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Feb. 29, 2008 - Poseurs!
   Wait, What?: This is what I discover when I read to what I link.

The legal status of Irn-Bru in the United States is unclear. Several American companies import Irn-Bru, yet it is currently listed as a banned substance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA website lists Irn-Bru and Diet Irn-Bru as containing the banned carcinogenic colouring Ponceau 4R, and Sunset Yellow FCF, which the FDA has to approve on a per-batch basis. One importer, Irn-Bru usa, modifies the drink to conform to FDA requirements.

   It is a sort of inhuman orange.

Cancer Bru!

   Fortunately, it appears that the times I've gotten the soda in not-nearby Newburyport, I have not gotten reformulated version. My plans to be killed via soft drink remain on track!

   No. 52. Sarah Silverman: It bears mentioning that this is the only funny thing SS has ever done, and that the inclusion of Josh Groban makes this superior.

   Seriously, you have a problem with Josh Groban? (Not that I'm sure one could, if I'm A Gangster is a real song.) Watch that.

   Not at work, though. Unless you work where I work.


   • Since I resisted the urge to tell an undergrad telemarketer to go to hell the day after the Beanpot loss to BC, Boston University's hockey team is 7-0-0.

   But don't think I've lost focus!

BU-UMass, 02/29/2008

BU-UMass, 02/29/2008

BU-UMass, 02/29/2008
-- Even though ... I kinda pussed out and bought a bunch of tickets.

   I'll admit ... they looked pretty good, though that got a lot of help from UMass, who is playing shockingly bad. How you go from being No. 5 in the country to running off a 2-10-1 stretch I have no idea, especially since it appears to be the same lineup they were running out while on the rise.

   Regardless, the game's third goal was among the prettiest you'll ever see -- a double deke around two defenders, then beating the goalie low.

   Course, the night was not made complete by Jack Parker, taking the occasion of a second-intermission unveiling of a bust of former coach Jack Kelley, annoncing his retirement at the end of the season. Though the starch can't help but be taken out of that a little bit when the team has the longest winning streak in the nation.

   Three additional thoughts:

   1) The school has, shockingly, adopted "Shipping Up To Boston" as its new anthem, with the band playing it before periods and it being the basis of the new pre-game video montage.


   When you factor in they've now got a COM student skittering around asking trivia questions and hosting "Name That Tune," BU would essentially have filled the niche of all the area's minor league hockey teams. Except people can usually go to a minor league game for less than $30 a ticket.

   Thanks, Ticketmaster!

   2) We hung around afterward on the concourse long enough that Parker came upstairs to gladhand some alumni/friends. Even going on six years since my graduation, I'm reasonably frightened of him. In my head, were he to know I've called for his head, he would knee me in the solarplexus while barely breaking his stride.

   3) This was what we sat under:

BU-UMass, 02/29/2008
-- Please note the 1998-2005 absence. Lord knows I have.

Feb. 28, 2008 - On This Date ...
   Too Easy, 2nd Cut: Unlike the vaunted 'Best of Craigslist,' Stuff White People Like appears to be growing quickly.

   Though I dispute fandom of multilingual children and don't myself own a Nalgene bottle, 'threatening to move to Canada" is as solid as solid can be.

Though they will never actually move to Canada, the act of declaring that they are willing to undertake the journey is very symbolic in white culture. It shows that their dedication to their lifestyle and beliefs are so strong, that they would consider packing up their entire lives and moving to a country that is only slightly similar to the one they live in now.

Within white culture, it is agreed upon that if Canada had better weather it would be a perfect place.

   What, that's not an excuse to post another 'Kids in the Hall' clip? Pshaw!


-- "Because I'm HOT! Hot for YOU!"


   • Close to home:

If you need to make up your own study abroad experience, they all pretty much work the same way. You arrived in Australia not knowing anybody, you went out to the bar the first night and made a lot of friends, you had a short relationship with someone from a foreign country, you didn't learn anything, and you acquired a taste for something (local food, beer, fruit). This latter point is important because you will need to be able to tell everyone how it is unavailable in your current country.
-- No 72: Study Abroad

   If I've ever spoken to you about Mars Bars or Irn-Bru, I apologize.

   And let's not even start on kitchen gadgets.
Feb. 27, 2008 - [Insert Jon Stewart Cackle]
   Too Easy: I had no idea Bartolo Colon still used an interpreter. That could have made for an awkward moment in a future clubhouse visit.

Bartolo Colon (AP)
-- I went basic, though admittedly, my first thought was, "Pizza!"

   I'm not a regular reader of Boston Dirt Dogs -- or, for that matter, ever a reader -- but the coworker-referred 'Bartolo Calzone' was pretty damn impressive.


   • And I quote:

Red Sox Nation extends beyond the South Lawn, extends beyond New England -- it obviously goes to the Caribbean and even the Far East. So we welcome Japan's Daisuke here to the South Lawn.

His press corps is bigger than mine. And we both have trouble answering questions in English.

   I'll admit, it lost a little when it occurred to me there's no way he wrote it himself, but Bravo, President Bush. You made a largely meaningless photo op worth at least several seconds of laughs.

   Further analyzing the footage on Generic Night-Time Sports Show 1, Michael Felger noted Manny Ramirez hates America because he didn't go and, I quote:

"For as much crap as we give George Bush,
he's actually pretty good in that situation."

   Yeah. Because all the crap that George Bush takes clearly stemmed from his abilities reading a monologue at a photo op. Put away your knives, li(e)berals! You've been wrong all along!

Mission Accomplished!
-- OK. Maybe not all along.

Feb. 26, 2008 - Good to Know I Still Suck
   • Please note the absence of my name here. Attempt to understand why I keep wasting my time entering contests I have no chance of ever winning.

   Christ knows I don't have the God damned answer.

   On the plus side, our section won a national honorable mention and two individual writing awards, which is more than pretty damn good for a place where my $10 Nerf gun is being lauded as a transcendent purchase.
Feb. 25, 2008 - The Office Missed Me
   Nicole Kidman is Still Ugly: Sly, however, did indirectly point out that Sunday's update was wasted here. There are newspapers who would pay me a pittance for just that sort of cutting insight.

   The link to the paper's trowel-deep Oscar blog is there. It's worth reading if you need a reason to further mock my chosen profession.

   Ass on the Line Update: Speaking of, the latest news is that the bids for the Whale City Democrat Picayune Tribune Gazette will be announced within the month. As of this writing, all of the worst possible buyer choices are apparently either not interested or broke.

   Let this be a lesson to all of you. It's not the sort of market to buy things for the express purpose of ruining them. It's the sort of market to ruin the things you already have.

   Or it's the sort of market to lie to things you're going to buy, so that the people who work there don't all kill themselves before you can pull the trigger for them.

   Whee!


   • I didn't think it was the worst Oscars ever. Did you?

   Oh, you did.

The Oscars are a ratings dud. Nielsen Media Research says preliminary ratings for the 80th annual Academy Awards telecast are 14 percent lower than the least-watched ceremony ever.

   I find it hard to believe anything could be worse than the 'Titanic' Oscars, which spawned the question "So, what's the worst film ever to win 11 Academy Awards?"

   Course, in watching the montage of the previous 79 Best Picture winners, I noted that I'd seen all of seven of them, and one was 'Rocky.' Given I think 'Rocky IV' was better, clearly I don't get to count that one.

   Though it appears, given the financials, that the world agrees with me.

Feb. 24, 2008 - Bizarro Super Bowl Night
   • Forgetting, of course, that the Patriots going to Arizona with no gameplan and Eli Manning holding aloft an MVP trophy mean that the actual Super Bowl night was Bizarro Super Bowl Night.

   I'm not exactly sure why I felt so compelled to watch the ceremony, since I wasn't at the office and I believe the only movie I saw that was nominated for anything was Transformers. (It didn't win. Sadly, there was no category for "Best Performance Making a CGI Robot say 'My bad.'"

   Each year, I turn to the Oscar recap of Blue Armadillo -- I believe the first person I don't know who linked to this site -- because he knows movies and cares beyond my "let's laugh at the things we don't understand" sense. It's good to see he also noted some of the things I did:

   -- Is Jennifer Hudson aware that it's typical to follow an outstanding performance with ... something other than showing up at the Oscars the next year? Not that I wouldn't do the same thing, or note in my acceptance speech, "Sweet! Now I don't have to act to get into next year's show!"

   It's acting's first-round bye.

   -- The Coen brothers look like they'd seem socially uncomfortable in a College Bowl context. If you've never been, that's not in any way a good thing.

   Which reminds me. Former BUCBer and Cooch's World commenter Erik Charles Nielsen is Erik The Librarian. Starring Erik, and ... holy crap! That's the Indian chick from The Office!

   Yes, that ruins it a little bit. But given I shouted that out loud in an empty room, I can't figure anyone else is going to do something more elaborate.


   -- Seeing how funny Jonah Hill and Seth Rogen were really makes me wish Superbad was half as funny as I thought it was going to be. It's not that it wasn't funny. At the end, I just remember thinking, "Wow. That was it?"

   -- Nicole Kidman is ugly. I know there's previously been some debates about this here, but I'm ending them because I'm right and you're wrong.

   -- I would download Best Original Song winner "Falling Slowly" to my iRiver if my iRiver wasn't broken, and I wasn't too lazy to go buy a Torx screwdriver to take it apart and attempt to fix it.

   -- Seriously? Harrison Ford, another Indiana Jones movie? The man appears to be struggling to WALK ACROSS THE STAGE.

   Thank God I don't watch any movies.
Feb. 23, 2008 - Watch Me Snap!
Republican Wedding Announcement
Announcement,
(Springfield) Republican
   • So, yeah. Don't tell anybody ... it's a big secret, which seems like a logical explanation when the thing it's announcing happened in August.

   Go figure that ours was the longest of the seven announcements in the paper on Saturday, though that's a little harder to do when you're filling in a form that blocks long, boring narratives.

   Also enjoyable is that another one of the seven couples featured a guy I played in-town basketball with for several years. His father was almost always the assistant coach to my father, which amazingly once led to our reaching the town finals. (We lost.) I haven't talked to the kid in years, but good to see he's done well for himself.


   While Boston's ugly loss in Phoenix on Friday night didn't do a lot to make me wish we'd really spent the school vacation week in Arizona overpaying for flights and tickets and air conditioning, it has ultimately been a productive stretch preparing for what has become a completely out of hand wedding.

   I have a tux rented at a cost of $150 to everyone in my bridal party -- fun, since when I paid $150 last summer to be in someone's bridal party, I had it in my head that it could somehow be avoided when I had to do it. I've met our photographer, who's a very nice, professional lady who didn't appear to shoot daggers through my forehead when Julie told her I was being forced to go to the Florida Gulf Coast in a couple weeks. I even went ring shopping, so that I can buy two additional rings that I'm sure will cost as much as the engagement ring does, with the added bonus being I get to spend the rest of my adult life panicking about dinging up the one I have to wear.

   Back when this site began, I had grand plans to one day write an inside-the-wedding-plan expose. Shed some light on a topic that I didn't know crap about, and one that I figure a lot of people like me didn't either. I thought it'd be very informative, helpful, cathartic, etc.

   Obviously, that's not going to happen, but it's just as well. Everything I learn about weddings makes me more and more happy that I don't have to do this more than once.

   When our invitations go out, they will not go out to anywhere near all the people to whom I would like to give one. (This is a downside to not being a multi-millionaire, and to marrying someone who, like you, has a gigantic family.) When the ceremony is held, it will be in a church and run by a pastor, a situation that makes me roughly as comfortable as if you just skipped the professionalism and set my belongings on fire. While the reception is going to get to encompass several of my ideas, several more were shot down approximately five seconds after they left my mouth. (That's why several others are simply going to get done. Whether or not anyone else really enjoys them is something that, at this very second, I couldn't give less of a concern.)

   It certainly isn't Julie's fault. It's not those around me who, in something I hope I can one day properly convey thanks for, are ensuring this whole shebang bankrupts me as little as possible. Mostly, it's the fault of every fucking thing on Web sites like this one, which attempts to frame every single step of the process to commemorate your singular love to the person with which you wish to spend the rest of your life to WHAT EVERY OTHER PERSON HAS DONE FOR THE PAST 5,000 YEARS.

   I have no real desire to go through that page and point out the things we are doing differently, be they from the planning side or the financial side or the anything side, but by a rough estimate, I'd say it's 95 percent of them. Were it 100, that would make things much easier. Were the five arranged in some sort of connectible chain, that would even help. But when they're not, well, I have to do this because yelling at the people I care about is not only unproductive, it's a depressing affair for all involved.

The first rule of etiquette to be followed upon receiving news of the impending nuptials is to initiate contact between the families. Introducing herself and her husband to the bride's parents is her first responsibility. This may be as simple as making a call to the bride's mother and telling her how happy she is about the engagement or an informal invitation to dinner at their home. If preferred, dinner at a nice restaurant is always in order. This may be with or without the couple in attendance.

If the parents live far away, a friendly letter is appropriate. A snapshot of the family and maybe even one of her son as a small child is always welcomed by the bride's mother and is a kind gesture.

   You think the people that wrote that are aware of some of the advantages we've gained in the 21st century? Hell, you think it was written at a time when women, as a gender, could vote? (Who knows what they'd think of the things that their servants are allowed to do in regards to owning land!)

   I guess I'm old fashioned. I love Julie. Julie loves me. We have a cat and friends and an average TV and a treadmill that I don't use much at all. We'd like to mush all these things together into a familial unit, complete with a celebration that says, "Hey! Guess what? We love each other, and everything's great!"

   Amazingly, it's not that easy. I'm not real pleased about that.

   I'd like to think that's why I thought bowling was a good idea tonight, and why -- with a 172 -- I bowled the best game I've bowled in several years. The rage brings me power.
Feb. 22, 2008 - Weddings and Revolutionaries
   Shocking Discovery: Seth Meyers is the lead writer of Saturday Night Live.

"We formed a wisecrack circle," he said. He added that the writers at least "stayed in shape" with all that walking and "not having money for food."

   Lorne Michaels definitely qualifies as a "delightful a'hole." That's only helped by my spending an hour today digging through the treasure trove that is Kids in the Hall clips on YouTube.


   All this time, I had forgotten that I've drawn much of my personality from a three-minute sketch originally on Canadian television.


   • I now have a working relationship with our wedding photographer.

   I now have a tuxedo rented.

   But now, most importantly, I have a new-found relationship with Che Guevara.

Yes, let's face it. If you see it from afar, his image, and you're not very knowledgeable in history - and most people in this country are not - you say, "hey, that's a cool picture, that's a cool-looking guy." And then you hear, vaguely, that he was an anti-establishment rebel and you say, "that's pretty cool." I tell kids, you know, that they may hear that Che Guevara "fought The Man, he fought The Man." No, no, no, he was The Man that rebellious, freedom-loving people fought against. The ironies are so rich - a regime where, if you listened to rock music or tried to grow long hair, you went to prison. A regime that tells you what and how much you can eat, that you cannot travel without police-state papers, that you get machine-gunned if you try to leave, a regime that tells you what you can read. It basically tells you what you can think and say in public. The emblem of that regime is Che Guevara. And you see the image on people who consider themselves free spirits. You have to develop a sense of humor after a while.

Feb. 21, 2008 - Too Much Skin
   When I Read Deadspin Once Every Three Weeks: I'm sure I'm behind the curve on things like this, but there's still time for you to book a flight.

Marlins Manatees
-- Finally, South Florida makes the pudgy employable.

   Call me crazy, but it's probably not wise for a team that absolutely can not get fans in the seats to try to rock the existing ones out of them.


   • Someday, I can only hope to be as vicious as Ginia Bellafante, who savaged a certain Hollywood drug mule in the New York Times.

No matter Ms. Lohan’s protestations, the pictures ask viewers to engage in a kind of mock necrophilia. They are sexual, funereal images. Given the context and the specter of Mr. Ledger’s death, you can't help but feel you are looking at someone all made up for the grave. For the 10,000th time we are forced to ask: Lindsay, what were you thinking?

. . .

In the first picture -- Ms. Lohan wears a platinum wig and false eyelashes for all the images, by the way -- she drapes the pink chiffon across her torso diagonally, and if she looks like anyone at all, it is Madonna. Monroe looked available in her Stern photos; Ms. Lohan looks available for sale.

   I'm not going to say much about the specific photos because, well, they're nipples and boobies and the oft-romanticized side ass.

   There's one, though, where she's in black and white, holding some colored flowers. She looks like an underbasted, overcooked chicken.

   Make a note of that, celebrity-obsessed America. Late night dancing and human destruction is not good for your skin.
Feb. 20, 2008 - What's There To Say?
   Today's Enjoyable Wikipedia Fact: "On May 7, 2007 FOX renewed Talkshow with Spike Feresten for a 2nd season, making it the longest running talkshow on FOX."

   To me, Talkshow exists only as an Internet entity. I have never seen it. I have never seen commercials for it. I have only stumbled across the occasional article about it, which leads me back to the Wikipedia page to see if it still exists.

   Also of note, there is no way anyone other than Spike Feresten wrote the majority of the Spike Feresten article. Even I'm not that bad.


   • Today enjoyable non-Wikipedia fact? In the most recent ratings book for Springfield/Holyoke -- market No. 109, down from 108 a couple years back -- the nightly news for the Western Mass. ABC affiliate was beaten by the CBS affiliate's Oprah hour from 5-6 p.m.

   The CBS affiliate in Springfield is the newest in town, started as a local off-shoot of WFSB out of Hartford no more than a couple years ago. The ABC affiliate's been here for 55 years, apparently making all their in-roads in sand. The sort of sand that could be dangerously tracked into the garage where they used to film some of their uber-popular news broadcasts.

   As Wikipedia notes, the only interesting thing WGGB's ever done is be the only station in the country that had tape of Temple coach John Chaney threatening to kill UMass coach John Calipari during a press conference. Because they watermarked the tape in gigantic type, 14 years later, I still remember that.

   What's the point? Every time I end up going back to Julie's former workplace, Springfield's NBC affiliate WWLP, I find myself fascinated by TV.

   Maybe it's because it's the one media medium I've never really worked in.

   Maybe it's because I like hearing the stories of how they're as screwed up as my medium is, and will continue to be for the forseeable future.

   But really, it's probably because their studios are friggin' full of TVs.

Dump Button
-- And big red buttons that cut off all programming. Big. Red. Buttons.

   This entry probably should not be included in my folder to the Pulitzer committee.
Feb. 19, 2008 - The Richness
   Bridgewater 75, Worcester State 41: Generally lackluster.

Dorm Dork
-- Were there ever a night to hide ...

   Of course, if you are a "dorm dork," you're not going to see a poster shaming you in the athletic center, but I'm guessing Bridgewater State isn't the region's best school for marketing hopefuls. I mean, hell, look at our vibrant Craigslist.


   • Bridgewater State is, however, where I saw a husband and wife bodybuilding couple weighed by water displacement in a giant tank. Experience which allowed me to get to the school tonight without incident.

   Anyway, while we waited in the lobby after the game for Julie's sister -- who regaled us with a wonderful story about how she was called for a foul after an opposing player called her a "f&$#ing b$tch" -- I discovered a magical brochure that solved all my life's problems.

   I was all set to scan it, but thanks to Web technology, you can now read the NCAA's "Don't Bet on It" in its entirety right here.

   Highlights include:

   -- The tagline: "Put your money on a sure thing: yourself." This despite easily being able to be perverted into an advertisement to simply bet on your own team.

  -- The absurdity of it being illegal to be in a fantasy league that awards a prize, which is so well written, it could mean anything.

   -- The fact that I blew enough money for a humongous flat-screen TV betting in college, yet mean none of the "Signs of a Compulsive Sports Gambler." Logical reasoning says that means I'm just an extremely bad gambler.

   The transcendent highlight, though, begins on page 15 in the PDF.

How To Become A Millionaire

   Yes, friends. It's so easy to become a millionaire, it's been sitting next to the gym schedule and the RA applications. If you're 20 years old, you can become a millionaire simply by saving $190 a month*. By the time you're 65, ONE MILLION MUTHA-F'ING BUCKS, BITCHES!

   * -- Presuming you find an investment in which to put that $190 that offers an 8 percent annual return. Every year. For 45 years. Because that's easy.**

   ** -- If that is actually easy, please e-mail me IMMEDIATELY.


   And how can a college student who's being paid for athletics only in warm-up gear and T-shirts squirrel away $190 a month?

   -- Cut back on vending machine snacks!

   -- Stop buying new sports equipment!

   -- Shop at consignment and thrift stores!

   -- Start a business!

   -- Steal laptops! ***

   *** -- Advice only applicable in Storrs, Conn., and for Clay Buchholz.

   Though I suppose when the nation's schools are filled with idiots who want to grow up to be me, most any advice is good advice.
Feb. 18, 2008 - I Swear, No More Sweden
   The Internet Is For Pornever: Much like getting that tattoo on your foot, setting up a Facebook is a mistake that might never go away.

Katie Geminder, Facebook’s director for user experience and design, said internal adjustments to the tool used to delete accounts had created a technical snag that affected "a small percent" of Facebook users. "None of their information was exposed, but the empty account continued to exist even though all of its data had been removed," she said by e-mail. The bug was fixed within 24 hours, she said.

One such partially deleted user was Matt Dauphin, a 22-year-old office manager for an interior design firm in Tempe, Ariz., who tried to delete his account after reading about the new form last week. He received confirmation by e-mail of the deletion from Facebook's technical support team.

But even after he received that confirmation, a working link to his empty Facebook profile was the first result in a Google search for his name.

   I'm a little disappointed they don't have an interview with the classic "denied a job because HR found those pictures of me passed out in the tub." Hell, my site's even trolled that side of the street.

   This'll still do, though.

"It's a little disturbing that you can see people that I used to talk to -- that's not right," Mr. Dauphin said Friday.

   No, friend. That's the Internet.

   As is the guy who created a Facebook group ... for people to delete their Facebooks.

"Users who have requested to be deleted via the recently introduced form are only partly deleted, even though the deletion is confirmed by Facebook staff," Mr. Wallin wrote.

On Saturday, after the partially deleted profiles disappeared, Mr. Wallin said in an e-mail message, "Now there seems to be a way to completely remove yourself from Facebook, without having to delete items individually." But he does not plan to retire from his group.

   Why would he? It's not like it's any less hilarious.


   • Another trip to Ikea. Another bastardized Swedish word for the computer nook ... this time, a smaller chair that retires the one stolen from the BU Student Village scratch 'n dent pile some seven years ago.

   I blame the Swedish meatballs. Lord knows I ate as many of them as one order allows.

Obey!
-- Obey your computer desk!

Cat Rules
-- Treat your cat thusly!

Ice Cream?
-- We'll give you ice cream?!

   Or a cat bed, if that's your thing.

Newton's New Bed

Feb. 17, 2008 - Apparently, Today Was Boring
   Spousal Request: After seeing my lack-luster post for the past three days, Julie said she wished I'd cited my Valentine's Day post from four years ago.

   You can go read it. I'm not helping you.


   • I spent much of tonight at a Whale City bar with karaoke on Sundays. The karaoke started with a long-winded Portuguese song, then leapt between gangsta rap, country and generic karaoke fare.

   Given where I live, absolutely none of those genres were necessarily being hit on by poseurs. We have gangs, and we have farms.

   And we, as New Englanders, have 'Sweet Caroline.' It's ours, uniquely, forever, which I'm sure seemed like a plasuible outcome 40 years ago.
Feb. 14-16, 2008 - Sex Dice and Cats
   Not A Sign of Health: The Bruins are so desperate for fans, they're pleading for advice from the ones they have.

Bruins E-Mail Survey
-- And assuming people leave the game before it's over.

   Of course, bring me, I not only filled out the survey -- and delighted in offering the Ice Girls a resounding 1 out of 5 -- I said, "Sure! I'll join your fan e-mail group and answer team surveys from time to time! And throw in the ticket offer announcements too!"

   Which then directed me to a link where I could, again, get 2-for-1 seats in the loge. Largely the only reason I went to the game Saturday in the first place.

   I'd like to think there'll be some day when we can all look back on this, in the glow of a Stanley Cup, and laugh. Then I remember that I've been thinking that in some manner since 1992, when the conferences had different names and there was a team in Hartford.

   Buy My Newspaper Update: There is no update, other than to say one of the companies that owns papers around us just laid off five percent of their Mass. staff.

   Meanwhile, we bitch constantly, yet sent two people to the MLB playoffs, just sent two people to the Super Bowl and am sending me to Florida so I can bitch for two weeks.

   Perspective's not lost of me, nor is why people are racing out of this profession with comical colored streaks flying off their shoes.

Few Issues For Sox This Spring
-- This week's Inside Baseball trumped Friday's free Web site update.

   Slowly but surely, I'm beginning to feel like I know what I'm doing again. Just two weeks to get the rest of the way.


   • What with Love Day having just disappeared around the corner, the remnants are still around the manse. Among them were a pair of "adult dice" that I'm sure plenty of couples have begrudgingly accepted. I'd have to assume that given between Julie and myself, we have two pair.

   Both, in an extremely disturbing turn, were given to us by our mothers. Which can say whatever the hell you'd like it to say as long as it's said well out of my earshot.

   The pair in question are relatively tame, including scandalous things like "Let's Hug," "In The Closet" and the always popular "?" They were out on the table, not so much because they've been used but because Julie knows I hate them. (They shame me into outwardly showing affection. I mean, really ... we went to a Bruins game for Valentine's Day.)

   Newton, who's been pictured here numerous times and has his own Facebook, for Christ sakes, has kind of taken over the table since he got here. Being naturally curious, he proceeded to saunter over to the dice and propel them onto the floor with his paw, in essence rolling them.

Let's Play on the Couch

   No wonder he's named after a physicist. The little bastard knows how to rig dice.
Feb. 13, 2008 - Why C-Span Isn't Popular
   Best of Craigslist: I was brought there by Hey Crackhead, but if there's anyone who can bring an almost constant string of humor, it's Internet-savvy hipsters.

   Take, for example, 'It's me! Every girl ever.' Just build off that.


   • For the second time in three-plus years, I spent the majority of my day watching baseball players at a congressional hearing.

Sleaze Lurks Around Every Corner
-- This seemed much more insightful while I was writing it, for some reason.

   Regardless, that was the day. So here you go.

   -- Roger Clemens could not have seemed less credible if he was walking gingerly, was asked why, and replied, "Oh, nothing. My ass is just all bruised and swollen from numerous injections."

   Jayson Stark put it well, which judging by the rest of that blog didn't exactly happen all day.

Rep. John Tierney had an experience many of us in the media have had while trying to interview Clemens: We ask one thing. He gives an answer that seems to be in response to some whole other question. And no matter how hard we try, he keeps answering the question he hears, not the question we asked.

   What, you want to hear about my workout regimen? Let me tell you about pitching in the World Baseball Classic and running home from school in high school.

   The whole day felt like exactly what I thought it'd be in the beginning: Roger Clemens, who's been glad-handing committee members for a week, trying to just win them over with what passes as charm in his world.

   -- Mark Souder is the man.

   Not only does he have the drug background to actually understand what's going on and actually appeared to want to discuss "the children" -- that's supposedly why we're here, remember -- his tearing into the code of silence in MLB clubhouses is the nugget point of this whole God-damned escapade.

   It's a shame he looks like a video game villain from the Nintendo era.

Rep. Mark Souder
-- This would be a much better point
if I had more Photoshop skills.

-- I'd like to commission a study into whether Brian McNamee has one of the 10 most punchable faces in America. Even with his bringing down a reviled jerk like Clemens:

Brian McNamee (Susan Walsh/AP)
-- "I'm a doctor! Players love me!"

   -- I've probably been guilty of this in the past, but Dan Duquette's "twilight of my career" comment was again misrepresented:

"The Red Sox and our fans were fortunate to see Roger Clemens play in his prime and we had hoped to keep him in Boston during the twilight of his career," said Duquette, who joined Harrington on a conference call yesterday afternoon. "We just want to let the fans know that we worked extremely hard to sign Roger Clemens. ... We made him a substantial, competitive offer, by far the most money ever offered to a player in the history of the Red Sox franchise."
-- Pointed out in the comments here.

   -- If lawyers were looking for a couple of high-profile figures who'd make them less generally reviled:

Rusty Hardin and Lanny Breuer (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
-- These are not them.

   Particularly funny? No.

   It's Congress. I'm only one man.
Feb. 12, 2008 - All Bull****'s Eve
   Less An Article Than A Cautionary Tale: Whatever you do, parents, don't let your kids eat TWO magnets.

"I'm not trying to disrupt anyone's day," said Dr. Dutta, who is an assistant professor of pediatric surgery at Stanford. "But the message here is that these are dangerous toys. If you have little kids around, or even big kids, I would avoid them."

   I can't help but feel like I'm missing a significant chunk of back-story. That or society is far dumber than I've given it credit for.

   Articles Forthcoming, I'm Sure: Kris Benson has signed a minor-league deal with the Phillies.

   Which means Anna Benson has unofficially signed a deal to cock-tease the entire eastern half of Pennsylvania, and probably deep-throat some cheesesteaks in a local commercial. Provided Kris makes the team.

   Would she just slink away if he ends up in the minors, or would she up her game to that level? Who knows what "Anna Benson Night" could mean in the sick minds running the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.


   • I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to waking up early tomorrow to watch Congressmen give each other (and Roger Clemens) hand-jobs for most of the day.
Feb. 11, 2008 - Help?
   Overdue Honors To 'Will It Blend?': I already knew about it, you already knew about it, and yes, it always blends. But you ever come up with a better way to sell a $400 blender?

   The poseurs at "Is it a good idea to microwave this?" ought to be taking notes.


   • Actual mail from an actual reader. Please note it was sent to my home address, which it takes some Google searching to unearth because it's not on my stories.

Subject: (no subject)
Date: Mon, 11 Feb 2008
To: cooch at joncouture dot com

   Hi I would like to ask you a question and I am lost for I heard so many different stories why didn't Roger Marisa and Mc Wire bout broke Babe Ruth Home Run Records and never got into the hall of fame also I delete by mistake can you give me [current co-worker] e-mail address I was born in New Bedford but move to Florida thank you art

   Update: After explaining why I felt both Maris and McGwire aren't in the Hall of Fame, I received two more replies.

Subject: (no subject)
Date: Mon, 11 Feb 2008
To: cooch at joncouture dot com

   Jon. I can see McGwire but not Maris a record was broken to me it should go in the books I don't care what they say it in the books he broke the record too me it is like a guy hit a grand slam and the say don't count he was suppose to go to Center field lol

Subject: (no subject)
Date: Mon, 11 Feb 2008
To: cooch at joncouture dot com

   Hi Jon, I want you know thatI have been a Red Sox fan from day one never gave up on them do or die Also the happiest guy in the world when we move down here the Red Sox Taining Camp was in Lakeland saw Clemens and all the top players for two years than I swore in all different ( Languages ) when they move to Fort Meyers a good two hour ride plus finding it I feel real bad that Rogers Maris didn't make the Hall of Fame I can see your point of veiw I look at it this way this man record was broken no buts or ifs it done legal he should deserve it thank you for [co-worker] e mail I send her jokes Art

   I post them not for mocking, but because I'm not sure I actually answered anything along the lines of what I was asked.
Feb. 10, 2008 - Where's My 'Media Work Room' Sign?
   The Grammys: If, for some reason, a genie had come to me early Sunday afternoon and said, "Cooch, I will grant you the ability to watch the awards ceremony, and then hit any performer in the face with a baseball bat with no personal consequence to you," I would have chosen to hit Amy Winehouse twice.

Amy WInehouse (Reuters)
-- Because it would have been worth the punishment.

   I mean, seriously. There are handicapped people out there. Missing limbs, missing organs, dying and stuff. And you're there pissing away operating human flesh, smoking crack on camera, appearing unfit to stand up, drawing cheers from a crowd of Brits because ... you're British, can sing a little bit and were denied a U.S. visa because you're too generally problematic.

   At least Paris Hilton teaches children to comb their fucking hair every couple days.


   • As you might expect, I was not too pleased to be returning to work on Sunday, a fact compounded by our not really receiving any praise from our Arizona reporters on the work we did while they were gone.

   Elaborate presentation of stolen goods has a way of cooling such wounds.

Super Bowl Banners
-- No longer hanging in any Greater Phoenix Convention Center.

   Sadly, this is not college, meaning we can't leave them up, only to be destroyed/stolen in some booze-soaked party at the end of the semester. Even if it would spice up when the NBC affiliate out of Providence does one of their many live spots from our newsroom.

   Dave, who spent most of October hearing about my kleptomaniac tendencies, not only stole these banners -- carrying the "Who" one in his hoodie pocket all the way back on two flights -- but did it in the aftermath of a gout attack. In 'Who's Line is it Anyway' style, he receives one million points.

   Oh, like Phoenix was going to keep them anyway.

Feb. 7-9, 2008 - Mini Vacation
   • There was no original intention to disappear for three days, but that's how it worked out, and I'm not complaining.

O No, Baltimore A Mess
-- Inside Baseball returns ... very slowly.

   There were two main facets to the time off. One resulted in this:

Couture Family Computer Nook
-- This definitely now qualfies as a "computer nook."

   The other resulted in this:

Tim Thomas (AP)

Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, center, reacts after the first of several weak goals -- this one by Olli Jokinen -- in the second period on Saturday in Boston. The Panthers won 6-3. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

   A lesser third facet resulted in this:

Dueling spoilers.
-- Dueling weiners spoilers. And yes, they knew each other.
(It's hard to tell, but the right one has the shocker on it.

   But since it was my companion who said aloud, "Wow, this is the first time I've been to a Friday's on a Friday!" we'll just move quickly along.


IKEA

   I had been to an Ikea once in California, but very briefly. Just kind of a "Hey, you're not going to believe this" trip when I really didn't need to buy anything.

   Well, I really didn't need to buy anything this time, either. But as the above shows, you don't typically leave that store without something ... something about being on the fence about a certain computer desk and seeing it hang from the ceiling on a 40-foot propaganda poster that would make Stalin proud.

   Get it? Communism reference in a capitalist's playground? Sweden and Russia? Nothing? Yeah, it wasn't that good anyway.

   We went twice, romatic that I am, because after a day I decided we needed some lamps. This is obvious, but I can not stress enough how much better a call it is to go on a Thursday night over a Saturday afternoon. Especially if you're not going to follow this guy's advice.

   The Thursday, I walked around puzzled for a moment before seeing there was a giant escalator to get to the beginning of the showroom. On Saturday, comfortable as we were with the floor plan, we walked against the lower-level grain to get right to the lamps.

   I legitimately kept waiting for someone on staff to stop us, because it violates Ikea policies. They didn't, obviously, but there's just something about hundreds of Joe Q. Consumers rolling directly at you with children, rolling carts and funny Swedish names for things.

   I wonder how many of them notice how seamlessly Ikea blends actual quality hardwood furniture with cheap shit best reserved for college students and poor people like me.

   Yeah, that whole corner cost $100. Tube map sold separately.


BRUINS

   They had a half-price sale on loge seats. What they didn't mention was that the home team would play half a game, so all we got were 17th-row seats to see Tim Thomas give up four unanswered goals. This after I'd been happy to see Alex Auld had played the night before.

Bruins-Panthers - Feb. 9, 2008

   It was still nice, as was the sushi in the North End (maintaining my tradition of eating the wrong foods at culinary hot spots, i.e. buffalo shrimp at one of Boston's better barbecue joints).

   The girls sitting behind us knew a little something about hockey, but I have no idea how people can hate a player as non-descript as Dennis Wideman that much. Even if he does hold the only single-digit position player number that the Bruins haven't retired yet.

   Julie hated them solely because they were shrill. Sometimes thinking less is best.

Feb. 6, 2008 - And Now, We Breathe
   No Comment:

Michael Strahan (AP)

New York's Michael Strahan talks to fans at a celebration rally Tuesday at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. The New York Giants beat the New England Patriots 17-14 in Super Bowl XLII on Sunday. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

   Only I May Find This Interesting: According to this map -- which previously had both Ron Paul (Boylston) and Mike Huckabee (Salem) winning exactly one Massachusetts town -- the Vermont border town of Monroe had a three way tie in its Republican primary.

   Two votes for Huckabee. Two votes for John McCain. Two votes for Mitt Romney. (Hilary Clinton won a 9-8 cliffhanger on the Democratic side).

   I'd like to thank the Wikipedia page, also, for pointing out:

For every 100 females there were 86.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.5 males.

   Well, no there weren't. Not when the 2000 Census population was 93.


   • After nine consecutive days at work, I need to not be on the computer for a little while.

   On the plus side, that job's netting me a tax refund that could apparently buy a woefully undersized wedding cake. Plus, every time the Red Sox make a long playoff run, the overtime makes it appear I earn a sizable wage.
Feb. 5, 2008 - 42% Compatible With Colbert
   For Those Who Don't Buy Fate: Not hours after proclaiming on this very Web site that I was fed up with the BU hockey team, I received a call from the Athletic Department asking me if I planned on making a donation this year.

   I do have to admit ... if it was Jack Parker on the line and he was pissed, I would have crapped my pants.

   Another Non-Political Political Thought: Mitt Romney didn't have a real good Super Tuesday. This after, presumably, not having a real good Super Sunday either.

Mitt Romney (AP)

Republican presidential hopeful, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, reacts to the final play of the Super Bowl football game while watching in the lobby of his hotel in Nashville, Tenn., on Sunday. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

We piled off the bus just in time to see the Patriots go ahead 14-10 with a touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Randy Moss.

Mr. White handed out Super Bowl hats with the Patriots' logo emblazoned on the side. He made a big to-do of trying to make me -- (New York Times reporter) -- wear one, which I refused. Mr. Romney teased me as well, causing me to ask: "Governor, are you talking trash?"

The next drive, of course, was one for the ages, with Eli Manning make one of the best plays in Super Bowl history with his miraculous escape and toss down field to David Tyree.

After Plaxico Burress caught the go-ahead touchdown, Mr. Romney asked: "What was he doing there all by himself?"

Mr. White assured Mr. Romney there was "plenty of time" left.

There was only 35 seconds, of course. After an incomplete pass, Mr. Romney said: "I think we better start getting nervous."

Soon, it was over. Mr. Romney shook my hand and tipped his cap to me as television cameras rolled and photographers snapped.

   Now, I'm no image consultant, but did someone point out to Mitt that there's no better way to look like someone who knows nothing about football -- and just wants to fit in with Joe Quarterback -- than by wearing a hat with only the Super Bowl logo on it? "Hey, guys! Look! It's the game you're watching!"

   This story actually makes it worse ... he may actually be a fan. So play it up. People might actually respect you as someone who believes something, rather than John Kerry Jr.

   Besides, man. Never cover up the hair. It's your greatest advantage.


   • I spent approximately 15 minutes this afternoon trying to determine who I should vote for, using the scientific method of typing "choose your candidate" into Google and continuing to take polls until I found a consensus.

   Without getting into the gory details, it only required a consensus because the first poll I took said I should vote for Hillary Clinton. And, well, no.

   Good sign for the general election: "Local Man Eschews Logic, Chooses Visceral Hate, 'Gut' as Primary Electoral Motivation"

   On the plus side, the Whale City police officer stationed at my polling place liked the Giants championship hat, telling me he also raced out to the store to buy one on Monday. Which is a much better outcome than being pistol whipped while the elderly poll workers wonder who's going to clean all that blood off the marble floor.
Feb. 4, 2008 - Surprisingly Not Assaulted
   Last One, For A Bit: Part of me feels like this is overplaying a little bit for the day after.

S-T, 02/05/2008
-- Then, I think about what happened and that part goes away.

   I'm resisting the temptation to post a picture of my new hat, but only because I don't have an exciting backstory. Julie actually went and got it for me, because the one place around here that had them today got its shipment after I'd gone to work.

Giants Stadium - Dec. 26, 1999
-- This'll have to do instead: Dec. 26, 1999. When we went back in 2000,
Matt was wearing Jaguars colors and got booed in the parking lot.

   • In February of 1999, what would eventually become a 20-loss Boston University hockey team played a Boston College team that would eventually reach the Frozen Four. But because it was the Beanpot, the Terriers inexplicably won, with Russ Bartlett scoring an overtime winner that would prove his lone Terrier highlight. (Jack Parker cut him before the 1999-2000 season, and he ended up at St. Lawrence.)

   Sitting/standing in the 14th row at my first Beanpot, suffice to say the win pleased me greatly. The next day, I'd find the goal video on Boston.com, hold my telephone up to the computer speaker and turn it into my voice mail message for the remainded of the winter.

   In February of 2008, what will probably become the same scenario plays out again. Except this time, I'm at work in Whale City, a locale I would have needed a map to place nine years ago. And BC's Nathan Gerbe -- in all his midget glory -- scores an overtime winner to end BU's 14-year streak of at least reaching the Beanpot final.

   And you know what? I'm fine with it. Seven in nine years is just fine.

   Maybe going 10-22-4 and not winning the 'Pot will shake some fucking cobwebs out down on Babcock Street. I shouldn't be pushing 10 years removed from matriculation and still be waiting for one set of back-to-back wins in the NCAA tournament.

   Especially not if I'm paying TWENTY-FOUR DOLLARS to go see them play Merrimack. And don't even get me started on broker prices for a BU-BC game.
Jan. 31-Feb. 3, 2008 - I Am A Giant A$$#@le
   Because I Never Spelled It Out: Get ready for more of the best kind of angst, angst of a guy who hates the fact that his paper's paying to send him to Florida in the miserable early spring.

   Files For The Fort 3: March 3-13, and the calamities are already lining up. There'll be a cross-state trip again (for one final visit to Dodgertown), two scheduled lodging swaps and the possibility of another weather-addled, rage-fueled drive through Connecticut to avoid being holed up in New Jersey an extra night!

   I know I can't wait.


   • I miss anything?

S-T Patriots Preview, 2/3/2008
-- For those interested, the full 12-page preview is here.
Just right-click to save to your PC, and bask in our collective effort.


S-T, 02/04/2008
-- Real glad I designed something easily flippable win or lose.
(Win design didn't fade other games, and included Nos. 1-18 akin to up top.)

   See, when your boss sends himself and another one of your four paginating full-timers to Arizona, it makes it hard for everyone. Covering the Super Bowl is hard, and working the desk is hard.

   I can't say I'm ultimately glad he did, but there was definitely a silver lining. The Super Bowl preview section is my piece de resistance. There's stuff I'm not perfectly at peace with, like everything, but damn if it didn't come together and look good doing it. Just like the game ... for my Giants half.

Plaxico Burress, Ellis Hobbs (AP)
-- Shocking that Ellis Hobbs, giving up eight inches and talent
would look foolish on the game-winner.

   I'm definitely looking forward to watching this game on replay, because even though I set myself up to do the job -- our quarter-by-quarter summary -- that required watching it intently, I spent the whole thing pulling for 19-0. I was so caught up in the history of it, the desire for that coronation, the push for the '72 Dolphins to have to move their geriatric asses over that I forgot what Fan Cooch would have elevated above all else.

   In Super Bowl XXV, I didn't spent the run-up trying to play impartial journalist and figure out how the Giants could possibly beat the Bills (though it was a lot easier answer, given how good that defense was). I didn't drive myself crazy at the thought that they could lose ... hell, I didn't do that when the faced the Ravens seven years ago, fat lot of good that did me. I just watched it, and marveled at what I was seeing, more or less forever selling myself on whatever sports is.

   For the first time, I regret not just being a fan. Because I missed that the Giants, the team that issued this national TV clunker, this four-INT debacle and this ... I don't even know what to call the Redskins game, not just hanging with the greatest team in NFL history, but turning them into the greatest regular season team in NFL history.

   As the paper sat done for a few more minutes, and I looked through the photos some more, and I started to think about the classic I'd just watched, I started to smile.

   I couldn't stop.

   I can't stop now.

   Yeah, the Patriots lost. Their play calling was horrible, their line play was comical and they amazingly botched every one of the four times on the final drive -- Rodney Harrison had a pick clang off his hands, Asante Samuel out and out dropped another, the absurd near-sack and David Tyree catch ... -- when Eli Manning tried to give them the game.

   They're neck-and-neck as the worst-ever Super Bowl winner with the 2004 Steelers. They beat a bad division champ in Tampa, helped Tony Romo lay an egg and got the great equalizer from God when he leveled the playing field in Green Bay with blistering cold. Manning, if he'd lost the Tampa game, might have been out of a job in 2008.

   Now, they're all a shining piece of NFL history. Part of me feels like a shitheel.

   But a bigger part of me wants to know if the local Dick's is selling championship hats.

   I have no doubt that any extensive reading of anything in the near future would ruin that, because the Patriots just went from the NFL's reigning kings to some unholy marriage of the 2001 Mariners and 2004 Yankees. That's not going to end well, not with the entire world now having the moment where they can finally whip out their carving knives. True allegiances as they are, the Patriots deserve much, much better.

   So I'm going on sports media blackout, in so much as one can do that when they work in the sports media. Not that I'm a huge consumer of it anyway, since I don't like to willingly subject myself to things that are neither educational nor enjoyable, but there's just no need.

   Well, maybe a little WEEI on Monday. Nothing like a pompous group of dickwipe know-it-alls having to pull their swallowed tongues out of their throat.

   A copout's never felt so good.

2008: [01]
2007: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2006: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2005: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2004: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2003: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2002: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2001: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05]