February 28, 2003 - Taking Six Out To The Woodsshed
   Today's Quote Ripped Completely Out Of Context:

"You could just dye eggs in this pee."
-- The quote is made because the color in question is not yellow.

   • There isn't a whole lot to say today, because today was the second sick day I've used in the nearly nine months I've been on the job. I have no idea whether calling in once every four and a half months is a good ratio ... I just know that I hate calling in sick for a multitude of reasons.

   1) Less pay. Given how much I make, money tends to be at the top of every discussion, just because I love the lil stuff soooo much.

   2) I'm screwing my employer, since I typically don't make the decision I'm not going to work until the last possible moment before I have to go. Not that they would try to call someone in to replace me that night, but it still shakes things up unnecessarily.

   3) To me, the sick day is the ultimate "I just didn't feel like going to work" cop-out. It's probably less prevalent where I am, since it's generally easy to get extra time off if you need it, but my first instinct when somebody calls in sick is that they are, in fact, not actually sick.

   In a way that's probably a good reaction, because then when people incorrectly think it about me, I'm not offended a bit.

   So suffice to say, I did not get to write another gem like this one.

'Survivor' Hopeful Still In
by Jon Couture, Standard-Times staff writer

   Dartmouth-raised "Survivor" contestant Matthew Von Ertfelda remains in the game after another round of voting, but may have taken a hit when the man he was trying to ally with was booted from the show.

   Daniel Lue, a 27-year-old tax accountant from Houston, was the overwhelming choice of the all-male Tambiqui tribe to be removed from the Amazon. Earlier in the broadcast, Mr. Von Ertfelda had begun to create an alliance with Mr. Lue, as the two had a conversation in Mandarin Chinese about voting off 56-year-old Roger Sexton, who has taken on an authoritarian role.

   Receiving significantly more screentime than in previous weeks, Mr. Von Ertfelda began to find his niche in the tribe this week, relying on his background as a chef to cook a "fish bouillon soup" out of the catch he'd secured. At council, he revealed he'd spent the better part of an hour fishing, and was beginning to struggle with keeping the tribe's meager food down.

   He also showed his love of cloak-and-dagger dealings, voting against Mr. Lue when it became clear he would not survive the night's voting.

   The all-female Jambaru tribe won both of the night's challenges, making them four for five over the show's three episodes. While they spent much of the episode delegating leadership and cleaning up their camp, the men discussed their chances with the women they had met.

   Yes, I hath returned to to actual newswriting. That is, if actual newswriting is defined as watching 'Survivor' and writing about it because your readership area has a rooting interest. Not a rooting interest they openly cheer for, mind you. This is more us telling them they want this guy to win ... they just don't know it yet.

   If nothing else, this will surely elate my mother, a longtime reality TV convert. And I do know my Survivor history ... the first five winners were Richard Hatch (on the island thing), Tina Wesson (in the Outback), Ethan Zohn (in Africa), a black girl (in Central Park) and somebody (in Marquesas).

   Must keep myself sharp for Viva Trash Vegas! How nice it will be to finally make my hajj to the Mecca of Gamblor, and how I will enjoy making sacrifices to Him in the city's various craps pits, blackjack tables and (possibly) roulette wheels, in that order.

   But that's for another day. My travel recommendation for you, should you find yourself in the Greater Springfield area on Saturday, is to stop by the Civic Center for the 7:30 Falcons-Ice Cats tilt. One night after Rob Murray played his 1,000th AHL game, and was given gifts which included a canoe, the Falcons will be playing the former Springfield Indians, who left town in 1994.

   And it's Marty McSorley Bobblehead Night! You'll just need to find yourself a 14-year-old, and you too can forever enjoy the molded plastic likeness of Canda's favorite hockey enforcer.

February 27, 2003 - Mounting The Toms Bandwagon
   The Ivy League Word Of The Day: Today's word is eutrophication! Defined as "the process by which a body of water becomes enriched in dissolved nutrients (as phosphates) that stimulate the growth of aquatic plant life, usually resulting in the depletion of dissolved oxygen," it was used in the context of a study of such type behavior.

   Cooch's World's newest feature, The Ivy League Word of the Day will highlight some of the verbiage encountered when editing copy from some of our Ivy-educated reporters. This isn't an exercise to ridicule them ... it's more just to show exactly how many educated words I have no hope of ever learning.

   Occurrence That Proves The Rule: #45 Niclas Fasth and #14 Mike Weir, the picks postulated by Mark Coen and myself in the Accenture Match Play Championship, both lost in today's second round. Meanwhile, #60 Kevin Sutherland and #61 Jay Haas advanced.

   • Today is indeed a sad day. Mr. Rogers is moving permanently to the Land of Make-Believe as we speak, where he'll join Bob Ross in the pantheon of PBS shows I'll now watch under a pall.

   I grew up on Mr. Rogers ... grew up on all the shows James is talking about. And his death is a sad event. But there's nothing left to say. Everyone else has weighed in ... go there is you want to reminisce.

   Besides, we have other problems I feel much better equipped to discuss.

Red Sox look rusty in 4-2 loss to Twins,
tumble to 0-1 as Nation's panic hits fever pitch

Minnesota Twins shortstop Chris Gomez makes the tag for the out as Boston Red Sox's Todd Walker, left, attempted to steal second base in first inning of exhibition game tonight. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

February 26, 2003 - Lappas Probably Likes It
   Today's Quote Ripped Completely Out Of Context:

There will also be a video presentation (at the hearing loss support group meeting), titled 'I See What You're Saying,' which demonstrates the learning process involved in lip and speech reading. "This technique is most helpful to those who are preparing themselves for the day when they can no longer hear their friends, loved ones, television, radio talk shows or whatever," Mr. Zeida said.
-- I am curious how lip reading helps listen to the radio.

   • Ten years to the day of the first, comparatively tame, attack on the World Trade Center, the city of New York has picked its winner in the site redesign sweepstakes.

   The proposal by Daniel Libeskind will include the world's tallest tower (at 1,776 feet), which will allow America to retake the "World's Tallest Building" crown grabbed by Malaysia with the Petronas Towers. It will better respect the original WTC footprints than the THINK proposal did, and create 7.5 million square feet of office space.

Studio Libeskind WTC Plan
-- Plus, it will allow the city to just bring back
all the debris and heap it in a fucking pile.

   I understand it's just a model, but I'm trying to find some solid lines, some steel, some of the rare "exoskeleton" design that the WTC had, and I'm just not seeing it.

   All I see is glass, odd surfaces, and a hodgepodge of angles. Everything the World Trade Center wasn't ... at least it was made rubble. And I'm not really sure that's what the city wants to be commemorating.

   Course, the THINK proposal, of hollow towers, had that stupid "bag stuck in power lines" airwalk and likely created less in commercial space. Really, every proposal I've seen sucked.

   If it were up to me, I'd have just rebuilt the towers as they were, but that's got plenty of problems too. I'll agree to disagree, and hope for a pleasant surprise.

   What seems to be lost here is just what the WTC was. The loudest shouters all want something modern, something transcendent, something of glass and gold and so many such things. Meanwhile, the trade towers were gigantic steel monoliths, incredibly boring if you ignored their little nuances.

   It would seem to me that if you wanted to commemorate what they were, and to commemorate the lives of all those who died there, you would want to somehow recreate what the WTC was in a memorial.

   But it's architecture. Like poetry, there are no wrong answers, just ones that suck because somebody says so. That's one thing sports will always have on it ... the facts are there, and there's really not that much one can do with them.

   Also today, the Boston University men's basketball team beat UNH 76-62, clinching the America East regular season title and the #1 seed in the postseason tournament, which they were already hosting. Though an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament is probably out of the question, their 17-9 record and home court advantage makes them the favorite to win the conference and return for a second consecutive trip.

   Meanwhile, Temple beat UMass 88-46, dropping the Minutemen to 11-15 via the worst loss in the history of the storied series. It looks like I adopted a second team just in time.

February 25, 2003 - I Suppose I'd Be Malaisical
   I have spent the entire 'weekend' doing absolutely nothing. To the point of wearing the same pair of sweatpants for about 44 of the last 48 hours. Something feels horrendously wrong about this.

   I call it "greasiness." And suffice to say the amount of hair I've lost shows up a lot more when the coif is clumpy.

   • Tomorrow, the World Match Play Championships begin. Using a 64-player bracket based on the World Rankings, there may be no format in sports where the seedings mean less.

   Match play golf is such a crap shoot, that last year's MPC featured the following first round results:

Peter O'Malley (64) def. Tiger Woods (1) - 2 & 1
John Cook (63) def. Phil Mickelson (2) - 3 & 2
Kevin Sutherland (62) def. David Duval (3) - 20 holes
Steve Flesch (54) def. Padraig Harrington (11) - 3 & 2
Matt Gogel (53) def. Darren Clarke (12) - 2 & 1
-- Akin to three #16's and two #14's winning in the first round.

   The Final Four ended up being Paul Azinger (25), Scott McCarron (45), Brad Faxon (47) and Sutherland , with the #62 seed, a #16, winning the million dollar first prize.

   I say this not to defame the event ... quite the opposite. It's nice to see some fresh faces win big golf titles. Just don't go filling out a bracket, throwing down $20 and thinking you're winning the whole show.

   The first year, I entered a $20 pool where my champion, Ernie Els (7), had lost by the time ESPN's broadcast of the event began.

   So picking almost entirely at random, this year's winner will be ... Mike Weir. I encourage you to do the same. It'll be like gambling, but without the dejected walk away from the table.

   Compulsive Gambling Update: I've decided, in studying various games prepping for my trip to Vegas, that I could never get into online casinos. Half the fun of throwing your money away is watching the people next to you heave double what you are in half the time.

   And I now understand, having gotten a rudimentary grasp on the game, why no one could ever explain craps to me verbally.

February 24, 2003 - For Love Of The Kiosk
   Country Will Eat Itself: Johnny Cash's newest hit is a cover of 'Hurt,' a song originally done by Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails. Trent Reznor? Johnny Cash. Yeah, makes perfect sense to me.

   • Earlier today, I determined that my favorite word in the English language is 'kiosk.' This has absolutely nothing to do with anything ... I just wanted to get that out there.

   And because thinking and analysis assists coherency, more Grammy.

"I think we're all in agreeance that this war should go away as soon as possible."
-- Thanks to Sports Guy for reminding me of Fred Durst's quote of the night, year ... all of it. And also for the following:

"Harvey Fierstein (in drag, and no, I'm not kidding) and Rod Stewart present the Best Comedy Album Grammy to Robin Williams, who comes up on stage and starts doing Robin Williams things. Boy, I wish Billy Joel was here, just so he could crash his Mercedes into everyone on stage right now."

   War talk was inevitable for the telecast, since musicians always like taking stands to seem, but not always actually be, deep. Durst and Bonnie Raitt seemed to be the only verbal ones -- the first being stupid and the second being extremely, extremely forced. Course it was given at the same time that Aretha Franklin was on the stage looking Michelin Man-nish, so that could be clouding my judgment.

   Really, all I wanted out of the show was for Bono to come on stage, give a little speech about the music industry, and end it with, "and let's go out and bomb Saddam back to the Stone Age!" Would have made the broadcast.

   This wish barely exceeded the one where I hoped Norah Jones would end her "I never thought my music would ever be popular music" quote with "I mean, seriously. What's with this Eminem shit?," just so he would then have to diss her as a slut in his next hit.

   There's nothing like a good verbal putdown in a rap song ... look what it did for Moby. He got assaulted 300 yards from where I used to live!

   Elsewhere in the news:

   • Pete Rose was denied induction to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame today, not because he gambled on the game, but because the selection committee didn't think his recording his 4,000th hit as a member of the Expos in 1984 was enough to get him into the less-hallowed Hall.

   Among those who did make the grade were World Series hero Joe Carter and former California Angel Kirk McCaskill, whose 106-108 career record will make him the second-winningest pitcher inducted (behind Ferguson Jenkins' 284 wins). I'll allow you to add your own "Well, in Canadian money ..." joke here.

   Some Web sites have noble goals, like educating the public, enriching people's lives or even having a good time. Mine is to blow my minor tiff with our neighbors to the north to an international incident worthy of Mounties being dispatched to chase me. So again, Fuck Canada.

   And bring me some Mr. Sub while you're at it.

   • And via (Naughty Word) Co., I learned that the San Francisco Examiner is foregoing actually attempting to sell itself, and will instead be distributed free of charge around the city. Three points:

   1) The Examiner was once, and could still be, run by Philip Bronstein, whom you know for being the husband of actress Sharon Stone and being assaulted by a Komodo dragon he was sharing a cage with.

   2) You know the Examiner because this was its front page on Sept. 12, 2001:

SF Examiner
-- Click to embiggen.

   3) In the article explaining the change, the paper praises the free publishing model used in Boston with our beloved Metro.

   If they are truly planning on modeling themselves after that publication, San Francisco residents can look forward to increesed knumbers of misspellinghs, inch-long stories and apron-donning streetside pushers, promising the best daily coverage of cows caught drinking whiskey and lions who can't get off sexually.

   I miss Boston sometimes.

Golf Becomes A Different Kind Of Battlefield
-- Considering this is my 31st column, how's it only the second about golf?

February 23, 2003 - Mystery Science Grammys 3000
   Love has most certainly never been about logic. That's how something as stupid as a crudely done MS Paint production can be the sweetest thing in the world.

   • Want to invalidate your award show in just eight words? Fire this across the bow:

"Coming up next ... NSYNC salutes The Bee Gees!"

   The one thing the Grammys has always had going for it in Cooch's World is I almost always have heard all the nominees. May not like them very much, but given the amount of music I listen to, I've heard them. This would also be why India.Arie's seven nominations last year were so perplexing, but since she didn't win anything until this year, it's neither here nor there.

   Before the show began, and derailed my attempts to do my job, I did wonder who was hosting the show. Soon as Dustin Hoffman finished his "dramatic slow clap," he explained that "the city of New York" would be hosting. How poignant. How dramatic. How ...

   Strike one.

   New York did not host the Grammys ... CBS didn't even force city skyline shots into their commercial buffers. There was no major New Yorkish force marshalling the show, and given the presenters certainly all weren't from New York ... I'm just saying Alan Kalter hosted the show. Though he's nothing without Hosie Cow.

   Hosie Cow! It's like a cow peeing on your kids!

   As one might expect, the musical performances are what makes the Grammys, (Cheadle pause), the Grammys. And with no host, there was a delightful lack of forced jokes. But for the most part, the long-standing rule of "perform, then win next Grammy" held disturbingly true. No Doubt won. Faith Hill won. I deem this the reason for the rare musical act introducing musical act introducing musical act (w/ Ja Rule's half-brother). Had to shake up the suspense a little bit.

   But speaking of musical performances:

   Avril Lavigne: She had something non-CBS inside her tuxedo jacket, but I do commend her dressing up for the performance ... right down to the frilly tuxedo shirt. But why exactly are the Grammys trucking in rows of jumping teens to the stage? If they want to be the MTV Video Music Award so badly, why don't they just play host to an Axl Rose comeback every five years?

   Nelly & Kelly: The battling "Hot in Herre" and "Dilemma" tracks may prove to be the musical low point of the decade, and it's only 2003. I hadn't been that depressed since about an hour earlier, when I discovered Britney Spears had gotten a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Vocal Album.

   I think all you really need to know about modern music is that on most of the artist sites I'm looking up for this info, the TRL Awards are getting more play than the Grammys.

   John Mayer: In my best David Spade impression, "I liked you much better ... when you were Jack Johnson." Which reminds me ...

"It's as simple as something that nobody knows that
Her eyes are as big as her bubbly toes
On the feet of the queen of the hearts of the cards
And her feet are infested with tar balls and
La da da da da da ..."

   "The Clash": Maybe it's just that Dave Grohl, Elvis Costello, Bruce Springsteen and others were performing it, but I think they're might be something special to this "London Calling" I keep hearing about.

   But then there's the Grammy darling, little Ravi Shankar herself, Norah Jones. Her song was quality. Maybe not eight Grammys quality, but very good. I'd just like to know one thing.

   Can I get credit for being a great songwriter when I didn't even write what's currently my only hit?

February 22, 2003 - Slightly More Than 49
   Vito went and made himself a new Posse picture ... standing astride some delightful wooden beams. It does beat his old shot, which was scanned off his index card.

   You too can join the illustrious few, the secretly proud, the Cooch Posse. All it takes is e-mailing a picture, preferably of yourself, to cooch at joncouture dot com, and including some sort of rationale why I should include you. A good example of such rationale would be, "Because."

   Once accepted you'll receive a crappy title, nine lines of libelous prose, and little else. At some point this week I plan on adding 2003 updates to all the entries, so hell, there might be 33% more slander in your future.

   You'll also earn the right to include "Member of the Cooch Posse" on your resume or CV. Given what "Cooch" is often used as slang for, I can assure you it'll quickly get you eliminated from any job search you didn't want to be in anyway.

   • And here I was looking forward to "watching" another Tyson fight live over the sports wire.

   Instead, it was as short as this update.

"I like doing other things," Tyson said in a rambling post-fight press conference. "I like getting high, hanging out with my kids, I like drinking. I like doing other things."

February 21, 2003 - Minus The Wind Chill, Of Course
   Smiling On The Shoulder Of Tragedy: In one of the nearly dozen stories written by S-T staff about the West Warwick nightclub fire, perhaps the only light fact revealed came from a grandmother of one of the presumed victims. Her name, and we did verify this, is Marion Marion.

   My story, despite not giving myself a byline, is here.

   • I suppose this is why I do what I do, and you do whatever it is you do.To call it joy would be to misrepresent it, and paint myself as an inhuman beast who feeds on fire, flood, pestilence and disaster. But in some small way, that has to be a part of it.

   The rush of a big story hits newspeople in any number of different ways. It overwhelms those who aren't used to it, while others feed on it and strive for it. That's probably more problematic, since it creates the "news-driven" crap stories that much of America hates the press for. But this is neither the hour or time to try and dissect that beast.

   Two events from my youth stand out in this regard, and tend to make me think all along, the news business was what I was cut out for. And they aren't exactly very related, except in the fact that they were both grotesque blowouts over early.

   The 1988 President Election was one Dan Rather could have called before the voting was over on the West Coast. Hell, there's a good chance he could have called before voting was over in the Mountains. Though the popular different was only around 7 million votes, an electoral tally of 426-111 makes for an extremely blue heavy map. Nevertheless, I was mezmerized by the whole process ... it was essentially my first presidential election.

   I remember my elementary school had the obligatory mock election, complete with curtained voting booths and an auditorium-announced winner. Whether it was encouraged or not I forget, but I went so far as to bring in a "VOTE '88 - BUSH/QUAYLE" sign my father made for me. I seem to recall, at some point that day, some kid came at me about it ... but it ended up he was telling me he liked it.

   Given that Dukakis was governor at the time, I'm shocked I didn't get beat.

   Election Night I didn't move from the couch even once things were well past over, and whenever my parents wandered back in the room, I was quick to update them as to what states had been called while they were gone. I thank them for humoring me and my love for television graphics ... because really, the colored map of what states had been called fascinated me.

   Actual Thought Process At 2:30 a.m. Today: While flipping channels, "Hey! That looks like the Channel 12 in Providence logo on CNN. ... It is! Wow! Providence TV is on CNN! But wh ... 'Massive Club Fire'?! FUCK!" And then I was up til 5.

   Two years later, we were at my uncle's house for Super Bowl XXIV, whose San Fran 55, Denver 10 scoreline is surely a Matt Bruce favorite. In the pantheon of championship football history, it got little worse. But as usual, I was transfixed. To the point of continually running back into the kitchen after every score to update the masses, who surely didn't care, as to what the score was. Hey, I wanted to keep them all updated.

   More important, I wanted to be the one who'd told them.

   It's the rush. And it's a little flaky to talk about, especially a day after running a touching update, but it's what drives me. I work better in the face of a story. I eat it up. Election nights, Sept. 11, sniper arrests, night club fires, space shuttle disasters ... I want to be the one that finds stuff first. I want to be the one who tells my co-workers.

   I want to be the one that tells you.

   And I know that things here often seem a little bleak, dark and depressed. To the point where I get comments, both in person and in prose passages, as to my apparent hatred of both my life and everything Whale City. But to be in a place where I'm entrusted with assembling the biggest stories from facts, where I'm called to come in early, and where every week I'm given 20 inches to talk about the sports world, allow to make it clear and blue.

   There's not one place in the working world that I'd rather be right now.

February 20, 2003 - Like A New Infomercial
   Poll Droll: Since it actually was a matter of some's concern, a small number of quiz bowlers jumped to my TDing defense, both on the message board and over e-mail. Suffice to say any lingering gnashing has dissipated, and I am now secure in the fact I once was the benevolent dictator of Northeast intercollegiate quiz competion.

   And may the peon who voted against me enjoy the gallons of gefilte fish and sauerkraut we handed his way.

   Today's Quote Ripped Not At All Out of Context: Not exactly ripped "out of" context, since it's just as asanine when you read the whole story.

"On the other side, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is stepping up its pro-vegetarian campaign. PETA officials say that next month in New York City, they'll circulate a bus covered in an ad featuring an obese child eating a burger and the slogan 'Feeding Kids Meat Is Child Abuse -- Fight the Fat.'"
-- AP story discussing the rise of vegetarianism in America's youth.

   Child abuse. "Here son, eat this steak," apparently equal to "Here son, eat this FIST." I can't even find the words. As much as I realize there a largely-irrelevant organization, they bring out the kind of blind rage a video game can.

   Know why pre-teen girls are becoming vegetarians? It's got nothing to do with health and slaughterhouse conditions. It's because, by and large, they think it'll make them thin. Is this really such a hard concept to grasp? How long until PETA rolls out the "Lose that paunch ... beans for l(a)unch!" banners with Kate Moss eating a salad?

   But enough. Here's hoping the victims of child abuse say more than I ever could.

   • A man by the name of Nick Cantrambone died today. I never met him, and I'm reasonably sure you didn't either. I know he died because I proofed his obituary tonight, like I do for about a dozen deceased on any given work night. But I'm not bringing it up for the reasons I usually bring up SouthCoast's dead -- there's no outlandishly stupid remembrance in his obit.

   I'm bringing it up because the paper did a story on him a few months ago. Hardly one that changed the course of my existence, but one that when a printed copy of it ended up on my desk, I saved it to read from time to time. I dare call it 'heartwarming,' and I actually mean it.

Some Enchanted Evening
by Hank Seaman, Standard-Times Staff Writer

   Do you believe in love at first sight? No, you say? Well, perhaps you'll change your mind once you've heard Nick Catrambone's story.

    Now understand, there's nothing much out of the ordinary about our boy Nick. He's your typically nice, if average, kind of guy. Pleasant looking, not movie-star handsome. Conscientious, yet far from rich. About the only thing that distinguishes this 79-year-old is his good heart. Take, for example, his portrayal of Santa Claus nearly every Christmas for the past 60 years, most notably at Ann & Hope in Dartmouth.

   But, as laudable as it is, that's a story for another day.

   What makes today's story so unique is how once he found Dora Mazerolle -- the woman he calls "the girl of my dreams ... even if she didn't realize it at the time"-- Nick simply would not take no for an answer.

   And, believe me, there were many no's.

   The year was 1976 and Nick -- a Brockton resident whose only claim to 15 minutes of fame was palling around with Rocky Marciano when the two were boys -- traveled to Dartmouth to attend a dinner dance at the old Lincoln Park. Not that Nick was really in the mood for meeting new people, mind you. Having just come through a bitter divorce, he actually had to be talked into attending this social occasion by his sister and brother-in-law.

   "I was lonely and depressed," Nick says, recalling his mindset on that long-ago evening. "I had just split with my ex-wife the year before, and I didn't think I would have a very good time."

   Famous last words.

   Once there, it didn't take long for Nick to instantly have his mind changed once he saw Dora across the dance floor. "She was beautiful... like a model," Nick rhapsodizes. "She had a spit curl on each side of her head ... the girl of my dreams."

   Yet, if Nick Catrambone was struck with a Lincoln Park lightning bolt of love, admittedly Dora was somewhat less impressed with him. When he finally mustered up enough courage to ask her to dance ... she refused. In fact, it was only because her girlfriends kept egging her on, insisting she dance, that Dora acquiesced when Nick asked a second time.

   While Nick and Dora danced to the lush orchestra stylings of his favorite song, "I've Got You Under My Skin," Nick used the time to ply her with a multitude of questions.

   "I was very attracted to her ... I asked her name. All she would tell me was 'Dora.' I asked if she was enjoying the dance (with me). She said 'yes.' I asked if she was having a good time (with me). She said 'yes.' But when I asked her if I could see her again she said 'no.' That it wouldn't be possible because her father was old and sick and needed her. She had absolutely no time to date."

   Most men would have quit right there, Nick allows, but not him. At the end of the evening, even though Dora had not danced with him a second time, he decided to escort Dora and her girlfriends to their cars.

   "She wouldn't give me her last name," Nick smiles at the memory. "She wouldn't give me her telephone number or her address. But I was persistent."

   Persistent, indeed. Nick's eyes light up as he recalls his exact words to Dora on that long ago evening.

   "I told her, 'I'm going to find you if it takes me the rest of my life,'" Nick laughs raucously. "That's the God's honest truth. She must have thought I was a kook ... but that just shows you how attracted I was to her."

   Attraction might be a bit of an understatement.

   "I asked her girlfriends where she was from and one said she thought she lived in New Bedford," Nick continues. Consequently, Nick Catrambone had only a first name and a city to go on when he set out the next day to make good on his promise.

   Yet, against all probability, find her he did, and therein lies his story.

   Nick proved to be an insistent, persistent, indefatigable, and oh-so-doggedly tenacious suitor. Nevertheless, if this was like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack, you have to grudgingly concede Nick's single-minded quest was undeniably romantic, as well.

   "I had to play detective. I figured how many Doras can there be in New Bedford?" Nick now says self-consciously of his naive optimism. "So I looked in the phone book for streets that began with 'A.'"

   Luckily for Nick, by pure happenstance, Acushnet Avenue -- running, as it does, nearly the entire length of the city, and off of which Dora's street ran -- was his first choice. Still, even then it took three 10-hour days of knocking on doors in New Bedford's North End before he learned where Dora and her father lived.

   "Does anyone know a person by the name of Dora in this neighborhood?" he asked of everyone he met.

   Nick Catrambone hastens to emphasize he was no love-starved stalker. Fully aware of how our modern-day oh-so-jaded world might misconstrue his entirely honorable intentions, Nick remembers not wanting to give anyone cause for alarm.

   "I stopped knocking on doors when it got dark. I didn't want the cops thinking I was a burglar or anything like that," he smiles.

   In any event, finally, three days and nearly 30 hours later, someone knew someone ... who knew someone ... who knew someone ... who actually did know people who fit the description of Dora and her elderly father. Taking a deep breath, Nick Catrambone knocked on their door and ... well, long story, short, it was the right door, the right Dora.

   What were the odds of finding her in three days? Or at all, for that matter?

   I'll leave to your imagination the genuine shock and surprise Dora experienced upon seeing Nick. Yet, even after contacting the object of his affection, there was still a matter of courtship with the reluctant woman.

   "I never believed I'd ever see him again," Dora says today before describing her subsequent softening when she realized all he'd gone through to find her. Reluctantly, she introduced Nick to her ailing dad, but was surprised by the elderly man's ultimate acceptance.

   The bottom line is it took four years -- a very long courtship, indeed -- but eventually Nick tied the knot with the woman of his dreams. They've been happily married ever since.

   And, for a guy who's played Saint Nick at Christmastime for most of his adult life -- making thousands happy in the process -- Nick Catrambone says finding Dora was the greatest gift of his life.

   All it took, he says with a nudge and a wink, was a little perseverance.

February 19, 2003 - QB & PGA - A Readership's Delight
   Finally! My contributions to the collegiate quiz bowl circuit have been recognized by the community at large.

"Worst Tournament Director: Jon Couture, and his weird-ass tournament formats, and his silly-ass prizes. BU, here's a hint for future academic tournaments that you run: full or bracketed round robins, proper playoffs, and books or films for prizes."
-- A comment to one of 13 votes in this poll.

   To commemorate finally having my name bandied about among the legends of quiz tournament production, I've added several links to quizbowlers' pages to the Links. While those I'm linking don't know me all that well, they all have very good pages that are worth a daily read.

   Even if I don't vote in Barker's song polls, which is probably more due to my inability to do so wittily than anything else.

   • You knew it was coming. And if you didn't, it's likely because you don't give a whit about professional golf.

"Former Canadian Tour Order of Merit winner Brian Kontak, 31, confirmed to the Golf Channel on Tuesday that he will attempt to qualify for U.S. Women's Open, which is arguably the biggest on the women's golf calendar and will be played July 3-6 at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains, Ore."

   To be honest, the biggest umbrage I've taken in this entire Annika-Colonial spectacle was that by accepting a sponsor's exemption, she takes away almost all the added publicity that would have gone to this year's Greater Hartford Open, of which it already kills me not to call the Canon Greater Hartford Open. Instead of the focus being on Suzy Whaley, who was to be the first woman to play on the PGA TOUR in almost sixty years, and will still be the first one to qualify her way on, Suzy will now be a footnote when she inevitably misses the cut.

   I probably shouldn't assume Ms. Whaley will fall short of the weekend straight away, but when you consider she's merely a teaching professional, and that the qualifiers out of the Connecticut Sectional routinely get thrashed, I don't give her much of a shot.

   Annika, on the other hand, is probably a better all-around player than half the male players with Tour cards. She's likely looking at a top 40 finish at best, just because no matter how professional she is, the microscope she's in for is going to be unlike anything a women's golf tournament has ever seen. There's a good chance even Tiger will pity her by Sunday afternoon.

   But back to our scrotum-toting friend, Mr. Kontak. The whole story reads just about how you'd expect -- kid wants to do it, the rules are kinda hazy, probably won't get to but it was worth a shot. The quote from his friend, though, makes the story:

"PGA Tour rookie Chris Anderson, a friend of Kontak's, told the Golf Channel: 'I think he wants the publicity. He's doing what a lot of guys talk about, but don't have the (guts) to do. He could look like a complete (fool), but what if he wins by 30?'"

   Forceps, please.

   "I think he wants the publicity." Of course he's doing it for the publicity! Previously, he was a former Canadian Tour champion who couldn't even get a sniff on the U.S. Tour. Now, he's the cocked crusader, who shall slay all the lesbo scuzzies for the good of men. Manly men!

   And the sad truth is, he'll get men to watch women's golf ... just in the hopes he destroys them and proves his gender superior. It's Bobby Riggs, but without the self-deprication.

   "He's doing what a lot ... but don't have the (guts) to do." I suppose it depends on your definition of guts, or the 'balls' term Anderson almost definitely used. If Kontak loses, he'll be cruelly mocked by the masses, and be accused to demeaning his entire gender. Because, dude! He lost to a bunch of girls! And yet victory, sweet victory, nets him ... a win over a bunch of girls.

   Given in the male golf world he's already proven himself to be a flop, what exactly is he playing for? To one day be the third part of a 5-10-15 bonus that gets lamed on the first prompt? *

   * - Extreme quiz bowl reference. If you don't get it, substitute "To one day be featured in Trivial Pursuit?" and you'll be fine.

   The sad truth is the story of professional golf in 2003 has ceased to be about the play, and how Ernie Els is possibly rising to become a worthy competitor to Tiger Woods, and has become all about gender equality.

   The hoity-toitiest mainstream pseudo-sport in America, one that has been mocked by the masses for decade upon decade, has suddenly become a carrier for social change. An upper-crust game that has now become the focus of gender relations because a Beltway insider named Martha Burk noticed that Augusta National didn't have any female members.

   Can't wait until Jesse Jackson hears that the Sox have no African-American starters. Then my entire sporting year can be shot.

February 18, 2003 - Well, I Like The Little Riff
   In teasers for tonight's episode of "24" on FOX, which I actually could have watched given my night was free, Jack Bauer could be heard discussing the discovery of a [NOOK-u-lar] device. The same pronounciation pioneered by our president, George W. Bush.

   I understand the great stress the guy is under, given he's finding nuclear bombs and having his wife killed and all, but I think it's only fair he be cruelly mocked and compared to primate relatives as GWB is with regularity. This isn't because I'm fond of the president ... but more because it'd make Keifer Sutherland scream again. And one of these days, his larynx is going to just come flying out of his mouth.

   What can I say, I'm a fan of the larynx.

   • So tonight I left the miniscule cluster of Americans who had never seen an episode of "American Idol". I was here, and eating, so I tuned in.

   I watched the evening's eight perform without a bra among them. I heard Simon correctly tell the pink-haired one she should drop a few pounds, only to have her push those comments away like she refused to do with cookies. I pondered just what didn't sit well about the Jersey kid with the cheer routines, about why the black Texan kept quoting Nutty Professor and how much better Equoia was than anyone else on the show that night.

   I also wondered why exactly the one from Colorado hadn't tightened the drawstrings over her cleavage. But then I realized I didn't care she couldn't sing.

   And at the end of the evening, which for me will now always come at about 5 a.m. the next day, I came to the following conclusion. You know why people love March Madness? The NCAA D1 Men's Basketball Tournament? Because of those first four days ... when 64 teams is whittled down to the best 16.

   In those four days, at nearly any afternoon hour, you can watch college basketball. From when the Sun hits its peak past when it disappears for the night, with only a break for your local news. It's madcap. It's exciting. It's upsets and blowouts and filling in the Ws and Ls on your office pool bracket.

   And once they get it down to the best sixteen, the whole thing blows.

   There's no more surprises, and there's no more saturation. Couple games one day, then a couple days off. Back to the norm. There's no more "just happy to be here"s hanging tough, jumping around on the benches. It's not madcap. It's not exciting. And your Final Four is half gone with your champ losing by 12 at the half.

   That's American Idol. And that's why Wednesday night will bring American Idol: The Best of the Worst, an hour of the judges ripping on the worst musical acts that came to the show.

   This concludes your FOX-centric update. Now, to determine the best way to prepare a scone.

February 17, 2003 - Virtual Blizzard
   First off, on behalf of the Cooch's World staff and posse, I'd like to express my sincere condolences to former adult film actress Sarah, who lost Joe Millionaire's heart and a million dollars to the prudish, nature-loving Zora tonight.

   Perhaps it was Sarah's smoking that did her in. Could it have been here deft grasp of all things wine? Or maybe her sluttitude, the very slurps and slip-knots that made her famous, are what did her in. Regardless, Sarah, we salute you.

Meg's Foot Porn
-- May your return to foot porn be swift and tasteful!
(And check the form ... the coy showing of the right arch. This one's got skillz!)

   • Baseball fans, El Guapo has left the building.

   Rich Garces, the Red Sox reliever who rose to prominence for being very good and very fat, and then fell from grace for being very bad and very fat, has decided to retire rather than report to Colorado Rockies camp in Arizona. Though he played for Minnesota, the White Sox and Florida over his storied 10-year career, he will be remembered for his time in Boston, which peaked on a magical night in Montreal when he laid down a sacrifice and became the first 300-pound pitcher to attempt to run the first base line.

   Fare thee well, Handsome Man. Though we booed you, we will never forget you.

Spring Belongs To Pedro
-- Just like we'll never forget those members of the press who ripped
Theo, Bill and Co., here or in Gotham. Unless they're right.

   And oh yeah, the snowstorm.

Snow Drift
-- I took pictures.

The Whale City Whiteout - 2.17.03

[Login using CoochWorld/CoochWorld]

   Now let us never speak of it again. Though bear in mind that because I am a columnist, I don't actually have to stick to anything I say.

February 16, 2003 - Sledgehammer's Dancing Chickens
   New phonebooks were delivered to the Whale City Estate today. Stuck to the cover is a coupon for a local attorney, who I will now turn to if I even need help with medical malpractice, dog bites or various fractures. Because, you see, I can "present this card and get a 15% discount on legal fees at time of settlement of any new case."

   A coupon. For legal fees. If only the former Philip Morris had taken the time to clip.

   • As received via e-mail, it's predictions for the 2003 Boston Red Sox. And with it being a column day tomorrow, consider this foreshadowing.

   1B - Jeremy Giambi/David Ortiz. The Platoon becomes more bloody than the Oliver Stone version. Giambi: .231, 5 HR, 34 RBI, Ortiz: .242, 6 HR, 21 RBI.

   2B - Todd Walker. Walker breaks down with his first fulltime job and by June is on DL with torn rib cage muscle.

   3B - After trading Shea Hillenbrand to Mets for Roger Cedeno, Bill Mueller crumbles. He leads the league in errors (45) while batting 267 with 12 homers and 62 RBI. At the end of the season, Mueller is traded to Mets for Timo Perez.

   SS - Normar Garciaparra announces his engagement to Mia Hamm is a fraud and both are gay. Pelted with slurs from drunken fans during a 4-game sweep by the Devil Rays, Garciaparra is granted his request to be traded to San Francisco for "future considerations" and a bottle of Pinot Grigio.

   C - Jason Varitek. Reinjures elbow after extended public scratch and spit ritual on Boston Common.

   LF - Manny Ramirez leads the team in batting (.304), homers (46), RBI (122) and naps. Announces he will forego 5th inning for contractually-negotiated siesta. Hires steward to run out ground balls. Makes the fewest errors of any outfielder, but only has three put outs.

   CF - Johnny Damon. On pace to break Red Sox stolen base record of 44, Grady Little holds him out of games so not to tarnish image of Red Sox great Otis Nixon.

   RF - Trot Nixon takes leave of absence from baseball to join Marine Corps. Killed while storming beach in Iraq. Grady Little remembers him as second best Red Sox player with last name Nixon.

   Starting Pitchers - Pedro Martinez - 9-0, 124 Ks, 1.21 ERA - After the hottest spring in history of baseball, Pedro tears ligament in his right thumb signing autographs to raise money for victims of latest Domincan hurricane.

   Derek Lowe - 21-9, 222 Ks, 2.67 ERA - Lowe has another great season. Theo Epstein announces Lowe really has the stuff of a closer and will move him back to the bullpen in 2004.

   Tim Wakefield - 13-27, 187 Ks, 34,907 IP (innings pitched) - "He really chews up innings," Little said as he chomped on some hay.

   John Burkett - 2-11, 23 Ks, 5.23 ERA - Burkett announces retirement two weeks before 74th birthday.

   Casey Fossum - 11-16, 12 Ks, 4.87 ERA - Fossum has poor season due to malnutrition. Pedro Martinez announces UNICEF relief will be delivered to Fossum in the offseason.

   Bullpen - 'Closer by Committee' replaced by coalition of PETA, NOW, NAACP, COAH and NATO

   Manager - Grady Little fired day after season finishes and replaced by National League manager of the Year Jimy Williams.

   General Manager - Theo Epstein does a great job at Bar Mitzvah and is rewarded with a new X-Box from John Henry.

Season Record: 41-121

   I think the only thing I like more than this is that the Commander of the Air Force Academy is a Brigadier General named Taco Gilbert. Both of them hit a little too close to home.

February 15, 2003 - Martin Had A TV Show
   Just to let everyone know, the temperature as I write this is four above zero, with a wind chill of twelve below zero. Walking inside from what was a painful trot home after work, I felt my body just awash in warmth. It prompted me to sigh happily for roughly a minute.

   I would have had this same reaction, albeit a little less strongly, if I'd walked inside and immediately climbed in my freezer. NOW explain to me why I live here again.

   • Many narratives, few points!

   The Dow Jones copy editing intern we'll have at the paper this summer is has a mailing address in Lawrence, Kansas. My only hope right now, given that we've never met, is that she'll choose to hate me on my collective merits, and not just because I think her state is the most God-forsaken place in North America.

   And speaking of God-forsaken, in an ESPN.com poll, listed as a contender for best sports couple was the pairing of Keyshawn Johnson and Serena Williams.

   Sure enough ...

"According to Sports Illustrated, Johnson sent Serena 20 dozen roses during the final weekend of the Australian Open, where she was in the process of winning her fourth consecutive Grand Slam title. After dispatching sister Venus in the final, Serena flew to Los Angeles, then took a chopper to San Diego to watch Johnson and Co. wipe out the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII. After the game, Johnson and Serena mingled at a postgame party at the W hotel. The Super Bowl champ and the tennis star would not comment on their relationship."
-- Quoting the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette quoting someone else.

   This is one of those relationships that is awful, yet it's not really something that can be quantified. You have Keyshawn Johnson, possibly the most over-rated, over-hyped, over-mouthed wide receiver in the NFL, and Serena Williams, who, taking a page from Tiger Woods, dominates women's tennis with such a disinterested dominance as to make the sport generally uninteresting to watch.

   Yeah, let's hope they have a kid, so not only can it be the most dominating athlete ever created, so it can tell you how great it is 24 hours a day.

   And just because it seems to fit here, I've decided I have an irrational, factless hate for the film adaptation of Chicago. It's pretty much solely based on Catherine Zeta-Jones, whose points earned for being Welsh were finished off by the entirely grating series of T-Mobile ads.

   While I do realize the film adaptation garnering piles of Oscar nominations is probably an extremely impressive production, and that my feelings on it are entirely superficial, that rationale ain't getting me to watch Star Wars any faster.

   And on this day where millions worldwide protested against a war with Iraq, here is how I supported their cause.

Midnight to Noon: Sleep and time in bed.
Noon to 2 p.m.: Eating tremendous stir-fry lunch.
2 to 4:30 p.m.: Back to bed.
4:30 to 5:12 p.m.: Couch and SpongeBob Squarepants.
5:13 to 5:35 p.m.: Shower, dress.
5:35 p.m. to midnight: Work.

   Odd how much faster time goes by when one isn't by themselves. And just for the record, I hope our intern has a tremendous summer in Whale City. The more with less seniority than me, the merrier.

February 14, 2003 - Awwwwwww!
   The Ivy League Word of the Day: Today's word is recidivism! Defined as "a tendency to relapse into a previous condition or mode of behavior," the word was used in the context of convicts who tend to continue committing crimes after they're released from incarceration.

   Cooch's World's newest feature, The Ivy League Word of the Day will highlight some of the verbiage encountered when editing copy from some of our Ivy-educated reporters. This isn't an exercise to ridicule them ... it's more just to show exactly how many educated words I have no hope of ever learning.

   • I've finally cleared up the whole Beanpot TV situation, as my boss also saw someone he thought was me on the broadcast. The footage they used was from the 2000 Beanpot -- the last of BU's six straight, capped with a 4-1 win over BC -- and was me "flailing my arms around" as the game ended.

   Myself, Hyph and Elmer had snuck down to the bottom bowl for the game's end, both because seats were available and there was a good chance after two hours of antagonizing them, the BC fans left were going to disembowel us.

   This was around when John Silber, sitting with BU President Jon Westling and another university official, told me to sit down, to which I responded with words one should never say to their university's chancellor. Had I actually turned around and recognized who I was cussing at, this would easily rank as one of my life's top ten moments.

   It would also likely have resulted in my expulsion. But hey, we were winning our sixth Beanpot. Priorities, people!

   But alas, this Valentine love story of camera and man does not end well. An e-mail reply today informed me the network will not re-broadcast the game nor do they have the ability to sell video cassettes of their programming. Therefore, I again turn to you, fair world.

   In exchange for my kindness in not swamping you with what I actually did for Valentine's Day, an act so wondrous Meg drove to Whale City to bring my office cookies, I ask that you find someone who videotaped the 2003 Beanpot final. All I want is to vidcap myself, and have the image made into T-shirts.

   But really, I'm a humble kid.

February 13, 2003 - Like Gold, But Spicier
   Riding The Wires: The founder of Holiday Inn, Kemmons Wilson, has died. While I have no particular affinity for his chain, his obituary included a tidbit equally disturbing and amazing.

"At its peak, a new Holiday Inn was opening somewhere
in the world every 2 1/2 days."
-- And he took the name from an old Bing Crosby movie.

   Elsewhere, Kelly Osbourne wasn't traveling because of a fear of dying. She cancelled her appearance at the NME Awards in London because of terrorism fears -- quoting the story, she "decided to withdraw yesterday after seeing images of troops and tanks at Heathrow Airport." Apparently, she saw the pictures and "freaked."

   Given she lives outside America's second-largest city, and there's essentially as good a chance she'll be a victim in her own home, I highly encourage the little freak show to 'Shut Up'.

   • Imagine there was a person who asked me, "Cooch, why do you hate Valentine's Day so strongly? What raises your ire so much?" And imagine I answered them, because I'm prone to do such things.

   Through the magic of an artistic and articulate Web site, a visual representation of my disgust.

Heart Pizza?!

   As a matter of fact, I don't think it is.

February 12, 2003 - 8 Simple Rules For Offending Gran

Subject: Super Bowl
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2003
From: Brian <____@aol.com>
To: jcouture@s-t.com


    You(')r(e) so right the game has become 3rd after the commercials and halftime entertainment. It's not about football any more.

-- Apparently I struck a chord with people. And it's not the kind that one of my coworkers suggested -- that my use of "I like my girls with modesty" makes me appear sexist.

   Hopefully none of these Beanpot pictures [login with CoochWorld/CoochWorld] give anyone the same impression.

   • It's not uncommon for competing entities to borrow from one another, especially in entertainment. Hell, JAG ran on NBC for a few seasons before CBS outbid them for it and started airing it themselves. But there are some marriages you wouldn't think would get off the ground, just given what certain networks have set forth as their goals, aspirations and viewers. Stuff like Joe Millionaire resurfacing on Lifetime: Television For Women.

   And right up there on that list would be the Disney-owned, family-cranking ABC airing a televised adaptation of Hot or Not.

   "America's Funniest Home Videos" with Bob Saget spawned "America's Funniest People" with Dave Coulier And Tawny Kitaen, which spawned "Are You Hot?" with, among others, Lorenzo Lamas. At this rate, ABC's prime time lineup for 2007 should include a show where Gary Coleman walks on stage and just begins peeing on himself.

   The fact that someone has decided to ditch the pretense and have a "Hey, check out that's chick's tight ass!" pageant isn't the surprise ... it's that it ended up being ABC to do it. Not even CBS -- the Cataracts in Broadcasting Service -- running this would have been so shocking. This is ABC! The Wonderful World of Disney! The All American Girl pageant! The View! And now, weekly titty and cock shots!

   Yeah, not really. But when you're parading people out in front of a hotness panel, does it really matter if you do it tastefully?

   But perhaps the best part of the show is the dead certainty of whomever the winner is, that they won't actually be that attractive. Given there's going to be online voting, and given who's going to watch the show ... I wish I could get Vegas odds on "fake breasts and a humongous mouth."

   And the premiere episode, airing Thursday night? Focuses on "Hot Zone 1" -- The Northeast. Bring out your fake-tanned or pasty, your Long Island princesses or your Jersey Shore boardwalk boys ... someone please write a recap of this for Thursday's update.

February 11, 2003 - The Big, Sloppy V
   Brendan Fraser Media Watch: Everyone's favorite Mountie led off Late Night with Conan O'Brien tonight, making the third stop in his tour to discuss 'The Quiet American' and show pictures of his newborn son.

   Perhaps the most shocking happenstance of this press tour is not that Brendan Fraser has been the marquee guest on three late night talk shows -- Conan, Letterman (2/7), Leno (1/1) -- but that I have, by random chance, stumbled across all of them.

   Pot of Beans Media Watch: It does not look like NESN is replaying Monday night's Beanpot final, so I ask if any of you happened to tape the game, please contact me and say so. Since now three people have told me footage of Cooch was included in the broadcast, I'd like to at least see if I was captured while jumping like a fairy.

   Also, a small photographic recap of the Beanpot Final will be posted tomorrow. But given we were sitting the last row of the balcony at the rink's end, since the seats we bought from Harvard were in the row directly behind the Boston College band, crank those expectations down a few more notches.

   Westminster Dog Show Media Watch: The official name of the German Shepherd is apparently "German Shepherd Dog." However, the official name of the Poodle is not "Walking Hedge Sculpture That Sometimes Shits Artistically."

   • I suppose it's a product of my environment. February has just never been a good month for love.

   Valentine's Day would come and go each year with me on the sidelines. Not just in the pre-teen, pre-dating years, but well through high school and most of college. Relationship ended in December and began in March. It was as though cosmic forces, which I like to term my "conglomeration of personality flaws," were conspiring to keep me on the sidelines of the holiday most often saddled with angst.

   Not that I was complaining any.

   My idea of a holiday is one of celebration, of a general time to make people feel good about themselves. As great a concept as Valentine's Day is, should there really only be one day a year you affirm your relationships and make your love well known? It's right up there with people who don't attend church services all year, go on Christmas and feel perfectly at peace with themselves.

   It's a hack job, and while it's not an overly onerous one, it's still a hack job. People should make it a point to express their love to others all year long, not just buy a dozen roses from Stop & Shop and feel like they've appeased their other behavior.

   This doesn't even touch on what the worst part of Valentine's Day is ... being on the outside looking in. This is not to the poor, abused girlfriends who don't get big enough flower arrangements; this is to the men and women who have to be reminded all day, "Hey, no one loves you!" Having been there, it sucks. Same rationale goes with not being overly showy with someone else in public ... I understand your right to be happy and in love, but it isn't like those not in a relationship need another reason to go home and gorge on Chunky Monkey.

   To me, it's a lot easier to clean your apartment once a week, as opposed to three times a year. Sure, you spend a lot more time doing it, but it generally doesn't involve lugging three overstuffed bags of pizza boxes and burger wrappers across the street as they leak garbage juice on your khakis. And really, if you throw a big bet on Feb. 14th every year, eventually you're going to bust out. People tell me the odds always catch up to people ... I don't buy it, but I suppose in theory there's a little truth to it.

   Have I mentioned I'm going to Vegas in July? That whistling sound you hear is my innocence leaving the building. My only request is I run into Anna Nicole Smith at an all-hours buffet, though I'm sure I'd struggle to get her in frame.

February 10, 2003 - 8 of 9, 11 of 14, 25 of 51
   Apparently, the NESN-aired broadcast of tonight's Beanpot final featured several clips of me, including ones from the '99 Beanpot and the BU-BC "Greatest Game I've Ever Seen."

   It's nice to see the press recognize my 7-0 fan record in Beanpot games I've attended, as opposed to Northeastern fans, who can't even pick a team to support out of spite and see them win.

   • Somehow, BU keeps winning Beanpots. In games where they're outclassed, in games where they give up eight power plays, in games where they're outshot from puck drop to final gun, they keep finding a way to hoist the trophy at the end of the night.

   And I'm not complaining at all.

Beanpot 2003

BU 3 - 2 BC
Goaltending wins championships.

Beanpot - 02/10/03
1 (3)
2 (11)
0 (4)
3 (18)
0 (5)
1 (15)
1 (13)
2 (33)

Read the recap on Hockey East Online.

Read the AP recap on ESPN.com

   • Before the game I was at the Free Press, writing the tripe for wish I am glad I'll take no pay for. Talking to the Icedog beat writers before they left for the Fleet, all said BU would win (as you'd expect them to). The comment that stuck out in my mind was from my friend Nick Cardamone, who said though BU had lost all three Hockey East matchups to the Eagles this season, they had outplayed BC in two of the games. Long story short, they were due and the Beanpot is their tournament.

   And up to BC's late dribbler goal to change the scoreline from 3-1, Nick was dead on all night long.

   This was, for the most part, a sloppy game. Dramatic, a matchup of two even teams, but sloppy. BC was missing the net on solid scoring chances all night, and BU spent most of the first period playing a bad game of dump and chase. Many passes bouncing off sticks, a lot of penalties ... and yet as with any BU-BC game, it was eminently entertaining throughout.

   It's easy to say I'm biased, but BU clearly has the loudest fans of any team in the Beanpot. Sure, we win more often than not, and we pulled out to a big lead tonight, but the BC Superfans were all but silent the whole night long. Even after goals ... they only spelled "E-A-G-L-E-S" aloud twice.

   You have to ignore the scoreline to really understand the way this game played out ... all night long, the play was in the BU end. The Terriers first goal came off a faceoff, and jangled in off the left post. Their second was on a break, but frosh Dave VanderGulik actually half-whiffed his wrist shot ... and saw it flip up over the goalie's pad. Brian McConnell's five-hole slapshot gamewinner though was as solid a goal as you'll see. It may have been through Matti Kaltiainen's legs before he even registered a shot had been taken.

   And McConnell's check on BC's Brian Collins a few minutes later was as violent and as clean as hit as you'll see. One of those "throw all your weight right at his chest" hits followed by the anguished "Ohhh!" from both sides of the crowd.

   Fields was the more-the-deserving MVP, but BU's defense as a whole sealed the game all night long. The Eagles were 1 for 8 on the power play, averaging barely more than one shot on goal each advantage. They took many more, but most were blocked by defensemen diving in front of the puck. That number ratchets up even higher when you figure the third period, with BU up 3-1, was little more than a 20-minute penalty kill. If the Terriers had more than a pair of clear rushes in the third, then I really wasn't watching too close.

   I was probably still in suspended shock from the first intermission entertainment -- a game of Beer Pong (Beirut) between Baldwin the Eagle and Rhett the Terrier. Our pup lost, but no one should really be surprised, since it's common knowledge BC kids can drink the rest of the universe under the table.

   It was one of those games that easily could have gone the other way, as those during the regular season had. But what all the public and all the college hockey bashers fail to realize is that the Beanpot tournament means more to BU than it does to anyone else. We're a school with an inferiority complex, alumni who've grown used to having our families ask us "How are things going at BC?," well aware you can't buy our merchandise at the airport or hear our games on the biggest radio stations. The Beanpot and the Icedogs are what define us and carve us a place in the Hub, and it's not a place we like giving up.

   And that's why when it comes down to Beanpot games that could easily go the other way, they usually don't.

Sports-tainment Isn't Really Too Entertaining
-- I post this only to remain consistent with previous and future weeks.

February 9, 2003 - Gooooo Beanpot!
   • Comment on this, kids.


February 8, 2003 - Auditing The Rising Stars
   Standing On The Shoulders Of Gruesome Tragedy: In the days after the Columbia disaster, I found myself looking up a lot of information on the Challenger accident. Just the way the mind of a journalist works, I guess.

   Aside from discovering the frightening thought that the astronauts weren't killed in the explosion (read this), I found out that Tenerife's Los Rodeos/Norte Airport (TFN), where I had landed when I went to the Canaries, was the site of the deadliest airline crash in the history of aviation. Five hundred eighty-three people died there almost 25 years to the day that I walked on that tarmac.

   And just completing the story, the planes had been diverted to TFN because a "militant Canary Islands independence group" has detonated a bomb at Las Palmas Airport. Thus, the irony in my statement of the limited interest of freeing the islands from Spanish rule.

   • Two events, with enjoyment levels of unequal significance: preparing one's taxes, and the NBA All-Star Saturday Night. One far more fun than the other.

   Yay taxes.

   The story here would not only be about why I enjoy preparing my taxes, but on how far the NBA's Saturday night skills competition has fallen. But we'll get to that. In the weeks approaching today, I was actually looking forward to doing my taxes. I'd like to think it's because I anticipated getting a large refund, but really, I wasn't sure of that until I was done.

   It's possible you deduce from that last sentence that I got a large refund. So be it ... just know that given my income for 2002 was barely more than $20,000, so it wcouldn't have been all that big, now could it?

   I've done my taxes before, but up to this year, it really wasn't a very exciting process. Mine were so simple, it actually was a chore -- a chore which always had a monetary reward at the end, but a chore. This year, though, was different. Formulas, deductions, interest for, interest against ... not exactly a CPA's wet dream, but still. Actually being able to do them is actually quite exilerating to me.

   Each year, I can't fathom why people wait right up to the April 15 deadline. I suppose if you're paying the government $1,000 vs. getting $1,000 from it, that makes a bit of a difference, but still. I did mine in an hour, even accounting for doing it once on paper before firing up to PC to file for real. Hell, the longest piece of the process was directing my family in Feeding Hills as to where my 2001 return was so I could e-file.

   Also, I find two new reasons to love Massachusetts:

   • Rental Deduction: Half of rent paid for a primary residence is deductible. That'd be $1,425 I never have to think about again.

   • Optional Tax Rate: Income tax in Mass. is 5.3 percent. However if one wishes, they can choose to pay at a 5.85 percent rate just because they're good, upstanding citizens. This is the equivelant of asking a friend, "Hey, you want a cookie, or a dropkick in the chest?"

   So see, taxes are fun. Watching the same dunks you've been watching for a decade though ... that's not much fun.

   The All-Star Eve skills competitions used to be my favorite part of both the NBA and NHL seasons. I missed Larry Bird's consecutive wins in the three-point, but things peaked right around the Dee Brown "Blind Dunk" and Ray Bourque's continuous victories in the Most Accurate Shot competiton. Now though ... it's hard to get excited when things are just so uninspired.

   The Celtics' Antoine Walker received $2,500 tonight for going 6 for 25 from three-point range and finishing last. "I'm not disappointed at all, " the soon-to-be-traded Walker said. "It's harder than I thought." Having watched it, you got the sense he was heaving boulders at the ocean versus trying to sink basketballs.

   The big shake-up this year was eliminating the 2-ball competition, since the league figured out no one wants to watch women play pro basketball, and replacing it with a Skills Competition.

   Because they're nothing more scintillating than watching people run an obstacle course of dribbling, passing and shooting. It's as though the league won't institue a HORSE competition because they know obviously awesome it would be. You remember that bird-Jordan McDonalds commercial of many years back?

"Off a rafter, off the scoreboard, over the table, nothing but net."

   Very sweet. Not 'paying off Christmas presents with refund' sweet, but sweet nonetheless.

February 7, 2003 - So Many Boner Pills
   Tonight on CBS, Brendan Fraser was on the Late Show to talk about his new film, The Quiet American. This comes more than five weeks after Fraser made a strikingly similar appearance on the New Year's Day edition of The Tonight Show.

   This is the kind of insider information that undoubtably has a very important meaning in the context of the Late Night Wars. Just what it is ... I haven't a clue.

   • So on the 25th anniversay of the over-hyped and underwhelming Blizzard of '78, right down to the overnight snow into the next day, Whale City gets double digit flakefall for the first time since ... roughly 1978.

   The National Weather Service says nine inches, but it was snowing here past 9 p.m. Though it was powdery enough that stuff could have just been blowing off the ground ... nine inches, and not a one of it any good for chucking at cars. Bitches.

   Winter overreaction, be it for the wondrous days gone by or the Four Horsemen of the present, is pretty much boilerplate here. A large majority of stores closed at noon, even though the main roads really weren't all that bad. I suppose I should have expected this, given SuperCuts isn't likely staffed by Princeton graduates, but then again, Cooch's World is hardly staffed by Princeton graduates.

   Though now that I'm enterting at least the eighth week since my last haircut, I do have quite the Einstein-ian thing going on above my eyes. And if nothing else, I get to write the stirring phrase, "SuperCuts and I are on the outs," and actually mean it.

   So how about the variety of pills sold on late night TV to increase the size, strength and bloodflow of your penis, huh?

February 6, 2003 - Beat The Press
   • Today's quote ripped completely out of context might just be good enough to put me to bed early.

"Since Columbine, it has become clear that officers must act immediately when responding to an occupied building where an armed suspect
is engaged in a shooting spree."

   This was said a Massachusetts police chief. That after Columbine, we know that police officers have to quickly act if someone is shooting people inside a building.

   Which makes me very curious as to what they did before.

   There are eleven cities and towns that make up SouthCoast, the area in which we cover. Excluding New Bedford, which is in the 100,000 range, only one has a population anywhere near that of even Agawam. And that's all I'm saying about that.

February 5, 2003 - A Formless Post Office
   The saga of Boston University football continues, as Season Two ended tonight with a 28-24 loss to UCLA in the Queen City Bowl. Were losing the bowl game not depressing enough, the details include allowing two kickoffs to be returned for TDs and giving up the game-winning score with four seconds left. This is only compounded by having scored a go-ahead touchdown with EIGHTEEN seconds left.

   So the team ends 8-5, again losing three straight to finish the season. But aside from qualifying for a bowl game and making the Top 25 with a backup quarterback and a wholly shitty team, I did beat Miami in Miami. Did I mention I also allowed a game-losing two-play, 80-yard drive?

   [ The above is further proof of yesterday's point that I have nothing left to talk about. ]

   • I guess she's real after all.

Report: Lopez's wager on Bucs pays out $650K
by ESPN.com News Services

   She's a chart-topping singer, oft-imitated dancer, and bankable movie star. She is engaged to A-list movie star Ben Affleck. So why wouldn't Jennifer Lopez have a golden touch when it comes to betting on the Super Bowl? According to the Las Vegas Sun, J-Lo placed a six-figure wager on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the MGM Grand on Sunday -- and won.

   Citing numerous sources, the newspaper reported that Lopez put $250,000 down on Tampa Bay to win Super Bowl XXXVII and took the money line at plus-160. That means she won $400,000 -- and also got her original investment back.

   Really, it's moments like these that give me hope for the future. Because if Jennifer Lopez can make successful football bets on occasion and win $400,000 she has absolutely no need for, maybe we'll all end up OK in the end.

   Course, when we live in a world where a sign reading, "WE DEMAND PEACE," is posted on a highway overpass next to some tattered flags ... I'm not even going to start a debate about this, because I'm not a solid enough debater to volley all the attacks. If you weren't convinced after today, nothing short of another attack will change your mind.

   Something like that shouldn't have bothered me so much, but it just left my mind sufficiently boggled. As did walking into SuperCuts, being told there was a one-hour wait at four in the afternoon, then getting an odd look when I decided not to stay. I guess some people just like sitting in uncomfortable furniture and listening to techno music more than I do.

February 4, 2003 - Paper Trail
   Shining In The Spotlight: Last night, the Florida Gators were named the #1 team in the AP College Basketball poll, the first time in the program's 88-year history that they have attained the top rank. Coach Billy Donovan kept it in perspective.

"The key is to be humble, or this could be the shortest-lived stay at No. 1 in the history of college basketball."

   Tonight, Florida trailed by 23 at halftime and lost 70-55 to Kentucky. Humble indeed.

   • Because I've grown tired of having several notes on the coffee table, notes about things I wanted to work in somehow, I'll just waste them all now. This, of course, assures two things:

   1) Today's update will make no sense.
   2) I'll have nothing to say over the next week and a half.


   "Goodbye Yugoslavia!" With a vote today, Yugoslavia was wiped off the map. The portion of the country still clinging to that name will now formally be recognized as "Serbia and Montenegro," or S&M for those who like kinky sex.

   Most notable about this agreement is that the athletes of these countries will no longer have to compete under YUG at the Olympics ... instead, it'll likely be SER or MCD. This is not the saddest loss of a three-letter abbreviation -- that honor would have to go to the former Czechoslovakia, who competed under TCH.

   To this day, I don't know what the crap that stood for.

   "NASA vs Nasa" Since the Columbia accident, I have seen it written both ways. The BBC and Niedziela have come down on the 'Nasa' side, with the 'NASA' argument being forwarded by the likes of myself and NASA.

   So, which is correct? I tend to think Nasa, for the simple that both the BBC and Niedziela are much smarter than I. I'll leave the rest unsaid.

   "Weather Pixie" You can tell the worst of the winter is over because my little weather girl is back to dressing like a whore. The yellow sundress will be back before you know it!

   High today in Whale City was 52 degrees. There were stretches in December and January where the highs for seven days didn't total 52.

   "BU 2003" It's been a big week for the Charles River Campus. Not only did the Icedogs advance to their 42nd-ever Beanpot final, the school claimed Cooch's "Tax Tardiness" for the fifth-straight year. As is the norm, their failure to get my W-2 from the Outbox where it surely sits is all that's keeping me from doing my taxes.

   I wouldn't be so bothered by this if I wasn't aware of how there's no reason for me not having it yet beyond their gross incompetence.

   "Pasta Google" A couple weeks ago, I got a comment from someone who was looking to buy one of the pasta pots I'd chronicled in February. Seems she could find a phone number to order one, so I dug around and sent her what I found ... odd, but nothing out of the ordinary.

   Naturally, I was curious aout how she ended up here, given my discussion of the pots was far from very serious. So I do some searching on Google.

   I am the fifth-ranked spot on the Internet for "Pasta Pot Express", the second-ranked one for "Pasta Wizard" and even sneak into the top 50 for the best-known "Better Pasta Pot".

   Knock knock, Ron Popeil.

BU 2 - 1 Harvard
About as close as anticipated.

Beanpot - 02/03/03
0 (10)
1 (14)
1 (10)
2 (34)
0 (3)
1 (10)
0 (16)
1 (29)

Read the recap on Hockey East Online.

   • About midway through the game, I realized that BU had won a Beanpot game in the Couture era that I hadn't attended. When the team lost the Pot in 2001, they'd still won their first-round game before advancing to the final. Which, at least to me, leads to the staggering statistics that really do make us Beanpot U.

"BU has now advanced to the title game the last nine years, 19 of the last 20, 36 of the last 40, and 42 times in the 51-year history of the tournament."
-- I can't even come up with another word beyond 'staggering.'

   Sadly, I was unwilling to pay $45 for an end balcony seat, so I missed the game live. It probably worked out better than way in the end though, since with BU playing the 5 p.m. game, I didn't make it to Boston until the second period. As far back as I can remember, BU has always played the second game ... ironic since this is a city completely enfatuated with Boston College.

   Though a car radio isn't exactly the best format for analysis, the first struck me as a very bad omen. So often, the Terriers will play someone they really should have no struggles with and dominate them in most every asset ... the score being one of the few they lose. Looking back on it, the entire period was spent in the Harvard end, yet they just couldn't beat the Crimson's latest shoulder-to-shoulder named goaltender, Dov Grumet-Morris.

   The Crimson's previous goaltender had been J.D. Prestifilippo, which is real fun to try and read from any distance.Also real fun is trying to follow a game on radio when, because you've attended zero games this year, you can't name any of your team's freshmen. Things are only slightly better now.

   BU's two goals were very pretty -- the first including a pass through a defender's legs, the game-winner shot off a faceoff and through a screen. The game's star though was easily goalie Sean Fields, who stopped a third-period onslaught from Harvard that could have easily made the final 4-2.

   The Crimson have gotten light years better since I last saw them play, and are deserving of their higher ranking for sure. But BU tends to win these close games in the Beanpot every year, and thanks to the second period shutdown of Northeastern, the Terriers will have their chance to avenge BC's season sweep.

   Course, they'll also have the chance to go 0-for-4 against the Eagles and lose their first Beanpot game in my presence. But we won't think about that.

   Let's hope the most disturbing Beanpot-related thing to happen to me in 2003 is my failure to break the Pop-A-Shot record at Sports Depot. Four games gotten out of one dollar, but scores all falling between 56 and 63 couldn't top the pre-set number of 70. Far too disturbing to have to admit defeat.
February 3, 2003 - So Really, How Do I Deal?
   • I'm really starting to think this "concerts at sporting events" phase has crossed the line.

   During Sunday's NHL All-Star Game and NFL Pro Bowl, both featured prominent musical artists putting on shows at "halftime" -- hockey games have no halftime, so Sheryl Crow was out during the second intermission. They could have had a performer for the first intermission as well, but The Dany Heatley Story wasn't enough to keep my interest.

   I'm not sure how descriptive the ESPN.com picture is, but Heatley might be one of the 50 least attractive people in the country. In no way am I trying to defame him, because he is an excellent player for someone so young, but good grief. If you've got millions of dollars and frizzy curly hair, it might do you some good to replace the front tooth you're missing.

   The NFL, for all their benefits, seems to have been the pioneer of in-game concerts. They included shows in the halftimes of the 2002 Conference Championship Games, but none at the Super Bowl ... something they more than made up for this year. And I'm not even talking about the halftime show.

   I'm talking about having Bon Jovi perform between the end of the game and the trophy presentation.

   The entire football season has been aimed toward the very moments following the game. When the champion, who has struggled and worked since July or August, fought through the preseason, a 17-game regular season and a single-elimination playoff series, it is their moment in the sun. And they have to wait for Bon Jovi to get off the damned field first.

   I understand it was probably part of the contract that had him playing in Times Square to start the season. But come on. It's not like anyone who has gone to the Super Bowl needs to be entertained more once they're there. Odds are if they're at the Super Bowl and not football fans, they're not going to like hearing "It's My Life" set to fireworks.

   And really, if they wanted to have Bon Jovi both open and close the season in some poetic sort of ending, let him just perform one bad song after the trophy's been given out. Not two bad songs in separate sets. It's like stabbing and shooting.

   This doesn't even get into letting Jennifer Love Hewitt sing at the Pro Bowl. Aside from being the impetus for this, aside from the perfect marriage of a sham game and a sham singer ... I could go on for weeks. Not even because I don't like JLH as a singer, but because someone at Disney actually put their name on this as a good idea.

   I wonder if Nielsen can determine how many TVs were muted, but left on ABC for about five minutes Sunday evening ...

Sox Owners Trying To Find Even Ground
-- I ended up being much less angry that when the original update was written, but that tends to happen. I like to call it "thinking clearly."

   And just as a personal recommendation, the greatest halftime concert ever put on was at the 2002 MLS All-Star Game. Played in heavy rains, field conditions were slick as then-unknown Paulino Rubio took the pitch and sang the most incoherent song since Bob Dylan's heyday.

   Immediately following the performance, the fireworks stands set to give a pyrotechnic exclamation point fell over while shooting, firing the rockets into the side of an inflated Pepsi bottle by the stage. And they say soccer will never take off in this country.

February 2, 2003 - Who Needs Sleep
   I have no idea what I was doing the Challenger blew up, thought by all accounts I should have been in kindergarten at 11:38 a.m. on Jan. 28, 1986. We have half-day kindergarten in Agawam, so there's a good chance I was home. But I'd imagine my forgetfulness about it comes from the littlest kiddies being sheltered from the storm.

   This time around, at least I can immortalize the moment in print. Though given it wasn't the traditional Saturday morning, I doubt I'll soon forget where I was when the news was first announced -- Fenway Park's .406 Club.

   • The problem with stupid people tends to be their lacking a grasp on reality. And yes, you can quote me on that.

   The Red Sox were very clear to anyone researching the date of the ticket sale that the order of purchase would use a random distribution system. You would receive a wristband at 9 a.m., and sales would begin at 10 via random drawing -- whether you read the correct version (Ticketmaster-esque drawing of a number, with sales to count from there) or the incorrect version printed in the Hartford Courant (the "drawing of random lots"), the fact remains news releases said you would not be rewarded for coming early.

   1) As Meg pointed out, either system offers the same chance your number will be chosen to be first ... just the first allows all to have an estimated time that you will be up to buy tickets. This is the better system here, because you could theoretically leave the park and come back around when it would be your turn.

   2) As a nod to the suggestion those coming from long distances -- Penn., Maine, etc. -- would not get their ticket news from a source like the Globe or Herald, here is the RedSox.com article that explains the system, pre-sale. Admittedly it was not publicized well, but it was not the back room cabal setup some diehards would have you believe.

   In principle, I feel the fans who show the most dedication -- the Maine man who has been first or second in line the past four seasons topping the list -- should be able to purchase tickets first. Saying so screws me, but if one is willing to take a seat on the Yawkey concrete at midnight, then he wants it more than I do. That said, it is your responsibility to find out if your doing so will help you get tickets. Had the Mainer, who so dramatically bent his Sox-related vanity plate while verbally assaulting BoSox PR, done his homework, he would have seen being #1 would be a likely hindrance, since unless #1 was the random number, he'd be behind somebody.

   I never did get the man's name, but I'm not defacing his whole argument. His suggestion of lowering the numbers of tickets an individual could buy that first day is valid in discouraging some scalping. But to refuse an appeasement gesture he apparently got from the team -- allowing him to go buy tickets -- because "I didn't complain to get special treatment" is absurd. If one fucks themselves, the highest priority should immediately become swift and direct unfucking.

   And if there were people who stayed outside overnight that knew about the random number system, then they either did so for their own reasons or have problems I can't even be bothered to get into. But anyway ...

   I am infinitely glad I attended the live ticket sale ... not just for what you'll read below, but because if I'd tried to write without having done so, I'd have been well off the mark. This was an incredibly well-done event, especially figuring the volume of people (around 1,600, I believe) who attended. Wristband distribution started before 9 and ran continuously, everyone who entered was given a schedule for reference, free coffee and cocoa was available, there were extremely cheap concessions ($1.50 for a souvenir cup soda that's $5 during games) ... anyone who expresses sour puss about the day is only doing so because they didn't get seats. [Again, see below.]

   Some in the press have complained the new team management is overly PR-conscious, and maybe that's what this day was about. Gladhanding the fans, opening the park's most exclusive sections for entertainment and relief from the cold, allowing them to question Theo, get autographs from Tim Wakefield ... maybe it was all just a ploy to appear friendly while they're fucking us over.

   But maybe, just maybe, as I'll say on Tuesday, they're actually trying. This day could have been about making money, but all they sold were a few snack foods (nothing over $3), media guides (for $5, not the $20 cover price) and tickets. They allowed themselves to be publicly attacked by opening the floor to questions, and gave the best answers they could. They have continually -- be it through this or the park's opening on Father's Day -- shown a concern for the common fan while catering to the corporations and bigwigs that will allow the team to compete.

   The one quotable I wrote down all day?

"If we turn it into NASCAR, it's not going to be Fenway Park."
-- I consider the fact that they know it more than half the battle.

   This is running too long, but my lingering memory of the day, beyond the seats and the experience, is that no matter what this ownership group does, they can't win. Based on what I saw today, your diehard Red Sox fan wants to keep Fenway Park forever, for the tickets to stay cheap, but for the team to keep spending money on high-price free agents. They want to ignore the universal truth, that one day a paper box office will be obsolete, for the clinging to a tradition of days gone by. The cake, eating it too and a glass of milk to go with it.

   Well wait, I amend that. They can win. By getting the one thing we all want, but as Boston Red Sox, seemingly can't have ...

   Full Disclosure: Meg and I arrived at 8:40 a.m. In five minutes we'd received wristband #454, and in ten we were sitting in the .406 Club basking in the warmth. The starting number of 224 was called, and rather than trying to assault the phone system as I had the past six years, I calmly waited my turn downstairs. At 2 p.m., we walked out of the ticket office with:

   • Patriots Day vs. Toronto, three seats in Sec. 38, Row 22. The classic 11:05 a.m. start ensures I can safely avoid Marathon Fever again.
   • June 28 vs. Florida, five seats in Sec. 43, Row 11. The Couture family game for 2003 will be a tilt with Matt's other favorite.
   • August 31 vs. NEW YORK, three seats in Sec. 40, Row 5. A possible Sunday Night Baseball tilt in the small bleacher section adjacent to The Triangle.

   You can infer that my stance comes from getting good seats all you want. It probably wouldn't be the stupidest assumption anyone of your intelligence ever made.

February 1, 2003 - A Promise Is A Promise
   In the lead-up to Saturday's Red Sox ticket sale, I slept for approximately ten minutes. Combine that with a hectic night at work due to the Columbia incineration, and I'll now be filling in the blanks of the day on Sunday.

   Rest assured, it was worth it. My Patriots Day will once again be filled by blissful Marathon indifference, even if it is in the 22nd row of the bleachers.

   • As promised, and as yet undiscovered by anyone but Charlie, it's both your answer to the February blahs and your neutralizer of Prozac's medicinal effects.

Cooch's World and subsidiaries present
Crashing California

   Must. Sleep. Now.

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