March 31, 2004 - The Genuine Item
   Why Does Art Rule?: Because I like cupcakes, damn it.

Yellow Elephant
-- Nutrition Facts are inside his trunk.

Artist Eduardo Abaroa's 'Ancient vs. Modern Mastodon with Yellow Cupcakes' is seen Thursday at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. The piece is part of the exhibition 'Made in Mexico,' which is scheduled to run through May 9. (AP Photo/Angela Rowlings)

   • Now then, let's enjoy this story that is Shutdowns for the Democratic National Convention.

Boston Globe Shutdown Map
-- Courtesy the Boston Globe, Mr. Illiterate.

   Now then, to review:

Interstate 93 will be shut down in both directions for all four evenings of the Democratic National Convention, and North Station will be closed to all commuter rail and subway service, officials involved with security planning said.

The highway, at the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge and at the northern portal of the Big Dig tunnels, will be shut down because it comes within 40 feet of the FleetCenter. Security planners were concerned that there was no other way to prevent a truck bomb from traveling over the bridge and coming dangerously close to the FleetCenter while the convention was in session.

The Secret Service and Boston police will appear at a briefing on the security and transportation arrangements set for 10 a.m. (Wednesday). The major precautions that are expected to be unveiled include:

   -- Shutting down I-93 near the FleetCenter for the evening sessions of the convention, from July 26 to July 29. It was not clear last night what time the shutdown would begin. One official said the road would be closed in the late afternoon, but another said that commuters would be allowed to get home in the early evening rush hour, and then the highway would be closed.

   -- Keeping commuter rail trains away from North Station during the convention and requiring approximately 25,000 commuters to disembark north of the city and get on buses or subway lines to finish the trip into the city. They would have to do the same thing in reverse to get home at the end of the day. The Associated Press, citing a source who spoke on condition of anonymity, reported yesterday that North Station will be closed beginning the Friday before the convention and continuing until July 29.

   -- Closing the new North Station subway station at the corner of Causeway and Canal streets to Orange and Green Line service. Orange Line cars will go through without stopping; Green Line trolleys will empty at Haymarket, and passengers bound for North Station, Science Park, and Lechmere will board buses.

   But let's not forget what else is going on in Boston that prior weekend -- the Red Sox and Yankees play a three-game set July 23-25. Not to mention the New England 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway ... it's not close, but could theoretically toss a couple thousand more cars into the mix.

   But yeah, Mitt Romney wanted to have the convention moved to South Boston for "other reasons" ...

Michael Meehan, a Kerry spokesman, also said that politics appeared to be driving Romney's statements.

"I'm sure Governor Romney would like to move the convention to Crawford, Texas," Meehan said, referring to the town where President Bush owns a ranch. "But we look forward to having him as our guest when John Kerry accepts the nomination at the FleetCenter."
-- Boston Globe, quoted here on March 16.

   I suppose if nothing else, the nation will get the same genuine view of downtown Boston that we all get every day. A place where it took me longer to get from Somerville to South Boston than it did to get from South Boston to New Bedford round 11 on a Tuesday night.

March 30, 2004 - Victory Is (Not) Mine
   The Thing I Learned Today: In the quest for beauty both in Hollywood and beyond, they're making skin creams out of both human placenta and foreskins.

   Sure, I learned it from one of those VH1 special where they get paid by the number of celebrity names they can drop in the course of an hour, but I still learned it.

   Trivia Tragedy: Returning to the scene of The Underpants Gnomes' triumph, we finished a weak fourth in bar trivia tonight, losing the third-place tiebreaker when I guessed too high on this guy's RBI total over the past four seasons -- in hindsight, 575 was an awful guess.

   This isn't to say I didn't scare the gang by again sweeping the sports and world geography categories way too fast. And when they asked the WWE question about Sable -- formerly married to Mark Mero, now dating Brock Lesnar -- and we had the answer before he started playing the song ... it almost made that I'd blown the game earlier OK.

   There wasn't another team named Beat Cooch by accident, dawg.

   • So yeah, welcome to the new sports order.

-- Off

   I'll take "Setting Expectations Way Too High For Someone Who Just Won A Dunk Contest" for $1800, Alex. Can't you hear the nickname ringing out in every game she plays from here to eternity?

   I'd write an indignant column about this if women's high school / college basketball actually counted for anything.

March 29, 2004 - Victory Is Mine!
   Yesterday's Quote Taken Completely Out of Context:

"Bring me a cup of hot urine."
-- Vanquished Dream Jobber Zach, on how Barry Bonds can clear his name.

   I swear I will drop this now, but given Hair Boy's performance on "PTI" with Tony was probably a little too good -- yeah I'm saying it, Kornheiser canned Zach because he showed him up -- it's only fitting its highlight be immortalized.

   The Thing I Learned Today: Not only are there no longer two sets of Roughriders in the CFL, Hockey East also-ran Merrimack College once gave a hockey scholarship to Billy Costa.

   Given Costa is built like a skeleton model in an eighth-grade anatomy classroom, maybe that's why the Warriors have never hosted a playoff series.

No Victory In Defeat
-- It's not a good vibe when your Managing Editor reads your column and says, "You were busy this weekend, weren't you?" Regardless, I haven't had a good indignant piece in a while.

   • For as much bashing as I have given my bracket, my 4-for-4 picks in the S-T's March Hoopla contest have won me a family 4 pack of tickets to the Buttonwood Park Zoo, America's 12th-oldest zoo.

   I'm not sure what's sadder: that the prize's $15 value is about three times higher than I thought it would be; that this is the first thing I have ever won via picks in the NCAA tournament; or that I am having the passes sent to my apartment because if I pick them up in person, I might find out I'm ineligible as a company employee.

   Losing the passes, despite the fact that I do not have two children under 18 with which I can use the family pack for, would actually be more crushing.

   You would probably be scared if you knew how excited I was to get passes to the zoo. Relative to things that should not excite your average 23-year-old, I love zoos because I heart aminals.

March 28, 2004 - It's No Laughing Matter
   Memo To Craig Barker: I had even gone on Instant Messenger in preparation for a hearty congrats and thank you, but then Satan did it again.

   I will take the fall for this one, however, as BC scored both the tying (golf) and game-winning goal (basketball) while we had the channel changed in the office. As my punishment, I will get that Frozen Four press pass and go to the Fleet with a bomb strapped to my chest for the national semi with Maine.

   Speaking of that ...

   To The Logo Freaks: While back at BU, I stumbled across the logo for this summer's Democratic National Convention:

DNC Logo 2004

   Look, hunnie, they made the American flag out of waves. They assemble an absolutely unremarkable mark, then have the gall to put, "Nothing conventional about it!" underneath.

   In the pantheon of great logos, this was stopped at the door for having a bomb strapped to its chest.

   Picks Reset?: Somehow, I am actually tied for seventh in the S-T's round-by-round tourney picks game, well ahead of all the paper's "experts" and absolutely berating good pal Zach, the paper's college basketball writer.

   As it turns out, I nailed the Oklahoma State - Georgia Tech side of the bracket, and was a flip-flop Duke pick away from having three of the last four. Hadn't taken UConn because I figured Emeka Okafor's back would have collapsed on itself by now.

   So, what the hell.

Picks Reset
Elite 8 Record: 2-2
Wins: Oklahoma St., Georgia Tech
Losses: Miss. St. (2nd Rd.), Maryland (2nd Rd.)
Overall Record: 36-24 -- 24-8, 7-9, 3-5, 2-2

   I'm merely a Pokes championship away from ... equaling last year's 38-25. Huzzah.

   • Everyone, meet Mike Hall.

Newest Anchor

   Mike Hall is America's newest SportsCenter anchor. Not only was he not the best choice in the final four contestants on Dream Job, and not only was he not the best choice in final two, more than 25 percent of me believes I could outperform him right now, today, flat out.

   I swore I wouldn't go off on this, but really, his winning is that asanine. Considering the top choice, Zach "The Kid With The Hair" S., was dismissed essentially because he "didn't seem to be an anchor type" is absurd enough ... but when debatably the worst of the final group gets picked, the following can't go without mention.

   Mike Hall, college senior, will make $95,000 next year.

   Now, where did I put that bulk crate of fertilizer?

March 27, 2004 - I Respect Farmers c/o Modern Marvels
   Today's Subtlely Disturbing Piece of Technology: Parents using cell phones and GPS to track their children.

At age 10, Erica Wilson, who lives in a Boston suburb, has had a cellphone for a year.

With a busy schedule of swimming and dancing practices, as well as appearances in "The Nutcracker" in Boston in the past two Decembers, Erica's recently widowed mother, Rebecca Wilson, who asked that the family's hometown not be published, found it a huge convenience for mother and daughter to be able to call each other anytime to check schedules and arrange rides.

"It's a good kind of lifeline connection to keep up with your kids," said Wilson, a top bond-fund portfolio manager for Scudder Investments, who plans to get Erica's 8-year-old sister, Mackenzie, her own cellphone next year.

   In practice, the idea is a sound one. I just can't help be bothered by:

   -- the photo
   -- her 10-year-old has a cell phone
   -- she's getting another phone for her 8-year-old. EIGHT.

   Well, that and she "asked that the family's hometown not be published." Considering it took me all of 30 seconds to find the phone number and address of a Rebecca Wilson in the Boston Globe's readership area, I'd say that's the least of Supermom's problems.

   Pointless Cinematic Aside: In a 24-month period, Amanda Peet made films where she slept with a 21-year-old (Kieran Culkin in Igby Goes Down) and a 66-year-old (Jack Nicholson in Something's Gotta Give).

   The fact that I saw neither of these movies makes this revelation that much wierder. Though really, it was that or write "Picks Reset: I heart Oklahoma State." in this space.

   • In "college" bowl news, Go Us. I left with two games to play, so I merely have to estimate my personal stats were somewhere in the 35 ppg (3-4 of a match's 20 tossups) range. Thanks to Pete, Josh and Mike for allowing me the opportunity to scare people with my knowledge of, among other things:

   -- the Pretty Pretty Princess boardgame
   -- All Your Base Are Belong To Us
   -- Carl Pavano
   -- Survivor winners

   The day, however, also yields a question for all of you.

Stroke Me.
-- Ad card.

   This was handed to me while sitting in the student union during lunch, noticing the absurd number of sorority girls that were within 100 feet. The person who was essentially plastering the tables with them sinply said, "New Diesel opening up on Newbury Street."

   I know from a friend that Diesel sells jeans -- they may sell more or less, who knows. I understand in true Newbury Street fashion the ad is designed to make me feel inferior and/or poor and/or confused.

   All that said, what the fuck does this card mean?!

   Erogenous zones? On a board? Stroke it? You'd get splinters!

   Though it does make me think of Clarence Carter's cover of Strokin' ... well worth an "illegal" download or two.

March 26, 2004 - Ride You Wild Horses
   Commercials That Bother Me Enough to Warrant Mentioning: File this under "Who The Fuck Cares," please:

   The latest McDonald's ad touting Chicken McNuggets change to white meat features a thin, dark-skinned man compelled to "make some changes" in his life. We see him throw out some clothes, shave his unibrow, switch to boxers and start to exercise, among other things.

   Yeah, because when you're making some wholesale lifestyle and diet changes, you're going to keep eating McDonald's Chicken McNuggets.

   Thanks, Bruce: New among my favorite blogs will be Blog Maverick, the blog of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

   If you had not heard, Mark Cuban is both awesome and awesome. Consider this fair warning that should I ever stumble into riches, I will be very much like Mark Cuban.

   • This movie is moving.

   I walked out of the theater after seeing Hidalgo feeling like I should feel something. A something that, really, I couldn't place. Feeling like I should have been moved to want to do something, and not that I should have been twinged by what were some rather absurd plot twists and a rather predictable story that, if based heavily on reality, means I really have to reconsider what reality is and why I'm paying it every week.

   But hey, to say all that is selling it short. It's a captivating, feel good story that I enjoyed. Consider it coming recommended.

   And I did feel something after it was over.

   But it was that I miss people I haven't seen in a long time, and people who I might never seen again. Friends. Not just especially a certain one in California who I gather may be through with her use for me, but one certainly worth mentioning above and beyond the mass that I'm speaking about.

   And really, I get that feeling when I get drunk.

   And if I'm drunk, I've clearly spent the night out drinking.

   I guess what I'm trying to say is that though Hidalgo is a good movie and worth the $8.75 I paid to see it, now that I've drank six bottles of Guinness in one day, I want to see just how close I can get to 12 without throwing up.

   You can't tell me that wasn't better than another four-word movie review.

March 25, 2004 - Air Ball
   Worth Noting If You Travel Like Me: A piece of I-95 in Bridgeport, Conn., is being closed after a truck fire melted part of a bridge.

   Thank goodness I don't have to take a plane out of JFK in, say, 22 days.

   Keep Replaying That Murder!: The movie being made about the 2003 Red Sox whose naming contest has just ended, sadly, did not have a name choice truly befitting of the story.

   I would have voted, but there was no "I Feel Like I've Been To 'Nam: The 2003 Boston Red Sox" or "Now, I Understand Why People Murder: The 2003 Boston Red Sox".

   • Ron Popeil has a new infomercial out, selling his 25-piece, Six Star Plus, $40 knife set.

   It's captivating TV. And yet, I would never buy these knives.

   Someday, Ron Popeil is going to die. My money's on the file footage being from his Showtime rotisserie infomercial, but I'm willing to take suggestions otherwise.

March 24, 2004 - Four-Word Movie Reviews
   Saying All It Needs To Say: From an mailing:

We've noticed that customers who have purchased 'Positively Fifth Street: Murderers, Cheetahs, and Binion's World Series of Poker'
also enjoy books by Jayson Blair.

   And yet, that can't be the Spam of the Week ... that spot's already taken.

Christian Debt Management
-- Because your debts don't seem so bad
when you consider you could be getting crucified.

   • This movie is good.

   This movie is better.

   Two on top of that:

   -- At what point are we going to realize that Jack Black deserves a place in the "Guy Who Plays The Same Guy In Every Movie" Hall of Fame? I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but really, you can only play a lazy, music-obsessed guy so many times before the GWPTSGIEM people come a-calling.

   -- As plenty have probably already said, Goldeneye probably is the best of the new Bond films ... I'd be willing to agree now that I've finally seen the whole thing.

   Now, all I can hope is that the earlier films hold up a little better than I fear they will.

March 23, 2004 - Flame On
   Unexpected Circumstances: Apparently I sold this week's column short ... no less than four people commented today on how funny they thought it was.

   Maybe there's something to this "focusing."

   Ripping Off Fark: Kansas towns, after realizing Kansas is a wheat-drizzled wasteland, is giving away free land to entice settlers. Vibrators in the 1930's were weird looking. One British company has been offensive to both autism sufferers and black people within three months.

   And, of course, crime doesn't pay.

   • Thanks to JQ, I have now discovered Distant Replays, America's premier home for throwback crap bought by people like him, me and rappers.

   All I'm going to say is thank goodness eBay exists, else this page might have caused me to throw up on myself.

   Despite the fact that the logos on the shirts are too big, I could easily see four more white T-shirts entering the collection. Get absolutely nothing if you can guess which four!

March 22, 2004 - Illness Limbo
   The Benefits Of Fitness: While I don't have any physical numbers proving this gym stuff is making me any more desirable, I do know that I drank six bottles of Guinness with no ill affects on Sunday afternoon in Southie ... the last five of which came in relatively quick succession.

   There's really no reason to be discussing this, but honestly, there's no reason for this Picture of the Moment either:

-- We also would have accepted "Why Califonia Is Cool."

Former Assembly Speaker Herb Wesson, D-Culver City, kicks Zhang Xiao Ju betweent the legs during a demonstration performed by Buddhist monks at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., on Monday. In their first visit to the United States, a group of Shaolin martial artists from SongShan, China, demonstrated acrobatic flips and shows of strength among other things. With the monks urging him on, Wesson made several kicks to the monk who showed no emotion. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

   I often wonder why, with all the slings and arrows, people get into politics. I guess the correct answer is, among other things, you get to kick visiting monks in the groin.

   • This is smart marketing.

[West] Virginia is for lovers.
-- [West] Virginia is for lovers.

   I mean, if you're Abercrombie & Fitch, isn't it best to just mock the groups where a boycott stands to cost you the least amount of money? Their store locator lists zero stores in the Coal Wild and Wonderful State.

"I write to you today to demand that you immediately remove this item from your stores and your print and online catalogues," [Gov.] Wise wrote. "In addition, these shirts must be destroyed at once to avoid any possibility of resale and proof be given thereof."
-- Or else what?!

   I'll also leave it to all of you to click through the first few pages of the A&F Web site and enjoy the irony of everybody being shirtless. It's not so much something surprising as it is enjoyable all the same.

   Of course, this story deeply outrages me. They went to all this trouble ...

N.H. Squirrels
-- And didn't make a shirt about Maine!


Picking Up The Pieces
-- Know that upside to writing a column each and every week without fail?
This is the downside.

March 21, 2004 - Living Through Southie
   Picks Reset: Yeah, don't ask. All that needs to be said is anyone who watched the ending of the N.C. State-Vanderbilt game today in Orlando -- called by the vociferous Gus Johnson -- I hope everything's alright when they get the gauze out of your ears.

   I've never been so happy to be sporting oblivious.

   The Sweeter Sixteen: In a shocking turn of events, the 12-17-9 BU Terriers were denied at at-large berth in the Division 1 NCAA Ice Hockey Tournament. They did, however, get this story that helps say goodbye to noted superhero Sean Fields.

   As for predictions in this other smaller bracket, I predict that at some point in the next three weeks, I will swear at a television with a Hockey East team on it.

   Ironically, The Consolidation People Have Stopped Calling Me: Despite the headline, I am not mocking this story from England as much as I am apoplectic over the quote from the "victim."

"I felt obliged ... to please him as he had just paid all this money. It didn't feel like it was happening to me. I felt like I was watching it happen to someone else. I was just so relieved when it was over ... I felt so uncomfortable."

   Last I checked, you're the one who sold your virginity on eBay.

"It started as a joke, and ended up as 'Why not?'"
-- Guess you got your answer, jackoff.

   • Now then, there are so many things I saw and heard today.

   -- About 50 firefighters jump out of a parade to disappear into random apartments after being invited up from the windows for free beer ... led by a bagpiper who played them up the stairs.

   -- Cars parked three-wide on a street that can barely accomodate passing vehicles on an idle Tuesday.

   -- The irony of a solitary Italian sausage cart on the sidewalk.

   -- A Burger King with a longer bathroom line than an ordering line.

   -- Bars charging $20 to let people come inside and look out the windows at the crowds watching a parade on the sidewalk.

   -- Enough bagpipes to make me hate them, then like them again.

   -- A bar sign hanging out an apartment window aimlessly, reading "We're Sotally Tober."

   -- Some Bruins cruising in a parade on a Duck Boat ... like they won a Stanley Cup or something.

   -- t.A.T.u. in their original Russian.

   -- Thank yous to cheers to politicians, soldiers, cadets, and police and firefighters from large and small cities across the country.

   I took pictures. Lucky you.

Kids!     Floats!

Signs!     Drunks!

More Kids!     Ummm ...

   And those ain't even the half of it.

Southie St. Patties - 3.17.04
[Login using CoochWorld/CoochWorld]

   I could say more, but I think the pictures tell the tale juuuuuust fine. Plus this.

March 20, 2004 - Our Hate Brings Us Together
   If Donald Trump hadn't already proven himself a cross between savvy and stupid many moons ago, maybe it would be worth worrying about his attempts to trademark "You're fired! with the U.S. Copyright office.

   Let's not forget we are a nation where "The tribe has spoken," where some "are the weakest link, goodbye," and ... well, whatever the hell they said on Joe Millionaire outside of muffled sex noises and "Did you know I used to do foot porn?"

   When this site gets redesigned -- I'm targeting 2012 for a release because it means eight years until I'm a liar -- there will be a section with a rotation catch phrase of the moment. Were it here now, we'd be CW: "The world's 2,345,560th most popular Web site."

   Spain: Everyone is saying, with the election of the Socialist Party in Spain, that we've "lost it to the terrorists." While this could be debated, and Lord knows this isn't the place for that to happen, I'd just like to remind everyone what I said in the spring of 2002 on Spain:

"Moving through the airport, I'm amazed by the laid back atmosphere of everything. The guys at the metal detector are just going through the motions, as Meg pointed out the guy at metal detector wasn't even looking at the screen -- Note #2 to would-be terrorists."
-- Here.

   Course, given I wrote 17 pages on that trip, damn if I remember what Note #1 was.

   • Dear UMass fans,

   Now you know how we felt in 2000.

   Actually, no you don't. Not only was BU a game away from the Frozen Four, they played 15 more minutes.

0 (10)
1 (7)
0 (17)
0 (8)
0 (13)
1 (6)
2 (61)
0 (12)
0 (13)
1 (12)
0 (19)
0 (4)
0 (4)
1 (64)

   It's nice to see, however, that fans across the region can be brought together by one simple premise -- disgust for the University of Maine. I'd love to go to a game up in Orono sometime, but I don't have a rocket car and I'm not going to drive for six hours so I can be booed by fat people.

   By the way, if you watched any of tonight's Maine-UMass game and didn't feel any emotional attachment at all, you're officially dead. I'm to the point now where, if you can't enjoy a hockey game, it's your loss.

   Now then, off to avoid the Half-Marathoners by going see the drunken Irish.

March 19, 2004 - The House of Zarley
   Today's Quote Taken Completely In Context: Seems Ty Law has some competition in the dumbest thing a football player has said this week.

"I'm excited, probably more excited than I was when I won the Super Bowl. It's good to be headed somewhere I'll be working with people who know what I'm about."
-- Keyshawn Johnson, on his move to Dallas.

   Now, I can understand why one would be excited to go to a new team. I can even understand why one would be excited to be reunited with a favorite coach, even if the team they're going to isn't exactly going to be world beaters just yet.

   But when you say you're more excited than when you won a championship, which is the obvious point of your line of work, I think you might have to question why you're in a profession where armor-plated man missiles are assigned to spear your body into the ground on a weekly basis.

   [ Yeah, it could be the money. But even think about that regarding what he said. And we're not dealing with a guy who just throws words out there. ]

   Wasting Bandwidth: It's hard to believe Bill Simmons could write a bigger piece of crap column regarding Todd Bertuzzi than I could.

   And For The Non-Sports Fans: Your local pr0n site might be moving soon ... to the newly created .xxx Web suffix.

The ".xxx" domain is sponsored by the International Foundation for Online Responsibility. According to the group's Web site, it would encourage the adoption of the suffix among the "responsible online adult-entertainment community."

   Leave it to a Canadian non-profit group to just completely not get it.

   • You don't care, and I probably don't much either.

Picks Reset
Round One Record: 24-8
Losses: Providence, Charlotte, Richmond, W. Mich., BYU, SIU, E. Tenn. St., Arizona
Upset Wins: (9) UAB, (10) Nevada, (12) Manhattan
Sweet 16 / Elite 8 / Final 4 Picks Remaining: 13 / 7 / 4

   Though in reality, I could likely say the same for the Hockey East semis results ... I just don't care.

Not Normal

Maine 1-0 Boston University
UMass Amherst 5-2 New Hampshire

   Somehow, it warmed my heart to see all those BU kids staying for the second game last night at the FleetCenter, just to cheer against New Hampshire.

   I believe it was Nick last night who noted, "You know, it seems like an awful lot of your sporting decision are based solely on hatred."

   The kid's finally starting to get it.

   And as for the shirts, I think I like mine better.

Can you say 2 for $25?
Can you say 2 for $25, friend?

March 18, 2004 - Hoop Harangue
   In the blur of excitement surrounding the NIT, I didn't get to talk about the Red Sox, who on St. Patrick's Day donned green jerseys and hats.

Wearin 'o the green.

Wearing a green jersey in celebration of St. Patrick's Day, Red Sox starting pitcher Curt Schilling delivers during the second inning against Cleveland on Wednesday. Schilling threw for six innings, giving up one run on two hits. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

   Giving Boston's strong Irish roots, I'd say this qualifies as pandering. And you know what? Irish people don't care that the Red Sox wore green in a meaningless baseball game.

   [ Insert money grubbing joke here. ]

   I'm just glad they don't play baseball in February.

Las Vegas Thunder
-- I might have to start killing again.

   • As luck would have it, I had Day One of the NCAA Tournament off. This proved convenient given I hadn't actually made most of my bracket picks when I woke up today ... had it not been a tradition kind of thing for me to make 63 losing selections, I probably wouldn't have.

   I guess, since Vegas, I just can't get fired up about playing things that are typically throwing money down the toilet. Well, other than poker, and that's more throwing money in the sink, turning the water on and having it slosh around a little bit before it goes down the drain.

   Best finish in a big NL tourney ever today ... 161st out of 969 players. It still equates to losing, it just took two hours plus to happen this time.

   Anyway, for the sake of public record, my picks are below. I went 12-4 today, which seems pretty good until you think if I matched that again on Friday, it'd be a 24-8 first round.

(1) Kentucky, (9) UAB, (5) Providence, (4) Kansas,
(6) Boston College, (3) Ga. Tech, (10) Nevada, (2) Gonzaga

(1) Kentucky, (4) Kansas, (3) Ga. Tech, (2) Gonzaga

(1) Kentucky, (3) Ga. Tech

(3) Georgia Tech

(1) St. Joe's, (9) Charlotte, (12) Manhattan, (4) Wake Forest,
(11) Richmond, (3) Pittsburgh, (7) Memphis, (2) Okla. State

(9) Charlotte, (4) Wake Forest, (3) Pitt, (2) Okla. State

(4) Wake Forest, (2) Okla. State

(2) Oklahoma State

(1) Duke, (9) Arizona, (5) Illinois, (13) E. Tenn. St.,
(6) UNC, (3) Texas, (7) Xavier, (2) Miss. St.

(1) Duke, (13) E. Tenn. St., (6) UNC, (2) Miss. St.

(1) Duke, (2) Miss. St.

(2) Mississippi State

(1) Stanford, (9) S. Illinois, (12) BYU, (4) Maryland,
(11) W. Michigan, (3) NC State, (7) DePaul, (2) UConn

(1) Stanford, (4) Maryland, (11) W. Michigan, (2) UConn

(4) Maryland, (11) W. Michigan

(4) Maryland

Oklahoma State def. Georgia Tech
Mississippi State def. Maryland

Oklahoma State def. Mississippi State, 75-67

   There you have it ... I picked Nevada. And Manhattan. And BYU ... those Mormon morons.

   Stupid Mormons.

March 17, 2004 - Living The Stereotypes
   Your Connecticut Colonials: There is apparently a movement out there to buy the Montreal Expos and move them to the I-91 corridor in the Nutmeg State.

John Alevizos says he is leading a bid to buy the Montreal Expos and he included his letter to Jerry Reinsdorf, the man in charge of overseeing the sale, to prove it. Alevizos says his plan includes building a $250 million, 34,000-seat stadium in the central part of our state that would be privately funded by major corporations.

   It's worth noting that Alevizos is a former BU professor ... not for any particular reasons, though when it comes BU people being shouted down, this just seemed to fit with the rest of today's story.

   • And to think I paid $17 bucks for this.

Ryan Center

Rhode Island 80 - 52 Boston U.
Suddenly, 23-6 doesn't seem so impressive.

NIT Rd. 1 - @ URI
Terriers (23-6)
Rams (20-13)

Read the Wire recap on ESPN.

   On the bright side, it wasn't as though the Terriers let this one slip away ... to say that would imply they had a grip on it in the first place. Down 2-0, Nick cracked a joke about how I should enjoy it, since BU might never be that close again.

   Turns out he wasn't kidding. Maybe the free promotional shades he and Ed picked up had mystical powers.

1987 called ...
-- 1987 called. They want their mystery back.

   While I haven't seen the Terriers play at any other point this year, the fact that this team was once considered a lock to sew up the America East and go to the NCAA tournament scares me ... it feels like everything worked out for the best in that regard, as any 1-4 seed would have eaten them alive.

   Though you could tell they were far from their best tonight, as that Stony Brook loss just completely destroyed them mentally. Shooting 30 percent from the field, that Stony Brook loss just took all the wind out of their sails.

   It was just a case of a slightly superior team putting their opponent down early, forcing them into bad shots and never letting them up for air. The only stat worth mentioning is three-point percentage.

Boston U.
0 for 12
5 for 16
5 for 28 (17.9%)
Rhode Island
7 for 12
4 for 9
11 for 21 (52.4%)

   It was 9-0 quick, 21-8 at the ten-minute mark and they were down 21 at halftime. The only way they were scoring any points was via layups under the basket, which is ironic given during URI's opening run, BU wasn't even giving the guise of trying to get it down low ... they were legitimately all standing around the three-point line with the occasional cutter sprinting from one side to the other.

   They had a couple bursts in the second half -- 5-0 to open the half, 6-0 later -- but got snowed under again fast. Perhaps their biggest highlight was not allowing URI's fan-favorite scrub Jeff Kalapos to score in his ten minutes of action.

   The fact he hadn't played more than two minutes in any other game this year says it all.

   All this said, there were plenty of highlights from the night:

   • I really should have seen the blowout coming when it took us two attempts to get to the Ryan Center complex, three attempts to park and pick up our tickets and three more to find the right place to get our seats at "Will Call." I wish I were making this up in the same way I wish the "Will Call" window had actually been where one would go to get "Will Call" tickets.

   On top of that, Rhody the Ram beat the crap out of Basketball Rhett in pre-game.

Get your paws up!
-- At least he put the paws up this time.

   • As for the Ryan Center, I was impressed. Probably a little more elaborate than what Agganis Arena will be -- this has two decks -- it's a good size for a big basketball game, which this was not as the place was barely half full.

   Course, when they announced right before tip-off that the main scoreboards wouldn't be working for the night, it took a little of the mystique away. Not that we could have seen it anyway, as it was behind us like we were directly behind one of the baskets.

   • Line of the night dealt with the Ramettes, URI's dance team who all oddly sit with their legs crossed the same way throughout the game. To the point where if one switches, they all switch ... but anyway.

PA Announcer: "Please give it up for your Ramettes!"
Nick: "You know they will."

   And to think he was the one with no vested rooting interest.

   • At the 7:19 mark of the second half, with URI up 75-39, some little kids in the upper deck above us took off their shirts and started whipping them in the air in an M.L. Carr like fashion. This got the attention of the Ramettes, who gave them a wave.

   I would have taken a picture of the kids, but there's just something about wearing a BU shirt and bright red hat in an opposing arena, then snapping pictures of shirtless eight-year-olds, that left me not wanting to start the whispers.

   • By eating a large Del's lemonade at halftime, I am now legally allowed to return to Rhode Island for one year -- I'd been on three consecutive visits without one, violating the state Constitution. Though on my next trip, I must either drink a coffee milk or an Awful Awful to be allowed back again.

   • And finally, this loss does not change the fact that the University of Rhode Island has the ugliest logo in all of Div. I college athletics.

   I'm not even talking about their scoreboard videos of a dancing cartoon Ram that play on free throws ... this thing needed to be remade in the 1970's. If BU can do it, they can too.

   Especially tonight, when BU couldn't do anything but miss threes.

March 16, 2004 - I'm Going To The NIT!
   Obligatory Weather Bitch: It has been snowing from the time I woke up today to the time I left work -- roughly 12 to 1, but certainly not the one hour 12 to 1.

   I knew I should have played golf on Friday.

   Obligatory Political Bitch: I know Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is just a half-step below George W. Bush in the pantheon of ... I better not say what I'm thinking ... but his suggestion to move this summer's Democratic National Convention to Southie is spot on.

   Not only are his traffic suggestions worth heeding, think about the general congestion level / aesthetics between holding the convention in the middle of the Big Dig or the open air of down by the water. This strikes me as a no-brainer, with the only possible hang-ups being transportation issues -- the convention center site is much harder to get to than one of the city's hubs of transport -- and the Democratic heads in Massachusetts being so against Mitt, they'll blow him off out of hand.

Michael Meehan, a Kerry spokesman, also said that politics appeared to be driving Romney's statements.

"I'm sure Governor Romney would like to move the convention to Crawford, Texas," Meehan said, referring to the town where President Bush owns a ranch. "But we look forward to having him as our guest when John Kerry accepts the nomination at the FleetCenter."

   Thank goodness they wouldn't say anything irrational like that though.

   You absolute twat ... it's because of guys like Michael Meehan, on both sides of the aisle, that I revel in hating politics.

   Obligatory Vermont Rant: This Picture of the Moment? Way. Too. Easy.

-- It's almost as if they know I'm trying to mock them.

Judge George Aldrich smells a contestant's shoes in Montpelier, Vt., on Tuesday. Montpelier may be the capital of Vermont, but it also goes by another moniker: the Rotten Sneaker Capital of the World. The city hosts the Rotten Sneaker Contest, an annual event in which 'master sniffers' judge who has the worst-smelling pair of sneakers. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

   Ignore the obvious "WTF?!"s of the photo. Now, if you're in a contest for the World's Rottenest Sneaker, is it really in your best interests to have a shoe open to air on all sides? Wouldn't you want something that's going to make your foot sweat, and thus build up odor in a contained area?

   Good to see Vermonters can't even be weird right.

   • I'm not sure which ESPN product makes me feel dirtier: their Nimrods T-shirt or their official Shelf Ball.

   I would guess it'd have to be the second, since anyone who spends $10 on one of these has both no imagination and deserves to have me mug them. At least the T-shirt isn't something you could replace with, oh, any ball you own.

   Course, maybe I'm just bitter because we've created our own office game over the past few days -- Puck Bowling, or as I call it, Stunt Puck. Perhaps someday, you too can make black marks all over the doors and moldings of the S-T.

   Then again, maybe it's because ESPN gives cheerleading far too much credit.

It didn't strike me until then -- but we athletes sure seem a lot like cheerleaders.

And it didn't strike me until now, but those cheerleaders sure seem a lot like athletes.

   Throw out that the article's style is condescending to a writer to drinks condescending powder with every meal. I'm not saying cheerleaders aren't athletes.

   I'm saying they shouldn't be judged on what color underwear they happen to be wearing on the day of their competition.

March 15, 2004 - A Two Shrug Performance
   GSN: The Game Show Network officially became GSN today -- "The Network For Games." They've already been throwing around a bunch of new programming, and among their most prominent choices is the World Series of Blackjack, taped at Mohegan Sun.

   While the idea is original enough to at least warrant watching -- I didn't tonight -- I was struck by one of their promos for it, which features an announcer saying something to the effect of, "This is a huge upset!" when somebody loses.

   They are aware that blackjack, even when played correctly via basic strategy, is a 100 percent game of chance? That there's no bluffing, little to no science in betting and pretty much nothing like poker other than they both use cards and feature people who probably take themselves way too seriously?

   I suppose you can't expect much from a network that, in a major plan to increase its viewership, gave Joe Millionaire his own show.

Evan grew up as a wild ladies man in Virginia Beach, VA before setting his sights on Hollywood. Audiences best know him as the FOX TV phenomenon, JOE MILLIONAIRE, a.k.a. A struggling construction worker masquerading as a rich man looking for love. The show catapulted him to new heartthrob heights launching an eclectic career from commercials to TV spots.
-- From his bio. I swear.

   A career from commercials to ... commercials. I wish I were making this up.

   Today's Quote Ripped Completely Out Of Context:

"I don't know if Brady took steroids. How would I know?
But he did go from [16] home runs to 50."
-- Jim Palmer, on ex-Oriole and gay icon Brady Anderson.

   For the record, here are Brady's numbers for his career. Note the "HR" line: 1, 4, 3, 2, 21, 13, 12, 16, 50, 18, 18, 24, 19, 8, 1. And David Segui saying "nobody works out more than Brady?" He would have to put in some effort to make any juice he took work.

   This is the most fun way to spend a baseball offseason I've ever discovered ... and I'm not even talking about the gay icon portion of the program.

   • It's amazing what a little editing can do.

Forgetting Past Sport's Severe Flaw
-- Looking at the lead, it's not what you think. Looking at the headline ... well, it might be what you think then.

   And let me just say on the side, WrestleMania XX was not worth the $50 people paid for it to order live on pay-per-view, and it probably wasn't worth the $25 people paid for it to order a video-on-demand feed after the fact. But at least it was closer to the second one.

   Course, I could just be saying that to rationalize being up until 6 a.m. watching it.

   All I'm saying is 2-3 entertaining matches and finding out Jesse Ventura thinks we "should have a wrestler in the White House in 2008" is probably not the best substitute for sleeping.

March 14, 2004 - Hockey Free
    The Watersmeet Township Nimrods have a growing fan base, thanks to the ESPN commercials that ask us, "Without sports, who would cheer for the Nimrods?"

   Of course, Jay Leno will soon have them on as a late guest to ask them unfunny questions about having a weird name and laugh at himself. But not before the governor of Michigan gushes over them.

"Too often, news of our youth focuses on problems," Granholm said. "Every now and then, a story like the Watersmeet Nimrods comes along to remind us that our young people and high school sports often are the catalysts that can unite a community."

   Why British Journalism Just Works: Because in England, you can file stories like Thongs Wrong For Work and nobody seems to care.

   Hell, they even wrote an editorial about it.

This Is Pants

Career girls are being warned not to let their thongs pop out of their trousers. A job agency reckons men don't like getting glimpses of saucy underwear.

   What planet do these 'experts' live on? Men love it.

   Showing your thong 'erodes your professional credibility,' the agency warns women. Rubbish. All it does is make you more popular round the photocopier.

   I'm not sure I have anything I can possibly add.

   On That Same Note: Answers to the question you never asked.

   • The upside to BU being knocked on in the quarterfinals of the America East tournament -- and the women losing in the finals to Maine -- is I don't have to overanalyze the brackets to deduce a way they can win. I can leave my comments to the simple things.

   -- There's wasn't any "They don't deserve to be a No. 1" debate when UMass was kicking ass, Phil Martelli.

   Not only was Billy Packer right in calling out St. Joseph's for being overseeded -- this would be what an analyst does -- Martelli showed what a jackoff he is by getting all offended about it. Maybe if the Hawks wanted more respect, they shouldn't have taken a dive to Xavier to get some days off during the A-10 tournament, a move I actually though made sense.

   -- The only way a matchup between UConn and Vermont can end and make me happy is if the arena is bombed during the game.

   Well, worse things could happen than UConn winning, I suppose.

   -- I will not pick the winner again.

   Having watched maybe a combined hour of college basketball this year, I say this with some certainty.

   -- The "other" tourney will excite me more.

Men's National Invitation Tournament
First Round -- Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
Boston University (23-5) at Rhode Island (19-13)

Sometimes, there are advantages to having odd days off in the middle of the week.

   Points Also Receiving Votes: How the most entertaining part of the women's tournament is not the actual games, but how ESPN tries to preach women's empowerment through the ads for the games.

March 13, 2004 - I Will Put My Sting In You Sideways
   Adventures In Hypocrisy: Ty Law, you're on the clock.

   It has been reported by the Boston Globe that Ty Law has no desire to come back to the Patriots because they want him to restructure his contract. The Globe, and thus the AP, offer up this quote:

"Right now, it's not about money. That bridge is burned. I no longer want to be a Patriot. I can't even see myself putting on that uniform again, that's how bad I feel about playing here."

   Fair enough ... I won't get into the fact that Ty Law, a football player, considered a four-year, $26 million contract offer an "insult" and a "slap in the face." I'll even conveniently ignore the Globe report that says the Pats' restructuring offer would cost Law all of $1.3 million -- $15.6 vs. $16.9.

   I'll let him just explain it himself.

"I can't do a thing about it but express my displeasure about playing for this organization. I'll go to training camp. I've got bonuses for going to training camp. I'm just saying it won't be a comfortable working atmosphere. It's not a reason to hold out. I get $1 million just to show up. Who wouldn't show up for $1 million? The money ain't the thing, because I have that. Then again, I'm not going to sit here and say I don't want $7 million, either. That's stupid. Hell, we all gotta eat."

   Happy trails, Ty. As if watching your friend Lawyer Milloy shuffle off to Buffalo didn't make it clear enough, you still fail to understand the Patriots do business like I would do business.

[Law] thought discussions would continue until the Patriots informed his agent, Carl Poston, of their plans to carry Law's $10 million salary cap figure for this year, the penultimate of a seven-year, $51 million contract that included a then-record $14.2 million bonus. "They told me they didn't want to insult Ty anymore, so they're not going to submit any more offers," Poston said.

   Ending The Debate Once And For All: The Fairhaven High School cheerleading team competed in the state cheerleading championships today in Marlboro, and performed well enough to secure a berth to nationals. Essentially, they needed to earn 160.0 points on their routine to earn a berth, which they did just barely.

   Until they had a seven-point penalty assessed, which knocked them back under. The penalty which knocked their performance score down below this critical benchmark?

   One of the cheerleaders was wearing an ankle brace.

   Cheerleading is not a sport. Case closed.

   • As much as it pains me to do so, Cooch's World hereby offers props to Taylor Coppenrath of the Vermont Catamounts, who scored 43 points coming off a broken wrist to help his team win their second-straight America East title.

   I'll even ignore that he said he wouldn't play again this year despite how far his team would advance, the greasy fucking liar.

   And why am I being so understanding? So gracious?

They won?!

   Because things already make no sense.

   No. 8 Boston University 4, No. 1 Boston College 2: I watched nearly every second of this, and I'm still not sure how it actually happened.

   Well, that's a bit of a lie. For all the numbers I posted yesterday about shots -- today's game went went 37-21 BC, by the way -- I neglected to post Eagle "goalie" Matti Kultainen's goals against average for the series:

BU Shots
BU Goals
Save %
Game 1 -- 3-2 BU
Game 2 -- 4-0 BC
Game 3 -- 4-2 BU

   Yet even looking at that, it doesn't seem like a team that could have been steamrolled at Merrimack a month ago yesterday has any business steamrolling on the scoreboard against the No. 3 team in the nation.

   Granted, the 6-1 UMass win and the season saver at New Hampshire have happened since the Merrimack incident, plus BC has now lost five of six. Points well taken.

   The 1-0 lead was well deserved, as the shot before BU had rattled the crossbar. When BC leveled it on the game prettiest goal, though, it felt like the onslaught was on. Given BC jangled the post either four or five times over the course of the game, it could have been.

   Yet BU took the lead on a fluky goal that just kinda popped over Kultainen's shoulder.

   Then they made it two when he didn't close his five-goal.

   Then three when he didn't again.

   Suddenly, it's 4-1 with five minutes to go in the second.

   The game, in hindsight, was over, and BU's first goal -- Matti got a piece, but not enough to push it out -- looked all the more odd.

   When you're up 4-1, it's OK to be outshot 15-3 in the final period. That's called strategy.

   Had I been at the game, this probably wouldn't have unseated the greatest college hockey game I've ever seen -- BU 3, BC 2 in the '99 Beanpot. Yet it may have been even more unexpected, because BU routinely gets up for the Beanpot. Their five titles aside, I've seen BU make exactly one HEA final in six seasons and they lost it.

   This team was 2:30 away from being the worst in the last two decades of the program, yet now they're one of only three No. 8 seeds to knock off the regular season champion in the first round. I am getting ahead of myself, but they're just two wins away from actually making the NCAA tournament with a losing record -- they're 12-16-9.

   Of course, Noted Enemy Maine stands in the way. Honestly though, I don't fear them one bit. There's only one way this can end, thus maximizing the living hell I can endure over an alma mater's hockey game.

   BU. UMass. For a trip to the "Big" Dance.

   Whatever happens from here on out is gravy, though. The preseason pick for BU was third ... it just took them all season to reach that number.

   Note I am trying to keep the giddiness and gloating to a minimum today. Not only for the obvious "it doesn't really matter" reasons, but because I still feel like I've stolen something.

March 12, 2004 - Maya Angelou ... For Butterfinger
   Proof It Can't Make You Brainy: If you ever won the Powerball, would you be carrying around briefcases of $500,000?!

Earlier in the week, Whittaker was sued by an employee of a Cross Lanes racetrack and casino who alleged he assaulted her in March 2003. He has not responded to the civil suit, and has not been charged with any crime.

In January, in separate incidents, Whittaker was charged with threatening to kill the manager of a bar and with drunken driving. Both cases are pending.

Also in January, his vehicle was broken into and $100,000 was taken. No arrests were made.

In August, Whittaker was allegedly drugged while at a strip club and a briefcase with more than $500,000 was stolen from his vehicle. The money was recovered and two club employees were arrested.

   So you win $314.9 million and the best place you can think to do is a West Virginia race track?

Today's Quote To Completely Ground Us In Reality:

"It was kind of an easy night. I like to see at least 25 shots.
It's tough when you're only seeing 10 shots or so."
-- BC goalie Matti Kaltiainen after shutting out BU via just 14 saves.

   Saturday night's winner will claim this series and advance to next weekend's semis at the FleetCenter. Let there be no doubt, however, that I'm saying these two teams are anywhere near neighboring in talent.

   Quite simply, the numbers don't lie.

BC Shots
BU Shots
12/5 @ BC - 5-2 BC
1/16 @ BC - 5-1 BC
1/17 @ BU - 3-2 BC
2/9 Beanpot - 2-1 BC
3/11 Gm. 1 - 3-2 BU
3/12 Gm. 2 - 4-0 BC
Per Game Avgs.
37.7 (3.5)
17.5 (2.3)

   And I was having so much fun being delusional.

   • There's an ad rolling around out there that features R. Lee Ermey screaming, shouting and drilling ... for Dick's Sporting Goods.

   He's got the hat with a sort of Chunichi Dragons 'D' on the top, the chants geared toward going there for your sporting good needs. The whole thing just seems, somehow, filthy.

   Kinda like when David Alan Grier dressed up as Maya Angelou on SNL and did an ad for Butterfinger.

The wind. The rain. The fire.

The Butterfinger.

Did the Caveman know your delicious goodness?
Did the Mayan Priest exhalt in your buttery crunchiness?
Did the slothful Mastodon, upon his extinction, declare,
"Don't lay a finger on my Butterfinger?"

Oh, you finger of butter!
You proud confection!
Sugar brown roasted peanuts,
fructose, glucose, sucrose, lactose,
partially hydrogenated palm kernel oil.
Crispity, crunchity, peanut buttery --

I ... give ... myself ... to ... you.


Glad mantle of golden chocolatey hope upon my breast.

   It worked so much better than Bart Simpson does.

March 11, 2004 - Who Knew Brownies Had Asses?
   No. 3 UMass Amherst 6, No. 6 UMass Lowell 3: It struck me afterward that I'd just been the witness to history -- the first HEA playoff game the Minutemen had ever hosted, and thus the first they'd ever won at home.

   While it suffered from the "on break" crowd that no doubt was a problem everywhere, Lowell was thoroughly outclassed -- they scored a flukish early goal before getting steamrolled for five. Goal on a break out of the penalty box, on a perfectly executed two-on-one, on a clean break, on a slapper from the circle ... Minutemen just took control after going down 1-0.

   And yet, I'd be remiss if I didn't admit one of the game's highlights was when a "BC Sucks" chant went up in the Mullins Center.

   No. 8 Boston University 3, No. 1 Boston College 2: We got four updates during the game -- 2-0 after one, 2-0 midway through the second, 3-0 through two and 3-0 with 15 minutes to play.

   My initial instincts suggested two things: the Benapot final all over again, or this game from 2000, where I witnessed BU blow a 4-0 lead in 27 minutes.

   As it ended up, I got the result when sweet Julie called a local radio station pretending she was at work -- it's good to know she realized I would have been a mess until I found out. Though given the shot tally was 30-10 BC, I pretty much knew what transpired without having seen a second of it.

   Though it is possible that BU could inexplicably beat BC again -- it's all on the shoulders of Sean Fields from this one out -- we may be looking at the silver lining of the season. Somehow, 1-6 would glow far brighter than 0-6 would have on the register.

   And yet, BU is one more headstand away from making this whole season a little easier to swallow.

   One headstand away from giving me some decision to make next weekend.

   • Is it wrong that one win, one where it took every second of 60 minutes for the decision to be sure, has me thinking about securing a Frozen Four press pass?

"Today I'm one year away from turning 60.
After tonight, I feel like I'm one year away from turning 90."
-- BU coach Jack Parker, here. Somehow, I know what he means.

   Things just got real interesting again.

March 10, 2004 - The Sports Pulse Outfit Rides Again
   Why MIT Needs Checks And Balances: Because if left to just run amok, they build things like the new Stata Center.

   Granted, it's kinda cool at first glance. Then you realize this place both actually exists life-size somewhere and is nine stories high.

   I'm not sure which comment I agree with more: the direct "Gehry-esque shit" or a reference to what's listed on the MIT Linguistics page, who'll be moving into the building as soon as a month from now:

Mmm, Mmm, Good.

   • My employer has been having a series of community forums as of late, where the editors and writers head out to all the towns we cover and have a give-and-take with the townspeople. We hear criticisms, praise and generally want to know how strong a job we're doing covering their towns and communities.

   I say we because I attended one of these forums tonight -- the first time a member of the sports department has joined the usual collective of the editor-in-chief, managing editor, community news editor and the writer for whatever town we're headed to.

   Here now is a review of all the questions I was asked, plus a synoposis of my responses.

" ."

   I guess we're just that good at our jobs.

   When we were all introducing ourselves to start the night, someone did ask me if I was the son of some guy named Couture from the area. I am not.

   The night was plenty productive and I'm very glad we had representation there ... I just shouldn't have brought a pen and pad to take notes. It probably looked more depressing that way.

March 9, 2004 - Fat Food Nation
   Today's entry is brought to you by Killerspin, your home for professional table tennis and ping pong media, equipment and accessories.

   Just because it's an Olympic sport and ESPN2 broadcast the Killerspin Extreme Tournament this afternoon does not mean table tennis is a telegenic sport. Not only do the competitiors look goofy as heck playing, and each point and set goes way too fast to be enjoyable, but the idea that I could spend $2,000 on a ping pong table quite honestly scares me.

   Though the EnjoyIllinois thought it among the best ways to spend their advertising dollars.

   • It's hard to really understand how I feel about this robber's death, but my instinct to say he deserved it is probably too strong to ignore.

A Dorchester man's smash-and-grab robbery attempt cost him his life yesterday morning when he accidentally sliced open his femoral artery on the jagged shards of a Quincy video store window he had allegedly shattered with a rock, police said.

Troy B. Nunes, 37, made it about a block with an armful of PlayStation 2 video game CDs before collapsing in a pool of blood outside William Quarterone's front door.

"It was more blood than I ever saw come out of someone," Quarterone said.

   In the same vein -- or artery, if I really want to ride the speed train to hell -- is Today's Quote Taken Completely In Context:

"We're just too darn fat, ladies and gentlemen."
-- Tommy Thompson, Sec. of Health and Human Services

   Thompson is referring to probably the day's lead story, that in 15 years, obesity will overtake smoking as the No. 1 cause of death in America.

Study Year --->
Smoking Deaths
Obesity Deaths

   As the story says, were one to factor in that obesity causes diabetes in a lot of people -- checking in at No. 6 itself -- you're looking at obesity already leading the table.

   What makes this story for me is the CDC's initial response, both for the nation and for their own employees.

They include putting music, lights and fresh paint jobs in stairwells to encourage employees to use the stairs for exercise. Also, besides the current indoor smoking ban, CDC will ban smoking from outside all of its buildings starting later this year.

   Noble, much like their ad campaign. The clips I saw on NBC News included a couple in a grocery store and two young kids on a beach stumbling across some odd finds on the ground. In the grocery store, it's "Oh, that's someone's double chin they lost from snacking on more fruits and vegetables." On the beach, it's "Oh, that's someone gut they lost from getting more exercise."

   We'll conveniently ignore the fact that the beach ad didn't look so much like a stray gut was laying on the ground as a really fat guy was buried on his back and up near his navel.

   Of course, there's an Atkins ad on the story page ... the diet perhaps more than any other that is grossly misunderstood, and thus definitely not any good for you. But it's at least a noble effort.

   Though anyone who thinks eating bacon-wrapped hamburgers as a way to get thin clearly needs a more rudimentary plan. Like, "get out and move on occasion."

March 8, 2004 - One Year Of The McSorley Bobblehead
   And we begin again.

A Real Reason To Root
-- The weekly madness returns with a piece that's probably closer to my heart than it is anyone else's. But hey, over the course of 52 weeks, there's going to be a couple of those.

   When Bad Things Happen To Good People: Don't let the steroid jokes obscure the news that Gary Sheffield may miss three months with a torn ligament in his thumb.

   Remember we're dealing with a true class act. A man who reported to his first major league assignment with the Brewers -- in Montana, I believe -- with his old girlfriend, their daughter, and his new girlfriend ... who was pregnant.

   He was 18 years old at the time.

   • It's not often I post links to things that aren't stupid -- my columns included -- but this New Yorker story on suicide and the Golden Gate Bridge is fascinating. It should be listed as morbidly fascinating, yet it's not.

   The best part? It's all true.

   In a completely unrelated story, the Boston Herald has hired Mike Barnicle to write a twice-weekly Metro column.That would be the same Barnicle who worked 25 years at the Boston Globe before resigning amid a plagiarism scandal where he supposedly ripped off George Carlin jokes and made column subjects up.

   Random Aside: When I tried out for the college version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?," one of the questions I was asked upon telling them I was a journalism major was who my favorite newspaper writer was.

   For no particular reason, I said Mike Barnicle.

   I don't care that the Herald hired a plagiarist whom they helped expose in 1995 -- they ran the Barnicle column and showed which jokes he'd lifted from "Brain Droppings" -- because it seems like the kind of thing the Herald would do just to tweak the Globe's nipples.

   What bothers me is how stupid a major metro columnist would have to be to think he could rip off a national best seller and think no one would notice.

   Seriously, you half-wit. Ego or not, $250k a year for 130 columns or not, have some self respect. Though I suppose you can't when you're the physical respresentation of the word "curmudgeonly."

   I won't even get into his radio show with Noted "Can't Read A Prompter" Dan Shaughnessy ... it's like listening to an anus bleed.

March 7, 2004 - 500 Days Of Comments
   Our Long National Nightmare Is Over: Michael Quigley, who read every highlight as though he wanted to be the first man ever to die on TV from a self-induced aneurysm, was mercifully voted off Dream Job tonight. Yes I watched it, and yes, it's at least partially because it came on after the Celtics.

   I say mercifully because it's obvious Quigley really did want to be a SportsCenter, but was so incredibly bad that I actually felt guilty for watching him try. "Euthanasia" may be too strong a term, and yet, it fits so well.

   How ironic ... I've used "euthanasia" and "the Celtics" in the same discussion. Then again, Boston is inexplicably in 7th in the Eastern Conference.

   John Henry Williams: Well, he's dead, but at least he's consistent.

Williams died of leukemia at UCLA Medical Center with family members at his bedside, said Peter Sutton, an attorney for Ted Williams' family. Williams was 35. According to published reports citing family sources, John Henry Williams' remains were delivered to the Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Scottsdale, Ariz., where his famous father's body has been stored since his death.

   Despite my going off on him earlier in the evening -- some people open a long-forgotten box somewhere and find heirlooms, I find vitriol -- I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. Just because one is a bit of a scumbag doesn't mean they deserve to die of leukemia.

   I just hope those Alcor fucks remember to put JH with Dad's head, and not the rest. Wouldn't that be a true American tragedy ...

   More Sort Of Baseball: Karim Garcia, who got a little uppity in Game 3 of the ALCS, is now in trouble as a Met.

Eric Vidal, the alleged victim in Thursday's clash with Mets outfielders Karim Garcia and Shane Spencer, said yesterday that he has filed a police report and plans to hire an attorney today with the intent of taking a lawsuit "as far as I can."

Mets general manager Jim Duquette issued an apology Saturday to the corporate office of Big Apple Pizza, the restaurant that had its workers directly involved in the parking-lot scuffle, but Spencer and Garcia were left out of the process. The two players were fined $500 each, a person familiar with the situation said, and Spencer said he apologized to the coaching staff and the ownership -- not to anyone outside the organization. Duquette said both players apologized to him and manager Art Howe.

   Say it with me ... "once is a fluke, twice is a trend."

   • In more sort of baseball news, the Red Sox and Yankees played an entirely meaningless exhibition game today. Well, not everyone felt that way.

"This is what baseball is all about."
-- Noted third baseman Alex Rodriguez, via ESPN

   If by excessive hype, $495 for a pair of tickets, people getting worked up over nothing and generally feeling cheated once it's over, Alex, sure. Maybe that's why the national pastime is in danger of being lapped by NASCAR.

   I dare say Peter Gammons said it best, ending his report on SportsCenter.

"The only starters still playing while Mariano Rivera and Alex Rodriguez were already on their way back to Tampa? David McCarty and Mike Vento. Mike Vento.

Somebody paid $500 on eBay to see Mike Vento play nine innings."

   Any time people are paying $5.67 for a commemorative pin to an exhibition game, I can unequivocably say I'm losing faith in our society's ability to reason.

March 6, 2004 - You Win Some ...
   Edibles Question: What do you think would happen if one was to combine the maple-infused griddle cakes of a McDonald's McGriddle with the cheddar and maple-infused sausage of Dunkin Donuts' new New England Maple Cheddar sandwich?

   Would the hybrid even be stable enough to eat, or would the electrons just start leaving their shells out of panic? Even if one could it, how would the body react? Coma? Sudden death? Blindness? Would tooth enamel just vaporize on contact?

   It's been a tough day. These are the things I think about.

   • There is some bitter sense of irony that on this day, when I discover an article on Agganis Arena that has me officially excited about the new building, that the Terrier athletic program came within 2:30 of having the worst day in the history of Boston University sports.

   And that's saying something given the school cut it's football and baseball programs.

Final Hockey East Standings
-- And this was the positive outcome.

Northeastern 3-2 UMass-Amherst
Boston University 4 -(OT)- 3 New Hampshire

   There was little doubt going into the weekend that UMass, who's going into the Hockey East playoffs on an 0-5-1 tear, would be no help against Northeastern, who started the year 0-9-2 but finished the season unbeaten in four straight. Plus they're UMass ... good or not, they were the Hockey East doormat before it became chic for Northeastern to be the Hockey East doormat.

   So BU was going to need three of four points against Noted Enemy of the State UNH to remain with BC and Providence as the only teams to never miss the Hockey East playoffs.

   They turned a win into a tie on Thursday.

   They had to win at New Hampshire on Saturday.

   Somehow, they did.

The goal came in a do-or-die overtime for the Terriers. After BU, which remains alongside Boston College and Providence as the only Hockey East teams never to miss the playoffs, got the puck below the goal line, a random shot by Van der Gulik deflected off sticks and skates in front of UNH goaltender Mike Ayers (30 saves) and finally trickled back to him at the left post.

Van der Gulik banged home the rebound, sending Terrier nation into a frenzy.

"I think I had three whacks at it," said Van der Gulik, the hottest Terrier heading into the playoffs with five goals in his last five games, including three versus New Hampshire this weekend. "I finally got a shot that hit the defenseman's leg and went in."

The celebration that ensued for the Terriers looked like the kind generally accompanied by a skate around the ice with a championship trophy. As Van der Gulik explained, the season dictated such frivolity.

"After the year we've had, that was the biggest game of the year for us," said Van der Gulik, whose Terriers' eighth-place finish is their lowest in the 20-year history of the league. "So winning the way we did felt like it was the Stanley Cup for us."

   What's sad is this Terrier miracle has earned BU the right to face top-seeded BC in the best-two-of-three first round of the playoffs ... a rival BC team they're 0-4 against this season. Going 0-6 against one's rival would not be pretty.

   And yet even that wouldn't suck as much as this:


Stony Brook players and cheerleaders celebrate, left, following their team's win over Boston University in a quarterfinal game at the America East Conference tournament Saturday in Boston. Right, BU's Matt Turner reacts as his team lines up to congratulate Stony Brook players on their win. (AP Photos/Lisa Poole)


   It was one of those scores on the ESPN2 ticker that I saw in a passing glance, immediately hoped I'd read wrong, but knew you don't typically read things like that incorrectly. I asked somebody else to confirm, and the AP Wire did.

BOSTON (AP) -- D.J. Munir hit a floater with 31 seconds left to lead eighth-seeded Stony Brook to a 62-58 upset of top-seeded Boston University in the quarterfinals of the America East tournament Saturday, the first time a top seed has been knocked out in the quarterfinals in 14 years.

Stony Brook (10-19, 7-13 AE) snapped Boston's 11-game winning streak. The Terriers were upset on their home floor in the conference tournament for the second straight season and will likely end up in the NIT.

   Yeah, I laughed it off, and in the end, this has saved me from being forced to pick a No. 14-15 seeded BU in the first round of the NCAAs. Really, in the grand scheme of things this makes no difference in my life ... at the very least, it wasn't in the final again, with me in attendance and submarining an entire weekend. It saved me having to rearrange my entire schedule to go to the final, and means I can probably rearrange it to order up WrestleMania or something.

   I'll remember all those when I'm writing Tuesday's column about it.

March 5, 2004 - New Bag, Same Game
   Why I Love The Golf Expo: Because all of this was just a sliver more than $100:

Golf Stuff
-- New Ping golf bag, two dozen each of
Strata and Callaway Blue golf balls, and 500 tees.

   OK, maybe it was a sliver more than a sliver more than $100 ... but how can it not be worth it when I now have one of the world's only orange and brown golf bags?

   A Museum Worth Visiting: Fresh off discussing Spam, which was extremely underwhelming the time I forced my mother to make some for me, it's the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum.

According to its annual report, Nissin has established an international network including 25 factories in eight countries. About 40 billion instant ramen a year sell in over 100 countries, securing a share of over 40 percent of this competitive market. Products sold in each country are designed to meet the tastes of local people. In the United States, for example, the length of noodles is shorter than in Japan. In Brazil, 75 percent of products are soup-type. Masala-flavored products sell well in India. The factory in The Netherlands tries to meet the demand of each country across Europe.

   Technically, by eating Ramen, you're experiencing Japanese culture. Rationalize it that way the next time you pick up a twelve-pack for 99 cents.

   From The Bruce: Could you pass Jim Harrick's basketball final exam? Maybe it's not an easy A+, but when your final two questions are:

If you go on to become a huge coaching success,
to whom will you attribute the credit?

In your opinion, who is the best Division I Assistant Coach in the country?

   ... odds are pretty good you're doing OK.

   • It's always special to see just how big companies try to woo us into buying their products ... indirectly or not.

   McDonald's Millions: On Saturday, McDonald's will give 15 people one million dollars just for showing up at one of their stores. As it's been advertised, they don't even have to buy anything ... they just have to be chosen by a manager "entirely at random."

   You have to dig a little deeper to figure out the ads saying "no game pieces, just walk in" is in response to this $15 million payout being due to the rigging of its Monopoly game.

   Then there's Dew U., the classic Mountain Dew "get points and get stuff" contest where it'll only cost you 550 two-liter bottles of soda (estimated cost: $A Lot) to get an X-Box with one game (estimated cost: $Much Less).

   Really, when you're charging 20 points for a carabiner with a li'l lanyard on it, I think that's the point where someone calls you for just not trying.

   Then there's The Passion of the Christ merchandise, which is easily and conveniently for sale at Whether it's the crucifixion nail necklace all the goths are raging over, the oft-forgotten crucifixion nail keyring or just a coffee mug, it's all there for you to share the passion of a movie I would not go see unless you were giving me $20 to do so.

   Truth be told, I'd think about it for $10, and you could probably barter me down to $15.

And for those of you up in a tizzy over all of this, quite frankly, you deserve it. Mel Gibson made a Hollywood movie about the death of Jesus Christ because, well, he knew you'd act like this. Not He, he. Though given who He is, He also knew.

   Course, you could think He is Mel Gibson, in which case you probably enjoyed What Women Want a hell of a lot more than everyone else.

March 4, 2004 - Knowledge
   Today's Top AP Story Headline: Each day, The Associated Press sends out thousands of stories with thousands of "in the can" headlines. Today, I stumbled across the best:

"Transsexual Poses No Threat To Women's Golf"

   The head deals with this story about Mianne Bagger missing the cut at the Australian Open.

   Bagger being not a name one would expect a transsexual to have, but one that seems much more unfortunate for a transsexual to have than is probably the truth.

   • I learned many things today simply by doing my job perusing the wires:

   -- Noted dead baseball owner Marge Schott capped hot dog prices while she owned the Cincinnati Reds at $1.

   -- The Titan Games, to be held in Atlanta in June, will showcase Olympic athletes in boxing, fencing, judo, karate, weightlifting, wrestling, tae kwon do and shot put with a rock concert atmosphere.

   -- Spam is under attack in Hawaii, where Tulip, a new Dutch meat log, is trying to take over some of their market share. If you didn't already know, Spam has been huge in Hawaii since introduced there during WWII.

   -- Noted terrible toy store KB Toys is based in Pittsfield, Mass., which is where a whole pile of layoff notices will be coming from very soon.

   There's more, but I have a pretend workout I need to go take part in.

March 3, 2004 - Icing
   T-Minus 230 Days: The countdown is on ... Rockstar Games has announced that Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas will be out in America on October 19.

   It should be noted they've also registered the names for games in Tokyo, Bogota and Sin City, so they're either megalomanaical or planning way ahead.

   They've already got a measuring stick.

   • I've only seen a private screening -- only one/s in the theater -- for two films. The first was High School High, which every so often pops up on Comedy Central.

   The second is Miracle, and it likely won't follow that same path.

   There was a lot of trepidation by some when the trailers started for this, just because Walt Disney and Co. were behind the wheel ... if anyone can putz up a story, it's the Disney folks. But really, the fear was pretty unwarranted.

   On the surface, you really couldn't screw up the story of the Miracle on Ice.

   Sure, they could have putzed up all the details they did get right -- choosing "hockey players" instead of "actors;" using the authentic audio of Al Michaels, Ken Dryden and Jim McKay -- and they could have inserted an unnecessary love story or other crap. But they understood what anyone with a pulse would understand.

   This story didn't need the Disney touch.

   Of all the people out there who weren't actually alive when the game was played, I have to figure I'm near the top for connections to it -- went to BU, who had four players on the team, and have actually interviewed Jim Craig for this story -- so I was a captive audience to begin with. Already knowing the story from beginning to end, there wasn't anything I was going to learn from watching it. Really, it was going to take a lot for the movie to do anything but disappoint.

   Well, it didn't. It was a waitress who went into the meal getting a 15 percent tip and worked her way up to 18 just by being good at her job.

   Though a lot of that is probably just me giving cheap pops to every mention of BU, Jack O'Callahan, Dave Silk, Jim Craig or Mike Eruzione.

   There was a little huddle of guys at the after-party for that documentary screening -- Jack Parker and the four BU members of the U.S. team. I can safely say I have never felt more starstruck at any point than I was at that moment. Course, being swarmed ten minutes later by Jim Craig's junior hockey team did take the edge off.

   And anyone who has a problem with Eruzione milking his game-winning goal for his entire life clearly needs to question their own sanity. If you ever became a national hero and an icon for a generation -- even if a small one -- don't tell me you wouldn't be doing the exact same thing.

   Especially considering the only guy on the team to ever make a huge impact in the NHL was Neal Broten.

March 2, 2004 - Ro a/i d Rage
   More Defining Irony: On a day where the San Francisco Chronicle reports Barry Bonds, among others, received steroids from BALCO, what filler programming does ESPN show in the afternoon? The World Series of Poker? The World's Strongest Man (or Woman)?

   Why, they show the 2002 Home Run Derby from Milwaukee, of course.

   I'm not going to get into playing moral cop here, because I really don't want to, but this kind of report does bother me. It's one thing to just wonder aloud, "Gee, Barry Bonds sure is bigger than he used to be," and chuckle at the pictures.

   It's another to actually have to consider the joint problems and back problems of a Bo Jackson and a Mark McGwire are probably all because of chemicals they probably shouldn't have ingested in the first place.

   This, However, Won't Be A Column Topic Again: In what could possibly excite several of you, after a roughly five month hiatus -- I stopped once I got my baseball playoff assignments -- my weekly column in the S-T will return on Tuesday. I'd missed that feeling one gets when it's 3 p.m. on Monday afternoon and I haven't got a topic to write about yet.

   Area Golfers, Free Stuff!: I've lucked into an extra free pass to the National Golf Expo at the Bayside Expo Center in Boston this weekend. If you're interested in going and would like to not pay, get in touch with me via the plethora of options at the bottom of this page.

   • Every time I drive into Stamford, Conn., to take the Metro North into New York City, one of the small highlights of the trip is when I get back on 95 East to go home and almost immediately get a glimpse of "Titan Tower" -- the headquarters of World Wrestling Entertainment, which are right off 95 in Stamford.

   Each time I pass it, I have that second or two where I consider getting off the highway and just kind of cruising the place to see if anything interesting is going on. Not that anything interesting usually goes in inside an office building, but one never knows.

   After all, the WWE is often at its best when it tries to take a stand on issues that big, sweaty guys in tights and barrel-chested girls in almost nothing really should be taking a stand on.

   For example, WWE proudly announced this week that they're inducting Pete Rose to the Hall of Fame ... the WWE Hall of Fame!


Baseball great Pete Rose will be the first-ever special celebrity inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame for his classic appearances at WrestleMania XIV, WrestleMania XV, and WrestleMania 2000. WWE Superstars to be inducted as the newest members of the WWE Hall of Fame are former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan, Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine, Sgt. Slaughter, Superstar Billy Graham, Tito Santana, Don Muraco, Harley Race, Junkyard Dog and Big John Studd.

"We are privileged to have 10 Superstars who are truly deserving to be called WWE Hall of Famers," said WWE Chairman Vince McMahon. "Pete Rose is our first-ever celebrity inductee for the classic moments he has provided in WrestleMania matches with WWE Superstar Kane. Only a champion like Pete Rose would get into a wrestling ring with a 300-pound monster like Kane, and then have the tenacity and determination to do it again. One day Pete Rose will take his rightful place in the Baseball Hall of Fame, but on March 13, Pete will officially become a member of the WWE Hall of Fame."

   The Easy Joke: I bet he's very proud.

   A Little Harder: I don't really have one yet, but it somehow involves this bio. The hair joke seems too easy, especially in light of Billy Crystal cracking about 39 Pete jokes in his Oscar monologue.

   What was up with that, anyway? Jim Gray wasn't even at the Oscars! And why did Robin Williams actually seem like he was funny on stage? That hasn't happened since at least 1994.

March 1, 2004 - Thinking Spring
   Mail Call: Oddly enough, this is the first letter I've gotten from a reader that's flummoxed me too much to be able to reply.

Subject: Superbowl DVD dissapointment
Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2004
From: Joseph _______ <>
To: jcouture at s-t dot com

      Haven't got the new DVD yet, but I think one of the most dissappointing aspects of the XXXVI release was failure to emphasize the "TEAM" theme. The Superbowl "TEAM" introduction induced a positive gut feeling that assured me the PATRIOTS were going to put up quite the fight and win, as they did. There was no narrative about the introduction on the DVD unfortunately.

   Joseph __________

   Taking Joy In Other's Failure: Those who were fans of Hartford's vaunted Radio 104 -- which inexplicably is still streaming online -- can take some solace in knowing the man who started the downfall has been handed his ass on a platter.

   Once they were done doodling with Howard Stern, Clear Channel canned Bubba The Love Sponge for segments "designed to pander to, titillate and shock listeners" -- story here. His flagship station had been fined a record $755,000 for airing a segment about Alvin the Chipmunk, George Jetson and Scooby Doo discussing sexual activities 26 times.

   This, by the way, is why I never listened to his show. Not so much out of protest compared to how profoundly unfunny it was. BTLS's previous claim to fame had been slaughtering a feral pig on the air and nearly going to jail on animal cruelty charges.

   It's at a time like this I think back to how great Opie and Anthony were ... they may have been as "offensive," but at least they were entertaining about it.

   • Since we endeavor to both entertain and inform, two public service announcements today.

   1) There's a new Teen Girl Squad out, which you can view even easier by just clicking here. Go slowly, however, since you will spend the rest of the day saying things like "I think my friend and some presidents just flew by," "Ow! My hopes of reaching first base!" and my personal favorite, "Sailing mishap!"

   Watch it and then read the invisible text. These things must be done carefully, otherwise you end up like me ... completely unable to resist Britney Spears' new song 'Toxic' even though it is awful. It's like being addicted to Red Bull and vodka even if you know drinking them is making your heart valves cry.

   2) The Boston University hockey team no longer warrants watching for 03/04. After surrendering three of four points to Northeastern over the weekend, they'll either play at BC (0-4 this season) or Maine (like going to the Moon without a spacesuit) in the first round of the Hockey East playoffs.

   Theoretically, the team will be better next year, but the fact that they'll need to be to fill Agganis Arena undoubtedly throws a wrench in things.

   As excited as the new building makes me, and as many people who's bodies I'll step over to get tickets to that first game, BU people can't help but be wistful for Walter Brown Arena and it's tin roof. It hasn't been filled up enough during my six years giving a damn, and it certainly hasn't seen enough winning, but at this moment it's my favorite place to watch a hockey game.

   While I never saw a UMass basketball game at the Curry Hicks Cage, I'd imagine there were those same feelings when the Mullins Center opened. They probably didn't grow until the basketball team stopped selling the place out, but feel free to chime in should you have something to say.

   Or should you actually want to follow through on a premium seat proposition.

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