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January 31, 2006 - Fuzzy Baseball
   JazBox Day Two: Today, as part of the always popular 12-hour work shift, we learned about setting mandatory story lengths that can not be exceeded -- a tool which my boss will undoubtedly use against all of us, as evidenced by the subtle raised eyebrows when we started joking about it.

   They also taught us how to use the internal messaging program, which is meant for work-related applications, not for us to make threats to each other about making other people "bleed their own blood." At least I would assume that it is.

   We learned other stuff, but it was even less interesting. Two days, and this feature already seems like a bad idea. Not of this caliber, but growing closer.

After Busy Winter, Sox Sticking To Story
-- In the end, the "presentiation" this needed was a big, red question mark with the Sox logo in the place of the period. It looks a lot more impressive in person, I assure you.

   Speaking of, it's good to see someone from Detroit wrote the column I knew they would. I just can't believe our luck that it wasn't Mitch Albom, who must have been too busy doing his radio show to assume any writers would actually write the Detroit rip job.

   Maybe he learned something after all.

   Wasting My Life, 2.5 Hours At A Time: In an outcome that's not quite hilarious, but is closer than you'd think, tonight I finished 6th in a 163-player freeroll qualifier for a $100,000 prize pool tournament being held on Feb. 19. I will give you exactly one guess as to how many free spots into that tournament were being offered, with only the following clue for help.

   The answer is five. F-I-V-E.

   After having a KK beaten when an AT got the former on the turn, saving one of the short stacks, I re-raised all in with AKo when a K came on the flop. This would be fine, except my opponent had both more chips than me and AA.

   Why am I telling you this? Because it makes posting this animation:

David Caruso, Everybody

   far better than if it was just because I could.


   • Know what's fun? Know when I found out the State of the Union address was tonight? About 6:30 p.m.

   And that's too bad, because it means I totally didn't have any plans to go to the Democratic National Committee watching party apparently held at a T.G.I. Friday's.

Deano!

Various shots of Howard Dean speaking to supporters at the DNC Watch Party prior President Bush's State of the Union address, at the Satisfaction Restaurant in Durham, N.C., Tuesday. (AP Photos/Sara D. Davis)

   Now, how is it that the chairman of the Democratic National Committee showed up to this sports bar in the Triangle, and there's no mention anywhere of it on the bar's Web site? Wouldn't that be something, you know, that deserves more publicity than "Good for Groups" or "Tuesday is Longneck Bottle Night" or that they don't allow clove cigarettes to be smoked on the premises?

   Or does Howard Dean and the DNC just work like we did when we had that lunch at Cafe Funchal -- no need to call for a reservation for our party of 11 ... we'll just sit around drinking and chatting for 45 minutes while we wait for enough space to clear out so we can eat meat swords and steak house style.

   This was, by the way, the first place I found out Newcastle was "hippie beer." To me, I'd actually think Killian's would be hippie beer, since it not actually brewed in the British Isles, but is a Coors product cleverly disguised as something more.

I'd be the last person on earth to defend the Adolph Coors Company, I happen to rate Coors Light as one of the better tasting waters you can buy (but as a beer, it is tasteless and sub-par). Killian's Red is red, I'll give them that (they may be tweaking the color to suit the name for all we really know). But Killian's Red is not a horrible beer- as I later found from drinking the remains of the day. It's got flavor, but not the kind of flavor I'd want hanging around in my mouth for too long. It is almost like a fruity soda.
-- For example, this fat guy hates it.

   Course, that does explain why you can 22 oz. of it for $2 at The Hangar. Or should I say 88 oz. of it for $8.

   I'll make that mistake again, I assure you.


January 30, 2006 - Training Days
   JazBox Day One: As I have not mentioned even once, my Whale City employers are in the process of changing over to a new "content management system." The entire rest of the newspaper -- short of the Opinion pages -- are currently using these folks fine Adobe-based products in lieu of our old Quark-based system, while our training on said new system having begun today.

   What does it all mean to you, the reader who isn't Sly and doesn't work for a newspaper? In short, after three years of an increasing amount of "knowing what I'm doing," I will reset to having absolutely no clue what I'm doing next Monday, when we go live.

   As a department, we'll be having five, four-hour training sessions this week, and because I'm a nice guy I'll keep you updated. Today was more or less introduction day -- we learned how to create new stories, customize menus, search for things ... let's just say if you've been using a Windows PC since you were say, in middle school, you could sit back and pretend to be all cool.

   Today's highlight? Using the fake story topics of Happy Fun Ball killing someone, my own obituary (I was thrown down the stairs for being a jerk), the mistake of getting spinach in my lunchtime burrito and not having any more story ideas.

   As always, suggestions are welcome. For either stories or burrito fillings.

   Column: I wrote one. It's being held, so that it's awesomeness can truly be maximized via graphics and photos and correct spelling.

   That's it. Well, that and the unrelated story of finishing 44th in a 636-player freeroll poker tournament. In short, after two and a half hours of playing not so much well but within what the cards were giving me, I ended up with exactly what I started with -- nothing.

   As a rule, if you stay up to 6 a.m., you should have a much better reason than nothing.

   Because This Came Up: Confirming what I said yesterday, I have made seven CN8 appearances. Yes, I do have means to confirm this. Wardrobe has been the following:

Sept. 8, 2003 (SP) -- Tan shirt, red Jerry Garcia tie
Aug. 24, 2004 (LT) -- Tan shirt, red Jerry Garcia tie
Sept. 9, 2004 (LT) -- Royal blue shirt, red tie
Nov. 22, 2004 (LT) -- Gray shirt, navy blue/black tie
April 22, 2005 (SP) -- Green "tropical" shirt, leather jacket
June 16, 2005 (SP) -- Electric red shirt, red cocktail tie, leather jacket
Jan. 27, 2006 (SP) -- Tan shirt, red Jerry Garcia tie

   For the record, the April '05 appearance is currently the only one not posted online. I have it on video cassette, and will have to see if my tech department can be bothered into helping me.

   He will not, however, be consulted on future outfits. Let's just say next time I won't forget that I could have gotten away with either a Boston University hockey jersey or that ugly (not not so ugly I wouldn't wear it) shirt I bought before I went to Vegas.


   • Frequently, I talk about free music I've received and how awful it is. That being why, dum da da dummmm, it was free.

   For once, however, I have a happy ending about free music thanks to Don Hammontree.

   Now, in the interests of full discolsure, I work with Don. He is the third person to hold my original job at the S-T since I did, though he doesn't seem to have as much fun playing with the big Plexiglas sign as I did -- he's probably busy "bettering himself" or something. A couple months ago, I found out Don was a musician. A couple days ago, he handed out copies of his CD to all of us. It sat, as pretty much everything around here does, unopened until a pile that needed to be dealt with had formed.

   When this showed up, we had a pile. Everything got ripped, burned, other techie terms and listened to.

   And it was, to get real technical about it, awesome. I never knew "column-writing music" existed, but since I let it keep playing while I was writing a column, I now have a subset of "column-writing music."

   So in conclusion, go to that Web site, listen to some of those tracks and buy Don's CD because I'm not going to give it to you. He does like to eat chow mein sandwiches -- Fall River's only culinary contribution since Emeril left -- and, though I've never had one, I presume they're not free.

   Plus, I'm pretty sure his job's not making him a million bucks either.


January 27-29, 2006 - Surprise! Long Weekend!
   This Weekend's Quote Taken Completely Out of Context:

"He's just making fun of the whole election. If this decides the election, then
we're in trouble. It gives a very poor picture of Finnish democracy."
-- Harri Jaskari, campaign manager for former Finance Minister Sauli Niinisto.
Niinisto is regularly being mocked by Conan O'Brien, who thinks he resembles 62-year-old incumbent President Tarja Halonen.

   Course, I could have taken some more personal quotes from the weekend, but let's just say some people said some things that they needed some reminding of when it was all over.

   And amazingly, it wasn't me.

   Money Troubles: On separate occasions this weekend, I dreamed that I won $1,100 on a giant slot machine and that my auction had somehow soared above $50. Obviously, neither of these things would ever happen.

   And here I engineered a $245 lunch on the comapny dime without even having to blackmail anybody.


   • Now to be honest, I did not expect to make this a rare one-update weekend. Though I had plans to crash in Boston and save myself opportunities to get speeding tickets on Routes 140, 24 and 93, I didn't actually think I'd fill them out.

   So because we have a glut of things that might actually be interesting to someone else, we'll sort as best we can.

FRIDAY

UNH-Providence
-- Is this the game I watched? Obviously, no.
But "Bastarache" is a funny name and the AP didn't shoot BU-BC.
Now there's a reason to used an almost swear word.


New Hampshire's Greg Collins (8) brings the puck up against the defense of Providence's Marc Bastarache (5) during the second period Friday in Providence, R.I. (AP Photo/Stew Milne)

   So apparently, the Terriers are better than I thought. Now winners of a nation's best seven in a row, they came back from 2-0 down at Conte Forum to beat everyone's favorite Jesuits and (likely) knock them from their perch as the No. 1 team in the nation.

   Other than that it was an uneventful night.

   A great game in its own right, being at the school-sponsored pep rally at the city's new sports bar du jour with a new "BU Alumni Card" made it that much more enjoyable. Strangely enough, I believe we were sitting exactly where the cameraman stood to take that promotional picture, though the effect of me sitting directly in front of a subwoofer really is something everyone should feel at one point or another. It was like my shirt was waving at all the other alumni -- the ones with their paying jobs and their fancy clo ... I think I was one of the few there in a shirt and tie, so I suppose that counts for something.

   As for the actual game analysis, after the first period, it had all the earmarks of a game BU would lose despite being the better team. Pretty sure they led in shots throughout, but Cory Schneider had that always fun "goaltender mental edge" due to his absurd 240-plus minute shutout streak.

   Course, once it was broken, he folded faster than if he had "Clemmensen" scrawled across his back. Though I'm guessing neither you nor the CN8 audience get or would have gotten that reference.


Pitt Hate
-- Digging deep into the fat to find uptapped source of hateful prejudice speak.

Sports Pulse with Ed Berliner - Jan. 27, 2006
13:02 Running Time - 44 MB - Right-Click to Download

   Now, with the benefit of being able to make the clips myself, you can judge for yourselves whether this was the best, worst, whatever -- all but one of the now seven TV appearances is available here. To me, there's absolutely no worry before I go on anymore since everybody there knows me and has the common decency to put out that they like me. While I was disappointed that I wasn't able to follow through on my promise to wear the BU jersey on the show if they won -- they did their part after I left the jersey in Whale City -- the only thing I would do over again is maybe tone down that the city of Pittsburgh is all tar-paper shacks in a chasm.

   And just for the record, I pretty much left Detroit alone. Not that you won't see that yourselves soon enough, but I want the record to show I didn't dump on the whole Rust Belt.

SATURDAY

   Saturday was a time for dork bowl. "Dork Bowl '06," as one of my pals who went to the Bruins game coined it. Interestingly enough, it was dork bowl enabled by the hard work of this man, who recently has taken exception to both my characterisations of band kids and, as expected, dork bowl players.

   Note that I didn't call them dork bowlers, since that's a whole other subset of people who TiVo the PBA Tour every weekend and are disappointed if they spoil the watching of said bowling by proofreading the bowling agate that occasionally appears in the paper. Not that I know anyone like that or anything.

   Anyway, as there is no current Web presence that the event I was at ever happened -- only that it was going to happen -- I can not tell you whether my team won since I left with a game to go in the preliminaries. We were in the finals barring some sort of catastrophe, since I'm pretty sure 9-1 wasn't bettered by anybody when I ran out the door.

   I can, however, give you the always fun list of correct answers I gave, along with what triggered said correct answer in the situations where I can recall that very thing.

15-POINT POWER TOSSUPS, a.k.a. "Really F'ing Scary"
'Tessie' -- off "Royal Rooters"
Poseur Mobile -- guess off "25 Cent" character name
Krzyzewskiville -- off outlets installed in the lampposts
Oscar Robertson -- off Crispus Attucks HS, lost to Milan
Segway -- off affiliated with WWE's Simon Dean
Ukelele -- off name of virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro
Baseketball -- off "playoffs of up to nine months"

10-POINT REGULAR TOSSUPS, a.k.a. "Only Moderately Disturbing"
MacNeil Lehrer News Hour -- off combination of three nonprofit networks
2005 Illinois Men's Basketball -- off Elite Eight win over Arizona
Thurman Thomas -- off losing his helmet at start of Super Bowl XXVI
Funyuns -- off rounds and whining about 'mouthfeel'
1992 Duke Men's Basketball -- off Laettner's winning shot
Tavis Smiley -- off "eponymous talk show"
Team Handball -- at end, cross between soccer and basketball
Joe Vitt -- off Mike Martz
Ed Hochuli -- off No. 85, Arizona law firm
Huey Lewis -- off father to Gwenyth Paltrow in 'Duets'
Steve Nash -- game-winner, off "Broncos" upset of No. 2 Arizona in NCAAs
John Madden -- off shared name of N.J. Devil, announcer
'Breakin' The Law' -- off three-word celebratory 'Beavis and Butthead' phrase
Va. Tech & W. Virginia -- off conference shift, Blacksburg and Morgantown
Drop It Like It's Hot -- off five-word phrase and Snoop Dogg hit
Miikka Kiprusoff -- off opposing miss, various Flames clues
Simple Plan -- semi-guess at end, off songs
'Tragic Kingdom' -- 'No Doubt' hit album off list of singles
Arizona State -- blah, blah, blah, blah, Sun Devils
French Open -- off 1989 champion Michael Chang
Fun with Dick and Jane -- semi-guess, off "taking the fall" for GloboDyne
1985 World Series -- off "controversial Game 6 call"
Everlast -- off House of Pain
Chrismchaunikwanzikkah -- first was Dec. 13, off other clues
Spoon -- off Alanis Morrissette and "10,000"
Morgan Pressel -- off LPGA exemption, second at Women's Open
Festivus -- various clues, off "wrestling"
Kansas City Star -- off columnist Jason Whitlock
Saddam Hussein -- off, honestly, anal sex with Satan in "South Park"
Blue Man Group -- off last album being "The Complex"
Torry Holt -- 1,000 yards, off QBs including Ryan Fitzpatrick
Eddie Guerrero -- off "frog splash" and his being dead and all ... it's logical
X Games -- off "first held over a weekend in Rhode Island
Ling Ling -- off found inside Toot, can sew a shoe in five seconds
Villanova -- off "Kerry Kittles"

   There were missed questions too, but really, you already haven't read this far.

   And considering my banter buddy oversaw questions on which I totaled 41.5 points per game -- that's a good lot -- I'll see if I can't force an exeption on all future stereotyping.

Li'l Mikey
-- And I'll leave any stereotyping on Mike to someone else.

   As probably isn't surprising, Mike's loudness and beer toting in the beer line between the second and third period were why the arena would only serve each of us one for that final stanza. Not a major problem, since it was Bud Light at best, and probably not a bad idea after the number of hot dogs I'd eaten and number of different solutions he had drank throughout the evening.

   Unlike the December game, which ended up being Mario Lemieux's last in Boston, the Bruins gave up 51 shots and lost to an Islanders that really isn't very good at all.

   Course, neither are the Bruins, so I digress.

   The story of the evening was the enjoyment of five people from work hanging out outside of work. Even if there was almost a fistfight over peanut shells, a debate about narcotic use inside the quiet part of a sports bar and some debate about why Boston Beer Works has last call at like 12:40 a.m.

   All that's important is that state cop sitting on Route 93 was sleeping, ensuring people could speed by him at some absurd speed and he could ... not do anything.

   Oh, and also, I found out Newcastle is "hippie beer." Which, really, is something I never knew before.

SUNDAY

   Given it was, well, work, I'll just give my review of Katamari Damacy.

   I bought the game on Monday night.

   I beat the game on Wednesday night.

   That probably shouldn't happen in a world where I'm not in college.


January 26, 2006 - Six Appeal?
   Old And New: Thanks to Google News, the old column was recovered. Thanks to the new boss, I can now say I'm a published writer regarding high school wrestling.

Theo's Return Marks New Chapter In Sox Soap Opera
-- Thanks, self-explanatory front page title.


New Bedford Pair Set Mat Marks In Victory
-- I happen to think it's a rather well-rounded story for one done over the phone on the fly.

   At least we reconfirmed that I'm weird, because I enjoy the small stuff as much as the big. No one should enjoy taking high school phone calls as much as I do.

   And plus, you just never know what will catch the eye of Joe Q. E-Mailer.

Subject: Ghost of Sherm Feller
Date: Thu, 26 Jan 2006
From: "Gary __" <__@comcast.net>
To: jcouture at s-t dot com

   History began some 12,000 years ago...

   Jon,

   Great quote. Sherm Feller's Ghost is alive and well at www.shermfeller.com .

   Take care,
   Gary __
   attentionplease@shermfeller.com

   And the line, since I don't actually want any of you reading that first Theo column, was:

After all, it was (Lucchino) yesterday who said the Theo Epstein saga of the last 12 weeks has "almost taken on a melodramatic soap opera quality." And given the resolution, there's no "almost" needed ... NBC's 'Passions' would have eaten this up. Course, they probably would have added the ghost of Sherm Feller advising John Henry via the public address system, but that's neither here nor there.

   I think I'm so damn funny sometimes. Though at least I can admit I've watched soap operas before.

   Fame, Fortune and Ties: Following my attendance at a rousing Game On! party for the pre-Beanpot rivalry tilt, I make my grand return to television. You know the drill by now ... Sports Pulse, CN8, near the tail end of the 10 p.m. hour.

   You're welcome for all the lead time. But on the plus side, I did get a haircut, so my mane is at its fuzzy pinnacle.


   • I'll just say this once.

   In the grand pantheon of "posted without further comment, this sits at the very pinnacle.

   Course, if it were true, that would be one thing. But the Snopes investigation will be worth it.


January 25, 2006 - Diet
   No, He Wasn't The Jackal: As expected, you guys figured out the grand secret of Carlos Martinez. He was, in fact, the man who hit the ball that bounced off Jose Canseco's head for a home run at Cleveland Stadium.

Head In The Game
-- May 26, 1993

   Given he only hit 25 career home runs, we can now only wonder what we always wonder when someone dies. Whether he ever watched hockey on ESPN2.

   And whether Willie Smith even did anything trivia-worthy.

Around The Bases And Back For Sox, Theo
-- I drove 120 miles for this, and it's far better than the one from yesterday.

   The fun part about this new "content management system" the paper is using being yesterday's column was online for a brief period this evening, but now has disappeared again.

   Well, that and we won't even be trained on it until next week.


   • I think I've tired of sushi for a little while.

   Of course, eating premade sushi from the grocery store is probably a real easy way to do this.


January 24, 2006 - One More Day Forever
   Theo: Let's just make sure there's one thing straight here ... I have absolutely no idea what's going on. So I'm not all that concerned that the column I wrote today, built around the "almost like a melodramatic soap opera" quote from Larry Lucchino, never made it online.

   I'm not sure it said anything anyway, though it's not every day I get to use the image of Sherm Feller directing John Henry to act via the public address system.

   We'll revisit this Wednesday after my powwow with the boys -- apparently, I'm "selected approved media" now, which is nice.

   So until then, try to figure out why I'm linking to the obituary of former Cleveland Indian Carlos Martinez, who died Tuesday in Venezuela. I'll give you a clue ... Jose Canseco is involved. And using Google is cheating.


   • Some of you might now that in a perfect world, I'm angling for a job here. Prominent New England paper, not far from where I live now, closer both to Boston and Western Mass., in metropolitan city chock full of rich Ivy League kids.

   Some may also know about the niche I think I've carved for myself, since in my heart of hearts, I believe I could outdo a certain one of their columnists today. Actually, I believed it about a year and a half ago when I concocted this plan. At least theoretically, the gap has grown since then, but that doesn't really matter so long as I'm still winning. And I am.

   How do I know? Because the man in question wrote this today.

The Red Sox missed an opportunity to make a truly eye-popping trade over the weekend when they allowed the Orioles to make a deal with the Mets for right-handed starting pitcher Kris Benson. It's not Benson who's all that special, as his 57-61 career record shows. But his wife, Anna, certainly is. Sex appeal is in short supply at Fenway with the departure of Johnny Damon to the Yankees. Anna, voted "Baseball's Hottest Wife" by FHM magazine, would have changed that. Photogenic, colorful, and outspoken, she was pictured, and quoted, frequently in New York newspapers. An example of her ability to create headlines was a radio interview with Howard Stern in which she informed the shock-jock supreme that, if she ever caught her husband cheating on her, she would have sex with "everybody on the entire team -- coaches, trainers, players, everybody."

   Now, never mind the fact that he's citing information that, to my knowledge, is more than a year old. Now only do people already know about it, they've already filed it away as useless. Never mind that Kris Benson, as a pitcher, isn't particularly better than average.

   It basically was written for the only reason anyone ever writes about Kris Benson -- sportswriters feel their BLANKs get hard when they think about the possibility of an open former stripper walking near them every so often. Now, many people would just wonder about this silently, only discussing in the safety of the press box with others of the blue-balled persuasion.

   It takes a special kind of person to write this as though it's news.

   And let me tell you. Our friend here is very special.

   As a matter of public disclosure, I've sat next to the writer in question at Fenway once for a Yankees game. We shared some smalltalk. He was, on the surface, friendlier than Dan Shaughnessy has ever been, though that isn't saying much since I'd rather fall out of the press box window than sit next to Dan Shaughnessy.

   Just entirely based on what I've heard, of course. I think he and I made eye contact for about a half-second in the bathroom once.

   This concludes today's segment of "Brushes With Fame." Tomorrow, we discuss when my former boss saw Paul Tagliabue walk out of a bathroom stall after a particularly loud ... "movement."


January 23, 2006 - The Japanese Are Weird
   As The Kids Say, 'The Left Wing': It's good to know that for all the hoopla and quiz questions surrounding the "live debate" they had for their fake Presidential election, "The West Wing" is being put to stud after that fake president's inauguration.

   I've seen some of the actors and some fans say that the show was good because it taught people about the important job that the nation's public servants perform. Others profess how great it was to get an "inside view" of the White House, since at least some of the stuff on the show must actually be what it's like.

   For me, though, I never cared. If I've slowly realized that I can't much be bothered with following the lives of actual politicians -- you know, the ones who actually decide things pertaining to me -- there's really not a huge chance I'm going to be compelled to follow the lives of fake ones. My limited exposure to "West Wing" basically comes from syndicated episodes on at the laundromat, where TiVo isn't exactly in play. I remember thinking a lot that Bradley Whitford's love interest, whom I'll refer to as "that girl from the interest group" since this listing is no help, was annoying to watch on television ... never mind date.

   Knowing what I know now, I'll say I think she would have fit well on Gilmore Girls, since seeing half an episode of that made it clear that nothing any of the Gilmore's says ever makes much sense either.

   And let this be a lesson to all of you. It's easy not to watch too much TV when you convince yourself hate all the current shows.

   Admirers: Tonight, I called home in hopes of talking to my brother, who probably isn't listening to as much Howard Stern and British soccer as I would be if I'd gotten a satellite radio for Christmas. He wasn't there, so I chatted with Mom for a few moments and was about to go on my merry way when she told me Dad wished to have a few words.

   So he comes on the phone, and I presume maybe the computer's broken, maybe Matt needs something, who knows. He then proceeds to ask me, while stifling a laugh, what "that line" I used the other day "about death" was.

"You mean at dinner? When I said I was "simply waiting for the sweet embrace of death?"

   His response, logically, "Yeah, that's the one. [ Hearty Dad laugh ]. That's gonna get some mileage."

   So my father will now be telling his friends and co-workers that he's simply waiting for the sweet embrace of death. This seems very much like how seeing the first Ace Ventura film changed him, in that he still intermittently throws out an "Alllllllrighty then!" at opportune times.

   Except now he's using me as comedic inspiration. Which is, among other things, odd.

   Especially since I think he thought it was something I wrote on here, and the dinner in question had happened all of 30 hours prior to the call.


   • The reason I was calling Matt was because, after much consternation, I bought the screwed-up but critically acclaimed Katamari Damacy. So old that there's already a sequel out, I've never spent so much time thinking about $20 -- even tonight, I went to two stores to see if I could find a used copy before deciding that, given there were none, it's probably as good as people say. This was seconded by the EB clerk, who gushed about it and confirmed that he'd never seen a single copy returned.

   Well, all that and it was twenty dollars. I spent less than that on the pirated "Beavis and Butthead" DVDs off eBay that don't actually work, but that's neither here nor there.

   Now, for the uninitiated, the object of the game is to roll a little sticky ball (katamari) around these worldwide landscapes and collect stuff. As you collect stuff, you get bigger, which allows you to collect bigger stuff, which helps you get bigger, which allows you to collect ... etc. etc. In and of itself, this would be great enough, but there's a plot.

   A plot that involves the following:

Make Cancer
-- But don't just make any cancer ...

Make delicious cancer.
-- ... make delicious cancer, moistened with tears.

   The plot, of course, is that the guy with the Certs roll head destroyed all the stars, and your little green guy's katamaris are becoming new stars. So in order to make the constellation Cancer, you should make a katamari with a lot of crabs in it.

   And I'm only explaining this because, not only is cancer not particularly funny, but the New York Times might get wind of that sort of barren Earth picture and assume this is the fruition of that South Park episode where the Chinpokomon people made the game where you bomb Pearl Harbor.

   What would the headline be? My money's on "New Game Gives Children Chance To Recreate Globe, Complete With Cancer"


January 22, 2006 - No Better, No Worse
   As Previously Mentioned Elsewhere: At the Indianapolis Star, the Colts' loss last weekend bummed some management types.

Among those predicting victory were editors at The Star, who had already booked eight hotel rooms in the Motor City. The newspaper was planning to send 20 staffers to the big game, and was preparing to print special victory editions for distribution after the game in both Indianapolis and Detroit. The paper had even commissioned a book on the "Super Bowl" season, with 16 chapters already written by Colts beat writer Phil Wilson.

. . .

"We had a very aggressive plan and we had been working on it for some months," said Editor Dennis Ryerson. "The response from advertising was very strong." Neither Ryerson nor Wheatley would disclose what kind of advertising revenue was being lost without the sections, or what costs had gone into the preparations so far. But, Wheatley said most of the costs so far were related to overtime.

   This, sadly, has nothing to do with the fake Indy Star front page that's been floating around the Net. It's not particularly well done, but it's still worth a chuckle when you see "Thanks for nothing, @$$shole" splashed across second edition.

   Miss America: Apparently, it was held Saturday night in Las Vegas, airing on CMT. There are many things easy to say about a "wholesome" beauty pageant going to the place where I'd imagine many former beauty queens earn their livelihoods, but instead, I'll point out that this marks the 78th consecutive time Miss America has not come from Massachusetts.

   Why is this? There are obviously many reasons, but for me, it begins and ends with the fact all the most beautiful women in the Bay State are regularly too busy doing keg stands in Allston to waste time trying to be congenial.

Today, Miss America logs approximately 20,000 miles a month, changing her location every 18-36 hours and reaching out to support charitable and community endeavors that characterize her present-day image.

   And plus, if she doesn't move that much, she's an easier target for terrorists.


   • Ah, band kids.

Washington Falls

A member of the University of Washington marching band falls as they carry the flag prior to the start of the NFC Championship game between the Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers on Sunday. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

   They're the gift that keeps on giving, especially since that clique makes me feel better about my continued affinity for answering trivia questions with undergraduates and the hygiene deficient on Saturday afternoons around the country.


January 21, 2006 - I'm Fat And It's All Your Fault
   Boston University 5, Merrimack 0: That's five wins in a row and seven of eight.

   Just saying is all.

   Championship Picks: Denver (-3), though I very badly wanted to pick the Steelers. Just have seen Bill Cowher fumble too many games this time of year. Seahawks (-3.5), even if Steve Smith might total 275 yards and the difference could easily be inside the spread.

   Let's just say if going 147-107 on the season had led me to investigate a shady streetcorner businessman, I would not be calling him at all this weekend.


   • My mother would like to know why the English took the whale out of the Thames River, leading to its death.

   And her inquisitive nature involves a lot of swearing and apparently ignorance that there might have been a few well-trained marine people involved.


January 20, 2006 - Inauguration Day
   Surprise, Surprise: For the first time since last May 27, which is about as long as it feels like it was, it's bowling results from Northampton Bowl in Northampton, Mass. -- where the sign says "the coffee is strong and so are the women."

   And yes, I'm entirely serious that such a sign exists.

Gm. 1
Gm. 2
Gm. 3
Pinfall
Avg.
Cooch
122
126
144
392
130.7
Jen P.
129
105
92
326
108.7
Bri
64
98
154
316
105.3
Steph
72
112
121
305
101.7
Julie
120
94
89
303
101
Megan
77
67
73
217
72.3

   Clearly topping the highlights was young Brianne -- the two-time Div. 2 state basketball champion and admitted awful bowler -- opening her third game 6, 9, 4 ... then inexplicably striking four times in a row. And when I say inexplicably, I mean me looking up and seeing she'd just bowled three strikes in a row.

   Having no response, I gave her $20 to invalidate her amateur status. It didn't work.

   Sorry, Worcester State. I get very competitive about these things.


   • That was hardly all, since Northampton is more than the epitome of that sign. When we arrived at the alley, we were stationed next to a trio of guys who were apparently gay. Honestly, I didn't notice.

   I also didn't notice when they were replaced by lesbians who were apparently making out with each other periodically. When I noticed was the maybe 15-year-old with the glasses and the bad teeth who wore a black shirt with a football-shaped hole cut in the ... upper-chest region. Now, much as I'd like to use this space to reveal I'm actually a pedophile, believe me when I say this wasn't something I was real excited about seeing.

   Equally, she was probably not real excited when I began tugging at my own chest and asking whether or not the hole was able to talk.

   And speaking of equally, all six of us were equally hopeful that the non-functional alcoholic who showed up next to us near the end wouldn't puke on anybody. When the four teens got there, I couldn't figure out why the chunky one in the Hollister sweatshirt was sitting on the steps, no shoes on, apparently unable to move. When her friend had to put her shoes on for her, still nothing ... then she stood up, sort-of walked to the lane edge and shared with us a good inch, inch and a half of plumber's smile before haphazardly pulling up her pants.

   Now, even if drinking and bowling do go hand in hand, bringing a severly drunk person to a building where the object is to throw 10-15 boulders around is probably not the best idea in recorded history. But then again, you wouldn't think Kim Cattrall, author would be either, but that certainly didn't stop anybody.

This may well be the sexiest coffee table book ever created. A companion to the HBO documentary of the same name, Sexual Intelligence is a follow up title to Kim Cattrall's simpler, more technical Satisfaction: The Art of the Female Orgasm. Gorgeously sensual photos and a sprinkling of poetry cozy up to science, combining experts like Betty Dodson and Thomas Moore with Sappho and Georgia O'Keefe; this time around, the goal is exploration, rather than instant delivery.

Specifically, all this lush intelligence directs itself towards education about why we want what we want. After poring over the five lovely chapters (Desire, Messaging, Arousal, Fantasy, and Release), you still might not have a definite answer, but the final pleasure far outweighs the impression of flightiness. Straightforward explanations of anatomy (a definite step up from school health class) intermingle with tales of ancient gods and goddesses that liven up facts, while the layer of glamour over all wraps the package in a big fluffy bow. Shots of classic paintings mix equally with shots of Kim, each providing eye candy that is tailored to please.

   I'm sorry, but ever since 'Family Guy' depicted her sitting on a bed oiling her creaking pelvis, it just hasn't been the same.


January 19, 2006 - Hey, It's Better Than 'The Nanny'
   On TV Tonight: Cheaters, which seems to exist for noble purposes, but actually just becomes a way to see the actual inspiration for SNL's "Drunk Girl," right down to the blond hair, the 'Tommy Girl' tank top and visor, and the drunken shouting about how she can do whatever she wants.

   This followed the story about the girl who confronted her cheating husband at a rave, slapping the pancake makeup off his face after ripping the electric blue wig off his harlot.

   And I only say harlot because after that, I flipped to EWTN's Life on The Rock. You really haven't lived until you hear two men in Franciscan robes discussing "Brokeback Mountain" in terms of "suffering the affliction of same-sex marriage" before reading from a list of snappy one-liners about saving sex for marriage, but reading it with no actual snap other than saying, "Ooh. I like that one." after all of them.

   Another exciting night, as you can see. Wait until you see where we go after this.

Power Play
-- I have to say, I'm not enjoying the new "Cooch hates the Red Sox all offseason" way of life, but I'm not exactly planning on shaking it up any time soon.

   I just hope I got the rage organized enough to be readable, and that it didn't seem like I really just hated having to write ... that wasn't it. I only wish I could have worked in my parents' reactions to the whole announcement. Dad felt bad for Jed Hoyer and Ben Cherington, who now are going to be usurped and "have their whole pay scale screwed up," while my mother's exact words were:

"They shouldn't let him come back! He wanted to leave, so fuck him!"

   But really, after Mom led the Jim Rice column, I didn't want to overdo it.


   • How do you figure the silently strong Patriots feel about what happened in Denver last Saturday night? This is the picture they've got posted on their main Web site:


   I'm sure it's just a coincidence.


January 18, 2006 - Most Useless Photo Ever
   America's Least Surprising Web Site: It's ClubItUp.com, "the Ultimate Club go-ers site."

Children of the Club

   And not a moment too soon, either.

   A Shining Red Light: As people get up in arms about the apparent discovery that the Red Sox are shameless, I'm more impressed at how oddly them seem to carry it out.

The winning bid for the (World Series Game 4) lineup card was $165,010, the most ever paid in an MLB auction. The winning bidder was Sky Lucas, a lifelong Sox fan who grew up in New Hampshire. ... He says he bought it not so much as an investment -- though he would like to sell licensed replicas -- but rather to keep it in New England.

To that end Lucas and his lawyer, David Campbell, approached Sox limited partner Sam Tamposi Jr. and later team management about putting the lineup card on display at Fenway Park. All they asked is that the team insure it while on exhibit. The Red Sox were not interested.

   Rather than get a lineup card that was actually used during the entire game, the Red Sox decided to tie their wagon to a ball that wasn't even used for an inning. Or, because of how that wagon tying came out, they've decided to assume anything else is a bad idea.

   Of course, that's not the case ... I feel a wall padding sale can't be too far away, though a seat sale might actually lead to fat people holding bonfires to celebrate the destruction.

   I just wish I'd grabbed some of that turf I saw trashed in a pile outside Wrigley Field.


   • In the grand pantheon of people who just can't be helped, I give you the face-transplant lady.

   And no, there's no pictures.

The world's first face transplant recipient is using her new lips to take up smoking again, which doctors fear could interfere with her healing and raise the risk of tissue rejection.

. . .

The 38-year-old Frenchwoman received a new nose, chin and lips from a brain-dead donor after being mauled by her dog last spring. The woman has been identified only as Isabelle because of French privacy laws.

The woman suffered a tissue-rejection episode last month but is now doing well, her doctors said. However, they said she has resumed smoking, which besides being bad in general for health is especially a problem after surgery because it impairs circulation to tissues and could raise the risk of rejection.

   Part of me wants to know what a tissue rejection looks like, but the other part of me knows I really, really, really don't.


January 17, 2006 - Teaching The British Way
   Today's Quote That Should Wish It Was Taken Completely Out of Context:

"Surely God is mad at America. He sent us hurricane after hurricane after hurricane, and it's destroyed and put stress on this country. ... Surely he doesn't approve of us being in Iraq under false pretenses. But surely he is upset at black America also. We're not taking care of ourselves."
-- New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, as quoted here

   Hey, I don't know. Maybe this sort of stuff isn't new, and that's why he was elected. Maybe my friends in New Orleans will clear this up, and let us all know this is what people there paid for.

   Or maybe Nagin is batshit crazy.

   Again, don't know. Though just so everyone knows, a close second to Nagin was:

"Because no word exists to cover these scenarios, I'm tapping into my inner Don King and proposing "swaggerability," a cross between swagger and invincibility. Over the past three seasons, the beautiful thing about the Patriots wasn't how they kept winning, but how their fans remained absolutely convinced they would win. No matter what the circumstances, no matter how many injuries piled up, we believed Belichick would unearth the perfect plan, Brady would come through and so would Willie, Brown, Vinatieri and everyone else. The reason we believed this was because it kept happening. In other words, they gave us no reason not to believe it.

More important, they believed it, and carried themselves like they did ... right up until the Broncos game, when their swaggerability disappeared into thin air. I find this infinitely more depressing than the thought of losing a dynasty that didn't really exist in the first place. Even if the Patriots win easily and often again next season, there will always be a small part of me that wonders if the wheels might come off. It happened in Denver, which means it could happen again."

-- Oh, come on ... you know who.

   The only reason it didn't win, other than length and no desire to continue with the obvious, is because I can't fathom anyone who colors themselves a college graduate would actually think along these lines. Especially not anyone who has a child and probably operates motor vehicles from time to time.

Classic Might Be Just That
-- One of those headlines written to fit a space ... I love those. And here when I sat down, I thought I was going to rip the WBC.

   Oh, my column's no better, I don't think. I'm just happy I clung to a shred of self-respect for another week.


   • Now, you can tell yourself the inspiration for the following was either my fascination with things British and my fascination with the resurgence of Reese Witherspoon. I don't think it matters, and really, it all feels more interactive this way.

   So tonight, I come across the following on the wires:

'V' for Very Rude

Actor Ryan Phillippe, husband of Golden Globe-winning actress Reese Witherspoon, gives the victory sign as the couple arrives for the NBC Universal/Focus Features after-party. (AP Photo)

   Simple enough photo. No doubt ran somewhere with that stock cutline. Course, problem with this being that his hand gesture isn't the "victory sign" ... the "victory sign" is done with the hand flipped palm out.

In the UK, if the hand is held out with the palm towards the person performing the gesture (a peace sign reversed), this is considered to be insulting ... Although in the late twentieth century its use declined in favour of the one-fingered salute, as of 2005 it is still well-used and understood.
-- Citing what 'Trainspotting' taught the rest of us.

   And so, a worthy test for my meager Photoshop skills.

One award!
-- She did, in fact, win one award.

   You'd think someone who could so easily pass as British would know better. Though on the plus side, his taste in women is impeccable ... many would have held out for Mary-Kate Olsen.

Mary-Kate Olsen

   How I long for a cease-and-desist order.


January 16, 2006 - 'Lost' Geeks Get All Uppity
   Early Monday's Quote Taken Completely Out of Context:

"I stopped reading your site after you quit taking shots at me."
-- Exactly the way one wants to be regaled at a festive event.
Like, say, the paper's Sunday Night Drinking.

   The irony of said quote's usage is why it's here. Course, if such things could be explained away, we wouldn't have needed Nick to start making bumper stickers.

Tibet!
-- There are never enough excuses to run this.

   Popularity: I've now been invited to two Super Bowl parties for this, just the second Super Bowl of the last six where I have no actual rooting interest. And really, in the other one, I spent much of the game simply rooting for Jimmy Kimmel not to suck -- it was also on ABC, and he debuted after.

   I'm pretty sure the last time I watched his show, a still-hot starlet was his guest, but she was disgusted because they had someone on location at a celebration featuring a pinata full of raw meat.

   Needless to say, that show aired more than a little while ago.


   • So tonight, as many people did, I watched the Golden Globes.

   I'd like to think that, even though there were many eyes watching the screen, we weren't the only people who noticed the last stand of one Drew Baryrmore, who has now completed the cycle from

Drew One

   to

Drew Two

    to woman who wore no bra as she presented her award -- woefully apparently both due to odd nipple show-thru and the fact her breasts all but tripped her as she walked to the microphone.

   It's at a time like this I think of the Barenaked Ladies, who did warn us that real green dresses are "cruel." There's no better word, except maybe for whatever got uttered in the NBC truck. Right about the time everyone in the office tonight had noticed what was going on, the network just so happened to cut for a closer shot above chest level.

   We all face death. Just fortunately, many of us don't have to fall anywhere near as far.

   As award shows go, however, the Golden Globes could be a lot worse. Any show that nominates all four Desperate Housewives for an award, then screws all of them and gives the award to the only other nominee is alright in my book.


January 15, 2006 - Hoop Dreams
   Newton North 85, New Bedford 74: Billed as a meeting between the Nos. 1 and 2 in Eastern Mass. boys basketball, I have no reason to doubt it. And I also have no reason to doubt the order in which they were ranked.

   The Whalers are pretty much everything they've been cracked up to be -- they took a one-point lead into the half despite being outplayed and outclassed for the majority of it. And really, I can't imagine anyone in an Agawam High School uniform has ever executed an actual alley-oop without the use of a trampoline or a freshman. That said, after the alley-oop, Whale City never led again. Sly's comment about the defense earlier this week was quite prescient -- you can definitely tell they're a team that hasn't had to worry about not being able to outscore their opponent should a shoot-out take hold. Even still, had they gotten even three-quarters of their inside shots to fall, they'd probably have won.

   Whatever. It was nice to attend a sellout high-school game, even if the gym was about 115 degrees and I'd have died in a fire -- the aisles were full of people before the JV game was over.

   Would have been a hell of a way to go. Full of Portuguese meat skewer.

   All The Parenting That's Fit To Print: Contrary to popular belief, I will not be building my child his own Web site. He or she can pay the God damned hosting fees themselves.

   Also, were my child to become a hikikomori, I wouldn't embrace the refusal to leave their room so much as unscrew their door from the hinges and beat them with it.

As a hikikomori ages, the odds that he'll re-enter the world decline. Indeed, some experts predict that most hikikomori who are withdrawn for a year or more may never fully recover. That means that even if they emerge from their rooms, they either won't get a full-time job or won't be involved in a long-term relationship. And some will never leave home. In many cases, their parents are now approaching retirement, and once they die, the fate of the shut-ins -- whose social and work skills, if they ever existed, will have atrophied -- is an open question.

   See? My way's better, because it reduces the suspense.


   • Prior to this weekend, I had drank exactly zero 'pints' Smithwick's Irish Ale.

   As I sit here right now, I've drank nine.

   It's been a busy weekend.


January 14, 2006 - No, It Isn't Over

Victor Monkey
-- To the victor goes the giant inflatable monkey.

   • Eventually, perhaps the world will learn not to pick against me.

   Until then, I'll just keep taking it over ... five bucks at a time.

   I am enjoying the entire journalism world proclaiming "the dynasty is over," as though if New England doesn't come back and win the Super Bowl again next year, it's not the same dynasty. The title reign is over.

   I can't even fully say I'm enjoying the comeuppance yet, either, since it was hard to watch a team so good for so long do so many stupid things. As much as you can say the fumbles were forced by Denver -- as opposed to just putzed by New England -- that doesn't change the fact they happened.

   Or that I'm not 5-1 for the playoffs, and closing in on a disastrous return to sports betting in the 2006 NFL season.


January 13, 2006 - Spirdle
   Insight: Thy name is Gamblor.

Patriots (+3) over BRONCOS
Rule No. 5 applies: "Don't bet heavily against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick under any circumstances." But even beyond that, isn't this just Basic Gambling 101? Here's the first rule you learn as a gambler, whether you're betting on sports, blackjack, craps or whatever: Never bet against a streak. It's the dumbest move you can make. And considering Belichick and Brady are 10-0 in the playoffs ... don't they need to lose one first before anyone starts throwing money against them?

   No. The dumbest move you can make is to throw most of the numbers out the window and bet with your heart. I know. I've done it. It's not pretty. It's how credit card balances get started.

   But hey, my alter ego thanks you.


   • Tonight, I went to the grocery store specifically for some specific recipe. Ended up with the various impulse buys: clementines, Heinz 57 sauce, sushi, Doritos ... make a hell of a cobbler, let me tell you.

   Walking up to the register, I got behind a woman who had $166 worth of football party food. Not exactly a speedy checkout process.

   Especially when to pay, the woman pulled out an envelope filled with about 20 $25 gift cards. Each of which had to be scanned individually, then coded.

   It's a wonder I didn't grab myself a TV Guide just to pass the time.


January 12, 2006 - Tainted Meat
   Starlet Update: If Conan O'Brien and this rehash article are to be believed, the hilarity might be too much to actually contemplate.

Self-destructive party girls Lindsay Lohan and Kate Moss joined forces at a Manhattan strip club earlier this week and rode the pole for a club full of patrons, the New York Post reports. The duo and a few female friends ordered round after round of vodka shots, raspberry kamikazes and beer in spite of Lohan's age, 19, and Moss' recent stint in rehab. Reports a witness: "They were swinging on the pole with their arms around each other's waists, kissing each other, caressing each other, just acting like strippers."

   Now, Conan's joke was good -- CHS did the dance, while Twiggy was the pole. However, I would have to assume the NBC lawyers were called in to shoot down the one involving blow, heroin and all the rest.

   If only Howard Stern were still around to report on this. That, or if Matt had gotten his little player suction-cupper to the inside of his car.

   Nothing but the best, kids. Nothing but the best.

   Coining The Phrase: You know what's nice about the U.S. Treasury redesigning the nickel ... again? They've now spent more time redesigning the coin of the least usefulness to anyone, anywhere.

   Think about it. Quarters and dimes, they're used in business transactions. Pennies, because of their minimal denomination, can easily be thrown off buildings, pressed into souvenirs or thrown on the ground in hopes of "passing along luck." The nickel? Nothing. Throwing it is wasteful and it could cause pain. Carrying it is pointless, as no one counts out change to friggin' five-cent increments.

   Though maybe that's the point ... the nickel is like the test market of coin design in the same way there's some California McDonalds that gets all the awful new products before everyone else.

The redesigned nickel is expected to be around for quite a while with no current plans for further changes. The next circulating coin that will undergo changes will be the Sacagawea dollar. Beginning in 2007, two-thirds of those coins produced each year will feature images of deceased presidents in the order they held office. Four past presidents will be honored each year.

   I know I can't wait for my Franklin Pierce dollar coin, or if nothing else, the celebration Franklin Pierce will actually have because of it.


   • And now, my review of:

Beaver and Butthole, How Nice.
-- Beavis & Butt-head, Vol. 1 - The Mike Judge Collection

   Those of you who watched and loved the show, I want you to think about it right now. Remember your favorite episodes, the one-liners, the whole package. Get all wistful on me, and imagine how wonderful it would be to see those things again. You know, the way NEARLY EVERY TV SHOW THAT HAS EVER AIRED, REGARDLESS OF QUALITY OR POPULARITY can now be viewed.

   Now, imagine getting 40 of those episodes. But by getting them, I mean versions that are edited. Not simply with the music videos removed -- hey, I understand, copyright -- but via the only "Director's Cut" in history that actually takes away footage. Now, imagine how disjointed and short they would feel.

   Now, imagine there were commercials for video games, MTV and Comedy Central products are the beginning of both episode discs. Imagine you can't skip by these in any way, and that they air every time you play the disc.

   Imagine there's FOUR MINUTES OF THEM ON EACH DISC.

   Now imagine yourself putting your money away, putting your credit card in your wallet and logging on to eBay, in hopes of finding some bootleg copies some guy who gets much more pissed about these things made.

   That's my advice. Because while something is far better than nothing, nothing is cheaper than something. And in a lot of ways, that much more fulfilling.

   Perhaps the best part of the whole thing? On the 'Extras' disc, there's a link from which you can view each of the ads individually. If that, after all, is what you bought the set for.

   What can I say, I miss all the references to "Fire. Fire! FIRE!"


January 11, 2006 - What? No One Like Music?
   Internet Phenomena I'd Forgotten About: Why, it's Bert is Evil. As inspired by that photo of he and Osama that's been floating around.

   I mean, who doesn't enjoy a good backmasking?


   • For the past few days, I've been playing around on Rhapsody -- I'd call it "Legal Napster," but that just makes me sad since I got on that bandwagon far closer to the end than most people.

   Not that I didn't know about it, as I had a friend at Northeastern who showed it to me close to when it all began. I just was never one to steal a whole lot of music. Pre-iPod days, of course.

   If I'm to understand the site correctly, should I choose to join their "Rhapsody To Go" service for filling up my iRiver with crappy pop, I pay them $15/month to earn the right to pay $0.99/song and $7.99/album. Somehow, that doesn't seem right, given the original $15 should be something more than just display type. Do people do this? Has the state of being able to steal music online really gotten this bad? Or has laziness become just absurdly popular nowadays?

   For free, you can listen to "radio stations" across certain genres. I of course chose "Pop Hits," leading me to realize there's really nothing out there in this world that I'm too ashamed to admit I enjoy. Plus, via the new shuffle phenomenon, I was finding stuff I wasn't even aware I should be embarassed about -- the most prolific of which is apparently Skye Sweetnam.

Skye Sweetnam sings acerbic, rebellious songs about boys, school and her friends.
-- Clearly, we're on the same wavelength.

   It's those sort of nuggets that fly across the screen while the songs play that may be why people pay just to get the right ot buy them. My favorite, though, was easily the one for the band that finally got me to shut the whole thing off -- Matchbox 20. Apparently, along with Third Eye Blind, Creed and Live, MATCHBOX TWENTY "heralded the transformation of grunge."

Grunge
-- Pre-grunge 'transformation.'

Not Grunge
-- Post-grunge 'transformation.'

   No wonder he shot himself.


January 10, 2006 - Don't Tell The MPAA
   I Should've Shared Earlier: First, Chuck Norris has a Web site. Second, he's making this announcement. Third, he's talking about these.

Chuck Norris' tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried.

Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.

When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night,
he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.

Chuck Norris doesn't read books. He stares them down
until he gets the information he wants.

   The only disappointing thing is there's a Vin Diesel list on which is wasted "______ is the only man to ever defeat a brick wall in a game of tennis."

   Hall of Fun!: Instead of this year regaling you with tales from the bottom of the BBWAA voting rolls, I'm regaling the people of this fair city.

Jim Ed Still Not Worthy of Hall
-- References to the chance of comedy in 2016/2017? None.

   This just served as a reminder that I really should go to the Hall of Fame before too long, if only so I can make fun of some of the old inductees I've never heard of. Though Bruce Sutter himself ain't exactly a guy I was running around the yard trying to be as a kid.

   Cleaning Out The Mailbox: In some delightful harmonic convergence, as I leave the Bruins game against the Islanders on Jan. 28, Staind will be preparing to play. Note the lack of mention regarding me listening to my WMass brethren ... I don't know why I bought one of their albums, and I sure as heck don't know why I then put it on the iRiver. The songs I enjoy by then aren't worth the looks one gets when people find out you have Staind on your person.

   But by all means, buy tickets and meet us there. Perhaps if we come across a jukebox, we can all share a dance to the song I just keep singing at work. Though it's not so much singing as mimicing the ABBA trilly instrumental thing that has a name better than that, but I can't find the word.

   Also, on the heels of Tiki Barber barely gaining 40 yards against the Panthers, come celebrate the team's history of great running backs while Barber is off doing something else. But don't worry ... Ottis Anderson will be there, even if five of his six 1,000-yard seasons came while he played in St. Louis.

   Not that I don't think he's wonderful for pushing those 1990 Giants over the top and giving me my first professional championship.


   • Alright. As promised, I give you "Young Theo," a song from "The It's Possible Team" -- a CD given to me as I left Theo Epstein's farewell press conference with the promise that "there's a song about Theo on it."

Click ahoy and sing along!

1918 long time ago
Sox back then had Bambino
If we had'na lost the Bambino
We'd a won and won and won some mo

Where did you come from, where did you go,
Where did you come from, Bambino?
Where did you come from, where did you go,
Where did you come from, Bambino?

Then one day up stepped Young Theo
He knew just where Red Sox should go.
If it hadna' been for young Theo
We'd a been stuck on the Bambino

Where did you come from, where did you go,
Where did you come from, Young Theo?

Where did you come from, where did you go,
Where did you come from, Young Theo?

Young Theo's our hired gun
Made Boston baseball lots o' fun

Where did you come from, Young Theo?

Where did you come from, where did you go,
Where did you come from, Young Theo?

Well I went to the Park t'get a Fenway Dog
Saw everyone dancin' the Beantown Flog.

Where did you come from, where did you go,
Where did you come from, Young Theo?

Where did you come from, where did you go,
Where did you come from, Young Theo?

John Henry went and got Theo
Now the Sox are champs in 2'04

Where did you come from, where did you go,
Where did you come from, Young Theo?

Where did you come from, where did you go,
Where did you come from, Young Theo?

Take a look at Theo's big ol grin
Just pulled off a World Series win

Where did you come from, where did you go,
Where did you come from, Young Theo?

Where did you come from, where did you go,
Where did you come from, Young Theo?

What you say? (RED SOX!)
What you say? (RED SOX!)
What you say? (RED SOX!)
What you say? (RED SOX!)
Woooooooo ......... RED SOX!

   In defense of this, the whole CD is not a mockup of "Cotton Eye Joe." There's a good mix of stuff, especially for a CD that sat wrapped on my kitchen table for at least two months after I got it.


January 9, 2006 - Debasing Myself
   Today's Quote Taken Completely Out of Context:

"Slasher movies are fun. You watch yourself get chopped to pieces, yet you're still alive. You see the blood on the ax and think, 'Holy shit, this is sick,' but you kind of get over your fear of death."
-- Tara Reid, according to this and this.

   Why I TiVo Wrestling: Tonight, to celebrate the crowning of a new champion, the winner and his 'girlfriend' had a 'live sex celebration' in the middle of the ring. This featured some stripping, perhaps one dry hump, a lot of rolling around underneath the sheets of a bed in the ring and, logically, a pair of chairshots and a flipping of the bed once everyone figured out that people were actually trying to have sex in the ring.

   If you can't see that that sort of absurdity is at least worth fast-forwarding through every week, we're clearly not viewing life in the same way.

   I mean, Jesus ... I watched 'Taradise' once. It's not worse than that, and there, you couldn't even make the whole thing out to be the basis of future class warfare.


   • On Sunday night, I will be taking Julie to Whale City High School for what might be a meeting of the two best boys basketball teams in the state -- the Whale City Whalers, who lost the South Sectional Final (basically, the state Elite Eight) last year on a controversial charging call, and Newton North, the team that beat them on the way to the Div. 1 State Championship.

   For an idea of why I'm going, realize that Whale City won their last game 111-96, with their best player totaling 39 points and 19 assists -- regularly enough to outscore and outproduce entire teams elsewhere in our coverage area.

   We might go out for pizza first.

   And they say romance is dead.

   Coming Tomorrow: Free music. Because it went so well last year.


January 8, 2006 - Decidedly Anemic
   Phil Simms: Good weekend for the blondie whose jersey I wore today as an act of defiance ... on Saturday, his son got whacked by the Redskins, who won with the lowest total offense (120 yards) for a victorious team in NFL playoff history. And on Sunday, his former team was worse.

Manning had his worst game of the season, the defense couldn't find a way to slow Smith or Foster and the Giants muffed a punt while becoming the first home playoff team to be shut out since Jan. 6, 1980, when the L.A. Rams blanked Tampa Bay.

   This goes nicely with their last Super Bowl appearance, where they were a fluky kickoff return away from being the first team ever shut out in said Super Bowl, and the playoff appearance prior to this, which featured New York blowing a 24-point, second-half lead to San Francisco.

   Though I will admit by picking against them and going 3-1 on the weekend, it's not like it caught me by surprise. And I look forward to it being just as bloody if New England faces Indianapolis ... I'm already priming my coworkers for enough $5 bets to buy my dinners for the next month.

   Plus, now I don't have to follow through on the column idea where I go to every local bar I can find to discuss a Patriots-Giants Super Bowl with those 'conflicted' sops like myself. Drunks being the best people to interview, of course.


   • On our annual sojourn to the bar on Sunday night after work, a story time ensued where everyone regaled everyone else with the stupidities of youth. Wrapping cars around trees and having the police call you and your "known associates" out by name on the scanner, having friends leap out of your moving sportscar and break their arm chasing a backpack, loading up a small vehicle with all your friends and a bullhorn before ending up in high-speed chases sparked by throwing crap at people.

   It struck me after about 20-30 minutes of this that I hadn't spoken in, roughly, 20-30 minutes.

   This is what happens when all your friends were dorks. And you, also, were a dork. Since the mere fact that you played a game called "England" and drove on the wrong side of the road doesn't make a very good story unless you had to hide beers in somebody's backyard at some point in the process.

   It's not like I haven't done stupid things. It's just when 'joyriding' is driving down a road you've never been on at two in the afternoon isn't necessarily interesting because you hit a patch of ice, skidded off the road, and skipped your car off a tree and fire hydrant before driving it home with the wheelwell cutting into the tire.

   Was that ever exactly how you'd predict a trip to the "Golf Dome" winter driving range in Westfield was going to end when it began ... with rear-view mirror all over the dashboard.


January 7, 2006 - Bad Jokes and Pudding
   Today's Quote Taken Completely Out of Context: Well, it's not really taken out of context at all. It's just taken off Friday's front page:

"Everyone in that theater will either be old or going with their wife, or gay. Maybe a more mature, open-minded guy would go, but your common 18-year-old guy won't go see that movie. They'd rather sit at home and watch reruns of 'Mad TV.'"
-- UMass Dartmouth student Josh Thorton, discussing Brokeback Mountain

   Thorton's reference to Mad TV, pulled from the fire at the buzzer, won a hotly contested race to become the most apparently homophobic student quoted in Friday's article. He claimed the title over a disappointed Liam Quinn, who showed weakness before turning the corner:

"It's just a movie. If you can go see a 50 Cent movie about guys getting their heads blown off, why can't you see a movie about two guys on a mountain? ... I'd go with my girlfriend but I wouldn't go with my best friend. It's like, a guy wouldn't go see a romantic movie with another guy, no matter what the movie's about."
-- Clearly, he's majoring in 'obvious studies.'

   Extremely honorable mention, however, goes to 27-year-old Tim Garcia.

"I don't see why some guys wouldn't go. It seems like a good movie. It's not going to 'make you' anything. It's not like gay vibes are going to come off of the screen. It's like a book; you make your own interpretation."

   Had I been doing this story, the 'gay vibes' clearly would have led me to write a joke article and be fired. And I wouldn't have regretted it for one second.

   The Power of Science: It's party time at Central Missouri State. No, they didn't win the Div. 8 Shelfball National Championship ... their long search to discover the new largest-known prime number? A success!

The team at Central Missouri State University, led by associate dean Steven Boone and mathematics professor Curtis Cooper, found it in mid-December after programming 700 computers years ago.

The number that the team found is 9.1 million digits long. It is a Mersenne prime known as M30402457 -- that's 2 to the 30,402,457th power minus 1.

"We're super excited," said Boone, a chemistry professor. "We've been looking for such a number for a long time."

   Apparently winners in not getting $100,000 because their prime isn't large enough at some 9.1 million digits, I do have to congratulate them. Not only have they created another "cool present for the serious math nut in your family,", they've successfully wasted their lives at a rate I could only dream of.

   I mean, not only have they wasted their own time, they've wasted the resources of 700 PCs that could either have been used to cure cancer, find spaceships by running that screensaver thing or somehow helped create a new video game that I don't think is boring after a couple of months.

   Or maybe they could have been used to create another copy of Super Japanese Shit-Collect Game, since it's becoming obvious the copy at Blockbuster-Fairhaven isn't ever coming back. Look, all I want to do is create a rolling ball of stuff that can pick up a stadium ... is that so much to ask?


   • And now, in lieu of some sort of prayer that Eli Manning remember how to play football in time for Sunday's Wild Card playoff game with the Panthers, a highlight package of stuff shown at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

   All photos, as always, ripped off from The Associated Press. Thanks, work!

Some sort of iPod speaker.
-- A device able to eat iPods while scaring children
with your awful collection of Starland Vocal Band originals.


BlueTooth Phone
-- Either the world's easiest-to-lose cellular phone
or a digital doorknob for your daughter's doll house.


Bill Gates and Ali
-- Virtual Dork Fight, with Al Bernstein and Bill Gates.
[ Not Shown: New employee Geoff praying before them, the sellout. ]


eBook Reader
-- The long-awaited technological upgrade of ... the book.

   And, perhaps most importantly of all:

Canon Performer
-- The new and improved five-faced mime.

   Now with real fake box action.


January 6, 2006 - Quite Elusive
   Starlet Update: And I relay this story only because it came up in the comments yesterday.

   As I've explained here before, my parents have a habit of following each episode of NBC Nightly News with the double feature of "Inside Edition" and "Entertainment Tonight," which are basically the same worthless show but for one's affinity of thinking it's a real news show and the other occasionally putting an actor in a fat suit to find out ... "Hey! People treat fat people differently!"

   Anyway, about 15 minutes before Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes cooing over each other chased me from the room, my mother was telling me a story about how a certain Hollywood starlet just had a bunch of "naked" photos taken on a beach. Well, not naked, but ones where she's "wearing nothing but a bandana." But apparently, they showed them on TV ... so please, someone alert the PTC.

   So anyway, somewhere in between my confusion about how they showed naked photos on TV and failed attempts to convince my mother I was not interested in seeing the emaciated, naked shell of someone who was once attractive, the other show showed some of the photos. As part of a hard-hitting story about said starlet taking a bus back to New York following her Miami hospital stay for "asthma."

   I think the best part about this story is that even though it has no point, at least I didn't show it on a nationally syndicated television show and try to convince you that it was actually interesting.


   • If you don't enjoy seeing a naked Dutch woman killed with three zip guns, then you probably shouldn't go see Steven Spielberg's Munich.

   I'm pretty sure some people in our group fall under that description, but they were real troopers about it. So, thanks for that.


January 5, 2006 - The Dog Is Snoring
   Ooh! Shiny Red Ball!: I'm not going to say I was right again, because really, we were all right again.

"There will be no trade, I'm staying in Boston, where I'm familiar with the system and where I have a lot of friends, especially David Ortiz," Ramirez told ESPNdeportes.com while in Miami on personal business. ... "I'm going to take things easy and focus on my career."

   I can't wait to hear what the folks on "Best Week Ever" think of this. Since Lord knows they have something to say about everything else.


   • I can see why the idea of "dinner and a movie" works.

   I can also see why old Italian people are so large.


January 4, 2006 - Talent Picks Championship Winners
   The Debate Is Over: It wasn't all that long ago when Nick spawned the great debate of whether I do truly have orange hair by designing my South Park character -- as with everything, the pot-laced Dutch have improved the product.


-- The term 'great debate' used loosely, of course.

   Well, it's all finally been settled, as the show's producers ended it themselves. No orange hair, no open white shirt, no nothing.

South Park - New York

   Clearly, we're all in agreement here.

   The Ballpark Sells It: If there's even been a business that needs to be patronized just based on general principles, I'm thinking the Mo Vaughn Express Car Wash leaps to the top of the list.

"It's not just a car wash," said Elder, who's investing upwards of $7.5 million along with Vaughn and two other investors in the Attleboro project.

The facility will include a 50-foot 'touchless' tunnel washer for fancy cars, a 160-foot tunnel for other cars, six bays for 'detail' cleanings, quick-lube and oil-change bays, a Mobil gas station, a convenience store, a Dunkin' Donuts, and a mini baseball park out back, according to design plans.

Last week, a local zoning committee OK'd the first "Mo Vaughn Express Car Wash" in Attleboro, with construction expected to begin sometime next spring.

   This just reminds me of the 'Where Are They Now?' story in Sports Illustrated a few years back, where the world learns this is the same thing that became of Lenny Dykstra -- not exactly the very opposite of New England's favorite baseball-star-turned-stripper-enthusiast.

   Though I suppose he really didn't 'turn' into it ... nor should I be glossing over the discovery of Auto Laundry News.

Of all the publications covering the car appearance care industry, Auto Laundry News has the longest history. Now in it's 49th year, the magazine offers industry news and information to operators of conveyorized car washes (both full-service and exterior-only), self serve car washes and in-bay automatics. Other car-care services covered include auto detailing and fast lube.

   Stay tuned for further updates, since if I was ever having a low self-esteem day, I could very easily get lost and find myself in Attleboro.


   • I could sit here and open this with "As you know, I'm not one to gloat." But really, that's a lie and we all know it.

   If I wasn't one to gloat, I wouldn't have taped Wednesday's sports section -- with my column circled, the sectioned autographed and the line "Texas is winning the Rose Bowl tonight." highlighted -- to the managing editor's door because he scoffed at me. To say nothing of letting Notre Dame superfan Jon Darling know he could pay off our bet via beer at TD Banknorth Garden.

As always, I'm an idiot.

I am also, however, able to grasp the relatively obvious. And in reading all the hype, hearing all the opinions and digesting all the facts, it all but leaps across the computer screen.

Texas is winning the Rose Bowl tonight. Just like Ohio State did against Miami in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl in somewhat similar circumstances, the relative underdog is snapping away the championship.

-- Thank you, Vince Young.

   Was I the only guy with access to a printing press saying this? Not really. Did that stop me from smiling like an idiot right after I was asked, "So, how does it feel to be right?" Not really.

Texas Kid

Tim Allen, a junior mechanical engineering student, is shown in the nearly deserted student union at the University of Texas on Tuesday in Austin, Texas. Thousands of Texas football fans are in California for Wednesday's Rose Bowl, leaving few reminders in Austin that Texas is vying for its first undisputed national championship since 1969. Allen is from Houston. (AP Photo/Harry Cabluck)

   Let the celebrations begin. Even if you do have an extremely haphazard planning style when it comes to putting stickers all over your laptop.


January 3, 2006 - Talent Wins Championships
   Genius: Because I so often lack self-esteem building accomplishments, I'd just like to share that my alter ego went 141-105-10 picking NFL games against the spread this year, earning me a free meal on the dime of the newspaper. With it, I plan on having some sort of sports luncheon where the whol staff gets together and scares an entire establishment's worth of patrons.

   As history has shown, we're very good at that.

Tongue

   And I wasn't even drunk at that point.

Texas Ready To Take The Title
-- I actually feel a modicum of pressure, given I was so vocal about the predicted outcome. Thankfully, the odds of me getting any letter about it is low enough to laugh at.

   • As one of those kids who occasionally has fantasies about having become a kicker in an alternate reality, I'm glad at the way the Orange Bowl turned out. As in, the first kicker who botched things up won over the second kicker who, I suppose, really was the first kicker who botched things up.

   In regulation, FSU's kicker missed a first-half extra point that ultimately would have won it. Though if the Penn State kicker hadn't missed the 29-yard field goal with 20 seconds left, the extra point wouldn't have mattered. And that's before they combined to miss three field goals over the three overtimes.

Lucky for Johnson, he stuck around. And after a 38-yard miss by Cismesia, Kelly rebounded to connect from 29 -- on a drive in which coach Joe Paterno was overruled by quarterback Michael Robinson on a fake field goal call -- and the five-hour marathon ended with a 26-23 Penn State victory.

   Yes, because that's both entirely necessary when you're on the 25-yard line and need three points and just what you should do to build confidence in your freshman kicker.

   But no, the game hasn't passed Joe Paterno by or anything. I know when my season's on the line, I'd turn to a gimmick play that's entirely unnecessary.

   And who would I want calling that play? An irritable old man who looks like he can't see to the hash marks anymore.

   And to think I was cheering for them.


January 2, 2006 - Settling In
   The Future, Today: You know, everyone makes inventing and becoming rich out ot be something hard. As though coming up with an idea for a product that's not out there is something that couldn't be done by anyone with even a couple molecules of a brain stem.

   I just don't think that's the case. And were I ever to write up a proof of that, I'm pretty sure it might begin with Doggy Steps.

   And fortunately, that Web site plays the commercial for the original Doggie Steps, not all the friggin' knockoffs that cost upwards of $39.95 for two, TWO sets.

Does Your Pet Have Difficulty Climbing Up To His Favorite Spot?
The solution is Doggy Steps. It's just the right height to help smaller and older dogs step up where they want to go -- up to couches and beds. It's also great for pets to step up into cars or trucks. It's lightweight and portable so it goes anywhere and no more bending over to help your pet up ... so there's less stress on your back too!

   I'd like to think it's pretty obvious from all those months of crap below that I like pets. Nay, love pets. However, the fact remains that cats don't need Doggy Steps. Anyone who has ever owned a cat is well aware there's pretty much nothing cats can't leap on to.

   And dogs? Real dogs have no trouble doing anything. Any dog that can't jump on a bed is not actually a dog, but some sort of mutated cat.

   To say nothing of the fact that the Doggy Steps bring back painful memories of the sex furniture, which came up on New Year's Eve Eve thanks to the print ad packaged inside the always-hilarious dirty personals of the Valley Advocate.

   And if you thought the British soccer chants feature was bad, just hope I don't get hooked on posting these things. As it is, my search terms every month aren't exactly discreet.

Search Terms For December
-- It's gotten so kinky, I can't even picture it anymore.

   • It wasn't all that long ago that people were comparing UMass coach John Calipari to Rick Pitino. The two were little Italian twins, decked out to the nines for even the most insignificant games against Siena, Eastern Kentucky State and, well, Boston University.

   Well, it's been 10 years since UMass made that storybook run to the Final Four, losing to Pitino's Kentucky Wildcats and crushing me for years.

Dumpy Calipari

Memphis head coach John Calipari shows the emotion of losing to Texas 69-58 during college basketball action in Memphis, Tenn., on Monday. (AP Photo/ Mark Weber)

   Time has not been particularly kind.


January 1, 2006 - A New Dawn ... With Snow!
   A Note About New Year's: A snowstorm that probably caused a good handful of people around the region to celebrate the calendar change in a ditch led to our nerd collective skipping the free $1,000 of booze party.

   Instead, we maintained the spirit of the evening in Easthampton by playing Trivial Pursuit and watching Law and Order: Criminal Intent.

   And really, we had more than enough alcohol to get us by. Plus enough T.G.I. Friday's frozen appetizers to ensure someone would die if the storm got real bad, and we could just eat them if we got hungry.


   • This marks another new place where I celebrated the New Year, continuing a streak that possibly dips back into high school. I'd list them all ... if only there was some place where I wrote all this stuff down, keeping it for historical purposes.

   This morning, I impulse ordered a plate of corned beef hash at the Easthampton Diner, where eight of us ended up for breakfast after semi-drunken sleep. That, combined with the cheese I asked not to be put on my sausage omelette getting put on my sausage omelette, led me feeling worse after I ate than I did before.

   That's a first.

   Which also apparently applies to someone not wanting cheese on their omelette, since it confused the cooks so much, they just ignored it.

   On the plus side, the newspaper went to press with a half-completed page in it because my boss sent the wrong version to the printer. Had I been the one that did it, this whole update would have been about that and my own self-angst.

   Instead, you got the self-angst about me eating an omelette the size of my face and how Charlie fell down the stairs at 3 a.m., yet somehow didn't injure himself.

   I'll leave it to you to determine which story you think is better.


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2004: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
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2002: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2001: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05]