February 29, 2004 - Addressing Debauchery
   Killing Me Softly: Several of you noted yesterday that in the picture with the Spongebob costume, I was holding a cigarette. The following picture illustrates the point more clearly.

Hi Mom.
-- At this point, Spongebob was still behind us against a wall.

   Now, I realize admitting I had three cigarettes while walking the streets of Manhattan probably means I can't be president someday. However, I think my deep hatred of foreigners and my military strategy of "Rock, Paper, Scissors" would have taken that run down well before Super Tuesday anyway.

   I am not the only young person in America who occasionally smokes a cigarette or three when they're drinking. When you combine that with I'd just eaten a French feast for the previous three hours, I needed something to lessen the internal swelling and the ice cream just wasn't cutting it.

   I hope this doesn't cause a massive loss of respect for me by the non-smoking crowd -- which I still consider myself a member of -- because I'm sure the smokers aren't jumping to accept a kid who smokes Marlboros like cigars because inhaling the smoke would give him a lung seizure. Just think of this incident as a way for me to express solidarity with those who enjoy the feeling a nice, smooth wee-wee in their mouth.

   And if you hadn't noticed, thank you for being oblivious.

   • In lieu of the usual "Twenty Talking Points" pioneered by all those October trips to New York City, and in honor of the goings-on tonight at the Kodak Theater, it's time for Cooch's World: New York Oscar Edition.

   Before that, however, an informal low-tech poll merely to get under the skin of several people who read this site.

   Given what happened tonight Oscar-wise -- the most anti-climactic event since Aaron Boone's home run to finish off the Red Sox -- we now have to ask ourselves this question.

So, what's the worst film ever to win 11 Oscars?
Ben Hur, Titanic or The Return of the King

   This is legitimately not meant as a dig at LOTR as much as it me amazed that when you look at these three most-honored films of all time, there's a good chance I wouldn't like any of them.

   On to the more meaningless awards:

   Best French Restaurant Using The Address 49th and 9th: Tout Va Bien -- New York is a city where one could eat out at a different place every night for several years, so I'm not going to pretend like this place is the best French restaurant in the universe. It was small, people kept kicking my chair and sitting on hard wood for three hours consecutively is not exactly the best thing to do when one's back is a little sore anyway.

   The venison, however, is excellent. As is the lamb, the rabbit, the onion soup, the wine ... you get the picture.

   While I'm not a huge fan of the laid back style of eating when I'm spending less than 24 hours in the city, I could get use to being painfully full if what I'd eaten was so good.

   Best Place To Randomly Leave A Business Card: The No. 1 Train -- While my "leave business cards everywhere" strategy extended to only two cards, I'd like to believe someone will see the card, wonder why it's there, take it and keep it in their wallet forever as one of those random things people hold on to. Like Jen's boyfriend Dave, who keeps in his wallet a coupon for Spam that expired in 1993.


   Best Absurd Street Sign: "Unnecessary Noise Prohibited," Near Washington Square -- This of course led to low-level humming and singing to "stick it to the man." Sadly, however, the man couldn't hear us over all the other unnecessary noise being flung about.

   Best Spot To See Haggard Men Screaming About Chess: Washington Square -- I don't know who Lee is, but he was fucking pissed that the other guy was talking to him. All the while, I'm just wondering if the players have to bring their own pieces or if the city provides them. And if the city does, why people don't just steal the pawns.

   While uneventful for frivolity, Washington Square did win another CW award about five minutes after this:

   Worst Place To Have Left My Camera At The Hotel: -- When I come across a woman holding two signs for one Dennis Kucinich while standing watching a magic show by a street performer. In a world where I have balls, I ask her why and she spends 15 minutes telling me. A picture would have been sufficient ... I'm just disappointed the whole crowd wasn't my first instinct ... that I had stumbled across an actual Dennis Kucinich flash mob.

   I mean, it was Washington Square in Greenwich Village.

   Worst Bar I've Ever Drank In: Joshua Tree, West 46th -- It's generally a bad idea to drink anywhere that doesn't deign to put their drink prices in the menu, but you don't really realize how bad an idea it is until, having just eaten a three-hour gourmet meal for $360, six people spend $180 on drinks in about 45 minutes.

   Yeah, New York City is expensive, but $6 for bar vodka? $9 for a shot of whiskey? $11 for a Red Bull and vodka?!

   There's also a Joshua Tree in Boston -- it's in Davis Square, though it seems a bit highbrow for West Somerville. I would highly suggest not going there, even if Boston bar standards mean the prices are at worst outrageous.

   And one last award:

   Worst Idea Concocted Saturday While Sober: -- Going into a Duane Reade drugstore to buy new shoelaces for my black shoes, because I'd torn the black sheath off them, then not looking at the length of lace I was buying and ending up with an inch on each side to tie with.

   Given how I operate, these laces will remain until I buy new shoes. I really should know better.

February 28, 2004 - Steer Clear Of Joshua Trees
   • The quick and dirty recipe for a one-day vacation ... so I can use the real ingredients for a meal on Sunday.

Not all that spongy, really.
-- Eat way too much for three hours, overpay for drinks,
then scare off the man in the Spongebob suit and pose over his corpse.

   Yes, I was in Times Square again. Yes, it was roughly 2 a.m. when this was taken. And yes, there was minbar raiding done afterward.

-- It's a happy sixth birthday to Jim on Sunday. How I can say that
and then say we've known other 19 years I leave up to you.

February 27, 2004 - Toil
   The Fruit Of My Labours:

Memories Make Disc Worth It
-- I wasn't exactly bowled over by the Pats DVD, but let's just say there are worse things one could spend $20 on in the long run. Like, say, more than a dozen containers of McDonald's french fries.

   BU 2, Northeastern 2: It's nice to see the boys back to not scoring on power plays and not beating teams that they should pound mercifully into the ground. What's frightening is they could still realistically finish in sixth ... if they had scored on UNH's Randy Ayers sometime in the last calendar year.

   Though as long as they win Saturday night, I don't have to start killing people just yet.

   • While I didn't pioneer the phrase by any means, allow me to announce that the Democratic National Convention in Boston is fraught. Very fraught.

   Therefore ... Today's Reason The DNC in Boston Is Fraught: It's Rusted Tracks Will Greet DNC -- news the ugly elevated Green Line will still be hanging around this summer when the Hub welcomes the Democratic National Convention.

The battered 92-year-old structure will stay where it is during the convention, interfering with plans to repave Causeway Street, where the tracks run overhead and where thousands will form impressions of the city as they enter the convention arena.

The change in plans throws a wrench into plans to spruce up the pock-marked street and complicates the task of moving traffic and delegates in a congested area of the city.

"We are disappointed the Green Line isn't coming down," said Robert O'Brien, executive director of the Downtown North Association, which represents businesses in the neighborhood.

"We were assured it was on schedule, to be done in advance of the DNC, and we were quite happy with that news," he said. "There's no question that if the Green Line had been down, it would have made for a much more attractive Causeway Street, and we're disappointed it won't be."

What's more, looming MBTA cranes and other heavy equipment in a corner of the old Boston Garden site near the FleetCenter may not disappear by convention time. T officials said they will ask the contractor to "reduce the activity of construction," but have not yet agreed to stop construction and pave the site, where workers are building a new Green Line.

   As a mother would say to her child, "We just can't have nice things."

   Programming Note: I'm going to New York City -- yeah, on purpose -- Saturday afternoon, and thus the 28th's update may have to wait a little while. To keep yourself occupied, please discuss poker and/or the BU men's basketball team as though I was here like always. But I won't be ... I'll be passed on in my own vomit in a Times Square gutter.

   What's scary is there's at least a 15 percent chance I'm not exaggerating.

February 26, 2004 - Toil
   Bean Redux: It's on days like yesteday, when I make a passing comment about 'Bean: The Movie' and that's what draws the lionshare of comments, I remember just why it is I like all you kids in the first place.

   At least we're all dorks together ... Abraham Lincoln and/or Benjamin Franklin would be proud.

   The Definition of Irony: I've done this before, and I can't put this into words, but you'll see what I mean.

Texas in the Toilets.
-- The Texas Rangers ... holding Photo Day in the bathroom.

   The Definition of Unnecessary: I didn't pull a picture for this one, but all your have to know is Nancy Kerrigan is singing on a Tina Turner tribute album.

She's done television specials, had parts in movies and even recorded a couple of songs. The singing part of her career happened by accident, with a songwriter calling Solomon after the 1994 Olympics and saying he had some music for Kerrigan.

"(Husband and agent) Jerry (Solomon) said, 'Can you sing?' I said, 'I sound pretty good in the car to myself but I don't know how anyone can hear me,'" Kerrigan said. "Who doesn't sound good in the car?"

Turns out she could sing, though. She's recorded a couple of songs -- including one she performed to at ice shows last year -- and is going to sing "Simply the Best" on an upcoming Tina Turner tribute album.

"It's scary, it's Tina Turner!" Kerrigan said with a laugh. "She's awesome."

   I'm pretty sure it's for reasons like this that the MP3 file format was pioneered. To your KaZaAs!

   • One of the things I like about my job is, most of the time, I never have to take it home with me. The things I have to do at work are the kinds of things I do either in the office or in the field.

   Not tonight ... even when I get home in the shadow of midnight, I've got a hard night of study ahead of me.

   I have to watch the whole Patriots' Super Bowl DVD ... even the extra features! Then when I'm done, I have to write about AND submit a request so I get paid back for all of it!

   Man, I hate my job.

February 25, 2004 - Should Have Bought A Squirrel
   The Posse Swells Again: Today we add Steph K. to the Posse page -- or as I've taken to calling it, "The Addendum To My Using Everyone's Names In Updates."

   As always, should you wish to be added or updated, e-mail away.

   'Hunting For Bambi' Update: There's a good chance you first heard about it here and here, so I now break to you that its creator has been banned from a Pennsylvania hunting expo he regularly attended.

MONROEVILLE, Pa. -- A man who sells videos depicting men hunting naked women with paintball guns won't be invited back to a sport and outdoor show held annually in suburban Pittsburgh, the event's organizer said. But it's not because of the video's contents.

Chris Fassnacht, the organizer of the Allegheny Sport, Travel & Outdoor Show, which was held at the Pittsburgh Expo Mart in Monroeville last week, hadn't seen the "Hunting for Bambi" video that Michael Burdick sells. Fassnacht decided not to ask Burdick to return next year after learning Burdick has been charged in Las Vegas with operating without a business license. Burdick has pleaded innocent to the charges.

... At the outdoor show, Burdick operated a booth and displayed a video that included news footage about his business and clips from the video he sells. The clips included images of nude women with their breasts digitally blurred.

"The reason they're naked is deer don't wear Levis out in the woods," Burdick told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for its Monday editions.

   It's funny ... I actually kind of miss Vegas in a twisted way.

   Poker Factoid: The last three times I have been dealt QQ and the last two times I have been dealt AA in a game of Hold 'Em -- mostly 0.50/$1 Limit, though some in No Limit tourneys -- I have lost the hand, often on the river.

   If you need help with the poker terminology, there are roughly the same odds of this happening as the odds I will have moved to California by the time you read this.

   Though given my gas bill for February in my one bedroom apartment was $216.56, those get better by the second.

   • Tonight I watched Rat Race, loaned to me by a coworker who's a big fan and had previously loaned me his copy of Kingpin.

   Oddly enough, he was working on a column today about this movie, which is rather clearly nothing like either 'Rat Race' or 'Kingpin.'

   'Rat Race' was plenty good, and I could go into that here, but what struck me the most came when I was thinking about Amy Smart, who is attractive in a way that you feel like she wouldn't dismiss you out of hand if a normal person were to ask her on a date. An "approachable attractive" is probably the best term I'm looking for.

   Amy Smart first came to prominence, at least to me, because she was in 'Road Trip', which came out in those heady times of Tom Green. Her love interest in Road Trip? Noted cast member of NBC's Inside Schwartz, Breckin Meyer.

   Who was also the love interest of Smart in 'Rat Race.'

   Now, perhaps I'm reading too much into this, but am I seeing that the producers of Rat Race watched Road Trip and said, "Those two ... they work so well together on screen! We gotta get them!"?

   Though really, the whole movie is recycled roles. Rowan Atkinson just spends the whole movie doing Rowan Atkinson things, while John Cleese just spends the whole movie doing John Cleese things. Not that there's ever anything wrong with either of these things ... I'm one of only 16 Americans who actually paid to see Bean in theaters.

   What's scary is I think at least seven of the others are going to end up reading this.

February 24, 2004 - Victoriousness
   Worth The Purchase: Because so many of you seem to also be basking in the joy of a "free" $13.86, a few CD suggestions on what to blow it on:

Jet, Get Born

Song That Started It: Are You Gonna Be My Girl?
Song That Sealed It *: Cold Hard Bitch

Maroon 5, Songs About Jane

Song That Started It: Harder To Breathe
Song That Sealed It *: This Love

Yellow Card, Ocean Avenue

Song That Started It: Way Away
Song That Sealed It *: Ocean Avenue

* -- After the purchase of 'To The Faithful Departed' based solely on "Salvation," CW instituted a strict "two-good-song" policy before buying nearly any CD. It greatest cuts down on the amount of relative crap and creates a handy excuse for temporarily downloading popular singles illegally.

   I understand if you've given up on 95 percent of new music, or still view me as "The Kid Who Still, Deep Down, Hopes Oasis Can Produce Another Non-Shitty Album Someday." Just trying to spur the economy a wee bit.

   Buying these albums may not make you more like me, but they will make you more aware of the kinds of things I sing in the car when I'm by myself.

   Oasis News I Just Learned Making That Link: The band kicked out drummer Alan White in January, meaning that the only members left from the "non-shitty album" period are the Gallagher brothers.

   About a week ago, one of my favorite stations down here kicked off a "throwback lunch" with 'What's The Story (Morning Glory).' Other than being excited to hear it on the radio again, it saddened me greatly -- not because it's 1995 release was nine years ago and that makes me old, but because it was in that magical time when Oasis didn't blow hardcore phallus.

   • Below, all you may see if five nerds with red eyes.

The Underpants Gnomes
-- From left, 1, Me, 3, 4, 5
Not Pictured: The wing sauce on Todd's sleeve, any form of skin pigmentation.

   All I see is a true group of trivia champions.

   As the story goes, the Joe Sent Me pub in Cambridge has a trivia night each Tuesday at 8. Todd and Alison -- truly The Loop's power couple if you're scoring at home -- started going with some of Alison's friends from work. They did not do well as I understand it, so they indoctrinated the help of noted Agawamians Eric and Geoff, who had moonlighted as the Northeastern portion of the BU quiz team for a short while.

   They did a little better, but still were kinda half treading water in the deep end.

   Thus when my OT shift was pulled on this Tuesday night, I joined the team for what could be a one-time-only performance. Given my long-standing devotion to BUCB -- the Web page technically still lists me in charge -- and how I previously had declared myself "The King Of Northeast Quiz Bowl" given I ran nearly 85 percent of all tournaments held over a three-year period, I certainly wouldn't hurt the team by being there.

   I'd like to believe there's some correlation between "my first week there" and "winning the whole freaking contest," but let's just say all my time playing second fiddle on BU teams that won stuff grounds me well enough to know I'm not that good at anything.

   The trivia night is actually really well done ... you can have up to six on your team, and the game is split into four quarters. Each quarter begins with the reading of four categories, and the first question (which is in the first category). Your team has one song to write down the answer and get it to the trivia master, and you must assign a one-time use point value to your answer -- either 7, 5, 3 or 1 in the "first half" or 8, 6, 4 or 2 in the second.

   After a song, the emcee then reveals the first answer, and reads the second question. You then again answer and assign a point-value ... obviously, you use the big values on things you're 100 percent sure you're right about and the smaller ones on either whatever's left or stuff you don't know.

   The second portion of each quarter varies:

   First: Picture Round -- Ten pictures on a sheet of paper, for which you have to identify for two points each. No penalty for wrong answers.

   Second: Identify This Person -- Quiz-esque. Identify this person after one clue for 10 points, two for eight ... down to five clues for two points. One shot to answer, a minus-5 if you're wrong.

   Third: List -- Some question with many answers, where you get points for each one you get right. No penalty for wrong answers.

   Fourth: "Final Jeopardy" -- Two questions, to which you assign a wager of between 0 and 10 points. If you're right, you get the points. If you're wrong, you lose half the wager. Given it's the end of the game, there is strategery involved.

   As the game goes on, questions get harder along the way.

   As with almost any winning squad, this was a true team effort with everybody chippng in. We were actually in last place after the first quarter, missing a question on Bambi and only getting five of the "Identify these famous American women" photos.

   From there though, we scared me.

   There were three world geography questions and two sports ones over the course of the night, and thankfully, we/I got all five ... given that's ostensibly why I was there in the first place.

In what country is the northern-most point in Africa?

Which continent has the lowest average elevation above sea level?

What speed skater, distracted by the death of his sister,
fell in the 500 and 1,000 m. in the 1988 Olympics?

Who is the only player to win the MVP award
in both the American and National Leagues?

And the last, which actually won us the game:
What city, located in the 30th-most populous country in the world, has the
highest population in the Southern Hemisphere? (not counting suburbs)

   If you can answer those, plus know:

   -- the cartoon with a Spanish-speaking seven-year-old that encourages the use of Spanish phrases,
   -- what a British scientist and barrister started in 1946,
   -- what state is named after Quenn Elizabeth I,
   -- the last word in Webster's Dictionary,
   -- a picture of Susan B. Anthony when you see it,

   and a whole other pile of assorted whatnot that I've forgotten in the mist of four beers, maybe you too can be an Underpants Gnome.

   Or a "Spaceballs: The Flamethrower," depending on the group's fancy.

February 23, 2004 - Cheque This Out
   I've Been Carded:

Bizness Card
-- If I could only figure out why I needed 1,000 of them.

   On that note, should you like a stack, ask.

   Maybe A Slightly Sentimental Story: Andy Katz has the disappointing story of Vermont's Taylor Coppenrath; something I hope won't tarnish any BU run to the tournament by making them the "team that got in because Taylor Coppenrath broke his wrist."

   Course in the latest Bracketology, Joe Lunardi has BU as a No. 14 seed and one of the nation's hottest teams -- they've won 21 of 22 -- saying that winning 61-60 at Michigan keeps looking better and better.

   Course, starting 0-3 and losing by 23 to BC doesn't exactly inspire confidence. Though that 15-point loss to St. Joe's doesn't seem too bad given they're 24-0.

   • Remember way back when you signed that music CD settlement antitrust petition and then completely forgot about it, assuming it would amount to nothing?

   Well, in the mail today, I got a letter from Massachusetts AG Tom Reilly and a check for $13.86. Thirteen bucks hasn't been this exciting since I won it on a poker table.

   Given why I'm getting the money, I've decided to attach it mentally to The Cranberries' To The Faithful Departed, which I consider to be one of my most egregious purchasing errors of the era.

   When you consider what I paid for the album minus the pittance I was able to sell it for at the CD Spins on Newbury Street, I may have finally managed to balance my soul all these years later.

February 22, 2004 - L-4 Has Been Breached
   BU 82, NU 68: The Terrier men played in front of their first sell-out crowd of the season, winning their 21st of 22 by coming back from a 12-point second-half deficit against the only team left in the conference worth fearing.

   The America East tournament, by the way, runs from Mar. 5-7, with the championship game at the highest remaining seed at 11:30 a.m. on Mar. 13. Contact your local satellite provider ... blah blah blah.

   Picture Of The Moment: Will it be Sex and the City? An ode to Ralph Nader? Hardly!

Revolution makes one thirsty.
-- It's Coke, the choice of a new rebel front!

A rebel soldier drinks a Coke at the raided police station of Cap-Haitien, Haiti, on Sunday. (AP/Walter Astrada)

   Revolution is certainly nothing to laugh about, but it's good to see that Coke can get their trademark on just about anything. If I had mad Photoshop skills, that easily could have become a nice little promo poster.

   Other Thoughts: Understandably, the end of 'Sex' brought me absolutely zero feelings of grief ... though I'm sure I know girls who had to mop their faces when the equine-esque Sarah Jessica Parker ended up with "Mr. Big," surely a swerve that no one saw coming. As for that linked BBC article, the race for my favorite comment has two distinct ponies.

I wasn't overly sad that Sex and the City was coming to an end until viewing the final episode last night on HBO. The honesty of the sexuality and reality of everyday life will be missed. What, I now know, will be missing from my Sunday nights is the longing of having true friendships like the girls had. Friendships that are far too uncommon in today's world.
Brad Hanson, Lakewood (Cleveland), Ohio, USA

It was rubbish. There are far too many American TV shows 'bowing out' at the moment and good ridance I say. The only half decent American programme on UK TV was The A-team and we haven't had any of that for almost 20 years. Come on BBC, buy the old series from ITV and re-run the A-team.
Anna Herrington, London

   And as for Ralph Nader running for President again, allow me to direct you to this chart that says all that needs to be said:

Ross Perot, 1992: 18.9% of the popular vote.
Ross Perot, 1996: 8.4% of the popular vote.

Ralph Nader, 2000: 2.7% of the popular vote.
Ralph Nader, 2004: If you don't see it, look harder.

   • What's the only thing that could prove more entertaining during the next few weeks than George Steinbrenner wanting to file a grievance against the Red Sox for their salary cap comments?

   Shockingly enough, it's Dream Job.

   The only reason I saw it is because it was on in the office, but suffice to say I will be tuning in for future weeks. I have no idea why it never occurred to me that the show would be little more than American Idol: Sportscaster Edition, but it brought back all those awkward, happy memories of when a contest winner got to do an inning's play-by-play of a Red Sox-Cardinals game and didn't shut up for five seconds the entire time.

   Michael Quigley, the guy I mentioned yesterday as hating before the show even began, essentially screamed his entire SportsCenter and led Tony Kornheiser -- who is my future right down to the baldness -- to deliver the quote of the night: "It was like Chris Farley doing an SNL sketch on how the highlights should have been done."

Course, he won a tiebreaker to not get kicked off the show, so now we all get to squirm in front of our TV sets again.

   At the very least -- and I say this as ironically as possible -- I was reassured to see there were people in the finals who would clearly do a better job than me as a SportsCenter anchor, and eventually become a competent SportsCenter anchor. Not going to the Boston tryouts bothered me a lot longer than I ever let on, so at least now I can further rationalize having gone home or went bowling or whatever the hell it is I did that night.

February 21, 2004 - Come Watch Other People Play
   UMass 2, BU 2: There's a momentary tendency to want to be disappointed about giving up the game-tying goal with just 1:49 to go in regulation. But when you're sitting in eighth place, on the road and playing a Top 15 team in the country, it's pretty easy to quiet that down after a three-points-out-of-four weekend.

   Well, no it isn't, but getting outshot 29-14 helps too.

   On Basketball: The Terriers (20-4, 14-1) play have their last real test of the regular season on Sunday, as they host Northeastern (17-9, 11-4) -- a win essentially seals up the top seed for BU, who's hosting the entire conference tournament again anyway. Course, they may snag it even if they lose, given Coppenrath-less Vermont lost 78-57 to New Hampshire, who's now a hearty 8-18 overall, 4-12 in the conference.

   Even I didn't know the Ca(n')tamounts were that one dimensional.

   • Apropos of nothing, this article has one of my favorite ledes of the year so far.

Once white youth's attempts to embrace black street culture ended in embarrassing parody. Attempts by white rap stars such as East 17 and Vanilla Ice to become so-called 'wiggers' - white people who act black - made for ridiculous posturing, which eventually metamorphosed into the spoof character, Ali G.

But a new report, based on interviews with young people across Britain, suggests that more and more white youths now see black street culture as their only credible influence in the UK. And, what's more, the predominance of black culture has even led to the formation of a fledgling hybrid language - 'Blinglish'.

   All this time I thought 'wigger' was just a term some AHS dork came up with and made it's way around the school.

   Course, I also used to think that casinos were generally a fun place to go. They can be, as this guy is quite the showman. It's not often one goes to a concert for a man comparable to Harry Connick, Jr., and stuff by George Michael and Kermit The Frog ends up on the setlist.

   When you then factor in sitting with a couple who's clearly working on the "trophy bitch wife" premise -- skintight white dress with knee-high black boots -- and who eschews most of the show to make out loudly enough (at one point) to allow me to hear about six feet away, it's fun for everyone.

   The problem is when I'm going to said show with four people who clearly aren't willing to suspend that mental obviousness of "people lose money when gambling," because when it's a Saturday night and every table has a minimum that's out of my league, I'm surely not going to jump in and force the issue.

   While there's certainly nothing wrong leaving with nearly all of the money I brought, it isn't exactly rewarding after speeding across Rhode Island's Route 6 at 137 miles per hour.

   All this said, Mohegan Sun is generally nicer than Foxwoods, and seems to be much more geared toward under-21 people than its competition is. It struck me as a lot similar to a Vegas casino than its counterpart, just based on the way the casinos flow into the whole complex and the surrounding shopping area.

   Foxwoods' only real advantage is its poker room ... and that's a huge chip to have when poker is more or less on TV somewhere every minute of every day. They're clearly both doing just fine given their the only games in town, but I have no need to really proclaim one over the other. Given the depth anyone reading this gets into casino gambling, they're essentially the same minus the poker question.

   All I know is the next time I go with the intention to gamble, it's going to be between a Monday and a Thursday. At least at Six Flags when it's crowded on the weekends, they don't jack the admission price up so high you can only afford to stay for an hour.

February 20, 2004 - Again, Gone To The Dogs
   Dream Job: I really can't express enough how little I am looking forward to this show. Not so much because of what I presume to be your first instinct -- "You're pissed you didn't try out, wussy." -- but because we're basically looking at however many weeks the show runs of people with little to no broadcasting experience trying to find that one catch phrase that will make them famous.

   It's rare that not only one commercial, but one person -- not the bearded gent Sly mentioned, but the red-faced odd looker who squeezes out a "LOCKED up in a TIGHT ONE!" -- can turn me on an entire concept. On my TV dial, all we're awaiting for the next week is Straight Plan For The Gay Man, which will do nothing but disappoint me because I'm far closer to being a metrosexual than I'd actually like to believe.

   • Because I tonight get to return to doing one of the site's first traditions, I'm just going to say a little something here and get on with it.

   For me, there may be no sporting situation I'd rather be in than at a BU hockey game, in the student section, when the Terriers are rolling.

   It's one of those sporting concepts that you really don't find anywhere else that I know of -- well, unless you go to Yost regularly -- and there's not really a pro sports equivelant.

   It's just something about bouncing up and down like an idiot while clapping and shouting "Fuck 'em up, fuck 'em up, BC SUCKS!" while the band is playing ... and the team is playing UMass, and BC is No. 1 in the country touting a 4-0 record against you in '03-'04.

   Screw the Super Bowl ... I'll take a hearty night at Walter Brown any day of the week.

   And let no one tell you otherwise ... it was a hell of a performance at Walter Brown tonight.

BU 6 - 1 UMass-Amherst
If only for a night, the natural order of things rides again

@ WBA - 2/20/04
2 (11)
2 (11)
2 (8)
6 (30)
1 (10)
0 (12)
0 (6)
1 (28)

Read the recap on Hockey East Online.

Read the recap on U.S. College Hockey Online.

   • The hockey recap!

   As dumb as it is, I'm starting to think the athletic department really should be choppering me in for these games.

   In six BU Beanpots since I became affiliated with the school, the four the Terriers have won are the four I attended and the two they've lost ... you know this already. But coming off a streak -- since losing 8-4 to Maine on Jan. 23rd -- of scoring a single goal or worse in six of their last seven games, the logical conclusion would be to register six on Gabe Winer, who's second in the conference in wins.

   Against UMass, the No. 14 team in the country.


   For the first ten minutes, it was not hard to see why BU was flirting with falling into last place for the first time ever in league history. They were missing passes, they were missing catching the puck with their hand ... UMass's goal was more or less due to a defenseman throwing the puck in front of his own net when trying to clear.

   But from there, UMass started taking penalties and BU just started getting chance after chance, goal after goal.

   After one period, it was a 2-1 game that probably should have been 4-1. After two, a 4-1 game that could have been 6-1. Let there be no doubt ... this one was far closer to be 10-1 than it was to 6-4. The Terriers had two clean break-ins that they flubbed up, plus at least 6-7 golden scoring opportunities that, on any given night, are bunnies.

   As I understand it -- and I actually did try talking to some people -- a night like this was just bound to happen eventually. This clearly isn't an A+ year for the program, but they've been playing far better than a team that was 8-14-6 when the day began. They've been playing hard and just not scoring ... a friend told me the 2-0 loss to Providence a couple weeks back was nearly as big as injustice as the Terriers coming within 3:30 of winning the Beanpot despite being outshot 3,541-7.

   Clearly, I'm the reason. Not UMass's sudden affinity for taking borderline stupid penalties. Not my FreeP buddy Nick being chosen to go on the ice and winning himself Frozen Four tickets. Not seeing ex-BUCBer Robin for the first time since the day we graduated. Not hearing "The Song" about ten times or seeing a team rewarded for getting the puck in front of the net and just plain outworking the other team.

   It was all me.

   See you kids on Mar. 4 for BU vs. UNH. I've already seen the Wildcats get stomped once this year ... another for, say, the No. 5 seed doesn't feel out of the question.
February 19, 2004 - At Least It's Not My Thighs
   The Fitness Tests: Today, I learned I'm carrying approximately 21 pounds of fat on my body ... 13.0 percent body fat according to the little shock box designed to quickly calculate such things based on inputted age, height and weight. This and the lean mass total (weight minus fat) are the bars with which the success of the fitness plan will be measured.

   I also remembered exactly why I vehemently hated the Sit and Reach fitness test in high school ... though I do now have an excuse with a job where I sit all the time.

   To me, at no point should you ever make the backs of your knees feel like they're being stabbed with fiery pokers. That, however, could just be me.

   • In an attempt to start eating more things that make sense given what I'm trying to accomplish, I had cottage cheese and some vegetarian sausage patties for breakfast today.

   The "sausage" was exactly what I expected ... like actual meat only with no juiciness, the consistency of a dry paper towel, but not all that bad in the end.

   The cottage cheese, however, may have been the first time I've ever eaten something which I had so convinced myself would be awful, the actual taste of the food had no ability to change the perceived thought.

   I was, for the first few bites, struck by what should have been obvious ... cottage cheese actually tastes like cheese to a point. Soon after that, of course, I was struck by the fact it's the consistency of damp brain matter, which made it a whole heck of a lot harder to eat.

   I wonder if Trogdor ever had problems like this in his time as a student government representative.

February 18, 2004 - To The Dogs
   On Vermont: As Sly pointed out yesterday -- and as I'd neglected to bring up -- BU basketball avenged two straight losses to the Vermont Catamounts by beating the bitches 80-70 in Burlington on Saturday, a game I momentarily toyed with the idea of going to ... until I remembered exactly where Burlington is.

   What I had not noticed -- though two people went out of their way to tell me today -- is that Catamount savior Taylor Coppenrath is likely out for the season with a broken left wrist. Course he scored 24 points against BU with that wrist, but hey, all you need to know is this.

   Tonight, Coppenrath-less Vermont needed a last-second three to beat Hartford ... who is 4-10 in the generally dreadful America East conference.

   While it does suck for Vermont, it's wrong to be this excited about an injury. Just know I'll think about that when I'm storming the court after the America East championship game.

   • If you squint here, you can see just why I'm taking the Terriers hockey woes so well. Even if their No. 83 RPI and No. 255 strength of schedule aren't exactly much to get excited about.

   This really can't compare to the UMass dynasty of the '90s, but really, why does it have to? Though a fear of Northeastern mucking things up really would have made the Minutemen's run all the more interesting.

February 17, 2004 - The Sweet Smell Of Locker Room
   Mail Call: Very tame on the letter front, with only one from a big time Yankee fan ... and I work with him.

Subject: A-Rod
Date: Tue, 17 Feb 2004
From: D.P. <______@aol.com>
To: jcouture at s-t dot com

      Jon: Why you hatin'?

   The luxury tax was put into place to preclude this sort of thing. Instead, the Yankees have forged ahead, and all the small market whiners and complainers among others have directly benefited from his largesse.

   On top of that, the collective salary pool for MLB didn't expand yesterday, and A-Rod and the other characters in this tale didn't see their contracts go up. It just got reallocated and George now has to pay a bigger price to the rest of the league.

   What's truly sad and reprehensible is that the rest of baseball complains -- I find it utterly hilarious that baseball's second-highest spenders, your BoSox, are complaining the most [Shaddap Larry] -- yet they all benefit, albeit indirectly, from teams like the Yankees.

   It would be gross negligence on the media's behalf not to slap some of the smaller market teams around, too. They are, for the most part, pocketing the riches that they get from the Steinbrenners et al thanks to the luxury tax.

   Peace, ___
-- Correct me if I'm wrong, but if the luxury tax worked and the Yankees spent the way they are now, the amount other teams would receive in revenue sharing would be far more than they pittance they do. Right?

Subject: yankees vs. red Sox
Date: Tue, 17 Feb 2004
From: DM <______@aol.com>
To: jcouture at s-t dot com

      Your article today might have been credible if you had written it after all the spending the Red Sox did this winter. Now it sounds like sour grapes. Maybe it was meant to sound that way. Of course, another article quoting Ben Affeck might be even worse. he may have outspent the Yankees dating Jennifer Lopez and he still is the loser. . Does anyone care what he has to say about anything? DM
-- No. And I knew going in no matter what I said, it'd sound like sour grapes.
But yes on Affleck ... he can't hold Denis Leary's "celebrity everyfan" jock.

   Basically, this is all I'm going to ask for out of baseball. Until I get it, it can continue to lag behind football and (sometimes) hockey.

   I started watching sports not because I wanted to see one team be rewarded because it's more economically sound than the others, but because I like athletics. If I wanted to watch business, I'd just watch CNBC's morning report and call it a day.


   a) Come up with a sound system that levels the playing field for a majority of the teams in the sport, or

   b) Contract 20-22 teams -- leaving only those in large markets like L.A., Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, New York, etc. -- and let them do whatever they want. Don't keep up the illusion ... make baseball a regional battleground where anything goes.

   Hey, it worked for the Original Six and almost every baseball game made for the 8-bit Nintendo.

   • And now, a test of your priorities.

   If you believe that this:

A-Rod In The Bronx
-- Alex Rodriguez donning the Yankee pinstripes.

New New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez smiles during a news conference at Yankee Stadium in New York on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

is the scariest thing the world say today, you're probably a lifelong New Englander or transplanted Red Sox fan.

   If, however, you believe that this:

The British Invasion takes a fall.
-- The world being inches away (inset) from seeing one of these men's weiners.

The Darkness, from left: Dan Hawkins, Justin Hawkins (in inset), Frankie Poullaine and Ed Graham after receiving their award for Best British Group during the annual Brit Awards yesterday. (AP Photo/John Marshall)

is the scariest thing the world saw today, you probably have your priorities in order.

February 16, 2004 - Here, The Tickets Are Green
   I Felt A Column Coming On: But before that, something from the finest student I know currently enrolled at UMass Dartmouth, my co-worker and friend Nick.

Nick's Plan For The Yankees' Revival

   The Yankees look like they're pretty well stocked for the upcoming 2004 season, but some questions still remain in the highly competitive AL East. So here are some simple, very executable suggestions for plugging all the holes in the lineup on both sides of the ball.

   1. Send Tony Clark to St. Louis for Albert Pujols. Move Pujols to center field.

   2. Send Enrique Wilson to Seattle for Bret Boone.

   3. Sign Greg Maddux to be the new No. 5 pitcher.

   4. Just for kicks, send Kenny Lofton back to Atlanta for both Chipper and Andruw Jones. Move Andruw to first base, have Chipper become the utility infielder.

   5. Send Steve Karsay to Arizona for Randy Johnson. Big Unit becomes Mariano Rivera's new set-up man.

   6. Have Brian Cashman urinate for all Yankees, avoiding that pesky "treatment" for first-time steroid offenders.

   7. Move fence in left field in to a more manageable 214 feet.

   8. Make Mandy Moore dump Andy Roddick, and instead have her shack up with Derek Jeter.

   9. Make teammates sign waiver promising never to make eye contact with Gary Sheffield.

   10. Sign Tampa Bay as their new AAA affiliate.

   11. Sign Pittsburgh as their new grounds crew.

   12. Emblazon the image of Jesus Christ on the tarp, with inscription reading, "He Died For Your E-3."

   13. George Steinbrenner defecates in bag, forces John Henry to eat it with side of Manhattan chowder.

   14. Buy New Jersey.

   15. Sacrifice Drew Henson in Memorial Park, praying to the Baseball Gods that Nomar Garciaparra signs with New York as a free agent in 2005.

   It's truly a great time to be a New Englander.

   • Alright, gang. Have at it.

Deal Proves A Sport's Sad Commentary
-- It isn't exactly my fastball, but it basically nails what I'm trying to say -- I'd give a much bigger crap about this trade if I hadn't given up on baseball solving it's problems a long time ago.

   If nothing else, I figure it's good to get another letter telling me I need to get laid.

   Wouldn't it be fun if Alfonso Soriano ended up the starting second baseman for the Red Sox on Opening Day?

February 15, 2004 - Beep
   The Day's Greatest Victory: Sorry Dale Jr., but John Daly has you beat. If only because his life has really played out like that of a cliched NASCAR driver.

   That said, even I will admit that NASCAR is now almost the sport to beat in America. You can call it sour grapes if you want, but for whatever reason, I'm even less of a baseball fan today than I thought I'd ever be.

   • At some point on Monday, Alex Rodriguez will get what he wanted all along ... getting a reward for being greedier than any athlete in history. His agent will be happy, Major League Baseball will be happy and the Yankees will -- at least for a couple weeks -- be happy.

   This isn't so much about being a dejected Red Sox fan.

   This is about being a Pirates fan. Or a Royals fan. A Tigers or, heaven forbid, a Devil Rays fan.

   How can you really enjoy a sport where a "successful season" could easily be considered one where you win just half your games?

   Eh, I think I feel a column coming on.

February 14, 2004 - Happy Val February 14th, Everyone
   The Idiot's Guide To Fitness: Over the past few weeks, pretty much everyone has linked to the story that diet guru Dr. Atkins died at a weight of 256 pounds ... thus making him fat. Others, myself included I believe, have pointed out that Dr. Phil -- also a diet guru or sorts -- is also fat.

   This is akin to my high school golf coach not being a particularly good golfer, but that's not the point.

   Yes, these are fat people trying to tell others how to lose weight. Yes, 70 percent of the people on this planet who talk about the Atkins Diet have little fucking idea what they're talking about. That, however, is not the point.

   Getting in shape is not hard.

   This would be how you do it ... by following this three-pronged plan.

   1. What you want. Before you start anything, you need to decide what you're looking for out of your body. Do you want to be perfect? Do you just want to be thinner? Do you want to be tone? When you decide that, you can decide just what exactly you should be doing regarding everything else.

   2. What you eat. There is no easier way to lose fat than to change what you eat. All the working out in the world isn't going to matter if you fill yourself with Ho-Ho's and Big League Chew. You need to balance your diet -- not so much in the food pyramid sense, but in the fat vs. carbs vs. protein sense. Try to go with about 10 times your body weight in calories, and spread it out over 5-6 meals as opposed to 2-3.

   3. What you do. When you exercise, don't just run or bike or whatever ... lift weights. Not only is weight training another aerobic exercise itself, muscle burns calories more than fat does. Get yourself in to see a personal trainer or research on the Internet a fitness plan that you can do on a daily basis. Even if it's just pushups and cruches, it's something.

   For me, I realize I'm never going to hold to a good enough diet to become cut and "running around sans shirt" Cooch ... I just enjoy crappy food too much. So I basically just shoot for being slightly better than average. I run every day that I can, I don't eat excessive amounts of crap if I can help it and I'll be starting a weights plan next week.

   That's it. Your mileage may vary, but one piece won't work without the other two.

   And so what if Dr. Atkins was fat. He was happy and he made a shitpile of money ... I'll take that any day of the week.

   • Now that that's off my chest, we can discuss Valentine's Day, or as I like to call it, "Saturday."

   It would be easy to write the same diatribe that so many people write about Valentine's Day one way or the other. I've done it before, I don't need to do it again. It's reached the point where three people wished me a Happy Valentine's Day today ... the rest all didn't care or figured it was probably breath better spent on slowly marching toward death.

   The first was my mother, who gets to do so because she's my mother. I just hope she understands her not receiveing flowers today is me trying not to be part of the problem, not me trying to say "I don't like you very much."

   The second was a female friend who attached the greeting to our oddly frequent "Opening with calling me 'stranger,' leading to a 'We haven't talked in a week, so you are clearly sick of me'" conversation that would bother me a lot more if it didn't happen so often. Really, she should know better than to be surprised given that I haven't seen Andi in pushing three years, yet she still got a gift basket full of alcohol and popcorn for Christmas.

   The third was Julie, who I do on this day of love announce is officially the fifth girl in the history of the universe to officially hold the vaunted title of "The Speaking Purely Hypothetically And With No Actual Binding Reason For Being Called Future Mrs. Couture."

   As I do, use it's acronym, Thnikkaman.

   Understand that this announcement is in no way tied to this being Valentine's Day, or that it means we are inevitably marching toward a week of posts full of in jokes only only she will comprehend. We already did that here in a period I like to call "Winter/Spring 2002." I just wanted to make a happy announcement about a wonderful girl in a space that will soon return to being about stereotypical hate speech and bashing people different than me.

   And really, I don't need to be asked every time I'm late somewhere if it's because I'm pulled over crying ever again.

-- Hi. I'm very hairy.

   And on that note, let's just say you would have wanted to read the ranting diatribe I was ready to pass of as a column if the ARod-to-Yankees much less than this.

February 13, 2004 - Flop And Awe
   Fun '80s Wrestling Star Of The Day: We fete Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake who, as it will be written in the S-T on Sunday, has been keeping himself busy as of late.

It takes a lot to shock a guy who writes about wrestling for a living, but this oneís truly bizarre. The story comes courtesy of our friends at the Boston Herald.

On Sunday, MBTA travelers at Bostonís Downtown Crossing subway station discovered a bag of white powder, and an anthrax scare ensued. Hazmat response teams were called in, and the station evacuated, but the owner of the powder -- the fare collector -- quickly calmed terrorism fears when he admitted it was simply a bag of cocaine.

That collector was none other than former WWF star Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake.

The 46-year-old Beefcake, whose real name is Edward Leslie, is apparently now living in Winchester and working part time for the 'T' at $25,000 a year. According to the Herald, last April, the IRS placed a lien on him for $57,425. Now he can add rehab to that list, since he checked in on Monday.
-- Written by Tim Weisberg, but not this Tim Weisberg.

   • I have now played live poker two times in a row with people who were clearly too drunk to be playing live poker. And yet in neither case was I the one who took most of their money. I'd like to think there's some merciful tie to this, and yet I know there isn't.

   For the poker inclined:

   -- Game was played on Beacon Hill, mainly with people who work here. We were five to start, dropped to four after about two hours and held there for the remaining three.

   -- We played with quarters and bills instead of money, which to be honest made winning a pot seem all the more satisfying. Of course, I say this as someone who won a lot of pots ... certainly more because of the cards I got than because of my foolproof poker strategies that led me to stop playing online altogether.

   -- "Dealer's Choice" with varying antes up to $1 and games generally being pretty simple: 5-card draw or triple-draw (straight, A-5 lowball and 2-7 lowball), 7-card stud ("Follow The Queen" wild, split-pot Baltimore and Chicago), various guts games (Indian Chief, Cincinnati/Man-or-Mouse with or without draws and wilds, Drop) and the occasinal foray into Texas Hold 'Em (mostly Pot Limit, though we have had one No Limit where nobody did anything high stakes).

   Rules descriptions available by request, though a handful can be weaned from here.

   -- I was blessed with very good cards most of the night, jumping out ahead early, coasting a little in the middle and getting warm again at the end. Though there was a stretch where I lost three straight hands of Indian Chief where I had the winning card if I'd played it, it's hard to complain when the first Hold 'Em hand we played I drew AA and a later Cincinnati hand (three cards, optional draw with I believe wild 2's and 3's) saw me land AAA straight off.

   -- In the end, I won roughly seven times what I bought in with, yet I could still have finished only 3rd out of 5 -- probably second, but I don't know. Night's big loser was essentially blown out early by losing an $80 pay-in hand of Cincinnati and later by hitting the whiskey a little too hard. When you factor what I paid for parking in downtown Boston, beer costs and gas, I still ended up about a large pizza's worth ahead of the game.

   And for the non-poker inclined:

   -- I really have to stop driving into Boston in the 3-6 p.m. window. Traffic by Boston standards wasn't even that bad, and yet my 5:15 meet-up time hit somewhere while I was stopped at a green light on Atlantic Avenue.

   -- They're tearing down the aboveground Central Artery as we speak, and my only thought is it looks as though the North End isn't actually connected to the rest of the city ... it's just an island that happens to sit real close to downtown. Yeah, profound I know.

   -- The guy at the Beacon Hill package store had much more fun with my Feeding Hills, Mass., driver's license than his counterpart in South Boston did over the summer. Granted, calling it "cow country" isn't exactly wrong, but it's not as though we tip them with any regularity.

   -- Three of us were verbally accosted by a begging lady "looking for Commuter Rail money" because her "boyfriend had thrown her out of the car up the street." Apparently, she's a regular with this ... eh. She got a quarter just because, living in New Bedford, I miss the beggars.

   -- About three hours into the game, I got a call informing me this game's result and that it had been a sellout. Good for them ... the Minutemen are playing worthy of drawing 8,700 a night.

   There is absolutely no reason I should be choosing Friday's UMass-BU game as my first trip to Water Brown this season, and yet I am anyway. Given the Icedogs lost to Merrimack on Thursday, about the only reason this team will deserve coverage from here on out is if they actually fall behind Northeastern and miss the Hockey East playoffs for the first time in league history.

   Of course should they hold the No. 8 seed, face presumed top-seed BC and be swept by them, I would have to believe it would be the first time in history one team had lost to another six times in the same season.

   Oh, there's still hope. It's just dimmer than [ insert tasteless Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake joke here ].

February 12, 2004 - Eight Of Nine
   Apparently, He's Eaten The Food: McDonalds became the latest company climbing off the Kobe Bryant Express today, as they named 7'6" Chinese basketball star Yao Ming their latest international spokesman.

Yao And The Kids
-- Clearly, he's not yet loving it.

Houston Rockets All-Star Yao Ming from China poses with Ronald McDonald and several elementary school students during a news conference Thursday, in Los Angeles, where it was announced Ming will be the global spokesman for the McDonald's Restaurant chain. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

   I suppose he could just be trying to forget he's surrounded by people wearing blood red in L.A.

   Today's Random Space Link: Apparently the Hubble Telescope needs saving. If you're my age and a nerd, the Hubble was the coolest thing ever at some point in your life ... so put your name down, smiley.

   • Sly asked about the Olympics yesterday, which I will generally watch because they fall under the premise of "sports." They did moreso when they weren't all on tape delay and/or on NBC -- who loves to regale us with the life stories of Hungarian weightlifters and U.S. biathletes -- but it's still good.

   Given my complaints about the tape delay aspect -- especially with the Internet making actual results almost impossible to avoid -- there's got to be some irony in that the only Olympiad held in my time zone in my lifetime (Atlanta 1996) was the one I watched from Wales.

   As for the statement that the whole "movement" is corrupt, well, so is college basketball, college football, pro hockey, probably baseball and heck knows what else. I was never watching the Olympics because I believed in the "peace and love" aspect ... I was watching because it was really the only place on TV to get solid figure skating coverage for consecutive days.

   That and the creative ways of lighting the torch ... Albertville had the "light the string that runs into the flame," Barcelona had the "archer firing the arrow." 1992 was a good year for torch-lighting.

   Basically, the Olympics biggest problem is that there are so many sports it holds -- basketball, soccer, baseball -- that are better watched elsewhere and so many others -- um, field hockey -- that no one here cares about. So it's down to track in the summer and luge/bobsled/skating/skiing in the winter.

   Although if you're in Boston, the basketball aspect is only half true.

February 11, 2004 - Feel The Bern
   Lawrence Legend: In the world of basketball, New Jersey Nets interim coach Lawrence Frank moved to 9-0 for his career with a 20-point win over Cleveland. That ties him for the all-time record of consecutive wins to start a coaching career, truly a historic pantheon to enter.

   He joins Kurt Rambis -- an interim who didn't coach the following year -- and Buddy Jeannette -- whose team won the title.

   This is today's Fun Moment With Obscure Stats.

   For today's Fun Moment With Depressing Basketball Obscurity, read Michael Holley's piece reminding us that UMass sucks.

"Something remarkable is happening in Western Massachusetts. I'm not sure if it's a college basketball program's slow death or its return to reality after living a dream."
-- That would be 'B,' and I have the T-shirts somewhere to prove it.

   On The Olympics: The Mexican national soccer team secured a berth in the Athens Games and denied the U.S. of one Tuesday night, winning 4-0 in Guadalajara. This comes after the same things happened on the baseball field, meaning the United States now won't compete in two events that -- let's be honest -- they probably weren't going to win anyway and that no one in this country cares are Olympic sports.

   The story is that the Mexicans cheered dirty, regaling the American team with chants of "Osama! Osama!" throughout most of the game after whistling through the national anthem -- that story here. Now, the easy answer is to get furious over the treatment, and launch into some political diatribe about ... blah blah blah.

"For Mexico, the game partly avenged a 2-0 loss to the United States in the second round of the 2002 World Cup, a far more important tournament."
-- Better answer.

   With all due respect to Rosie, commence sucking it, Mexico.

   • Anyone who joined a gym in January as their New Year's Resolution is undoubtably at the point where the motivation to continue is waning, if not gone altogether. Fear not, I am here to help.

   As someone who made that resolution, but then chose to put it off until after January -- when all the other people making the resolution will have given up hope and the health clubs will be cutting their fees to get other people aboard -- there is a very simple way to ensure that you create a workout regimen for yourself and stick to it.

   Simply join a gym like this one which is far too expensive for you to afford. Not only will all the money you would have been spending on Ho-Hos and personal pan pizzas go to pay your membership, you'll realize that not going to workout is an even bigger waste of money than that time you thought you'd developed a fool-proof system to win at roulette.

   Well, I didn't think it was fool-proof, but let's just say I assumed I'd be watching a much larger TV right now than I currently am.

February 10, 2004 - Survey Says
   This Is New England: It's the annual Necco Conversation Hearts story.

   • I'm not a real big fan of the online surveys and quizzes that seem to pop up on LiveJournals and the like all the time, but I finally found one I could get into. I highly recommend you give it a shot.

You got a big tax refund!

Sure, you consented to giving Uncle Sam an interest-free loan for 12 months because you poorly estimated your wealth on a W-4 form, but now Gramps is paying off! Go pay off that car insurance, or better yet, get that ReplayTV of your dreams!

What kind of tax filer are you?
Powered by The Government

February 9, 2004 - Maybe Now, This'll Be Better Again
   The Beanpot: In the six years since I started attending BU, the Terriers are 4-0 in Beanpots I attend and 0-2 in those I don't. If only I could figure out whether this is the chicken or the egg.

   You know, it's a lot easier to deal with BU losing the Beanpot when you consider these were the shot totals for the game:

'Pot Shots

   For a game the top-ranked Eagles was losing until 3:30 remaining in the third period, a shot differential of 52-13 is borderline criminal. this was one of those games you would have had to feel guilty winning -- granted, no one's going to give it back, but all the same.

   Win or loss, 50 saves was a performance for the ages by Sean Fields. Players don't win the tournament MVP on a losing team ... in the Beanpot, it had never happened. But the bottom line is BU as a team didn't play well enough to win this game and, ultimately, they didn't win it.

   So now we just wait for April's inevitable realization that the school she attends defeated the school I attended, conveniently forgetting that BU was merely stopped from winning their ninth title in ten years and their 26th out of 52 overall. But really, such facts are not necessary when the person using the "we" hasn't attended a game all year and couldn't name an Eagle skater if she was spotted any of the stars from tonight.

   Man. If I'd known rationalization was this easy, I'd have been doing it for years.

   • Closure is not something that should take the better part of seven months, but as a note to those of you out there currently in relationships, it's hard for it to happen if you don't really let it. While it's sweet to try and not hurt the other person, just go ahead and do it. It's much better in the end.

   Suffice to say I feel much better now than I did Monday, where the update was -- for at least a couple minutes -- "Give me one good reason I should keep running this site."

   Of course, closure probably comes faster if arson is involved, but that's not really optimum for anyone.

February 8, 2004 - Fifty Equals Zero
   Thoughts on the Grammys: Really, you only need one.

Too Cold, Too Cold
-- Hip hop has come a long way.

   Most of the night's performances, however, were not quite as entertaining as this Kenya-themed Flash movie. Though anytime the president of the NARAS gets up and gives a message speech, it's well worth the thirty seconds it takes to half listen and make some dismissive remark.

   Especially since they do things like taking the "E-Mail Us" link on WhatsTheDownload.com and reword it as "Hit Us Up".

   All-Exclusive With Ahmad Rashad: So ESPN is having this special sit-down interview hosted by Noted Hard-Hitting Journalist Ahmad Rashad. It touts itself as being a relaxing sit-down with "sports greatest champions," and boasts a lineup of Michael Jordan, Serena Williams, Derek Jeter, Roy Jones Jr. and Warren Sapp.

   Jordan has won six NBA titles. Williams has four Grand Slam tennis titles, including three in 2002. Jeter has four World Series rings in a nine-year career. Jones is the reigning WBA heavyweight and WBC light heavyweight champion of the world.

   Warren Sapp has ... one Super Bowl ring.

   It's times like this I wonder if I'm the only person who notices these things.

   • One should always catalogue immediately if they notice a new species.

-- An actual Dennis Kucinich political sign falls in that category.

Presidential hopeful former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean
addresses voters Sunday in Portland, Maine. (AP Photo/Joel Page)

   Of course, the sign is posted in a place where one would only see it on the way out after voting, but that's the kind of "out of the box" thinking that's given the Kucinich campaign the huge edge it has had over the "Other Candidates" category throughout this campaign.

February 7, 2004 - It's Out
   Today is a rant day. Just some things I need to write out lest I snap later and enter the "Things that should be sarcastic, but are really just fury" zone. Don't even bother ... just go play pick your favorite Northeastern rioter and pretend you were never here.



   • To put it as bluntly as possible, sometimes I just know how much easier life would be if I was a little bit dumber. Just a little more willing to be less tolerant, and a little more able to not realize there's two sides to every story.

   As a bad example, your average racist, homophobe or general redneck has far different types of problems than the prototypical "kid who seethes and thinks too much." They likely involve cars a lot more, whereas my kind of car problem involves not getting the oil changed or it not being clean. On the flipside, I get far more angst-teeny-whiny issues.

   I suppose it ends up being a fair tradeoff.

   Maybe a better way to put it is I wish -- and this will go against the people who think I'm a soulless a-hole six to seven days a week -- I could just genuinely hate someone sometimes. I wish I could just get so emotional about something, I could shut off that small voice in the back of my head that still wants everybody I've ever cared about to succeed and be happy.

   I don't actually want to turn that piece of me off, and yet, I know if it wasn't there my life would be so much easier on so many levels. Far less fulfilling and a lot more like I sense people really perceive it to be, but there probably would be far less nights where I just go to bed with a stomachache of angsty whatever.

   For more on this emotionality, search around in the archives for the entry where I was so pissed off about something stupid enough that I can't remember, I filled two pages of a yellow legal pad with reasons why I wanted to just quit school and be a trucker.

   And people say there's no unintentional comedy here.

   I found something out tonight that, really, I already knew anyway but just had no proof of. Probably best classified as a secret I was easily able to guess once I was told there was, in fact, a secret.

   There are a number of things to be bothered about -- that Person A would force Person B to have to keep something from me, that Person A was stupid enough to think I wouldn't find out anyway, the actual meat of the thing that A told B -- but the overaching feeling of all of it is I'm at a point in my life where I should ecstatically happy about everything going on around me. And yet I'm not. I ain't exactly writing blues music to say the least, but really ... when you have as many things going as ecstatically well as I do right now, you ought to feel tremendously guilty if you ever even think about half-sighing once.

   And it's really starting to piss me off, both because it isn't fair to the people around me and because, well, I'm not ecstatically happy.

   This would be the point where I tell you I really don't need anyone to acknowledge this was ever written unless you have a really, really good reason. If I believed it would have helped to write this out on a legal pad and forget it ever existed, believe me, that would have been better for all of us. The comment bug isn't missing today by accident.

   My actual happiness is probably the least important component of all of this given how I work -- I'm far more bothered in that there are people everywhere with a far worse lot than me, and yet dealing with it perfectly well. Yet it's still a small piece of the pie, and while I am very happy with the way everything has worked out over the last six months, I can't help but think there's a way it all could have turned out better for all of us.

   And sadly, I think that way prominently involves me just going, "Eh, fine. Go to hell." to someone for whom I would never, ever, ever consider doing that to.

   In the end, it's just something else I can't control. It's a piece of my personality that I'd probably be better off without, and at the same time, if it wasn't there I would hate myself for it. I dare say I wouldn't even be me anymore without that overarching feeling that I would give up my so much of my own happiness if it meant all the rest of the people I care about could have everything they ever wanted.

   So yeah, it's like the weather. And we all know how much I love the weather in New England.

February 6, 2004 - Generally Unexpected
   Today's Larry King-like Column Moment: Is it wrong to want all your girlfriends -- this is over time, not in a harem sense -- to meet up in one place? Not really for any particluar reason, but just to see what they'd end up talking about and doing?

   Something tells me Bruce will have something to say about this.

   UMass 4, UNH 1: Understand that any joy that could be weaned from the Minutemen absolutely thrashing an official enemy of the site that was looking ahead to tonight's game in Durham ... was joy that was ripped away from me no less than 15 minutes afterward when I confirmed that BU fell to Providence at home.

   The Terriers are now firmly entrenched in eighth place in Hockey East, which literally is enough to make me vomit blood because I issued a 10-15 second string of expletives upon confirming what I already knew. And really, if you're going to spew gibberish swears while driving alone, you may as well do it screaming at the top of your lungs.

   I'm beginning to think when BU wins the Beanpot on Monday night, that will be the year's "unexpected late-season success." At this point, all I know is the team is a Feb. 20 home loss away from essentially sealing a sweep by the Minutemen, who'll host them the next night in Amherst in a game I wouldn't attend for short of several hundred dollars.

   Though having watched them play now two Fridays in a row, they probably are deserving of a sweep. Even if their answer to Sasquatch is, in all seriousness and not just as a Mullet Night special, "Mullet Man."

   Get it? He wears a mullet and a T-shirt with no sleeves.

   That's what we call "embracing the Western Mass ideal."

   • In the end, college hockey wasn't what dictated what made it a good night or a bad night anyway. Regardless, that's not going to make things any better tomorrow morning when I wake up with a knife in my throat.

   Though when I come home and see SportsCenter's Budweiser Hot Seat, and hear hard-hitting journalist Mike Greenberg ask Jon Bon Jovi, "Jon, who's cooler ... Richie Sambora or Lawrence Taylor?," I suppose the knife was getting there one way or the other.

   There's a reason I didn't try out for Dream Job ... and that reason is I wasn't in Boston for tryout day. But if there was a second reason, it would be that SC is so commercially full of itself, they're dangerously close to completely missing the point.

   Coors Light Nightcap my ass.

February 5, 2004 - Iron Fist Of The Sports Desk
   Super Millionaire: As it was given to me, I give it to you.

Super Millionaire qualifications open Monday, Feb. 16 at 7PM ET
Call Limit: One call per person per contest day.

Correctly answer 5 general knowledge questions
by putting the 4 answers in correct order.

February 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24
Game open for 8 hrs each contest day -- 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. ET

No former Hot Seat players are eligible.
Must be at least 18, U.S. resident, and meet all eligibility requirements.

A Computer Game has been established for persons who have a physical disability that prevents them from using a telephone to participate in the Phone Game. Check back here soon for more details.

   It's all also here, but with several dramatic pictures of Regis.

   What's perhaps most frightening is I've been involved in quiz bowl with three of these guys. Brushes with fame all over the place ... not even counting that when I tried out for the college version of Millionaire, the guy I sat next to made the chair.

   • You want a definition of "irrational excitement"?

   Irrational excitement is someone in the 22-27 age bracket finding out that Ellis Burks is back in a Red Sox uniform.


   There may never have been so much excitement over a non-pitcher who may play in 75 games in a season.

February 4, 2004 - Reader Response
   The Picture Of The Moment: Today we tackle Portuguese fashion.

Heads of State
-- Yeah, confusing, but it gets better.

Two models wear masks as they show off creations by Portuguese fashion designer Nuno Gama during his fall winter 2004-2005 collection presented at the Gaudi fashion show in Barcelona, Spain on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

   So OK. Either Portuguese fashion designer Nuno Gama designs wool socks, tighty grayies or gigantic fake heads. Given he took the time to have an expensive, overdramatic fashion show for two items that would presumably be worn under clothes, I think we need to realize what's going on here.

   Portugal is becoming the coolest country ever.

   Celebrate National Signing Day: In honor of Florida high school football prospect Willie Williams choosing the University of Miami, a look back on the visit that led to him making this life-altering choice.

After the players put on their jerseys, parents were asked to leave the locker room. The players were then called out one by one to run out of the famed tunnel while their names were announced over the stadium speakers.

Williams ran out of the tunnel through a giant-sized UM helmet and the infamous smoke. The music playing over the loudspeakers was Bone Crusher's rap hit Never Scared. Oddly, though, Williams kind of was.

''I was running like a blind man,'' Williams said. 'I had my eyes closed cause I didn't want none of that smoke to get in my eyes.

   He's not even in college yet, and he's already going to court.

   • Being a sports columnist, for a paper big or small, often means having to stand by your opinions under the assault of others. In the case of my latest column, I've more or less been told by everyone who has read it that the piece was written well, but that I'm wrong.

   I have no problem with people disagreeing with an opinion I believe in -- it's not as though I'm deluded enough to always think I'm right. However, for future reference, I'd like to point out that there's a right way and a wrong way to disagree with someone who's trying to present a valid argument.

   The right way is what my coworkers have done over the last few weeks, and what those of you who've commented on the site have done. Stating your case and holding it against mine. To an extent, the following letter I received today does that.

Date: Wed, 04 Feb 2004
From: Bill and Doris <______@hotmail.com>
To: jcouture at s-t dot com




   BILL F.

   While I don't really think the point of the column was to compare Tom Brady to anybody -- though no less than Bill Walsh recently said "He's as close to Joe as anyone I've ever seen. What strikes you about Brady is the serenity in which he plays the game. That might sound silly, but when you see a great quarterback, there's a calmness and a coolness he has on the field, a fluidity to his game -- smoothness, if you will -- that sticks out. And you can see plays that are tough for some quarterbacks aren't tough for them." -- the letter questions what I said. That's plenty valid.

   Though I suspect it seems moreso because of the other letter I got today.

Subject: (none)
Date: Wed, 04 Feb 2004
From: mike <_______@aol.com>
To: jcouture at s-t dot com

   can i just tell you that u are the worst sports writer

   if u think sapp or irvin could not play for the pats in thier prime you better rethink that thought and find a new job and secondly if you can romantisize about the pats winning the super bowl like you are having an orgasim you have major problems get laid

   Considering Sapp is a free agent this offseason, and he would gladly tell you that he's in the prime of his career as we speak, the Pats could have him as early as tomorrow. It's a shame my e-mail saying as such to Mike bounced ... I could have made his day.

   But yes, the point. I'm a special case, as I'll write back to anyone who takes the time to write me. But for everyone else, I offer three correspondence tips:

   1. Capitalization. Typically, if you use all caps or no caps, you've got a strike against you from the get-go. And considering how close the 'Shift' key is to the rest of them, you can easily swing it without taking too much time.

   2. Flow. As our managing editor said to me as I was proudly showing what I'll now refer to as "The Best Letter Ever" to everyone I could, Mike's prose could have been a Letter To The Editor is he was just able to construct an English sentence and a coherent thought together at the same time. I know such things take time, but they often pay off later with things like "respect" and "etc."

   3. Spelling. 'Orgasm' doesn't have an 'i' in it. I know typically when one is having an orgasm, spelling isn't all that important, but I'd like to believe people aren't writing e-mails when they're getting off. I'd have to guess it takes a lot out of the joy.

   What's odd is, as if on cue, right after receiving these I got my first ever phone call from a reader who just wanted to say he enjoyed my columns. We talked for like 15 minutes, then I talked for 10 more with one of the guys who calls our office daily just to talk sports.

   Never let anyone tell you, especially not me, that I don't love my job.

February 3, 2004 - Slush-Free Since '03
   The Favorite Commercial: Why is there so little to discuss? Because mine wasn't even on TV.

   Really, I could have seen myself enjoying Shards O'Glass a lot more if I wasn't convinced it had been stolen off Saturday Night Live.

   Mini Tuesday: John Kerry won five states, meaning that America is that much closer to me making leather handbag and Botox jokes all summer long.

   I can now easily see a March 2 primary that unfolds exactly like the last one did -- I vote for a candidate that has no chance of winning (then it was Bill Bradley, now it'll shockingly probably be this guy) he doesn't win, and I take most of October to decide I dislike George Bush less than John Kerry.

   Although really, the point of voting at all when one candidate is your 19-year state senator is about as distilled as it could be.

   Sometimes, I'm glad I just let politics take care of itself.

A Sporting Moment For The Ages
-- It was cold, it was crowded and there's a good chance I could have been crushed by masses again. Though went I went in 2001, I didn't exactly think I'd be working another two years later.

   • Speaking of politics, go here and view broken links to remixes of the Dean scream speech. It's good to see MTV can both tout itself as trying to seriously Rock The Vote and yet completely show what a waste of everything that it is at the same time.

   And as for those of you who publicly came out and announced 'I am wrong' by disagreeing by Tuesday's column, I commend your candor.

   Rather than put it in the 2/2 comments, responses as best I can:

   -- It is spelled Csonka, not Czonka ... you would think years and years of watching 'American Gladiators' would have made that the least of my problems, but never forget I am an idiot.

   -- I actually watched as much 1972 Dolphins footage as I could before writing this ... having had this idea for so long, I was able to better prepare for it. Saying the Patriots could beat them isn't so much an indictment of who the '72 team played -- their opponents had an awful record, and it's no shock they were No. 1 on both sides of the ball statistically -- as it is an indictment of what Mark said. Conditioning and training methods do make a huge difference, and nearly any good team of recent years is going to beat a good team of the past on the strength of that.

   I was actually far more concerned about believing these Patriots would beat the '85 Bears than I was with the '72 Dolphins.

   -- As for the Bears, and the thought-out discussion that The Bruce put together, it goes back to the point of the article. The 2003 Patriots inexpilcably just found every way possible to win football games. To not only win 15 games in a row, but to win 15 in a row while only blowing out maybe one opponent -- Buffalo in Week 17 -- defies conventional logic. All season long, the Pats were a team that couldn't put anybody away, and yet it never really hurt them.

   The two Buffalo games, both as a win and a loss, are anomalies and they should be thrown out. They happened for reasons that wouldn't apply in any other case. The Washington game is a little troubling, but looking at what has happened since it, I don't exactly think it's what this team actually is.

   Yeah, the Panthers almost beat the Patriots. So did nearly all of New England's last 14 opponents. The key being that none of them beat the Patriots. One is a fluke, two is a trend? Fifteen is something beyond all of that.

   The Dolphins didn't exactly blow all their opponents off the field in '72 either ... just because you don't win by 20 doesn't mean a game is in doubt. Look at when the Pats beat Miami in the snow just 12-0 ... they could have played 37 quarters and the Dolphins wouldn't have scored. Trust me.

   If I did actually forecast future titles in the piece -- I wouldn't doubt it, I just don't read my copy once it goes to press -- then I did get a little ahead of myself. But the point is this team just wins football games. Given time to prepare and practice as they do, I don't think there's a Super Bowl era team who could take them with any regularity. Therefore, they are the best team ever.

   And now, I'll shut up about them.

February 2, 2004 - Titletown Times Two
   BU 5-2 NU / BC 4-1 HU: Really, I got far too excited by Beanpot results that were surprising in absolutely no way. The Terriers made the finals for the 20th time in 21 years, and the Crimson didn't for the ninth time in 10 years.

   I recall after a week of celebrating Super Bowl 36 and the Beanpot, I didn't sleep for about four days, couldn't talk for about seven and was sick for about a month. Hopefully that'll abate a little this year with me sticking to the NESN version of things, but I just hope my coworkers realize I wasn't kidding about wearing the jersey and Dr. Seuss hat to work next Monday night.

   Given I'm apparently consistenly in NESN's intro package of old 'Pot footage -- two years and counting -- I do have a reputation to maintain.

   • Tuesday's column is far better than anything I'm going to produce on the fly about the Super Bowl, and is something I've been sitting and stewing on for nearly a month. So not only is it something I will argue with anyone who's stupid enough to oppose it -- and this is a "You either agree with me or are dead wrong" situation -- I'm copping out and making it the update.

This Team Was The Best Ever

   There's been plenty of football debate for the past two weeks, on everything from whether the Panthers are the worst team ever to make a Super Bowl to where Tom Brady ranks in the pantheon of great quarterbacks.

   One of those was proven not to be true and the other is still to be determined. So let's end the overload of bluster and blowhards with one simple truth: the 2003 New England Patriots are the single greatest team of the Super Bowl era.

   This is not one of those arguments to be hemmed and hawed over, not one to be batted around like a tipped interception. There are an easily defined top three in my mind -- the 17-0 Miami Dolphins of 1972, the 18-1 Chicago Bears of 1985 and the 17-2 Patriots.

   And, quite simply, New England would beat them both.

   Discussion over.

   There are a couple different ways one can discuss something like this, and the first instinct is to reach for the statistics. Although they have the worst record of the teams in the pantheon, New England is the only team in NFL history to go 10-0 against 10-win teams over the course of a season.

   The only team to go 6-0 against 12-win teams over the course of a season.

   One of only two teams to ever string together 15 consecutive wins.

   The only team to ever enjoy so much success starting more than 40 different men over the course of a season.

   And yet, those numbers only tell part of the story. If you look only at the basics, maybe you still see thins the same way a Warren Sapp or a Michael Irvin does.

   If you missed it, Irvin said before the game that these Patriots couldn't be a dynasty because they didn't have any big names anyone would remember in the future. Afterward he stuck to his guns, saying that New England is merely the best team in a mediocre league, and that his Cowboy teams of the mid-1990s would beat them easily.

   And yet, we shouldn't be surprised that a Sapp or an Irvin don't understand the Patriots. Not only have they not watched this team over the course of an entire season, they wouldn't make this team had they played in their primes.

   The Warren Sapps and Michael Irvins of the NFL don't play the game these Patriots play, because they don't think the way these Patriots do. They concern themselves with self promotion, whereas these Patriots, from Adam Vinatieri to Anthony Pleasant, concern themselves with one thing above all else.


   Plain and simple.

   Watching the postgame celebrations last night, anyone from a longtime Patriots fan to a moonlighting Pats writer who's watched this team since August noticed one thing that seemed oddly out of place.


   Nearly every player interviewed, overheard or observed talked about the 15-game winning streak, the success or the team. How things compared to other things. How it felt. All the things that for the entire season were off-limits, stupid questions or not worth discussing.

   It was over.

   It was time to celebrate.

   To celebrate the only goal that mattered.

   And that's why this New England team is the best ever. It's not lip service when they say no win matters until the Super Bowl, that it's all meaningless if they don't win that final game. All their talk and their actions led to Sunday night in Houston, and only once that ultimately victory had been achieved had anything been accomplished.

   So when it would come time to face the rushing of Larry Czonka and passing of Bob Griese, they would shut it down, find a way to exploit the No Name Defense and beat those unbeaten Fins. When the 46 defense came calling, Tom Brady would avoid the rush, make the passes and get the job done.

   We expect these New England Patriots to find a way to win. For an entire season, it's just what they've done.

   And yet, in a couple of months, this win won't matter either.

   It'll be time to do it again.

   That's the feeling I'm left with after Sunday night. This win wasn't as enjoyable as beating the Rams was two years ago -- just keeping your place on the top of the mountain is never as fun as the climb to get there in the first place.

   What happened Sunday in Houston, though, was a piece of a larger picture. A picture where championship after championship will force every pundit, blowhard, big mouth and bandwagoneer to realize what we already know.

   That if you're a genuine sports fan, you can't not love these New England Patriots.

   And that you can't deny them their place atop the pile in football history.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

   Now then ... if I had actually done another real-time update, here's a few of the things you would have been treated to.

   Pregame: I didn't watch much, but did watch some of ESPN's annual run through highlights of all the previous Super Bowls. Really, the only major piece I saw was XXXI -- New England's '97 loss to Green Bay.

   As soon as the Pats went up 14-10, I got all pissed off again. It was downright disturbing ... I'm just glad I pulled it together before I started screaming expletives at a replay of Desmond Howard's kick return, thus becoming my mother.

   Aerosmith: The actual idea of a space-themed performance on the anniversary of the Columbia disaster was confusing and borderline offensive enough that I was disappointed they didn't end their song with fireworks streaking across the sky, thus leaving the 70,000 people there and the multi-million everywhere else unsure whether to applaud liberally or boycott the NFL forever.

   Jake Delhomme: Midway through the second period, his numbers flashed across the screen at the start of a drive -- 1 for 9, 1 yard passing. I immediately thought of that place somewhere, at that moment, where Tony Eason was smiling happy at the screen.

   And then I thought of Mike Singletary busting through the door of his house and throwing him into a wall.

   The Halftime Show: If you don't enjoy the incredible irony that we got to see more boobie on network TV than the people who paid however much to order the Lingerie Bowl off pay-per-view, then you just can't be my friend.

   And Justin Timberlake's quote that the exposure was due to a "wardrobe malfunction"? No less than the leader in the clubhouse for "Best Quote Of The 21st Century."

   Fourth Quarter: I'm pretty sure I spoke about seven words the entire quarter. And I again got chest pains and lost the ability to breathe, so that was a nice feeling to have again. What was odd that, honestly, I never thought New England would lose the game. I questioned why it was still so close as I did with the Colts game, but I never thought Brady wouldn't lead a TD drive down 22-21 and I never really thought Vinatieri would miss the game-winning kick.

   Not Celebrating In Kenmore Square: Horrible. This will be remedied in the future.

   Then again, no it won't. What happened in 2001 was never be touched again and, frankly, I'm not even going to try. When I say I could retire as a sports fan with a Red Sox World Series win, I assure you ...

   I was only half kidding.

February 1, 2004
   • Is there such a thing as retiring as a sports fan? Because I'm about a Red Sox championship away from having achieved everything I'll ever need to by the age of 25.

   We'll discuss the details on Tuesday, but suffice to say after it was over, I wanted nothing more than the run out into the streets and jump around with 5,000 of my closest friends in Kenmore Square.

   Or start writing my story.

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