick Carter pets girlfriend Paris Hilton's dog Tinkerbell after she presented him with a birthday cake with her picture on it on Wednesday at the group's recording studio in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

   Now I'll get you started with some flashpoints, and you kids make me proud.

   -- The AP staffed this, and sent out four photos.

   -- Paris Hilton is wearing cammo pants, a trucker vest, a trucker hat and
high-heeled boots.

   -- On Nick's birthday, Paris presented him with a cake featuring ... her picture.

   -- The dog is wearing a Lakers jersey.

   -- The dog is wearing a Kobe Bryant Lakers jersey.

   -- She brought the dog to the recording studio with the cake.

   -- Her belt features a word written backwards,
as one would normally see on the front of an ambulance.


   I need to lie down.


January 27, 2004 - And N.H. Returns To Irrelevancy
   On The New Hampshire Primary: A man by the name of Vincent Hamm received one vote in Hart's Location and 54 votes overall, earning him a solid 16th place finish. Exactly one spot higher than Hillary Clinton. I think it's the music that got him the win, personally.

   As for actual analysis, I pored over the town-by-town results and found nothing entertaining. I'm one of those people who hopes for dramatic upsets that make the polls look stupid, and quite honestly, Kerry-Dean going 1-2 is about the same as the wacky 2002 World Cup going from having the U.S., South Korea and Turkey in the Final 8 to having another Brazil-Germany final. I can feel political hate rising.

   Though it is cute to see Joe Lieberman tell his supporters, "Oh, we finished in a third-place tie" when he was a solid fifth and has no chance of winning anywhere. There hasn't been a rationalization that severe since I started believing Meg broke up with me just because she was moving back to California.

   Weather Angst: Before any New Englanders feel depressed about the snow that's currently falling here, stop for a moment and be glad you don't live in Grand Forks, N.D., where it's -29 with a -52 wind chill as I write this.

   And that's even before you consider it's North Dakota, where college hockey is the only game in town. At least Maine has logging and an affinity for outlet shopping and scary lesbians.


   • Today, as some of you know, was Super Bowl Media Day, which has gone from being a cute, wacky exposition to becoming the one day annually where I decide I hate my profession. Not only do too many writers and media outlets take the "observation column" idea that I'll one day buy a house with and run it into the ground, more and more the day has become an excuse for writers and media outlets to do something wacky just so they can make themselves the story.

   I'm not saying people shouldn't have fun trying to do this job -- Lord knows with what we make, there has to be some reason beyond free food that we keep doing it -- but if I'm running the NFL, I'm also not giving two credentials to fucking Nickelodeon so they can dress a kid up like a super hero, call him 'Pick Boy,' and have him asking the players questions about helmet hair and other pressing topics.

   Aside from all the food and consumer products holding their "wacky events" around the city with NFL superstars -- this would include the Kraft "Quarterback Cook-Off," the Breathe Right "NFL Snore Off" and the Chunky Soup "___ For Hunger" where Donovan McNabb, Michael Strahan and John Lynch stand around and see who tears an ACL first -- here would be the Media Day "highlights":

Some wonk from the The Tonight Show asked Rodney Harrison the weirdest place he ever made whoopee with his wife. Before Harrison could even answer, Paul Zimmerman from Sports Illustrated told the guy to "Get the hell out of here." Guy says, "What are you, the kicker?" Zimmerman: "Yeah, I'll kick your ass."
-- It's nice to see Dr. Z, who's paid to analyze football, yet picked the Bills to win all four of their Super Bowl appearances, do something constructive. Though I would have rather he kept quiet, so The Tonight Show wonk would ask a wacky question to Ted Washington, who would respond by wackily killing him.

Last week on Pardon The Inteeruption, Tampa Bay lineman and loud mouth Warren Sapp ripped Patriots offensive guard Russ Hochstein, who replaced Damien Woody during the Pats' playoff win over the Titans. So Sapp, doing offseason work for the NFL Network, walked up to Hochstein and asked, "How did you like me making you the center of attention?" Hochstein, with a serious look, replied, "No more questions" from you.
-- I'd like to believe that, if karma really does exist, that in about ten years I'll reporting on some "Warren Sapp develops non-fatal throat cancer" story.

Austrian TV is in town for the frenzy, and they were trying to interview Patriots TE Christian Fauria. But he decided to interview them instead, specifically, to ask the Austrian reporter about Arnold Schwarzenegger. The reporter, with his best Aahnold accent, answered with, "Let's bring New England baaack."
-- Fauria is, in my opinion, the best interview in the New England locker room. Damien Woody is very close, but Fauria cracks a lot more jokes. You just get the sense that after spending all those years in Seattle, he's just absolutely giddy to be playing for a team that doesn't suck.

   There are more, but I figure I should stop before I start swearing at little kids who work for Nickelodeon.


January 26, 2004 - Where've You Gone, Hart Lee Dykes?
   In honor of today's absolute opus, I give you the Picture of the Moment:

The Rev. Irving Fryar
-- I once got injured, left a game at halftime
and drove into a telephone pole on the way home.


From Sub-Par To Sublime: The Pats Through The Ages
-- I've said it before and I'll say it again. There's a reason
it was easy to sell me on the N.Y. Giants in the late 1980's.

   • There really are few small pleasures sadder than instead of hanging up on telemarketers, telling them you're not home and "taking a message for your roommate." You can have little contests to see just how long they'll keep trying you.

   So far, Collegiate Funding Services has lapped the field. They've got to be close to two months straight of calling at like 9:30 a.m.

   Apparently they just assuming no recent college graduates anywhere have been able to get a job.

   The previous entry has been brought to you by my overwhelming desire to not talk about the Super Bowl anymore until it's actually near to happening. I was sick of the hype last week, and now that they've started practicing, my head has exploded about six times.

   And because someone actually asked, there will be no live update on Sunday, despite how awesome 2/3/02 turned out. Sadly, they'll never be a re-enactment of the 25-person free-for-all on Mountfort Street of that evening.

   Really, we could never even come close again. Especially since a very small part of me wants the Pats to lose so all of the cockiest, bandwagon-jumping New England fans have to suck a loss up and don't start assuming championships are a foregone conclusion around here.

   Yeah, I said it.


January 25, 2004 - Less Mocking, More Story Telling
   With all the attempts to wear tapestries, tablecloths and glitter at the Golden Globes, and all the last-minute campaign hoo-hah going on in New Hampshire, I had to fight the temptation to make today's update an all photo affair.

   Instead, I've decided to make today's Picture of the Moment the only logical thing it could be.

Alooooooha!
-- A fat Hawaiian man shoveling snow into his pickup truck.

In his defense, he was picking some up to bring back home so his children could make a snowman. Regardless, you should not ever be in snow without a shirt on unless it's for extremely novel reasons.

   Today's Quote Taken Completely Out Of Context: As much as I swore I would never write about Alex Rodriguez again, I can't help myself when he says the following.

"I definitely think I'm going to be here for a long time.
I'm probably pretty sure it will work out for the best."
-- On his being named captain of the Texas Rangers.

   "Pretty sure" would be bad enough, but if you need to modify that with a "probably," you may as well just say what you're really thinking:

"Well you mouth-breathers, I'm stuck here forever and I'm too rich to kill myself.
Let's just get this over with so I can spend my retirement money somewhere other than Arlington, Texas. Hook 'em, Hor ... oh, nevermind."

   • Apparently -- according to the AP Wire at least -- Warren Sapp is refusing to do any interviews with ESPN as long as the network continues to air 'Playmakers,' their original program that essentially features a pro football team ...

   [ big breath in ]

   whose coach got cancer, whose starting running back is a heroin fiend and whose former starter probably beat his wife, whose wide receiver is gay and sham-married to a stripper and blackmailed onto IR by the owner, whose chief linebacker once paralyzed his own brother and now hates football, and whose quarterback is a getting-girls-pregnant, womanizing a-hole.

   And they still made the playoffs!

The show's critics panned it as gratuitous and unrealistic, a pumped-up caricature of a league that isn't nearly as bad off as the program suggests. ESPN claims the entire thing is just entertainment. The players, meanwhile, ranged from offended (Warren Sapp wouldn't do interviews with ESPN) to intrigued (several reports surfaced of players approaching the network asking for roles).
-- ABCNews has the story.

   Now, the use of the word "wouldn't" implies that self-imposed media exile is over for Mr. Sapp, who might be the only professional athlete today who would make out with a guy on camera for attention, then call it slavery if you used footage from his bad side. Yet the show is still, presumably, coming back to the network.

   So why exactly would he end the ban?

   I don't exactly know the answer to this question, but the idea that Warren Sapp is trying to keep himself off television is somehow hilarious. Maybe he realized that he wasn't able to live off his own legend and the NFL's apparently addiction to superstars, he'd only get press if he started shoveling snow into his truck in Hawaii.


January 24, 2004 - KKKonsolidate Your Student Loans
   Why I Can't Vote For John Kerry: If you've been here, this needs no explanation.

Kerry UNH
-- Try 3/16/03 if necessary.

While unstrapping his helmet Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. John Kerry , D-Mass., shares a laugh with former Boston Bruins player Lyndon Byers (34) after playing hockey during a campaign stop Saturday afternoon in Manchester, N.H. At the event, Kerry played hockey with former players of the NHL's Boston Bruins, members of the U.S. Women's National team, firefighters and New Hampshire high school players (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

   The best part is this could actually be construed into an actual reason not to vote for him if I wanted to start something. And the fact that Julie called this photo's inclusion in yesterday's comments before I could even get it posted? That also says more than I need to.

   In Other Hockey News: One afternoon after I had completely rationalized supporting the BU men's basketball team -- they 13-4, on a huge roll, I played basketball -- over the hockey team, the Icedogs not only beat No. 3 Maine 1-0, but get in a 11-game misconduct brawl with the Black Bears with a second left in the game.

   I'm probably still not going to the Beanpot, but it's nice to see signs of life again.


   • There's often a level of cuteness that goes with a surprise team making it to a championship game. There was none with the Patriots in 2001 -- New England is far too angry a place to be cute about anything -- but an Anaheim in the Stanley Cup Finals, or an Atlanta or a Carolina in the Super Bowl definitely falls into that category.

   Case in point being Friday's Super Bowl rally (reg. required) in downtown Charlotte.

Thousands of Carolina Panthers fans jammed the city's downtown streets Friday to cheer the Super Bowl-bound team, talking trash about everyone from New England defensive back Ty Law to talk show host David Letterman.

"We need a moment of silence," Panthers offensive lineman Kevin Donnalley said, momentarily quieting the large and raucous crowd that formed a sea of Panthers' black and blue. "For those poor Cowboy, Ram and Eagle fans. We need one more next week!"

Joining Donnalley at the pep rally were coach John Fox and several other players, including Mike Minter, Jordan Gross, Rod Smart and Brentson Buckner. Other speakers included pro wrestler Ric Flair and Bank of America chairman Ken Lewis, who predicted a 20-17 Panthers victory.

   I'm going to go out on a limb and think Ric Flair threw a few "Wooo!"s out to the collected masses. He may have also "styled and profiled," but at his age, he may just save that for WWE TV.

   But it got better, as the city struggled to find some bulletin board material.

Buckner reminded the fans that Law had once said they belonged to the Patriots after New England beat the Panthers in Charlotte.

"Rock your city!" he screamed as he handed the microphone to the next speaker.

   The game in question -- a 38-6 Patriot win and a 15th-straight Carolina loss -- came in Week 17 of 2001. Yes Virginia, Carolina is going two years back to fire up the crowd.

   And what a crowd it was.

No one could call Cindy Reilly anything but a die-hard fan. She came to the rally holding a large No. 4 and wearing kicker John Kasay's jersey with the same number.

"He makes the most points," she explained, adding that she's been a Carolina Panthers fan since their first year in the league.

   Quotes like these are one of many advantages TV has over newspapers. I bet it was just precious in the same way women like Tom Brady because they think he's going to ignore all the women he sees regularly and marry a regular fan at a game.

   But speaking of kickers, be sure to get your entries in Boston.com's latest wAcKy CoNtEsT, "If Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri were thinking of a number between 1 and 1,000, what would it be, and why?"

"Adam would be thinking of the number 58. That is one yard more than his present record. Adam is the kind of player that sets his goals and strives to achieve them. YOU GO ADAM!!!!!!"
-- I bet it sounds better if you're humming
"America The Beautiful" while reading it.


January 23, 2004 - APSE, Please Reject Me Gently
   Today's Quote Depressingly Completely In Context:

"Until we learn the lesson, we aren't beating anybody. I haven't had a team like this. I like this team as far as skill and we could be so much better. But we are not being thorough in the defensive area and we have to make sure of the little things. I like the fact we played hard but we were just dumb. We didn't recognize imminent danger. We made unbelievable mistakes and unbelievably bad reads."
-- BU coach Jack Parker, after tonight's 8-4 loss to noted assholes Maine.

   I was actually looking for the quote Parker had about goalie Sean Fields -- something to the effect of "Really, the first five weren't Fieldsy's fault" -- but this will have to do.

   Given my work schedule has moved and I would have to take time off to go to the Beanpot ... I think it's a definite warning sign. If it makes me a fair-weather alum that I'm considering not paying around $50 and losing two night's pay to go see my school get waxed, then friends, we may have to do the math.


   • Should I feel guilty for taking $30 off a group of very nice (one notably intoxicated) college kids via a poker game? The answer is no, as I see it, for three reasons.

   a) They invited me. And everybody was drinking, so we were all on an even playing field with the exception of arguably "the most powerful man on campus" given his job title, who appeared as though he'd been drinking since Tuesday morning. He was also sporting a playoff beard that made Tom Brady's look like the QB was an eight-year old, but after giving TMPMOC crap about it for three hours, that's needn't go on again.

   b) I need the $30. I've recently become addicted to Mountain Dew's Amp energy drink, which if it was sold in anything larger than crack vials would surely be the death of me. At $1.99 per 8.4-oz can, I'm not exactly looking to take a second job so I can drink thick, green B vitamins and amino acids.

   After roughly putting it off for a month, I went to the grocery store tonight. Highlights included buying apple cider, two big pieces of broccoli (knowing I'd end up throwing out one of them) and not buying fish because I overheard the fish counter person being "fish counter person excited" about the product she was selling.

   There has to be an investigation done on this.


   c) Somebody else won $60. And he came late!

   Because exactly a few of you may care, the table was not one where trying to straight-buy pots would be a good idea. A lot of people playing a lot of everything, with my winnings coming from my solid plays being rewarded by good luck.

   And yes, I did at least partially clean the apartment of the host. Some things, whether I'm pushing two years out or not, it seems will never change.


January 22, 2004 - Two Zero Five Thirty Nine
   For Young And Old Alike: I received two pieces of junk mail today. One was a college loan consolidation notice. The other? An invitation to join the AARP, nee the American Association of Retired Persons.

   Apparently, they're branching out.

   For 3l33t Gamerz Only: Maybe Howard Dean would have won the Iowa caucuses if more people had played his Dean For Iowa Flash game.

   If nothing else, it was fun to learn the hardest part about getting elected President is being able to avoid pet dogs.


   • At Boston University, athletics aren't always paramount. So we'll take what we can get. Namely:

"We're No. 14! We're No. 14!"

Boston University students may think he is number one, but judges at the 2004 College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship ranked BU mascot Rhett 14th in the nation last week.

Rhett, along with the BU dance and cheerleading teams, attended the event, held at Disney's Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Fla., from Jan. 16 to Jan. 18. They competed against 18 other mascots, several representing Big 10 and Atlantic Coast Conference schools.

This year was the third year he has competed in the championship, Rhett said. He placed fourth in the 2002 competition and ninth in 2003, but Rhett said he is not bitter about dropping down to 14th this year.

   The story goes on to say Rhett was undermanned by a short budget, which explains why his performance had to include "a car" and "excerpts from the Beatles and MC Hammer." It also explains how he lost to Michigan State's creatively named Sparty and an "I Love The '80s" routine.

   But really, all I know is I went to the varsity.com Web site to look for full results and, all of a sudden, my brain hurts.

   All I know is there aren't 13 other mascots I'm going to have at my wedding. Thanks for the idea, Scott.


January 21, 2004 - Too Cold To Car Wash
   Perception Is Reality: Long story short, Nick -- the mastermind behing the third jersey contest -- turned me into a South Park character today.

South Park
-- Left, Cooch's version. Right, Tavares version.

   So, I ask ... which do I actually look more like? This definitely falls under the "Who gives a crap?" category that 93 percent of my life's work does, but upon seeing how close Nick nailed my boss Jon Comey, I was motivated.

I work for this man.
-- This is the man.

   Also falling under the "Who gives a crap?" category, though certainly not my own work, is ESPN.com's Page 3, which will just discuss sports and entertainment ... because too many Page 2 purists were complaining about how sports wasn't getting all the attention it needed.

   It's the rough equivelant of if I started an offshoot-of-CW site to just discuss my golf game. I'm not even sure I'd read it.

   The Dean Speech: I finally watched the video of Howard Dean's Iowa speech -- the link is in the story -- and not surprisingly, I don't see what the big deal is. He's in a room full of young kids who think what they're doing is changing the world, so he's going to give them something to stay excited about. Yeah, George Bush wouldn't have made that speech. George Bush also wasn't Governor of fucking Vermont, which is just about three or four steps above if I ran for president out of my Whale City apartment.

   What really gets me though, and I suppose I shouldn't be shocked given it's FOX "Fair and balanced ... if you're a Republican" News, is the fact that they went to Pat Buchanan for a comment.

"Dean's Iowa defeat was a real setback to him, but his post-game commentary was a disaster. That tape will be on every national talk show, I don't think it's survivable."

   Thanks, Pat. I suppose you would be the one to ask since, last I checked, you once built an entire campaign around your hatred of Mexicans.


   • Maybe it's because I spent most of the evening at work tonight recounting the miserable history of the New England Patriots and eating goose jerky that our outdoor writer brought in, but I need an uplifting story.

   Pats Facts You Didn't Need To Be Reminded Of: Given where they drafted, the 1980's Patriots could have had Marcus Allen (No. 10, 1982), Dan Marino (No. 27, 1983) and Jerry Rice (No. 16, 1985 -- recd. from NE) to build their franchise around. They instead got Ken Sims (No. 1, 1982), Tony Eason (No. 15, 1983) and Trevor Matich (No. 28, 1985 -- recd. from SF).

   And you wonder how I was convinced to cheer for the Giants.


   Thankfully, today is a special day. I am not good with birthdays, as outside of the family, it typically takes me forgetting one to finally remember what it is. Well, there's one rare case where that didn't have to happen. That case is January 21, and that birthday belongs to Andi, who made it here previously this week standing next to a Moroccan stop sign.

Lobster Head
-- Here, she has a lobster on her head.

   Now, there are so many stories I could tell here than embarrass either the writer or the other, so I'm going to go with one that does neither.

   On my first trip out to visit Indiana in the summer of '99, Andi was dating a guy whose family had some farm animals. Whether or not they had an actual farm is something I don't remember, but given it's Indiana, I wouldn't doubt it. The family was away during the time I was out there, so Andi was responsible for taking care of the creatures until they got back.

   On the afternoon I landed out there, she hadn't done so yet, so I basically went from the airport to her house to this guy's place.

   And upon getting there, we jointly discover that one of their chickens has fallen into the large water trough the coop's residents use for drinking, and is very, very dead.

   Like bloated dead.

   Being the mature 19-year-old I am at this point, I refuse to touch the dead chicken, because it's obviously dead state would certainly give me leprosy or maggots or something. Though the actual details of who did what escape me, the chicken eventually gets put in a trash bag for "disposal."

   At which point one of us -- I have to guess it was me -- decides the only proper thing to do is to give the dead chicken a proper burial.

   So with Andi holding a bloated, dead chicken in a trash bag, I dig a hole next to the coop, the chicken goes in the hole and a rock goes on top of the whole thing once it's filled in. I'd like to believe someone made a little cross out of sticks or something, but I suspect there was little more than "a few words" and "emotional holding of one another" before the drive back to her house led me to exclaim, "Wow, there's a lot of corn here."

   The end.

   And happy birthday, dear.


January 20, 2004 - Flop This
   Why An Extra Hype Week Sucks: Because it allows Boston.com to have stupid contests like "Use Delhomme in a sentence!" for seven extra days.

"Jake Delhomme is quarterback of the Carolina Panthers, and at the Super Bowl he's gonna wish he was Del-done with playing football because Teddy Brewski is gonna pound him! Go Pats!!!"
-- That's great, Caleb of Cambridge.
Maybe by next week you can learn how to spell.

   The winner ended up being better spelled, but equally weak.

"De best football team in de NFL will win De-lhomme-bardi trophy."

   Yeah. Just like in 2001 ... right? It's amazing how quickly overconfidence breeds, and how the players genuinely don't buy into it.

   I'm just glad I get to use "asshat" in a sentence and not have it be about the State of the Union.


   • I'm not sure if it just so happened to fall that the State of the Union came on what will be Inauguration Day next year, but I'm sure it's a symbolism that a political columnist will (and already has) capitalize(d) on.

   The actual meat of Bush's speech wasn't surprising, and led me to watch an entire Howard Dean town hall meeting to cleanse my palate. Maybe I'd be more interested in what any of them were saying if Massachusetts' electoral votes weren't already in a Democratic vault somewhere in Boston, but instead, I'm left to wonder two things:

   -- What Tom Brady was really thinking the whole time. The White House press release listed Tom's reason for being there, beyond just being a guest of Mrs. Bush, was "Mr. Brady and his Patriots teammates have made an impact in their community by hosting a sports camp for local youth." Like most of the guests, he was never singled out, only really getting screen time when the president called on pro athletes to not take steroids.

   About 15 minutes into the speech, I wanted to turn the TV off and go to bed. It looked as though Tom hit that about 15 seconds in.

   Maybe he was just imagining all the witty responses he'll have to fire off when the press corps starts asking him stupid questions about it on Thursday.

   -- Why Nancy Pelosi's eyes don't want to close. I didn't make it through the Democratic rebuttal, mainly because it was as dry as the SotU was, but in some small part because Nancy Pelosi's face scares the living shit out of me.

Nancy Pelosi

   I have only a basic grasp on what her politics are, less because she's a California Democrat and more because when she looks into the camera, I feel like she can actually see into my soul. I am not making this up. There's at least a 40 percent chance that after I turned the TV off, she bit Tom Daschle's head for breathing too loud.

   Also receiving votes for an observation is that it should be made federal law that Ted Kennedy not be allowed to take his glasses off ever. They are the difference between him looking like one of the most respected and longest-serving U.S. Senators or a blob of dough dropped by a hydraulic press deep within a Pillsbury factory.

   Though just the talk of him makes me think of the story I was once told by a friend who saw him naked at the Kennedy compuond in Hyannis. I'm going to go shave my eyeballs now.


January 19, 2004 - Leatherface For President
   Just In Time For Tuesday: It's the State of the Union drinking game.

   In other unimportant political news, Wesley Clark is now using Clark bars in addition to a Patriots sweatshirt as a way to get elected. This would be the day's stupidest political move if Dick Gephardt wasn't quitting the race entirely because he lost the almost entirely meaningless in the long run Iowa caucuses.

   There is irony in the story where Gephardt essentially bows out being entitled, "Never give up, never give in," right? Irony even beyond the people in Iowa, the nation's most powerful state, deciding who will and won't be nominated for president?

   The fact that Dennis Kucinich lasted in the Democratic race longer than anyone is proof to me that democracy doesn't actually work. I would rather elect the new puppy president ... at least Sierra would be cute in the Christmas card.


   • I'm a real sucker for anniversaries. Thus the benefit of the archives.

   Two years ago today was The Snow Bowl Game -- truly the point when we all realized the New England Patriots were a very special sports franchise. A game which featured a primer Super Bowl party at my Boston apartment, and that sparked a snow football game outside that lasted until the police made us go back inside for fear of hitting parked cars.

   One year ago today was the day I cleaned Vito's kitchen basically because I felt challenged to -- something that took about two hours because most things were covered with a film of lard, and that left me with a rash on the back of my hand that stayed for at least three months.

   If you can somehow connect these two historic events in a way beyond their date and their location, you're truly a better man than I.


January 18, 2004 - Less Surprise About Being Super
   Meet The Puppy: In a shocking turn of events, we've gotten another pet.

     
-- Sierra Windsome Boo

   She's a two-year-old Siberian Husky who's already had puppies, and currently is afraid of nearly everything and everyone. Of course she's not afraid of my mother, who is the female exposition of Dr. Doolittle, but that goes without saying.

   Politics Shmolitics: I saw my first presidential campaign commercial today ... an ad for Howard Dean that said something I don't remember as being Earth shattering.

   On the plus side, he made no stupid Howard Dean faces throughout the whole ad.

   I look at all these pictures of candidates flipping pancakes, candidates bowling, candidates pretending to be normal ... I really don't care if candidates do the same things I do. Really, if I wanted a normal guy to be President, I'd just vote for myself.

   This meaningless bit of political drivel has been brought to you by me. Me, just trying to fill space before I turn this site into a poorly selling novel.

   Philadelphia Freedom: I know far too many Eagles fans to revel in their latest failure, but to not enjoy America's loudest and most obnoxious fan base having to suck up losing a third consecutive NFC title game is a neglectful waste for all America.

   If Howard Dean made a political commercial about that, then maybe we'd be getting somewhere.


   • And speaking of teams basking tonight in failure, I'd like you all to meet America's unluckiest Patriots' fan.


-- I bet I know what the sign says.

   We'll call her "Andi," and she has long been forced, living outside Indianapolis, to live a lie. A lie of Peyton Manning and that guy who wore the fake Pinocchio nose and is now probably depressed and/or drunk.

   Anyone who dresses that way, supporting one team or the other, is asking for trouble. Seriously ... just lay low. That's what Andi has done ... even going to far as to "pretend" she's a Colts fan and whine to me about Peyton Manning and New England having an open air stadium as the game was going on today.

"OK, we need to rally or something. but I must confess, I haven't been all about the Colts. I could've cared less. I decided that they might actually make it to the Super Bowl, so I should watch this game just in case.."
-- Genius. That's why I love her.

   That's dedication to a ruse!


   Over the next few weeks, there will be many quickly turning to the Patriots' cause. Self-proclaimed fans of other teams who respect what many are calling the best-run franchise, top to bottom, in any major sport. Tennessee Titan players who vented frustrations after their game with New England, but were obviously only covering their deep-seeded respect for the team.

"Everyone was talking about their defense. I thought it sucked. It'd be a shock to me if they were holding the trophy at the end of all this."
-- Guard Zach Piller, who enjoys sausage and pacifiers.

   They're all going to be climbing aboard the bandwagon directly, or cheering for the Panthers as another piece of an extremely elaborate ruse. I just don't want there to be any confusion about who the real fans are ... the real fans like Andi.

   I don't know what kind of jerk would lie about fandom anyway ... like, say, if they've gone on record as saying they're a bigger Giants fan than they are a Patriots one. People would see through that, right? No one would let them get away with it, yes?

   Thank goodness everyone knows I am the world's biggest fan of Scott Zolak, Jason Staurovsky, John Stephens and Marv Cook. I'd hate for there to be any confusion.


January 17, 2004 - Totally Social
   Tonight's Dream: Though it hasn't happened yet, I would imagine tonight I'll be thinking somehow of the 1,600-something e-mails I have waiting because I didn't check messages all day. Once a dork, always a dork.

   Not I did not say nerd, because after looking at this nerd test and barely scratching out a 16.67%, I truly don't feel I qualify for that putdown.

   If only their had been more question on the 1992 UMass Minutemen men's basketball team.


   • Because a day that somehow intertwines a high school basketball game, the Basketball Hall of Fame and a skating rink, it's probably just easiest to say the following: of those 1,600-something e-mails I'll be dreaming about later tonight, I gotta figure at least 1,575 of them are Valium spam.

   Trust me. It's much easier than my discussing that I'm an inexplicably average ice skater ... especially that I have a decent ability to stumble, but not fall.

   I'm as shocked as anyone by all of it.


January 16, 2004 - Almost Hung Over
   Michelle Wie: Hard to believe, but I will not be writing a column mocking 14-year-old Michelle Wie for barely missing the cut at this week's PGA Tour Sony Open in Hawaii. Sarcasm is an art lost on my print readership.

   I may, however, point out that she wore really big and goofy earrings all week. And that she whipped Annika Sorenstam, though I'll only say that so I can see how many times I get Googled for "annika sorenstam AND whip."


   • It's not often that one consumes both tira misu and three Bud Lights in the same night, but I had a hell of a dream after it was over.

   It somehow involved Gilette Stadium, terrorism and a bionic army made of arrows that shot themselves at people. I really wish I could piece together the details, because it would give me concrete proof that I'm the biggest loser I know.


January 15, 2004 - Yay For Brains
   When I Was A Boy ... : Roughly 350 Massachusetts school districts have cancelled classes and school events for Friday because of the bitter cold. Wind chills could rech 40 below in parts of the state, and it's been said it would only take about 10 minutes outside for frostbite to set in.

   I realize the closings are absolutely warranted because every parent is now lawsuit-happy, but come on ... I never got a "Cold Day."

   Though maybe I wouldn't care as much if the coworkers and I, now completely free because there's no school sports to cover, actually met up early Friday morning to start a day of heavy drinking as discussed.

   Patriot Nation: As little more than a shill, I'd just like to point out this excellent feature by my colleague and pal Mick Colageo. Given it's the first Patriots story he's done since the day Bill Belichick was hired, I think he was showing off. While you're at it, read this feature he did on Patrice Bergeron, understanding that Mick may be America's biggest Bruins fan.

   Now that you're all keyed up, read the column that the "Coming Soon" preview box in Thursday's paper said was "award-winning sports columnist Jon Couture breaking down the game."

Pats Have Gone From A Fluke To A Favorite
-- It's not so much analysis as observation. But then again, I'm not so much a writer as I am a sassy, young punk who believes he's invincible.

   • OK, kids. Today's lesson will be about the right and wrong ways to express yourself.

Pinocchio
-- From a Colts rally yesterday in Indianapolis

Indianapolis Colts fan David Beltz shows his support for the team during a Colts-sponsored poster give-away at Circle Center Mall in Indianapolis on Thursday. The Colts play the New England Patriots for the AFC Championship on Sunday. (AP Photo/John Harrell)

   This man believes he's helping his team, and is willing to make the presonal sacrifice of his appearance to show support. That's outstanding, but here's the problem.

   When I see this picture, here is the thought process:

Read sign that says "Colts fans smell victory."

Note he has a Pinocchio nose on.

Note Pinocchio's nose grew to this length when he told lies.

Deduce that Colts fan is lying about smelling victory.

   Many will say the long nose is all that allows the man to have this note on his face, and that I'm taking this too seriously. To them I note that you're arguing with me about a man wearing a fake nose and a corduroy hat in this age of 'Queer Eye', and that the Colts actually belong in Baltimore.

   Basically, if you don't see what I see, you're an idiot. Next topic: protesting George Bush!

Good and Bad

At left: Protesters Mary Fries, left, and Dr. Kristina Watkins, second left, from Decatur, Ga., shout from across the street while President Bush made a stop at the Martin Luther King, Jr., crypt in Atlanta on Thursday.
At right: Another protestor, same place. (AP Photos/Ric Feld)

   Now, I'm not going to get into the politics of this, because the only way I can see myself actually interested in anything that happens in that world over the next year is if Gen. Wesley Clark gets the Democratic nomination -- even then, I'd have to move out of Massachusetts for my vote to really matter.

   We're merely encouraging Americans to think a little harder.

   On the left, you see two people who actually gave their protest ideas a little thought. One taped her mouth closed -- a clear statement of her reaction to President Bush's policies -- while the other poetically asked a valid question in regards to who was attending and the day's honoree.

   On the right, you see what happens when people who rode short buses get posterboard and paintbrushes.

"GO HOME YOU STINK"

   Let's ignore the fact that the side of the sign actually pointing in the direction of Bush is the other one, meaning our protestor is either even stupider than advertised, or decided her second protest slogan of "WHATEVER DOODOOHEAD" was more thought in regards to the day.

   Let's imagine if Martin Luther King Jr. was still alive -- ignoring that Bush wouldn't be in Atlanta and going to his crypt in the middle of January -- and he was looking over the protest happening that day. What do you think he'd do?

   While I didn't know the man, we did go to the same school at completely different times for completely different things. Using that knowledge, I think it's safe to say he would have starting whaling "GO HOME YOU STINK" with a sack full of quarters.

   I have a dream too, you know.


January 14, 2004 - "80! 80! Alright!"
   Let's just begin things by establishing the day's theme.

Cooch at the Fleet
-- Unimpressive.

   The Poker Tournament: Suffice to say it did not go well. Of the 246 people in the field, I beat exactly 44 of them.

   The culprit wasn't exactly so much my playing too aggressive, it was more my getting a lot of good draws that quickly became worthless. Had I truly been aggressive, I could have possibly stole some early hands. Therefore, my sucking will be recorded as the official culprit.

   Red Sox, Take Note: A small English soccer club who has scored just three goals at home, but 31 on the road, will be bringing in witches to attempt to cure any curse on their home ground.

   Oh wait, we've already done this.


   • Speaking of sucking ...

Before the stomping.
-- From the press seats.
(Not shown: The fans sitting in front of us, as we were the low-level press.)

   The one overarching feeling of the Celtics 95-80 loss to the Rockets tonight was cold. Not "intermittent chill," not "drafty apartment," but cold. The players spent most of the game blowing on their hands cold ... as though the FleetCenter was little more than a three-walled pavilion.

   As it was explained to colleague Ed and I, it's apparently always cold on the floor, but never as bad as it was tonight. It probably would have helped if we weren't sitting near the more open end of the building, but it is asanine that an NBA arena could have a floor temperature of somewhere around 45 degrees. I can't fathom no one has bitched to the league about this.

   Despite that, it was a good time once we got our bearings and everything. We walked up to the press halo on the ninth floor, then determined by trial and error that the press room and actual floor is on the third floor of the Fleet.

   I wonder if the elevator operators and police officers around noticed we were walking by all the same things 3-4 times.


-- Insert 'packed house' joke here.
(Our seats circled on Rockets end of the floor.)

   As the actual game will be written about by better scribes elsewhere -- the theme was quickly established as Jiri Welsch's game-opening shot by blocked by Yao Ming's elbow -- I'll still to what I know.

   The banal and insignificant.

   • In honor of Ellen, I saw former Red Sox slugger Sam Horn and Gov. Mitt Romney at the game, the second of which was snapping photos with people and schmoozing as a human version of Our Savior should and would. This was in addition to all the press people you'd expect to see at a Celtics, namely Bob Ryan, radio broadcaster Cedric "My Number Retirement Is A Sham" Maxwell, and TV guys Mike Gorman and Tommy Heinsohn.

   Ed very quickly decided that Gorman and Heinsohn don't like each other off the floor because they don't eat together before the game. I didn't really think about it much, though I will say you really don't realize just how massive a man Heinsohn is until you're level with his biceps in the buffet line. Shocking that there would be tall people at a basketball game, I know.

   • The buffet, while we're on it, was nothing spectacular, but far better than the "box lunch" bullcrap pulled during the playoffs at Yankee Stadium. Little salad, little sausage and peppers, and eschewing the chicken, rice and veggies for extra tira misu and cookies. No wonder my midsection looks like a pale, damp bag of wet leaves.

   • Given Yao was making his only trip to Boston this season, it was "Asian American Night" at the Fleet. This means that during the first TV timeout, when the three pre-teen Asian breakdancers came out to ostensibly entertain the crowd, we not only couldn't boo them because they were like 12, we couldn't boo them because it would have been racist.

   I also would have expected less booing of Yao on AAN, but his 21-point, 15-rebound performance was met with much swearing and shouts that he sucks. Though maybe using a sample size of no more than "that guy like fifteen rows behind me" wasn't the most scientific method.

   • Of interest only to Vito because he does this stuff for a living, perhaps the best ad placement in history goes to NEXL Network Systems, whose Web address flashes on the wraparound message board on the balcony every time the Celtics hit a three-pointer. Danny Ainge influence or not, if you've watched the Celtics at all in the last five years, you realize just how sound this ad strategy is.

   • As has become the team's custom, the Celtics were in the game until the third quarter, at which time they imploded and fell from five behind to 13 behind. The only time the crowd got at all loud was when a reverse jam by Ricky Davis made it 82-68 with 5 and change to go.

   Off a timeout, Cuttino Mobley -- a favorite of Ed's given they both attended URI -- hit a pair of threes and ensured this update's title would be at excited as the fans would get the rest of the night.

   • I did finish the night by walking across the parquet, likely getting myself on FOX Sports New England's postgame show for a second or so. If I'd been smart, I would have had Ed snap a picture of me doing so, since this will likely be the only time that happens without me being arrested.

   We don't really need to type out the punchline to that joke though, do we?


   Looking for a historical hook, the whopping four points Paul Pierce put up marked the first time in 110 games he failed to score in double digits. Call me crazy, but something tells me Wednesday's paper may have some "injury story" lurking near the fold.

   Though really, I can't fault him for shooting cold. He may as well have been playing on the friggin rink.


January 13, 2004 - Who Needs A Narrative?
   The New York Post regaled us with a back page reading "WHAT AN ASSTRO!" Only in The Naked City, friends. Only in The Naked City could they go beyond the bounds of even what I'd print here.

   For Those About To Scalp: Roughly 1,000 individual game tickets for Sunday's AFC Championship were put on sale by Ticketmaster today at 10 a.m. They sold in two minutes.

   Don't fret, though. If you've got $3,300 burning a hole in your pocket ...

   ... you should go buy a friggin HDTV that lets you and a buddy see the game where it's warm and will actually be worth something on Monday morning.


   • At 8 a.m. on Wednesday morning, I will be playing in my first-ever multi-table poker tournament. It's online, and for $11, I have a shot at winning a first prize that will probably be somewhere in excess of $1,000.

   Of course, I have a much better shot of losing $11, but that goes without saying.

   The fact that this is how I'm spending my morning, as opposed to going to Foxboro to hear Bill Belichick wittily say nothing and make us like it, will hopefully be rewarded by the poker gods in allowing me to make a little green for a morning's debauchery.

   Even if not though, my evening will be spent at the Celtics-Rockets game. Because really, I didn't get enough of the Asian media hordes going to New York City to watch Hideki Matsui play baseball.

   That's all. I'm going to go figure out why I think my jaw is crooked.


January 12, 2004 - The Fat And The Less Fat
   Rejoice. The Picture of the Moment is back.

Sumo Marriage
-- And it made a couple buffet trips during its vacation.

Former sumo wrestler Konishiki, left, and his wife, Chie Iijima, attend a press conference to announce their marriage at a Tokyo hotel on Monday after Konishiki registered his marriage to the 28-year-old former medical worker on Jan. 7. Konishiki, a native of Hawaii, who was the first foreign-born sumo wrestler to attain the Japan's traditional sport's second-highest rank of ozeki, has taken up a career as a TV celebrity in Japan since retiring from sumo in 1997. (AP Photo/Chiaki Tsukumo)

   It should be noted that Cooch's World is in no way trying to mock the traditional Japanese sport of sumo, with it's tradition and skill set.

   Cooch's World would, however, like to point out that the first non-Japanese yokozuna in history, Akebono, recently fought Bob "The Beast" Sapp in a K-1 bout, producing this photo:

Akebono vs. Bob Sapp
-- He lost, by the way.

   Things We Are Mocking: In a move sure to make offering a hearty FU to the state universities of northern New England much easier, the Vermont Ca(n')tamounts will be joining Hockey East in 2005-06.

   Hopefully by then, the currently 6-6-6 Terriers will have remembered how to play and why they enjoy playing the sport of ice hockey.


   • On a day like this, when Roger Clemens announced he was ending his 70-something day retirement to sign a one-year deal with the Houston Astros, I'm reminded of something Bill Simmons once wrote and will surely reference in the coming days (if not Tuesday).

"Will Roger Clemens ever be loved by any group of baseball fans?"

   The answer is probably not, if you look at "a group of baseball fans" as those who support the same team. His only real shot is in Houston, and that'd take a World Series title he was the force behind winning. Toronto fans got nothing from him other than two Cy Young's, and that means nothing now. Clemens did nothing really to endear himself to Yankee fans, who will show that by the headlines in Tuesday's Post and Daily News. And Boston? We needn't really get into that, though Clemens did finally get down to his home to pitch.

   It just took him nine years.

   I dare say I'm taking joy in watching how a lot of Yankee fans are responding to Clemens backing off his retirement statements to go somewhere else. I would dare say I'm floored -- did you really think he'd be any different with you? I'm not even getting into that, had he not said he was retiring, he wouldn't have resigned with the Yankees anyway. Is this really such an act of treason? He did it in Toronto! Plenty will tell you he did it in Boston!

   Just because you're the Yankees doesn't make you special!

   Consider this my official prediction that "TREASON" or "TRAITOR" will make it's way into a headline somewhere in NYC. Tabloids aren't that hard to read.

   The simple fact is I respect Clemens as a pitcher. I realize he trains incredibly hard when he has to, and that he is little more than a mercenary. He left Boston to continue his career and make money. He left Toronto to win a championship. He left New York to go home.

   Yes, kids. People actually leave New York to go elsewhere. Seems many figured every city in America doesn't smell like rancid hot dog water.


January 11, 2004 - Behind In More Ways Than Two
   Yinka Dare Is Dead: So I learned from James, so I confirmed with The New York Times. If you knew who Yinka Dare was before clicking on the Times link, you either attended an A-10 school in the early-to-mid '90s, followed an A-10 school in the early-to-mid '90s, were a New Jersey Nets fan in the early-to-mid '90s, or have problems you need to have clinically checked out before the end of the week.

   Also, the fact that one could create a NYT News Tracker to alert of any fresh Yinka Dare news proves the Internet is worthless and should be scrapped.

   If, however, this already hadn't.

   Binion's Horseshoe Is Dead: Also old news, the home of the World Series of Poker was closed Friday night by federal marshals. Oddly enough, what could be the final hands of poker played at Binion's were nicely documented.

   As vegas. will testify, the only money I used at Binion's yielded lunch. If I remember right, I spent most of lunch trying to guess the Keno numbers before they were drawn. Sadly, I don't even remember what I ate. Some kind of sandwich and fries.

   Unlike the rest of the trip, where I remember I ate most of my innocence with a side of my retirement fund.

"Becky Behnen was not available for comment. Nick Behnen, her husband and the property's former marketing executive, was reached at home by telephone but shouted a profanity at a reporter before hanging up."
-- I know, Nick. I was all broken up about it too.

   • Now, let's talk about a little not new popular music.

My Milkshake brings all the boys to the yard,
and their like it's better than yours.
Damn right, it's better than yours.
I could teach you, but I have to charge

My Milkshake brings all the boys to the yard,
and their like it's better than yours.
Damn right, it's better than yours.
I could teach you, but I have to charge
-- Kelis, Milkshake

   That's the chorus to "The Milkshake Song," as it's affectionately known. As the site address shows, Kelis is British, which in a lot of ways explains why the song is so damn weird. What's above is pretty much the meat, as it's repeated several times with few other lyrics sprinkled in.

I know you want it.
The thing that makes me
what the guys go crazy for.
They lose their minds.
The way I whine.
I think it's time.

La, La ... La, La, La, La.
Warm it up.
La, La ... La, La, La, La.
The boys are waiting.
La, La ... La, La, La, La.
Warm it up.
La, La ... La, La, La, La.
The boys are waiting.

   Because I'm who I am, this song reminds me more of the far superior The Ketchup Song than it does Angry Salad's Milkshake Song.

   I am on record as saying the average European/British pop song is far superior to the average American one -- a fact I assure you is based on little more than my hatred of democracy. The fact that 'Milkshake' comes from England probably hurts my case a little bit, but I'd hardly call anything this insipid an average British pop song.

   I venture 'Milkshake' is talking about shaking one's boobs for attention -- that's the kind of analysis only a college degree can provide. Therefore, it's not in the same vein as 'The Ketchup Song,' which as far as I can tell, has absolutely nothing to do with ketchup. Course, most of it is in Spanish, but whatever.

   I'm not exactly sure what point I'm trying to drive home here. I had originally thought this was starting a whole wave of songs with titles based on edible products only tangentially related to the actual songs, but it doesn't look like we're going in that direction. The Mayonnaise Song is still just a bad parody, with others just being bus fare or odd folk music.

   Whatever. It's all still better than 'Wannabe,' which was much like World War II in that I hoped it just never made it across the ocean to get here.

   This all would be much easier if I just posted MP3 of the songs, but I'm strictly on the up and up with such things. That and actually taking the time to search and download 'Milkshake' is time I can't afford to spend after the excess 45 minutes of 'Cold Mountain.'

   There's a good movie in there somewhere. It's just buried deep enough as for a person to need hip waders to get to it.


January 10, 2004 - Let's Do It Again Next Week
   Cold Mountain: The person I saw it with will tell you it's just a bunch of other movies mashed together into one. I will tell you it was about 35 minutes too long, if not more. Seriously ... I just kept hoping it would abruptly end because there was nothing overly compelling happening.

   In the end, I'm just glad I didn't really have to truly decide if I would pay to see this, because I know what I would have decided and I'm not sure I can sit quietly in one place for 201 minutes.

   Let's just move on before I get myself in trouble.

   Welcome To The Jungle: Two new Web geeks to speak of, as Steph Knodler and Shawn DeVeau. While both are generally angry/sarcastic, I only have a photo of one. And it's of Shawn partying with his boys in Vegas.

S and the boys.
-- I like boy bands!

   • A short note about one of today's football games. It's a little something I wrote in September 2002.

"The Rams are perpetual favorites solely on their talent. While Vegas isn't proving to be the best barometer this season, they really only need to consider one other factor when handicapping St. Louis. Mike Martz is awfully smug for having a 2-2 record in the playoffs."
-- Make that 2-3. Coaching scared usually doesn't win games.

   Non-football fans, what would you do? With four minutes to go, you trail 23-12. Yet you've managed to score a touchdown, two-point conversion and recover an onside kick. It's now 23-20, there are 37 seconds left and your team has driven to the opponents' 15 and has a first down?

   Do you take a couple chances at winning the game with a touchdown, or run the clock down and just kick the game-tying field goal? Bear in mind you're at home, and facing a team that has made it's money this year winning games late and in overtime.

   Even without those last facts, I think I've made my point.


   And regarding the day's other game ...

Patriots 17 - 14 Titans
AFC Divisionals
1
2
3
4
FIN
#1 Patriots
7
7
0
3
17
#5 Titans
7
0
7
0
14

   First things first, I can't express enough how much I hope Kansas City beats the Colts on Sunday afternoon. I would feel much better about a Patriots-Chiefs AFC title game than a Patriots-Colts one. Either way you're facing an explosive offense ... I'd rather face the one with almost no defense than the one with kind of a defense.

   I'd also rather face a team that won't get to see Pats' offensive coordinator Charlie Weis call the "snap lateral pass to a wideout" seven times in one game. It didn't work the first time. It didn't work the second time.

   The only time it worked was the seventh time, and that was for the Titans because David Givens fumbled the ball.

   "Lucky" may be the wrong word, but New England certainly didn't play their best game of the year on Saturday night. Tennessee found a little something that worked against New England's packages, but as usual, the Patriots had just enough to win the football game. However, as hot as New England came out, to barely cobble together three points in the second half is not going to win a lot more games from this point out.

   Despite my arguing it to the contrary, the Pats need to take more shots deep down the field on Tom Brady's arm. It worked early in tonight's game, and it'll work presumably again against whomever is next. It's not likely to be as cold, which will help the offense, though even barely double digit temps will be a nice cushion if Indy does somehow manage to win on Sunday.


   And one other small note to friends and associates. I'm not one of those people who's going to freak out if you call me during a football game -- those days are long since behind me -- but don't ask me to do something else while a football game like tonight's is going on unless you understand I'm going to say no roughly 8 times out of 10.

   It generally depends on who you are and what you're proposing, but when it's a game that I generally have to watch for work -- which at this point is all of them -- you're probably better served saving the few cents the call will cost you.

   I'm not angry at the person who called me tonight, just offering a little food for thought. Especially considering tonight's game gave me about eight heart attacks.


January 9, 2004 - Frozen Tundra
   Just Chillin': The following was sent out by the New England Patriots this evening. I have no illusions about being a media outlet, but I'm posting it anyway.

MEDIA ADVISORY
January 9, 2004

FIRST 10,000 FANS TO ENTER GILLETTE STADIUM
WILL RECEIVE FREE HAND WARMERS

DUNKIN DONUTS TO PROVIDE FREE COFFEE
IN THE STADIUM PARKING LOTS

FANS ENCOURAGED TO ADHERE TO
MEDICAL ADVICE AND DRESS APPROPRIATELY

   The New England Patriots are making final preparations for tomorrow night's AFC Divisional Playoff game against the Tennessee Titans, the first playoff game to be played at Gillette Stadium.

   Fans arriving early for the game will receive free Dunkin Donuts decaffeinated coffee. Four Dunkin Donuts mobile units will distribute coffee throughout the stadium's parking lots. Lots to the stadium open at 4:00 p.m.

   In addition, the first 10,000 fans to enter Gillette Stadium (gates open at 6:00 p.m.) will receive free hand warmers that provide up to 10 hours of air-activated natural heat.

   The Patriots are also encouraging fans to heed the advice of medical professionals regarding appropriate preparations for the cold weather. The advice listed below is courtesy of Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Appropriate Dress

   Wear at least three, but ideally four or more, layers of clothing. Loose-fitting shirts and pants over a thin close layer to insulate the body and retain warm, dry air. An initial layer of polypropylene, silk or wool then a layer of wool, thinsulate or fleece and then heavy water and wind resistant coat and pants are advised. Body parts farthest from the heart and chest lose warmth the quickest, so covering the head, neck and hands is imperative. Although cotton is comfortable, it is one of the least useful materials when trying to stay warm and tight or constricting clothing will do more harm than good.

   Bringing a blanket will also be useful as it may provide additional insulation and provide an extra outer layer of protection. Cheeks, ears, nose, fingers and toes are the most prone to frostbite. Hats, scarves and turtlenecks can help protect these areas as well as a facemask.

Drink Warm Beverages

   Coffee and hot chocolate will be sold throughout Gillette Stadium. Fluids are important in cold weather. Stay hydrated.

Alcohol

   Alcoholic beverages prevent the body from generating heat. As always, please drink in moderation. Alcohol can cause dehydration, making one more susceptible to cold weather.

Gillette Stadium Services

   As always, fans are reminded to seek assistance from stadium ushers to answer any questions or concerns. First Aid stations are located at mid-field on both the Upper and Main Concourses of the stadium. Brigham and Women's hospital provides the medical staffing for each First Aid station.

   I'm sure the Packers sent out a similar message before the Ice Bowl game in 1967. As I would have both then and now, you couldn't give me free tickets to the game Saturday night. Not when TV gives me free instant replays and the ability to feel my limbs within three hours of the game's conclusion.

   The Friendly's Phenomenon: There may be no restaurant in the country with such a defined character as Friendly's. Each time you go to one of their many francises, you know exactly what you're getting.

   -- Average food.
   -- Average to below average service.
   -- A bill lower than $30.
   -- The scent of Friendly's in your clothes until you wash them.

   It's outstanding, really. Certainly better than the average Denny's, where on any given night you could either have the most blissful fried meal in history or walk out with chlamydia.


   • Now then ... on to the jerseys.

   Generally speaking, I seem to actually like a few more of the jerseys than most people. While there are plenty of efforts where it seems like teams are trying too hard, there are at least a few theat don't make me go blind.

   Anaheim's isn't so much ugly as it is weird. That's a home jersey ... you really don't need to have your city name prominently featured on a home jersey. It seems like a shot at being more traditional though ... that or pretending they're the Angels.

   Atlanta's wouldn't bother me so much if they didn't have different colored sleeves. Never mind that the light blue is awful ... having "Atlanta" down one side and not the other is weird at best.

   Boston's is pretty bad, especially considering how much I like their normal white jerseys. This is begging for some new cartoony bear face, much like when BU turned their logo from an actual Boston Terrier to the cartoony kind.


-- Hi. I'm one of America's ugliest dog breeds.

   Optimum would be scrapping it altogether, but that probably won't happen.

   Buffalo's has the all-too-common "putting the city on the jersey" thing going on, plus the "weird alternate logo that needn't be the big." I've hated every logo their team has ever had.

   Calgary's, on the other hand, I don't like because I like the "flaming C" logo. Granted, the horse makes more sense in the home of the Calgary Stampede, but in that case, change the team name rather than continuing to use that of the old Atlanta Flames.

   There's an alternate universe somewhere where the Devils are actually the New Jersey Rockies, keeping their name from Colorado. I'm glad I don't live in that universe.

   I wouldn't say I like Chicago's, but at least it's plausible. Exactly the same as their regular jerseys, but black. EXTREEEEEMMMEEEE!

   Colorado has such a nice logo normally, anything not featuring it should be shelved. Though this really isn't bad for a change. The colors are different enough that they don't really look like the Rangers, a problem UMass Lowell will have til the end of time.

   While it is a little gaudy, I have to give Columbus credit for deftly getting the Ohio flag into their unis. And really, when your other logo prominently features a bug with goofy eyes, I'd go as far as to say I like it.

   Dallas I can't really put into words. That may be the ugliest logo I've ever seen not on a concept board. I can't fathom someone gave the green light to this, never mind several someones.

   If Edmonton worked a little bit of orange trim into what I call "The Bionic Oildrop," I would buy this on a hat and you'd all keep asking me what it was like you do with the Nashua hat and the Angry Uncle Sam hat.

   Florida's is exactly the same as the Panthers jersey I bought circa '95, but features the cat breaking a stick. The fact that I bought this jersey says all it needs to.

   I'm not really sure how I feel about L.A.'s jersey. I think I hate it, but the purple, black and silver works much better than the black and silver of the Gretzky era.

   Minnesota's is among my favorites just because they actually had old-time hockey in Minnesota, and thus can pull it off. The seal, however, could stand to be a little bigger.

   By the way, the old North Stars logo is among my all-time favorites. They added some black trim to their jerseys right before the move to Dallas -- viewable here from 1990-91 -- at which point I immediately became a North Stars fan.

   Between them, the Whalers and how Cam Neely's career ended, no wonder I'm so meh about hockey now.


   I could write a whole day's update about what's wrong with the Nashville jersey, and I wouldn't even have to bring up the fact they play hockey in Nashville.

   The Islanders jersey is way too plain. I like the logo -- I may have actually been one of the few to tolerate their Gorton's Fisherman look of 1996-97 -- but that's too much orange for a team who isn't the Flyers.

   The Rangers, on the other hand, was my favorite third jersey when the idea first started in 1995, and remains among my favorites now.

   Speaking of Philadelphia though, it's hard to see in that photo that the logo and numbers have a thick silver border around them that's meant to give a 3D appearance. Instead, it makes the jerseys look like a printing error, which really isn't what one is going for in apparel.

   Oops, I skipped over Ottawa. Let's keep it that way.

   San Jose needs more of their trademark teal. Last I checked, the city wasn't ghetto enough for that much black.

   Toronto's would be fine by me if I didn't like their previous, non "old school" logo, a little bit more. You really need the shoelaced collar if you're going to go for that look.

   And lastly, Vancouver's jersey uses a red gradient on the bottom. That's just a bad idea on all sides.

So to recap:

Good: Minnesota, Rangers, Columbus, Florida
Awful: Nashville, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Dallas
Mediocre To Poor: Everyone Else.

   I thank you all for playing.


January 8, 2004 - Go Ahead. Pick The Titans.
   The Pete Rose Interview: I watched it, and of course have something to say about it. Even beyond this.

   -- Why does Pete have a small No. 14 stitched on the collar of his white dress shirt? Does he need to have dress shirts he can easily identify as his own? Is he selling official Pete Rose dress shirts? Is his name stitched somewhere on the back?

   -- I probably should have known this already, but Fay Vincent is the one who wrote up the Giamatti-Rose agreement. No wonder he's been so vocal on all this ... I thought he was just a busybody.

   -- In denying he was a compulsive gambler, Rose said he never bet the rent money or the electric money ... something along those lines. Later, it was implied he had to sell memorabilia to pay massive gambling debts. Someone's full of it.

   -- This is the cover of Pete Rose's book.


-- This says pretty much all that
needs to be said all by itself.

   For Those Who Think I've Been Blowing Them Off: Here's exhibits A and B.

Loose Lips Sink Ships
-- The big story, in which we learn, amazingly, that people within the Patriots and in the NFL don't really want to talk about Bill Belichick.


Sox or Pats: Who Rules The Roost?
-- A front page story that I ended up crafting into an all-out column instead, mainly because I felt I had more to say than the people I'd find at the local sports bar. If you're only going to read one, read the other.

   • First off, the grammar error in the first sentence of the Rose column is why I stopped reading my columns when they're printed in the newspaper. I figure I'm not going to learn anything I didn't know, as I'm the one who wrote everything in there anyway.

   I'm just shocked none of you said anything.

   Second, I'm waiting a day to discuss the third jerseys -- see Jan. 7 and comment, damn it -- mainly because I know there's more opinions to be fired out before I launch mine. You know you all love it when NHL teams get wacky ... some of the initial third jerseys have since become the main jerseys for these teams.

Kings  Ducks  Coyotes
-- Some, however, have not.

   So instead of that long-winded discussion, let's go to here, where even more frightening possibilities frolic openly across the plain. And the graphic on the 1990's page where all the WHA uniforms turn into relocated teams? One single tear ...

   What can I say? I miss the Whalers.


January 7, 2004 - Three Stories, No Quotes
   Today's Moment Of Age: Played during an old school lunch today -- Letters To Cleo's "Here And Now," which was released in 1993 and you probably heard via this show. I suppose I wasn't really paying attention when this came out, but it's close enough to have me concerned for the future.

   Finances: In honor of the ending of "finances month," I discover I spent roughly $23,000 last year. When it gets put as cold as that it seems a lot, but given how and where I live, I suppose it really isn't.

Various breakdowns that may be of interest to no one:

Rent: $5,700
College Loans: $2,401.75
ATM Withdrawals: $4,255

   Thankfully, I made more than all these numbers.


   • OK, everyone. Reader participation time.

   Spawned by a discussion of the subject in the office, I now present to you the 21 third/alternate jerseys currently being used in the NHL, as prepared by young sports superstar Nick Tavares.

The Jerseys
-- Scanning and assembly was by me,
which would be why it looks pretty weak.

   Now then, which are:

   -- your favorites

   -- your least favorites

   -- your comments on the rest

   -- et cetera


   We went so far as to rank all 21, so feel free to do that as well.

   If nothing else, it's better than just culling Fark for links.


January 6, 2004 - An Outside Chance
   Foto Frenzy: Another addition to the Posse with the addition of Jen P.. This would now be the cue for you to send your picture in, you. That way when I talk about the time I found you passed out drunk on the bathroom floor, people will be able to match a face to the name.

   And really, isn't that what this site is all about? Sharing the shame of it actually being here for pushing three years?

   Patriots Fun Fact Of The Day: Defensive lineman Ted Washington, whose size I am more accurately stating is two times me widthwize, keeps three large containers of Mentos in his locker. Plastic containers full of mini packs, wrapped in the old-school foil versus the new-school box.

   As he is an angry man who may take offense to such a blatant publication of his training secrets, you did not hear this from me.


   • As each day of late leaves me about seven minutes to write the update any time before noon, and I am now on minute nine of those seven, we will have to look to others for our amusement. And really, what could be funnier than McDonalds trying to act healthy.

Jeff Cronin, a spokesman at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, called McDonald's new initiative "a step in the right direction." But he said "if McDonald's really wants to give consumers good information about their choices, they would at least put calorie counts on menu boards right alongside the price, where consumers could see them at the point of decision-making."

   Calorie counts on menu boards? The only way McDonalds can truly help people make better choices is by mocking them when they order.

Customer: "I'd like a Big Mac meal, super-sized, with a Diet Coke please."
Clerk: "Yeah, because the diet soda makes it OK, chubs."

   Take it from a guy who had four slices of pizza for lunch.


January 5, 2004 - Who Needs Sleep? Me.
   Gambling (Opinion) Of The Day: It's always nice to write a column and then be told "it's too rational."

Charlie Hustler: Rose Comes Clean, But Who Cares?
-- Granted, I was asked for a "Pete Rose is a jerk" column.

   • And I quote:

Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry said he wasn't surprised by the endorsement from his former Senate colleague (and Cooch vote recipient). "I think endorsements are dubious. Look, Gore endorsed him and the race isn't over," Kerry said.

   Yes. Technically, Dennis Kucinich could still be our next President.

   As could I, you and Fred Babbitt, who famously told us in numerous times to crisis, "time to make the donuts."

   Now that's a platform I could get behind.


January 4, 2004 - Every Rose Has It's Thorn
   Gambling News Of The Day: In a shocking turn of events, Pete Rose has admitted he bet on baseball because he thinks it will help him get in the Hall of Fame.

"It's time to clean the slate, it's time to take responsibility," Rose says in the interview. "I'm 14 years late. I just never had the opportunity to tell anybody that was going to help me. ... I couldn't get a response from baseball for 12 years. It's like I died and, and they knew I died and they didn't want to bring me back.
They were just going to let me rot."
-- Those heartless bastards.

   I'm generally ambivalent on the fate of Pete Rose, likely because I never saw him play or him as anything but a pasty white shill willing to sell toilet paper he wiped with for profit. And in my world, if you murder someone, you don't get to skip jail because you admit to doing it.

   By admitting Rose in the Hall, Bud Selig is killing what A. Bartlett Giamatti set forth in no uncertain terms -- you don't bet on the game, period. If you do, they you don't get to be in the game anymore. That's pretty damn clear.

   Course, Selig isn't exactly competent when it comes to things like this.

   Maybe what bothers me the most is Rose strikes me as a crappy gambler.

"During the times I gambled as a manager, I never took an unfair advantage. I never bet more or less based on injuries or inside information. I never allowed my wagers to influence my baseball decisions. So in my mind, I wasn't corrupt."
-- Yeah, why do that. You might WIN MORE BETS.

   • All this negative press and sad news everywhere ... I just don't know where to turn anymore.

   Thank goodness Britney Spears is above it all.

Maloof denied rumors that Spears was drunk and had to be carried out of the Rain nightclub inside the Palms on New Year's Eve. "I was with her the whole night," he said. "None of those reports were accurate. She was just having a good time."

   So, this will help sales of "In The Zone" how? We're all supposed to be so relieved we have a shot with Britney Spears, we'll go out and buy the album to make her love us? Just go with a sex tape like everyone else. No time to change the world.

   Though at this point ...


January 3, 2004 - 1024 By 768 Equals Nerd Humor
   Celebrity News Of The Day: Apparently, Britney Spears got married today in Las Vegas to a childhood friend from Louisiana. This definitely falls into the "news no human being should give two [bleep]s about" department, and yet, here's we are reading from ABC News.

Spears' new husband is Jason Allen Alexander, who is from Kentwood, La., according to People.com, the online arm of the Time Warner publication. The two, who are both Louisiana natives, tied the knot early Saturday morning in Las Vegas at the Little White Wedding Chapel on the Strip, People.com said.

The bride wore jeans and baseball cap, according to People.com, and had a hotel bellman walk her down the aisle. People.com reported that Spears and Alexander journeyed to the Little White Wedding Chapel after a stop at the Ghostbar, a club in the Palms Casino Hotel.

   As vegas. would gladly tell you, the area near those wedding chapels is not exactly somewhere you want to be in the daylight p.m., never mind the darkened a.m. But such is the life of celebrity.

   I will say though if Britney married BU alum Jason Alexander, I would at least steal all the tracks on her new album as opposed to mocking them outright.


   • New Year's means one thing: alcohol poisioning. But if it were to mean two things, it would also mean a time for resolutions. Promises made to one's self the American way -- with the full knowledge they will be broken and forgotten by the time all the snow melts.

   Course in New England this winter, that may mean next week.

   Several years ago, I just stopped making NYRs when I realized I had never made one. However, with the alternative being talking about football and/or Britney Spears getting married, let's give it a shot.

   Getting back in above-average shape. Over the past three or four months, I'd have to estimate I've gained something like 10 pounds. Granted, this isn't exactly cause for concern, but it's disconcerting enough when I have the cliched "treadmill in the apartment that hasn't been used in months."

   Given the adventure moving a big treadmill in and out of a Saturn is, this alone should make using it worth my while. But really, sitting on the couch not moving often seems like one so much more.

   The plan of attack is based on a realistic assumption of how things will happen. I will attempt to get back into a running groove for the next month. If that actually happens, then I will join a gym, fitting nicely into the lull of everyone quitting their gyms after joining around January 1.

   The target date for anything important happening in this area is probably August, given there's talk of a cruise being gone on, and the only possible problem is that date just gives me an excuse until July. However, I think the idea of being "hott" -- with two T's -- will neutralize that.

   Cutting down on the swearing. I've gotten to the point where "fuck" and "shit" are just normal words that fit seamlessly into any conversation not involving someone I shouldn't be swearing at. I'm still controlled enough to be able to keep those words out when they really need to be, but they fall into almost every non-formal conversation I have.

   This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but just something I'd like to work on. "Not gnawing on my fingers out of habit" falls in here too.

   Less ordering out, more cooking at home. Working nights, it's much simpler to just order food at work than try to plan making something before I leave and then eat it when everyone else eats. This isn't so much a money and cost issue as it is something I know I should be doing, but it involves more trips to the grocery store, where I still don't really feel like I know what I'm doing.

   Generally being more pro-active. This is probably the biggest one. I have a tendency to not do things until they really need to be done, and in most cases, even after they should have been done.

   Of course, there are things I should be doing right now but am not, so as with all things, expectations are low.

   I mean, look what happened with the waiting to marry Britney Spears thing.


January 2, 2004 - Catching Up
   The Last Samurai: I'm not exactly a film connoisseur, but I dare say this entered "outstanding film" range. You felt like you were watching something that was both entertaining and historically accurate, though I'm sure if I dug deep enough there's some fan site I could find that says no samurai would ever ______ the way they did in the film. Plus, there were enough "non blockbuster action film" elements to scare off stupid people, which is always a plus.

   Regardless, I have to assume it was much better than the 1990 version, which is labeled as being an "African Samurai Fantasy" and an "an absolute bloody s**tfight" in which "Johnny pries the ancient katana from the skeletal clasp of a Samurai corpse ..."


   • Once again, for the sake of public record, the results of tonight's "Posse Bowling Extravaganza," contested live at the fabulous Shaker Bowl in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts.

   Today's Random Karaoke-like Fact: The "Woooaaahhhh ..." in Bon Jovi's classic hit "Living On A Prayer" is nearly impossible to sing correctly if you have testicles of any shape or type.

1st) Cooch -- 136 avg (144 / 131 / 133)
2nd) Chuckie D. -- 121.7 avg (147 / 114 / 104)
3rd) Steph -- 100.7 avg (101 / 86 / 115)
4th) Jen P. -- 90.7 avg (104 / 77 / 91)
5th) April -- 82 avg (85 / 87 / 74)

   Young Cooch, for the public record, was at an honest to goodness DDR tournament. He had made it his New Year's Resolution to resume writing in his blog, so we'll see how that works out.

   As for my New Year's Resolutions, I see no reason not to milk that until tomorrow.

Eyes On The Prize:
Tom Brady Has Come A Long Way

-- Ever wonder what it would look like if someone wrote a Tom Brady feature during a week he wasn't available to the press? Wonder no more!


January 1, 2004 - (Last) Year In ... Quotes II
   So, About Last Night: We had a New Year's Party. There was a lot of alcohol and an actual breathalyzer, which of course led to competitive drinking. This, however, is not what led to me passing out in a bathroom some time around 12:30.

   That's thanks to Whale City favorite Madeira wine, which tastes roughly like whiskey that's been in the Sun for a few weeks.

   No wonder it's such a dangerous city.

   So all the Beirut (0-2, thanks) and poker (lost on a flopped straight to a full house) and TV (saw exactly 23 seconds of the ball drop) and food (Southwestern Egg Rolls, and plenty) and friends (who kept whaling my drunk head with the bathroom door) and video games (only a little) and everything else were swiftly ended by half a glass of virtual iodine.

   I'm just glad there's photographic evidence. It's like a flipbook where you can watch my sobriety running away.


-- Doing Todd's dance (8 p.m.)


-- Before going out on a straight to an f'n full house. (10 p.m.)


-- Midnight-ish (12 a.m.)


-- I have no recollection of this ever happening. (???)


-- Never been better. (Thursday morning)

   • And now, the quotes.

Tickets to Siegfried & Roy's show at The Mirage are $110.50. I'm all for laughing at bad hair and being ironic, but $110.50?! I'm sorry, but for that price, they better have sex with one of the tigers onstage.
-- Or nearly be mauled to death. (7/3)

As it was phrased to me, "I've been traded."
-- Fifty years from now, I'll still never forget how I felt when I heard this. (7/8)

When a person returns from Vegas, the only thing anyone wants to know is "So, how'd you do?" In that vein, and because I don't want to delve too deeply into what will eventually reside here as the Vegas write-up, allow me to be as succinct as possible. If things had gone any worse on the tables and machines, or if my trip had lasted even a day longer, I might have eaten Charlie for the cash and food value.
-- Vegas and I still aren't on speaking terms. (7/15)

I just hope that's the only era ending this weekend.
-- At least I saw it coming. (7/19)

" "
-- (7/20)

A Dockers shirt, slacks and nice shoes are more than not necessary ... I'd sort of thought this going in, given the weather and that it was just training camp, but figured I'd err on the safe side. Err being the key word when it's a quarter to 10 and your pants are soaker up to your hip.
-- Sideways rain welcomed me to the sportswriter life in Foxboro. (7/24)

"My Uncle Is A Man Named Steve (Not A Monkey)"
-- Everyone loves a creationist science fair. (7/25)

"I really like you're columns, they're good. I just wish you wouldn't write about golf so fucking much."
-- Former S-T writer Ben Conery, to me, at his farewell party. (7/26)


In a way, it almost seems like way too much, way too soon. I mean think about it -- I now have factual basis that would allow me to say I'm one of the ten best sports columnists in New England. I'm going to go to a banquet with my journalistic peers, journalistic peers which I acutally now have, and be called up on stage to receive an award they believe I deserve.
-- I'm awarded third prize in the Class 3 NEAPNEA Sports Columnist competition. (8/5)


-- My first (and so far only) Pats game as a member of the press. (8/8)

"Don't let 'red-meat' items like the one you published yesterday become your fall-back position when it's so clearly an attempt to fill space on deadline. There's enough pandering going on around us every day. It's unacceptable, and begins contaminating your strength to be taken seriously as a journalist, thereby hurting the rest of us who take this work seriously."
-- The only real "Hey, fuck you." letter I've ever received from a reader. (8/8)

JonCoochBU: You're of course covering this with
the impartiality of a journalist, right?
[Colleague]: Uh, no.
[Colleague]: Unless you consider me having sexual urges
toward sixteen year old girls journalistic integrity.
[Colleague]: Dude, when did young girls grow bombs?
-- Being ethical while watching a SouthCoaster compete in Miss Teen USA (8/12)

"You weren't one of the rioters, were you?"
-- (Former) Boston Breakers GM Joe Cummings to me on just where I was when BU students rioted during the franchise opener. (8/15)

My older college friends, the ones met through BUCB, are uniquely special. Walking into our fantasy football draft this afternoon, Shawn ran across the room, arms flopping sarcastically, and howling, "Ohhh, let me give you a hug! Are you alright?" This was after he called me while I was driving there, and after saying I was still on the highway, he replied "What? Are you pulled over and crying?" They're a very sensitive bunch.
-- I've calmed down. Shawn still likes to play with NSYNC bobbleheads. (8/17)

The Vegas update is damned entertaining, Cooch. This is the second time in a week you've gotten me reading something I didn't think I'd be interested in.
-- The greatest compliment the mysterious Sly has ever given me. (8/20)

Somebody greenlighted this. Someone looked at this premise and said, 'Yeah, that's a keeper.' "A Jewish-American Princess is forced to take control of a hard-core hip-hop record label and tries to rein the one of the label's most controversial rappers." How can I put this? How about ... what the fuck?!
-- Marci X, which opened with a rousing $865,000 opening weekend. (8/22)

The only shame of the above? We can't see the back of Kelly (Osbourne)'s "Young, Willing & Eager" shirt ... the part of it that reads "To Eat A Whole Pie Myself."
-- Don't know about you, but it's my favorite one-liner of the year. (8/29)

"If you aren't smart enough to know where to get them,
you're not smart enough to be in college."
-- John Silber on why BU doesn't hand out free condoms. (9/1)

So remember, even if your waitress is in a contest to sell the most Miller and it's her birthday, don't drink Miller. Save the two dollars and just drink your own pee.
-- And this was way before the 'Freedom of Choice' ad. (9/5)


-- They still haven't had me back, sadly. (9/8)

"And I don't believe that waving the American flag in the face of immigrants or wearing a 'These colors don't run.' T-Shirt is the measure of patriotism. Neither is living in a constant state of mourning over the events of two years ago. True patriotism is being proud to be an American, and accepting all of the pros and cons that come with it."
-- Niedziela discusses 9/11 better than I ever could. (9/11)

Hole
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
OUT
Yards
375
289
275
436
336
119
382
141
501
2854
PAR
4
4
4
5
4
3
4
3
5
36
Cooch
6
6
2
3
4
4
25
• Acushnet River Valley GC - Acushnet, Mass. •
25, 1 OVER PAR
Eagles: 2 - Birdies: 0 - Pars: 1 - Bogeys: 1 - Others: 2
Fairways Hit: 1 of 5 - Greens In Regulation: 2 of 6 - Putts: 9
-- Only I could make two eagles in six holes and be one over par. (9/12)

In keeping with my new hatred campaign announced March 16, I cussed under my breath at the University of Maine display, making a comment about fat women. I also bought a root beer float from the New Hampshire building, and though I enjoyed it, subconsciously I knew they stiffed me on a full scoop of vanilla ice cream, the fuckers.
-- Another year, another trip to The Big E (9/15)

When it comes to "needless," I think sitting in a glass box and not eating for 44 days is pretty near the top of the list. When your listed reason for doing something involves the sentence, "I think it is worth it for my art even if I drop dead," you clearly need to get a fucking job or something.
-- David Blaine. We hardly cared, ye. (9/17)

The Red Sox truly mean business in the ALDS, and how do I know? They refused me a media credential for the series, meaning I will be unable to jinx the team with my presence in the park. I tell you, this ownership group thinks of everything.
-- Turns out I just had to go over their head to MLB itself. (9/25)

"I feel like a child who has put a tooth under his pillow for the Tooth Fairy, but burglars have come in in the night, and taken my tooth. They have taken my tooth. Wait. Do you people even understand the concept of the Tooth Fairy?"
-- Christopher Walken in "The Rundown," where he just can't stop being Christopher Walken (9/30)


When your team is down 39-0, and you make a first down, the best response is not to clap your Thundersticks and/or cheer anything with the sentence "Let's win!" in it. I would typically stick to celebrations worthy of the occasion, like twirling your index finger in the air while letting out a weak "Woo hoo."
-- Mocking fans of the Case Cardinals (10/3)

So, you never know. Maybe watching Trot Nixon cement a place in Sox history with most of the wedding party in the newlyweds hotel room will be the start of a story that I'll tell for the rest of my life.
-- So right, yet so wrong at the same time. (10/4)

"I feel completely confident -- you can't resist the celebration," said Laura Chardier, a College of Arts and Sciences sophomore. "I'll wear my uniform next time -- I'm a pretty hardcore Yankees fan." If the Yankees win, there will be no celebration. If the Red Sox win, the Yankees will have lost. If you graduate, my degree actually loses value.
-- BU. The home of 25th-percentile Long Island students. (10/6)

All of this, however, might pale to the response Jeff Nelson got. When he started warming up, people booed so loud, everyone just leered toward the bullpen the way Fenway fans do when there's a fight going on the bleachers. When he actually got pegged to pitch, there was the most confused cheer-boo I've ever heard. Excitement the Sox were actually getting Nelson, but boos because he's Public Enemy No. 1. So of course after a pitch, he gets accused of scuffing the ball and the umps have to check him. It's a shame they didn't find anything. I've never seen an actual murder before.
-- Game Four, or "The night Michael Bolton
forgot the national anthem." (10/13)


I don't really feel much like talking about sports right now. Boston has to go into New York and win two games, and yet, they're about three well-placed singles away from already having won this series.
-- Must ... suppress ... Grady ... rage. (10/14)

Jon, that front page column on deadline this morning was, in my opinion, a classic, written in white heat for the ages. I have no doubt it will be a prizewinner in the contests to come. But, more importantly, it was a test of a young columnist's grace under pressure and you came through beautifully. Congratulations.
-- Our editor-in-chief on the saddest column I've ever had to write. (10/17)

"I can only imagine how painful it was to see in person, considering how sick to my stomach I was for the rest of the night. I tossed and turned for over an hour, and ____ informs me that I woke her up a half dozen times in my sleep pounding the mattress and yelling 'no.'"
-- No, this wasn't me. (10/20)


-- At least it broke up the baseball talk monopoly. (10/26)

While watching this game, I couldn't help wonder what a great one it was. Two essentially equal teams, in a strong (maybe not fierce) rivalry, both desperately needing to win for a shot at the postseason if they're lucky. Only after it was over did I fully accept it was an awful game ... that the Jets had four turnovers, yet it took the Giants seconds short of 75 minutes to put them away. This is why Big Blue is a team that very easily could be 7-1, but is instead a team that's 4-4.
-- And the Giants haven't won since that day. (11/2)

Howard Dean may be one of the most awkward-looking individuals I have ever seen. Admittedly saying absolutely nothing about his politics, every time they pan to him and he's sitting there, just looking cross-eyed confused with his sleeves rolled up ... I'm not sure whether he's going to try and sell me insurance or fall off his chair.
-- I am not sold on the former Vermont governor. (11/4)

Fun nonetheless, because where else can you find a good copy of the original Oregon Trail computer game? Why at Home of the Underdogs, soon to become your largest time suck. Sure it spawns a whole pile of popups. I'm willing to fight through insurance offers and sweepstakes winnings to play the 1987 version of Classic Concentration. I think you should be too.
-- I'm single and available, ladies. (11/11)

Jane Jetson: Dead. It is worth noting that George Jetson (1989); Elroy Jetson and Cogswell (1988); Spacely (1989); Rosie (1999); and Astro (1997) are all dead too. This will ruin any future viewings of Jetsons episodes, much in the same way you can't look at John Ritter anymore without going, "Hey, he's dead." The only one still kicking is their daughter Judy, who was also Penelope Pitstop. This isn't quite as interesting as finding out Astro was also Scooby Doo, but it is heartening to know that the making of a second live-action Doo movie is actually the act of pissing on a man's grave.
-- Ruining The Jetsons for generations to come. (11/13)

After all, I will be moderately more comfortable swaying lightly to the dance music next Saturday, when the Class of 1998 has its five-year reunion at ... "the biggest and hottest nightclub in Western Massachusetts".
-- You never can tell how this stuff is going to turn out. (11/18)

Somehow, I don't believe Lil' Kim wears a lot of Old Navy, even if she's leading some sort of PG, wintertime sing-along on my TV as I write this. This is the definition of selling out, right? Being a hardcore hip-hop artist from the streets, yet being on the TV selling sweatshirts by announcing, "You in the hood now, baby!" I guess I could be wrong ... maybe they're brancing out their product line with nipple stickers and sequins. It would make shopping their clearance racks a whole lot more interesting.
-- Because the only place I usually look there is on the clerance racks. (11/22)

"Jesus you kids can drink!"
-- The best reunion I'll ever attend. Period. (11/29)


The entire Cape and the SouthCoast plunged into darkness tonight, as a fire in a power station and a dumpy old power grid made for one of the coolest phenomena I've ever seen -- being the only building with lights for as far as the eye can see. Of course, as far as the eye can see was about twenty-five feet because it was pitch black outside. And when our generator ran out of gas about five minutes before the power actually came back on, we were no better than anyone else. Though it was good not to be the one who made the terrorism/Arab joke.
-- It seemed much less funny until I saw I hadn't lost any work. (12/1)

You can say what you will about hicks, hillbillies, mountain people and just the general stupidity of those who don't live in America's major coastal metroplexes. I'm pretty sure despite that, no prosecution of a rape case is going to order T-shirts with the defendant -- (Kobe Bryant) -- being hanged on them.
-- Turns out they really did. No further comment is needed. (12/8)

Unlike Matt, the story of Saddam's capture broke while I was asleep -- 6 a.m.-ish. I'm very glad I was in F.H. for it, since it allowed me to have the following exchange with my mother at about 7 a.m. "Jon, wake up. They captured Saddam Hussein!" "Great, he'll still be captured in an hour when I wake up."
-- Blinking in the face of history. (12/14)

There is a column in the can should all of this happen, and within the next 72 hours, it almost certainly will. Boston Dirt Dogs says it's done, but I genuinely believe he's a yahoo who's going all in with an A-8 unsuited. Especially given the involvement of the Dodgers, White Sox and who knows who else.
-- Ah, A-Rod. That sure was fun, wasn't it? (12/15)

This evening, I turned down an offer to cover a local public appearance being made by one Jessica Simpson. I don't know exactly where she was going to be or what she was going to do, but given it's not even listed on her Web site, I'm sure it somehow would have involved a mall and/or screaming teenagers. Honestly, I had no idea what I could ask her other than "So, are you really as stupid as you appear on the show?"
-- I enjoyed not getting beaten by Nick Lachey, thank you very much. (12/16)

It's Garfield: The Movie, starring Breckin Meyer as Jon, a CGI cat, no Odie and Jennifer Love Hewitt as Liz, who will undoubtedly fall in love with Jon thanks to the CGI cat and some crazy and/or madcap hijinks. This is proof God has forsaken our species.
-- The Marci X for a new year. (12/20)

Typically, when you have an all black-and-white publication, you should not design a masthead that looks good only in color. Also, you should at least take on the look of an actual newspaper, with headlines that fill the space where headlines go.
-- More attacks on teenagers and high school kids. (12/23)

These things, quite simply, just do not happen. New England has played 20 football games in the fall of 2003 if you include their four preseason tilts. They've won 18 of them.
-- The Patriots had a pretty decent 2003, come to think of it. (12/27)

   As did I. Even if I did end it nearly blackout drunk and about to fall asleep in a bathroom.


2003: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2002: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2001: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05]