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April 30, 2006 - Ah, Tampa
   Those Things I Enjoy Too Much: There's a Society for Human Resources Management, as well as a Doctorate program in "Human Performance at Work" at Southern California. Both have something to do with this Jon Couture, who remains but another pretender to my throne of "the Internet's preferred Jon Couture."

   Though I will say, his employer is making banking simpler, with a jingle that has previously let me know they're going to help me live the American Dream despite the fact I have no idea where any of their branches are.

Damon's Story Soon To Be Superceded
-- This will have to stand for my Sunday column, which never made it on-line and apparently never will. God bless technology.

   And I'm talking about the technology which helped create the Junk Ball. I could call it a Wiffle Ball for a new generation, but really, this goes far beyond the comedy of a Wiffle Ball. It's harder, and can be whipped at rage-inducing speeds at people. It will also eventually break something inside the office, so whomever is responsible for it should be involved whenever that happens.

   Because really, you can almost be assured I'll somehow be, whether I'm there or not.

   Any ball that comes with a card to explain to you the stupid things you can do with it is clearly more than I can handle. I spent a majority of my time off chipping golf balls at either a shovel or a basketball, which is not exactly the most technologically advanced pastime.


   • So sometime over the weekend, I realized my presentation date to the kids was woefully too close for me to give it the proper preparation time, meaning it's like four hours before I'm supposed to be wowing children in choosing my profession and I'm woefully underprepared.

   It's also approximately 10 hours before I'll be face-to-face with Johnny Damon, who is all but guaranteed to say at least two things that I'll find comedic for all the wrong reasons. Somehow, these two things are related.

   Which in no way should remind me of the order happy Bruins letter that rage-filled column sparked, but it does.

Subject: COUTURE: Bumbling Bruins rapidly becoming region's biggest joke
Date: Wed 26 April 2006
From: _____@aol.com [____@aol.com]
To: jcouture at s-t dot com

   Hi John.

   I would like to say that I can agree with you on some of the issues you've spoke about.

   I do agree the GM didn't have a clue to what he was doing. I was very disappointed they didn't make it to the playoffs. Being so, I still was a faithful fan and watched every game. I've gone to 4 games this year and I did sit up close and personal. It was worth every penny I spent.

   I do think that the Thornton trade was a risk, but paid off for both sides. He was lazy being a Captain.. He didn't do much for the Bruins. I think it was a rude awakening for him and his teammates. With him traded, he has won the points title. Go Joe!! Best for both the Bruins and for Thornton. It also gave Bergeron more ice time and a chance to prove himself. He has done quite well.

   I do like the 3 guys that took Thornton's place. We can only hope it is a good investment.

   It's too bad the head honchos don't want to spend some money to get guys like Modono and Forseberg

   I would like to see the ref's calls during games be consistent. I remember yelling at the TV quite often over that.

   That being said, I'm looking forward to a new Bruins season. Come on September!!

   Oh, by the way, Raycroft needs to go.

   I shouldn't be more concerned with how I'm going to kill the time between 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., especially with the entire city of Boston out there, but sticking to the script has never been my strong suit.

   The only shame is this won't be simulcast, because given a good number spent the wee hours of the morning discussing things like the definition of "newsroom hot," that would probably keep far more people entertained.


April 29, 2006 - Guys Hanging In The Bathroom
   The NFL Draft: I'll give the Giants credit ... despite my complete lack of study on the subject, they managed to pick two players I've actually heard of.

   As it ended up, I saw eight of the 97 picks today ... in so much as you see picks when they're Nos. 63-70 and they just appear on a ticker. I was far more excited that, upon digging around to find a cassette to tape something on, I discovered I still have WrestleMania IX recorded and watchable. Though that really isn't saying much.


   • When people talk about the wild woods of Western Mass., I'm pretty sure the site of tonight's house party is what they're talking about.

   Not even I will have a house with seven TVs in it when I grow up, and that's saying something. Course, I also would have hid the plasma in the living room out of fear of breakage.

   Now if only I could figure out why that girl in the plaid skirt and shirt with all those zippers on it loved dancing by herself so much.


April 28, 2006 - I Select Apathy
   Technically, It's Relevant: I'm not the only one weighing in on the Bruins, but I'm the only one doing it without relating it to an ex-girlfriend.

Back in December, the struggling Bruins traded their superstar (Thornton) to San Jose for three decent guys, your classic "three quarters for a dollar" trade. By my knowledge, in the history of sports, this has never worked. Not once. The Bruins did it, anyway. So Thornton goes to San Jose, hooks himself up to the Rejuvenation Machine of Rejuvenation Machines, and the team immediately takes off and becomes a playoff contender.

(Note: I'm using the words "the team" because I have no idea what San Jose's nickname is. And frankly, I don't want to know.)

Apparently Thornton is the odds-on favorite to win the MVP, an amazing turn of events because I can't remember another instance in the history of team sports where a team traded someone during the season who ended up winning the MVP in the very same season. In 1984, Cleveland traded Rick Sutcliffe to the Cubs, then he went 16-1 and won the NL Cy Young Award. But the MVP of an entire league? Unheard of.

So why would this be a reason why I like sports? Because I stopped following the B's in the mid-'90s (slowing down for a few years, then quitting cold turkey after the Jason Allison trade) for precisely this reason: They always did just enough not to win. And even though I loved hockey once upon a time, and even though the Bruins were involved in one of the two games that ever made me cry (Game 7, 1979, Montreal), and even though I have all these NHL memories from 1976-94 that have been rendered pretty much useless, there came a point in my life where I had to make a decision: Is it worth spending 400-500 hours every year caring about a franchise that doesn't care about me, playing in a league that was becoming less interesting by the year? The answer was no.

So when something like the Thornton trade happens, I feel as relieved as a guy who broke up with some awful girl who was terrible for him in every respect, then finds out a few years later that she's now a heroin-using stripper in Atlantic City.

(In other words, phew.)

   The great irony in this, other than the fact Simmons knows San Jose's nickname and is nowhere near as clever as he thinks he is, is that his feelings about the NHL are my feelings about the NBA. Course, I should clarify that, since where he lists "NHL memories," I have no NBA memories. I can't remember one NBA Finals I found compelling and find memorable today other than 1993 (the Bulls beat the Suns, which I watched on my new TV in the bedroom) and 1995 (once Nick Anderson missed all those free throws and the Magic lost Game 1, I stopped watching). When I think about the league, I remember a whole lot of NBA All-Star Saturday Nights and a couple drafts.

   On the other hand, writing the column the other day got the Bruins rage out of my system. It helped me remember why I like hockey, which was then reinforced by the Oilers and Red Wings going two overtimes with Edmonton eventually winning.

   If he doesn't find it compelling, too bad for him. At least he's still got My Super Sweet 16.

   The Best Friday Night Sport There Is: Returning to the scene of the most recent bowling incident, which included the girl in the lane next door being too drunk to put on her own shoes, bowling results from Northampton Bowl in gay-old Northampton, Mass.

Gm. 1
Gm. 2
Gm. 3
Pinfall
Avg.
Cooch
143
176
148
467
155.7
George
126
127
164
417
139
Jen P.
114
76
117
307
102.3
Megan
90
105
105
300
100
Matt
83
87
107
277
92.3
Julie
97
89
79
265
88.3
Steph
67
88
108
263
87.7
Sarah
110
38
74
222
74

   It should be noted that after I failed to mark in the third game, more or less sealing that George -- who I went to high school with -- would win that string, Megan (who is wonderful) screamed at me, "You're not the big winner!!!" entirely unprompted. Megan (Julie's roommate) and George have been dating for less than a month.

   Megan could be construed as "aggressive" using some metrics. Once, after I had eaten a chili dinner at their apartment that Megan had cooked, I was told there was apple pie for dessert. Given I had eaten a lot of chili, I passed on the pie. Megan then informed me, "You want pie." As I attempted to clarify my earlier statement, stating that I would gladly have some pie at a later time, I was cut off.

   "You want pie."

   God damn if I didn't have some pie. And it was good pie, though I never really wondered whether that was going to be the case.

   Also, the above 38 game featured a record eight consecutive gutter balls, breaking the longstanding group record of seven set by Jen Zerra sometime in late 1997-early 1998. Course, as the only person who cares about this, it doesn't really matter when it was.


   • There may be no celebrated sporting event I care about less than the NFL Draft. Normally, I would flip by it and stop for a little while, if only to feel like I was somehow interested in the proceedings.

   But after having watched the video of the Jets' yearly draft blunders, I don't even feel like that's necessary.

   Remembering that Fireman Ed's bunch passed on both Dan Marino and Warren Sapp brings a smile to my heart, and that's even considering I like Fireman Ed. So long as I only have to hear him twice a year, and so long as he lives as a WAV file on my computer that only had to be played when I'm making fun of a Jets fan.


April 27, 2006 - Hi, Maureen
   In Case You Missed It: Sly, who is rapidly becoming the most valuable reader of any site ever in Web history, found the S-T's summer intern. And those of us at the paper who care about such things had been expressing some sadness over our first male intern since 2002.

   I'm not going to lie ... I'm disappointed the kid's Web-savvy enough to know not to rip the city or paper because we might find it. Or, I suppose, because he actually thinks it's charming.

   More to come after I e-mail and scare the crap out of him.

   Uncomfortable Moments, Whale City Edition: Sometime last week, I went into the downtown Subway for my 75th sandwich of the year. I was shocked to find there was a line, which I can say without hyperbole has never happened before -- I just don't go when there are other people around.

   So looking around out of curiosity, I noted the female "sandwich artist" or whatever they're called behind the counter had her hand wrapped up in bandages and a just gruesome black eye. You could clearly see she had put some semblance of makeup on it, but it wasn't working.

   Now, I already was thinking the domestic-dispute worst given my past experiences in this shop, and it's not as though I can ask "Hey, how'd you get that black eye?" even if all the girls there do know me because I stop in before every shift I work in the office -- just in my limited chats, I know one has a boyfriend who wouldn't give her a ride to work one day, and another had an, um, particularly messy breakup.

   So, with me already on edge, two of the other clerks (who'd been standing off to the side) head for the exit. On the way out, right before I'm about to order, they mark, "Now, don't be sad!"

   What the hell does that mean?!

   (Without prompting, she apologized for the wait, which was partially due to her messing up the orders of the people in front of me -- one of which I'm pretty sure was going to a person for whom ordering a Subway seemed beyond their mental capacity, and that's not just because they really wanted a meatball sub with pickles. She explained she'd just gotten stitches in her hand, which could have been a work-related injury, though the eye remains. Maybe she wanted me to ask, I don't know.)

   Uncomfortable Moments, The FH Edition: Aside from finding out there's apparent a rampant heroin problem at my old high school -- they've just started injecting it rather than snorting it, which logically led to someone overdosing and dying last week -- I drove by the town's martial arts academy tonight on my way out to dinner. It was a beautiful day out, so much so I'd been practicing golf in the front yard most of the afternoon, and one of the younger kids' tae kwon do classes were practicing in the small park next door to their building.

   Now, everyone who was waiting at the four-way intersection next to the park was watching the kids and their instructor ... they were there, and it was interesting for a few passing moments. There were, however, a pair of cars sitting in the park's parking lot, staring across the area where the flagpole is to where the kids were practicing. As the light turned green and I began to drive away, the minivan that was there was just leaving. But the other car, a rusted-out old sedan, remained.

   As I passed next to it, I looked it to see the driver -- a 50-something guy with a developing mullet and looking every bit the sort of old man who would uncomfortably watch a child's taw kwon do class for nefarious reasons.

   God, I hope I'm just pushing stereotypes where they don't belong.

   And For Good Measure, Uncomfortable Moments, Commercial Edition: Diet Coke ad, woman walks into a male barber shop. Sits in the chair with the average female haircut. As some random pop song plays -- in hindsight, maybe the words mean something? -- she gets her hair just lopped off, leaving something reminiscent of mine.

   She walks out the door with the camera pausing on the male haircut model chart prominent in there sorts of places. As she begins walking down the street with her boy cut, the text layover comes.

Live life like you started it.

   So apparently, Diet Coke decided transsexuals needed their own soda.


   • After an afternoon of Wikipedia surfing to see where it would take me, I came to the decision that I'd be buying a Nintendo Revolution. The whole thing just impressed me, even if the idea of the one-handed controlled with a little analog stick attached with a wire really rubbed me the wrong way.

   It didn't, however, rub me the wrong way as the thing being officially named the Wii.

In an announcement, Nintendo said that while the codename Revolution expressed its direction, Wii represents the answer. People around the world can easily remember Wii, no matter what language they speak.

Nintendo further stated that the two i's are meant to symbolize both the shape of the controllers and the image of people gathering to play. And Wii, as a name and a console, brings something revolutionary to the world of video games that sets it apart from the crowd.

   They just gotta go be all Japanese about everything, don't they?


April 26, 2006 - Go Figure, I Don't Like Coffee
   I Guess I Hit A Nerve:

Subject: COUTURE: Bumbling Bruins rapidly becoming region's biggest joke
Date: Wed 26 April 2006
From: Rob [____@comcast.net]
To: jcouture at s-t dot com

   That's some unfortunately funny stuff. I bleed BlacknGold and this season has killed me. But you're missing some great hockey if yoy're not watching the playoffs. The NHL playoffs are the best. I'd rather watch the NHL playoffs than any other sports except another Sox WS win. Anyways let's just hope we get a good GM and coach who can get this team where it belongs. hockey is the best sport and we need a great team.

   Rob


Subject: COUTURE: Bumbling Bruins rapidly becoming region's biggest joke
Date: Wed 26 April 2006
From: Chris ___ [____@decisionbiomarkers.com]
To: jcouture at s-t dot com

   Good article! Hockey play-offs used to be my favorite time of the year. This team will NEVER win another cup so long as Sinden is with the organization.


Subject: Pathetic Bruins
Date: Wed 26 April 2006
From: Mike [___@comcast.net]
To: jcouture at s-t dot com

   Nice work on ripping into the Bruins. Now all we need is for someone on Causeway St. to start reading. It might cost them too many pennies though to go buy a newspaper.


Subject: COUTURE: Bumbling Bruins rapidly becoming region's biggest joke
Date: Wed 26 April 2006
From: Tripp ___ [_____@pcg-advisors.com]
To: jcouture at s-t dot com

   Hey Jon,

   From a lifelong Bruins fan now living on the west coast, I just wanted to say that was one of the most refreshing reads I've had in a long time regarding the pathetic state of the franchise ... I grew up convinced I'd raise a Stanley Cup myself in a Bruins jersey, and made it as far as playing for Harvard.. I remember sitting behind Gordie Howe at Cup finals games (damn that Messier-led Oilers team), and getting Andy Moog's autograph on my 'Mooooooooooooooooog!' banner with great fondness.

   But now I donít even give a shit. And thatís just sad.

   Keep up the good work.. and if you come up with a way to get John Henry to buy the B's from that sleaze Jacobs, do let us know.

   T

   There was actually a fifth that didn't forward, with the sentiment the same. That doesn't include Nick's note, which told me how much he enjoyed reading columns that were equal to actually spitting in another person's face.

   So apparently the anger did get through OK. Good to know I've still got it.


   • In my never-ending attempt to be swayed by every piece of advertising I see, today I bought a bottle of Coca-Cola BlaK.

Coca-Cola Bla-k is an invigorating and stimulating blend that has a perfect balance of the effervescent taste sensation of Coca-Cola and natural flavors, with real coffee. The lightly carbonated, mid-calorie beverage, which is designed to appeal to adult consumers, is yet another example how The Coca-Cola Company reaches out to new audiences and addresses new beverage occasions.

"Coca-Cola Bla-k is not just a flavor extension. It is a blend of unique Coke refreshment with the true essence of coffee and has a rich smooth texture and has a coffee-like froth when poured. We believe we have created a new category of soft drink -- an adult product in a carbonated beverage -- and a whole new drinking experience. This brand is ideal for any part of the day when people are looking for renewed energy or simply to take a break," said Marc Mathieu, vice president, Global Core Brands, The Coca-Cola Company.

   It comes in eight-ounce glass bottles, and apparently isn't all that well-known yet given the supermarket clerk saw it and went, "Wait. What the heck is this one?"

   Depending on your perspective, it's got a couple knocks against it. For one, it's got most of he sugar of regular Coca Cola. For two, it sort of tastes like coffee. For three, I don't think there are a lot of people in the world who ever thought about blending the two. For four, given the size of the bottle, it's not really enough to quench a thirst with a meal, to say nothing of the fact no one's drinking coffee as a thirst-quenching beverage.

   Yet even speaking as someone who has never bought a cup of coffee and probably never will, that flavor comes through as an odd, lingering aftertaste. Is it an energy drink? Is it a joke? I didn't exactly feel like conquering the world after drinking it.

   I just felt like I needed something else to drink.

   So get it while you can. Because Crystal Pepsi was way better, and look how that ended up.


April 25, 2006 - Scribble Pad
   The Things I Do For Publicity: In addition to an appearance on Friday afternoon, I'll be calling in for a radio interview of Fall River's WSAR at 7:37 a.m. Wednesday morning to chat about my Fenway Park insider piece from the 'Living' section.

   Waking up for phone interviews. I don't even know who I am anymore.

Bumbling B's Rapidly Becoming Region's Biggest Joke
-- I know what I'm not though ... a Bruins apologist. This ought to have just been called, 'Get The Rage Out.'

   As an aside, the column this week may not actually show any professionalism. It does, however, include my NHL Hockey '93 team-choice habits for a reason I can't even really understand.


   • The comment 'forums' were one of the best additions ever made to the site, and I'd like to think I do a pretty good job of keeping up with any pertinent responses needed to questions I'm asked. Sometimes, however, things fall through the cracks. Something gets asked I have an answer, I can't get to the info at that moment and I forget about it.

   Thus, in a brief form, today's update will be the first-ever JonCouture.com mailbag. Hardly exciting, but the kind of thing that allows me the satisfaction of thinning out my e-mail inbox:

Here's a debate for ya: Does "Maxwell\'s Silver Hammer" suck double-hard, or triple-hard?

   While admittedly not on par with the other heavyweights on 'Abbey Road,' I have to admit I kind of enjoyed it. Listening to it and knowing about it makes me feel smarter specifically because it's not a big-deal Beatles song. Like, I could drop it in conversation and some people would miss it, earning me temporary cool points.

   That was not the 17-year-old Cooch dropping by to say 'hello.' These things still actually matter. In much the same way, if I see an Agawam High student is gay, I'll scan their MySpace profile thinking, "Wow. Good for them. That's gotta be pretty hard to do at good old AHS."

   Nice to keep the referential MySpace streak alive.


   The song has a good melody, it's a lighthearted look at a triple homocide and the silver hammer clangs are entirely inconsistent with the sounds that would be made if someone was actually killing another human being. It's win-win-win.

   So, in the tradition of Steven Colbert, put me down for 'double-hard.' There are, after all, only two check boxes, and I clearly don't think it's triple-hard.

I did that [New England Scholastic Press Association] gig a few years back, talking to the college kids. It was fun, although I only had about 20 minutes of material. I'm a winger, fortunately; et tu Coochie?

   As I start to realize that Monday is not as far away as I'd like to think it is, the idea of filling even a majority of 50 minutes with usable, interesting information seems difficult. I'd forgotten we once had a group of high school journalism students from Dartmouth High come into the office for a tour, with me volunteering to walk a small group of them through the average night for me.

   I don't recall it going particularly well, since they were as interested in the bottle of mound dirt from Busch Stadium as I was. A few of them had some questions, which I answered, and then it was over.

   The key for me is going to be coming up with an activity that can fill some time in the middle. I have a pretty good idea of one, but I have to actually get the supplies together for it in order for it to work.

   As for winging it, I'll be somewhere in the middle. I won't be reading from a script at the podium, but I get the sense notecards will be involved. It reminds me of when I actually had to give a speech/presentation at BU, something I'm pretty sure I talked myself through one day sitting on the banks of the Charles River.

   The key's going to be me not defaulting to my normal public talking/reading voice, which goes way too fast and couldn't fill 50 minutes if I started reading them the team yearbook. I suppose it's nerves-related, but it's odd, because I really enjoy doing stuff like this.

   I wonder how well it'll go over if I show up in my Rockies jersey. Nothing like showing you're completely unfit to network with other professionals right out of the gate.

. . .

   Well, that's it for today, since I apparently deleted all the other stuff I wanted to answer already. And now, to enjoy my four-day weekend ... something that sounds impressive until you realize two weeks ago, I had a no-day weekend. Just like sleeping 16 hours one day doesn't make up for not sleeping at all the day before, Wednesday nights on the social prowl just ain't what they used to be.


April 24, 2006 - Feels Like A Set, Doesn't It?
   MySpace Question of the Day: So what exactly is the proper reaction to seeing whose ... space, I guess, is entitled "Love Stinks" and is covered with pictures of their child? The child has cornrows ... not that it changes anything, but I'm trying to paint a picture here.

   My opinion is sort of like the "Oooooooh" Roger the alien offers on American Dad when he doesn't get his requested Pecan Sandies. Part sadness, part regret, part solidarity and part wanting to know the story so long as it doesn't make anybody cry.

   These are the things I've become now. And everyone probably thought I was throwing around the terms "evil" and "Hell" purely for comedic reasons.

   Because Really, I Needed To Be More Disillusioned: Not only does the 'Trading Spouses' psycho bitch have her own Web site and an agent, she's selling a CD.

   Like, a music CD. With lyrics and everything.

Yeah. I'm that woman from that show 'Trading Spouses.'
Yeah, yeah. From that show 'Trading Spouses.'
No, I'm just a little bit crazy! Not straight jacket crazy!
(Semi-maniacal laughter, leading to shouting.)
WHICH IS IT, PEOPLE?! A MONSTER?! OR MISUNDERSTOOD?!?!

(Marguerite, Marguerite. Why can't you be sweet with that gap in your teeth?)

   Now, I did actually TiVo her episodes of the show, of which I believe there were two. I never watched them, since when the time came to devote two hours of my life to something I'd hate anyway, I preferred instead something far more fulfilling -- either pro wrestling, the 'Good Eats' where Alton cooks steak or a test pattern.

   But wasn't the point of the show that she was all about God? Loved God, was all about God, etc.? So now she's doing movies, selling CDs and cashing in?

   On one hand, good for her. On the other, larger hand ...

By ignoring all rules of caution and conformity, Marguerite has been able to find a place in the hearts of her viewers through her fabulously unique personality, unyielding faith and astonishing pride. When she boards a plane and courageously leaves behind her home and family to venture into an unfamiliar world, Marguerite... an extraordinary individual, inspires all of us to look beyond tradition and conformity and remain true to ourselves.

   Yeah. My mom's crazy, but she's the healthy kind of crazy. Not the kind where the police would have to shoot her for fear she'd pull a knife.

   But hey, whatever puts you at peace with selling out your religion. Which, theoretically, Jesus probably isn't real big on.

   Rare Political Moment: This'll be quick, I swear ... I just thought it worth noting that the city of New Orleans is apparently going on a diet, because they're cutting down on the chocolate.

   And with that, I'm already over my head. No follow-ups. I'll leave them to Steve Barnes, who I don't think I actually know, but who e-mailed me saying he was a reader and asking for a link.

   Enjoy, Steve. Hope your server can handle the load four people will cause.


   • A lot of the people I work with are constantly asking me if I've seen this week's Onion Sports. The answer is always no, because I don't really read The Onion much anymore. It's nothing they did ... well, maybe it is. With all the new sections, it's too much to ask.

   I'm not too busy checking MySpace 47 times a day to see if I have new comments or trolling eBay for more baseball jerseys I don't acutally need. But let's pretend I never said that.

   Besides, sometimes the regular Onion is more than enough for me.

Drunks!

   And don't even get me started on Obese Doctors Urge Nation To Eat Three Meals A Meal. I'm relatively sure I'm the only person in the country who ate an order of spicy tuna roll sushi, cool ranch Doritos and a Coke Zero at 12:30 a.m.


April 23, 2006 - I Have Five Aces
   Nutritional Information: Is there any place I could easily find out the negligible health difference between having eaten a meal of chicken lo mein and one of General Tso's/Gao's/Gau's chicken? Because though I couldn't find the latter on the menu in West Roxbury, I did think "Hey. Maybe this is a little healthier."

   It doesn't necessarily have to factor in the four crab rangoons I chose my side, because I really only ordered crab rangoons because I know a lot of people like them. I am not one of those people, since that garbage, mayo-heavy imitation crab that inevitably ends up being the filling is pretty awful. Especially given scallion pancake is really good.

   This Chinese meal was brought to you not by work, but by the infrequent poker home game where I got the five aces. It made up for having had four kings prior, but losing to a straight flush thanks to God-damned wild cards.

   Yeah, both of my hands involved wild cards. And I ended up winning a little more than gas money for the afternoon. So none of it matters.


   • This, for the record:

Bimbo Soccer

America's German Villa, front, fights for the ball with Atlante's Diego Ramirez, top, at the Aztec stadium in Mexico City, Mexico, on Saturday during their Mexican league championschip soccer match. Atlante defeated America, 1-0. (AP Photo/ Claudio Cruz)

   is probably not the worst soccer jersey sponsor on a pitch anywhere in the world.

   It is, however, the worst I can remember ever seeing.


April 22, 2006 - Because Techno Needs An Outlet
   Your Thought For The Weekend:

Counting Croooooooooows!

Jacqueline Ellen Casey reacts to the music in the parking lot outside The Legends shopping center cheering as the Counting Crows took to the stage Saturday in Kansas City, Kan. The Legends shopping center at Village West held the start of their two-week grand opening with a free concert by the Counting Crows. (AP Photo/The Kansas City Star, Chris Oberholtz)

   This woman would totally let Adam Duritz do whatever he wanted to her. Anything. Look at that face and tell me you don't believe it.

   I'm not attaching any sort of judgement or anything to it. I'm merely saying ... whatever he wanted.

Sox Better Off With Foulke At The End
-- If, on the morning I left for Florida, you told me I'd be leading the Keith Foulke bandwagon before May 1, I'd probably have laughed at you. And told you to move, because I was late to leave for the airport.

   • So tonight, continuing the theme of learning about things other people have probably already gotten over, I found out about You're The Man Now Dog.

   I mean, I was out until 4 a.m. anyway screwing with a drunk teenager. But I didn't really need to push that to 6 a.m. as I learned all about the Secret Nazi Forest.

   Cooch's World, obviously, is not real big on genocide or the Third Reich ... I usually can't even get through Hitler stuff on The History Channel. But if you can't respect the amount of planning that went into planting trees to form a swastika when the leaves change, then you're clearly not thinking about it hard enough.


April 21, 2006 - The Audio Can't Be Recovered
   Early Television Discovery: MTV's Call To Greatness, which should definitely not be confused with this Call To Greatness. It wasn't all throwing up on an amusement ride after drinking pitchers full of creamed corn, and because of that, it made the throwing up after a ride and the corn that much more enjoyable.

   How really, with obscure world records, can you go wrong?

   Late Musical Discovery: So on a recent ride home, I listened to "Abbey Road" straight for the first time (largely due to something this guy wrote). And thus, some 30 years later than some people, I heard "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" and wondered if there's ever been a happier song written about a triple homicide.

   This can spark a debate, but I'm clearly not the person who's going to come up with the topper.


   • So tonight, while I sluumed about Western Mass. and reveled in not watching the Red Sox for the first time all season -- until I gave up and watched most of extra innings -- Julie traipsed around Atlantic City drunk.

   This led to a conversation that, really, shouldn't be repeated in any circles -- when you're drunk at a wishing well, you're probably not saying things you don't mean, but you're probably also not real concerned about the whole "saying the wish out loud makes it not come true." But it did make me think about the trememdous irony that non-gambler Julie got to the Borgata well before I've ever considered getting within miles of it.

   OK. Part of the conversation involved my fears about drunken tattooing, which led to the logical admission that, if after two kids, Julie can recover her figure, she would consider getting a bellybutton ring. Which makes sense given this is something one of her neighbors have done.

   Course, that explanation didn't come until later. And really, by that point, I'd eaten a third of an Awesome Blossom and considered just pouring hot oil all over my face.


April 20, 2006 - Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-d
   Why I Love The English: Their dedication to being wankers on an international stage is truly worthy of a small golden trophy.

'Those football fans who wish to learn the English songs in German to sing at the World Cup can do so and the Foreign Office will help them do that,' a spokesman said. 'We are not sure when they will go up on the site and which chants will be chosen.'

The Sun, Britain's leading tabloid, stepped eagerly into the breach with a two-page World Cup song sheet. Inevitably that included a translation of '5-1 5-1' - England's winning margin against Germany in a World Cup qualifying match in 2001.

   Ooh! A qualifying match from five years ago! Well done!

   Course, it's also the 10-year anniversary of the Germans knocking the English out of Euro '96. Apparently that's relevant too.

Sox Need Bats To Get Going
-- True that.


Sox Demote Stern, Bring Up Harris
-- Once more, with feeling.

   • If the entire MySpace escapade results in nothing else, I now know that Oasis has brought back their old logo from the classic years, and has a new album coming out before too long.

   Worth noting is all. Though if I wouldn't buy the last CD for $10, they've clearly got more work to do than any starlets do.


April 19, 2006 - Reaching Out To The Indifferent
   A Little Different: It's not exactly game coverage, but I'd like to think it's every bit as interesting and useful as the life and times of Jermaine Van Buren.

   OK, more interesting.

Take Me Out To The Ballgame
-- The spilling of what were actually referred to as "insider secrets."
You know, the good stuff, like "Don't pay $90 to park your car."

   It wasn't my idea, but I was more than happy to write it given the amount of time I spend up there. Plus I spent an hour on Opening Day surreptitiously walking around the concourse writing down concession prices, as though someone was going to notice and call security.

   Course, it then made me want the double fried death of chicken fingers and fries. And that's not good for anybody.

   Not The Announcement, But It Probably Should Be: In what can only be termed something similar to knowing Titanic was going to hit the iceberg before it happened, I will be speaking at the New England Scholastic Press Association's journalism conference on May 1 at the alma mater. What was originally intended to be a talk to a small number of students on covering scholastic sports has now morphed into me talking about "A Day In The Life of a Sports Reporter" in COM 101, which is the biggest room in the entire building.

   For 50 minutes.

   Now, for those of you that know me, the run-up to this will follow the regular schedule. We've already passed the part where I just think it's cool, and we've now begun the panicking part where I realize what I've gotten myself in to. That should subside by the weekend, when I realize May 1 is still far away, only to crop up again that week when I start to put together my presentation.

   The night before I probably won't sleep, hoping for a few moments that I do fall asleep and never wake up, only to see me wake up the following morning, do the presentation and be absolutely thrilled that I did.

   It should be a fun ride. And plus, everyone's bound to get something about me noting high school kids look about 20 years younger than me. So that's cool.


   • And high school kids really seem to be relevant to the day's big announcement, which was prefaced Tuesday with Flash poll/advertisements that may make you stupider if you think about them for too long.

A place for shame.
I joined MySpace.

   I've told several different people several different reasons that I did this, but none of them may actually be true ... I can't really figure out why exactly I decided to do it, or why exactly I then spent a half-hour designing my profile.

   Well, I do know that part ... I have mild, undiagnosed OCD. Really can be a bitch at times like this, but in the end, it is quite lovely.

   I can't exactly figure out what purpose MySpace actually serves, or what you do with it other than leave comments on other people's profiles. Though maybe it's more of a passive thing, where one of your neighbors growing up (that you haven't thought about in a very long time) sends you a message regarding the Tequiza-related rant you decided needed to be shared with the world.

   I will say that I keep going on there passive-aggressively, trying to find the hidden trove of classmates I'd actually like to talk to from the past, but that I can't find through all the searches you'd think would work. For example, if I fire in the Agawam High Class of 1998, I'm seeing a lot of the people who you figure would have been happy to stay in Western Mass., get married and have kids ... stayed in Western Mass., got married and had kids.

   Concurrently, every time I see someone who's moved to Kansas or Florida or California or something, there's that moment of "Wow. I bet they think I'm a loser who never left home." It doesn't actually mean anything, and deep down I don't care about any of it, but it is the thought process.

   Should anything interesting or nefarious come of this, I'll be sure to pass it along. And if you're one of those Brownie alumni and you end up here ... you thought the other page was a self-congratulatory escapade, look at this. It goes back to 2001, for God's sake!

   Dig around for the feature on the pasta pots, or when MLB.com's Casey Stern e-mailed me an apology for getting his microphone cord in my hair. Those are clearly the highlights.


April 18, 2006 - A Place For Glitter, Online Quizzes
   Classic Cinema: So when the commercials for 'Stick It' open with "From the writer of 'Bring It On,'" are we supposed to marvel that Jessica Bendinger is just paraphrasing herself six years later for another big payday, are we supposed to be angry that none of us thought of it or are we supposed to cry out in anguish?

   I'm not sure, because after I heard the phrase "It's not called gym-nice-tics," I lost all feeling below my neck and collapsed to the floor.

   And she wrote 'First Daughter'? Plus a live-action 'Little Mermaid'? Maybe I ought to rethink the idea that I could never write a book.

   Picking Their Battles: I resisted the urge yesterday to make any French jokes while posting the wedding trip e-mail I got. Not I'm not now calling it "spam" because, well, spammers don't usually reply to people two hours after their e-mails are posted on the Internet.

Jonathan,

Why did you put our Press Realease on your website saying it was a spam message? Isn't normal, for a journalist, to receive a Press Release? I really don't undersand.

   We actually swapped e-mails, which I can safely say is not how I'd figured I'd be spending my afternoon and early evening. Regardless, I'm now that much closer to reaching Jerry Lewis-like levels of success in a place where they'd probably get all uppity because someone bastardized the French word for "fashion" and made it my last name.

   And also, Nicholas would like everyone to know they "have many sportive love declarations (in a stadium, on a racetrack, with an auto cascad, in the air in "racing" airplanes, etc.)" If that's your thing, great. Send the man a note ... he's pretty quick with the replies.

   Almost as quick as my boss when he notices I mentioned his name somewhere, good or bad. But his wife just happened to bookmark the site, you know. That's the only reason he looks at it.


   • Tomorrow, I'm going to have a special announcement which isn't actually all that special, but does include something everyone who's been waiting for me to redesign this site knows happens far too often -- me going back on my word.

   Now some of you already know what it is, but for the rest of you, I'll drop a few hints.

Thrilling.
-- I swear the first time I saw this,
it had an actual picture of her.


Stupendous.
-- Tomorrow, on Politically Incorrect.

   It's funny how regret operates in waves.


April 17, 2006 - The Brownie Was An Error
   I Hope It's Not A Sign: Another one for the great spam directory in the sky.

Subject: (press release) Crazy marriage proposals in Paris
Date: Fri 14 April 2006
From: Nicolas Garreau [____@apoteosurprise.com]
To: jcouture at s-t dot com

Paris, April 14, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

   Crazy declarations of love in Paris.

   ApoteoSurprise, an agency that produces themed experiences for couples who plan to travel to Paris and who wish to declare their burning love in a magically original way, has just recently opened its doors. Its out of the ordinary romantic experiences offer couples the chance to visit a dreamlike paradise via orchestrated scenarios set in the charming City of Light :

   - projection of the declaration of love on the walls of Notre-Dame de Paris at the time of a dinner-cruising,
   - apparition of the declaration of love on the wings of an airplane or on the big screens of the "Stade de France",
   - ninety foot message written at the foot of a castle and visible from a helicopter,
   - wax statue of St Valentine coming to life at the Musťe Grťvin,
   - parchment delivered by a prince in the meanders of an enchanted forest,
   - etc.

   Each of ApoteoSurpriseís experiences involves the appearance of an exceptional vehicle at the foot of the loving coupleís hotel. Direction : a mystery destination. One of the two will be completely unaware of the surprise thatís being set up and the delightfully subtle scenario will slowly progress towards the apotheosis : his/her sweetheartís amazing and totally unexpected declaration of love.

   The forty turnkey experiences are aimed at couples in love who are in search of an unusual and total escape, and who want to ask for their partnerís hand in marriage, commemorate a wedding anniversary, celebrate a honeymoon, or "simply" offer their sweetheart the surprise of his/her life.

   For more information about ApoteoSurprise :

   Please check out the website http://www.apoteosurprise.com/indexEN.htm and notably :
   - the catalogue of the 40 experiences http://www.apoteosurprise.com/lesprestationsEN.htm,
   - the explanation of the concept http://www.apoteosurprise.com/leconceptEN.htm,
   - and the presentation of the two cofounders http://www.apoteosurprise.com/quisommesnousEN.htm.

   Free of right high resolution photos are downloadable from http://www.apoteosurprise.com/press.htm

You have received this email as you are a journalist on our mailing list. We apologize if you have received this email in error and ask for you to disregard it. In accordance with the French "Data-Protection and Civil Liberties" law of January 6, 1978, you have a right to access, modify and/or suppress your personal data. To exert this right, please send a message to contact@apoteosurprise.com

   Sometimes, it just feels like I'm wasting time and trying to hit an artificial word count, doesn't it?

Sox Show This Is A Different Team
-- I can definitely say I enjoyed this game more because my father and brother were downstairs in attendance, because it felt good to know they saw the best of the season thusfar.


Nixon Makes Strong Return To Lineup
-- The notebook, which does not include that while a good number of people were in the clubhouse, someone played Adam Sandler's 'At A Medium Pace.' Don't know it? Read the lyrics, then scream them as loud as you can for effect.

   The song did get shut off before it was over.

   Yeah. Right after "I feel so humiliated. I'm about to blow my load. ... You tell it's time to make love but I can't 'cuz I spewed all over myself."

   I could feel myself turning red while it was playing, but mainly only because I knew I was the only person in the room with a press pass who'd heard the opening notes and knew it was coming.


   • Today was a special day for me. Not only were my father and brother at the game, and not only did I get to experience some of the most uncomfortable moments in the Red Sox clubhouse since the Carl Everett vs. Darren Lewis fight I've heard talked about, today was the first day I had one of the most coveted seats in the stadium -- front row of the press box.

   When you've grown accustomed to having to move your head because there's a window frame between the pitcher's mound and home plate, or over the bullpen/piece of the outfield where Wily Mo Pena is making people go gray, not having to move your head at all because it's all unfolding in front of you is ... well, I've been spoiled now.

   The walkoff home run? By my count, I've now seen at least six, which really feels like something I should have to pay karmic penance for. So over the next few days, I'll keep expecting to hear a crash outside my window, and looking to see a meteorite has totaled my Saturn. Or maybe that's what blowing the engine was ... a prepay.

   Regardless, I got to thinking while successfully maneuvering out of the city (thanks largely to this man, who I now carpool with) that I've seen a whole lot of Patriots Day activity in recent history. This seems odd, given my job has changed to one where I'm supposed to never see the morning hours, but the facts bear out the other way.

   2006: Obvious.

   2005: For a game that used 11 pitchers, I have no recollection of it whatsoever. But apparently, I had a good time.

   2004: I suspect I drew the short straw and was all too happy to let Steve Britt cover this, given ...

   2003: The first of three games I'd bought tickets for with Meg, it was ... well, at least it made a good column. And in hindsight, the story gets better -- Meg didn't go to the second game and dumped me before the third, which led to me taking ...

Irony
-- It was hardly a date, thus the palpabel gap between us.
I also love the part where I was covering the ALCS two months later.

   2002: The last game I went to as a BU undergrad, scored an extra LF grandstand ticket from Bill and saw the Sox take over first place. This was the day I discovered the greatest concession item in the park (circa 2002) was the chicken fingers and fries. They're now at least $7, but I'll eat them at least once this season.

   2001: I didn't go to the game, but that's because I covered the Marathon in Hopkinton. I then watched the end of it in a sub shop, because the photographer and I were stranded until someone could come pick us up.


   And while it has nothing to do with Patriots Day or was a game I attended, I can't believe it's been six years since one of my favorite meaningless baseball games ever.

   Pedro Martinez goes the distance, strikes out 17 Devil Rays ... and loses ... to Steve Trachsel, who also goes the distance and strikes out 11.

   At the time, I was beside myself because Pedro was 5-0. Now, if it got put on TV, I'd probably watch it again.


April 16, 2006 - Still Not Tax Day

Easter Bunnies

   • Yeah, it's 24 hours late, but what are you going to do?

   This game just had an odd, sloppy feel to it all afternoon. I suppose it stems from having the three "first pitches" be a disaster -- thrown by Boston Marathon participants, one hit the backstop and the other two were dribblers.

   Course, one of the throwers was a wheelchair participant, so I can't find fault there. Also, it's not as though I stood up and shouted "This game will be terrrrrible!" as soon as it happened.

   It's just hard to see a team who bludgeoned so many opponents into submission in the last three years winning low-scoring, one-run games. There's this constant feeling that failure is one hanging 89-mph pitch away, though with Jonathan Papelbon closing, there's a lot less of those.

   From what I can gather, Julie's family enjoyed themselves. Plus, from their perch 31 rows up in the upper bleachers, they passed the binoculars around and stared at me not working.

   It was apparently quite enthralling. Far more enthralling than trying to be productive on 45 minutes sleep, something which I still don't quite understand the cause of.


April 15, 2006 - Secure Your Coin Slot
   More Fractions of Fame: The first instinct when someone sees you and says, "Hey. I saw you on Boston Dirt Dogs" is not usually good, because Lord knows what you did to get there (or who/what resembles you enough to cause confusion).

Cooch, Coco. Coco, Cooch.
-- Photo by the Globe's Matthew J. Lee.

   Then you see it and remember when you though, "Hey. There's a camera over there. I might end up on film if I stand here."

   At the point this picture was taken, I'm doing exactly as much work as it looks like. I noticed the horde of cameras around the guy, and figured I'd stand within earshot to see if he announced, I don't know ... that he'd killed David Wells in a clubhouse jousting contest. That's me, digging for the scoops. He said nothing. I looked at his splint, then went for a walk to log all the concession prices.

   I am not, as Ed postulated, "staring at Coco's dumper." And those quote marks aren't there by accident.

Leadoff: An Open, Shut and Reopened Case
-- This week's Inside Baseball, with 100 percent more Alex Cora quotes than any other newspaper. And no, I never did slip up and refer to him as Joey.

   Plus, the debut of Inside Baseball's weekly "Hot/Not." Given last week was the monthly "Top Five/Bottom Five," in which I identified Tampa pitcher Mark Hendrickson as Dave Hendrickson -- whomever that is -- it's more than merely a gimmick. Make sure I didn't say the Kansas City Royals play in Kansas.

   Course, said error was told to me by exactly one reader -- the former S-T employee who now covers the Sox for the Brockton Enterprise. So maybe I should turn this into a sport.


   • Things just keep getting better.

Wax Starlet
-- I'm hoping the instruction was "Hey! Act natural!"
And actually, I am referring to the human at left.

In this photo released by Madame Tussauds New York, Keri Ketchmark, 11, reacts to the newly unveiled wax figure of Lindsay Lohan on Wednesday.

   So given Nick is stalking Pearl Jam -- there's no other words for someone who's driving to see the band in Albany two weeks before he sees them in Boston ... twice more -- we had to watch Saturday Night Live in the office tonight. An SNL that is being hosted by the above wax figure's model, an apparent stand-in for someone. This of course led to the logical jokes, the first of which involved someone announcing to me, "Hey, it looks like she's eating again."

   Now understand after how steep the fall off the cliff was, I've learned my lesson. There's a reason the only people who obsess over celebrities are below the age of 15, in desperate need of rubbing one out, or work for "The Insider." We're not going back to the innocence of whatever year Mean Girls came out (2004), when I was convinced the publicity machine that had her on every channel was merely trying to screw with my mind. At any point, I'm not convinced I could see a photo and she'd have green hair, be missing an arm and walking around with Anthony Michael Hall.

   I'm at the point where all celebrities are around for one reason only: to give my parents things to watch during the 7 p.m. hour before the real shows come on. You know, stuff like "American Idol," "Survivor" and "We're Trying To Make Out 25-Year-Old Son Shoot Himself In The Face."

   But all that said, she is eating again. She remains able to be funny in that SNL sort of "making significant inroads from where we bottomed out." And when I got home, I turned the TV on so I could see the sketch where she was all made up like Ann Margret in a '60s love story.

   And sure it's a Friday, but isn't it a little weird that her likely mediocre new movie is opening on May 12, a day about which I've already received a handful of maternal queries about what gifts I'd like in honor of my birth?

   I am at the point where I don't want anything from birthday to birthday, mainly because all the stuff I actually want involves an income bracket that no Couture has seen since the 1980s ended. And really, we probably didn't see it then either, even if we do have a closet full of various games and toys that may have all been used once.

   I suppose I could ask for no one asking me to go to the movies that Friday, but given the Sox are in town, no one will probably even have the option. It's at these moments, where I get the "Hey, we're all going out to have fun. Are you not 120 miles away for a change?" when I truly appreciate my job. And by appreciate, I mean the sort of appreciation that ends with trash cans getting kicked across the room when we miss deadline by three minutes.

   I suppose on the plus side, I'd never made my own soda stain on the carpet before. Now I'm a piece of lore forever.


April 14, 2006 - He Looks Like Delcarmen
   Know When To Do It Yourself: In so much as I called out for the vengeance of Yahweh by questioning the validity of TLC's 'Shalom In The Home,' Life Lessons has the potential to extend well past what their original niche seemed to be -- College Bowl prizes.

   Though let me just make clear, even as someone who's past the point where watching a sporting event on TV is the be-all and end-all, my child will "care that it's fourth-and-goal." Better it be me teaching it than someone with less ironic charm.

   Water Works, Meet Free Parking: In an announcement that I'm sure will lead to a full-on jinx, I have now parked for free before each of the three Red Sox games I have covered this season. This is especially amusing given the uproar among those press who have team-issued parking passes -- the Sox began charging $25/game for said pass this year, meaning if I had been offered one, I probably wouldn't have taken it anyway.

   I will be tracking this throughout the season, with however far I keep my parking cost under the average of $25/game determining how many office supplies I steal in the wnter months.

A Thrill To See Schill Back At His Best
-- I really enjoy working on my days off far too much.

   • Since this looks to be slightly more than the average spam, I will do as requested and "feel free to pass this along."

Subject: Interest In Your Resume/Background
Date: Wed, 12 Apr 2006
From: Denise [___@iconstaff.com]
To: cooch at joncouture dot com

   Jonathan-

   Hi, I am a technical recruiter with ICONSTAFF in MA. I have a client looking for a fulltime Web Editor in Cambridge. I was wondering if you are interested in hearing about this opportunity (see below). Let's chat soon. If you are not looking, but know someone who is, please feel free to pass this along.

Web Editor for New Consumer Shopping Search Engine

   A newly founded, Cambridge-based web shopping search engine is looking for a hands-on Web Editor. The founding management team and board bring successful start-up experience as senior executives. Focusing on a large consumer shopping vertical, the new company is looking to introduce consumers to a new way of researching and buying consumer products online.

   Candidate must have substantial experience building consumer facing websites. Strong writing skills -- a Journalism or English major from a top U.S. university strongly preferred. Candidate should have a comfort level with basic web design and a familiarity working with data structures. Experience at previous start-up companies and a comfort level with fast paced work environments required. Candidates must enjoy solving problems, exercising creativity, working as part of a team and most importantly having fun. This is a well funded opportunity, with competitive salary and benefits, as well as an opportunity for equity participation.

   Regards-
   Denise ___
   ICONSTAFF
   Haverhill MA 01831

   All I'm going to say is if your Web site features binary code and I'm among your ideas, there's probably an issue somewhere along the line.

   Though it would be fun to write Peterman-like descriptions of products until they figured out I was trying to get fired. And then, upong being fired, trying to get out of the building with the Foosball table.


April 13, 2006 - Swings At The First Pitch
   Those Guys By The 93 Entrance: As a general rule, I don't like the homeless guys who try to wash your windshield while waiting at the Mass. Ave. entrance to I-93 near Roxbury. It's not that I haven't given a few handfuls of change their way over the years, but because they make you feel so obligated when they're walking over to your car with a sopping squeegee. As though my refusal to let them wash the windshield with the filthy water they've got is what has brought them to this spot in the first place.

   Well, as of tonight, I now have a new reason not to. Some observation while none were in the area allowed me to see what they're using for a pail -- a five-gallon foodservice drum of Ken's Steak House Barbecue Sauce.

   Obviously, there's not barbecue sauce or any barbecue sauce residue in said pail. But it's the mental image of having my car dripping with it that gives me the strength to refuse future advances. Hey, I'm an odd guy ... it doesn't take much.

   Welcome To The Alumni Club: In more highway-sparked news, I noticed the car in front of me on the drive in today had two stickers advertising that the owner was a "BU Parent." One was the traditional square BU logo with its pretentious (yet charming) lettering, while the other was the Euro-style oval which my father offered to me the last time I was home because he found it cleaning out his car.

   Why I would put a "BU Parent" sticker on my car, I'm not entirely sure. But in his defense, when you don't want something, you really don't care where the hell it ends up.

   Course, because there was traffic, this passing glance wasn't the end of the encounter. I slowly realized that the car with the two stickers was not a Cadillac, Lexus or anything along those lines.

   It was a rusted-out Toyota Corrolla with cracked taillights and what looked to be a poorly folded map in the back window.

   You don't see a lot of those parked in front of the School of Management. Course in my time, you also didn't see bra fiitings and giveaways in front of the Student Union either.

With 50 people in line just 10 minutes after the two-hour Programming Council event began at 11 a.m., students said they did not mind the wait to receive a free fitting, gift bag and $32 Maidenform Dream Bra. ... Five professional fitters sized women over their shirts in a tent, while music blasted from speakers onto Commonwealth Avenue. In the first hour, more than 300 women received gift bags, which included a sample CD, linen spritzer and Maidenform coupons.

Although 1,000 bras were brought out for the day's event, many sizes were "sold out" quickly. Geer said any women who were not able to get their correct size were given another bra they could return at a retail outlet for the correct size. The line was cut off at 12:45 p.m.

Many students coming to or from class stopped by, enticed by the offer of a free bra. Other students said they were informed by advertisements or flyers.

"Free bras are going to attract a lot of women," CAS freshman Juliana Jackson said.

   Oh, the things those bras will see in the coming weeks. Least when I see one hanging over a railing when I'm walking back to my car, I'll know where it came from.

Little Things Add Up Against Sox
-- In a game where I spent most of the night unsure of what to write, for some reason, the Sox near comeback in the ninth would have screwed me up. Not quite sure how that works.

   It should also be noted, probably purely for my own future storytelling, that tonight was the first night I ever sat in the second row of the four-row press box. The first two rows are reserved for BBWAA people, and unlike the other day, there was actually space for me. So instead of having a large window frame between the pitcher's mound and the plate, there was a large window frame covering the bullpen. It also felt like the room had quadrupled in size, since the ceiling was now more than three feet from my head.

   Isn't it nice to vicariously live the life of a small-time sportswriter?


   • Craig Hansen, Boston's 2005 draft pick who was in the majors almost instantaneously due to necessity, apparently was around for long enough to get his own "HANSEN -- 56" T-shirt. Though it they gave one to Rich "El Guapo" Garces, I suppose everybody deserves one.

   This segues nicely into ESPN.com's Uni Watch, which theoretically should be right up my alley considering I own a Manchester United soccer jersey, an Edmonton Oilers third jersey, a Los Angeles Dodgers alternate and am constantly scanning eBay for more crap I can draw head shakes with.

   Uni Watch, however, scares the crap out of me. Always has, and tonight, I remembered why I'd stopped reading it regularly -- I just don't care enough. I'm not a guy who gets real hung up on words, but 4,200?! That's not impressive, that's frightening.

   Not frightening like having a rabbi in an RV show up to fix your problems, but frightening nonetheless.


April 12, 2006 - Big Fat Goalie/Pitcher
   Thing I Forgot Due To Golf: Hardly worthy of being listed among the highlights of Opening Day was looking to my right and seeing a man walking into the press box just after first pitch. Thanks to the heady research of my faithful readership, it didn't take long to figure out it was, in fact, Richard Tenorio -- if this is of no significance to you, you're either leading a more fulfilling life than me or missed the March 29 update.

   In a lot of ways, it was like looking at myself circa 2004, before the now obvious realization that if you're showing up at the game around first pitch, you're showing up way too late. Though I never went around chatting with team employees presumably trying to figure out why I wasn't on the seating chart ... that I deduced on my own, and I was of even hardier stock than the No. 2 guy at a four-figure circulation paper.

   Near the game's end, as I was positioning myself to get down to thie interview room for post-game stuff, I walked right by him. For a moment, I thought about introducing myself, but it passed for a reason I can't actually discern. So it goes, I guess.

   And Now, The Golf: There won't actually be a scorecard today despite playing the back nine here, the first time I've played at all since August. That's because, after skulling a chip shot over then green on the 17th, I opted not to look for it and instead debate how stupid it would be to throw my golf bag in a marsh.

   Which isn't to say the day didn't go well. Bogey, bogey, bogey (due to drive into woods), bogey (due to bad chip) and par is a great way to start a round, even if you then follow it with a quintuple-bogey nine by driving two balls into a pond and actually hitting a shot backwards.

   The best part was saving the nine by lagging a 100-plus foot putt to inside a foot. Sadly, that doesn't show up on the scorecard.

   Then came a double because of a couple bad chips, the give-up ball and a bogey on the last after chipping out from the woods.

   If nothing else, I walked instead of riding a cart, sticking to my vow to do that longer than my vow that I'd never again eat Chinese food.


   • So, someone want to fill me in on what a salmon helmet is?

   Or should I just assume I don't want to know?


April 11, 2006 - And I Skipped The Ice Cream
   More Great Moments in People Who Aren't Me: Contrary to popular belief, I do not create ads for the Daily Sundial at Cal State University - Northridge, nor do I wear wife beaters and get psyched by Henry Rollins.

   Not that I have any problem with Henry Rollins ... he's an intelligent guy who speaks his mind, and I've been known to sing the chorus to 'Liar' both in my head and out loud from time to time.

   I just wonder if there's a part of him that hates the fact he's largely been relegated to "I Love The ..." on VH1.

   Morning Media Update: Up until Tuesday morning, I could honestly say I'd never heard any of the David Lee Roth show simply because waking up at 6:30 a.m. just doesn't happen all that often anymore. This morning, however, that changed.

   Given I'm predisposed to think the show sucks given every review of it that I've heard has torn it to shreds, I'd pass judgment since I heard little more than five minutes of it. Though I did only hear about five minutes because I was bored out of my mind at what I was listening to.

   What I did earn, while at the laundromat prior to 8 a.m., is a deeper appreciation of Darrell Hammond's speech on "Weekend Update" this past week as Dan Rather, congrtulating CBS News on their hiring of Katie Couric as his replacement.

   Sadly, my laundry was done before I got to see either the feature on Rhode Island's Big Blue Bug or Katie's hard-hitting feature ... on weird celebrity baby names.

   In so much as not having cable in college weaned me off everyday television, TiVo is more or less finishing the job.


   • And because we had two great moments for people not me, here's four from the person who is.

   1)

New Additions Delight Fans At Fenway Opening
-- This ran on the front page, so I'm told, which just made the juxtaposition ... well, it made me think I could get away with words like juxtaposition. As though it's ever stopped me before.


Lineup Goes Cuckoo For Coco's Injury
-- Now that's a cute way to christen the season's first notebook.

   2) I got to spend some time talking to TV pal Ed Berliner before Francona's pregame press conference, at which point he told me the girl he's currently seeing did some Internet snooping and found a clip of his show on the Web. He didn't know where she found it, and me, I can't imagine what site would post clips of his show like that ...

   Apparently, her reaction was "Hey. You both have red hair." I claimed it must have something to do with a subconscious bias.

   I sure hope it does.

   3) After being convinced a traffic and parking disaster awaited me in Kenmore Square like last year, I tried to park in the Northeastern garage in Roxbury -- it was full -- and toyed with returning to the shithole garage that cost me my mirror a year ago. Panicked as the clock ticked, I abandoned all hope and drove toward BU looking for a miracle ... it was more than four hours before game time, so this shouldn't have been a problem.

   Amazingly, it wasn't. Not only did I find a meter on Bay State Road, staring into the old dining hall where I ate when desperate, I put no money in the meter over nine hours and didn't get a ticket.

   Cosmically, I'm sure that balances out.

   4) Especially since I got left off the press box seating chart and ended up in the last row like I did last year.

   Honestly, as frustrating as it is, part of me wouldn't have it any other way.


April 10, 2006 - Damp
   So Much For Laundry: It warms my heart to know I largely eliminated the need for any Assoicated Press involvement in this story with two paragraphs in my own.

Papi Stamped As Face of the Franchise
-- By the way? The Fenway improvements are awesome, and that's based on taking about two minutes to go look them over before yesterday's affairs. If they thought I was odd because I sometimes bring a camera to the game before ...

   Useless Fact of the Day: The Queen sent her first e-mail in 1976, or stupid British people now have the opportunity to pay $148 for a sandwich?

   Whichever you choose, I now have a No. 2 European dream to pursue after I finally attend Wimbledon -- attending the European Sandwich and Snack Show.


   • Last year at the home opener, I ended up with my rear-view mirror hanging by three metal wires and with yellow paint down two-thirds of my car. So really, we're working from a position where positives are probably coming.

   If nothing else, it'll be nice to see 8 a.m. for the first time since ... eh, I can't even remember.


April 9, 2006 - Wreck That
   That Went Pretty Well, I Guess: So the Sox head home, and into Tuesday's opener, 5-1 despite my not being convinced their bullpen is any better than it was a year ago. Though I do have to say I was hoping Keith Foulke would go for the two-inning save yesterday, since his returning to the closer role makes things infinitely better.

   Maybe I'm making too much out of this, but Papelbon's too good to be a closer. Closers don't need four pitches. He's better used elsewhere (in the long term ... for right now, that's where they need him). As Nick put it tonight, Roger Clemens probably would have been pretty good if he'd been put in the bullpen in 1986, but that wasn't exactly his most efficient use.

   Course, everything's not all wonderful. I'm not exactly sure why a broken knuckle would warrant someone missing a whole month, but I suppose if the month is April, it's not that big a deal one way or the other.

   But just think of what it will do to his Red Sox Nation campaign.

   Fun With The Dead-Tree Edition: The main photo on the front page of Sunday's paper was this shot of the Dartmouth High percussion group channeling Slim Goodbody at a NESBA competition. On the cover of the paper's second section was a shot of an exercise class doing Iroquois twists ... a shot through the crotch of one participant, with the framing thus naturally being said legs and crotch.

   On the cover of the Living/third section? Steve Buscemi.

   If there's a relationship between the three things, I can only hope someone else can quantify it better than I can. And if it has something to do with this man's bitter hatred of littering, all the better.

Many cities have installed cameras to catch people committing crimes. Littering is a crime. I think that if these fast food businesses were fined for the roadside trash they would install cameras that took pictures of license plates of litter bugs or created (sic) a bar code on the wrappers to match your purchase and find you when this trash is cleaned from our roadside.
-- Excellent ideas. I'll remember where they came from when it's $39.45 for an Extra Value Meal, and/or I quit my job to join the state's Litter Cleanup Task Force.

   • Two years ago, I watched Phil Mickelson's victory at The Masters at least a dozen times, given what an exciting finish it was and how great it was to see him frinally break through. So, logically, two years later I'm disappointed he won again because I was pulling for Fred Couples, who had the edge.

   He's old. And it's cool when old people who should be done winning things win things.

   I'm annually disappointed in this way, because I constantly want things to happen that don't naturally happen. For example, there was a point early in the final round with a five-way tie for the lead at 4-under. By the end, Mickelson had a three-shot lead on the 18th tee, bogeyed and won without a moment's doubt.

   I want people freaking out. Seven-way ties for the lead, with Tiger Woods eagling from the fairway and someone else making an 80-foot putt to force a playoff. Then, in that playoff, I want balls bouncing off trees, people, whatever. I want excitement.

   I don't want to go out to dinner for the back nine and not feel like I missed anything. Though it was very nice to go out to dinner, and it is nice to feel like I didn't miss anything.

   Speaking of eating, this could be cool, even just to watch being done to someone else. Logically, if melted cheese can make one fat, said fat could could be melted like cheese.


April 8, 2006 - And That's The Tooth
   Now With Reader Involvement!:

IB: Papelbon Still Short-Term Solution In Bullpen
-- His saving a game tonight was merely a happy coincidence, and really, so was the headline. But the 'Stat'? Pure gold.

   • I've got a new addition to the disconcerting things that can happen to a person during their day: Biting down on something, suddenly feeling something in your mouth far harder than whatever it was you were biting down on and realizing it was ... a piece of your tooth.

   Now, while a hanging fingernail is hard, I can't imagine that was the cause for the chip, which you probably wouldn't notice unless I pointed it out to you. Still, this far exceeds my previous worst stupid workplace injury -- whaling myself in the face with part of a brass dish and cutting my nose.

   I'm also not going to blame Wendy's, even though that is what I was eating at the time and there are a lot of other days where I didn't eat Wendy's and didn't spit out part of my mouth.

   More on this story as I continue my impression of a meth addict, and am told by my dentist this is proof of a massive character flaw.


April 7, 2006 - TiVoing Softball?
   It Was A Quiet Day: Medical study! Sun exposure helps prevent breast cancer.

   Of course, it also causes skin cancer. So have that extra piece of cake, because really, we're all still going to die anyway.

   Oh, and Google stock has been over 400 since Wednesday.


   • Now if you were a grocery store and you were stocking Egg Beaters, wouldn't you put them with the regular eggs? Wouldn't that be the most logical place for them? Next to the product people are essentially buying when they're buying Egg Beaters?

   That's almost as stupid as baseball's last remaining undefeated teams being ... Milwaukee and Detroit. Hope can drive a man insane, you know.

Oh no, we suck again.
-- Look what it did for the curlers.

United States skip Peter Fenson rubs his forehead while talking with teammates while trailing Norway during the final end of their playoff draw against at the World Curling Championship in Lowell, Mass., Friday evening. Norway won, 8-5, eliminating the United States from the competition. From left are, John Shuster, Fenson, Shawn Rojeski and Joe Polo. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)


April 6, 2006 - Dopplegangers
   Hepl, As They Say: We're trying to create a new baseball page at the ol' Whale City Tribune. An idea I've (and, surely, others) had for a long time, boss Josh just went ahead and implemented it for the start of the season, basically first telling me about it roughly seven hours before it would be used in the paper.

   That, however, isn't the point. It's really taken on a life of it's own, with the two of us redesigning and tweaking it back and forth on a day-to-day basis. Part of me worries that there are readers finding this odd, but the rest of me knows that surely not the case.

   On that note:

The Hardball Page
-- Help me/us tweak.

   When we started, the standings and scoreboard were very small, tucked in the left corner, with the main visual of the page being all the boxscores and roundups. I put together this general layout Tuesday, with an expanded standings larger on the top, a "Red Sox Last Three Days" tucked in the top middle, the scores hooked to the left side and (in theory) something like leaders or upcoming games below that.

   Thursday, Josh liked the white type in front of the baseball I had changed from black, plus suggested the large gray 'AL' and 'NL' behind the respective leagues -- something that feels like an idea I'd have thought was awesome, but others would have talked me out of.

   And for the record, the baseball featured up top is the famed "Only Foul Ball I've Ever Caught, Even If It Doesn't Count Because It Was Batting Practice When The Stadium Was Pretty Empty," Photoshopped with my mediocre skills.

Shown With Associate, 'Cork'
-- Shown with associate, 'Cork From Game 7'

   So, discuss. Or don't.

   Links Gut, Part Two: In my deleting haste, I never added young Nick's music review site. While this was only an oversight, for the sake of controversy, let's say I didn't add it out of jealousy. After all, the day his site went live, it was already better than mine.

   Normally I'd post the Alan Greenspan picture I doodled on a few years ago here, but I'm finally realizing it isn't that funny ... or topical, since interest rates keep rising now. So instead, this:

With Natalie
-- I'm not posting this to prove I can make children happy.
I'm posting it to prove I went to Worcester and didn't die.

   She is Natalie, by the way, who is related to Julie in such a way that, rather than be wrong, I'll simply be glad the tape that was holding my burgeoning chin up held for the afternoon.


   • I don't particularly like Wisconsin. I try to avoid cheese when I can, Brett Favre is starting to piss me off and the Brewers probably won't stay atop the NL Central all summer.

   But compared to New England's anointed sweethearts, let's just say that red and white wil lbe on my mind come Saturday evening.


April 5, 2006 - The Crack of Noon
   What is Humor?: It's been said to me in the past that far as often as I talk about things being funny, I don't actually laugh all that much. I can't say as I give it a whole lot of thought, since much of my job is centered on a requirement to not cheer at events where one would normally cheer, but there's clearly something to it.

   The actual act of laughter is something I'd rather make other people do ... that's where I derive enjoyment.

   That said, the following picture from College Humor -- edited for the work environment -- made me laugh out loud alone in my apartment.

'College' Kid
-- Take it for what you will.

   It should also be noted that this picture -- which probably should not be clicked at work due to 'sideboob/entire boob'-related matters -- also made me laugh, but more from a "I'm laughing because I just don't want to cry" perspective. She looks like someone I'd avert my eyes from if they were hooking on Acushnet Avenue.

   Acushnet Avenue: Whale City reference. It is the main thoroughfare into the northern part of the city, blanketed with stores, restaurants and depressing sights from time to time. Referred to as "The Avenue" by locals.

   It's also one-way at the southern end, which I found out in my first weeks down here by driving the wrong way down that portion and avoiding a head-on collision more or less by the will of God.

   Dorktastic: Matty Cooch will always be the family's only World of Warcraft player in the same way I'll always be the family's only two-sport varsity athlete -- and boy, are we leaving it at that -- but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy this video of a guild in the game killing everyone at an in-game memorial service held for a player who died in real life.

   If that doesn't make sense to you, and you're looking for a further explanation, you clearly should know I'm not the person who's going to give it to you.

   This might help, but then again, it might also make you long for the days of 12-sided dice and get-togethers in the basement. Speaking purely hypothetically, that seems to me like it would be more fun in the long run.


   • And now, once again, the Boston University crime log.

False Accusation

At 11:11 a.m. Mar. 17, BU security reported an assault in the bathroom of a female victim of 720 Harrison Ave.

However, once BUPD arrived on the scene, the officers reported that there was no assault and the female party had been vomited on.

   Now, March 17 was a Friday, meaning this was a 'Thirsty Thursday'-related casualty.

   Still, you're in a state to be vomiting on people at 11 a.m.? That is dedication to the spirit of the evening.


April 4, 2006 - Told You
   Site Note: In a fit of inspiration, rage and probably some other things I can't quite decipher, I revamped the Links page today. Course, I'm probably the one who uses it more than anybody, so this can be chalked up like most females would consider a spa treatment -- the gift I gave myself.

   I did burn a candle last night ... some sort of lavender/lilac scent that I got free with a meal. I'm sure it didn't actually change the smell of the apartment, if the apartment does have a smell, but it made me feel cultured while I gave money to people I don't know.

Barry's Hardly Baseball's Only Story
-- Ignore the fact the Web headline for the column is "COUTURE:" This is what happens when I sort of try too hard ... if I actually tried to hard, things would work right.

   • The whole 01:02.03 on 04-05-06 feels like something I really should be excited about, but even having missed it, I can't imagine I would have celebrated with even a beer. I remember being far more amped the first time I figured out what a leap year was, or that one year during the '80s where the official celebration of New Year's was one second after midnight.

   I may have made that entirely up just now, or am confusing with some game I saw on 'Sale of the Century.' Seriously ... I'm pretty sure something like that happened, and there was a reason for it, but I can't be bothered to go pore through Wikipedia and see if it's real.

   Besides, I'm at least 60 percent sure Sly will either do it or make fun of me in such a way that I won't care if it happened or not.


April 3, 2006 - Let's Be Curt About This
   Well-Mannered Friends: The actual source isn't all that important, but I read something today discussing someone's problem regarding having too much wine. Basically, they were going to need a wine rack because they have "well-mannered friends" who always "bring a thoughtful gift" when they come over.

   Now, you could make the argument that I'm not well-mannered given I recently shocked someone who wasn't aware my parents and I swear at each other. And, I suppose, the humor of me threatening to kill my mother in regular conversation probably isn't the same from the outside as it is from the inside.

   She moons people, people. We don't have a normal family relationship.

   Anyway, I can safely say I will never be the impetus to bringing a bottle of wine to someone's apartment. First off, I don't drink wine, and there's a pretty good chance the people I'm visiting not necessarily don't drink wine, but are reaching elsewhere first. In the same vein, if I invite you over, I'm not expecting you to bring wine. Part of the inviting you over was the understanding between us that, if food was mentioned in some way, I'll throw in the refreshments as a free gift.

   That, however, isn't really what piqued my mind on this. At 25, if I bring something somewhere, I bring chips. Should we have moved past that now?

   And how many times do I have to casual swear in front of my parents for a month before people start assuming I'm not well-mannered?

It Can't Start Much Better Than This
-- While I was watching with my chicken sandwich, I was legitimately confused at the prospects the Sox could win. Like, when it was 5-0, I was taken aback for a moment. I have no idea why that happened.

   • Some of you who read this actually know Nick, who will accompany me to a Red Sox game in the press box this year if I have to take someone hostage. Others have probably seen his comments, and understand he's a bit of a trivia buff when it comes to sports.

   Yesterday in the Sox game notes -- of which I can guarantee I had the only copy in the North Dartmouth Smokey Bones -- there was a list of the 12 different second basemen the Red Sox have used on Opening Day in the past 13 seasons.

Scott Fletcher (1993-94)
Luis Alicea (1995)
Wil Cordero (1996)
John Valentin (1997)
Donnie Sadler (1998)
Jeff Frye (1999)
Jose Offerman (2000)
Chris Stynes (2001)
Rey Sanchez (2002)
Todd Walker (2003)
Mark Bellhorn (2004-05)
Mark Loretta (2006)

   Half as a joke, half out of curiosity, I asked him how many he could name.

   Nine, with their corresponding years, was not the number I was expecting.

   No wonder I was so disoriented, I thought the 'Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie' was a good idea, with it's 100 percent peanut butter base.

   Though on the plus side, by only ordering Diet Coke, no one on the staff told me I had a fake ID.


April 2, 2006 - Big Brat
   Things I Get Over Quadrenially: Someday, I'll probably regret largely ignoring the Curling World Championship in nearby Lowell, but unless that someday comes in the next week, it won't be until sometime in 2010. And as enticing at the three-digit 50-50s and the apparently pageantry of a football game are, I'd much rather bitch about it years from now.

   This is exactly what happened four years ago, though obviously without such a direct application. Course, after abandoning my attempt to save for two years and go to the 1995 Ryder Cup at Oak Hill in New York, fate moved it to Brookline four years later and I ended up with a set of plastic cups commemorating my day there.

   No, I didn't pick them all out of the trash. Just a lot of them.

   Stepping Away From The Edge: Some of you might remember my previous fleeting fascination with one Skye Sweetnam, based on the random play of one of her songs on a Rhapsody radio station that fascinated me one afternoon.

   Well, we crossed paths again tonight on the photo wire. And I have an announcement.

Skye Sweetnam

Skye Sweetnam who is nominated for new artist of the year poses for photographers as she arrives at the Juno awards in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Sunday.(AP Photo/CP,Tim Krochak)

   Forget I said anything. Ever.

   Next Up, An Article On 'CAPS LOCK': In a nice little chain, Jon Comey's site led me to the strangely introspective Fat Man Walking, which naturally progressed to making sure you know about Internet trolls.

An Internet "troll" is a person who delights in sowing discord on the Internet. He (and it is usually he) tries to start arguments and upset people.

Trolls see Internet communications services as convenient venues for their bizarre game. For some reason, they don't "get" that they are hurting real people. To them, other Internet users are not quite human but are a kind of digital abstraction. As a result, they feel no sorrow whatsoever for the pain they inflict. Indeed, the greater the suffering they cause, the greater their 'achievement' (as they see it). At the moment, the relative anonymity of the net allows trolls to flourish.

Trolls are utterly impervious to criticism (constructive or otherwise). You cannot negotiate with them; you cannot cause them to feel shame or compassion; you cannot reason with them. They cannot be made to feel remorse. For some reason, trolls do not feel they are bound by the rules of courtesy or social responsibility.

Perhaps this sounds inconceivable. You may think, "Surely there is something I can write that will change them." But a true troll can not be changed by mere words.

-- For a true troll, it takes magic dust from the Land of Nod.

   This goes on for seven minutes. And how do I know that? Because at the top of the page, there's a note: "Approximate Reading Time: 7 Minutes."

   I hope there's a scientific formula out there to calculate this that's more complex than words divided by some arbitrary number.


   • For the third straight year, I purchased WrestleMania and watched online tonight. Unlike last year, I did not watch it sitting on a hotel bed after covering the Red Sox season opener, and I did not end up disappointed with both my accomodations and the four hours of my life I'll never get back.

   And because I know none of you care and that Julie will read this a couple days from now and lovingly shake her head at it, a photo that has nothing to do with anything:

Mr. Met!

Mr. Mets mugs for the camera during a promotional event as Lauren Brower talks to Hal Drucker, president of "Tanks for the Memories," while she sun bathes on the roof of a building in Midtown Manhattan on Thursday. The Mets open their 2006 season against the Atlanta Braves Monday at Shea Stadium in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

   I'm going to be honest. I have no idea who Lauren Brower is. I'm not sure why the middle guy looks so much like Peter Gammons. And I don't know what Mr. Met is planning.

   And I think it's all better that way.

Making It All Fit Together
-- The Red Sox breakdown from Sunday ... and now's as good a time as any to say I can't remember being so amped for the baseball season.


April 1, 2006 - No One Even Tried Anything
   How About An Even Number?: Whomever you are, thanks to the 49 people who thought I was the "Boston Media's Best-Kept Secret." Had I know I'd end on that number, I would have sucked it up and voted for myself.

   Thank You For The Even Number: Though a lot of it is left in the comment files of March, Sly's work validating my previous statement that the Royals' infield tandem of Mark Grudzielanek and Doug Mientkiewicz is the most letter-happy in baseball history deserves a mention in a future "This Week's Stat That Time Forgot." And he'll get it someday, once I wake up.

Under Pressure
-- The centerpiece of our baseball preview, which could have been better if I'd actually gotten Sox psychologist Bob Tewksbury on the phone. But I like it anyway.


Breaking Down The AL East
-- Last year, I wrote figuring I'd pick the Red Sox, then picked the Yankees and was validated. You'll never guess what happened this year.

   On top of those were capsules for everyone on the roster, plus a Sox breakdown position-by-position that I'll see if I can get online Sunday evening. Basically, I wrote the first four pages of the Sunday sports section, with my oft-maligned boss designing the hell out of it.

   I'll get the pages posted up here tomorrow ... I'm quite proud of all of it, especially since writing it all almost led me to have to ask the legendary question, "How do you get drool out of a laptop keyboard?"


   • Much like the excitement of the 2002 World Cup fading when the U.S. and Korea were ousted once things got serious, George Mason looked awful tonight and won't be the most improbable champion in anything of substance since ever.

   This has nothing to do with that:

Robin Williams Snot Incident

Robin Williams is slimed by Kids' Choice Awards host Jack Black at the Kids' Choice Awards on Saturday in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

   but I'm sure it was, as the George Mason game was to those players, a highlight of the careers of all involved.


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2005: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
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2001: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05]