May 31, 2002 - The Total Sports Update
   A Boston Red Sox fan, a Chicago Cubs fan and an NY Yankee fan were all in Saudi Arabia, sharing a smuggled crate of booze. All of the sudden Saudi police rushed in and arrested them. The mere possession of alcohol is a severe offense in Saudi Arabia, so for the terrible crime of actually being caught consuming the booze, they were sentenced to death!

   However, after many months and with the help of very good lawyers, they were able to successfully appeal their sentence down to life imprisonment. By a stroke of luck, it was a Saudi national holiday the day their trial finished, and the extremely benevolent Sheik decided they could be released after receiving just 20 lashes each of the whip.

   As they were preparing for their punishment, the Sheik suddenly said, "It's my first wife's birthday today, and she has asked me to allow each of you one wish before your whipping."

   The Cubs fan was first in line (he had drunk the least), so he thought about this for a while and then said, "Please tie a pillow to my back." This was done, but the pillow only lasted 10 lashes before the whip went through. The Cubs fan had to be carried away bleeding and crying with pain when the punishment was done.

   The Yankee fan was next up (he almost finished an entire fifth by himself), and after watching the scene, said "All Right! Please fix two pillows on my back." But even two pillows could only take 15 lashes before the whip went through again, sending the Yankee fan out crying like a little girl.

   The Red Sox fan was the last one up (he had finished off the crate), but before he could say anything, the Sheik turned to him and said, "You support the greatest baseball team in the world, your supporters are the best and most loyal baseball fans in all the world. For this, you may have two wishes!"

   "Thanks, your most Royal Highness," the Red Sox fan replies. "In recognition of your kindness, my first wish is that you give me not 20, but 100 lashes."

   "Not only are you an honorable, handsome and powerful man, you are also very brave," the Sheik says with an admiring look on his face. "If 100 lashes is what you desire, then so be it. And your second wish? What is it to be?" the Sheik asks.

   "Tie the Yankee fan to my back."

   • In a continuing effort to piss off everyone who hates my sports rants, and to better explain why I'm such a bad sports bettor, Cooch's World handicaps the World Cup.

   It should be noted my favorite international sides are consistenly the United States and England. I say consistently because given the situation, I'll cheer for anyone. I'm a Copa Mundial whore.

   It should also be noted that while there is no cure for footballitis, we are working on an ointment.

GROUP A - France, Senegal, Uruguay, Denmark

   Before it all began, I would have put France and Denmark through without the bat of an eyelash. Then this little joy happened. If there were any way to trick people into thinking I predicted that... The critical matchup to this group is now Senegal v. Uruguay, on June 11. If Senegal can win that match outright, they get through to Round 2. I happen to think they can and will, because this Cup is going to be Africa's real breakout party.

   Didn't Arsenio Hall make a straight-to-video short about that in the '80s?

   France will bounce back and still advance, with Denmark a hard-luck loser and Uruguay wishing it was still 1930. France, Senegal advance.

GROUP B - Spain, Slovenia, Paraguay, South Africa

   Spain is perenially disappointing in the Cup, Slovenia's looking to be a sleeper like Croatia in '98, Paraguay has a goalie that scores goals and South Africa is in southern Africa. That said, the South Americans will be without Chilavert for their first two games. Bye gang, enjoy the flight home. It's a tossup with who wins the group, so we'll go against the trendy pick here. Spain, Slovenia advance.

GROUP C - Brazil, China, Turkey, Costa Rica

   Brazil is always going to be Brazil... if they're here, they're a threat to win the whole show. Put them through, and it's a tossup between the other three teams, all with legitimate chances to go through. China's hopes only exist because of their coach, Bora Milutinovich, who has put teams through to the second round for the past four cups. Costa Rica has had strong results against Brazil and Turkey made the quarters of Euro 2000. A tough call, but Rica has had better form of late. Brazil, Costa Rica advance.

GROUP D - South Korea, USA, Poland, Portugal

   Looking at the rankings, Portugal and the U.S. should breeze through here, but unfortunately, they have to play the games. When that happens, South Korea becomes a threat, as the crowds and nation are soccer-mad. Nop host nation has ever failed to make the second round... given the way the undermatched U.S. played in 1994, you have to doubt that form will break.

   1-1-1, all results that probably should have gone another way. They were lucky to get through, even luckier to stay 1-0 against Brazil... nothing should stop South Korea from matching that.

   So do they get through? Four years ago, during my high school graduation party, we watched in horror, legitimate horror, as Iran beat America 2-1. That's hard to forget. Portugal, South Korea advance.

GROUP E - Ireland, Cameroon, Germany, Saudi Arabia

   No one even aggravates Germany. Weaker than past years, they're still the class of this group. Saudi Arabia might score in the tournament, Ireland's missing their top player and Cameroon is good, but not that good. The second spot comes down to the Africans and the Irish... have to lean towards the full strength side. Germany, Cameroon advance.

GROUP F - England, Sweden, Argentina, Nigeria

   Damn... any of these teams could easily be the class of a group given a better draw. You could pick any two of the four and sound completely knowledgeable. Argentina's too strong to deny, and how England does against them will determine the Lions' fate. The Swedes are strong up front and in back, and Nigeria... shit. Roll the dice, but be prepared to flip it all over. Argentina, Sweden advance.

GROUP G - Italy, Croatia, Mexico, Ecuador

   Italy won't have much in their way, both here and through to the later rounds. Much as I hate the greaseballs, you can't deny their talent. Croatia surprised in France, but seem more a flash in the pan. Mexico and Ecuador lie in the weeds, and I must nod to the team with more Cup experience. Italy, Mexico advance.

GROUP H - Japan, Belgium, Russia, Tunisia

   I don't know anything about any of these teams. Stick with the gut instinct - the Euros and the Commies. But what of the hosts? Can't go against a host nation. Belgium, Japan advance.

   If you love something, break up with it. If it comes back, I really don't understand how the hell love works.
May 30, 2002 - Bring On The World Cup
   • One of the things that amazes me most about the National Spelling Bee, aside from the fact I'm actually watching it, is that I'm listening to commentators tell me about it.

   Commentators. Telling me about the dangers of the schwa. About how Tennessee has been "a strong state for spelling" in past years. I'm looking at a camera shot circling the crowd, with the cameraman in the shot, opening a dictionary.

"Wow, look at his form. This kid is truly one to watch today."
-- The only one I'm watching is the fat kid panting and unable to speak at the microphone. Reminds me of a certain BU College Bowl-er...

   It was at the point she told me "spelling out loud is a real art" that I had enough. You are a dumb bitch who won a spelling bee once, and thus get a call once a year from a network who needs an "expert" to describe the "action." You are good at spelling words no one uses, deriving them from roots no one cares about. The things you know aren't even tangentially usable in today's society. Spell check trumps you.

   It could be said the poise and thinking process taught by a national spelling bee pay off in the long run, that these nerdy children will one day pawn their home schooling and social ineptitude off for Ivy League acceptances, pained relationships and bad sex. OK, I'll give you that one.

   It should also be noted young Matthew Couture is a two time Town of Agawam Spelling Bee Champion. His older brother choked in the 5th grade spelling bee once, but made a hell of a showing in the 7th grade geography bee when the time came.

   Everybody knows how awful Boston sports fans are, right? How we're the scum of the Earth... the most hateful pieces of shit even spawned in the world. Remeber how awful we were to Colin Montgomerie during the 1999 Ryder Cup? How we ruined the world's greatest golf competition? No wonder we said all those awful things to Jason Kidd's wife and child.

   How dare a Celtics fan call Jason Kidd a wife beater. How dare they take a fact like that and exploit it! I mean, it's not like a small number of Nets fans walked into Game Five with a sign reading, "Will Somebody Please Stab Paul Pierce?". Oh wait...

   Don't run that in your SportsCenter piece though. Instead, show me Keith Van Horn telling me I have no class and no taste. Show me Kenyon Martin, the biggest goon still in the playoffs, postulating on what losers Celtic fans are. The only person who's ever assaulted your wife is you, Jason. Deal with it, and be prepared for another game on Sunday.
May 29, 2002 - A Drinking Argentinian
   • The kitchen is large, realtive to everything else, especially relative to the one I had on Mountfort Street. Kind of a half-island countertop... suppose it could be called a peninsula. Bathroom's under the stairs, so it's got a slanted roof. No windows, no bathtub. Plenty of windows everywhere else though.

   The actual bedroom is small, but really, why would it need any more than a bed? There's a fireplace, but it doesn't work. Were I crafty, I'd build a fake fire. Deck it all out with orange construction paper and accoutrements. Not gonna happen.

   Its got blinds for all six windows, white walls, hardwood floors and a whole lot of closets. I think I might live there.

   The first place I looked at was a furnished third floor. Mom said it smelled... course, she says everything smells. Ironic, since she's congested roughly twenty-six hours a day. My complaint was there looked to be no entry other than through the landlord's place. Plus it was a fucking hole, but hey, beggars can't be choosers. The only other place considered wa a huge green house in the ghetto. Third floor, ocean views, two bedrooms... course the guy not calling us back until we were ten minutes from home kind of blew his ass away.

   We will say no more until I actually get the apartment.

   Or, at least until something more exciting than a trip to the local pitch and putt.

   They say it's "more than just golf." They sell ice cream, and have a bad arcade. Does that count as more? Does the more also include the swarms of mosquitoes that surround the property, because the shits they hire are too lazy to cut the weeds outside the fence?

   It used to so much fun, mainly because I was far and away the best golfer in my circle of friends. Check that... I was the only actual golfer in my circle of friends. We used to play, and I'd offer my car to anyone who could beat me. The pitch and putt was easy... I don't think anyone's ever been within five shots of me. But the mini golf... it's a little easier to get shit lucky when you're bouncing golf balls off bricks.

   One day, my first girlfriend, beat me. By like one shot or something, but still, she won. I tore up the card immediately, and jokingly denied it ever happened. Looking back, this is about the time she started cheating on me.

   I have no idea the significance of this.
May 28, 2002 - I Have His Rookie Card
"Of the 2,823 people killed in the attack, the remains of just 1,092 have been identified. But nearly 20,000 body parts have been recovered, and the medical examiner expects to continue identification work for at least eight more months."
-- Now feeling guilty about cracking on burial.

   [ Job Update: I start at The Standard-Times on Tuesday, June 4, the same day their summer intern begins. I'll work Tuesday through Saturday, with Sundays and Mondays off - it's as if they know I need to watch every football game possible. If I haven't got a place by then, something I look to remedy on Wednesday, the paper will put me up for at least the first week. Let's hope I don't have to take them up on that. ]

   • Jose Canseco would like you to buy his book. He'd love you to buy it... so much so, he'll go on Jim Rome's The Last Word so he can answer every question with, "It'll all be in the book."

   In this book, Jose says he'll be outing people... not Piazza-style, but Caminiti-style. He says he'll name names, he says he'll talk about his blackball from baseball, he says he'll blow Ball Four out of the water.

   Jose says a lot of things. He's real good at talking. Baseball, though? That's debatable.

   I've never read Jim Bouton's 'Ball Four,' widely listed as the tell-all baseball book above all others. I have read, however, Jay Johnstone's 'Temporary Insanity'. All I remember of it is Larry Bowa, former Padres manager, liked to smash toilets with bats. I always hold on to the good parts.

   The most troubling part of Jose's interviews, and his book most likely, is the complete lack of him hiding his sour grapes. This just comes off like a project that he'll get about 100 pages into, then realize he's not pissed off anymore and stop. He doesn't strike me as the kind of guy who could sit anywhere for an extended period unless he was stuffing dollar bills in a stripper's g-string.

   Baseball players use steroids. Well, no shit. You ever look at Mark McGuire's neck? He's got more zits than a teenager on prom night. Ken Caminiti? You mean it's not normal for a gun to jump from 13 homers one year, to forty two years later, then back to 13 three years after that?

   Next you'll be telling me Chandra Levy was murdered. How'd you guys get so damned smart? I'm the one with the degree!
May 27, 2002 - Dot Com Is Coming
   • Basketball games should not upset my mood as much as this one did.

   1986, for as awful the memories it provides are, was probably the pinnacle of Boston sports history. The Celtics winning their 16th (and latest) title was tops, but it was a year that had the Sox in the Series and the wild card Pats in the Super Bowl. We won't metion what happened after that.

   For the record, the Bruins meekly surrendered to the Canadiens then too.

   2002 has the potential to surpass it, by a wide margin. Standing in the C's way are the New Jersey Nets. The fucking New Jersey Nets. First place in the Eastern Conference? I don't care. Jason Kidd? Whatever. These are the New Jersey Nets.

   I hear Nets, I think Drazen Petrovic. After that, I think Ed O'Bannon and about that ghetto color their jerseys are now. Could their be a greater set of opposites than Petrovic, a foreign superstar who left too soon, and UCLA Eddie, who couldn't get out of the league fast enough and now spends time talking black and playing pickup games with Magic Johnson? And has that road jersey color been seen anywhere else in nature?

   Can I really complain though, since all the Nets are doing is being what they are? They live in the ghetto, they play in the ghetto... who else is going to buy their merchandise? People should be content embracing what they are, and as I look around me, it's good to see that's just what's happening in the world.

   It's evidenced by this post on the 'quizbowl' message board. Never again will the world think us nerds, as bereft of social skill and charm. No, because they'll read this post as written by the boys at Yale, and completely understand what they thought... is fact indeed. I know the Yale team... dealt with nearly every one of them over the past few years. Can't say I'm shocked at all.

   Many of you who read this are quiz bowlers, were quiz bowlers or deny being quiz bowlers. It's at times like this I look down from my imaginary tower, shake my head and wish I owned a gun.

   It's evidence by a commercial for the CMT (Country Music Television) Flameworthy Music Awards, urging us all to "hold our lighters high." Heavens yes, you would think such a demand goes without saying. After all, if we held them low, the residual moonshine in our saliva would ignite as tobacco spit passed through the flame. As cool as it would be to spit fire, our stetsons might ignite in the fracas.

   Anyone can string two stereotpes into a sentence. Three though? That's quality. Jon Rea, don't let them get you. I'm not sure I'd know how to react if you got a gun rack.

   So for lack of anything better, I watched the national championship of men's lacrosse today, where Syracuse beat Princeton 13-12. One of the announcers, who must be lucky to get Memorial Day off from Wendy's, made a comment a guy definitely playing on Sundays next year.

   Major League Lacrosse: Doing its part to make Lowell more than place to hide a body.
May 26, 2002 - Rainy Rhode Island
   • The sum of today's fears ended up being New Bedford isn't as big of a hole as my family thought it was. Taunton and I are on the outs.

   Each city has respective advantages. Taunton is twenty miles closer to Boston, could give me a chance to freelance for the Brockton Enterprise and is "in the heart of everything that makes New England great." New Bedford is where I'll be working, on the seacoast and is "an official Millennium community."

   Just for the record, Agawam has no slogan. Apparently, "a nice place to drive through" doesn't fit on the town seal.

   The great thing about my father is just when he starts to think I'm excessively useless, he does things for me. Why couldn't we all have families like this.

   It was an apartment search day, where I learned little more then I'll be moving to New Bedford in the near future. That, and Providence Place is a really big mall, and Seekonk is a really cool name for a town.

   And oh yeah, your favorite ottoman likes to f...
May 25, 2002 - Do Better Tomorrow
   • My latest fascination? The Smoking Gun.

   As I sat down to dinner, a squint showed the score 72-49. There was a magic show, a salad, some shrimp and lobster alfredo. Conversation tied it all together, because you're in Northampton, where the hippie liberals don't like their sports.

   Meanwhile, ninety miles away, the boys from Jersey were getting offed in the greatest playoff comeback in NBA history. Since I saw nearly none of it, thus ends your postgame analysis.

   I'm tired. I'm sleeping on a sofa every night, spending time with Meg and my family and only doing things that would be interesting to those in attendance. Having not seen Celebrity Boxing, what's there to write about?

   The easy answer is lesbians. When you go to Northampton, it's all you see, to the point where a first-visit tourist feels compelled to openly display hetero behaviors. Little do they know it wouldn't deter a local... Smith College ain't on the outskirts for nothing.

   But it's not right. Gays yesterday, lezzies today... that's called being a latent homosexual. So we'll instead turn to the real reason I've got nothing to say.

   Do I resent my father's badgering because I want him to be proud of me, or because I know he's right? Do I fear he's my future? Does any of this make any sense to anyone, myself included?

   The problem with my father and I is that we're identical - neither one ever wants to admit the other's wrong. We have other similarities, but that often seems the most important when he starts screaming I'm an idiot and I that he's a dumbass.

   My father's long-standing belief is that I'm selfish. I want only for myself above all others, that I don't work hard and I'm not willing to work. In part I disagree, but in part I say, "Yeah. Is there something wrong with that?"

   For everything my father is - lover of Dewar's and soda, viewer of adult material, bad golfer - he is willing to give of himself like no one else I've ever met. Maybe that's why it bothers me so much when he thinks I'm useless. When he tells me I'm not working at finding an apartment, I know he's right but know he doesn't get it too.

   I don't like to get philosophical on here - God knows I'd have stopped reading this if I wasn't the one who had to write it. That said, I am trying. The place I choose to live is going to be somewhere I spend a lot of time, given my slowness in making friends and talking to strangers. It matters a lot to me, even if my process of calling for apartments is slow. I'm not going to live in a shithole, yet, I can't afford much else.

   Guess this is why everyone goes to grad school.
May 24, 2002 - Tee Hee Pee Pee
"If by some twisted stroke of bad luck I was gay, I would be a classy gay. I wouldn't be one of those flaming homosexuals with rainbows all over the place. I would have some dignity."
-- Charlie, homosexual sympathizer.

"Chicks dig me!"
-- Alf to Mike Piazza in a recent 10-10-220 ad. Note chicks do not dig Piazza.

   • With Celebrity Boxing II having answered the questions about Manute Bol's whereabouts, Americans can now turn their attention to what really matters: Mike Piazza's sexuality.

   This Dodger-turned-Met is said to be a fan of the cock, and this reporter must agree, given his striking resemblance to the man pictured in this Onion editorial. Granted, he's not pictured in the header of like Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jose Theodore, but still, isn't it valid for no-nothing Americans to question the fucking preferences of a celarly superior male?

   Think about it. When Roger Clemens chucked that broken bat at Mike, Piazza didn't stop to throw it back at him. Why... because he was busy trying to get to first base, or because his limpid gay wrist would have been exposed? He plays the only position that requires squatting... like on a large salami, maybe? He has relations with Playboy playmates... to overcompensate for his flings with truckers and ballet dancers?

   I think so.

   I'm the writer though - my opinion doesn't count. We must go the public, with analysis thrown in by the self-identified "Smartest Person on this Web Site"

"Are there scuzzies in your dog juice?"
-- Christine Couture, mother of two.

   Christine's comment is a typical one, especially from a woman who gets a rash when her dogs lick her face. Some say it's allergies, but if you ask me, it's the work of the Taliban.

   It's likely Chris doesn't know who Mike Piazza is, given her favorite player is probably Kirby Puckett. Still, she speaks cryptically. The "scuzzies?" Probably a transmitted disease like oral herpes... one that would befall a person who eats too much sausage.

   A thick moustache could be used to cover such sores, couldn't it? Hmm...

"It's like a tuna UFO."
-- Jason Cook, meat slicer.

   It did, that melt sandwich Meg got at the Holyoke Mall's Kahunaville. Such a deep character though, we would be remiss if we didn't fully investigate just what Cook meant... an unidentified flying object. We don't know what it is, but it's moving like a missile, through the night, only to penetrate the atmosphere with phaser-like accuracy.

   Chew on that for a while. Yeah. C-H-E-W.

   I'm used to the Sox blowing 8-2 leads. It's the winning 9 to 8 that has me giddy like a schoolgirl.
May 23, 2002 - Not So Foxy Boxing
   • The little things. That's what make The Masters stand out from other golf tournaments. For years, I have tried to find the piano interlude music CBS Sports uses for the telecast, but have failed. Its romance lies in its rare appearances, right along with NBC's U.S. Open music.

   Yes, I am a fan of televised sports musical scores. And you thought I had problems before...

   The lush greenery. Magnolia Lane. The lack of commercials and seemingly endless string of great finishes. A course you've always wanted to play, but will never get to. Racist or not, The Masters is one of the peaks of the golfing year, and a little piece of it died today.

   The ceremonial start by three past champions - Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson and Snead - was just one of those "Masters-only" things. It didn't happen anywhere else, and if it did, every golf fan would have felt the cheapening. Sarazen died three years ago, Nelson retired in 2001 and now Snead... sometimes the best traditions are the ones that fade away.

   I think the only reason this story strikes me as significant is because I learned of it at the golf course. I have no doubt Sam Snead, even in a stroke-weakened condition, could have wiped the turf with me.

   And yes, while we're honoring the dead, let's just remind everyone the Red Sox saluted the life of Stephen Jay Gould on Thursday night, with a sign on the scoreboard. I'm not sure what makes less sense: that a baseball team is honoring a biologist, or that they're doing it in the same manner they congratulate little Tommy Two-Tone from Swampscott for turning five.

It's about f'ing time the Whale angle got some press.

   That's it. Glory be, the funk's on me.
May 22, 2002 - Saddest Thing Of All
   • I don't remember why it started. What the need for me to resurrect my website was... maybe just an arena to hone my computer skills. I remember reading the sites of Jon Rea, and of this guy, who holds no real significance to anyone other than I ended up at his site one day. I knew I needed content, I knew I had a lot to say and I thought it'd be a cool idea.

   Thus began the log, one year ago today.

"Here it is, incarnation number three of Cooch's World. This time, I'm hoping I can make it stick.

Summer vacation's underway, and this one marks the first time I'll be living somewhere other than Massachusetts. Nashua, New Hampshire's second largest city, will be my home for next dozen weeks or so, as I work on the copy desk at the Nashua Telegraph. Now the ultimate question: Might I have found the only place more boring than Western Massachusetts?

I'm supposed to be looking at an apartment up there tomorrow afternoon, and unless the thing has rats, roaches or holes in the wall, I'm taking it. Open door policy will be in effect - you want to visit, you show up at the door."

-- May 22, 2001. The whole thing.

   As with then, I'm looking for an apartment in a new city, so I can start a copy editing job at a newspaper. Never thought I'd make it a whole year, never mind the individual things I never thought would happen along the way. I regret none of it. Everything I've said, and will continue to say in the forseeable future, is what I believe. For better or for worse, there it is.

   To know a decent number of people I know, and even some I don't, find it all entertaining... that's the biggest reason I'm still going strong. Much as I like to hear myself spew, the allusion of making people merry is what does it for me.

   Is it because I have no shame, because I'll openly admit to doing things like tripping over a cone on the Foxwoods floor the other night? Is it because I actually say what's happening, as opposed to hiding the shitty stuff I've done because I don't want people to know? I am aiming this at somebody, but since it really is none of my damn business, I'll stop short of pointing.

   Maybe it's just because I say 'fuck' a lot...

   Forced Segue: Were it possible to have a bad time at a Red Sox game, it would have happened tonight. I can't say I'm shocked about the loss, considering the team's openly gearing for the Yankees series as they should, but dear God. To be one-hit through eight innings, when it's clear your second squad should be beating your opponent anyway, is inordinately painful. Then when the official Red Sox "failed rally" comes, make sure to putz it up as painfully as possible.

   2-0 White Sox, bottom of the ninth, coming up is local hero Lou Merloni, anti-hitter Rey Sanchez and ageless wonder Rickey Henderson. Before inning begins, I predict Rickey hits a three-run shot to win the game, because that's the script. Carlos Baerga pich-hits for Lou, and singles. Jose Offerman for Sanchez... single. Two on, and up comes... pinch-hitter Nomar Garciaparra. So there I am, in my Nomar jersey, the only person in the park pissed off.

   Chicago closer Keith Foulke comes in, one-two-three. Ballgame.

   My opinion says nothing for my company, who was magnificent. Says nothing about getting to see Meg again. Says everything about it being a half-price ticket and giveaway night. Hordes of children and ugly black girls dressed up like hookers, hordes of annoying young adults bringing their ugly "know nothing about baseball" fuck buddies to the park... am I too angry?

   To think, if the BoSox had just won, all I would have had to talk about was the dumb Internet family in the store window.

   So on May 22, 2002, I went back to Boston to see my girlfriend, staying overnight in an MIT frat house after spending time with Jon Rea's new girlfriend at a Sox game. All things I had absolutely no connection to on May 22, 2001.

   So this time next year, I'll be living in Sri Lanka as a cricket star. Don't worry, I'll keep posting all the details.
May 21, 2002 - The Morning After The Morning After
   [ So, what's scarier? The Marilyn Manson version of "Sweet Dreams," featuring Marilyn Manson, or the Eurythmics version, featuring Annie Lennox's red buzzcut and her bandmate playing a cello while chasing a cow in a field? There's a personality test in every video on VH-1 Classic. Call your local cable or satellite provider. ]

   • The body needs stimulation, needs activity. A person can't wake up at 6:30 in the morning, be up until 1:30 the next morning and have absolutely nothing stimulating happen in the middle. Cells die, while others become stuffed with cheese doodles. Cheese doodles of desperation. There's only so much Sega Soccer Slam one person can play in a given period.

   That, members of the jury, is how I ended up at Foxwoods tonight.

   I have no job, few friends at home. A brother at school and a computer without the Internet - Matt's is too slow, damn it. I went outside, only to remember my basketball hoop was pulled out years ago. I went inside, only to remember daytime television sucks. I saw a large flower planter with a trash can on it, thought it was a person and got excited I was being robbed.

   Casinos on Tuesday nights are about as empty as you'd think they'd be. The general humor level is down, though the table minimums are so low everywhere no one seems to care what the hell is going on. I mean, everyone still loses their money, just a whole lot slower.

   The trip ended up being more exploring than gambling, and my attempts to teach confused patrons what Catch A Wave was. The road to stardom is one strewn with shitty jobs.

   My favorite was the guy with his wife who had no idea what he was watching, kinda knew after I explained it to him, then sat down with his $10 match bet and lost. Then he left. Close second was the two girls next to me who kept telling everyone what to bet, won a shitload of money, then blew it all before they were smart enough to stop.

   This is my nightmare about the future. Me, in a town where I know no one, in a job where I'm the young guy, and an idle mind. Made due in Nashua, but that was for three months... think of the entries that could come from this!

   Which reminds me... Wednesday is a special day in Cooch's World history. Hopefully that will explain why I've listened to Andrew W.K.'s "Party Hard" seven times in a row while writing this.
May 20, 2002 - The Morning After
   • Agawam is my fuck buddy.

   I leave it, I go off and desert it. Don't bother to keep much contact... it'll be there when I get back. When I'm away, I do whatever I please. No guilt. Screw around with Tenerife, screw around with Los Angeles. Bloomington, Chapel Hill, Ann Arbor, what do I care? Agawam'll never find out.

   Then, I get into a relationship with someplace else. I tell it I love it, I treat it like a queen. Tell it all my secrets, make it part of all the inside jokes. Spent night after night with it, until one day... it kicks me out. I have to leave, because I can't afford to keep up with it anymore. Times have changed, I've changed, it changed... it just doesn't work anymore.

   So I come back to Agawam, the place I've been ragging on the whole time away. Mocking it, talking shit about it to anyone who'd listen, anyone who cared. I come back, with nowhere else to go, and it takes me in. It still loves me, even if I'd kicked it to the curb. As for me? I remember why I liked it in the first place. I take it all in, catch up on how it's been. Maybe even love it again.

   Thus my statement: Agawam is my fuck buddy. Much better than it being a person, I think.

   For a forced extended metaphor, damn. That went well.

   Course, one of the bigger strikes against Agawam is it's not the home of the best team in the Major Leagues. Mr. Lowe, whatever it is you're eating, give some to Bill, to wash down his Xenadrine with.

    I took a diet drug like that once... something I bought off of eBay that came in a hand-labeled bottle. Tasted like cinnamon... that's about all I remember. I only lost weight when I used my secret formula: running and not eating. Course, my hair's falling out now, so your mileage may vary.

   So here we sit, not on campus anymore, and the Olde Towne Team is 30-11. Thirty wins, eleven losses. If the Twins and Marlins successes weren't enough proof a player strike is a lock... you know it will end this way. The only way out? Rig the All Star Game.

   At first base for the American League... number 22... Tony Clark.

   Can I just say... giving my family digital cable TV is like using an assault rifle to shoot squirrels off your fence.
May 19, 2002

The Trustees, upon the recommendation of the faculty of the College of Communication, hereby confer upon Jonathan M. Couture the degree of Bachelor of Science, Journalism, with all the honors, rights, privileges and obligations pertaining to that degree. In testimony whereof this diploma is conferred at Boston, Massachusetts, this nineteenth day of May, 2002.

   • This is more than me. Or I. Can't remember just what grammar to use.

   It's more than the 800-plus who earned similar COM degrees, more than the roughly 4,000 in the Boston University Class of 2002. It's about our families, our friends, those that put us here, those that made it worthwhile to stay, and those who help us in the future.

   It's about the Red Sox kicking ass, against Seattle, on graduation day.

   So, why'd I go through with it? For my 86-year-old grandmother, who gave me a $5,000 savings bond before I could even spell college, so that one day this would happen. For my father, brother and mother, so I could be the first of our family to finish four years and walk off with a degree. For my journalistic mentor in high school, Larry O'Brien, because he believed I actually knew what I was doing - congrats on your upcoming retirement, Mr. O. For my journalistic mentors from college, Jon Klarfeld, Anne Donohue, plus Matt McSorley and the gang in Nashua.

   I did it for every piece of shit waste of space who'll never leave Agawam, but couldn't stop giving me shit for wanting to. I hope they enjoy their pickup trucks, beer guts and ugly spouses. I did it for the College Bowl gang - from Mark Coen, my first true friend met on this campus, through Ellen Rosoff, whose hands I leave the reins to - try to keep it out of the ditch, kids.

   All of you, from Andrea Nicole Abbott to William R. Yelenak, have helped to make me the Cooch I am today. You've all taken the time to deal with me, for good or for ill, and you've all played a part, be it as psychotic ex-girlfriend, tennis partner or person who snuck me into a BC-Virginia Tech football game with a fake Eagle ID Card.

   The fact that Amit is of Indian descent makes this story all the more amazing.

   It's at a time like now I'm reminded of a news clipping I saw as a freshman...

Best School From Hell - Anyone who thought the departure of Boston University chancellor John Silber might foster and kinder and gentler BU must have been sniffing the mimeograph machine in the teacher's lounge. The choice of jet-setting internationals and 20th-percentile students from Long Island public schools has recently shown it's as nasty as ever by terminating the school's football team (in mid-season, no less), clashing with its residential neighbors in Audubon Circle, and championing the gentrification of Kenmore Square. Next up: a painted wooden Citgo sign.
-- Boston Phoenix, 11/8/1998

   Goodbye Mountfort Estate. It's been oustanding. Goodbye Boston. You'll never really be rid of me. Goodbye college.


May 18, 2002 - A Night At The Symphony
   • The Pops really, if you're scoring at home. Why should the symphony win the fight for your entertainment dollar?

   1. The vibe of class. It doesn't matter that you don't know Mozart from Mothra, or Matt Bruce from a "syphilitic composer." When you're sitting in a dense crowd of the rich and spoiled, no one's quizzing you on the size of your trust fund. Plus, all the heavy stuff is left for Boston Symphony Orchestra.

   2. You know this stuff. The songs have words. It's all things your father listened to when he was a kid, if your father is my father. Even still, it's nice to know you can get a Simpsons reference from a Gershwin song, smile knowingly at your brother and not have to make an ass out of yourself.

   3. Rich people's foibles. When things are packed so tightly in tables on the floor, somebody's bound to knock a glass to the ground in the middle of the performance. Pair of those in a two hour span made for quite the uneasy stares.

   4. Our fight song sucks. BC gets "For Boston," covered nicely by the Dropkick Murphys. We get "Clarissima," written by a 1911 graduate and known by no one, as the failed sing-along last night proved. They also played the "athletic" "fight" "song" that gets air at the end of hockey games, but no BC Sucks! chants rose from the crowd.

   If Keith Lockhart had whipped out a "BC Sucks!" to end the show, the roof would have blown off the hall. Everyone was standing anyway after their grand finale, complete with flag... it would have been raucous, and so cool.

   Guess that's why less than everyone likes the symphony.

   The last two days have reminded me, because I had really forgotten, what a rich-baby pretty person school BU really is. I wish I had taken better advantage of this while I was here, though exactly how one would do this is up to question. My going nearly three full years without finding a hot girlfriend here, when there are an overabundance at every turn, could be one of America's great tragedies.

   I hate to sound like such an asshole, but seriously. Oh man, they're everywhere. Girls that would make you blush and question your homosexuality. The Spirit of Boston cruise made my understand completely how clubs can continue to captivate the college audience, because for every girl who shouldn't be wearing a pleather half-shirt, there's eight that need to be.

   On that note, you'll have to excuse me. Once Meg's done kicking me in the groin, I have a piece of paper I need to go pick up.
May 17, 2002 - The Perils Of Unemployment
   • A lot can happen in forty-five minutes.

   At 9 a.m., as I've been doing all week, I reported to the mail room for a full day's work - significance being this would be my last day there after four years. I've been there so long, it's hard to imagine not going in there and getting paid to do nothing anymore. A nothing job, yes, but one I've held every day I've been a student here.

   This will likely be the last "last time" story you'll have to hear... from here on out, there's not much else to say I won't be doing again. The farewell from my boss. "OK, thanks. If you die, e-mail me." Really, he is a nice guy.

   I'll miss the free office supplies and photocopies, that's for sure. I'll also miss my co-workers, boss included. Other than that, um..., that's about it. Free food too, that was always nice.

   At around 3 p.m., I got an e-mail from Long Island, telling me I'd been passed over for the reporting position at Southampton's start-up weekly. Can't complain there. She gave me a shot with a writing test, I did it, she picked somebody else. As it was, I was a little chilly on going to Long Island, but a writing job was a writing job. Combine this, plus responses from Brockton, Albany and Worcester, and it doesn't look like I'll be working as a reporter anywhere just yet...

   A little disappointing, but the blame can't be placed anywhere but on me. I should have been more active to get writing-related work as a freshman and sophomore, to thus get actual writing internships at actual famous newspapers. Damn you Free Press, you fuck me even when I'm not in the office!

   At 5 p.m., my mail room shift ended, thus making me officially unemployed.

   At 5:45, I had a job offer.

   Boss couldn't formulate the words to tell me this - maybe my telling him I was on my way to a cruise ship threw him. At no point after I went down for my first trial day did I ever really think they wouldn't offer me the job... there was just a thought of, "Well shit, what am I going to do if the sure thing falls through?"

   $530 a week ($27,560/year), with benefits. Details unavailable at press time, due to author forgetfulness and boss' vagueness when I asked all those weeks ago. Things won't be official until Monday, but let's just say there will be as much apartment hunting done as possible between now and next week.

   Let's also say when baseball's winter meetings kick off in Nashville, I'll be there if finances allow. The job search is not ending... we're taking it on a course of "perpetual upgrade." You keep trying to find me that perfect job, I'll keep making you hate me with every update I spew.

   So on the night I got my first picture taken with the backdrop a "Boston University Alumni" sign, I stood on top of the Spirit of Boston, looking back toward the lit city, giving Little Cooch advice for the fall.

   Bad Ending: Funny how wherever BU students go, a nightclub breaks out.

   Better Ending: Please open you dictionaries to "poignant." Pencil that one in.
May 16, 2002 - A Nomar Jersey 'Impresses' Me
"Because you're cute and you're funny and you love me and you touch my feet."
-- Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the secret to love. Least for today.

   • The sunglasses were only $120. I stand corrected.

   Today I took an online quiz: What High School Stereotype Are You? I would link it here, proudly displaying my witty result, with goofy cartoon and everything. The quiz said I was a jock. I think it's faulty.

   First, I had forgotten tonight was the farewell COM barbeque on the lawn. Then I didn't want to go, because I was tired. Didn't want to go because it was "dress to impress," and didn't want to wear a dress shirt and tie. Felt forced into going by Meg and Kristen Conway, so was pissed and pissy. Dejected that I couldn't go, because I wouldn't dress. Sucked it up angrily, tromped home. Changed into sweater, only to find brown shoes missing. Pissed again. Wore the blacks instead. Left the building, was immediately glad I went. Enjoyed the free food, the free drinks and seeing all the people I had class with but never actually met. Confused? Welcome to my psyche.

    My job search has been getting much press lately, as I'll soon be on my ass mooching off my parents again. But they needn't worry. I've taken a job working at The Souvenir Store across the street from Fenway Park. This place. If you've been to Fenway, you've been there.

   I suppose some of you may be wondering how this happened, all of a sudden. Well, journalism and I have had a rather rocky relationship. No one thinks I have the experience to be a reporter out of the box, I really don't want to read other people's copy for the rest of my life... a troubling combination. I'd gladly read sports copy, I'd do anything sports-related. My reaching almost $105K in a game of Sports Jeopardy today ought to show where my priorities lie.

   Fenway Park, no matter if I'm there much now, is at least one center of my universe. To even think about the Red Sox winning... it... the sheer thought just feels dirty. To have a tangible tie to that team, to draw a paycheck based on their successes, that would truly be where I belong.

   Jumping to a job with a Major League Baseball team doesn't happen... it's like your first job being at the Boston Globe. Overqualified to be a janitor, underqualified to be a secretary, I lie in a strange place of wasted opportunity and unfulfilled potential. Least until I make the decision to go to the Winter Meetings Job Fair in Nashville this year, there'll be no baseball jobs for me.

   All the other sports though... how could they not want me? [.. Insert puppy dog eyes and dimpled smile here. ..]

   At my new job, I'll stock shelves, sell t-shirts, converse with fans and generally work retail across the street from Fenway Park. I'll be happy, but I sense certain other will question this as the best use of my degree.

   It's not like I'm throwing away a huge payday in the journalism field... I'll probably be making more this way, for crying out loud. Is it a waste of my family's money and my own work to work at a souvenir store? Well, it's not like I'll just be a clerk forever. Eventually I'll move up to being management, I hope.

   This is definitely one of those things that laid out a lot better in my head than it does on the screen.

   Who's to say what any of us want to do is what we came to college wanting to do? I wanted to be student speaker at graduation, but the girl chosen is infinitely more qualified than I am - she was in Washington working on 9/11, and was so close to everything she was forced to take Cipro as a precaution. I took a radio class with her... she'll be excellent.

   Is it just me, or had you forgotten just what the hell Cipro did? And why do I have to be depressed on my graduation day? Yeah, I can't wait to spend twelve hours hearing about death and remembrance, especially from this guy.

   So I'm not really taking a job at The Souvenir Store. Still, I could do a lot worse. There should be some topic-spanning moral to this story, but damned if I know where I was going with this one. I think the goal was to get a scared call from my mother, thinking I actually was going to work there.

   Meg's summer lodging is in an MIT frat house, immediately next door to the Boston Church of Scientology. That's entertaining enough for me.
May 15, 2002 - $20 On The C's. Trust Me.
   • Let's be honest - most of the newer Dave Matthews Band material is pretty shitty. They've pulled an Oasis: stopped rocking and starting going all touchy-feely puke. Compare 'Crash' with 'Everyday'... just don't ask any hacky-sacking fourteen-year-olds. They'd love Dave if he started playing his guitar with a amputated arm.

   When I went to the Dave show at the Fleet two Decembers ago, we were approached before the show by a very boisterous kind who couldn't have been older than 15. "Hey guys, how ya doin? You been to see Him before? AMAZING. Absolutely amazing." It was like he was talking about Jesus.

   It was an excellent show nonetheless, and not even because I enjoyed watching the flames spring from the darkness with each toke.

   All that said, DMB's new radio single, "Where Are You Going," is damn good. Not sure what it is about it, but its got me. Course, I can't download the radio version of it anywhere, because every little pot smoker in the country uploads live bootlegs of everything Dave's ever done, drowning the market. Eh, what can you do?

   Things always can't be as perfect as they would be in my world. For example, people don't spend $130 on sunglasses in my world. They spend $15, and buy them at a highway rest stop.

   As nice as it is to drive around Boston and feel cool, it really is a no-car city. To walk from Boston U's western location all the way to the water isn't a stretch at all. On a nice night, as this one was, it's as beautiful a city as any in the nation - I'll throw all my chips out on that one. Those rich bastards and their apartments overlooking the Common and Garden... one day.

   It had been a while since I'd been down to Quincy Market... it's just not a place one needs to go all that much. All those little eateries I've never eaten in. I blame it on the demise of the World Soccer Shop - there's never been a store I've come so close to spending a king's ransom in. Every trip down to Faneuil Hall included a stop there, where I'd inevitably almost buy a jersey of some kind. Funny thing is, I don't think I ever bought myself anything in it. Everything was a gift.

   It's a magic store now. A God-damned magic store. One juggling pin to the crotch please.

   If you're scoring at home, and not in Boston, there are five buildings in the complex. Faneuil Hall at one end, an unnamed half-moon building at the other, and three long complexes stretching between (North Market, Quincy Market, South Market). Here... it's hard to explain.

   I sat on a bench, beneath a tree to the right of F. Hall. Looking across to Quincy Market, across the cobblestones as the Sun went down. Made me wish I was a photographer, not that any image can ever put the spring air in your lungs, the chill on your skin because you're wearing a thin Man U. jersey.

   This whole week, really this whole semester, has been about catching lightning in a bottle. About trying to relive four years in one of America's greatest cities in a matter of four months. No matter what you're talking about, be it girls, guns or golfing skills, you never know how great something was until it starts rolling off the tip of your fingers.

   The best referees are the ones you never notice. The safest places are the ones you never notice the police in. The best drinking water is the one... you best get the point.

   I could have gone to more Red Sox games. Could have done a pub crawl or two, as many of my classmates did tonight. Could have walked around with a list of tourist items, and checked them off as I went along. Would I love it here any less? Would I be preparing to miss this place any more?

   It's about the people more than anything. Ten years from now, if I move back here, it won't be the same. Friends will be gone. Vito won't be there to play tennis with in the ghetto. Bridget won't be there to call and have her refuse every attempt to go to a Red Sox game. What is now won't be later. You can't catch lightning in a bottle.

   It should also be noted you don't step on Superman's cape, you don't spit into the wind and you don't get this joke unless you've heard of Jim Croce.

   I meant it about that sunglasses thing. You know how many sausages I could buy with a week's pay?
May 14, 2002 - Zoinks On Fashion
"Psst, Jon. How are my boobs?"
-- When you tell me to quote two things, I'm always gonna quote the third.

   • We are all taught patience in different ways, some more trying than others. I think to poor Linda Cardellini, stuck as Velma in Scooby Doo.

   What do you figure happened in that casting call? Let's see. We've got Freddy Prinze, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matthew Lillard... aww shit, lunchtime! Just fill in the blanks... JUNIOR! GO PICK A FUCKING VELMA! WE'RE LATE FOR SPAGO!

   Can't you just see the set devolving into a high school social hierarachy, with the three popular people teaming up on the geek?

"Nice socks, Velma. What'd you do, lose a bet?"
"Shut up, Daphne! I'm the smart one!"
"Hey Velma, how's that fireplace you won on The Price is Right?"
"I don't know Shaggy, how are the video sales doing on SLC Punk!?"
"Shut up, four eyes..."

   This is why they put special features on DVDs.

   Sports teaches patience, even if your average sports fan has none. Won't it be nice to see Bills fans start shitting on Drew Bledsoe if they lost their first game? He'll start growing the Amit-named "losing the will to live" beard, start trying to make himself scramble... basically everything we know he sucks at. It'll be like every time I attempt to play soccer... the one sport I can't fake ability in.

   I know what you're saying, you can't fake ability in any sport. Thanks.

   Patience can pay off. The Celtics are back in the conference finals, and the "Whalers" are there for the first time period. Will either of them win their respecitve titles? Doubt it, but who cares? Last time I was this excited about either, Larry Bird was hitiing a falling-over-and-getting-fouled three against the Blazers in the Garden.

   It's not bandwagon jumping if you just stopped caring about the sport altogether. Least that's what I keep telling myself.

   All this said, is there anything that teaches patience greater than a guy shopping with his girlfriend? We're dealing with a topic where I'm not even close to being comfortable. This is what we're dealing with:

"Hey, why does that mannequin have nipples?"
-- I didn't know. Can't say as I ogle the Benetton window much.

   When I go to a mall, I go with a purpose. There's something I want to buy, I buy it and maybe something from Old Navy. I'll walk the whole mall once, buy my stuff and get out. Otherwise, I'd always walk home with seven video games, a splitting headache and a murder rap.

   Shopping with a girl is not like this. There's trying things on, there are whims, there are stores pumping Britney Spears out into the hallways. My lone complaint with all of it has nothing to do with myself, and not even anything to do with the judging of outfits: it's the perception.

   Look in the store you're about to enter... Wet Contempo Casual Seal Uniting Colors of the Gap, or something. You see any other guys? There's usually one or two, and that's all you need. If you're the only guy in the store, you're screwed. Every guy that walks by the store looks at you, and you're the whipped guy shopping with his girlfriend.

   It was much worse when it was with your mother in Lord Sears and Filene's, but this isn't much better. Guys need to travel in packs here... there needs to be some sort of solidarity. In a perfect world, this wouldn't bother me. I could tough it out. Course in a perfect world, I wouldn't feel guilty for kissing in public because I remember what it's like as a single guy.

   There's just nothing I can grasp for in Express. I don't even begin to understand female fashion... it was the same problem I had in Production & Design. I just look at something and like it, or hate it. Don't know why I do, can't explain it, you just know. Clothes have no personality to like, they have no personality at all. They're pieces of cloth knitted and seamed by some twelve-year-old in Guam, and sold for $800. How can a panty the size of a Tostito cost anything more than $10?

   How can a girl walk with her heel five inches off the ground? With a gut peeking out from beneath her halter top? With pants made of leather or an accurate substitute? I guess what I'm asking is... how do inner-city girls get out of bed every morning and not realize they're hideous?

   Do I really need anything more than collared shirts, t-shirts for under them, jeans and khakis? Am I missing something? Didn't think so.

   Hey, it was still nice to go to the mall with her. They're quite nice. You did ask.
May 13, 2002 - The Perception Of Failure
   • It's not really a chicken and egg scenario, since I'm guessing most people would say our moods match the weather, versus the weather matching our moods, but it's one of those questions, isn't it? The kind that make the stupid feel emphatic about their answer, because they've forgotten to consider all the reasons the overeducated can't stop dwelling on.

   Cypher was right, "Ignorance is bliss." Even so, talk about a movie with an unhealthy cult following, and The Matrix is continually nearing the top of the list. And talk about a website completely out of my jurisdiction, let's combine Star Wars and Judaism. Next time, why don't you just punt me dead in the groin on the way in the door and get it over with?

   As you've come to enjoy, I digress. Today was miserable from the first glance out the glass. If it rains even half as bad as this come Sunday, I'll look like a mob hit by lunchtime. Poured buckets, with no end likely until I'm trafficking Meg's goodies into her new frat house home. There really wasn't much else inherently bad about today, just a general glaze of shit over everything. Know that oily feeling you've got after you haven't showered for a while, after you get off an airplane? Yeah, that's the one.

   For four years, I've gotten my haircut at shop called Louie's, right on campus. I still remember my first trip there as a freshman, one weekday night. Had been putting it off for a good while, mainly because I seek a barber who's good at not talking to me, and eventually caved. The guy who cut my hair, long since fired, was infinitely nice and actually remembered me on my next visit.

   Combine that with my barber while growing up sawing off my nice sideburns without asking, and a business partnership with Louie's was formed.

   I've never really understood the concept of "being a regular" at something like a barbershop though. I go in, you cut my hair, I leave. Look at my hair, it's a simple process. Some men have it even simpler via the "horseshoe effect." Yet they will sit there and wait for the shop's owner, Louie, to cut their hair. Louie cut my hair exactly once in four years. It looked no different after he was done with it.

   Today I went in for a last cut. Made a long lunch break of it... considering Joe's phasing me out of importance at work, damned if I'm going to run back in a fervor. Why will I miss these things? Because they're routine? Because they're in Boston? No really, I'm asking. Not actually looking for an answer, but in making conversation with you, the imaginary reader.

   Imaginary reader, my grades weren't too good this semester. OK, maybe you'd think they're good, or maybe you think grades don't mean anything, but you do to me. A- in Geography, B+ in Pop Culture, B- in Radio make a 3.43. For three classes, that sucks.

   I will leave Boston University with one appearance on the Dean's List, and a 3.34 grade point average. Would I have done differently if I'd always known 3.4 was honors? Would I have worked harder? Debatable. I did much better than the target I'd set for myself. Still, when I said I was a failure earlier, I meant it.

   Jon Rea had some quote about how man's drive is his greatest flaw, a quote one would only draw from Rea, but I forgot it.

   When I read things written by people with real problems, who really do think self-destructively, I tend to feel a little guilty about being set off by America's rampant stupidity... the kind that has you sitting outside a theater for months, just to get Star Wars tickets.

"'I've waited three years and, my gosh, it's finally here,' said Lorela Mendoza, 25, of Glendale, Calif., who bought tickets to see the new film four times on opening day. 'Each time you see the movie, it's always going to be different, and you wouldn't believe how many times I've seen the original trilogy.'"
-- No. I'd believe it.

   Just as a note, I've never sat outside a ticket office overnight and waited to buy tickets for a sporting event. And you were all ready to spring that on me...

   Still, it doesn't take much to make me happy. Coming home to find my roommate's girlfriend, the estate's newest resident, washed all the dishes I'd resigned myself to having to do. When I bought my sandwich at lunch, I got 34 cents change... the exact amount needed to buy a stamp for the letter I had to mail. Just when you thought all I did was bitch...

   Then there's this, the author of which I won't speak. It would completely blow his street cred.

"The man responsible for most of my liquafood intake this year, especially before I was 21, Cooch, as he is affectionately known...not that affectionately, is a rising star in Vito's Parade of Friends. His rocketing stock over the last year and a half has staked him the title of Departing Character I'll Miss The Most. From his website--one of the funniest things in existence unless he talks about sports teams this Pennsylvanian couldn't give a shit about--to memories of the Big E (cow shit and testicle envy), to the non-international "Fuck Canada" tour, Jon has done much that will make him missed. Yeah, he also had the sweetest digs on campus with windows that open, which I will miss, but far less so. If he stays local, I've already promised him a couple of my four day weekends and I hope I do get to use them exploring the wilds of Taunton."

   No, I still don't have a job, Mother. Yes, you can stop asking now.
May 12, 2002 - Happy Birthday To Me
   • It's Mother's Day and my birthday, all rolled up into one whopping Sunday. This happens fairly often, thus saving both Mother and I from trying to one-up the other with gifts. Maybe it only bothers me, because I can't buy gifts for anyone. Ever. Its gotten to the point I just ask the person what they want, and go from there. When I gave Meg a dining hall pear for her birthday last September, she should have been glad I didn't attempt anything complex.

   Ooh look! A wicker basket full of... Lego pieces and blueberries?

   Twenty-two. Three years until I can rent a car, and after that, it's all holding out until I get an AARP card. Rock it out. I just don't like gift-giving at holidays... makes me feel guilty. That said, I have a new shirt I'll be wearing tomorrow.

   Were this a sitcom, the birthday would be an excellent time to take stock of the year, take stock of myself and play some slow instrumental music while I did it. Maybe a few close-up camera shots, a tear suspended in mid-cheek... you get the idea. A year ago, Meg was a confusing story that made me smile, I had no apartment, hadn't yet lined my job in Nashua and never smelled the inside of a casino. A lot of shit happens in twelve months, not the least of which is what you're reading right now.

   I really enjoyed being home for the weekend, more so than usual. Got sang awake this morning, won a seven-game Sega Soccer Slam series with Matt, saw my grandmother, my uncle... hell of a time. With Meg there as well, seeing her get along better with my family each time makes me infinitely happy. The thought of it being the last week I'll live a block from Meg til at least January is extremely sobering. She would have to top the list of things I didn't see coming this time last year.

   'Infinity' is a word used for dramatic effect, overused and I hate myself for it. Almost as much as I hate this guy.

   While I was away, the entire campus up and left. My apartment is now full of Brendan's girlfriend's crap, so I can look forward to a week of acoustic country music, uncomfortable silence and still having to wash the damn dishes. I hope that butter I left under his radiator is melting real good.

   There's but a fistful of posse members left in the city with me. Most of us are graduating, or go to Northeastern, where no one ever actually graduates. They just eventually move off campus into jobs, and no one can tell just where one ends and the other begins.

   The campus is empty now. Warren Towers is nearly all dark, while the Student Village remains fully lit. Within a week, for those of us left in campus housing, it's all going to change. All that mockery from our families about having responsibilities, about having to step off the ledge, it's gonna happen. Will I be happier? Will I learn to deal? Maybe someday. Probably not at first, as I struggle to find my bearings and find a cable modem.

   Ethernet is my friend, and my connection to my friends. If I lose it, I'm killing someone, and it'll probably be you. No offense.

   So, happy birthday to me. Where will I be when I hit 23? Keep reading. Maybe it'll make sense by then.
May 11, 2002 - Defeatist Fun
   • I had three nightmares as I slept last night. The first was me waking up one day, bald past the crown of my head. I don't remember exactly the premise, but being obscenely bald seems enough a nightmare. The second featured a river of some sort of deadly sludge, rushing toward another river, where I stood beyond. We thought the sludge would be diverted by the second river, but it overran. Vito was there for some reason, and he leapt in the river, got stuck up to his neck in quicksand and died.

   The third I can't remember anymore, but I'm sure it had nothing to do with losing $100 at Catch A Wave.

   There are positives to come out of this, not the least of which is I finally get to retire the gambling outfit. I still had a good time even losing that much money, strange as that may seem. The game's just fun, it's a stress reliever. Spending money for a good time doesn't seem so outlandish.

   Still, God damn it.

   To win six times your bet (6:1) automatically, you need pick higher or lower correctly six times in a row. Three times I made it to five straight, and lost each time. Higher or lower than a Jack? I get a King. Than a nine? King again. A six? Yeah, a five.

   The only other time I came close, I had four in a row and froze on a nine. The next two cards? Three, queen. Fuck me.

   All told, I spent more money today than I have in the past month. Twenty for a candle, fifty for a video game, plus the "wonder of it all." Somehow, I'm not bothered.

   Is it because the pit boss was among the first to wish me a happy birthday? Who can tell...
May 10, 2002 - Absolut Shit
"There's no way any NFL team could really be as bad as the Patriots looked today. A decent high school team could have taken them to overtime."
-- Cooch's World, Sept. 23, 2001. These are the same Patriots who, four months later, won the Super Bowl.

   • Hey, nobody's perfect.

   In a way, I'm glad the Red Sox aren't, because I wasn't going to say anything about them during a 9-game winning streak. However, with they having lost... best record in the Majors. Is it just May? Yes. Do I care? Not much.

   Also not perfect, but with the best record in their league? The Nashua Sprawl of the Tenacious DFP fantasy league. How nice of the gang to let me hold first place as a birthday gift? "Everything's coming up Milhouse!"

   Yeah, by the way, I turn 22 on Sunday. Exactly one week before I graduate. Funny how when I was a kid, I'd count down to my birthday for months. Now, it's one of those "oh yeah, I'm aging" moments.

   The Long Island Princess is a phenomenon rarely discussed, yet widely accepted, at Boston University. Long Island is a very special place - anyone who has ever met a Long Islander knows this without question. It's one of America's few areas where residence can be identified so specifically, without the topic of "So, where are you from?" ever being mentioned.

   Before anyone gets riled, I know many girls from Long Island. I work with one in the Mail Room, and she's the sweetest person you'd ever want to meet. Add her to the numerous Islanders at the Free Press, and I have no problem with that southernmost piece of Canada. Still, the question lies of whether I can work there.

   I've been chatting with a woman, FreeP alum, who's starting a weekly on the eastern end of the island, near the Hamptons. Long story short, she needs a reporter for school committee and various stuff in the unincorporated towns west of the Hamptons - they're all a part of this place called Brookhaven... I'll figure it out eventually.

   For me to work in Long Island would be the ultimate irony, as my family has mocked "those people" forever and a day. Last year at the GHO, a guy from Long Island followed Dad and I around. "Followed" of course accompanied by "talking" and "general annoyance."

   This is going nowhere fast. Going into bullet mode:

   • I'm writing this from Feeding Hills, due to the Foxwoods trip, due to Mario's 21st birthday party last night. The party featured quite possibly the world's worst DJ, whose repetoire was essentially fart noises and asking for someon to turn on the lights.

   There was a pow-wow going on at the Polish Club as well. Sadly, I did not write an article about it.

   There was a jousting setup at this party, as provided by Erik Sunny. Notable only because I think I gave Matt seven concussions in a ten minute span, along with stunting his ability to have children.

   • On today: Where have you gone, John Candelaria? A question I'm pretty sure we all had on our lips.

   There was also a spread on mothers of major leaguers, with the headliner being Derek Lowe's mother. The picture of him as a youth proved one thing: his head has been the same size since he was eight.

   • Troy O'Leary is an Expo? No wonder they're drawng so few, if only because they can't figure out how there's a black Irishman.

   Hey, at least tomorrow there'll be gambling stories.
May 9, 2002 - WWE Better Get The 'F' Back
   • [ Most of today's entry was ripped out of that paragon of journalism, the Boston Metro, Boston's largest and least-informed daily. In theory, the humor's too easy, but anything less would be uncivilized. ]

   Just shooting from the hip...

   The lead photo is Reverend Paquin, accused of fingering children, praying in court. Did it not occur to you to pray while you were molesting the altar boys? Or would that have been blasphemy? Wait, maybe you did pray. That worked real well the first time, didn't it?

   There has not been a major news story to come round the bend that I care less about than this one. I don't go to church, I've almost never been in a church, whippity doo da day. Is anyone surprised to learn priests are molesting altar boys? I always just assumed this was how it was. I make no attempt to appear at all informed on religion, but are we really supposed to believe these guys have sworn off any sexual contact outside their palms?

   I believe in God, but I don't believe in religion, if that makes any sense. All I know is this: replace 'palms' with 'psalms', and you just might have my worst pun of the year.

   On page 4, there's a picture of a police robot dragging a badly injured Palestinian bomber across a street. Guess the guy was trying to blow up a bus stop, and he screwed up, injuring only himself. How sad is it we've reached the point a guy trying to blow up a bus stop gets only passing mention? Meanwhile, the Afghans catching a Canadian goat and eating it got front-page real estate.

   A few years ago, before this whole Israel-Palestine thing... blew up... (I'm sorry, I had to), my father announced one night that neither side wanted peace, so fuck them both. For better or worse, his view has stayed with me through to the present.

   Both make valid points, and neither wants to listen to the other. Palestine got screwed out of their land, yet Arafat is an asshole. The Israelis are our allies, yet Sharon is also an asshole. If this were a fight on the playground, the teacher would have taken all the land away and smacked them both in the face with a ruler by now. Hmmm...

   Steve DeOssie writes a column about how the Red Sox suck, we just don't know it yet. The saddest thing in the world is a former athlete talking a sport he never played. DeOssie is better than most, but my lingering image of him will always be as a New York Giant in Super Bowl 25. After Scott Norwood signed himself up for a lifetime subscription to "Goating Monthly," a young DeOssie ran onto the field with a video camera... and four seconds left on the clock.

   All the photographers came out, the Gatorade got dumped on Parcells, everyone's celebrating... yet there's four seconds on the clock. Unlike this year, where they just discreetly ran the waning moments off, they actually cleared the field and made the Giants snap the football. Somewhere, there's an alternative universe with Jeff Hostetler fumbled that snap, and the Bills won. Sure am glad I don't live there.

   Lastly, in perhaps the Metro's most disturbing moment, there's a picture of a fat woman 'Jazzercizing' in San Francisco. Apparently, it's the fat aerobics instructor who won the lawsuit previous mentioned by The Bruce. Guess she's a legit aerobics instructor, but Jazzericse wouldn't hire her because she looks like she ate Fat Bastard.

   I'm not sure what amazed me more: that this woman is a legit aerobics instructor, or that her ass can fit in anything smaller than a car cover. She has to be a fistful of Twinkies short of 300 pounds. In a way I wish I had the picture, yet in another I'm so very glad...

   What I really don't get is why they were running the picture. It was supposedly for the "Fat Freedom Fighter's NO DIET DAY," yet they were Jazzercizing. Apparently when you're that fat, the act of execising increasing your hunger, thus making you more likely to trip over a cumb and swallow a bakery.

   All this said, Dan Caccavarro wants me. He just doesn't know it yet. Who better to work at a paper designed to fit a lot of news in a small space than someone who can dismiss the Israel-Palestine conflict in a handful of sentences?

   [ Job Update: Tonight was my third and final trial night at The Standard-Times, and went much better than the last. Laid out three full pages, all of which will see publication by Sunday. I'll pull a paycheck for these three nights regardless, but a hiring decision on their end should be coming within two weeks.

   The whole thing leaves me extremely conflicted. As I read the staff copy last night, I was ripping my hair out, because I know I could write better articles. Yet as I was laying out pages, I could very easily see myself doing this, living in Taunton, seeing Meg on the weekends.

   Cable TV or not, the place doesn't hold a candle to The Telegraph. Actual job specifics, co-workers, access to the AP Photo wire... and I'm not just saying it because I know my old boss reads this. Still, New Bedford's a hell of a paper, and there's enough dailies around I could undoubtably get some freelance work.

   The jury's still out, and there's a lot of cards still sitting on the table elsewhere via friends and relatives of friends. About the only thing I'm sure of is a move home's upcoming after the 20th. You poor bastards in Feeding Hills... the bitch is coming back after all, if only for a few weeks. ]

May 8, 2002 - Pizza, Beer and Round Twins
   • It all finished up at 10:10 a.m. and yes, I did check my watch. With the Pop Culture exam in the books, I stood in the hall for twenty minutes waiting for Meg, letting it slowly sink in that college, for all intensive purposes, is over for me. Let the rumors begin...

   In a locker on the second floor of BU's College of Arts and Sciences, I have placed a small token of myself. There it will sit, until someone removes it. If you want to be that someone, go. Just don't expect anything more than, say, a rolled-up index card.

   OK, so slay you're having sex with a 14-year-old girl. Hey, maybe you're 14. Maybe you like little girls. Maybe you wear big Mr. Magoo glasses and thought it was... whatever a 14-year old looks like through Coke bottle glasses. Regardless, don't freakin' tape it. Shouldn't this go without saying? Who's having a problem understanding you don't tape yourself doing illegal things?

   Making Aaliyah your protege? Good. Marrying her when she's 15? Less so.

"It has nothing to do with this. I really don't think it's fair to say anything about Aaliyah."
-- It's sweeping the nation. Enroll now in the Gary Condit School of Interviewing, and your next job could bring you oodles of power to abuse.

   You see? Why worry about the stupid? Eventually they all just burn themselves out, if not by running into parked cars or falling off observation towers, by having sex with pre-teens. Hey, don't judge him. He believed he could fly.

   Know what's even better than taping yourself having sex with a 14-year old? Going on a pipe bomb spree designed to make a smiley face. Can't you just see the feds looking at the map?

"Bob, doesn't that look like a smiley face?
"Sure does, Tom."
"Think he planned that?"
"Yeah, sure he did, dumbass."

   I think when I decide I'm disgruntled enough to blow up people, I'm going to design them into a fucking smiley face. Can't you just see him sitting in his house, doodling on a map, with a stupid smile on his face? Is he aware the little dots on the towns aren't actually where the towns are?

"Son, why'd you choose who you did to bomb. Random chance?
"You idiot. It's a smiley face! Down with AmeriKa! Rock out with Apathy!
"Funny. Looks like a random pattern. Definitely not a smiley."
"AHHHHHHHH! My life is ruined!"

   Or something like that.

   What a great prank, pipe bombing people's mail. You want to pull a prank? Toilet paper people's mail. Egg people's mail. You fuckwad.

   [ The fact that I'm dedicating this entry to Jon Rea, and then filling it with accounts of the stupid, is mere coincidence. Stupid things happen, he has his going-away party... I can't shape the present, you know.

   Though he is going to take classes four days a week in Pennsylvania, then drive to Boston every weekend to spend time with his new girlfriend. No, that's not stupid, per se... ]

   How can you not love what women do to guys? Good luck back in Pa, Mr. Rea. Here's hoping you don't become too big of a hick townie...
May 7, 2002 - Yo-Yo, Goodbye
   • Boston University has 12 undergraduate colleges, plus a bevy of other programs and graduate schools. Were I a student in ten of them, I would have cinched graduating with Latin honors long ago. Unfortunately, I'm in the school with the second highest requirements... my B+ in Advanced Radio this semester came through yesterday, making it mathematically impossible for me to graduate with a 3.40 GPA.

   There really shouldn't be much fanfare to this - I would have needed full-out A's in my three graded classes to land right on 3.4, and though my schedule is easy, I'm not taking 'Intro to Breathing' and 'The History of Red Sox Baseball.' It's something that smacks of a baseball team being eliminated from playoff contention in early August - there was no way they were making it, but you still feel depressed when the mathematical miracle goes away.

   Obviously, it's my own fault, as I took the classes. My whole collegiate career, I've been shooting for a 3.2, the arbitrary minimum number I assigned to my scholarship money. I've never been even close to dropping under it, so all along I've felt rather satisfied with myself. So when, earlier this semester, I came across a printout in the FreeP office showing honors for all BU's colleges, imagine my dismay...

   I've been very lucky over the years. 'School' is something I'm inherently good at - Mother likes to think of me as one of those kids who could be at an Ivy if I ever actually put my full potential to work. I've never bought into it fully, but anyone who knows Mom is aware you don't argue about her children. Ever.

   I think this is bothering me so much because being an honors student has always just been an afterthought. Essentially aced elementary school. No C's until senior year AP Physics, and even that was weighted up to some undeserving number. There were many students who did better than me in high school - 19, come to think of it - yet they were all my friends, so damned if I cared. Still, I felt smart. People thought of smart people, and the unimformed ones often thought of me.

   The admiration of the stupid is what truly makes one great in this country. Think about it... you think anyone in Mensa was urging Warren Beatty to run for President?

   I actually was decently close to three A's this semester, given the tripe I was taking. The numbers probably would have come out a few hundreths short, so this is probably a blessing. I'm smart. I'll just write some Latin on my diploma.

"The U.S. has a vital interest in that area of the country."
-- Vice President Dan Quayle, when asked about Latin America.

   As of 11 a.m. Wednesday, my undergraduate academic career will be over. The 'History of American Popular Culture' final, if last night's study-fest with the Mrs. proved anything, is something just full of questions about things I already know. Studying was just putting a tuxedo on a penguin. A very small tuxedo.

   Given my final today took all of 25 minutes, I think I've finally beaten the system at something. Wait... did someone say something about beating the system?


Lest you have forgotten, Cooch's World and subsidiaries are organizing a trip to that Pequot wonderland, Foxwoods Resort Casino.
This upcoming Saturday, indulge yourself by watching me dump money playing Catch-A-Wave, Roulette and other games where the odds are against me. If you're coming, and you should be, e-mail so I know.

May 6, 2002 - The End Is The Beginning
"You have to know your kids to know what will bother them. My friend's kid was bothered by 'Harry Potter.' I was bothered by 'Love & Basketball.' It's rated PG-13, but there was a sex scene in there that was too realistic."
-- The inevitable "Spider-Man Is Too Violent For Kids!" story. My lack of shock doesn't make it any more palatable.

   • So, what movies can you show your kids? Pokemon's way too violent, Transformers would teach them it's OK to turn into a giant robot, Curly Sue encourages respect for the homeless... guess I'll just have to leave them in the closet until they turn 18.

   It is nice to see an article where the parents actually have a brain in their head, where "It's up to the parent to control their kids" wins out over "For all children, there's a potential to trigger anxiety and stress and more viewing of the world as a dangerous place - it's a different world now." There does need to be some caution to ensure kids don't start jumping off rooves shooting silly string from their wrists, but someday, your little Betty will start watching the news. Then you're screwed.

   Speaking of stories I can see coming...

   Dread works in mysterious ways. You'll dread the strangest little things, the most menial task, the most necessary item on a to-do list... even the things you know you'll enjoy and know you have to do. Such was tonight's reunion.

   Approximately a million years ago, I was a freshman in college - not to be confused with the billion years ago you were a freshman in college. With most of the current posse still wandering the halls of our nation's high schools, my circle of friends was much smaller. For the most part, it was a circle of three: Renee from Northeastern, Amit from BC and Jen Smist from pretty much exactly where I came from. It was a simple progression: Renee and I went to Scotland together in the summer of '98, she went to prep school with Amit, I'd been going to school with Jen since the dawn of civilization (a.k.a. 5th grade).

   Agawam has four elementary schools than run K-4, then for 5th grade the single Middle School - Jr. High - High School track begins. None of you give a flying fuck about this, but as with everything else I write, it's all just building a case to use against you someday.

   There were many nights spent in NU's Stetson Hall East, sitting on those mattress couches, staring upward to the Pru from Renee's window. That 6 a.m. trip to the now-departed Kenmore IHOP after a sleepless night of drinking and stuffing Cheerios up noses, the aborted trip to the Top Of The Hub because my frosh roomie Jet wore no more than a wife beater... stories that don't stand out much, unless you still think of me as the nerd I came to Boston as. The four of us stayed close beyond freshman year, but things waned as Renee moved off-campus, as Amit broke up with his girlfriend (notable, as she's Renee's roomie and best friend), as Smist did whatever it is she does now.

   It'd make a hell of a book. The night at Renee's apartment when I stole a five-gallon Poland Spring bottle of water and put it in her kitchen, the Cheerios night when a drunk Amit fell asleep in the women's room, the party at Amit's where I played ten straight games of Beirut, Renee's sophomore year roomies who tried to bang the entire Husky hockey team... wait for a slow summer day, and I'll start giving these their due.

   Three of us went out to eat tonight - Amit skipped, as he's quite prone to do nowadays. Hadn't seen Jen since hockey season, hadn't seen Renee since I dumped far too much on the G-Men and hadn't seen the Sunset Bar & Grill ever, which apparently is a crime on campuses across the city.

   Yeah, it's great they have 112 beers. Know what? I'm only going to drink about five of them, so calm down.

   The meal smacked of finality. Sitting in a college dive, with friends I haven't seen together in eighteen months, it was a great time Amit should have troubled himself to come to. Still, I have to wonder when it'll happen again, if it'll happen again. Walking the streets of the college ghetto, never a place I've spent much time... do I want to be there again? It's a forbidden fruit thing - no one wants to be the old graduate hanging around when he's not welcome.

   I had a revelation today, about what I should be doing with myself into the future. Look outside of journalism, inside Boston. There's eight million places to work in this city, and even though 7.5 million of them wouldn't hire me, that still leaves a pretty number who would.

   It's funny how you can go four full years knowing exactly what you want to do with yourself, then start to doubt it just as you're on the cusp of making that step. Every time someone says they wish they knew what they wanted to be, like I do, least it gets a laugh out of me.

   Such is life in the worst job market in half a decade. You'd be doubting yourself too if nobody, anywhere, would even consider your reporting skills.

   Thank God I didn't see Spider-Man over the weekend... I might start trying to be a superhero.
May 5, 2002 - 3-Sixty-5 Barbeque
   • So let me get this straight. Frasier and Roz are sleeping together, because it's a rule that all NBC shows must eventually investigate this route in their path to jumping the shark. Will & Grace, Friends, Ed, Friends (again)... suppose the only positive here is I can't wait for it to hit The West Wing. Or, better yet, Law & Order. When Briscoe and Green face a case that leaves them guessing, they'll do anything for a lead...

   And let me get this straight. This Thursday will be "an ER to cherish," because Anthony Edwards is on the cusp of dying of cancer. So I'm cherishing what, his weakened condition? His dribbling, drooling and being unable to bond with his rebellious teenage daughter, leading to strings of incomprehensive expletives about race? Here's an idea: When all your talent leaves your show, go off the air. Don't kill them, don't stab them, don't turn them into murderers... just go away. Just don't kill Frank Sinatra the weekend you do it.

   From the Disarming My Own Argument Deparment, The Boston Globe Magazine ran this article today saying private universities are struggling to justify their big price tags. Also, I feel I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Jen got an internship for the summer at the Stanford Linear Accelerator, which sounds very important and prestigious. My point in dismembering her argument was not to personally attack her - her talents deserved a lot better than Holyoke Community College.

   Yet this does not stop my continued "want to deny the truth. Am I supposed to believe given the same scenario I had, with financial aid making several private universities cheaper than UMass-Amherst ever would have been, she would have chosen UMA over other schools? Here I thought she was at UMass because she made the best of a bad situation, of having to pay for school by herself. Call me whatever you want, but I like it at BU. Never for a second have I regret going here over any other school, and I hope Matt has an even better four-year run than I did. Given the background info he's gotten from me over the years, he'll have a hell of an advantage over your typical newbie from California.

   Today, Meg and I lived it up in the Wake at a barbeque put on by the outgoing editor. Each of us had our own fun: I played whiffle ball, basketball and stuffed my face, while Meg sat on the stairs and gossiped about boys.

   Hey, you can't knock a solid stereotype.

   Funny how on 5/5/2002, the phrase "Meg and I" seems as normal as me firing up too many shots in a pickup game. It wasn't so on 5/5/2001 though...

   It's anniversary talk time. Duck and cover, you'll all be OK.

   On May 5, 2001, the Boston Breakers made their debut on BU's Nickerson Field, losing a 1-0 decision to Brianna Scurry's Atlanta Beat. Angered by the violation of their finals' study period, BU students rioted in the streets around West Campus, sitting on the train tracks, burning their Lifebooks and pointing at police. I'd say "clashed" with police, but God forbid we do anything active. As the game finished up, a girl I'd just started talking to jokingly invited me to her Rich Hall dorm room to drink After Shock, now and forever to be referenced as "Candy Booze."

   She'd been coming to College Bowl all year, when my iron fisted reign was at its strongest. Since, she's told me I came across as "intimidating" and "above her," why we spoke all of twice that year. She IM'd me for some reason in late April, and we ended up at the same BUCB-based party about a week later, where we stayed until at least 6 a.m. Those of you who remember the "tequila that tasted like feet," yeah, she brought that straight from Mexico.

   So I go down there, have all of a shot of Candy Booze, and we watch TV until three or four. It was the fun "post-SNL" hours of NBC broadcasting, featuring "Your Big Break" with Carlton from Fresh Prince of Bel Air, "Amateur Night At The Apollo" and God knows what else. It also gave me a chance to look at her roommate's framed photo of Jesus, looking an awful lot like a young Nick Cage.

   I left/was kicked out at some point, beginning the long walk from the campus' west end to its east with police from the field giving me a staredown.

   It's at least 4 a.m., and I'm alone. The first thing I was going to do was start another riot, you assholes.

   Within a week, she came down to the palace at Danielsen to watch cable, and ended up spending the night when it became too late for her to go home. But since that date's been forgotten by both parties, today would be the unofficial one-year anniversary for Cooch and Meg.

   It's extremely unofficial considering we didn't formally exchange couple vows until December, but hey, Nick Cage as Jesus beats the hell out of a handwritten note at Logan Airport anyday.

   Since I've been purposely holding out on mentioning this to her all day, one would think I have some poetic verse to spew here, the kind that will have mocking mushy e-mails flooding my inbox before I get this posted. You all should know me better than that. Just the thought of writing something revealing and mushy is giving me a flop-sweat right now.

   Much love, Margaret. Good luck on your law final today - at least one of us believes you're going to ace it.
May 4, 2002 - Party Plunge
   • Most like sausage at a baseball game, blanketed with peppers and onions. Some like it on their pizza, amidst the cheese, onions and requisite peppers. Some would even eat it plain. But no one, least on a regular basis, likes sausage in their parties.

   The lesson for today, children? Girls will choose studying for finals over watching guys drink, deal and play video games. A special note has to go to Lindsey Olsen, the only femals who stuck it out and stayed for the duration. I attribute that to the liter of vanilla vodka she cleaned out alone, but that's neither here nor there.

   Despite the failings from the femals perspective, 98 Mountfort #2 will still go down as the place many watched the unthinkable: a successful Patriots playoff run. Though New Years' was special, no affairs could ever equal those surrounding the Snow Bowl and the Super Bowl. Having watched the game tape afterwards, it can't even begin to parallel. The City Hall Plaza celebration? Same thing. The moment we knew Vinatieri's kick was going true, the salsa-kicking frenzy that ensued over the next few hours is just why people like sports.

   This apartment has been integral in my enjoyment this year. Its allowed Meg free reign to come over when she wants, given me a kitchen where I can make dinners like "Pork Chop On Bed Of Ramen" and "Sausage, Applesauce and Curry Rice Surprise," made Koosh Basketball a reality years after receiving the hoop, motivated the purchase of the television... I can not imagine having lived anywhere else. It's like theft - I keep thinking I'm going to come home one day and the university, realizing their mistake, will have station two more students to live in my bedroom.

   It's essentially been the school's largest single, with only token appearances by Country Brendan O'Malley, soon to be releasing a shitty country western album at a FYE near you. It's amazing - for a kid who's here about six hours a week and an upstanding individual, he nearly claimed the "worst roommate ever" title with a late second-semester charge.

   If nothing else, tonight's affair was the coming-out party for one Matthew Paul Couture, who had a grand-old time. Putting down nine drinks and winning at least one game of Asshole, I think he'll fit in fine.

   Better than I ever did.
May 3, 2002 - Pun Involving Answer And Truth
"Larry Bird is not walking through that door, fans. Kevin McHale is not walking through that door and Robert Parish is not walking through that door. And if you expect them to walk through that door, they're going to be gray and old. ... As soon as they realize that those three guys are not coming through the door, the better this town will be for all of us.''

"The only thing we can do is work hard. And all this negativity that's in this town sucks. And I've been around when Jim Rice was booed. I've been around when [Carl] Yastrzemski was booed. And it stinks. It makes the greatest town, greatest city in the world, lousy. The only thing that will turn this around is being upbeat and positive, like we are in that locker room. So if you think we are not coming out to play against the Toronto Raptors, you are mistaken. Only we are not coming to play with Bird, McHale, and Parish. Or [Bob] Cousy or [Bill] Russell. We are coming with young guys that want to get better and want to play the game. And we are going to stay positive all the way through it. And if you think I will succumb to negativity, you are wrong. You've got the wrong guy leading this basketball team."
-- Rick Pitino on March 1, 2000. He succumbed to negativity within a year.

   • It was a hell of a night, and I remember watching it. Halloween night, 1997. It was Rick Pitino's first game as Celts coach, and it was a big one - the defending-champion Bulls came to the FleetCenter. With the C's so young and inexperienced, facing a machine still to win two more Larry O'Brien trophies, it was to be a mauling.

   Celtics 92, Bulls 85. Hope sprung eternal after that. It was the night every Celtics fan, even a pseudo-C's fan like myself, believed. Good times were coming back again. Rick Pitino, with his huge contract and his title, he would lead Boston to the title.

   It wasn't to be.

   So in came Jim O'Brien, unheralded, balding, workmanlike... everything Pitino never was. Early signs were positive, as the team finished by splitting their last 48 games. There was a playoff run, albeit a failed one, and the corner was turned.

   Tonight, the jury came back from deliberations. The Celtics never trailed through three, yet having watched the games in Philadelphia, you knew it was far from over. Two games, three and four, that easily could have gone green had they gotten a call. Tonight, they were still not getting calls, as Tommy "You got any valium?" Heinsohn would gladly tell you. The NBA's special in the regard - in no other sport can the officials keep a team in the game so effectively.

   With 5:39 to go in the fourth, Antoine Walker hit a moster three-pointer. As the Fleet crowd roared like they never have before this series, the scoreboard read 100-79, and as Antoine danced across midcourt as only he can, the Celtics were back.

   They're not the Celtics of the 'Big Three' - Pitino was right, because they'll never be back. They're not even the Celtics that can dominate a league, least until someone unseats the Lakers. But the Celtics, the franchise this city can turn to in the face of BoSox swoons and Bruins playoff exits, the franchise with the most titles in the city, are back.

120 - 87
-- When it counted, Boston had the Answer.

   But I'll still take a World Series title over all else. If I'm interested in the NBA, it's only because the Celts are in the playoffs.
May 2, 2002 - Booker T Called Me 'Sucka'
   • Advertising is a powerful medium. Anything that can have Vito up and working at 7:30 a.m. is damn near kryptonite powers, but that's not what I'm talking about. Today I had a Slurpee, strictly because I saw a banner ad for them on the WWF website. Course, I didn't actually click on the banner, so they made no money, will go out of business and can place the blame on assholes like me.

   Yes, I was reading about wrestling, even though I've decided it's getting stupid again. To see 48-year-old Hulk Hogan, doing the same moves he was doing ten years ago - the hulking up, boot to the face, leg drop - and doing them worse than ever... that's just high comedy. The fact that he now wears a red and yellow feather boa? Over the top.

   I had never had a Slurpee before today. I've had many Slush Puppies from Dairy Mart as a child, once had an Icee at the now-bankrupt Bradlees and am a longtime fan of the Fruit/Coffee Coolatta, but never a Slurpee. It's amazing to think I'd never drank this American icon, and even more amazing it's an American icon, since everybody knows only foreigners run 7-11.

   Can you imagine the jokes and suspicion if the terrorist attacks had happened on July 11, on 7-11? Awful would not even describe...

   Cherry would have been the choice, had its slot in the machine not been filled with some sky blue crap that looked the Icee from all those years ago - I was not a fan, it tasted spiked at a point when I shouldn't have known what that meant. So it was the blue stuff, WWF Blastin' Berry, Coca Cola or Mountain Dew. You guess what I chose.

   Yeah, I would have guessed Berry too.

   The Coke wasn't mixed, I felt shame about grabbing the WWF flavor (see the hick comments on NASCAR), so there I went for the green. It did not go over well. Bland as all get out, I had to let it get all melty and mix it with orange juice before it was even decent. Of course, I got the biggest cup - the one with the screw top, scaffolding and pull-hook to attach it to your car. Boy, that was a fun hour.

   I had planned on making an experiment out of it, getting all four flavors, comparing, contrasting... afterward, it seemed not worth a $6 investment. I'll be sticking to Strawberry Coolattas with whipped cream, thanks.

   Since we're talking about advertising anyway, here's a commercial none of you have seen since it's on during WWF programming. Booker T used to have a gimmick where he was jealous of The Rock's success, so inevitably, Vince and the boys put him in commercials. One is for Swanson's Hungry Man Dinners.

   Booker T is a large, muscular black man. The dinner he's advertising is fried chicken, potatoes 'n gravy, corn and pudding.

   Some things, you can't make up.

-- Words that wouldn't be all that special, until they come from 3'7" supermodel Lonnie. Yeah, picture that flying out of her mouth.

May 1, 2002 - Cracks In The Glue
   [ It's been quite the hectic 36 hours, thus my brevity over the last few days. Don't worry, it should be back to normal now. Or worry. Whatever works for you. ]

   • As poignant as Tuesday's tearjerker was, it was not in reference to my last night at the Free Press, as I thought. Those who see the print edition know the final FreeP, which hit the shelves dated Wednesday, May 1, was a 36-page magnum opus.

   "Magnum opus" being one of those phrases writers use to sound important, because it sounds all high and mighty. Operatic. Maybe that's just me.

   I wrote what I did under extreme duress, the kind that could probably get me off on a murder charge in a southern state. I'd attended my final budget meeting, thus bringing the all time grand total to two, said goodbye to my friends there, scowled a little and went on my merry way thinking I'd never see them as a group again.

   Then, I went into the paper Wednesday morning at 7:30, to update the website. They were still there. All of them.

   The paper finally got sent to the printers at 9 a.m., right around the time I attended my last class as a Boston University undergrad. I would just say "last class," but if I ever do postgrad work I'd be made a fool. It was boring as every other World Regional Geography 2 lecture has been this semester, complete with affable professor Walker, who likes to talk about Australia.

   Last week, he 'enlightened' us by saying he heard about this earthquake that happened... two Saturdays ago. Shouldn't a geography guy have his finger on the pulse of these things? When he tells us Tokyo has a major earthquake every seventy years, and says the last one was in the 1920's, shouldn't he realize 2002 is eighty years past when he tells us one is due this year? The questions I ask...

   About two weeks ago, I realized all my classes this semester have been completely useless. Enjoyable, yet useless. I would have mentioned it sooner, but it would have given a certain someone ammunition in her crusade against private education.

"Obviously. That's why you feel the need to be so venomous about your want to deny the truth."
-- I feel the need to be so venomous because I think I'm funny, Jen. Of all people, I'd think you'd be the one to have figured this out. Again though, what do I know...

   Today, I literally forgot to eat until 7 p.m. I went from home to newspaper, to class, back to newspaper, to audio lab and to New Bedford drinking only a can of Fresca. I'm still trying to figure out how this actually happened, since once I realized it I about collapsed. I must be Wil E. Coyote - I'll only fall off the cliff when I notice I'm in the air.

   [ Job Update: I've completed the two-day trial in New Bedford, spending last night laying out a mock front page and eating a horribly-plain Subway sandwich. Southwest Chicken my ass. I've been asked to come in another day next week, probably Thursday. The layout didn't go as smoothly or as quickly as I'd hoped, but at no point did security escort me out of the building.

   The guy I'd be working for escorted me out of the building. Excellent.

   I also got an e-mail from The Enterprise in Brockton. Though they have no openings and hire people with the proverbial "more expereince than me," the editor I talked to said they do buy freelance work from the towns they cover, where I hope to live if I land in New Bedford. Definitely worth pursuing. ]

   So it was last dance time at the Free Press, complete with shitty beer, mattress sledding, bad dancing and disgusting displays of drunken affection. Plus there was this weird guy standing outside the door ogling the women and recording things, and friends of paper staff kept kicking holes in the walls.

   I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

   I love it when I can be standing at a party, and someone I only kind of know approaches me and talks like we're the best of friends. Seriously, nothing makes me happier than that, especially when it's someone I like. Nothing's better - not seeing the office exhibitionist/whore exchange frosting licks with the editor's younger brother, not watching the outgoing news editor grind with "people" after drinking a liter of vodka and a bottle of wine, not watching the whole room pair off and disappear at about 1 a.m., nothing. Well, maybe a little...

   Final Party at the Mountfort Estate will be Saturday, 9 p.m. If you read this thing, hell yeah you can come.
2002: [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2001: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05]