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May 30 - June 2, 2008 - Yes, Lots of Trees
   Penguins 4, Red Wings 3 (3 OT): There's something nice about missing almost all of regulation in a game, then turning it on and almost getting to see more than half of the game.

   The winning team gets outshot 58-32? It's like I never left college.

   • Things I like about being near a Division 3 college? Press releases like this one.

One of the most successful head coaches in University of Massachusetts Dartmouth soccer history is stepping down.

Head men's soccer coach Ray Cabral, who led both the men's and women's soccer teams in successful seven-year stints and is a member of the Corsair Athletic Hall of Fame, has resigned.

Cabral has accepted new positions as the production manager for Yard Boss, a landscape design company, and as the director of coaching and player development for Cape Cod Reunited, which a member of the Massachusetts Premier League.

   Hey, employer? Yeah, I can't be an intercollegiate soccer coach anymore. I'm going to go design rich people's backyards. Make sure they're getting the right flat stone.

No Second Thoughts On Taking Second Look
-- Inside Baseball from the weekend. On replay.

May 29, 2008 - Soda Headache
   • Twas a very strange day. First, Baltimore radio came calling.

WNST Radio, 1570 AM
-- Jump in their King of Baltimore Sports contest at any time.

   I actually spent more time talking about the Rays than I did the Red Sox, and apparently, the people of Baltimore are excited about their .500 team. I'll admit it ... I was caught off guard, and stammered something about Daniel Cabrera.

   Seriously, they're going to finish last. They were surprisingly good in April, George Sherrill's been decent as their closer, but they don't hit and they don't particularly pitch great. Ninety losses are on the way.

   But hey, a weekend series with the Sox means sellouts. That must be a nice treat for the concessionaires.

   Then, I went into work expecting to hear the official announcement that the paper had been sold. Instead, I got to hear we laid off a bunch of people, among them one of our sports agate guys and my original job on the news desk from six years ago.

   Shocked would be the wrong word, but surprised is not. We've been blessed with stable ownership for long before I got to Whale City, but those days are over for everyone.

   From what I understand, we didn't get hit as bad as some of our sister papers, which is nice. Of course, we also haven't been sold yet.

   This is going to be fun.
May 26-28, 2008 - Those Black Bears Could Kill Me
   It's Teach Them WELL and Let Them Lead The Way: Shame on you, State Shapes: Massachusetts children's book.

Fenway Park?
-- That's totally not what the grandstand looks like.

   Julie was very jealous of the store at the Buttonwood Park Zoo, though her store not being full of crying children seems a definite plus.

   Also, it not being full of tabloid magazines:

Star Magazine
-- Know what, supermarket checkout?
I don't really need to know who that is on the right.

   It's at times like this I realize in as much as I've "let myself go," I have so far yet to travel.

   • If you're going to present me with a concept of cool coulda-been political mementos, shouldn't most of the things you list be, um, that?

   Oh, I get it. Broccoli and fists labeled "more of the same" means "they weren't paying me for this."

Barack Obama? His emblem of access to the White House is obvious: the swipe card. It is the most modern of the three, but for the life of us, most Americans just don’t know how it works.

   Obviously. In the same vein, know what the secret to successful heart surgery is? Decades of training and experience. Obvious stuff.
May 24-25, 2008 - Indiana Lives Again
   Katy Perry: I'm more puzzled than ever. Not to mention that her first album was a gospel album.

   There a quiz bowl question ready written. Other than that, let's just forget the whole thing happened.

San Diego's Crash Largely About Lacking Foundation
-- Inside Baseball's mostly about the Red Sox. Nice, for once.

   • Your new wallpaper:

Manny Ramirez Hit By A Car

Boston Red Sox left fielder Manny Ramirez can't make the catch on a triple hit by Oakland Athletics' Jack Hannahan during the third inning of a baseball game Sunday, May 25, 2008, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

   The way I figure it, we've either got "A's Victory Van Takes Job Assignment To Next Level, Striking Hall of Famer During Game" or my attempt at a rumor, Ramirez missed the ball because he was trying to talk to the car.

   Neither are great, but it beats the hell out of a bad Photoshop.
May 21-23, 2008 - This Got Surreal
   Today's Quote Taken Completely Out of Context:

"You know they're dating, right? They say 'I love you' on Facebook!"
-- My dear, sweet Julie, speaking as she ate ice cream
we got out of a milk can with a cow on top of it.

Salvador's Ice Cream, South Dartmouth

   Yup. Some days you just go out driving on a Friday night, take a bunch of windy semi-country roads and you end up finding a farm with a milk can ice cream shop with a cow on it.

Fort Taber, Whale City
-- Plus, we saw this, but we go there reasonably often.

   It's incredible how, in the span of about an hour, people can go from walking out of a furniture store because the "big sale" still means everything is more than $500 to looking at multi-million houses.

   It would be even more incredible if "looking at" was replaced by "actively shopping for," but then that would be just silly.

   Farmer Wants A Wife: As far as I can tell, this is an actual television show being aired on an actual broadcast network.

The show's producers searched the nation to select a group of 10 women who have had it with bad dates in the big city and are open to making a big change. These women are looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and are willing to find out whether a country man with hometown values might offer a more romantic and rewarding lifestyle.

"Farmer Wants a Wife" takes these women out of the comfort zone of their city lives and brings them to the wholesome world of a modern-day farmer. All the action takes place in the farmer's hometown in rural Missouri. The ladies will have to impress him with their heart and their newfound "love" of the country life, or risk being sent back to the city. Are they ready for the realities of life and work on a farm -- driving a tractor, taking care of very large farm animals, sewing quilts and attending bingo night? Through a series of challenges, group activities, shocking eliminations and cozy dates, these uptown women will see how they match up with a down-home guy on the path to true love.

   Um, they are aware they could just move to the country, right? That whole "risk being sent back to the city"? They, um, don't think they have to stay there, do they? They could just move somewhere rural. Probably save some money.

   I ... I don't really ever wonder why I don't watch a lot of TV anymore.

Sox Hope Ex-Ace Proves To Be Bargain
-- Sent in early so my desk could go to a midnight showing of 'Indiana Jones.'

Notebook: Manny Slumping, But Not Pressing
-- Honest. That's the greatest early deadline reasoning I will ever hear.

   • A decade ago, it was a different time. We were a different people, worrying about different things. It was a playful "Hey, I kissed a girl for the first time!" And look! There's Fabio! Isn't the world so funny sometimes?! I'm going to dream about wearing a princess hat!

   Now, it's like "Hey! I kissed a girl, and I liked it!" And you know what else? I like wearing lots of eye liner, and if you have a problem with it, well, go fuck yourself! I just like kissing girls! WHY DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND ME?!!?!!

   For a long time, I was working my way through a cherry-flavored Chap Stick. No one will believe me, but that's what led me to stop on this song for more than five seconds. Somehow, this is all Seacrest's fault.

   And seriously, Jill Sobule? She's even odder looking than I remember. And if there's anyone who knows what odd-looking is ... it's all of you ugly people.

   Edit: Katy Perry also has a song called "Ur So Gay," which starts with "I hope you hang yourself with your H&M scarf, while jacking off listening to Mozart"?!

   What the fuck did I stumble into?

May 20, 2008 - Whatever It Is ...
   Thank You For The Support: Overnight sports radio guy JT The Brick has been strangely pushing Wednesday's Champions League final on his show the last two nights.

   I don't listen to him anywhere near enough to accurately figure out why, but tonight he made some semblance of an argument that as Americans, we can't just like American sports anymore, and we have to embrace what the rest of the world does, and the rest of the world doesn't care about baseball or the NBA, they care about this game on Wednesday in Moscow. It's "the equivelant of 10 Super Bowls on the same day."

   And not soon after, a man called in from a Megadeth concert.

   I'm sure he's got his afternoon scheduled around it.

Masterson Stymies Royals For First Win
-- Another game story, though this one took a lot longer than it should have.

   • This, as they say, is relevant to my interests.

-- Who doesn't love a swear-spiced dance mix?

   Sadly, I knew Bill O'Reilly used to host "Inside Edition," because my parents have been watching it at night for a good chunk of my life.

   This makes it all OK.
May 19, 2008 - No. 184
   • For this one, I was not at a party in Chicopee Falls.

Jon Lester's No-Hitter - May 19, 2008
-- Larger version here.

Cooch's No-Hitter Scorecard - May 19, 2008
-- If anyone wants copies of this, you should consult a copier.

Lester Caps 'Long Road Back' With No-Hitter
-- It definitely could be better. The next no-no, I'm guessing
I'll be totally cool about the whole thing.

   I suppose it's a positive in my own mind that I looked at Gordon Edes's story in the Globe and thought, "Damn. That's much better than mine." As though we should be anything but literally in the same ballpark.

   I already wrote a few of my immediate emotions on the Sox blog, for once getting to bed at 4 a.m. feeling like I'd actually accomplished something.As it was with Buchholz, I was dead convinced until the final pitch was in Jason Varitek's mitt that there was no way it would happen.

   Course, that night, my heart wasn't beating about 160 miles per hour.

   This shouldn't be shocking given how often I devolve in number-related baseball tangents, but I've always been one of those people who kind of sinks a little bit when the pitchers both give up their first hit of a game. As though a person can ever go to a ballpark and expect a no-hitter.

   As such, I noted pretty early on that this was possible ... Jacoby Ellsbury said afterward he looked up after his diving catch in the fourth and saw the zero on the scoreboard, and I made a mental note of it all the same.

   I told Ron Chimelis, who sits next to me, I wasn't going to be sold on the possibility until he got through six. (By my recollection, that's when an AP News Alert would go out nation-wide.) After the seventh, I'd planned to start writing, but I just couldn't. I couldn't call Julie. I couldn't call my desk.

   I bought into the whole superstition crap, because, well, I wanted to see a no-hitter.

   Like most, I assumed the worst when Lester came out and threw three straight balls to start the ninth. I couldn't figure out why, with a seven-run lead, Kevin Youkilis was holding the runner at first, leaving the entire right side of the infield open. And yet, it didn't matter.

   For a split second, I just remember a smile creeping across my face, then wondering why it wasn't as loud as I thought it would've been. (Because it was so windy, we had to keep the press box windows closed, which kills a ton of the sound.) By the time I was at the elevators, the immediate magic of the moment was gone.

   Suffice to say, I've seen a lot in six seasons, never mind six seasons preceded by almost zero actual sportswriter training. It's kind of embarrassing to write: two World Series, three ALCS Game 7s, four MLB playoffs, playoff walk-offs, Bill Buckner's return, the longest nine-inning game ....

   Really, I just feel bad for Devern Hansack. Because now, I'll never have to mention this again.
May 15-18, 2008 - More Post-Grad Bitching
   I'm Not Sure Which I Enjoy More: This article, which I'm reasonably certain is barely enough off to call it 'crazy,' or the promised one in the sidebar, "Why 3-9 Isn't 9/11 For Notre Dame Fans."

   I lied. It's the Notre Dame article title, and it's not close.

Gabe Still Has Game, On and Off Field
-- Obligatory Gabe Kapler story.

As Manny Heads For History, What Does It Mean?
-- To answer my own question, no. Mike Schmidt does not
fucking answer e-mails. Nor does anyone else.

Stars Shine in Surprising Places
-- Seriously, I try to do a really good story,
and get stuck having to run all my research.

Sox Win Slugfest
-- (It's a gamer. It's OK) I hate this shit.
Not like anyone would have noticed it anyway.

   • It has been six years.

Graduation Day, 2002

   It struck me hard today how long ago that was, given I park in South Campus for Sox games and got there just about the time there's grads roaming the streets, decked out in the red and black which I've still got somewhere. (Closet at home, I'm guessing.)

   I have some regrets about the way my college years played out, but none that feel particularly unnatural. When presented with the myriad of opportunities that going to a city school as big as BU offers, I'd find it hard to imagine there's a lot of people for whom there's none.

   Mostly, I just miss that all those opportunities were so readily available. I always told people who asked why I liked living in Boston so much that even if I wasn't out of the town every night, I liked knowing that absolutely anything was just outside my door almost 24 hours a day.

   Never mind the fact that it was a city where walking everywhere was a viable option. I might miss that more than anything. Except maybe classes with TV anchor hopefuls, that was up there too.

   It does not help that for the first time in six years, I feel largely uneasy about my job situation. I haven't written much directly about it because, quite frankly, I don't want to and there's not much to say. We're going to be sold, and they ain't exactly lining up. The presumption is that those that are have nefarious ideas in the offing, and that the best-case scenario is very good either: spend time "making ourselves more attractive for purchase."

   I don't have any particular fear about losing my job completely, but I'm acutely aware how disgustingly spoiled I've been the last five years. The prospect of losing a chunk of that isn't palatable, and it's not like there's suitors lining up to whisk me to safer harbors in a golden kayak.

   Life Lesson No. 146: If someone asks you if you'd like to be on a V.I.P. guest list, as happened to me with this, the answer is always yes. If for no other reason that you can then forever tell people you were on a guest list once.

   Had she been left to her own devices, Julie might have tried to eat her weight in Capital Grille lobster mac and cheese. Which I'd imagine would be akin to trying to catch the age of an older sibling ... those numbers ain't static.

   I had a job already when I graduated six years ago. My grandmother was there, I kept my eyes open for all the important pictures and I didn't spill food on myself. A pretty good day.

   There'll be more, I know. Though they might come with me as a postal worker.
May 14, 2008 - Does Mike Schmidt Answer E-Mails?
   In A Whole New Construct: That guy I talked about on Tuesday? He didn't find me through that reunion Web page. Just through basic Internet sleuthing.

   Which makes it even less logical that he's bragging about playing in two national golf tournaments in which he clearly didn't play. I mean, hell, at least I knocked a ball in from 60-odd yards for an eagle when I failed to qualify for the Massachusetts Amateur Public Links however many years ago that was.

   (Whichever college summer it was that I worked maintenance at the town muni, where I'd been playing since I was 13 and which hosted the qualifier. Yeah, like that stopped me from choking to nearly a 50 on the front side. Given what I shot on the back -- the eagle was on 10 -- I'd have actually had a chance of advancing if I'd gotten out of my own way.)

   • Why can't we get lyrical ballads like the Seattle Pilots had?

   The correct answer may actually be to blame rap music. That's nice, for a change.
May 13, 2008 - Yeah, That's The Ticket
   The Wires Aren't Connecting: Can someone clear this up for me?

Uncasville, CT (May 12, 2008) -- Mohegan Sun is delighted to announce that the Board of Directors for the Academy of Country Music has selected Mohegan Sun as 2008's "Casino of the Year." This marks the second time that Mohegan Sun has won the award; the first win was in 2005.

   Why are they handing out Casino of the Year awards? And for that matter, "Night Club" and "Venue" of the year? Congrats! You ... hosted a concert better than anyone else?

   Do they give out more free chips than anybody else? Cushier green room couches? I mean, I understand this legendary edifice getting recognized ... it's right in their wheelhouse.

The most bottled beer sold in one night was at a Hank Williams Jr. Concert. A total of 16,000 bottles were sold. The next highest bottled beer sales totaled 13,000 during a Clint Black Concert.

   If only Foxwoods could snag that "Best Casual Dining Restaurant" award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, this would all make so much more sense.

   • I've mentioned previously that my 10th high school reunion is coming up in November, and there's a MySpace drumming up interest and awareness about it. Of our graduating class of 304-ish, there's a little more than 40 people registered, which isn't great but is enough to get people connected with others they may not have seen since the first reunion five years ago.

   I got a note just today from a guy in that construct. When my group of friends showed up at the nightclub where the party was -- Nov. 29, 2003 -- this guy more or less met us at the door and latched onto our group for the night. Perfectly fine ... I was glad to see him again, because while we weren't particularly close friends, we got along.

   So I'm looking over his profile to see what he's been up to. Did some time in the military, which is obviously something to be proud of. On his way to becoming an attorney, same thing. Lot of hard work there.

I played in the 2002 and 2005 US Amatuer golf tournament and both guys I lost too were the eventual winners. They are both now on the PGA Tour.

   Well, shit. Wow. That's incredible. Never mind on its own merits, it's incredible because one of the places where I met this guy was trying out for our high school golf team. I made it twice (though I wasn't varsity until I was a senior), while he rather spectacularly didn't.

   The memory's a little hazy, but in one of the nine-hole qualifying rounds, he got so frustrated he slammed his putter into a green, burying the head of it completely under the putting surface. Even if you don't play golf, I'm going to guess you know this is a rather massive no-no.

   Naturally, I immediately do what anyone -- never mind a sportswriter -- would do: Go on the Internet and see how he did. I mean, this is the Internet age ... it took me seconds to find sectional qualifying results for 2002 and stroke play numbers from 2005.

   Yeah, his name's not there, though I did find a Northeastern alumni magazine explanation from 2005 ...

[ GUY ], CJ'03, of Agawam, Massachusetts, qualified to play in the U.S. Amateur Public Links Golf Tournament in July. The tourney is one of thirteen conducted each year by the U.S. Golf Association. He plans to turn professional within the next couple of years.

   I mean, that's a bit less of an impressive event, but it's still a national championship that I could never dream of getting into. Wonder how he did? Let's look at the 2006 scoring ... hmm. Doesn't seem to be there. Well, maybe the 2005 ... nope, nothing either.

   I did, however, find one result regarding him and competitive golf: an event from last month staged by Assumption College, where he played for Springfield's AIC.

   Of 65 players who completed both rounds, he finished 65th, shooting 104 and 95 for a two-round total of 55-over par.

   I'm not a naive person. I am not shocked that people stretch their accomplishments, especially people who've been doing it since you knew them in high school. I guess I just fail to understand why, even though by using the same rationale of "I lost to a guy now on the PGA Tour because I failed to advance past the absolute lowest level of qualifying, which I paid my way into," my resume is much more impressive.

Jon Couture was among the competitors in several categories of the prestigious Associated Press Sports Editors national sportswriting contest throughout the early 20th century, in which he lost to Pulitzer Prize winners and ESPN personalities alike.

   I mean, that's technically true, but I don't tell people I know Dustin Pedroia because from time to time, I ask him banal questions after he comes out of the shower.

   John Farrell, though? John Farrell called me while I was eating dinner once. And don't even get me started on Vin Scully. We shared a long* conversation once where he I told him where the chowder was in the Fenway Park cafeteria. Oh, that Vin.

   It's like the only words he ever said to me were, "Why thank you, young man!"

   * -- I mean, if you figure there are single-celled creatures that live less than a week, a 10-second conversation ... that's like we talked for an entire calendar year!

May 11-12, 2008 - The Worst Shape of My Life
   Not Coping Well: Candace Parker, at the edge of the abyss.

In a TV marketing campaign launched during Thursday's NBA telecasts, the WNBA shows three of its top players acting the role of what might be called a typical male sports fan.

"Sorry, you couldn't pay me to watch women's basketball," Sparks rookie Candace Parker says into the camera in one commercial. "Nothing exciting ever happens. Look at the WNBA. The league has stayed the same for 10 years. . . ."

A voice-over asks, "She wouldn't say that. Would you?"

   Yes. Yes I would.

"Men really control sports consumption and conversations," said Hilary Shaev, the WNBA vice president of marketing. "Some men have misperceptions about the level of play in the league."

So they tested that theory.

"We took a controlled group of men and women and showed them game footage and, with the men," she said, "the positive perception of the game increased by 25%."

   Really? The "positive perception of the game?" Could you pick a term more nebulous for your next study?

   This is all I'll say. I'm not a big NBA guy, so the WNBA is never going to win me over unless [insert grotesque chauvinism here]. All I'll suggest is next time you commission a study, don't create a result where the positive can include a guy going, "Wow. This was nowhere near as bad as I thought! It's still terrible, but it could be much worse."

   • For a week, I've tried to figure out where this came from and what it's for:

   And yet in that time, it has never stopped being hilarious.

   Monday, for what it's worth, was my 28th birthday. It was about as not notable as a birthday could be, as we've reached the point in life where my mother can say to me, "Oh my gosh, I actually forgot it was coming up" without any sort of damage. She planned the Jack and Jill ... that's present enough.

   Looking back through the archives, there's lot of talk of big plans and big celebrations surrounding May 12, and part of me missed that. But then I remember I'm getting married in like five weeks, by which point my paper will either be sold to a new buyer who can do whatever they want with it or not sold, and thus slashing as much as possible to make us even more attractive to the media conglomerates who don't want us.

   I had a little ice cream cake that Julie brought to work, plus she gave me some golf balls and a World Series DVD. That'll do just fine.

May 8-10, 2008 - Sincerity, Not My Strong Suit
   Postal Service Jihad Update: The invitations got in the mail the next day. As it turns out, Captain Jerkstore from the previous day may actually have had noble intentions, since individually metering the invitations would have cost us more money. (There's a special wedding stamp that caps the postage at 58 cents, which over 80-something invites is a decent chunk of change.)

   We -- that being Julie and myself, not the royal "we" -- offer a tentative apology. I'm glad I forgot his actual name and made up one ... I wouldn't want him to be chastised in PostalMag.com or anything.

   Plus, who would enjoy a job centered around sorting things and dealing only nominally with the public than me? We could be coworkers in a year.

A's Rank As Surprising West Contender
-- Inside Baseball has nothing to do with the video.
It's just a funny video and a shorter column. Fit well together.

   • There is something cosmically fitting about my pre-wedding party suffering from a dearth of people willing to dance.

   Why anyone thought me trying to cajole people to Right Said Fred would help matters is anyone's guess, but it did after a time.

   Slightly more effective? Free raffle tickets for the fabulous prizes, the collection and donation/procurement of which ranks as one of those great mysteries I will never know the truth behind. To say my mother was the driving force behind what might have been the greatest party we've ever pulled off would be a vast understatement.

   There's more to say, but I'm sort of hung over. No actual hangover pain, but that feeling of "Man, my head should be killing me right now."

   And just like the time I went on Sports Pulse not long after downing four Guinnesses, no one could really tell that my mic work was slightly impaired.

   There are surely pictures of this Jack and Jill out there. Believe me, I'm far more eager to see them than you are.

May 7, 2008 - Mr. Postman
   • As I've expressed many times before, I live in a hell of a city. I do love it here, that is true, but there are a lot of things to be seen that I'd imagine are not normal elsewhere.

Kids, Beer's Near the Milk!
-- A perfect time to remind that our zoo has cows,
the exotic animal from faraway lands which gives us milk.

   Kids sneaking beer out of the fridge is not a problem endemic to Whale City, nor is the concept of the disgruntled postal worker. Just so happens that I encountered both today, right before I bought wedding rings from a greasy-handed man in a track suit.

   In a lot of ways, that's the best possible ending to that story. As he made it a point to tell us, he got called in on an off-day, but for me it was better than a greasy-haired guy in a three-piece suit.

   They're bought. I can now go back to savoring my jewelry-free world for another six weeks.

   The first sign something was amiss came on the door to the post office, labeled "Dartmouth Branch -- New Bedford, MA." Now, Dartmouth and New Bedford are separate towns, one being a suburb of the other. Perhaps that was the problem ... we didn't go to a real post office, just an elaborate ruse created by UMass Dartmouth hipsters for a reality show.

   If that's the case, though, Rich deserves a call-up. Because Rich, toiling away at the end of that strip mall, is the stereotypical postal worker. Bald, no wedding ring, big glasses, full of sass with a smile ... flawlessly executed.

   Julie and I walk in with a box of 80 wedding invitations, and I already feel bad about it. I work in a place where when the track coach calls with the results of a quad meet -- in which we need to take, in loving detail, every last winner of every forsaken event -- someone has to take that call. I've been in the place where Rich is about to go.

   Or so I think, because I've underestimated Rich. Though it took only about two minutes of interaction, I now understand that Rich can't even remember the point he stopped giving a shit about his job. It was that long ago. He may actually not remember the days he has off, and he just goes to work and fires off another quarter-assed performance he's so on auto-pilot.

    The instant he hears the things in the box are wedding invitations, he's ready with "Now, what the heck are you doing that for?" Is he divorced? Must be ... mere single living isn't that spirited.

   The actual details of the interaction aren't that important -- discussion of postage needed, how blown his mind was that I picked out the invitations, explanation he doesn't have the pretty pink wedding stamps that we need/want, where to go to get them, etc. Things truly went transcendent when Julie, clearly confused that she's about to walk out of a post office with mail she intended to drop off, asked "Well, can't we just get it metered?"

   This is, of course, an obvious question. The answer, of course, is "Oh, well of course you can get it metered. I'm a mailman, and it's my job to take mail from you and start it on its magical journey to its final destination. Will you be paying with a credit card?"

   The answer Rich gave?

"Pfft. Are you kidding?
I'd be here until 7 o'clock stickering those!"

   Now, there are two schools of thought here. The first, the one that included us walking out of the post office with the invitations still in our possession, goes without saying. The second, the one my father would have employed, involves words like, "I expect you to do it because it's your fucking job, asshole." The quad-meet track approach, let's call it.

   Obviously, it came to me rather quickly, and to Julie as well. Yet, I stand by mine as the proper one to use in this case.

   Because really, if you've got big enough balls to say the above with a smile, is there anything stopping you from throwing our $500 worth of wedding invitations in the marsh behind the strip mall?

   I'm not paticularly mad at Rich, because in him I saw a touch of my old boss Joe. Joe ran the Copy/Mail Room where I worked all four years at BU, and I find it hard to believe a more perfect match for my smarm level could have been found. Joe liked me because I was constantly demanding more work, and was frighteningly reliable. I liked him because he didn't suffer fools for a moment -- he wouldn't hire work placement students who were more than three minutes late for their interview -- and clearly gave a crap about both his employees and his work.

   Part of me wants to believes that my new friend Rich at the post office is like that. That I caught him at a bad moment, and that the kind words he did have for us and the help he did provide was pure. Hey, we all have shitty days, and the last thing we need is a quad-meet track call near the end of the shift.

   I hope he understands that when he gets the call from his bosses in a couple weeks, asking why there's a brick sitting in the shattered glass of the front window with a note wrapped around it.

Dear Rich --

Thanks for all the help with the wedding invitations.
Wouldn't have done it without you.

   What an asshole.
May 6, 2008 - That's A Lot of Dung
   High School Update: The Class of 1998 reunion committee recently set up a MySpace to get the word out about the upcoming 10-year bash, the concept of which would depress me a lot more if I weren't one of the three percent of Americans who actually enjoyed high school both while it was going on and afterward. There's about 45 people who've joined up, which seems a bit low given the numbers I remember from the drunken haze that was out 5th reunion at the Springfield nightclub.

   In perusing some of the people, I noted that two of my classmates married. (No doubt they're not alone there.) And in digging a little deeper, I noted that they have five kids.

   All of whom are under the age of five.

   Now, I am no mathematician, and it's certainly possible that there's some twins or triplets involved. But there's 60 months in five years, and you subtract from that the pregnancy period, the immediate aftermath, the needs of that immediate aftermath, etc. I mean, I went and asked too many questions a couple weeks ago and learned that nipples chafe during breast feeding.

   My mind is fucking blown, man. Right out. I can't go two nights in the office without coming within inches of throwing stuff across the room.

   You have FIVE KIDS by the time you're 28. I have a cat.

-- Neither of these are it, but really.
Do I need to post more Newton pictures?

   • I've done a lot of stupid things over the years, not the least of which was get into an industry currently burning to the ground like an abandoned warehouse.

   But I take great pride in never texting my friends about cocaine sales.

A five-month investigation prompted by a cocaine overdose death last year led to the arrests of 96 people, 75 of them San Diego State students. A second drug death occurred while the investigation went on.

Twenty-nine people were arrested early Tuesday in raids at nine locations including the Theta Chi fraternity, where agents found cocaine, Ecstasy and three guns. Eighteen of them were wanted on warrants for selling to undercover agents.

. . .

A member of Theta Chi sent out a mass text message to his "faithful customers" stating that he and his "associates" would be unable to sell cocaine while they were in Las Vegas over one weekend, according to the DEA. The text promoted a cocaine "sale" and listed the reduced prices.

   I'll leave out the quote that involves the words "sad commentary" ... that's a little nugget you can discover on your own at your leisure.

   Today's other delightful discovery. Baskin-Robbins isn't called Robbins-Baskin because of a coin flip.
May 5, 2008 - Who Said Iceberg. Right Ahead?
   My New Favorite Stat: I get a very short, very polite letter today pointing out an error in Sunday's Manny Delcarmen story. This:

The franchise whose 2004 rotation handled 159 of 162 starts, and whose most prominent player on the 2007 DL was Doug Mirabelli, has cleared two dozen transactions in 33 games. On Sunday, they played two men short, with Brandon Moss lost to an emergency appendectomy and David Ortiz to a spot on tendinitis in his still-painful right knee.

   is wrong. The most prominent player on the Sox DL in 2007 was Josh Beckett, who missed two starts with that avulsion on his pitching hand.

   I was half-remembering what I wrote when Mike Lowell went on the DL, that Mirabelli was the only position player who had to be listed.

   How many of my gaggle of stories -- I'm already at 51 in 2008 -- have stupid, catchable errors that have little to do with the main point? Twenty-five percent? Or is it just almost every one that I make the mistake of re-reading after they're published?

   Sunshine and lollipop times for the industry, they are. And those beams sure are about to shine directly into my backyard, I fear.

   • I'm not someone who has a real in-tune BS director, but if I could bring your attention to this:

The (Holyoke) Blue Sox belong to the New England Intercollegiate Baseball League, a venture patterned after the Cape Cod League. NECBL teams don't have professional players, but they do have some top college talent from around the country. The Blue Sox replace the Holyoke Giants, a franchise that was moved to Lynn by owner Phil Rosenfield, who feels more comfortable with his baseball operation closer to his home and business in Eastern Massachusetts.

. . .

The Holyoke Giants didn't do that well at the gate, but Barry Wadsworth believes "We can go from 300-400 a night to 4,000-5,000."

We shall see about that, but give him credit for bringing a positive outlook with him to Holyoke.

   I know Garry. Garry and Ron Chimelis are the proverbial guys that every current writer has who 'they've been reading since childhood.' But seriously ... "we shall see about that" seems a bit weak for an ENTIRELY LUDICROUS STATEMENT.

   Really? You're going to crank up your attendance more than 10-fold playing in the exact same league, in the exact same stadium and in the most destitute, "Jesus, we're not going there" city in the western half of the state? And that's not the lede?!

"We're going to run this like a minor league franchise," he said. "Our goal is to make each game a family-type event with promotions, music, cheerleaders, a mascot - and good quality baseball."

The prices will be right. The top Holyoke Blue Sox ticket goes for $5. Kids get in for $3, and the really young ones get in free. The Wadsworth Group plans some interesting attractions: Team USA will play in Holyoke. So will the Chinese National Team.

   Hey, God bless you, pal. But know how many Cape Cod League teams -- the gold standard of summer collegiate baseball -- average 4,000 fans a game? A resounding zero. (Orleans led the league last summer with 2,970 per night, and that was a runaway best.) And Holyoke, sir, ain't the Cape Cod League.

   I just may not understand marketing, and that even he knows he's insane. But I know I wouldn't have written it that way.

   And that I'd kill for the chance.
May 1-4, 2008 - I Only Lasted One Overtime
   More Seacrestian Magic: Another Sunday spent in the car headed to Boston, and our hero is using BFF as a noun in normal conversation -- i.e., "feisty BFF role" -- and "RomCon" as the way the cool kids refer to a romantic comedy.

   I might have to rethink my stance on our not being mortal enemies. Especially since between the morning drive from Western Mass. and the evening drive from Boston, I heard the quoted exchanges three separate times.

   Derby: It's rare there's a major sports story that I've never heard a single thing about, but Dancer's Image qualifies. I found it even more apt after the race, since one of the commentators made reference to Big Brown's owner vis a vis Muhammad Ali: "It's not bragging if you can back it up."

   Course, that was about a split second before Eight Belles -- the horse my mother had apparently taken a shine too -- shattered both its ankles and died on the track. Yeah, it's always good when watching a horse race with the family becomes an overly emotional scene.

Inconsistency Holding Back Delcarmen
-- Number study in lieu of quotes! Not perfect, but I'm pleased.

Prospects (May) Always Be Measured Against Santana
-- This week's Inside Baseball, featuring fun with the transaction wire.

Arizona Assault Now Takes Many Forms
-- Last week's Inside Baseball, formatted terribly but now in the ether.

   • Well, this took barely a moment, didn't it?

We live in an amoral and violent world: human trafficking, gang warfare, beheadings, rape - oh wait, that's just the video game Grand Theft Auto IV.

. . .

Still, the GTA-IV experience is particularly insidious. The very features its fans love -- high-quality graphics that immerse the player in a convincingly realistic world -- raise the stakes. The targets are not space aliens or cartoon characters but police officers, taxi drivers, strippers, and the occasional innocent bystander. The violence, especially toward women, is unusually gratuitous. There is nothing about GTA-IV that can be considered remotely "socially redeeming" - one of the tests the courts use to judge whether material is obscene.

   This coming form the newspaper which apparently saw no trouble in elevating Eli Roth as a local filmmaker worthy of note because of movies like Hostel, Hostel 2, Cabin Fever ... yeah, nothing reprehensible in any of those.

Meanwhile, a naked Lorna is shackled upside-down in a large room, where a woman (Monika Malacova) enters, named Elizabeth Báthory in reference to the infamous serial killer. She undresses and lies beneath Lorna in a candlelit recess. After ripping into Lorna's body with a scythe and bathing in her blood, she slits Lorna's throat with a sickle.
-- I'm sure it's very tasteful.

   (There've been more. Most notably, I'd imagine, the cry for more violence. I guess they should just make a GTA movie.)

   Course, this stuff isn't unexpected or particularly bothersome. As expected, I'm not enjoying it as much as some, but it's the little touches that make the package so delightful.

   The way the front of your car is now spattered with blood after running over pedestrians.

   The way the bodies fly so naturally, arms akimbo and flipping head over heels over head over ... oh, you thudded into that building.

   The way people react when you shoot them in a given body part.

   The way you can now steal an empty, locked car only after shattering the side window and hot wiring it.

   Is it morally reprehensible? Sure, but what isn't? And what else ever would have led me to happily say to Julie, after she got home from school, "Guess what I learned today? How to shoot people in the head!"

   Nothing you'd want to know about, let me tell you.
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2006: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2005: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2004: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2003: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2002: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2001: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05]