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May 31, 2006 - Worldwide Stupidcide
   Strike Force: I know little about Nye Synthetic Lubricants -- how their world headquarters ended up in Fairhaven, whether their Pennzane-based lubes really are the best choice for high-vacuum environments or their relationship with Corrugated Industry. All I know is this afternoon, as I drove by, a single striker stood outside their building with a single sign reading "NYE UNFAIR."

   As I drove past him, I swear we caught glances for a moment and he smiled, ever so slightly nodding his sign toward me. Course, when I went back by 20 minutes later because the NB-Fairhaven drawbridge was closed, he was gone, clearly silenced by the establishment and being beaten in a back room.

   That or they greased him up and shot him out the cannon out back into the harbor. That seems far more cartoony ... I like that better.

   Cover Story: Why USA Today, which still does look real pretty in a supermarket newspaper rack, felt the need to do a front-page story on the Colorado Rockies is beyond me, but I have to question the title -- Baseball's Rockies seek revival on two levels.

   How can you seek a revival when you've never finished more than 10 games over .500, and went out of that year's playoffs without winning a game?

DENVER -- No copies of Playboy or Penthouse are in the clubhouse of baseball's Colorado Rockies. There's not even a Maxim. The only reading materials are daily newspapers, sports and car magazines and the Bible.

Music filled with obscenities, wildly popular with youth today and in many other clubhouses, is not played. A player will curse occasionally but usually in hushed tones. Quotes from Scripture are posted in the weight room. Chapel service is packed on Sundays. Prayer and fellowship groups each Tuesday are well-attended. It's not unusual for the front office executives to pray together.

   I never thought of the Red Sox clubhouse as a northern outpost of Hedonism, but suddenly I feel like I've been working in an environment dodging lightning bolts from Jesus. Apparently, the Rockies will not be looking to invest in Kevin Millar in the near future.

   Because let me tell you, does that man love dick jokes.


   • Sometime Thursday afternoon, I will begin a trek down to The Meadowlands to see Pearl Jam for what, honestly, is no apparent reason. The show will happen, and I will turn around and come home. Pretty much a nine-hour trip for a band I once famously announced I "didn't get" in front of the wrong crowd.

   I hate to say it, but at least the Clay Aiken concert was at a relatively nearby casino.

   Hopefully, I'll get either puked on, covered in beer or puked on. Because if I'm going just because it'll make a good story, the least it could do is be a good story.


May 30, 2006 - Tempting Fate
   I Learned A New Word: As discovered in America's best place for syntax, an interoffice memo, it's co-equals! As in two people are "co-equals," which is apparently different than them being just equals. They took the act of being equal and split it, because they didn't want someone to be more equal than their co-equal.

   Communication, you know, is our business.

   This is also the point where I tell you I wrote a Matt Clement column that didn't get posted to the Web site, but since more or less nothing has been posted to our Web site for four days in a row, there's really not a whole lot to say. You would think the people in charge of the Web site, among whom are the co-equals, would have figured this out over the four-day period it's been happening, but we are only sports. And really, what concern is it of theirs if my will to write and work is dropping lower by the minute?

   Reader Request: This spam was sent to me, with the explicit instruction of "do something with this."

Subject: Q&A: How to avoid masturbation
Date: Tue 30 May 2006
From: [_____]
To: cooch at joncouture dot com

   As Salaam Aleikumwa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be uponall of you)

   One of our brothers/sisters has askedthis question:

   Asalamolikum.
   dear brother in islam my question is that, i am in a country where girls arewearing mini skerts i always try to keep far away myself from them but as i ama student i can`t escape from them in my class.I regret and always feeling verybad coz i had masterbation many times even i did repentance many times andcommit not doing such an evil deed but still i can`t escape from it as of mysextual desires.I don`t know what to do now,i know the best solution ismarriage but i am unable yet to do marriage.Please advice me what should i do.
   thanks

   (There may be some grammatical and spellingerrors in the above statement. The forum does not change anything fromquestions, comments and statements received from our readers for circulation inconfidentiality.)
-- They saw me coming before I got there.

   For the record, Burhan advises fasting, since "fasting diminshes sexual power," but that "the only thing that can stop one from acts of indecency,or intentionally disobeying any command of Allah and His Messenger is the constant fear and consciousness thatOne Inevitable Day, everyone will be brought forth in the Presence of theAll-Mighty Lord to give a full accounting of one's deeds."

   One of the better episodes of Beavis and Butthead featured Beavis "dying" after Butthead slammed him in the head with a trash can. Blondie flies up to heaven, where St. Peter opens the book and goes over the teen's life.

"Yes," replied Saint Peter, "and then when you were four, you mutilated a Star Wars action figure in an extremely disturbing manner."

"I remember that! That was cool!"

"No," disagreed Saint Peter, "that sucked. Then when you were five, you and your friend Butthead passed out chocolate laxatives in your Kindergarten class."

"Oh yeah. That was really cool!"

"No, Dudley," replied Saint Peter, "that also sucked."

"What d'you know, buttweed?"

"I know everything, buttwipe."

. . .

"We see everything," replied Saint Peter. "For instance, on the third day of the fourth month of your twelfth year, you touched yourself in an impure manner."

"I had the covers over me!"

"And then," continued Saint Peter irritably, "later that afternoon you touched yourself again, this time using ..."

   I can only hope this diversion pleases the reader. Perhaps it can ever serve as a diversion worthy of listing with "stay inthe company of the righteous, recite the Quran, read good Islamic Books, listento good Islamic cassettes and lectures, and strive to stay away from being insolitude."


   • Now, I'm not one to get involved in local politics, but Canton, Mass. ... you rule.

Patricia Rivera's smile disappears when she presses the button on what looks like a car-lock remote control device.

The psychologist at the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center, believed to be the only school in the nation that uses skin-shock punishments to stop violent behavior, is sending 60 volts into her arm. It lasts two seconds.

"There are certain places where it's not used: the head, the spine, the lower back," she says before zapping herself in a demonstration. "My hand tensed up a little bit. Everybody has different skin types. It doesn't really leave an imprint."

   "It doesn't really leave an imprint." How awesome is that?! Course, the state has tried to close the school twice in 30 years, which would mean those 150 disabled New York youths would have to go somewhere else to be abused.

"I don't understand how your state allows this to go on," said New York attorney Kenneth Mollins, who represents the mother of a former student. Mollins has sued the state of New York, alleging that 17-year-old Antwone Nicholson's civil rights were violated by being punished too often with skin shocks.

"He was shocked for cursing. What 17-year-old doesn't curse?" Mollins said. "It's supposed to be used on low-functioning individuals who are banging their heads against the wall."

Israel started the school in 1971, in Providence, R.I., eventually moving to Canton, renaming itself after a Bristol County judge who approved a settlement in which the state paid $580,000 after it unsuccessfully sought to close the school. That was after the 1985 death of a 22-year-old student who suffered a seizure while restrained and forced to listen to static noise.

   News flash, ma'am. If your 17-year-old son kept right on cursing after being repeatedly shocked, I wouldn't be so quick to disassociate him from "low-functioning individuals."

   Though I'm also the one that tonight, after the fire alarm was accidentally triggered and required the district fire chief to come shut it off, started asking who would pitch the Wiffle Ball to me so I could try and bust one off again. I mean, what are the odds I could actually do it? Twenty to one? Thirty?


May 29, 2006 - Blast From The Past
   Some Things Just Go Together: Fresh off her successful stint as "The Girl On The Swing" in Burger King's ad for the Tendercrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch -- which will make quite the entry when VH1's offspring does "I Love The '00s" in 2011 -- Brooke Burke is doing ads for Hooters.

   That just feels like a sentence that should have been assembled years ago, doesn't it? Kind of like finding out the obese, black woman on "American Idol" had a name like Mandisa, or that the first four Google listings for the word "euonym" have to do with the only reason anyone should know euonym ...

   The Spelling Bee!: I'm not sure if this is unprecendented, but not only is ABC stealing the championship rounds from ESPN and airing them in prime time from 8-10 p.m. Thursday, but the whole thing will be aired in HD between the two networks. HD! Spelling! I can only be reminded of that commercial buffer they once ran where they just had a camera spinning stationary in the center of the room, with an opened dictionary held at the bottom of the lens by someone. Now, I'd be able to read the words!

   I'm sure Best Buy will be saving the footage, because I know when I'm trying to be convinced of HD's value, this is what will push me over the top.

   And for the record, I did not have to look up the name of Little Miss Euonym ... it's been caught in my memory banks for years, with the reason why lost to time. I've forgotten the combination to that damn padlock on my bedroom table, but Rebecca Sealfon? It's just like yesterday.

   Why she isn't being contacted to do commentary at this thing is beyond me.

For some years, the spelling bee has been picketed by members of the American Literacy Society. They see the national spelling bee as reinforcing the illogical spellings that lead to "dyslexia, high illiteracy [...] and harder lives for immigrants."

Many spellers believe that the winning word for each year is too easy compared to the other words in the high rounds of the nationals.

The bee has come under fire in recent years seeing a number of students hire special coaches to help them prepare for the bee, a luxury that many spellers can not afford. Adding to the disarray is the fact that home school students can forgo their studies to prepare for the bee; this started coming into light when Rebecca Sealfon became the first home schooled student to win the bee in 1997, when the popularity of the bee was starting to take off.

-- This isn't why, I'd imagine, but is beyond hilarious.

   • To call it often would be overstating it, but on a couple of occasions, I've been asked whether what I do now is my "dream job." I have a hard time answering it for a couple reasons, most notably the fact that I'm on record as saying I don't want to be a full-time baseball beat writer, and that every couple months, I go on rants and talk about how much I hate the hours and the work and everything else.

   That really doesn't seem like what one's "dream job" should be like, even if the majority of the time, I try to stay grounded enough to realize roughly 95 percent of the people in my profession would murder me if that meant they could have my job.

   That said, I also struggle with it because, given the description "dream job," it doesn't strike me as something a person is supposed to attain by their 25th birthday. Because really, if that happens, you're not so much dreaming as making an effort to set attainable goals. So I'm always kind of wondering if I should establish a dream job that would be harder to achieve, since then I could still dream about it.

   This afternoon, while watching the UMass men's lacrosse team before their national title game appearance became cringe-worthy -- sad end, but hell of a run -- I came up with what we'll put on paperwork as my dream job of the future.

   I want to be Dave Ryan. And who exactly is Dave Ryan?

Dave Ryan!
-- This guy!

   Dave Ryan is, depending on your perspective, either ESPN's jack of all trades or the schedule filler, doing everything the famous talent won't. He called the men's lacrosse title game. He's the main anchor of their PBA Tour (bowling, jerks) coverage. He does the College World Series. He's on a lot of college football games, either doing play-by-play or sideline reporting. He's covered the Little League World Series. Back in the day, he covered an AHL All-Star Game ... you get the picture.

   While apparently there was a segment of bowling fans who hated him a couple years ago, and may still, to me Ryan consistenly gives off the sense he knows what he's talking about. Whether he actually does or is able to simply give the impression by playing off his analyst is irrelevant, because either is difficult.

   But look at what he's done! Look at how much he gets to do! Sure, I bet the travel sucks, but how can you not want to do that job?! You'd never be bored!

   In short, if you know Dave Ryan, tell him I think he's awesome the next time he's down that he's being shuffled between billiards tournaments or shuffleboard championships or Pop Warner football games. If you are Dave Ryan, and are scared, don't be. I'm harmless. In so much as my former boss says he's "a man with a shanty by the ocean and a manageable dream," I'm simply a man with a soft spot for pizza and Black Pepper Jack Doritos, a Saturn that needs an oil change and a Web site that has taken over his life.

   Oh, and the sports jerseys. That's getting out of hand. That, you should be scared about.


May 28, 2006 - The Genius Switch
   The Fuzz: So without going into details -- because Don already did -- we have a police officer stationed at the paper for what I'd assume is the forseeable future. It just rotates through officers, though it was the same guy for the majority of the shift this evening.

   For whatever reason, I felt like I was at the airport. Don't make jokes about bombs, don't make any sudden movements, don't play Wiffle Ball, be sure to tell him there's a hair dryer in your suitcase because it could be mistaken for a weapon by the X-ray scanners.

   Yeah, I felt like a real man when I had to say that at Heathrow Airport in 1996. I took a hair dryer to Wales. But if you saw how much hair I had over those three weeks:

Feel the joy.
-- Feel the joy.

   you'd probably have taken one too.

   I'm pretty sure at least 60 percent of my clothing at that point had something to do with golf. Those were the days.

   Come Monday: The writeup for my category in the 2006 Boston Sports Media Watch poll, "Boston's Best-Kept Secret," is supposed to be posted. Having finished fifth, I probably won't be mentioned at all, but it's a nice thought.

   And thanks again to the 49 of you, wherever you are. My mild OCD, rather than my sense of victory, is what's making me regret not voting for myself.

Pena Has Made The Most of His Opportunities
-- This week's Inside Baseball. His going on the DL makes me even more disappointed I didn't get to talk to him for this, since it really works even better than it would have had Coco Crisp just come back.

   The notebook still isn't posted, but that's less of an issue ... apparently, attempting to post too many stories to our held-together-by-electrical-tape-and-dreams Web site causes things to explode and just not show up. Too many being like 15, which is really rather depressing when you think about it.

   The Internet. The wave of the future.


   • I love being right.

Coco's Back

Boston's Coco Crisp beats out an infield single as the throw gets by Tampa Bay Devil Rays first baseman Travis Lee during Crisp's debut at Fenway Park as a Red Sox player Sunday. Crisp got an RBI on the play. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

   Except, of course, when I hate being right.


May 27, 2006 - Death Waits For No Bitch
   UMass 8, Maryland 5: You know what I know about college lacrosse? Nothing. I know Johns Hopkins is good at it. I know my boss got all excited about Syracuse making the Final Four last week, and that I didn't have the gumption to go, "Jesus, stop. You wouldn't know a one of them if they ..." something awful, of course.

   I know they lost, and UMass didn't. I know that the last time UMass went into a relatively insignificant national championship game as the heavy underdog, they won it.

   I watched that one. I'll probably watch this one too, at 1 p.m. Monday. After six Sox games in a row, it'll seem like a day off.

Moment To Cherish For Schill
-- Emotion! And I think I got in all 800 people he mentioned after the game.

   There are two other stories, including Inside Baseball, that didn't make the Internet yet. I'll remedy that this afternoon. In lieu of that, more Red Sox coverage-related stuff you probably don't care about:

   -- This is the first time I've ever covered games on six consecutive days, breaking the record of five set Oct. 16-20, 2004, with the last four games of the ALCS. Though given the first game was 19-8, the next two went to extra innings and there was a drive to New York City before the last two, that's not exactly a stretch that was without incident.

   -- I have covered 16 of 23 home games this year, which puts me on pace for between 56 and 57 games this year. The chances of that actually happening, however, are lower than you can probably imagine unless cloning becaomes legal and commonplace in the next four months.

   Last year, I covered 48 games, including the season opener at Yankee Stadium and three ALDS games, including the two on the South Side of Chicago.

   -- In covering those 16 games, plus one rainout that had no game, I have paid $77 for parking -- three $25 tickets, plus two aborted attempts to feed meters (that ended up with me getting tickets, leading me to swear off that practice forever). Given media members who park in the designated media lot are now charged $25/game, were my life like Win Ben Stein's Money, I'd have earned myself an extra $325.

   Next up: Convincing my bosses to turn my job into a variant of "Win Ben Stein's Money." But until then, take my word on this: Coco Crisp will play on Sunday. I have no factual evidence of this, merely a feel about what's going on that you get from six days in a row with the team. Pena's hurt, Crisp is in Pawtucket probably healthy enough to get back, and Francona was sufficiently vague about it after the game. Course, thanks to deadlines and whatnot, it's nowhere in our paper. But book it.

   Sadly, I will not be there to be right.


   • As someone who TiVoed the season finale of The OC strictly because the commercial said someone was going to die -- as opposed to, say, the show being interesting or largely watchable -- but then didn't watch it because that hour of my life would have been better used if I spent it peeing on the floor, I would have enjoyed this.

My blood hurts.
-- This came out far better than the other one ...

Children!
-- ... which is too obscure, but more relevant.

   I can't wait until the fall, when we get to do it all over again for "A Very Special OC Funeral!"

   Why now? Well, I just found out what happened tonight, logically, at Fenway Park. I don't work on anyone else's time schedule. Should it be that shocking that I don't discuss things on anyone else's either?

   And yes, I kept the first sentence after the dot because I'm pretty sure it's the worst sentence I've ever constructed. If anyone can get to the end of it and figure out what I'm saying, I'd be floored.


May 26, 2006 - Post Party
   I, Don't Forget, Have One: Given I was the president of a trivia team for three years and have three miniature golf tournament trophies on my desk at work, I'm certainly not one to be urging people about getting lives and the like.

   That said, The Baseball Collector scares me. Zack Hample. Scares me in many ways, shocks me in others. Makes me remember that time many, many years ago I heard one of his "this is how you get a baseball" tips -- wear the hat of the visiting team.

   He's still going all these years later. And he's got more than 2,800 baseball stowed in his life.

   Me? I have that magical one from the 2003 playoffs, and I'm already thinking about what I'm going to sell and get rid of before I have to pack and move it this summer (theoretically).

   At least he has a sense of humor. And I had no idea they made the All-Star baseballs cool.

   Good For Him: I think it's so nice that Carson Daly is still on TV. Cute, even. I wonder if he still paints his fingernails black.

   His opening guest tonight, as I sat there oddly transfixed at 2 a.m.? Ugly comedian Harland Williams, who was neither the only comedian on the show nor pimping anything of major importance ... that I could discern while fast-forwarding through his apperance.

   Really, the only reason I was watching because a woman named Chelsea Handler was on, and I wanted to see if I should have known who she was. She has a show on E!, so no.

Liner May Spell Unfortunate End
-- Probably slightly more fatalistic than the moment called for, but watching David Wells crumble like a skyscraper will do that.


Schilling Doen't Feel The Hype of 200
-- This could be bulletin-board material ... if baseball worked like that. And if I was important.

   • Tonight, I was jokingly called a "cynic" in the press box because I wouldn't sing along to "Take Me Out To The Ballgame." As I explained, there's no way this business made me a cynic ... I was a jerk way before I ever went in the press box.

   And really, I can still enjoy the simple things. No one else smiled when J.T. Snow's cell phone rang the other day, and he scrambled to shut the ringer off before anyone else could discern that it was Warrant's 'Cherry Pie'.

   And then there's the Royals, who inexplicably ended their 13-game losing streak and moved to 3-20 on the road by ... winning at Yankee Stadium.

Graffanino Lives!
-- Graffanino lives! And he's scoring runs!

Kansas City Royals Angel Berroa, right, is congratulated by Aaron Guiel (45) and Tony Graffanino, far left, after hitting a three run home run as New York Yankees Kelly Stinnett, second from right, looks on during the eighth inning of their baseball game Friday at Yankee Stadium in New York. (AP Photo/Ed Betz)


May 25, 2006 - Members Only?
   The Best Ways To Spend Six Innings: While I can't confirm that I spent much of the six innings I spent at a Red Sox game I wasn't covering with this strangely compelling 9/11 conspiracy video playing on the laptop, I am willing to admit I have a new favorite job description.

   Unemployed Porn Site User

   And please, no one note the irony of, one day after saying I don't regularly read Deadspin, linking to them. Because I really don't. Even if this apparent Bronson Arroyo local TV commercial is enough to make me wish he hadn't been dealt for several seconds.

   Admittedly, the feeling may last a little longer on Friday night, right up until the point David Wells starts shooting reporters and I'm diving into a laundry basket for safety.


   • Let's distill it down.

Free For All, Part One
-- Everyone shut up and listen to me because ...

Free For All, Part Fat
-- ... I love myself this much.

Sports Pulse with Ed Berliner - May 25, 2006
Thursday Free For All with Chris Price and John Molori

47:24 Running Time -- 159 MB -- Right-Click To Download

   Suffice to say, start the download and go make a sandwich. Then eat it. Then digest it. Then pass it. Then watch a little TV and we should be good by the second commercial break.

   I can easily say this was the most fun I've had doing a TV appearance. It was all the enjoyment of being verbally threated by a writer from Delaware, but not actually being several hundred miles from said writer when the threat was made.

   Now, no one said they were going to kill me, or many any sort of negative comments on my new orange shirt, which cost all of $13 for some reason only Filene's in Dartmouth may understand. But I can assure that the steering of the conversation toward a rebirth of the Hartford Whalers was in now way prompted by anything I said. Honest to God.

   Maybe I just give it off. Secrete it like a fine musk.

   Because that's an image you all needed today. Though no worse than that bulging chin that just won't quit, not helped by the Fenway Park cafeteria serving waffle fries and a delightfully spicy cream of chicken soup with black beans on the same day.

   The way I figure it, by the time things get completely out of hand, liposuction will be perfected to the point where I can get that and a hair transplant on the same day, in the same trip, and not even have to get out of my car. It's a calculated risk, but one I'm willing to take.

   After all, look how well those keep working out for the Bruins.


May 24, 2006 - 30 Seconds To Brookline
   Helping You Dress Down: Instead of simply being a destroyer and questioning why something like Sully's Tees are popular, allow me to help you dress yourself -- The Red Seat, which was a lot better thing to find under my windshield wiper than a parking ticket.

Steinbrenner ... wah.
-- Bad.

Pesky's Pole
-- Good.

Raycroft!
-- A hilarious memory of a forgotten age.

   If nothing else, it's cute to think of what the whole rest of the league thinks of the Red Sox "battling evil." I would investigate this in Oakland, but since the tentative plan is to wear a Dodgers hat out there, I'll just get myself beaten up for the traditional reason rather than freestyling.

   A Sweet Inside Joke, If True: Rockstar Games, the people who scarred you with the Grand Theft Auto series and Manhunt, where I'm pretty sure the premise was to eat other human beings in a mental hospital, have apparently decided to go another direction for a little while.

   A completely different direction.

More than a year ago Rockstar San Diego commenced on a game that would take advantage of the Xbox 360's graphic power and capture the intensity, speed and excitement of Table Tennis.

   While I won't get to play it because I have no Xbox 360, I can't believe I'd not be playing the entire game wondering how I could unlock the sniper sitting in the crowd and start picking people off.

Yankees Find Way To Put Together Win
-- Clearly, the writing Gods enjoy me saying what I said yesterday, then creating an evening where the column is far better. I would be smart to stop with the trifling.


Crisp Will Be Back On Top
-- Most of the statistics even made it through the game unscathed. Most.

   • As I may have said here in the past, I'm not a big Deadspin reader. No particular reason, though unlike with The Onion, I rarely feel like I'm missing anything.

   So it surprised me to find out that the site has a "You must be this cool to post" comment system, in the same sense one's surprised if they found out that bottle of blue cheese salad dressing in the fridge had gone bad -- you weren't really thinking about it, but upon discovering it, there's that momentary "Wait ... can that happen? Is that possible?"

Most online communities are like hip bars and strip clubs -- they quickly get overrun with tourists, thus lowering the overall quality of the experience. The same thing will happen to us eventually too. But we're going to try to put off that moment for as long as possible.
-- See? There are advantages to putting out a mediocre product.

   But of course, not a product that's this mediocre. If I started doing video posts -- which I won't, ever -- I'd at least take the phone off the hook first.

   And on that note, stay tuned on Thursday for the TV appearance recap, complete with a video posted sometime in the wee hours.

   Technically, it's not the same thing. And technically, I don't hate whatever city I'll eviscerate in the flow of the show ... it just seems that way.


May 23, 2006 - The Grebes Are Awesome
   The Best or Worst Lede Ever: Growing up, I can remember watching Philadelphia's Bill Conlin on 'The Sports Reporters,' generally liking him for specific reasons I can't recall right now. Apparently, he's now sporting a beard and a bloodshot eye, and as of Monday, has gone completely insane.

Good morning, Philadelphia. And how does it feel being Terry Francona's bitch?

   Course, the fact that we disagree on the Barbaro thing to boot doesn't help. And neither does most of this -- I don't read Deadspin much, but it was in the Google listing and seemed topical.

As Robert Kennedy said, some people look at the world as it could be and say "Why not?" Others seem to be here simply to eat our food and call people names. That's Conlin. He has most famously feuded with Phillies manager Larry Bowa, who called Conlin "a senile old man who is stirring up trouble because he's bored with his life," and adding: "He's so fat he can't fit through the doorway." That almost made us feel sorry for Bill -- but not as sorry as we are for his readers, or the chair into which he is wedged on "The Sports Reporters."

   Come to think of it, Conlin once came up in a discussion I had with Josh about editing. I was expressing my displeasure with a certain edit he had made to a column on mine, and Josh took that as me saying I never wanted to be edited. He then brought up that if Bill Conlin could be edited -- I presume they ran Conlin's stuff in Pennsylvania in some osrt of syndicate program -- anyone could be edited.

   That day, he seemed to be missing the point that I was fine with being edited, so long as the person doing it didn't appear to be working with their eyes closed and by pounding their fists against the keyboard and screaming. But given he has since saved me on a handful of occasions catching factual errors, all is forgiven.

Sox Fail To Cash In
-- You know I respect you guys, so I'll be honest. This column sucks.
I tried real hard, but just never came up with anything compelling I could work with. Read it, but crank your expectations down to high school journalism levels.


MainHead
-- I'm going to presume 'MainHead' isn't the topper my notebook had in the paper, but who knows.

   I'm not sure what this says about me as a journalist, but I'm getting to the point where I'm starting to enjoy writing the harder news notebooks as much as I enjoy the columns off the game. I remember being not at all eager to do them when I started them, but now, I feel like I'm giving something of more substance to the reader.

   Course, Inside Baseball is still my favorite, if only for the weeks I have actual material and a topical Stat That Time Forgot. As someone who'll never write a book, that would be my book topic in fantasyland.


   • Today I parked right on the marker for the Boston Marathon's 25th-mile water station on Beacon Street, and it got me thinking about a nice little prank for hipsters like these.

   Presumably, these "WATER" markers are all along the marathon course, on the side of the street away from where moving cars could kill. So why not set up some tables and station people there with the race's accoutrements -- cups, liquids and screaming fans, either encouraging the cars going by and the people just walking anywhere on the sidewalk? If going into Best Buy wearing blue shirts and pretending to work there is funny, this is at least worth a chuckle.

   If you work for BU TV and want to steal this, be my guest. Just throw my name in the "Special Thanks" of the credits, and we'll be cool. Not that I'll ever see it, but at least I'll know I can still relate to the young people in a way other than thinking Blink 182 sucks.

   Other random points that have nowhere to go? I'd like to congratulate New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, whom I made fun of just in time to have him get re-elected. Cry you chocolate tears into a river of peppermint.

   I'd also like to congratulate the fine people of Montenegro, who have forced me to learn another world capital: Podgorica. Let's see if I can still do this ... Slovenia has Llubjana, Croatia has Zagreb, Serbia has Belgrade, Macedonia has Skopje, and Bosnia ... for some reason, I didn't know that's where Sarajevo was. Now I'll never win the Geography Bee.

   And unless the Twins hurry and don't suck, apparently I'll never see a baseball game at the Metrodome either. Bring on open air Minnesota!


May 22, 2006 - Burnout, Burn Bright
   Proud Moments in Television: Admittedly, I am not the target audience for a show like The New Adventures of Old Christine, Elaine Benes's latest attempt to get everyone to stop calling her Elaine Benes -- she really should be the one who has the easiest time doing this given she was once on SNL, but whatever.

   That said, if I'm repeatedly stumbling across commercials for the show while I watch other CBS programming, shouldn't I hear at least one funny joke? I mean, even if it was by accident? You're telling me I can find a show like Veronica Mars compelling for like five seconds, but all I get out of TNAOOC is a steady stream of:

"I had time to go home and put my good boobs on."

   TiVo. Pays for itself over and over again every month, even if I did get the box for free.

   Pop Music Analysis: Because I've been driving a lot the past few days, I've made plenty of cruises around my radio presets. Somehow, I've heard Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie" seven times in 72 hours. And, obviously, it's a lot less than 72 hours when you factor the time I was in the car, and that only one of those was while I was just out and about somewhere.

   It's not that good, everybody. We get it ... when she shakes her hips, Earth pops a collective bone. On the radio? Doesn't work. If only every gay Top 40 DJ could understand that.

I never really knew that she could dance like this
She makes a man want to speak Spanish

-- Quite possibly the worst pickup line ever. Not so much
because it's awful, but because it's not funny awful. Just awful.


I'm on tonight, my hips don't lie
And I'm starting to feel you boy
Come on let's go, real slow
Baby, like this is perfecto

-- Still sounds like a Spanish word I would make up as a joke.

   Also, Jessica Simpson's whole career is validated by the fact they still play her lover's ode "With You" on the radio. It's got that same vibe now as Green Day's "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" -- for a moment, you think of what a great wedding song it would be until you realize all the reasons it really, really isn't.

   Of course, the only reason I was thinking about weddings on my drive home is because Julie's sister, 18 months away from her wedding day, yesterday bought her dress. That, my friends, is faith in both your physical fitness routine and that, sometime mid-2007, the kids decide white wedding dresses aren't cool anymore.

   Probably not the most topical concern, but really, what is life other than trying to make the kids think you're still cool at age 26 with three miniature golf trophies in your cubicle?

With Modicum of Pitches, Ace Proves Self
-- And here I thought I would be the only person on staff ever to use "modicum." At least I've still got "fete," "kiosk" and other 50 centers below the "Ivy League Word of the Day."


Crisp, Kapler Get Back In Swing
-- The usual battle to make a 14-inch notebook a
20-inch notebook. I don't want to see if I won.

   Semi-related, at the game today, WBCN handed out T-shirts and signs that read Coco's Better -- it's in there, have fun. I can't help but enjoy the sentiment considering, as of May 22, Crisp has played exactly ZERO games at Fenway Park as a member of the Boston Red Sox.

   And for the record, while I might wear one of those shirts shown there, there's a good chance I would make fun of people wearing about 10 of them. Though if any of them are looking for sign advice, given today featured the second prominent sign with TRADER instead of TRAITOR on it, I have a suggestion for your posterboard.

Damon Sign Assistance
-- You're welcome, Idiot Nation.

   • It was that long ago that on this, the five-year anniversary of Cooch's World, I was going to announce that today's post was going to be the final one.

   It's no secret thinks have been lagging a little here as of late. Things getting posted later each day. Posts falling a day behind. The article listing, which is probably a tool only I use come award time, still woefully behind.

   I mean, with this being post No. 1222 with comments, I've fired off somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,720 missives. I can't imagine there's a whole lot of other non-bodily functions I've done more than 1,700 times in 26 years of living. Doubt I've cleared through that many bags of Doritos, or walked that many miles. I'm sure I've hit that many golf shots, but when you play the way I did at first (and do now), that's hardly something worth bragging about.

   I'd like to think the time would have been right. I will admit sometimes thinking about what the posts would read for life-changing events like engagements, births and the like. I've even thought about who would write the post on here announcing to the Web world that I'd died, having carried this on until the very end.

   But, in the cyclical nature of this, the past few weeks have been down. No real reason for it ... just how it is. Senior year at BU, it was easy ... stupidity and substance was right out my door, every second of every day. Even starting out in Whale City, there was so much new as I attempted to figure out if I really could survive on my own, I'd like to think the lost opportunities to infuriate casual friends with cutting dialogue was replaced with mispronounced Portuguese words.

   It was going to be nice to not be beholded to this every day, to not have to constantly think about producing something new that would be of interest to somebody. After all, it's a big Internet, and I ain't exactly the keystone to the whole parade.

   But then, as I started to ruminate about just how I would wrap it all up, I went back and read that first post for whatever number time:

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

   And it struck me just how much the kid who wrote that has changed.

   I'd just turned 21, and really, was days away from genuinely starting my career as a journalist. Never really lived on my own, in so much as college is a sham. Never really known if I could pull off doing this full-time, or even if I could stick to a schedule of writing something, for human consumption, each and every day.

   Five years later, I'd like to think I've proven all of it. That kid five years ago didn't think he'd be covering the Red Sox, sitting in the front row of the Fenway Park press box for the majority of home games, traveling to Chicago and New York at St. Louis to write about the only team that truly mattered to him growing up. He sure as hell didn't know he'd be living in New Bedford, a place that he probably couldn't have identified as a Massachusetts city when prompted.

He sure didn't think the girl he was just meeting and falling in love with that day would lead him into a cross-country drive, nearly two years of being the center of his life, then end completely replaced by someone exceedingly better in every sense and every way by 2006.

   And though a lot of it's cryptic, and pointless, and forgettable, and embarassing, and needlessly inflammatory, and caused as many lost friendships as it did made ones, and not really all that popular, it's all there. I don't know who wants to read it, but they can. It's the developing answer to the question of what would happen if a normal guy wrote and published an autobiography of his life ... would anyone read it? Would anyone like it? Would anyone care about it?

   I'd like to really find out, and I'd like to believe the answer, at least to a few people somewhere, is yes.

   So, I'm not going anywhere. I like being the top Google search for "Jon Couture." I like getting to sound far more angry about banal everyday life than I actually am. I like getting bi-monthly lectures from people on how I shouldn't post this and I shouldn't say that about so-and-so. I like being the cause of my newspaper's policy on blogs, even if I'm really only the motivation for an overdue creation of one and I threw my copy out after a week.

   I like getting e-mails like this one:

Subject: Wow ...
Date: Mon 22 May 2006
From: Ed Berliner [____@comcast.com]
To: cooch at joncouture dot com

   .. Sports Pulse not even in the LINKS column on your webpage ... wonder if I can still get Vern Moyer to take your place this week...

   Ed Berliner
   Managing Editor/Host
   "Sports Pulse"
   CN8 "The Comcast Network"

   Which makes a delightful segue into an announcement/reminder: I'll be making another TV appearance this Thursday night, May 25, on Ed's show. That's 10 p.m. on CN8, The Comcast Network, No. 3 in your Whale City lineups, but No. 1 in your heart. This won't be as the "Curmudgeon At Large" as normal ... because certain unnamed coworkers of mine are now shouting for me to appear on the show when they see Ed on the street, I'll be on for a good chunk of the hour in the "Free For All" with two guys I know of, and you probably should too.

   Tentative plan calls for me to buy a new shirt-and-tie combo, so hey, that's worth watching for, right?

   If nothing else, you'll have more of this:

I'm so precious.

    to look forward to real soon.


May 21, 2006 - Looks Like We Made It
   They're Serious: I've often times ranted about celebrity culture, most notably the public's odd fascination with celebrity culture. This would have been tippified by the odd reality that the affluent, aging members of the Wamsutta Club get People Magazine and keep it in their study near their copy of, honest to God, How To Make Love To Your Money, but instead I found something far better. The worst television show that has ever been made, ever.

   VH1's Celebrity Eye Candy.

   Now understand my discovery of this show came while I was somewhere not in control of the television, and that if my Sunday baseball column seems to have any portions written with a liberal dose of subtle rage, this show is why. Not even really paying attention to it, I found myself becoming enraged just knowing that the people involved with it were not paid more money that I make in a year, not simply just paid, but rather not murdered with salt-covered knives in an alley full of hypodermic needles.

Each week we'll bring you the most current and amazing celebrity footage, photos and Hollywood fun from every corner of the globe and give you all the juicy details that go with it. Take one part comic strip, a bit of blog culture and a whole lot of tabloid magazine, you start to get the picture.

   Literally, it's basically "The Week in Shit Papparazzi Did." But not simply that, since instead of just showing all the pointless drivel, some gay voice-over guy sings songs to it. He says things like "You go, Paris!" He sings more songs, and says we should feel bad for Mischa Barton because, oh my God, six cabs drove by her! He fake weeps over the breakup of celebrity relationships.

   And all the while, the world is lapping it up. Why? Because the majority of Americans have such pathetic, worthless lives, they care about this shit. They made this show because people won't simply watch it, but they'll go out of their way to watch it. It's the same reason rock radio stations keep being reformatted as hip-hop stations -- because that's what the market is demanding.

   And it's not simply sad, or depressing, or infuriating. It's all of that, blended together into a delicious smoothie that makes me want to start walking to New York with a machete.

   Guess what, America? Celebrities aren't just like you because Nicole Richie has been in a grocery store. And you know what? THEY HATE YOU, AND LAUGH AT YOU CARING ABOUT THEM.

   I really don't feel any better than before starting this. Fortunately, it will pass, like that grotesque line of thunderstorms this afternoon that was so cool and severe, I went driving in it. Something about looking to the east and seeing brilliant sunshine, then turning to the west and seeing clouds as dark as night.

   Irony: Just after I made my failed Friday night visit to Foxwoods, I received a survey from them over e-mail. Not having a life, I filled it out. Boilerplate stuff: what do you think of us, how could we be better, etc., etc.

   Oh, and this question:

I am luckier at Foxwoods than at other casinos.
1-Strongly Disagree
2-Disagree
3-Neutral
4-Agree
5-Strongly Agree

   I'm hoping this part of the survey, while valuable, also serves as a joke for the people who are compiling the results. Just enough to make their days go by a little quicker.

   God bless the public. And God bless me, for once thinking poker was a beatable game for someone with my dedciation and brain power. I'm so precious sometimes.


   • Well, after winning the Amateur Division two years ago and the now departed Open Pro division in 2005, I did not complete the miniature golf trifecta and walk into retirement (and the parking lot), fist raised, after making the Massachusetts Open in Fairhaven my bitch.

2006 Semi Finalist
-- From this vantage, the award seems downright towering.

   At the risk of running through too many nuts and bolts, the numbers are here -- the 9th seed of 18 in the Pro Division after the three morning rounds, a shocking 20-hole winner in the quarterfinals and a 2-and-1 loss to the eventual champion in the semis. I'm not sure exactly why I was nervous in the first round of the morning, even if I had been put in the "show threesome" with last year's pro and amateur champions -- something I figured out way after the fact -- but I was. Had that opening 44 been a 40, which is hardly a stretch, I'm the No. 7 seed ... eh, it doesn't matter. I gave the top seed two holes with poor play in our match, and got screwed by the lighthouse at No. 7 -- with us all sqaure after six holes, my ball went in the right chute and lipped out for a 2, his went in the right chute and dropped for an ace. Who knows how that would have changed things later.

   Eh, a two on the 18th hole (which we didn't play because the match was over) would have given me a 38, and we were tied through 12. If that wasn't good enough to beat him, he deserved it.

   What it all does show, however, is just how far we've come here. But that, drum roll please, is for tomorrow.

   Please try to fake a little excitement.


May 20, 2006 - Seasoned Pro
   Programming Note: Monday will mark a rather significant day in the history of Cooch's World, as May 22, 2006, is the fifth anniversary of whatever the hell this thing actually is.

   We'd like to say we have big plans, but really, even the use of "we" is just to sound more important. All that's going on is a Red Sox-Yankee game, plus probably more rehash of the annual attempt at athleticism -- the Massachusetts Open Mini-Golf tournament that began with my 2004 masterwork, included an Open Pro division victory last year and will hopefully include winning the whole shebang on Sunday.

   First prize is $500, but my true goal is to make the final foursome, which plays one round stroke play for the championship. It seems doable.

   And given each year I've played has featured a driving rain, you can bet that part of the forecast is coming through Sunday. Stay tuned for partial excitement!

   Recipe Corner: Not being a native to the SouthCoast metroplex, I have no idea the significance of Linguica Dreams. Whether it's just a throwaway name or a recipe that some local children have been made strong fisherman on.

1 lb. linguica ground separately
1 bell pepper, cleaned
3 stalks celery
1 lge. onion

Put linguica into a large skillet and add 1 cup ketchup. Simmer 15 to 20 min. Add remaining ground ingredients and simmer for 30 min. Serve on fingertip rolls.

   All I know is the name makes me think of those lucid dreams people sometimes have after eating a Chinese food meal too close to bedtime. You know, the ones that often times result in an early-morning wakeup and that "Why is my stomach full of cinder?" feeling.

   Looking For Love In All ...: Today's scam.

Subject: SEARCHING FOR LOVE
Date: Thu 18 May 2006
From: ADEMOLA [____@yahoo.com]
To: jcouture at s-t dot com

   ATTENTION

   I am a young hard working man working with a highly reputable telecommunication industry,in the most populous black country in the world located in the suburb of africa.(NIGERIA).

   I am presently in need of a good and loving woman to marry. Whether white or black,slim or fat,widow,living with children or not,all this are not criteria at all,all i care for is nothing but sincereity and Godfearing.Hope to hear from you soonest.

   Thanks.

   Best Regards,
   ADEMOLA.

   Apparently eHarmony's ad saturation hasn't reached the African shores just yet, since I'm sure "Godfearing" is one of the 187,635 portions of personality that they go into.

   Anyone interested? I'm more than willing to share.

Interleague Play Here To Stay, Needs Some Tweaking
-- Sunday's Inside Baseball takes shots at Oakland, sort of, but not before coming up with an interleague solution that's far too easy.


Club's, City's Baseball Past is Rich
-- Oh, the story I'm going to tell.

   • So on Friday night, while I'm out doing the things people do when not at work, I get a phone call from a co-worker just to let me know something: Hank Aaron might be coming to Whale City on Saturday night.

   Nothing much, you know. Throwaway stuff.

   Apparently, the Wamsutta Club, which is the city's version of the Royal Order of the Water Buffaloes if Fred and his pals were all absurdly rich and mostly white, is having a pseudo-gala dinner as part of their 140th anniversary. Given the club began as an offshoot of a baseball team, they're having a baseball-themed dinner, which according to the man who called the paper has a "50/50 chance" of drawing one Henry Aaron.

   As the story goes, Aaron apparently once roomed with a player from Whale City in the minors, I believe. Given the city's immigrant history and multicultural makeup, he was apparently one of the few people in Aaron's life for whom the Hammer's skin color was genuinely never an issue. Thus, they became close friends, and has led Aaron to visit the city on a few occasions.

   I guess he loves it here. I don't know exactly, since this article seems to fit the story as told to me, but doesn't really.


   So the fact that my boss isn't the one calling me, and that a 50/50 chance of Hank Aaron coming to my city in the middle of the Barry Bonds saga seems beyond absurd, I forget about it and go on with my Friday night assuming it's nothing.

   Fast forward to Saturday morning around noon, when I notice a voice mail came into my phone while I was out of service range. My boss, Aaron, 50/50, have to go, oh my God, finish your Sunday column, work the desk, go to event, write the story, work more on desk. Essentially, the worst working day you could possibly imagine, multipied by three.

   Not even considering that I'm now freaking out because I may, in fact, be face-to-face with Hank F'ing Aaron and needing to ask him questions I'm sure he's not really all that eager to answer, since they have nothing to do with his visit.

   So I cross the state again, finish most of my column, go to work, do some more work, do the rest of the column, go back home, put on a shirt and tie, and make the short drive up to the club.

   Yeah, no Hank Aaron. But there is a 45-minute talk about the 1884 Providence Grays that, while very interesting to me, is of no interest to my boss or (presumably) the newspaper-reading public. Thus the article you saw above, which would seem a nice bookend with my first-ever article on the Negro League's Boston Royal Giants if I was retiring on Sunday.

   But it isn't. So I just take solace that I got to eat a nice meal thanks to one of the club members who kindly invited me to dine with him. Turns out, he had a degree from BU.

   Ah, networking.


May 19, 2006 - Don't Say May 19
   • Today was supposed to be one of those days where I made up for having a life that doesn't allow fun on a normal schedule. It was stacked up something awesome.

   But then rain did in the morning nine holes of golf in Westerly, R.I.

   The hour-long search for a Bank of America in the Greater Norwich, Conn., area ended up highlighting the trip to Foxwoods, which was five hours of $4/$8 hold 'em with the end result a $75 loss.

   And then, upon crashing the "Girls Night Out" in Western Mass., I was the one who gorged on the pizza and a pint of ice cream.

   But on the plus side, at least I wasn't the guy wearing the Red Sox headband and the shirt with "JOHNNY DAMON IS A $ELL OUT" on it in comedically large letters.

   Watching that nice old woman in the seat next to me bad-play his money away with pocket eights against pocket aces just was fun for the whole family.


May 18, 2006 - I Will Drive By
   More Unnecessary Soccer Analysis: In watching the recording of the Champions League final, "underwhelming" might be an understatement. The red card that cost Arsenal their goalie at the cost of, at least partially, their 995-minute scoreless streak? Dubious, since I suspect Barcelona would have taken the goal and been on their way.

   The winners didn't even play particularly well. They just played well enough to crack a team who'd posted 10 shutouts in a row ... a little reminiscent of when BU made the Hockey East final despite an utter inability to score because they had Sean Fields. What? We can win games where we're outshot 50-19? Let's go!

   Course, you think soccer on the whole is underwhelming, so screw you.

   I Bet She Doesn't Have 'Bill Day': 'Power Off Penny' sounds like a product being sold on TV for $19.95, much like the initial press runs of the Reagan Dimes costing $10 to purchase. But no, it's just local poor woman getting her power shut off because she paid off all but one cent of her bill.

   Jacqueline Williams, 41, of Flint had an electricity bill of $1,662.08 and paid all of it, except for one cent. That wasn't enough for the power company, which blacked her out for seven hours Wednesday.

The CMS Energy Corp. subsidiary told Williams the power would not be turned on until the penny was received.

"I went down there, paid my penny and got a receipt," Williams told The Flint Journal.

Shortly after, the electricity was turned back on.

"All of this for one penny," said Williams, who went to the state Department of Human Services for help in April and was told the agency would pay most of the bill.


   To her credit, it sounds as though she's not real bent out of shape about this, considering she did allow a $1,6000 energy bill to pile up before it happened.

   Course, maybe all the time dancing on the table with the lamps flashing and the TV blaring and the air conditioning blowing her hair as in a storm was worth it, too. No one ever asks that question.


   • So, in the span of about an hour Thursday evening at work, I went from not traveling to New Jersey to see Pearl Jam and My Morning Jacket at the Meadowlands on June 1 to ... well, yeah.

   See, some people make impulse purchases ... not that I don't, but I'm better known for "impulse trips." It's how I ended up at a Sonic Youth show last year when I wouldn't have known Thurston Moore if he washed my windshield while I was stuck at a red light. I have no problem with Pearl Jam. I don't dislike Pearl Jam. I just wouldn't go as far as to say I'm a consumer of Pearl Jam.

   Well, I am now. A 430-mile-round-trip-in-one-day kind of consumer.

   This is all because of Nick, who spent most of the night trying to talk himself into a fourth Pearl Jam show of the year. I could sense he didn't really want to go by himself, but he really wanted to go, and then he asked with just enough seriousness as to get me thinking about it, and then I marveled that I actually was thinking about it because the Sox are on the road, and then I found out it was the same $50 I paid on a collegiate impulse trip to see the reincarnation of The Grateful Dead, and then Nick was jumping around and screaming "Awesome!"

   Hey, if nothing else, it'll make a fun story. Plus I can go hug Giants Stadium while I'm there. Win-win.


May 17, 2006 - The Soccer Talk Grows
   Because Somebody Asked: Referencing yesterday's post title, it was announced in a surprise Wednesday staff meeting -- just the kind of thing I felt good sitting in wearing a Florida Panthers jersey -- that the fishwrap would be doing a little reshuffling. Nothing we did, apparently ... as it was described to us, because the other papers in our group aren't as awesome as us, we need to give a little more to cover their dragging asses.

   Maybe not in those words, but you get the point.

   The paper offered buyouts using what they call the "Rule of 85" -- add your age and experience together, and if it totals 85, piles of money could be coming your way at the cost of job security. Given I'm 26 and will have been at the paper four years in June, I'm a mere 28 years away from having my own special powwow with the editors.

   Though really, if I'm still dodging writing my weekly column in 2034, I would hope you'd just buy the gun for me.

   Impressing For All The Wrong Reasons: Upon hearing the result of Wednesday's Champions League final, which TiVo saved for me without my even asking, I began to talk about previous Champions League finals with someone else in the office, going into my diatribe about one of the greatest sporting event endings I've ever seen -- the 1999 final, in which Manchester United scored two goals in stoppage time to win 2-1 and complete the treble of UEFA, FA and European Cups.

   About halfway through this story, my boss Josh interjected, announcing to no one in particular that I should be "deported," ostensibly, because I remembered a soccer match that happened across the ocean seven years ago.

   Sadly, I realized later, that may have been Josh's way of complimenting me. I didn't like it as much as the previous way -- once, during a conversation about charging for the newspaper on the Web, he followed something I said with, "Now, as much as I hate to say this, Jon makes the best point of all."

   I mean at least there, the jury could understand why, in my head, I started pistolwhipping him.

   Is it pistolwhipping or pistol whipping? I always get confused.

   Oilers 2, Sharks 0: Now, Anaheim is not a team I have any ostensible problem with. They're just kind of there, and while I think it's stupid that they're keeping the "Ducks" part of their name next season when they dump the "Mighty" part -- mark your calendars -- it's not like the "Anaheim Oranges" has a a solid ring to it.

   But consider, if you will, how strongly I was pulling for them not to win the Sidney Crosby Sweepstakes when they and Pittsburgh were the last teams left in the lottery. Consider how angry I was when they knocked out Calgary from this year's Stanley Cup playoffs -- Canadian teams should never lose to teams based in the Los Angeles metroplex, for Christ sakes. And consider that I just might write an angry column if they knock out Edmonton, a team that desperately needs to win the Stanley Cup considering it wasn't all that long ago they were going to fold. Or move. Or worse.

   Apparently, I've hated the Mighty Ducks and never really known it. And I do have to admit, looking at their logo with the duck-billed mask, I'm pissed they're dumping it. I mean seriously ... where the hell can you go with the nickname 'Ducks' if not there? A bird screaming beneath a frozen pond, just visible through the ice?

Or worse ...
-- Or worse ...

   Come to think of it, I never did find out just what happened with Roboduck. Did he kill the old mascot and eat it? Because really, does it look as though there could have been any other outcome in that encounter?


   • It's not every day you get mail from American Fork, Utah, nor is it every day you get mail which reads (in part), "The easiest way to become a millionaire is to be coached by a millionaire."

   And if these tickets that I got in the mail to American Training Conference presents: Total Asset Protection and Wealth Creation Conference really are a $69 retail value, couldn't I just sell them and make money that way? I mean, they are VIP Tickets!

   It's at times like this I'm angry that eBay charges auction fees, because really, we could have a hell of an experiment if I wasn't so cheap and focused on wasting money via other avenues.

   The rundown is I was referred to someone. They wanted to personally invite me, as their guest, to the "Nation's No. 1 Conference on TAP&WC." It will feature three "highly successful self-made multi-millionaire experts," which I take to mean that they are not actual multi-millionaires, but people who have memorized lists of actual multi-millionaires and can run them down at the flip of a coin.

   They are probably not actually this bisexual female author, this guy with a Xanga and this first-division forward, but their names are the same. So let's just jump to conclusions.

   The rest of it has all the buzzwords I've come to expect after years of infomercial watching: "cash flow," "real estate," "millions" and "divorce." The one thing it left out, however, is a decription of the unbridled sense of being raped that probably washes in when the meeting is over.

   After all, the best way to become a millionaire is not to be coached by a millionaire. It's to mass-mail promises of wealth to society at large, and wait for the principles of Darwin to bring the mouth-breathing dumbasses right to your door.


May 16, 2006 - Layoffs?!
   Suns 125, Clippers 118 (2OT): It's not exactly a secret how little use I have for NBA basketball. But what a great game ... back and forth the whole way.

   It's good to know that playoff anything really can be entertaining. Plus, it's the first time I've stayed up until 2 a.m. without any thoughts about playing poker in quite a while. Think of the money I saved!

   Been There, Done That: Now the the Boston University Class of 2006 has likely dried out from their damp graduation ceremony, time for them to get a little moist again!

It's tough to imagine life without school; even tougher to imagine it with rent, taxes and the other evils of adulthood. As students, we're insulated from the real world, even as it's being waved right under our noses. Straddling the line between college student and adulthood, as many of us are right now, is truly an awkward place to stand.

I guess that's what graduation is all about. To think of it as merely the culmination of four years is shortsighted -- this is the ultimate emancipation of our lives. Education might be the world's ultimate catch-and-release program. For some 22 years we've been learning and being led through much of the world. Suddenly, we're forced into a life we've only seen from the outside.

That, my friends, terrifies me.

   One, we're not your friends. I've never even met you, and to be honest, you sound like a bit of a wussy. I didn't cry at my graduation. I yelled at least once. It was probably for Bill Russell, who got an honorary degree ... a fact that seemed awesome until they gave one to Bill Belichick in a following year.

   Two, graduation is not "the ultimate emancipation of our lives." Stop it. The ultimate emancipation of our lives is when we become elderly and borderline useless, crapping ourselves because we know there's somebody being paid to clean up for us. That or hitting the lottery.

   Three, you're not even at the point when you should cry. That comes either in September, when you realize the whole world's going back to college and you're not, or a few months in, when you get a call about going back to campus for a party and realize ... you can't, because you have to work.

   And four, the real world is easy. It's like the regular world, only you're responsible for feeding yourself. That can be harder than you might think, but just because it doesn't have a waffle station doesn't mean you need to turn on the water works.

   By The By: While Boston College apparently has/had Condi Rice for graduation this year, BU had Les Mooves, grand poobah of CBS.

   The key here isn't whether one is better than the other -- and let me assure you, politicos, I'd much rather hear the man who brought us CSI over the woman who ... blah, blah, blah, Iraq, blah, blah, oil ... you get the point. The key is the Class of 2002's draw of departing university president Jon Westling might be the biggest rip ever. At least Jon Silber might slip up and offend an entire subculture or ethnic group, or refer to his days "chilling out, listening to the hi-fi." Westling's speech wouldn't have been any less memorable if I read it for him, and I would have at least made faces or thrown in a, "Hey! Does anybody here like the RED SOX!!!!"

   Bastards. Thank God none of you will invite me to your graduation parties.


   • I have not just words for the graduates of today, as by now it's occurred to them that they're either (a) rich or (b) fucked, depending on their situation. I decided I would make up a motivational poster for them to use at their leisure.

   It seems only fair to share it with all of you as well.

Reality: The Poster
-- Not implying you'd be interested, but, um, wallpaper version here.


May 15, 2006 - No Golf in the Rain
   I'm At Peace With The Theft: Not that I ever explain entry titles, or even fully understand them, I used "Pork Chop Sandwiches" the other day without showing the remixed G.I. Joe epsiode enders it came from. While all are entertaining, if you don't find No. 7 funny, we probably shouldn't talk as much as we do. Though don't watch it too many times ... it doesn't retain real well.

   Also, when it comes to this Web game, the tendency to post comparative scores may be lost when you realize it wasn't as much as your thought it was while you were playing it. An odd phenomenon, but one I'm falling into the camp of.

   With Just The Right Fanfare: Did you know Sunday night television featured the series finale of Malcolm in the Middle? Yeah, I missed it too.

   Just goes to show maybe society does know uninteresting tripe when it sees it. Though when you consider FOX got seven years out of show built around a mom being bitchy with awful kids and a stupid husband, maybe I should pull the praise back a few inches.

   After all, this ain't exactly quotable when the first paragraph praise is "Unlike many shows, the Malcolm series finale was the same size and as heartfelt and yet unsentimental as the previous 150 episodes."

   Though on the plus side, there's a whole Web site devoted to the final episode of shows. That puts me one slot lower on the importance totem pole.

   My Moment of Clarity: A few days ago, I watched an episode of VH1's "The Fabulous Life of ..." Really Rich People, or something. It just kept bouncing between Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Larry Ellison and the ultra-mega-rich Russian who bought Chelsea FC ... yes, I could easily look it up, but I'm avoiding another tangent.

   The basic premise of the show, which was strangely entertaining, was that all these people have so much money, they have no idea what to do with it. They don't just buy mansions, they buy mega-mansions. Then they buy out the neighbors, so they don't have neighbors. They have pissing contests to see who can have the largest megayacht. They invent things to spend money on. They buy sports franchises. They spend on stupid things like Leonardo daVinci sketch books.The show wasn't trying to say, "Feel bad for thsese people! They have just too much money!!!," but it could have been taken that way.

   This problem took me all of about four seconds. Mr. Gates, if you're struggling with your $50 billion, why don't you ... I don't know, give some to people who need it? Strictly hypothetically, I walk into City Hall in Springfield, Mass., which for our purposes is bankrupt. I sit down, say "Give me the books" and start writing checks. You're telling me Bill Gates would notice for a half-second if he just solved every financial woe Springfield has? I've always said I'd love to be rich, get a big stack of tickets to a major sporting event, and just walk around outside, giving them to people who look like they genuinely want to use them ... am I the only person who thinks like this?

   Hey, BU. The College of Communication looks really shitty. How about, in exchange for letting me operate the wrecking ball, I buy you a new COM?

   I'm not mad, or even perplexed. I just hate rich people, apparently.


   • I'm not sure I've ever really understood why I like Doug Flutie. Well, growing up wasn't hard, but given he is the patron saint of Boston College athletics, I should have turned my ambivelance into full-on mockery.

   And yet, upon his retirement today, I feel a twinge of sadness. Not because I'll miss seeing him play, but because I'll miss the idea of a 3-foot-7 guy running around a professional football field. I'll miss the idea that somewhere, he's playing.

There is a lot of desire to go back to Canada and play one more year. There's no doubt. I've had to have about 20 people talk me out of that one.
-- So cute! What a trooper!

   This was my discovery upon returning from the U.S. Women's Open Media Day in Newport, an event we 'sent' three people to solely because they had a free lunch. I mean, I got some material I'll probably use when I cover the event this summer, but the only way it would have been newsworthy for me to be there is if when defending champion Birdie Kim ran by me to get out of the rain, she tripped on the stairs and broke her leg.

   I could have had an exclusive. "AHHHH!," Kim screamed, reportedly in pain.

   If nothing else, if was good to go to Rhode Island and remind myself I could do this man's job tomorrow. Seriously ... I was more or less at peace with him until finding out he drives a sportscar at last year's PGA event in Norton. Now I suspect he makes tens of thousands more than me.

   He asked Birdie Kim what her given name was in Korean! During the press conference! IT'S A FACT IN THE BOOK YOU HAD IN YOUR HAND, DUMBASS!


   I feel better.


May 13-14, 2006 - Good Game, Guys
   The Reason For The Season: This double update is ostensibly due to a couple reasons, high among them a desire to see May 12 linger at the top of the page longer and because I've reached the point in my lingering illness where I'm coughing up solid chunks of phlegm. That's a period where typing nothing on a computer on a day when site stats show readership is low doesn't seem like a great idea.

   But really, it's also due to me saying, "Hey. I don't really have the ideas, time, or energy." Which might not necessarily be a sign of things to come, but a sign of something else.

   You survived OK, right?

   The Facebook Generation: Stories like these are what contributed to a debate in the office last night over whether the MySpace phenomenon has hit its peak -- just in time for me to climb aboard, of course -- but the one that really got me was on the Nightly News this weekend.

   I missed the whole Facebook phenomenon too, but the premise is the same, only specifically designed for college students. This logicially leads to a lot of pictures being posted of, um, 'collegiate' activities. Stuff that, apparently, people don't realize can still be found by potential employers.

   Like, for example, the one that showed the centerpiece of the story standing naked in his kitchen.

   Charming as it was to see the guy's smiling face sitting atop a tower of blurred screen, it's pretty hard to feel bad for him. As stupid as I've been with this site over the years, at least I've never encouraged you to look at my dong.

   In fact, that should be the new site title. "Cooch's World: Without cock-related fun since 2001."

   Line of the Weekend: Sadly, it's not in my column. It came Saturday night after the Red Sox, bless their heart, gave me an extra pseudo-day off via a rainout.

   The Chili's in West Springfield, you see, had an usually high number of homosexual-acting waiters in the waning business hours, with many simply milling around, not doing much, in the vicinity of our table. This was made more noticeable by our waiter, who was both not grouped with them and working his ass off, cleaning up a large salad dressing spill in the kitchen while alternately serving apparently every table left with customers at that hour. He did a hell of a job, but that's not the point.

   The point is I was facing away from most of the chaos, and became glad I was when a good friend noted how distracting it all was. At the risk of paraphrasing:

"I can't eat here. There's too much gay going on."

   In the olden days, I'd have written this down. Course, in the olden days, I would have seen the humor in the two girls ordering beer while Erik and I got fruity margaritas. Mine, conveniently enough, being the "Tropical Sunrise" rainbow-colored one on the rocks.

Yankees Are Dealing With An Unfamiliar Health Crisis
-- Sunday's Inside Baseball benefits from being a little shorter than normal and from analyzing a point deemed both intriguing and compelling by critics: that the Yankees are cooked, or at least well on the road to cooked.

   • Bar, bowling, restaurant, bar, friends. All of that interspersed with the traditions you just kind of accept: gifts, cake and general feelings of aging. Course, mine came when I noted my MySpace profile said I was 26 years old, and not when my new license came in the mail, but that's not the point.

   Rather than belabor a recap of the specific details of what happened this weekend, I would rather make it clear how grateful I am to everyone who went out of their way to thank me for me being born in the afternoon hours of May 12 some 26 years ago. The number of notes, phone calls and attendees for general frivolity may not actually been the most, but it's easily the most I can remember. All the more impressive when you consider how spread out people are now getting.

   If only it didn't just happen on that one day a year, but really, it's not like I'm innocent of any of that.

   The kindness was so overwhelming, if was enough to make me forget (until the drive back to work Sunday) the handful of people who actually didn't send along anything. Now, I'm certainly not holding any grudges about it, given I've made it company policy to downplay other people's birthdays just because I feel guilty about not being able to remember everyone's.

   It just stood out in my mind a little bit while driving through the rain, remembering how it wasn't really that long ago when one of those people played quite a promiment role in what I had to be thankful for.

   See, Sunday was another Commencement at Boston University ... in an alternate universe, it was the day young Matty Cooch got his college degree, but if nothing else I'd like to thank him for keeping my sick self out of the rain all afternoon. Logically, Commencement makes me think of my own graduation, and just whom I spent that day with. How I went down to Fire and Ice, robe still and tow, and ate with both my family and people whom, it's becoming increasingly clear, I might never see again.

   Even as incredible as everything has worked out for me today, from top to bottom, I'll always look back on those days with a twinge of sadness now. And I'll always wonder, even if only for a few seconds, just how exactly feelings can change that severely when you're dealing with someone like me who isn't exactly real secretive about who I am.

   Just be glad I'm not taking any cough medicine. Were I not lucid, we'd still have about 1,000 words to go, and the kid whose naked ass went from Facebook to the Nightly News would be looking at me going, "What kind of idiot puts that crap out on the Internet for all to see?"


May 12, 2006 - The Elderly Take Longer To Heal
   Commercial Note: They're just going to keep making those "Citi Identity Theft Solutions" commercials, aren't they? The ones where hicks steal two elderly women's credit cards, then do a voice-over while the old women act it out? Or any number of other combinations.

   I suppose they work, but wouldn't you figure we'd have moved on to something else by now? I guess good ideas are just that hard to come by.

   Another Moment of Dork Geography: If I went through all the troubles these guys did to get to Canada's Four Corners, I'd be pissed if all I got was a crappy little obelisk.

   That said, The Corner Corner kept me occupied for an hour, and I wasn't even trying.


   • The sign of a good birthday celebration is just how much can be written about it in the hours following.

   So it would be rude of me to try and fight through this headache right now, even if it is more due to this flu I've sort of half had for a week.

   Regardless, you are all awesome. That's just the sort of writer I am ... strong word choice. Awesome being way more descriptive that some might think.


May 11, 2006 - Mass.'s Only Tampa Jersey Owner
   Line of the Night: While Applebee's is never anyone first choice to eat, having it be the area's only option led to me overhearing the following from a man who was struggling to follow the Red Sox game.

The Internet ... I can go on NFL.com, I sign on NFL.com. I can look at pictures of every cheerleader in the NFL, I look at their pictures. I can e-mail every cheerleader in the NFL.

   If only I'd been paying more attention, I could follow this with a comment about the man's personal appearance. Instead, I'll just have to assume the worst.

   What exactly do you write in an e-mail to a cheerleader? "I think it's hot the way you don't wear many clothes"?


   • So tonight, I wore my Devil Rays jersey out in public -- work is not public -- for the first time. With a Red Sox hat.

   I noted at least two people looking at it oddly. Though considering it was at a restaurant full of high school kids from some indeterminant concert, they may have been wondering how someone so vibrant could have so little hair ... or taste.

   Somehow, I think an Astros jersey would have gone over better.

   And also, that I have a problem.

   Birthday-related post will come Friday, with it being the birthday and all. In an unrelated item, Western Mass. will be getting a downpour unlike any seen for weeks.


May 10, 2006 - Contemplating Folding It Up
   To All The Yankee Haters: After a tough night, enjoy these entirely unrelated Associated Press photos.

Jeter

A-Rod

   Go LOL to your heart's content.


   • I've some poker stories from tonight -- mainly, how you can lose a sum of money when you have AA, your two opponents have TT and 88, and the flop comes down QT8. Also, however, is how you can lose another sum of money when you have AA, your opponent has AJc and he decided to call his entire stack and catch a third, flush-bringing club on the river.

   But really I've already told them, haven't I?


May 9, 2006 - Pork Chop Sandwiches
   David Blaine: Alright, I gave it a day to sink in. To really think about what I saw, right down to the little featurette on the woman who died free diving, since dropping 560 feet before the ocean's surface holding your breath is something worth doing on purpose.

   I'm reminded of what I wrote in September 2003, when Blaine did his little live-action mime thing hooked to a crane in London. Specifically my comment:

When it comes to "needless," I think sitting in a glass box and not eating for 44 days is pretty near the top of the list. When your listed reason for doing something involves the sentence, "I think it is worth it for my art even if I drop dead," you clearly need to get a fucking job or something.

   This brings me to Monday, when thousands gathered and more thousands watched on TV as Blaine completed a week in a fishbowl. Now, if I'm the widower of the free diver, I'm probably all into it because I'm convinced such things are awesome.

   But I'm not. I'm a real person, who was hoping someone broke through the security during the stunt, smashed Blaine fishbowl with a sledgehammer and just did what felt right after that.

   Generally speaking, we teach people not to do things that put them in harm's way. When those actors laid on the center line of the highway in "The Program," we got mad because kids are stupid enough to think that's a good idea. Lord knows I did it in the Canary Islands ... though it was on a mountain road completely devoid of cars, but that's not the point.

   David Blaine is a hell of an entertainer. He's clearly able to do more with his body than most, and clearly able to captivate a crowd.

   That said, he's also an idiot who I'm convinced hates himself and hopes he really does die during a stunt. And let me tell you, having Stuart Scott there to be the one who announces to the world, "Yeah. David Blaine's corpse is as cool as the other side of the pillow" would have made it all worthwhile.

For Young, 50-Game Punishment Fits Crime
-- Much of this was actually in a Sunday column back after the incident, the removal of which was mentioned in passing sometime this afternoon. Because, you know, I don't deserve to know these things. It's only my work.

   • At some point this week, I'll stop updating this site at three in the afternoon because I'll stop getting out of bed at two in the afternoon.

   As I approach 26, I've clearly built someone's dream lifestyle.

   Now, if it was mine, we'd be getting somewhere.


May 8, 2006 - This Can't End Well
   New Followings: I never would have thought I'd find a reason to care about the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, but that's why life doesn't come with a program.

Since his retirement from the major leagues, former Boston Red Sox standout Mike Greenwell has gone from patrolling left field at Fenway Park to negotiating left turns at high speed.

The two time big league All Star has turned his attention to driving race cars as of late, and on Sunday May 14 at 11 AM, Greenwell will join the Weekend Thunder NASCAR radio show on Boston's 1510 The Zone. During the broadcast Greenwell will discuss his upcoming NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut at the half-mile Mansfield Motorsports Speedway in Ohio.

   For the past 15 years at least, a Mike Greenwell Fotoball has sat in one of the cubbies of my Western Mass. bed. The gold-framed poster picture of the man will likely find a home in my future home, the odds-on favorite to be the centerpiece of a haphazard basement bar.

   That said, if you think for one second I'll lift my head from the table before Greenwell wins a NASCAR Truck race, you're insane.

   To Be Connected To The Rich: The alma mater sent me an alumni e-mail today, inviting me to "participate in a special online auction hosted by friends and alumni of the College of Communication, and open to the greater Boston University community."

   It's connected to the first-ever Terrier Golf Classic, which I could play in if I felt like driving to New York and paying $750 to hang with rich people older than me.

   Thankfully, the auction allows me to participate from my hovel:

Auction items include:

-- 2007 Vanity Fair Oscar party -- the hottest tickets in Hollywood!
-- A week-long luxury vacation in Acapulco
-- 2006 Primetime Emmy Awards and Backstage Tour of Desperate Housewives
-- 2007 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
-- Media Training Session at Ketchum Worldwide
-- New York Stock Exchange: Tour the Floor
-- VIP tickets to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
-- Animated Cameo on Kids' WB’s Loonatics Unleashed

   It's nice that I can every so often be reminded just how absurd it is that I went to Boston University.

   Especially since my need to choose on the rare times I have 14 things I usually have to do at once means I probably won't get to play here for free on Monday.

   That mini-golf tournament two Sundays away, though? I am so there.

Sox-Yanks All About The Arms
-- Did you ever wonder what it would look like if 20 inches worth of words were just strung together with a modicum of effort? This isn't it, but it's far closer than I'm sure my boss was hoping for.

   • After nearly four years living in the city, I speak to you today, for the first time, as an official resident of Whale City, USA.

   Course, it'll be more official when I get my actual new license, since that stupid, doesn't-fit-in-your-wallet piece of oak tag the state uses for temporary IDs doesn't feel real official.

   I was going to chronicle my afternoon at the RMV, as turning 26 Friday means I need to replace the license that was called fake by a well-meaning waitress well past a point I looked under 21, but the building had to sort of will-sapping strength you've come to expect. At first I was surprised there would be even a small crowd at 1 in the afternoon, until it dawned on me that people without licenses (or in automotive trouble) aren't actually productive members of society. Thus, they have nowhere to be.

   I took my little ticket, waited somewhere around the 17 minutes it told me I'd probably wait, watched a guy unable to deduce he should go up to the designated counter when his number was called, learned about this reality show when it rolled across the news ticker on the wall, marveled that there really is a national network that broadcasts old news to tickers in RMVs across the country and saw one ass crack. Though really, it wasn't so much the ass crack as it was a lot of lower back thanks to an ill-fitting sweatshirt.

   I also read the Deadbeat Dad wanted poster, disappointed that the most kids any one of the guys on there had was four. Don't know what I was expecting, but seeing someone with like nine would have made the time go by that much faster.

   It crossed my mind while I waited that my life has been in radically different places every time I've been to the RMV. The first time was in Springfield, when I was the only kid out of the three from Agawam Auto School to get his license. Then I was there again less than a year later, ironically enough, to successfully appeal a surcharge after I bounced my Mighty Tempo off a couple trees and a fire hydrant the day before New England lost the Super Bowl to Green Bay.

   Four years later, I went to the License Express registry in the CambridgeSide Galleria just prior to turning 21. Had you stopped me that afternoon as I was walking back to campus what I could tell you about New Bedford, I'm not even sure the words "it exists" would have come out. New Bedford was always one of those places I sort of knew about, but at that point, I'd legitimately never been within 30 miles of it.

   And now, I live there in the eyes of Mitt Romney. Course, but for some paperwork, that was true four years ago.

   And like Romney, this all happens when there's a plausible reason to think I'll be somewhere else this time next year.

   But no matter ... I'm sure now the linguica will taste more sweet and the municipal golf course will glady give me the resident discount for the next round I play there (for free, probably, which kinda kills the joy.)

   And so, I leave you with this.

Dios mio, baby! Not now!

Anna Kournikova and Enrique Iglesias are seen during Game 1 of the second round of the NBA basketball playoffs between the New Jersey Nets and the Miami Heat at the American Airlines Arena in Miami on Monday. (AP Photo/J.Pat Carter)

   Because no matter who you are or who you're dating, at the game, the scoreboard is always more interesting.


May 7, 2006 - Somebody Told Me
   Real Life Humor: I don't think the Reader's Digest people will be interested, but I quite enjoy this for some reason.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) -- This famously liberal city is serving notice that illegal immigrants are welcome, even while Congress is considering tough new penalties. Police won't harass you. Education and health care are available.

Here's the hitch: You probably can't afford to live here.

Back in 1985, when Cambridge first declared itself a "sanctuary city," rent control kept apartments affordable.

Today, however, Cambridge no longer has rent control; cheap apartments were turned into luxury condominiums and the city home of Harvard and MIT is among the most expensive places to live in the United States. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is around $1,400 a month.

   Somehow, I suspect this would be up my alley as well, but the idea of perusing a site called "The Gallery of Misused Quotation Marks" doesn't seem worth doing when you consider every second brings me closer to death.

   My Friends in Philadelphia: All weekend, the pictures were pouring across the Wire ripping into Barry Bonds. A man dressed up as a box of Juicy Juice, signs reading "Cheat," signs covered in asterisks, signs covering the left field wall reading "Ruth did it on hot dogs and beer, Aaron did it with class. How did YOU do it?"

   So logically, what did those fans do when Bonds clanged No. 713 off the upper deck facade?

As Bonds took his slow trot around the bases, some of the Phillies fans -- who had been needling Bonds with boos and derisive chants throughout the series -- stood up, cheered and clicked photos.
-- From the AP story.

   Ooh! Look! A home run! We like ball go far!

   I'm kind of just allowing the whole Bonds story to happen while secretly half-hoping someone drills him in the knee with a pitch. No real malice behind it, in so much as there can be no malice when you're wishing for something like that.

   It's just good to see Philadelphia fans once again exposing themselves as hypocritical tools. Course, they've won eight in a row, so for the first time in a decade they may not actually care.


   • Course, it gets better. It always gets better.

When the San Francisco Giants' slugger hit a mammoth shot in the sixth inning off Philadelphia right-hander Jon Lieber to put him one behind the Babe on Sunday night, the ball bounced around Section 202 and into Carlos Oliveras' hands.

"I never thought I was going to be lucky like that," Oliveras said.

This was the first game of the three-game series Oliveras and a friend attended. He bought the ticket two days ago because he's a Bonds fans and wanted to see a slice of history. Then he was part of it.

"Everybody was looking on the floor," Oliveras said. "The ball bounced to me. I grabbed the ball and I stuck it between my legs. Everyone was still looking around."

Oliveras, a native of Puerto Rico, said no one immediately tried to snag the ball because he had it hidden. When the media and Phillies security discovered he caught the ball, other Phillies fans -- many who spent the series jeering the sullen slugger -- started yelling for him to throw the ball back.

   Yes, because that's exactly what you would have done with it, jackass.

   Course, this comes from a story where the crux is Bonds refusing to autograph the ball -- admittedly a factoid that came out during the post-game news conference, but also sparked by a writer asking if he would autograph the ball if the fan wanted.

   Will people get up in arms about this? Of course they will ... after all, Oliveras is in the Air Force, so this logically means Bonds hates America. Never mind that Oliveras is happy to have gotten his photo taken with Orange On A Toothpick, to say nothing of the face time he'll get on that reality show I'm not watching.

   This actually reminds me that it's been about a year since I reviewed that episode of Britney and Kevin: Chaotic, writing notes that just continued to top themselves as the half-hour cruised on.

   Who would have ever believed how much further that whole escapade would tumble down in 12 months? Who would have believed it had that far to go?

And he, Kevin ... well, I'd imagine his ex-family was overjoyed to hear him say how weird and great it was to just go "dropping everything I know and just going overseas" so he could pretend he was a vampire in the backseat of a car -- there was a night-vision filter involved, it actually wasn't far off. His parents divorced at 8, causing him to bounce from Fresno (Calif.) to Carson City (Nev.) to somewhere else before he moved to L.A., where he became a dancer for LFO.

   Oh that's right. Now I remember ... everyone believed that.


May 6, 2006 - A Game of Timing
   Aging, But Enjoyable Nonetheless: The call of Holy Cross's overtime winner over Minnesota in the NCAA hockey playoffs certainly isn't the best radio call in history, but the emotion gets you there anyway.

   Speaking of hockey, this guy thinks I'm crazy. Which is only fair because, well, in that column I was.

Bats, Not Arms Powering Blue Jays
-- Inside Baseball finishes what snuck up on me as an eight-articles-in-seven-days stretch. The Stat was cut this week because, well, it wasn't very good. The rant, however, stayed.

   Given this is the Internet and all, Sunday marked the seven-year anniversary of the Rockies scoring in 14 consecutive innings (over two days, with the 7th being the second day). That all-time record? The 1903 Boston Pilgrims scoring in 17 straight to clinch the AL pennant.

   Told you.


   • Last year's Derby, by The Associated Press:

News Flash

A woman lifts her shirt for Mardi Gras beads on the infield at Churchill Downs during Kentucky Derby day festivities on Saturday in Louisville, Ky. The 131st Kentucky Derby is the 10th race of the day. (AP Photo/ Joe Imel)

   This year's Derby, by an Associated Press who was smart enough (or job-aware enough) to avoid the infield:

Post-Flash
-- Note the one in the back ... apparently, the camera went off premature.

Fans enter the infield at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Saturday for the running of the 132nd Kentucky Derby. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

   Course, it's still better than this:

OMFG!
-- OMFGACAMERADUDEIMGONNABEFAMOUSAHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111

   Though I can't say last year's Derby was better. Even if I did know some of the horses more than 20 minutes before the race a year ago, I didn't get a pool together, have everyone draw two horses and have one of mine win.

   Like I'm smart enough to rig a pool. Flattering, but really unnecessary. You'd think the Devil Rays jersey would have told people I'm not really all there, but apparently, it took the spending an hour of the shift practicing my pitching.

   Hey, Tampa could use me. I'd play for the league minimum and everything.


May 5, 2006 - Closing In
   Reader Request: Because she's Julie, she gets requests like this granted.

Dragon Boat Guy
-- It's a half-naked guy jumping off a dragon boat, catching ducks.
It's funny because you don't actually see him killing the ducks. Or soiling his Underoos.


A Chinese man leaps off a dragon boat to catch ducks during a twist to the traditional dragon boat competition held in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan province on Sunday, April 30. Apart from competiting on being the fastest team in rowing, participants are also rated on their ability to catch ducks with their bare hands. (AP Photo)

   I wonder if the Chinese view this the same way we view the Redneck Games, which in no way should be confused with the Redneck Olympics. The Games aren't some hackneyed, MIDI-playing free-for-all.

The games themselves are down-and-dirty events like bobbing for pig's feet, seed spitting, dumpster diving, hubcap hurling, bug zapping by spitball, an armpit serenade and a big-hair contest. The defining moment, though, is the mud pit belly flop, mostly entered by those with beer bellies and peek-a-boo butt cracks. The trophy is a crushed and mounted Bud Light can, disappointingly empty.

   Disappointing being a personal term.

Millar Brings Back The Memories
-- It's hard to combine a notebook and a game column into one thing. They come out crappy.

   • And now, a moment of worldly introspection from my father ... a certified FOX News fan who enjoys sending out the occasional chain letter.

WOULDN'T IT BE GREAT TO TURN ON THE TV AND HEAR ANY U.S. PRESIDENT, DEMOCRAT OR REPUBLICAN GIVE THE FOLLOWING SPEECH?

My Fellow Americans: As you all know, the defeat of Iraq regime has been completed.

Since congress does not want to spend any more money on this war, our mission in Iraq is complete. This morning I gave the order for a complete removal of all American forces from Iraq. This action will be complete within 30 days. It is now to begin the reckoning!

Before me, I have two lists. One list contains the names of countries which have stood by our side during the Iraq conflict. This list is short. The United Kingdom, Spain, Bulgaria, Australia, and Poland are some of the countries listed there.

The other list contains everyone not on the first list. Most of the world's nations are on that list. My press secretary will be distributing copies of both lists later this evening.

Let me start by saying that effective immediately, foreign aid to those nations on List 2 ceases immediately and indefinitely. The money saved during the first year alone will pretty much pay for the costs of the Iraqi war.

The American people are no longer going to pour money into third world Hell-holes and watch those government leaders grow fat on corruption.

Need help with a famine? Wrestling with an epidemic? Call France.

In the future, together with Congress, I will work to redirect this money toward solving the vexing social problems we still have at home. On that note, a word to terrorist organizations. Screw with us and we will hunt you down and eliminate you and all your friends from the face of the earth.

Thirsting for a gutsy country to terrorize? Try France, or maybe China.

I am ordering the immediate severing of diplomatic relations with France, Germany, and Russia. Thanks for all your help, comrades. We are retiring from NATO as well. Bon chance, mes amis.

I have instructed the Mayor of New York City to begin towing the many UN diplomatic vehicles located in Manhattan with more than two unpaid parking tickets to sites where those vehicles will be stripped, shredded and crushed. I don't care about whatever treaty pertains to this. You creeps have tens of thousands of unpaid tickets. Pay those tickets tomorrow or watch your precious Benzes, Beamers and limos be turned over to some of the finest chop shops in the world. I love New York

A special note to our neighbors. Canada is not on List 2, but Since we are likely to be seeing a lot more of each other, you folks might want to try not pissing us off for a change.

Mexico is also on List 2. President Fox and his entire corrupt government really need an attitude adjustment. I will have a couple extra tank and infantry divisions sitting around. Guess where I am going to put em? Yep, border security. So start doing something with your oil. Oh, by the way, the United States is abrogating the NAFTA treaty - starting now.

We are tired of the one-way highway. Immediately, we'll be drilling for oil in Alaska - which will take care of this country's oil needs for decades to come. If you're an environmentalist who opposes this decision, I refer you to List 2 above: pick a country and move there. They care.

It is time for America to focus on its own welfare and its own citizens. Some will accuse us of isolationism. I answer them by saying, "darn tootin."

Nearly a century of trying to help folks live a decent life around the world has only earned us the undying enmity of just about everyone on the planet. It is time to eliminate hunger in America. It is time to eliminate homelessness in America. It is time to eliminate World Cup Soccer from America. To the nations on List 1, a final thought. Thanks guys. We owe you and we won't forget. To the nations on List 2, a final thought: You might want to learn to speak Arabic. God bless America. Thank you and good night.

If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English, thank a soldier.

   Now, that says a lot of things. But really, I only saw one sentence that truly bothered me.

It is time to eliminate World Cup Soccer from America.

   Jackoff idiots. Go back to bobbing for pigs feet out of a mud puddle and cheering for demolition derby cars.


May 4, 2006 - For Those About To Steal
   A New Bane, Perhaps?: Earlier tonight, I looked around MLBlogs for the first time. Most specifically this one, which made me both think of Stewie Griffin's Geena Davis diatribe about "tooth-to-gum ratio" and hope the whole things was a put-on.

As I listed to Curt Schilling on WEEI yesterday, something dawned on me. Schilling was talking to Michael Holly and telling him that sportswriters really don't know as much as they think they do.

They just have a media forum in which to express their thoughts about sports, which doesn't mean they know any more or less than fans out there.

An old boss once told me "Sap, remember, sports reporters are just glorified fans with a press pass."

That stuck with me and it was reinforced by Schilling saying the same thing. Sometimes I get carried away thinking "oh, I'm a sportswriter for MLB.com and one day I'll make it to the big time!"

But really, every day is a learning experience. I learn something new, mostly about sports history since I am only 23 and there's a lot of old school players I just wasn't around to watch.

Well just had to get that off my chest...more to come later!!

-- It gets better, especially the "I really think I'm part of the team!"

   Of course, there's more than a kernel of truth to what Schilling said ... course, he said it to Michael H-O-L-L-E-Y, but what is blogging other than spelling mistakes? This "old boss," however ... I can only hope he's managing a McDonald's. Or perhaps a Hardee's, though I love them too damn much to want to put them through that.

   The idea that sports reporters are "glorified fans" is more or less what you believe right up to the point you actually do some sports reporting. Well, some good sports reporting anyway. Any schmo can wander in the press box are dump about 500 words on something -- except me, given 700 words has become mt compromise with the bosses -- but for it to actually be worth reading, you've got to be a little more than a "glorified fan."

   To say nothing of the fact that, upon meeting the people in the press box, there's more than a handful who either are truly indifferent toward the team or hate them for any number of reasons -- personal agendas, other childhood fandom, etc.

   But that's OK, because the next generation has these blogs. These blogs that will one day put newspapers out of business, or at the very least, change the way they're produced some.

Ok, tonight's the night we get to see Josh Beckett, or as I like to call him, Wonder Boy.

He looked good in Spring Training, but really, that means nothing so let's not even go there. Let's wait and see how his first start goes and if he can shut down what has always been a troubling Texas offense.

PS- For the record, Bronson Arroyo: 1 HR, Willy Mo Pena: 0 HR...enuf said!!

-- Hey, I misspelled W-I-L-Y once too, to be fair.

   OK, maybe not these blogs. Though if it is these, I'm going to be freakin' rich one day.

Injured Riske, Wells Show Signs of Improvement
-- Generic notebook. Written so I could validate sitting in the front row (with the window open) with my conscience. It all worked out.

   World Cup Update: It's not insurance fraud if you can get someone to sign the policy.

If England are knocked out in the first round of the competition the insurer will turn to five sports commentators to judge if their exit is premature.

Mr Hucker will them have to provide medical evidence showing that he has suffered severe mental trauma as a result to get his seven-figure payout.

The only thing the policy does not cover is England failing to progress through the tournament as a direct result of players being out due to metatarsal injuries, following news that striker Wayne Rooney may not be fit for the event after breaking his foot.

   BritishInsurance.com: For when million-dollar coverage on a supermodel's legs just doesn't seem stupid enough.


   • Today, upon getting out of the car on Beacon Street, I discovered that I'd left my cell phone in the charger back in Whale City.

   Now, given I went without a cell phone through all of high school and all but the waning moments of college, not really getting a phone of my own until I was well into my life as an adult, this should not have been a big deal. Going to the game on an off-day and planning to write just because it felt like what the Red Sox guy should do when the team is home, it might even have made my life easier.

   Instead, I had a moment of panic. Oh my God! How am I going to communicate? How will I do my job? I won't know what time it is (given I use the phone instead of a watch now)! I won't be able to function! I have to go home and get it, which I can't do!

   And then I became slightly depressed, because I've been assimilated. The guy who wanted a special sticker on his diploma because he made it through BU, Cellular Central, with a giant black rectangle that spent giant swaths of time stashed off in a glove compartment. The guy who didn't want to be reached (and still doesn't a lot of the time, but you don't know that).

   Eh, I was on Instant Messenger for an evening. And when you don't do that but for every three months, people get excited to see you.

   Much like I get excited when the cafeteria serves BBQ chicken pizza.

   Small brain, I have. Doesn't take much.


May 3, 2006 - Just Because You Can ...
   Mighty Ducks 3, Flames 0: Now that's a rollover in the clutch even the Boston University hockey team could be proud of. There's flat, and then there's getting wiped after your whole conference has fallen at your skates.

   I do have to give credit to the one Mighty Ducks fan they kept showing on CBC last night. Many, many miles from home, this man was in his white jersey with the comical, movie-based, duck-billed goalie mask on the front, taunting the fans in hockey-mad Calgary after his team took a 1-0 lead. That takes a pair ... something the Flames fans must have also believed, since they showed one of them shaking his hand after the game, congratulating him on his team advancing.

(Travis) McClelland says expectations may have been too high for this year's Flames. And while the loss means there will be no Battle of Alberta, a return to the post-season rivalry between the Flames and the Edmonton Oilers, McClelland says Flames fans may have to root for their northern neighbours if the Oilers fashion their own miracle march through the playoffs.

"If they do another run like we did," he said, grimacing. "It's painful to say, but they did it for us. Out of civility and goodwill, I think we should do it for them - if they get to the finals."

Instead of the Flames, the Oilers will battle the San Jose Sharks.

   So, it's San Jose vs. Edmonton, Anaheim vs. Colorado, Ottawa vs. Buffalo and New Jersey vs. Carolina. They're one round in, and the best Gary Bettman can hope for is already a San Francisco suburb against a New York City one.

   Or Edmonton-Ottawa. That might cost him the last four hairs on his head.

   Sports Radio Suggestion: Now, fortunately, I have never had my father pass away. I've also never had my life gabbed about on sports radio, given my non-athlete status, but that's not the point. If I'm a pro athlete and I've just lost my father, among the last things I'm going to be concerned about is whether the callers to any national overnight sports radio shows begin their calls by offering their condolences to me about my loss.

   I dare say I wouldn't be listening.

   Should you decide to call in anyway, however, I'd make sure not to offer your "condolences to the Wood family." Plurals are a hard thing to learn, but I don't think you can pass idiocy off because your Dad ws drunk too often.

   This also begs the question as to why I'm listening to sports radio in the car again, to which I can only respond with as good as the new Yellowcard song is, hearing it twice in an hour is enough for now.

Only Time Will Tell On Pena
-- Another one of my favorites: the story on the day off. Course, it was a lot better before they lost the game and Jonathan Papelbon became the story, but deadline being deadline ...

   • It's nice to drive through Whale City at 1 a.m., given the roads are clear and the traffic is gone. It also allows time to take in the scenery, such as the new products they're selling at 7-11.

P'EatZZa!
-- It's P'EatZZa! And it's buy one, get one free!

Last week, someone lost their job over the new 7-Eleven® P’EatZZa Sandwich. The new triangular sandwich was featured on 'The Apprentice,' NBC’s popular business reality show hosted by Donald Trump, in an episode titled 'A Slice of Heaven.' Today, 7-Eleven introduces that heavenly sandwich at participating 7-Eleven stores across the United States. Unlike the contestants on 'The Apprentice,' who priced the new item at between $4 and $8, the P’EatZZa Sandwich is available at most participating 7-Eleven locations for a suggested retail price of $3.69.

Two slices of pizza flatbread with cheese and pepperoni substitute for bread slices, and are filled with deli meats, cheeses and spreads. Served cold, the triangular wedge-shaped sandwiches are available in two varieties:

Turkey and Pepperoni -- smoked turkey, spicy deli pepperoni, romaine lettuce with parmesan ranch spread served between two slices of pepperoni pizza flatbread

Ham and Salami -- ham, deli salami, banana pepper rings, fire-roasted red peppers, romaine lettuce and mustard vinaigrette dressing on cheddar mozzarella flatbread

   Now, I'd like to think I'm pretty well known for being willing to eat most anything short of McDonald's lobster rolls. My affinity for the premade sandwiches at both Campus Convenience stores and Store 24's is well known.

   The idea of deli meats and spreads being placed between two slices of pizza is enough to make me question whether our society should be halted, or whether Al Qaeda should be subtelety told we wouldn't mind if they took 7-11's corporate headquarters, wherever they might happen to be.

Look for a Greek-style salad on mozzarella cheese and parsley flatbread with peppers, onions and mushrooms coming to your favorite 7-Eleven store on May 22.

   I just hope they're sitting by the phone and get the message in time.

   Though on the plus side, they've suddenly made Go-Go Taquitos seem like a far better meal choice.


May 2, 2006 - Our Becks
   This Never Happened: I can't stress this enough ... if this girl actually did let four guys flip her through a basketball hoop, I can only hope they tried to do it again and she was decapitated. Honestly.

   I hate to sound like a girl for even a second, but really ... real girls have hips, people. Hips don't fit through basketball hoops. If you're the Celtics, basketballs don't fit through basketball hoops.

   Though I bet Kobe and the Lakers would have closed out the Suns had he been chucking women around.

   Playoff Hockey Observation: In the Western Conference, No. 8 beat No. 1, No. 7 beat No. 2, No. 5 beat No. 4 and No. 3 Calgary plays a Game 7 with No. 6 Anaheim on Wednesday night.

   This would normally excite me greatly, because it's the sort of frenetic thing that gets inferior Canadian teams into the Stanley Cup Finals -- Ottawa will kill everyone in the East, meaning this could be the first all-Canada final since ... 1989, maybe?

   Course, because of that, a Calgary win sets up a semifinal with ... Edmonton. And a Calgary loss, which should be illegal, puts Edmonton against Joe Thornton and San Jose ... the only other team I actually want to do well.

   No wonder everyone else hates hockey. It's just easier.

   Today's Publicity Offer: Because I link to CollegeHumor sometimes -- and wouldn't you with stuff like this around? -- I've been spotted by the fine folks at Babe Rating. If being asked for links by these guys and that other site that resells Tampa Bay Devil Rays tickets is the price of being the Internet's No. 1 Jon Couture, I'll pay it gladly.

   "Basically it's like hotornot.com, but better," their Webmaster says. "You get to rate babes based on their features...butt, boobs, face and attitude. It's cool, and somewhat addicting!"

   Here's what I learned in the few minutes of research I did:

   -- This, by the numbers, is the ugliest girl in the world. That makes me proud of our society as a whole.

   -- Apparently there are people who aren't bothered that Paris Hilton looks like a boy.

   -- That site I linked to a few months ago that tells you what celebrities you look the most like paired me up with this woman, who I'd never seen in a photo larger than my thumb.

Amrita Rao
-- I know I see it.

   So there you go. If you've ever felt like you wanted more to show for an hour of Web smut-surfing, there you are. Just remember the cardinal rule: just because you can't see someone's butt, doesn't mean you can't give someone's butt a 10.

Papelbon Taking Success In Stride
-- The notebook from a game that never happened. Had I not been so tired, I might even have been more industrious ... not that you'd have known that until just now.

   • So apparently, Boston cab drivers think they're the best drivers in the city. They believe their propensity to speed and cut people off is made OK because of their job, and that they're only doing it because they need to get to their destination quick and get another fare.

Sure, sometimes they cut people off, speed in and out of traffic and their use of directionals is an afterthought, but it’s just part of the cabbie lifestyle.

   I'll remember that the next time a cabbie bumps my car from behind because I'm not pulled forward a distance to their liking, or far enough where they can shoot by me after a light turns green.

   Cabbies are the only drivers I fear on the roads, because at any point, I'm convinced they could do anything short of trying to drive directly over my car.

   Nice as it is to drive all the time, sometimes it's nicer to use a blinker and not gun it toward me when I'm trying to cross the street 300 feet in front of you.

   And no, I'm not just saying this because a cabbie splashed me rather severely on Yawkey Way tonight. Just a happy coincidence is all.

   Know what else is a happy coincidence? The fact that still no one knows geography.

Geography Quiz!
-- OMG! I'm so advanced! I'VE BEEN THERE!

   Had the cruise write-up ever happened, I would have regaled you with the tale of the activity one night -- people racing to assemble a puzzle of the lower 48 states. Never mind that I could have done this when I was five ... these kids were in their teen years at least, and looked like kindergarteners trying to fingerpaint. You know, a thoughtful study of the canvas before pawing their hands all over it like they were hoping the answer would fall in randomly.

   Though really, these studies are always done by people who really should be looking elsewhere for validation of their existence.

Six in 10 did not know the border between North and South Korea is the most heavily fortified in the world.

   Oh my God! How are they even able to remember to wipe themselves after pooing? I hope I never get asked to participate in one of these studies ... they'll find out I never learned calculus and take my driver's license away!


May 1, 2006 - A Hero To Tens of Tens
   Oilers 4, Red Wings 3: I didn't see a second of it, and with apologies to the Michiganders out there, I'm pissed.

   I hadn't made any officialy pronouncements about it, but after watching the two overtimes of Game 3 following my blsitering Bruins column, I adopted the Oilers as I'd adopted the Flames the last time round.

   You'd think a guy with such a problem with Canadian border guards wouldn't putt for Canadian teams to win every Stanley Cup until the Bruins do again. But that sort of logic needn't apply here.

   In Honor Of 'The Trade': The best link I can think of to mull over the reacquisition of Doug Mirabelli by the Red Sox isn't my own story, and it isn't a statistical analysis. It's a breakdown of Doug Mirabelli's day, circa 2004.

9:25 shaves and leaves his goatee
9:30 takes 35 vicious cuts with his bat naked in front of the mirror,
screams out loud "Dougie is going deep tonight"
9:45 puts on his cowboy boots and tight jeans and tank-top and gets ready to leave
9:50 grunts at his wife and kids and tells them he'll see them tomorrow

   And really, how can it get better than that.

With Damon's Return, Rivalry Can Get Back To Baseball
-- Whereupon I almost see Johnny Damon as smarter than all of us, until I realize that goes against most everything I've ever believed.


Look Who (Else) Is Back at Fenway
-- I hope the utter lunacy of the Doug Mirabelli uber-ovation is conveyed here.

   Just a really odd day all around, given Ortiz's homer into the Red Sox bullpen didn't even draw that tremendous a rise out of the crowd.

Thanks, Mike.
-- That Myers signing looks good so far.

   It was like even they weren't really aware of how good a game they were watching because they were so transfixed on everything else. Course, that could have had something to do with it being miserable and damp outside, whereas my own sort of detached observation was due to eating like half a pepper, sausage and onion pizza, but at least we both came around in the end.


   • I have never celebrated International Worker's Day, May Day or whatever you happen to call it. I don't know why I'm mentioning this, since it really has nothing to do with the fact that I fell asleep in my car for two hours this afternoon.

   This was the offspring of waking at 6 a.m. to leave Whale City by 7:20 to reach Boston by 9. Getting back home around 12:30 a.m., it was a long day.

   With the critical question being ... how did it go? Did I convince any high school children sports journalism is the way of the future, far better than their career aspirations in plastics?

   Well, maybe. It struck me at about 9:30, as I was talking to my collegiate advisor about his upcoming colonoscopy -- don't ask -- at how woefully unprepared I was to entertain and inform anyone for 50 minutes. Getting over to COM at about 9:45, I checked in, had my 20-second conversation with the organizer and popped into COM 101 to see a crowd already gathering.

   Maybe they were leftovers from the talk that preceded me in there, Students' Rights with a Massachusetts ACLU staff attorney, but probably not. Obviously popular since she was in the school's auditorium, but I can safely say the high school version of me would have rather sat on the T tracks in the middle of January for an hour than in such a lecture.

   Course, the high school version of me also skipped out of every journalism conference I ever attended after an hour to go to a local mall. And look how I turned out, kids!


   At 9:55, I walked down the hall to the bathroom, which is more or less always what I do before I do something that makes me nervous. In my notepad, I wrote down the following preparatory notes, transcribed here just for you.

What Sportswriting Is

Three tips I can offer:
-- Write whenever you can.
-- Watch whatever you can.
-- Be critical.
-- Be smart.
-- Enjoy it.

What you will do.

   Now, note I wrote five tips after three. I knew writing What Sportswriting Is was pointless as I wrote it. And I skipped "Watch whatever you can" for something I already can't remember.

   Extremely rough estimate, there were probably about 120 people in there once we got started. Just enough of them asked quality questions to get us through the 50 minutes, which included the extremely technologically advanced me playing Saturday's Red Sox press conferences (taped off NESN) off my laptop. This sounds impressive until you realize I literally perched my laptop on the podium of this large auditorium and cranked up the volume, since I had no idea how to actually hook my laptop into the room's electronics system.

   In hindsight, I give myself a solid B ... I wasn't particularly humorous mainly because I was so focused on getting through the time and getting all my points across, but the nerves faded and I didn't feel like I was repeating myself. There were a few moments when the audience participation was considerably lacking, but enough kids got involved in the discussion where pulling teeth is an inaccurate description.

   And as for the three kids to my left who laughed when I said I "went both ways" in response to a question, I cam real close to calling them out. So close. The fact that I didn't tell me I'm probably a lot closer to growing up that I'd like to be, but there were high school newspaper advisors there.

   Which probably also kept me from swearing, so I'm happy about that.

   And should any of those kids be real industrious and Google to this site, thank you for not later stumbling upon me sleeping in my car within the Warren Towers garage. After that footlong chicken stir fry from the Student Union and a couple Simpsons episodes on the laptop, it was clearly the best use of my afternoon hours. I dare say exactly like if I'd just stayed home.


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2002: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2001: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05]