June 30, 2002 - Denying the "O" Face
   • We almost got all the way through, but the Springfield Union-News had to slip it in before the calendar flipped:

"Swoon Continues As June Ends"

   The "June Swoon" has been a long-standing Red Sox tradition, up with Pesky's Pole, the Fenway Frank and the urine troughs in the bathroom - sadly, only the last of these has been replaced for good. Maybe it's only tradition because the words describing a June collapse rhyme, but odds are pretty good all-time stats would show the Sox falling face-first after May 31.

   I could find no all-time monthly records, but I did find this "Where is he now?" story on Sox legend Dennis 'Oil Can' Boyd...

"In 1993 The Can resurfaced, grabbing headlines in a way only he knew how. In April, Boyd, through his lawyer, threatened to sue the Red Sox for not inviting him to spring training that year. The lawyer said in view of the Red Sox's mediocre pitching prospects for the coming season, he could find "no apparent baseball reason for the team's rejection of Boyd's overtures."

   When your team starts 36-15, a 10-16 month will cause the Chicken Little's to come out of the woodwork. 46-31 is nothing to panic over. Any first half where 50 wins is within reach with a week to go should not be bitched about. We've got five coming up against the Jays, then three against the Tigers. Two games behind the Yankees? Tell me you wouldn't have taken that if offered before the season.

   Lest we all forget this is a team that lost 23 of its last 34 games in 2001, leading the entire Northeast to become Diamondback fans.

   Only thing ending with less fanfare than the 2001 Sox is the 2002 Cup - once the Irish, U.S. and English went down, it's like I realized I was an American watching soccer. The Brazilians won as they're accustomed to doing, surely making Rosie smile and the Portuguese in Whale City pissed about their national team blowing it.

   The last is the lingering memory I'll take from this World Cup - waking early at a nondescript Days Inn by the highway and watching the United States take a 3-0 lead against the fifth-ranked team in the world. The agony of those last fifty-odd minutes... and the U.S. hanging on. After the memory of '98, the loss to Iran, it was quite the welcome change.

   I think back to 1994, where the only victory by the home side was on an own goal that ended up costing the scorer his life. The magic in that was dulled well before the murder... but USA-Portugal. All three goals were brilliant, and so quick... it was 1-0 by the ten-minute mark. If there was ever going to be a game that turns America on to soccer, that would have been it. You, Joe Flagwaver, never saw it. Your loss.

   Only four years, a job change and a headfull of hair until Germany 2006.
June 29, 2002 - Nine Hours, Shrimp Curry
   • Yeah, that ticket sale idea went well...

   For lack of a wire story, it took the Patriots all of fourteen minutes to sell their remaining 1,000 tickets for the 2002 season. I actually did get through on-line, but after any groups were long gone. Much fun as it would be to go to a game alone...

"The bags of powder are kept in a series of privately-owned manmade caves near Kansas City, Mo., and other warehouses around the country. An additional 20 to 25 million pounds of the powder arrive every week."
-- Yes friends, America has an overabundance of the fine white we call powdered milk, and they're storing it in caves. Why? To prevent snorting.

   Every day, thousands of words fly across the national news wires. Odds are, at least a few of them will fall into the proper order for humor to result. This could be the thing that saves me ass, since I ran out of things to write about approximately six weeks ago.

   For lack of any segues...

   • Human ingenuity has brought us the light bulb, the combustion engine and the electric car, but can any of those inventions really compare with the thong panty liner? Didn't think so.

   • Sarah Jessica Parker looks like a fucking toucan. I don't care what color your hair is, put that thing away.

   • The Anchorage Aces minor-league hockey team is up for sale on eBay, as has been reported on everyone's "kooky news we stick at the end of the program." The current high bidder as I write this has put up $1.6 million for the team. The last thing this guy won on eBay? An $8.99 copy of Snoopy Come Home.

   That strikes me as odd for some reason. I picture him with children, a blonde wife, living in his little "chicagoblizt2001" world... until oneday, he gets drunk and moves his family to Alaska. The pickaxe and murder trial soon follow, preferably in zany, madcap fashion.

   I really have no ending for this. Please allow me to drive 85 miles per hour on dark highways for the next two hours to clear my mind.
June 28, 2002 - Wake Me At 9:30
"At the July meeting [of the Dartmouth Council on Aging's Hearing Impairment Group], there will be a new VHS video presentation which takes a lighter look at learning how to lip read".
-- Yes, because when you're old and going deaf, the best thing you can do is laugh at the fact you're becoming handicapped.

"Oh gee, my legs have been amputated. Guess I should try to get a refund on that swing dance class!"

   • I'd be remiss if I didn't say the job has made a considerable turnaround this past week. Given my mother and friends are mailing me classifieds and making sure I haven't bought a gun, I may have spoken too loudly about the negatives.

   Yeah, that's never happened before. I can't imagine anyone would tihnk I'd accentuate the negative. Not someone as sun-fucking-shiney as me. No sir.

   Everyone continued to be nice, and really, since I found out almost all the guys on the copy desk either love buffalo chicken, play tremendous amounts of sports video games or make dirty jokes all the times, things have started to look up.

   Soon, the "handicap the office update" will come, as I've finally figured out nearly everyone's name. Until then, shut up and deal.

   General "props" to my co-workers for having yet to comment on the pink Valentine's Day card from Meg in my cubicle. I would quote the message written inside of it, but I enjoy my testicles right where they are.

   That's it. I'm sorry... Maury and Judge Joe Brown were very boring today.

   Several readers have raised concerns that my graduation from college will severely limit my resource material. While I will admit the odds of me seeing nineteen consecutive college girls walking down the street in J. Crew flip-flops are much lower, I must remind I now live in the inner city, where it's OK to drive a car with three missing doors and no windows provided you used those parts to build your kids a treehouse on the porch. Stupididity are everywhere.
June 27, 2002 - Povich's Paternity Showcase
   • Let's say you work marketing at Invention Submission Corporation, the people who promise to help the world's crafty market and patent their new creations. Those looking for the sharpest minds, with the keenest sense of Do you ever just sit back in your leather chair, state up at the ceiling tiles and wonder, "Is the Maury Povich show really the best place for us to be advertising?"

   "Yo, Shaniqua! Why you buggin'?! Why you got to be playin' me?! I'm 180 percent sure Rialto ain't my kid! You nuthin' but a no-good slut!

   I wasn't sleepin' with you then. You be sleepin' with six guys before that baby was born, so how you suddenly know that kid's mine? He can't be mine. I sleep with a whole bunch of women and I ain't ever get any of them pregnant. The kid can't be mine!

   Look at him. He ain't got my flat nose, my curly hair, my missing teeth and he don't drink like me. You only coming after me because I've got a good job, my own house, my own car and you know the baby's daddy ain't no good! You a slut. I ain't takin' care of your kid!

   When that paternity test comes back, I'm gonna dance all over your face when it says I ain't the father. I want you out of my life, cause you ain't nothing but a whore."

   The paternity tests on Maury always comes back positive. Most of the time, there's a mother involved. Sometimes they're fat. Always they're yelling. Never are they intelligent.

   "I take care of my kids. I take care of my kids. I want to be in the baby's life, but I ain't want nuthin' to do with her. It don't change she's a slut. Hey, why you gotta get all up in my face?"

   That's the father, a sudden Ward Cleaver. The mother's are a whole other story. Never are they attractive. Sometimes they're out of high school. Always are they crying.

   "I fell in love with Jesus. We were going to have a family, but about seven months after the baby was born, he started saying, 'No no, it can't be mine. It doesn't look like me.' Why do guys do this?

   Look at his eyes! Look at his ears! He's got your ears! He's got your ears! Shut up! Look at me? Look at you! I can't believe I slept with you!"

   Then, they laugh and jump. Often they get up in the father's grill. Once per show, a happy family is formed. Just once.

   I used to have the same complaint about Rescue 911 with William Shatner. Decent enough show, but where's the drama? You know little Timmy's going to get yanked out of the drainpipe before the flood waters come. It's like watching a game on tape and already knowing the final score. Throw a failed rescue or a lethal fire in every couple episodes. Little curiosity about the victim's survival does wonders for the audience.

   Hell, look what it did for Unsolved Mysteries. Robert Stack's the first heterosexual man ever to get on Lifetime that's not beating his wife in a TV movie.

   The widow of Thomas A. Edison died this week. No, not that one, but we must find humor at the office where we can. God knows none's been showing up here, so I'm told.

   "B'leeve that, Maury! B'leeve that!"
June 26, 2002 - Becoming What I Hate
   • Be advised when people around you talk in terms of time, they may not be operating on the same frame of reference you are.

   Landlady says I need to see her before 4 p.m. so I can get my apartment keys and sign a lease. She'll be out of town the next few days, so this 4 p.m. time is an imperative one. At 2:30 p.m., she is not in her office. Same can be said about 3:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

   Needless to say, I won't be moving in this weekend even though looking through the office window, I can see my damned keys sitting on her desk.

   I've been internally debating what the best part of this whole story is. Initial instinct is I actually did what I was supposed to do, and was thus punished for behaving that way. However, there's probably a good reason she couldn't be in her office this afternoon, since she was going out of town. Monday's not much worse than Saturday as it is.

   Is it the two e-mails I got from home, one from Matt and one from my mother, when they know I wouldn't have gotten any messages? No, since it was good of them to even try to contact me. Mom even called the newspaper, which ended up being how I got the message at all... though I was going to see Sandy before closing as it was.

   No, the best part of this story is I'm apparently paying reporter Eric $75 a week to sleep on his futon, something the office secretary alerted me to when I went to see her about an unrelated topic.

   Eric, for his sake, has not said anything to me about this at press time. Under normal circumstances, I'd be unopposed to paying him for his hospitality, but when this was an arrangement presented to "help me out," with no previous mention of a cash exchange... Seventy-five dollars is a lot of money for a bathroom, a undersized futon and a roof. Especially when one considers I've re-bought all the food I've eaten.

   I suppose the key to this whole story is: Why do you care? The essential question of every journalistic enterprise. Hmm...

   1. I'm more entertaining when I'm bitchy.

"I just want to run around outside and lay in the sun and go swimming. For lack of a pool, I did the next best thing...I went shopping!"
-- Under normal circumstances, a paragraph like this wouldn't bother me at all. In my current state, this makes me want to blow up a car I'm sitting in.

   2. I'm your future. Think of this: I have a job. When you graduate, you won't. Least not one you want. Anything where fryolators are involved is not a job, it's a sacrifice. Yes, even if you get free nuggets.

   3. The system is screwing me. If the system is screwing me, a compulsive-gambling, bitterly-sarcastic, silently-plotting, sports-obsessed phone-a-phobic, imagine what'll happen to you when you try your luck in Whale City.

   I can't get enough of calling New Bedford "Whale City." Somehow, this will work into the redesign that's never coming.

   So, just to recap. System? Screwing me. Weather? Miserably hot. Figure? Saggy breasts. Apartment key? In a locked office. Rent? Might get forced to pay it. Healthy meatless grinder? Not when it's covered with cheese. Beach? Still can't find nice one. Golf game? Menacing lefty slice. Meg? In Boston. Andi? In Indianapolis. Hair? Receding. Sampras and Agassi? Gone from the grass courts. Ikea? On Long Island. John and Greg Rice? Midget real estate salesmen from an infomercial I can't reference.

   Other than that though, stuff's going pretty well.
June 25, 2002 - Bye Bye Ballack
   • Could there possibly be a league around more fucked up than the NBA is right now? You have the Draft coming up, and the number one pick is going to be a guy from China who's never played a game in America. After him will be picked numerous guys who couldn't be bothered to stay in college, along with a growing number of guys who go striaght from high school to sit on the bench and score... with the ladies...

   David Stern has essentially created the most immoral monster imaginable. Salaries are ludicrous, paid to guys can't spell, can't go a day without pot and are essentially encourages to throw their lives down the toilet by skipping out of school. Even the smart ones don't get it, as exhibited by Jay Williams wanting to go to Chicago. Honest to God, it was on SportsCenter. He wants to play for the Bulls, and that pulsating fat sack Jerry Krause.

"Must cut costs... must destroy franchise... must eat deep dish..."
-- I stereotype because I care, and because the facts would bore you.

   The other night, I was lucky enough to stumble across the Women & Sports town meeting on ESPN, where various female-centric sportspeople discussed Title IX and the like. Now, I'm not sure how I feel about TItle IX, other than to say the TVs in hell play nothing but women's golf. WUSA soccer, and women's golf.

   I know a few female collegiate athletes: I graduated with some, others I've lost touch with over the years. I mean to take nothing away from their skills, their prowess and their abilities. Just please don't make me watch it, with the eye bleeding and the finesse and the little girls SCREAMING.

"Eighty-three percent of those polled would rather watch Anna Kournikova play tennis instead of World #1 Venus Williams."
-- Thank you, Captain Obvious.

   If I lived in Southern California, I'd definitely be an Angels fan. Gotta love the underdog. Gotta love the cartoonish stadium, the constant changing of logos to make money on merchandising, and Rally Monkey. I like Rally Monkey, and you can all bite me.

   This "update based all on things I saw on the 9 a.m. SportsCenter" isn't working too well. The top reason I'd be an Angels fan? Clearly, to be disagreeable. Plus the whole underdog thing.

   The talk show hosts always like to complain about nepotism is showbusiness. There's the posterpeople of this... Tori Spelling, Melissa Rivers, Frank Stallone, the entire Baldwin family (interrlating back into a large clusterfudge of wires and arrows)... yet somehow Jeremy Schaap soars above the fray.

   Dick Schaap was a respected sports journalist, loved by athletes, one of the greats of the field. Jeremy Schaap is as scintillating as a used tampon.

"If Pete Rose... mated with the Energizer Bunny... they would create David Eckstein."
-- Wrong. If Pete Rose... mated with the Energizer Bunny... they would create a guy with a battery in his back who gambled all the time.

   This World Cup has so much potential, with Senegal, the USA, South Korea... and now the final's going to be friggin' Germany vs. Brazil. Pardon me while I dance in a circle. When you start having a discussion with your boss about Grand Theft Auto 3, that's the point you realize the real world's a strange, strange place.
June 24, 2002 - Free Buddy
   You'd think today was boring, unless you are captivated by stories of swimming pools and infighting at furniture stores. See, you're not you, and thus don't see why I walked into a Target and rewarded my curiosity with Mike & Ike's.

   Both seem to be better warm.

   • I remember the day vividly, not so much what I actually did... that would make too good a story. If you wanted quality, you'd pay for it.

   While I'm thinking of it... no. I was just going to say something about NetZero now being Net-(costs $9.95), but they still offer their free access. And I had a punchline all written up too... again, we are talking about free here.

   I remember getting up early. It was the beginning of junior year, so I was in Danielsen, and would start each day early by running a mile... over the Charles River, down Memorial on Cambridge to the BU Bridge, and back the way I came. I don't think I ever ran a faster mile than I did that day, least not since I got out of high school.

   Mentally, I can not run on a track. I just can't do it... the dwelling of how many more laps I have to do kills me. Treadmills don't seem to cause the same thing. Just running on the streets seems to be the only way I can complete a distance of any significance. Of course, this is all just mentally. Physically I can't run at all, because I suck.

   Next thing I remember, I was walking to class (or wherever the hell I was going in the direction of campus) very early. It was sunny and cool, a delightful October day, and nothing was on my mind. Absolutely nothing. It was pure bliss... I could have been shot, beaten, dragged into the Muddy River and forced to watch Yankee highlights, and it wouldn't have fazed me at all. I just felt content with everything going on around me.

   Within 12 hours, the feeling was gone again, replaced with something far more sinister. It was nice while it lasted.

   I keep getting close to it again, if only in small bursts. It wouldn't be natural to be like that all the time... I'd get so paranoid, marijuana would seem a calming outlet.

   According to that blood pressure machine at the supermarket, I have good blood pressure numbers and a resting heart rate that should allow me to live well into the 29th century. Take That!

   Every so often, I'll have a flash of that feeling again. Had one today. Can't really describe it... it's just something I tend to notice once it's already happened. Wasn't when the garter snake swam in the pool and scarred Meg for life, but suppose it would have had to have been pretty close to that.

   It just reminds me of how great a life I've had in Agawam and Boston, and how far New Bedford has to go. I have friends there I can do anything with, while in New Bedford, I'm not in on the jokes yet, I'm wholly unmotivated and still trying to find my niche.

   However, a certain Argentinian graduate student moved is due to have moved out of a certain apartment on Foster Street today...

   And as for the snake thing, I suppose it was funnier if you were there, and weren't Meg.
June 23, 2002 - A Brush With Fame
   • Imagine, if you will, you have a favorite golfer. Sure, he's fattened up over the last few years and is prone to choking in the majors, but the two of you have a rare bond: you golf lefthanded. He could be a real jerk in person, but you've met no one who knows him, so you don't care. You connect with him, you want him to do well. You want to see him succeed, if not by winning that elusive major, by winning wherever he can.

   Now, imagine there's one PGA TOUR event you hold closer than any other. One you've been attending year in and year old for years, because it's your tournament. Well, not yours, but the one you hold closest because of proximity. Imagine it's among the most popular on the Tour, maybe not with the greatest players always showing up, but with the fans making it the second-best attended each year. Imagine the course is one your father once got to play, and it kills you that you can't. Imagine every time they make a new golf video game, you hope they include your course, like they did in the old ones.

   Now, imagine your favorite player finally comes to your favorite tournament. Holy crap, the marriage of two great things. You go on Friday for the second round, and you stand by the 17th tee for hours, just waiting for that minute or so time when your favorite player stands feet away from you for his tee shot.

   (If we're going for realism, imagine some mother fucker from Long Island latches on to you a group before your guy gets there, and becomes the "asshole who won't shut up, but wants to know all about how college is going for you.")

   If we're still imagining, think about calling in sick to work on Sunday, because your guy is near the top of the leaderboard. You sit on the right side of 18, with thousands of others, as your guy slowly passes the entire field, eventually winning the tournament by a single shot. Your guy (Phil Mickelson), winning your tournament (Canon GHO), and your brother working as a volunteer making the whole thing free.

   Only at golf tournaments are the guys standing around outside the venue not scalping tickets, but giving them away because they have extra.

   This year, Phil entered the final round five shots off the lead. Since Matt had no standard bearer assignment for Sunday, and since Meg easily realized she wasn't winning this argument, we returned to Cromwell. The roars followed Phil round the front side, as an eagle 2 on the 7th erased his deficit. At one point on the back nine, four men were tied for the lead. Yet we saw none of it, sitting behind the green of my favorite hole anywhere.

   Number 15. Par four, 294 yards. Woods on the right, a lake on the left and a drivable green out in front. Each year, there are twos, eights and everything in between. Do you play it safe, or fire for the green, knowing any bend on your shot could put you out of play? We sat through about ten groups, saw maybe two birdies, then left. First guy off after we got up from sitting behind the hole, Chris DiMarco, missed an ace by six inches.

   In the end Phil won again by a single shot, with a birdie on 18 we saw by racing ahead of his massive fan following. When Davis Love and Jonathan Kaye failed to match, he became the first in a half century of trying to defend their Hartford title.

   As those last two groups went through, an extrememly-overtanned woman wearing a long, pleated white skirt cut through the crowd and down towards the green. Being catty assholes, Meg spoke of the dress' hideousness, while I spoke of the woman's. Only when the trophy was being presented, and the woman walked out onto the green to kiss her husband and child, did Meg and I share that glance one shares after they realize they had just been passed by former Phoenix Suns cheerleader, and recipient of all the hooting drunkard's catcalls, Amy Mickelson.

   Thus completes one's brush with fame. Imagine that.
June 22, 2002 - When It Counts
   • There's a Turkey in the World Cup's final four, but they sure as hell aren't from the Ottoman Empire.

   We're in overtime of a scoreless match between South Korea and Spain. Spanish drive up the right side, hit a cross from the goal line, and a header finds strings. 1-0 Spain, and the hosts go home.

   No, wait...

   In sport, there are bad calls. The referee missing John O'Brien's handball in the box versus Mexico? Bad call. Then there are bad calls. Calling a ball out of play, when it's not even touching the end line, never mind not going completely over it, is a bad call. However, as Mark Coen hauntingly pointed out, it was predicted...

"They always seem to go out unluckily."
-- Arsene Wegner, there's a reason you manage and I bitch.

   There's no conspiracy going on, let's be realistic, but seriously. There can be no more good feeling towards the Southies now... they don't deserve to be here. The Turks may suck, but at least they beat the teams they beat. "But so did the Koreans..."

   I said they'd win on penalties. They won on penalties. Really, isn't that all that matters?

   All that matters in college bowl is winning the championship game, as my fellow Gerbiltalkers and I discovered the hard way.

   You don't get it. The "Gerbil" thing. I know this, and I get it. Four guys: Coen, Sorenson, and the blog-less Shawm DeVeau and Chris "Daddy" Rosenberg. The four friends form a trash team, always making their team names movie titles with "Gerbil" replacing one word. Get it? It's pop culture questions... doesn't have to make sense.

   Since the Gerbils will occasionally run events (like this one), and live far enough apart to not always make it to all tourneys, there's grown a posse of pseudo-Gerbils who fill in, a posse I entered with this very Cancel Bowl.

   In eight games, we lost one half all day, until we were steamrolled in the finals. Falling behind 100-0, even if you're just getting beaten on things you know, is not the best way to set a victorious tone.

   Can't bitch though, as seventh place individually and tied for tops on my team has it's own reward

   CB events are hell for some, which I can understand... few things can be more aggravating than people having useless knowledge you wish you did, and you wanting to mock them for numerous hygiene reasons, but then realizing you're jealous of them. Or something.

   Though as a fan I mourn Darryl Kile, I found myself seeing the picture of a Cardinals pitcher with a soul patch and thinking, "Shit. Don't be Matt Morris. I like him."

   There's just something about death that brings guilt... guilt that I don't feel much of anything about Darryl Kile. I knew of him, yes, but at no time was I a fan of his for any reason. He's dead at 33, with a family, and that's very sad. I feel for them, but not much. Many people in this country die before their time, leavings wives and children. I don't care more about Kile just because he was a bseball player. Dying young is sad. Period.

   Pardon me if I felt as badly about Luis Castillo's streak ending how it did, since the Marlins aren't going anywhere in the postseason. Gee, what's going to fill more seats, a non-existant pennant run or a shot at Joltin' Joe.
June 21, 2002 - Slurred Synapses
   • You know, my first instinct about the soccer game really was, "Shit. They have to wear the blue jerseys. They've got no chance." I sound like my mother.

   Do the Germans even have a non-white jersey? I want this looked into. Reeks of another Reich, making the world yield to wearing their alternate jerseys against Deutscheland.

   To watch these early morning games, in a world where my host hasn't gotten cable installed (since given the amount of time he's home, it would be stupid to), I've gone the only place with cable free for the mooching: The Standard-Times.

   Out of work around 12:30 a.m., due to extra sitting on the Internet. Home in five minutes. 12:35, it's Conan. 1:30, Carson Daly's on. Then it's Leno for as long as I can stomach him... no more than 10 minutes.

"And me, I'm Edd Hall. Check that out, double d's! America, suuuuck iiittt!"

   Bed by 2:30, rise at 6:00. Snooze to 6:30, shower, out the door at 7 a.m. We're walking, we're walking. No bagel sandwich, it's just slow me down and pork me up!

   Each morning I've been in, people have joked, "Hey, you stay here all night?" Each morning I've been in, the U.S. soccer team has worn their blue jerseys and lost. Each morning I've been in, work has stopped so the office can watch the Today show concert on the other television. David Bowie and Will Smith, via 'The Incredible, Edible Egg.'

   The egg lobby has its shit down, brother. Whether it be in western New England, where "brown eggs are local eggs, and local eggs are fresh!" or nationwide, the propoganda machine is churning out omelets like it's going out of style. What's next, claymation? Scramble my mind, egg lobby! I'm poached, and yolk in your hands!

   SuperCuts, despite what their name implies, are neither super, nor can cut hair. The woman I had was going at the back of my neck hedge-trimmer style, yet somehow it turned out OK. We're talking "Finding Forrester" style.

-- It obviously made Hair Cut Lady the man... now, dog.

   The first week after I got a haircut used to be bad because it was just too short to do anything with. Now, it's bad because you can see my forehead to the crown of my scalp.

   Anyone who doesn't think I'll get a hair transplant if the money's right obviously doesn't know me well enough. Anyone who poses in all bathroom mirrors to see how his waistline's looking today will do anything to grip the few points they're got, and hang on.

"i'm thinking of jumping off a bridge."
-- Contrary to unpopular belief, conversations should not be started this way.

   I'm trying, but I'm tired. Just when I think I'm getting out, they keep pulling me back in.
June 21, 2002 - Part One
Zee Germans 1, Blue Jerseys 0
Not brought to you by 'The Incredible, Edible Egg'

   • We would have needed some breaks. A defensive lapse, a brain fart, someone tripping or missing an assignment. A few came, such as when German keeper Oliver Kahn came out of the box, but saw his clearance fall to Claudio Reyna.

   Reyna's lob toward the open goal, from almost 45 yards out, soared heartbreakingly wide. As Berkhalter's blast in the box hit a German defender in the arm on the goal line. As Tony Sanneh's injury-time header settled in the side netting.

   The concept of the moral victory is bullshit in such a tournament. That said, to come from four years ago, with a 2-0 dismantling by the Germans setting the tone for a last place finish, to Korea, where inches and a monster game from a world power are all that kept the USA from soccer's Final Four, is not to be understated.

   This all will ultimately change little. Expectations may be artificially high at the 2006 World Cup, if we even qualify, but soccer fever will not sweep the nation. Our team will come home and after a few appear on Regis & Kelly, after they go to the White House for an audience with GW, once they do their Top 10 List on the Letterman show and make their soap opera cameos, soccer will be kicked back to the curb. A strange game of little action... hockey for foreigners who can't skate.

   This used to bother me, but why let it? Let them not know what they're missing. The crowds, the passion... I'll hold up the finish of the 1999 Champions League Final against any sport's championship game, with Manchester United scoring twice in extra time to beat Bayern Munich and win the treble.

   I feel more pain for England today. My pick was based on the perceived strength of goalie David Seaman, whose misplay on a free kick from 40 yards ultimately was Brazil's winning goal. Had they beaten the South Americans, there was not a team left who could have stopped them. None. They were too focused, playing with too much passion and savvy. Unfortunately, that couldn't stop a floating swerver. Let the riots begin.

   So with both my teams now eliminated in a seven-hour span, the Cup will start ot drift. Instinct puts my support to South Korea, as they're both the home team and the underdogs. Yeah, so they'll lose too.

   It was a hell of a game - a virtual draw where the breaks shook out the wrong way. It's been an incredible run, but it's over. As is this.

June 20, 2002 - The World Isn't Watching
   Alright, let's just do this:

England - Brazil
Three Lions on a shirt, and in the semis.
England wins on penalties.
Germany - United States
Nation's attention is grabbed. Sorry.
Germany wins 2-1.
South Korea - Spain
Korea Team Psycho.
South Korea wins on penalties.
Senegal - Turkey
Bouba Diop sounds like 'Boob Drop'.
Senegal wins 3-2.

   • My brother, working as a volunteer at the PGA TOUR's Canon Greater Hartford Open today, was the standard bearer for the group including tour pro Dicky Pride. He walked around, inside the ropes at the TPC at River Highlands, displaying the score of a man who goes by the name Dicky Pride.

   Turns out he's a very nice guy. Introduced himself to Matt, real handshake, gave him a golf ball at the end of the round, class act. I bet Dick Trickle, Lake Speed and other unfortunately-named athletes are much the same. I hope he wins the friggin' tournament. Not really, but if he did, I'd give a little smile.

   Jay Cook, who will respond quizzically when referred to as a "meat-cutter," showed me seven possible Instant Messenger buddy icons he'd created - one of his picture, the other six based on Mega Man characters. As I'm looking at them, I'm thinking, "Does the buddy icon really deserve this much attention? Seven graphics, each more obscure than the last?" Yet with each one, I had an opinion.

   Live should not be expressed in 50 pixels squared. It can't be, even if you do play a lot of Diablo II and spend grand tracts of time in the basement with the jacuzzi bathroom. Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course.

   Never ask for more work at work on a Thursday, because they make you edit stories from the 'Religion' desk, which essentially is going to hell. There's more stuff about Most Reverends, and ham and bean suppers, and less like this:

Police Fear The Wurst, Stop Wienermobile Near Pentagon

   MILWAUKEE - It's the most famous motorized sausage in the nation, but even the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile can't drive on a restricted road next to the Pentagon.

   The crew of the 27-foot-long hot dog on wheels got grilled by police when it mistakenly traveled on a road closed to commercial traffic.

   Ever since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, Route 110 has been off limits to vehicles with six wheels or more because of concerns that someone could drive a truck bomb close to the home of the nation's defense department.

   So when the Wienermobile that departed from Madison, Wis., lumbered down Route 110 Tuesday evening, a Virginia state trooper's eyes widened. Perhaps expecting the wurst, he flipped on his flashing lights and pulled over the lost dog.

   Traffic on the busy road that runs along the Potomac River backed up for a short time as people craned their heads and gawked, obviously relishing the sight of the Wienermobile getting busted.

   $416 for a week's quiet work isn't a bad exchange rate, though I'm not sure of how I feel about it only raining green every two weeks, though I could get used to the confused joy of "Why's there $800-ish more dollars in my bank account when all I just did was take out 40 bucks?"

   If I were to stuff $50 in a mattress every week from now until I retire, in forty years I would have over $100,000 and a very old mattress with large bulges in it.

   Mission-style tables, gasoline, food, concert tickets and an ill-fitting Slovenian national team jersey have eaten that first paycheck. Welcome to the world.

   I decided tonight, mainly after perusing the blog of Craiggers, that I'm not too happy with the World right now - which in no way should be confused with your world. At some point, I have to sit down, do whatever it is focused people do, and think. Yeah, I'll get right on that.

   Craig, arguably, should know who I am, given we'd been introduced before and were both heavily involved with our respective college bowl teams as undergrads. So, when walking with Senor Coen in Chapel Hill, I was addressed as "et al," Latin for "Who the fuck are you?," it sounded off why I should have gone abroad.

   All I'm looking for is a little encouragement...

June 19, 2002 - Rashes, Irritations and Wrigley Field
   • Triple plays are hard to come by... even if bad things do tend to happen in threes. So when the folks at Inside Edition rifle out consecutive stories about young pop stars lip-synching their live performances, people getting their tummies tucked to look like Britney Spears and Las Vegas not being a family destination, I have to ask... are they cheating? Could they possibly be releasing pointless, obvious stories on purpose, just to keep expectations low?

"Wait, so I can't take my son with me to the Baccarat table? My daughter can't feed four slots for me? Shazaam, shazaam, shazaam!"
-- 21-year-olds plus enjoy casinos. How ironic that the Canary trip, which Meg persuaded me to go on, is the one that turned me this way she can't stand?

   Perhaps more surprising is my ties to the Ivy League, given I come from a town centered around a Dunkin Donuts, a gas station, an elementary school and an empty lot. Reporter Eric's a Penn grad; Michael Philpy, probably the nicest non-BU quiz guy I've met, just got out of Hanover; Matt Bruce was Crimson before he crossed the river, as that friend-of-a-friend-of-a-girlfriend is now; then there's all those dicks from Cornell...

   There's a girl I grew up with, way way back... she lived near my grandmother. Either went to Colgate or Cornell, I can't remember, and is due to graduate next year. It's been five years though; she wouldn't know me from a hole in the wall.

   Are "they" more special than you and me, if in fact "you" are not one of "they"? On the one hand, the Ivy Leaguers I know have a political focus far beyond my own, as shown by one working at the Puzzle Palace, another keeping a political diatribe I've looked at once or twice, a third covering Tri-Town (the small littles of Marion, Mattapoisett and Rochester, Mass.) as though he'd lived here all his life...

   Yet, there's that idea of preppiness. I've been thanked multiple times for forcing Eric to clean the piles of newspaper in his apartment, distinctly recall the mattress and broken futon of the Bruce estate and, though I've never seen Philpy's living conditions, stereotyping his as the typical college bowler fits my train of thought much better than thinking critically.

   Isn't it nice how one can create flow within prose by conveniently ignoring facts?

   They're old institutions, steeped in influence and tradition. They put off a vibe of elitism - the latest issue of The Pennsylvania Gazette urges alumni to both endow scholarships and leave Penn in their will, along with inviting all to join The Penn Club on 44th Street, Manhattan.

   Far as I know, the BU Club both begins and ends underneath the Castle on Bay State Road, with the best friggin' sandwiches this side of Brooklawn Pizzeria in Whale City.

   Other schools don't instill the values an Ivy does, the awareness. Still, I can't really make a clear decision until I find me a spoiled brat bitch, with rich alumni parents and no need forcing them to try. I turn to you for help.

   The options of things to dwell on are in short supply: Maury Povich's two-day "teen pregnancy paternity tests" marathon; Lisa telling me I both don't think of others' feelings when I speak and that I'm not nice, but not to take offense; and the significance of Saturday at 10 a.m.

   The first is too sad, the second speaks for itself (and really isn't that interesting) and the thirs is a secret. No one's stopping me from doing this.

   I mean, it's not every day you see an ad for a dating service promising one can "date someone in [their] league."

"Date fellow graduates of the Ivies, Seven Sisters, MIT, Stanford, U. of Chicago, medical schools and some others."
-- Thank God, Clive. The riff-raff from those state schools is just stifling.

June 18, 2002 - Get The Tables
   • Apparently in Celebrex World, large groups of arthritic people gather on the weekends with one small child, and play a game of softball. Celebrex works so well, John can umpire with his arthritic back, Sue can grip despite ravaged hands and little four-year-old Timmy can score an inside-the-park homerun on a dribbling grounder through the infield.

   Celebrate! Celebrate! Come on and celebrate!!!

   The thrill is in the chase. That line about the trip being more fun than the destination... I'm not good with cliches when I have music playing. My translation of this always went to dating - the most fun part of finding someone to be with was making them like you... the wooing versus the payoff.

   [ Insert wacky past relationship joke here. ]

   As I sat at work tonight, fully aware the mission-style tables I'd bought earlier in the day would dictate each future furniture purchase, and thus the rest of my life, there was an overwhelming sense of...

   "An overwhelming sense of..." sweet merciful crap. I'm making myself vomit. I think I might hate my job, that's what I'm getting at. Hate's the wrong word... I think I might be absolutely bored sick with my job. Yet as I say that, I don't fully believe it.

   While I sit at work, staring at poorly-written news briefs and event recaps that mean absolutely nothing to me, I find myself absolutely baffled that this is what I went to school all those years for. It's hard to make onesself care about an area I've never lived in, know nobody in and really am not a part of yet. Then I read the paper, the physical newspaper, and I look at my pages and smile. At least to me, I'm proud of it, even if no one else knows my involvement with the whole process.

   The hard part of it for me is I'm not really sure if I'd be any happier as a reporter. The hours would be more normal, I'd be doing what (I believe) I excel at, but I'd have to talk to stupid people all day. Guess it's just one of those Century-22 situations, ya know? Can't do anything until the move is done, which can't happen until the move is started.

   There's just so many other things I'm good at, yet can in no way profit from. Would have thought weight loss was one of those, until the flyer for the Calorie Club got put on the vending machine.

   Ten over-Ring Dinged women find an 11th who's thin (or doesn't care) to be a moderator and wiegh them. The ten pay a weekly due of $2 into a pot, and agree to be weighed each week for ten weeks. If their weight goes up at all, their dues go to $5. If they drop out, they pay $20 and that's it. All monies go to the person who dropped the most weight at the end of ten weeks.

Three things could come of a Calorie Club:
   1. Since you're essentially paying people to become anorexics, somebody ends up eating hospital food in an attempt to win the money. The other nine, feeling so guilty about the whole affair, gorge selves on whale burgers and thus defeat the entire purpose of the whole thing.
   2. The contest goes as planned, one person winning by ounces over another. To celebrate, winner goes on $200+ buffet crawl, and thus defeats the entire purpose of the whole thing.
   3. Ten people learn healthy eating habits, how to treat themselves better and all grow from the Club. They fell better about themselves, and add enrichment to their lives. Thus meaning I, for opening my mouth and ragging on the whole thing, have thus defeated the entire purpose of the whole thing.

   I just don't think it's funny to combine things people are fanatical about, like weight loss and free money. It's like what would happen if someone built a casino in New Bedford. Thank goodness that'll never happen...

   Eric, my host, just doesn't think the sports editor's weekly column is funny, because it's just a weekly list of things he observes as humorous. Did I actually say, "Yeah, it's one thing to write up something like that and publish it on a website, but why print it in the newspaper?" Yeah I did.

   Jay Leno just doesn't think it's funny people walking the streets of Hollywood can't recognize a picture of Roy Rogers, Laurel & Hardy, and Rock Hudson. As though his fat head could. It's one thing to be on for 15 minutes and not be funny. Quite another to actually subtract humor from previous days and events.

   When Jennifer Love Hewitt hosts a televised concert on FOX with Britney, Ludacris and the like, does she think, "Hey! I have slight to a dash of musical talent! Why aren't they letting me sing?!"

June 17, 2002 - Jules Rimet Still Gleaming
   • What jumps to your mind when you think of America's greatest newspapers? You know, when you're growing up to be a journalist, and your friends and family write you these sweet little nothings in graduation cards, how do they finish this sentence?

"Maybe one day we will see your name and article in _______."

   New York Times seems the default answer, though I really can't say I've ever of dreamed of landing there. (There's just no magic in the Apple for me... before we even talk about their uberoffice being in north Jersey.) Those who know me would say The Boston Globe, with the Boston Herald appearing in the "Others Receiving Votes" column.

   Never has The Wall Street Journal appeared, prior to Sunday, and I can't say I ever thought it would. Next door neighbors gave it a mocking "Ha" in the card, which is funny, because it's the same "Ha" I gave when their son got put on probation for drug possession... or whatever it was. (OK, not really. I didn't "Ha," since we really all expected him to have a run-in with the cops.)

   Wall Street Journal? A top paper? I suppose, if you like pencil sketches, stock quotes and no pictures. I'm a child of the '80s - stupify me.

   Have you ever seen an attractive woman wearing stirrup pants? Think about it. Aren't they just essentially part of fat people's uniforms, as issued to them by the government on Tax Day each year? Flats, stirrup pants, a sweatshirt with either an animal or a place visited... super hot people just don't wear stirrup pants. I dare say this is a definitive theory, right up there with my other one... The Casino Stopper (Closer) Theory.

   Todd, as my official Foxwoods partner, is fully aware of and in agreement with The Casino Stopper Theory. If you were to live it, you would be as well.

   You're playing Catch-A-Wave. Somehow you're winning, or at least holding court well enough to make it feel like winning. The shift change hits, and inevitably, the new dealer comes in and mops the carpet with your oily face and crisp dollar bills. This never fails to happen. At no point does a new dealer come in and you put a run on them.

   They're dealing the same cards, you're betting the same way, yet they're Mariano Rivera, circa 1998. It happening on a new shuffle? Makes sense, given all the cards are in play. But on a new dealer, same deck? They're the Casino Closers, the Stoppers. Play me some 'Smoke On The Water,' Robb Nen coming in to slam the door.

   Would now be a bad time to mention I love roulette again?

(Previous lines written mainly to humor those "bored" by sportswriting. If you are one of these, suggestion is to fuck off at this point. Cheers til tomorrow!)

Crackers 2, Gringos 0
Winners advance to play Nazis.

   • Let's be honest. Standings aside, ain't nobody wants a piece of Azzurri if there's a way out. The U.S. got the better draw out of Group D, and all they had to do to get it was take a couple pierogi-slaps across the face, thanks to the more-than-gracious hosts.

   So let me get this straight. Days prior, you and your fans are pissing on American flags, speed-skating after you score goals because you hate us so much. Even if you lose by a pair, you go through to the Round of 16, leaving the Stripes with themselves to blame. If you win, no matter what, Italy's next on your race form. And here I thought Koreans were good with numbers...

   There's a tendency to immediately say the better team, the more dominant team, lost today. Mexico held a 2:1 possession advantage, an 8:2 advantage on corner kicks and dominated the pace of play for the first hour. They're a higher-regarded side, feature bigger international stars and, at times, look to be dictating a lesson to the U.S.

   ESPN's Michael Davies says it better than I can:

"Deserving to win seems to be a concept that only applies at the World Cup. It's certainly the only place I ever hear it. Argentina deserved to win against England, Portugal deserved to win against the United States, Italy deserved to beat Croatia. The rules of this game are very simple: The team that scores the most goals wins. Beautiful play is beautiful to watch, and we can all appreciate it, but goals win games, conceding them loses games. It's as simple as that."

   The better team always wins... that's why they're the better team. Team USA came in with less rest, so the game plan was conservative: play fresh legs, and pick your spots. Reyna down the right side, in to Wolff, to a wide-open McBride. Eddie Lewis down the left, cross to a streaking Landon Donovan who, as John Motson would say, "made no mistake."

   Biggest goal in United States soccer history? For the time being, without a doubt. McBride's set the tone, but Landon's broke the dam. You could feel the Mexicans wilt, their Cup dreams oozing to the grass of Jeonju. The drums stopped, the chants became ours and, though they fought with a savvy testament to their nation, their hopes ended. Easy to say with it over, but the girlish celebration I did when that ball went in the net was over advancing to the World Cup's Round of 8.

   Part of me feels the pain of the loser, probably because the only true Mexican I know is quite the vocal footy fan. For decades, Mexico has had soccer to hold over the American head. Soccer and... what else? Cancun? Tijuana? Sparking the Taco Bell phenomenon? Little else. Now, even that is gone.

   By the time I head back to New Bedford for my last non-apartment week, eight teams will still be eligible to win one of the world's greatest spectacles. England, my adopted side. Brazil, the world's all-time. Senegal, the sentimental favorite. Spain, potential looking to fulfill. And a sleeping giant, waking up to the world's game after all these years.

   Today did not feel like an upset to me, numbers being trumped by recent history. Here on out, that'll be no more. The Germans are soccer royalty, and should the unfathomable happen, who's left? Spain? Italy? The cream of the crop. Of which Mexico, at least until the Gold Cup, is not.

"'They didn't want to play, they didn't let us play. Croatia and Italy came out to play. They [the U.S.] set out not to lose."
-- Mexican coach Javier Aguirre, who might want to try playing not to lose in the future.

June 16, 2002 - Jousting In The Rain
   Welcome to the farm. Few other changes you should note: the new e-mail address is cooch@joncouture.com, with your very own joncouture.com e-mail addy available for "purchase." Hey, it's no baseball jersey, but somehow I'll take my chances.

   • Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain asks us, the music consumer, to "rape [him]," twenty-six times. Since Krist Novoselic hasn't made $26 since Kurt played Russian Roulette, since Dave Grohl was the only one who could do anything of value with the song rights and since Courtney Love discovered she has no talent and couldn't stay cleaned up to save her life, they've all decided to fight, for the right, to P-R-O-F-I-T!

   We left this gem off the sing-a-long.

   June, 1998. As people began to arrive, the United States national team took the field against seemingly-no worries Iran in World Cup '98. It was a star-crossed game from the start... crossbar, post, post, wide on a bicycle kick, wide on an open header, stuff, save. It was clear which team was the dominant in play: the one not dominant on the scoreline.

Cooch: "Dad, the United States is about to lose to Iran in the World Cup."
Father: "You're shittin'!"
-- Legendary quote one to stem from my graduation party, right up there with my mother's "There is no triangular button," when told how to play a movie with our VCR.

   It was a much different time, as the guest lists from the two affairs hold very few similarities. Jim Crowley was at both, as was Geoff, Eric Robinson and, I'd assume, Lisa Marsh. Justin Gorman, Charlie and Sunny may have been... Meg most certainly was not, as with Matt's friends.

"So things are good shall we say? The brothers are all fun to hang out with, but as soon as I put that picture of my Snuggle Bunny Jon Couture on my desk, they'll stop coming around. Ya happy hunnie? You got mentioned! BOYFRIEND. Jon is MY boyfriend."
-- Know that thing they say about being careful what you wish for?

   Today went like your average Couture party. Parents? Bought too much food, set up too many chairs and tents, then drank enough to not care the house became a disaster area from foot traffic. Kids? Arrive slowly, sit around until the volleyball net comes, rush outside when it arrives to play frantic games of limited-talent volleyball, to retire to whatever carnival fare Sunny got from work, maybe go for a swim if the weather didn't suck, back to the volleyball, to the pool... all ending up in my basement, having a sing-along.

   OK, so the full-out sing-along, with guitar, was new. And it doesn't usually rain. Or do I get concussed from a shot to the head, and covered with mud. But Robinson was still hitting on girls new to the group, because that's just what he does. Spread his seed o'er the land.

Secrets to the American Gladiatorial Joust

   1. Keep a low center of gravity.
   2. Don't use the marked hand holds on the pugil stick, unless you have long enough arms to reach your opponent solidly.
   3. Hit your opponent square in the face, as often as possible.
   4. Never fight anyone likely to beat you, such as a girl.

   There were some who came, inviting themselves. Others invited, others by others. I'm glad some were here, I'm sad some were not, I'm discourages with others for reasons not fitting the prose. Hope all you bitches enjoyed yourself.

   Both there and here. 200 megabytes is fifty times four... this could get messy.
June 15, 2002 - End Of An Era
   • The United States won the game they had to win, managed a draw to ensure Portugal doesn't qualify for Round 2 and lost to avoid a match-up with Italy. And you're telling me Mexico is going to stand in our way? Sorry Rosie, I have a good feeling about Monday morning.

I miss you.
Cooch: I miss you too. Needy. :-)
So what? I wish you were a little more needy!
But that's not me, I would be being something I'm not.
When will you be home?
In what ways do you want me more needy?
I don't know, but I've let a dog lick my feet last night cuz it felt good. I mean, I did let the dog lick my feet.
What kind of dog?
Blond huskie.
Where was this?
At the house. Muffin, the doggie that live on my floor.
Now I want to see the dog!
Oh, Muffin is soo pretty. She's kinda like a cat... she'll sit on you lap and such.
So, explain how this happens. You're sitting there, and the dog comes up, starts licking your feet, and you decide you're enjoying it.
Yes. I also have a smirnoff in one hand.
Was there that instinctual moment when you went, "Eww! Doggie licking my feet!"
No, it was more like "ooh, the dog is licking my feet," and a guilty admission that it felt good.
Was it the actual tongue that felt good? (I plan on analyzing this for a good while yet.)
Yeah, I'm so deprived of your foot massages.
Would the massages feel better if I used my tongue?
Well, see, I thought about this. I still don't like the idea of someone licking my feet... although this one drunk guy considered it.
What's wrong with it? Was he actually looking at your feet at the time, or did he just come up with this on his own?
Well.. he was thinking the dog had alreadly licked my feet. But then again, a dog's mouth is so much cleaner than a person's.
So there were people in the room when you were being licked?
Did they say anything as this was happening?
Yeah, the drunk boys were considering licking my feet, but then "Tim" called, do it was time to go party.
So wait, what's the moral of this story?
Dog tounge is good when the dog isn't gross. The dog is really clean.
Is that all?

   The critical element of good reporting, so my training has taught me, is to ask the questions others wouldn't ask. When a normal person merely accepts a story as fact, the reporter goes a further distance, asking questions of the source to further elucidate the point.

   I can think of no better way to close down the people.bu.edu era than with a true story of college life. And we move...


June 14, 2002 - That Flag's Pretty Big
   I am not, nor do I claim to be, a member of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, but I do know it's the kind of hamboned thing Southern women actually do, and Northern women will pool $100 million or more to go drool over, reviews meaning nothing at all. You might as well be writing with sidewalk chalk in a hurricane.

   Course as I say that, I'm breathlessly waiting for, and pinning my hopes on, Dog Eat Dog.

   • Fairhaven High School, across the water from Whale City, looks like a medieval castle. Breathtaking building, right off Roue 6, with a football field inches from the sidewalk. They've got a normal-sized flagpole out in front, on which yesterday flew a holiday flag. Holiday flag as in mother f'ing humongous flag. Quite the breathtaking sight, I crap you not.

   I have techie friends, this I can't deny. Comp-sci people, building stereo switch boxes, talking endlessly about transistors and lazer pointers... it has its place. It's just not one where attractive girls are often involved. Naturally, this means they all hate Microsoft.

   I am (admittedly) not intelligent enough to figure out why Microsoft products are so bad. I don't develop software, or factorial my paradigm... me write pretty one day. Netscape renders web pages slower, it makes most look stupid and it's annoying as all get out to use. Mozilla, the latest dampen your drawers products from those people, is supposedly exciting because it has a mean-looking dinosaur as its logo. Or because it works better. I don't remember.

   I'd probably like Linux, if it made any sense, looked nice or worked well. Based on one use, I've stereotyped it as impossible. In the same way I've stereotyped London as cool, Epcot Center as enjoyable and my apartment as... we won't go down that road just yet. I'm still enjoying myself.

1. France
2. Senegal

3. Denmark
4. Uruguay
1. Denmark
2. Senegal

3. Uruguay
4. France
1. Spain
2. Slovenia

3. South Africa
4. Paraguay
1. Spain
2. Paraguay

3. South Africa
4. Slovenia
1. Brazil
2. Costa Rica

3. Turkey
4. China
1. Brazil
2. Turkey

3. Costa Rica
4. China
1. Portugal
2. South Korea

3. United States
4. Poland
1. South Korea
2. United States

3. Portugal
4. Poland
1. Germany
2. Cameroon

3. Ireland
4. Saudi Arabia
1. Germany
2. Ireland

3. Cameroon
4. Saudi Arabia
1. Argentina
2. Sweden

3. England
4. Nigeria
1. Sweden
2. England

3. Argentina
4. Nigeria
1. Italy
2. Mexico

3. Ecuador
4. Croatia
1. Mexico
2. Italy

3. Croatia
4. Ecuador
1. Belgium
2. Japan

3. Russia
4. Tunisia
1. Japan
2. Belgium

3. Russia
4. Tunisia

   As expected. no group went as expected. That's what happen when a half-assed soccer fan plays Jimmy The Greek. My surprise of the tourney thusfar? Paraguay, not to be confused with Simpsons-famous U-are-gay.

   Saturday, all of England sits breathless, as the Three Lions are four wins away from matching the magic of '66. The U.S. is too, but replace 'breathless' with 'watching golf.'

   Three lions on a shirt, and two days until the great Web shift. All I can ask is why's Star Jones so fat, and selling me shoes?
June 13, 2002 - Plunder So?
   • With Providence news stations at my disposal, the world's all a titter about the Plunder Dome scandal. With no Net access, we'll synopsize:

   Providence's mayor looks like a mobster. He's built like a mobster. His nickname is "Buddy," for crying out loud. Vincent "Buddy" Cianci. In the same way we all assumed altar boys were getting rail gunned, it seems news to everyone Buddy and Co. were taking kickbacks for certain things in the city, disguising them as campaign contributions. Prosecutors have said, in their most quotable moment, that "Providence was a city for sale."

   Now, allow me to show why I got a 'C+' in Introduction To Ethics. Taking gifts as a reporter, especially from people who you're writing about, is a large no-no. Taking gifts from constituents, and those who want to be, is much the same? But why? Am I not a mature enough person to take a fifth of rum from a student leader, then still be able to say his cause sucks and his mother smells? Should the perception of the public really be playing that big a part in my behavior? Should I really be writing paragraphs with five questions in a row?

   "Buddy" Cianci, however he did it, has turned Providence from a running joke to a power broker on the east coast. It's on the grow, it's young, it's an up-and-coming place for kids like me to crash after college. Brown might even stop being the running joke of the Ivy League... hey, anything can happen. I don't condone breaking the law, but Buddy Boy staying the longest-serving big city mayor in America wouldn't be the worst thing even to come across the anchor desk.

   What could cause all this wacky behavior? If you ask me, it's the nation's devolution into a bunch of malt-beverage-drinking fruit cups. Who started it all, back in the day? Zima. Way, waaay back, it was the originator, and you laughed. Pawned it a girly drink, disdained by those who dared imbibe. Then came a certain hard lemonade, and you all loved it. Lighter than beer, you said.

   Look at you now, with your Doc Otis and your Mike's and your Smirnoff Ice and your Bacardi Silver and your Skyy Blue and your Captain Morgan Gold and your Stolichnaya Citrona, for crying out loud. AGAIN. And yet, still no one will drink Zima.

   Zima Citrus is better anyway.

   All this booze, had I drank it, would explain why I'm completely out of touch with the world again. Father's Day is Sunday? It's U.S. Open week? See, this is why I need cable television! Naturally, I'm now in full "need-to-golf" mode, and have renewed my promise to one-day whittle my handicap down and try to qualify for the U.S. Open. If there were one tournament I could win...

   To attempt to qualify for the Open, you need to have a USGA handicap index below 2.0. At my best in high school, I had mine down to around 9. It's in the mid-teens now. Miracles, aisle four.

   On a last trip round the news desk:

   • John Gotti's funeral. - Bunch of pictures showed up on the wires of people entering for the Dapper Don's wake. Among the flower arrangements that arrived: a royal flush, a horseshoe, and a horse's head. Aren't mobsters hilarious?

   • USA-Poland. - First place in the group gets potential Cup champion Italy, second place gets seemingly-less-threatening Italy. Anyone feel like taking a dive?
June 12, 2002 - "Mistake" By The "Lake"
   • As the world said goodbye to the NBA on NBC via a patented poignant video montage, Boston's Channel 7 News put the world in proper order for us.

   In Los Angeles, police are circling the Staples Center, batons sharpened to a point, as Lakers fans prepare to riot over their third straight NBA title. In New Jersey, an equally harrowing scene... twenty people are stuck upside down in a carnival ride. As people work to rescue them, carnival workers are building a pile of mats and stuffed animals to cushion the falling bodies.

"Oh I love that dirty sinkhole... da dum, da dum, Trenton you're my home."

   NBC has covered the NBA since 1991, meaning that in just over a decade, in twelve seasons, a whopping four teams have won titles. The Bulls have six, Lakers three, Rockets two and the Spurs in the shortened season of '99. Do people really wonder why the NBA is hurting so badly? The players are jerks, they make too much money and the same teams really do win ALL THE DAMN TIME.

   Gee, why's everyone all aflutter about the World Cup? Baseball's ready to implode on itself, hockey's still being played in June, football's put my two favorite teams in the latest Super Bowls (what's THAT all about?)... the world needs change.

   Seems the theme of yesterday's World Cup games, as backed up by the AP Photo Wire, was hot women celebrating in fountains. Two English women in Trafalgar Square, two Swedes in Stockholm and none in Buenos Aires. Don't cry for them, Argentina. The truth is they're all assholes anyway.

   The entire Cup is a strange phenomenon to someone who cares not nor understands the Beautiful Game. In Nigeria, they were dancing in the streets before the game, even though they'd been eliminated already. In England, they hooted and hollered after getting dominated in the first half, and not scoring at all. Earlier in the week they rioted in Russia, despite the fact as Russians, their lives are going to suck regardless of how the football team does.

   Yes, the U.S. has designated us a "market economy." Yes, I would like another wheat cracker.

   Perhaps even more troubling, the fountain women were in stereotypical reverse. Why were the English women so hot? When were the Swedes no better than average? Is it a direct result of my Anglophile fascination? Is it because I'm comparing them to the unconventional beauty of one David Beckham? Perhaps Jay Cook, Agawam philosopher and admitted blunt speaker, has the answer:

"There's guys and goats too, but I don't swing that way."
-- Seems he misunderstood when I said "There's more to life than women."

   The big news in New Bedford of late? Dredging crashes - three boats have flipped and sank as they try to dredge the main waterway that cuts through the city. I don't really have much to add to that... just letting you know. Though the inability to boat in a city that made its fame through whaling... that's a little weird.
June 11, 2002 - On The Road Again
   • Live from the living room of Standard-Times reporter Erik Moskowitz...

   Huge bathroom... absolutely massive. Huge living room, big bedroom... but a little messy. My place has this one on location, being on the first floor and three blocks from work, but I'd take it in a heartbeat. Anywhere I could call my own... that's all I'm looking for.

   I can not fathom people not having cable television or a land phone line. This is likely a testimony on my slavery to technology, my nned to watch the picture box all day and all night. So what? I spent three years without cable, and it weaned me off TV to a safe level. I want my damn World Cup! Static should equal "static guard." not "broadcast TV."

   My first thought being about watching the World Cup: sad, surprising, both or neither?

   Continuing my efforts to allow you to live virtually through myself, I give you a synopsis of our copy desk staff meeting today. It was a post-redesign meeting with the company hired to redesign the paper. Looking at the before front pages, let's just say it needed it.

   Meeting begins with idle chit chat about how great a job everyone's doing, but how all the copy desk people still suck. A slide projector is perched on the side of a flipped over trash can, in the center of this boardroom, so we're obviously dealing with professionals at the mercy of a bankrupt newspaper.

   Of course I'm generalizing, but it doesn't exactly breathe professionalism when I'm in a fancy boardroom and people can't find a book to prop under the projector.

   The two design guys start showing slides about design issues, what they like and what they don't like. I have a Vietnam-esque flashback to that time we cut out single letters in Production & Design and talked about how they made us feel.

   I laughed to myself, to keep from falling asleep.

   About twenty minutes in, news editor (and my boss) Fred gets into a shouting match with the lead design guy. At this point, I am in my Production & Design class again. Fred's talking about how designer boy isn't taking into account the pressures of deadline, while Baldy is saying Fred's an idiot and should no better than to put three pictures above the fold... or something like that. I just kept hoping someone would flip a table, because it would have made the metting much more entertaining.

   The design team, Baldy and Not Baldy, then teach everyone that boxes bring things together, and lines split things apart. Boxes together, lines apart. They talk about parallel construction and using less photos to make more dominant. As before, every time I start to think I get what they mean, I realize I have no idea what these guys are talking about.

   I'll die not knowing how I got a B in that class. Die a happy, confused man.

   Near the end, the design team talk about changes they made at this paper in Nashua... From what I saw, I like the changes. One of them makes some comment about how the copy desk up there "does a lot of sitting around and talking at night." I wonder why he said it like it was a bad thing.

   After that, we all went upstairs and mocked the constructive commentary. Well, one guy mocked it. I sat there silently and surfed the Internet, since I never have any work to do. The only thing that sucks more than working is not working, and the only thing that sucks more than not working is carnies.

"you know, circus folk. Smell of cabbage... small hands."
-- I'll take "Forced Humor" for $2000, Alex.

   Today, I got a new e-mail address. But I will not announce it, but to say this: On Saturday, this site will move from the BU webspace. You figure out the rest.
June 10, 2002 - Meets The McLaughlin Group
   • Mr. Tyson with the opening salvo:

"My hand's off to him [Lewis]."
-- So that's why it wasn't punching anyone.

"I might just fade into bolivion."
-- It's beautiful this time of year.

"If the price is right, I'd fight a lion."
-- Seems you just did that Saturday night...

   Point One! "Kasey Keller, eat your heart out." Is there any question why the U.S. is even near qualifying for the second round? Jack Edwards almost got himself pregnant screaming about Brad Friedel against South Korea, and we're prepared to give him a much calmer thumbs up.

   Is there anything in sport more scintillating than a saved penalty? Be it in hockey or soccer, but less so in the first because the goal is so small. Plus the shooter has multiple ways to screw up, as to have to skate it in from the center line. Ball on the spot, and all you have to do is kick it in an open goal.

   Pretty easy, isn't it Eul Yong Lee? WRONG!

   Point Two! "Capitalism isn't so bad, we swear." I would like to purchase a green Slovenia jersey, made by the fine folks at Uhlsport. Got a little mountain scene on the front... I think it'd make a nice fashion statement. Yes, I firmly believe jerseys make a fashion statement. Yes, I will see you in hell.

   So I figure I'll pick one up in the World Cup Store. WRONG! The Uhlsport site. WRONG! eBay. WRONG! Anywhere outside Ljubljana. WRONG!

   SInce when is there a corporate site built that has a product you can't buy? Isn't thw whole point of such places to convenience people like me, who have ample monies to throw away on things that seem a good idea at the time? Shouldn't international commerce be designed to take away my money? Thank goodness I can buy obviously false knockoffs... if I couldn't, then I really wouldn't feel like I was in a large Asian city.

   Point Three! "Moving on." I want my new apartment, and I want it now. There's an Argentinian in it right now. Seriously. He's in my apartment, living there, with his Corona bottles and handmade furniture. I'm not being stereotypical. I mean it - it's full of Corona cases and hommade tables.

   I have no furniture. I don't care, that's why people clean the floors. I want my place. I want to walk home from work at 1 a.m. I'll sleep on the floor, eat at the Walgreen's. I want my apartment. Anyone who's trying to keep it from me is just WRONG!

   Don't feel like I equalled the utter idiocy of the Group, but what can one do? I think my normal level of idiocy more than makes up the difference.

June 9, 2002 - Bring Out Your Grads
   • Some would say it's unhealthy to feed $5 into a Pop-A-Shot-esque basketball machine. I'd be one of them.

   Coors Light Sharpshooter. Think one of those Pop-A-Shot machines, but build it with quality. Make it look like a stiff breeze wouldn't collapse the piping. That's in the neighborhood.

   What can I say? I suck at foosball, Golden Tee takes too long and just doesn't have the illusion of athleticism, though that spinning trackball takes some kind of finesse. Every time I look at it, I think of when little kids get their pant legs caught in escalators... does that ever happen to shirtsleeves and trackballs? Drunks can do amazing things if motivated...

   Forty-five seconds on the clock, two points per basket, three points for the last fifteen ticks. When I walked in, the record was 57 points. The machine wakes up Monday morning with the top score a dirty sexual position, because it became my bitch.

   The art of Pop-A-Shot is in speed. Records are broken not because you hit a lot of shots, but because you take a lot of shots. It's a game of streaks: once you find your range, run with it. When it breaks, slow it down. What seperates the wheat from the chaff? Always having another ball to shoot. Get a run early, keep it going and hit a shitload of threes. Those last 15 seconds should double your score, if not make it absolutely foolish.

   Other sports just don't have the barroom allure of basketball. Baseball has the batting cage, and the allure of getting hit in the groin by a stray pitch. Football has throwing a football through a tire, which unfortunately is impossible. Hockey has the bubble and table varieties, in the same way soccer has foosball - a game that really doesn't translate to anything near the sport. Pop-A-Shot teaches so much of value: how to shoot an undersized, underinflated basketball rushed, into a basket three feet away. I wish I could have majored in "useless studies."

   Congratulations to the Agawam High School Class of 2002, freshly graduated and into the world. If I could only add one thing the student speakers, your principal, the superintendent, the mayor, school committee members, your parents and everyone else didn't add: you enter a world outside Agawam with things that will scare you. New experiences, new difficulties. You will see somthing you've likely never seen within the town's borders...

   People who aren't white, mobsters or exactly like you.

   Do not be afraid. Use care, but be friendly. Show them pictures of how hot our girls are. Talk sports with them. You'll find there's a whole world outside Agawam, much better than you ever imagined. There'll be nothing to do there either, but hey, that's why freshmen get drunk all the time.

June 8, 2002 - Prepsville Bitches
   • Ooh, we're lucky enough to have a town on the waterfront. Prime waterfront, too! Right out in a ritzy area. How can we capitalize on this? Hmm, we can't guarantee everyone will want to golf, and they may not want to stay in our hotels or buy our retarded form t-shirts with the lobsters and clams on them. Hey, I know! Let's charge them to park... EVERYWHERE!

   By the way, I went to Cape Cod today. "Because I could" seems a viable reason as any. Getting kicked out of my arena palace at the Days Inn gets a supporting award, as does idle boredom and the fantasy world of living somewhere new.

   The Cape, or Fancy Pants Beach Land as we locals call it, is where all the rich (and their ugly, annoying children) of the region come to play (and have sex on the beach, the drink and the act.) It's the home of the Cape Cod Summer League, as depicted poorly in Summer Catch. It's where you can jam your Cotuit in your Woods Hole, where Bourne's more than an identity and you can have a Sandwich in Hyannis, while sitting in a Naked Oyster.

   Plus the whole gay thing...

   Cape Cod, by design, is much beach. Lot of sandy coastline... lot of dunes and reeds and ugly fat people. You'd think this would mean there'd be ample places to just ditch your car, sit in the sand and watch the waves. Well, I'd think that. Course, I also thought when one quit smoking, they actually ate cold turkey to do it... while in junior high school.

   I must give kudos to the bastards of Cape Cod, who've managed to commercialize the entire of the open areas, and keep the sweet beaches hidden. Three hours of driving, five minutes sitting in the sand. Reminds me of my Little League batting average.

"Provincetown is a gay-friendly oceanside community. Generally the weather is cool in the fall, making it ideal to wear your leather, rubber or uniform. You can feel comfortable shopping, walking the streets day or night, dining, hiking on the beach and touring the bars in your leather, rubber or uniform...and we hope you will!"
-- No comment.

"Miss Lizzie Borden invites you to Tea a play written and performed by Marjorie Conn. Did you know Lizzie was a lesbian? Come hear her story."
-- Somebody stop me.

"So don your gay apparel and hop the first reindeer sleigh to P-town for a gay old-fashioned holiday..."
-- Alright, I'm finished.

   The saddest thing about the Lennox Lewis - Mike Tyson fight, for me anyway, is in the head of everyone's favorite head case. When he said he was going to crush Lewis' skull, eat his kids, bathe his crotch in his bile and all that... he really believed it. I'd imagine he believed up through his intro, through his removing the towel, through the opening bell... time has taken away the only skill he had outside of taking care of pigeons in the wild.

   As I sat watching the AP round updates come in, I laughed. I did not pity the once great champion. I thought of Muhammad Ali in his last fight, getting pounded into Parkinson's disease by Trevor Berbick. An aged champion, who ran his mouth too long and got what was coming to him. My only wish is I could have seen him wander befuddled and swollen.

   Last person in the newsroom, please turn out the light. So about that rematch Mike... next time, fake a seizure. Or gnaw your own scrotum... whatever flips the channels.

   Damned Wings. See if I predict a 3-OT game ever again...
June 7, 2002 - Work Better
   • David Beckham looks like such a stupid queer. Have you seen what he's parading around like now? Crafted himself this little blond mohawk, but he hasn't actually shaved anything off his head... it's like what Ferris Bueller worked in the shower. There's some obvious chemical lightening going on as well - could it be he's gotten into Posh's "pretty box"?

   I think so.

   Haven't even touched on the porn star goatee yet. Facial hair should not be defined as wispy at any time, ya hear me? Either let it grow or let it go, child. Just because we live in a world where Rebecca Lobo, white-as-can-be from the hicktown of Southwick, Mass., can have corn-rows... it's called wax. Lay some down.

   Bless him. And Go England!

   Now, as a public service to the Internet community, si a recap of the last two days of NBC soap operas:

   Days Of Our Lives: It's graduation time at Salem High School, and for there being about 100 or so graduates, I think there's four families in the auditorium. The valedictorian's name is Chloe, and she has very thick eyebrows and a fat mother. Looks like some sort of demon off the 'Dark Angel' set, and I think she has cancer and no one knows. Something about bone marrow and passing out. She's got some guy hanging off her, who gave her this necklace after the video montage that spurred flashbacks of the good times in high school for all the main character graduates.

   Belle is the salutatorian, and she used to be dating the kid of the guy who used to wear an eyepatch. She's all pissed off at him though, because he got caught up in these lies with some classmate who had a miscarriage... he said he was the father or something. So she's all pissed off at him because he said she lied, but they have to sit next to each other because life sucks. His parents, the eye-patch guy and the woman who got buried alive once are telling him to try to patch things up, but we won't know if they do until Monday at the Last Blast dance after graduation.

   There's this old guy Stefano who called someone a slut, but that just seemed to far-fetched to believe.

   Passions: Timmy's a midget, talks funny and always in the third person. Like the Timmy on South Park... obviously a ripped-off plot device. Anyway, he has this dog Toto, and they're hiding in a kitchen because this crazy lady has broken out of the asylum he and his psychotic grandmother (you know, the one who talks to the floating head and sees the future in a scroll) put her away after she tried to kill Timmy.

   Plot twist! The psycho in the kitchen, hidden behind wrinkled make-up, turns out to be this guy who looks pretty good, but I guess is dead. Go figure!

   Elsewhere, the Tejano chick with four names is in the hospital pregnant, but as soon as she has the baby, she's going to be put to death for a murder she confessed to, but didn't actually commit. She's covering for her lover/lawyer, who actually killed this guy. Because he can't find a way to get her off, in the law sense, he breaks her out of the hospital where she just had false labor and they run from the cops.

   The cops turn out to be the girl's brother and the chief, who's the father of the lawyer/murderer. When Dad tries to report they escaped, brother beats the shit out of him in the waiting room. All the while, the black sisters are fighting over a boyfriend, their doctor mother knows some secret about the Tejano chick's pregnancy and the bitch in the wheelchair (with ugly friend) are plotting against everyone.

   Then there's the blond chick who got the huge gambling debt, her boyfriend who's going back to car racing to pay it off and the friend who helped him through rehab, because he almost died in a wreck...

   No wonder housewives are so fucked up...
June 6, 2002 - Sand Through The Hourglass
   Irony: I can't read my own site at work, because we use Netscape.

   Greater Irony: The number of child porno counts against R. Kelly? Twenty-one. Just the kind of booty he ain't callin' on...

In the Dartmouth police logs...
"Willful and malicious damage to real property."
-- Apparently on the SouthCoast, it's illegal to imagine theft.

Kidnapping is a tragedy, don't get me wrong...
"A family member said the Smarts have a security system in their home designed to alert them to an intruder, but it doesn't have a loud alarm and doesn't ring into a security agency."
-- Nicely done. An alarm without an alarm. So, how does it work? It's Utah... it must alert God, who then wills the family awake to eat pretzels.

   • Over the last few days, for lack of a better occupation, I've become a tourist. Driving the roads, looking at things, getting hopelessly lost on side roads... because staying at the Days Inn and listening to the pornos being filmed isn't my idea of a good time.

   One can only watch SportsCenter so many times before realizing it's the same show over and over.

   Not sure what to make of the community... there doesn't look like there's a lot of things to inspire witty prose. Colleges bless their students, both with intellectual stimulation and ample things to mock. I haven't seen a six-inch platform sandal in weeks!

   Whales are everywhere here, and it's not even beach season yet. There's Moby Dick motels, seafood shacks, banks with large sailing steering wheels for logos... I've graduated and moved to Dawson's Creek.

   There was always something exotic about going to the seaside, because I'd always been far enough away from it to make it a vacation to go. Those days at Misquamicut with Daryl yelling at me for moving his family's van, the trip to Hampton and the five hours in the arcade shooting cups, that week in Maine staying in that haunted cabin. I'm pale for a reason... body issues. How many New Englanders you know have a farmer's tan in December?

   Why, this whole affair could turn me bitter and hate-filled, and lead to me spewing about everything in the world!

"Are there any Asian drivers? Do they have bigger spoilers than everyone else?"
-- Ah, Jay Mohr. You're funny because you're racist...

June 5, 2002 - Randomly Finding Subway
   • You didn't watch it live. I can almost guarantee it... you saw it on the replay, if you saw it at all. Sucks to be you.

   In three minutes, the United States equalled their entire output from the 1998 World Cup. In twenty-five, they doubled it. In thirty-six, they tripled it, and were probably responsible for multiple Opels driving off the thoroughfares of Lisbon. Then came the waiting. The magic of soccer... it wasn't an inning, or a quarter, a period... one hour to see if the improbable start would yield an incredible result.

   So, what's better: Senegal 1-0 or USA 3-2? The better upset? By the numbers it's the Africans, though France is not the same without Zinedine Zidane. This was an American team with two of their biggest stars, facing a pre-World Cup favorite featuring the world's greatest current player. And they never led.

   The better reaction? Well, they were dancing around Dakar with lions' heads on. Here, um, my dad always flies a flag on the house...

   New Bedford's large Portuguese contingent makes this a city one could fairly call 'footy mad.' Off lead on Wednesday's front page was the difficulties of ties to the Old World side and the New World team. Basically, the gist is the whole lot are bandwagon runners, and soon as El Porto went down 3-0, all the kids swapped to their USA jerseys. Maybe it's a little more complex than that...

   Then again, maybe it's not.

   Then to top it off, the Irish. Whole game losing to the Nazis, only to score in the final minute for the tie. Gee, I wonder if any alcohol flowed to celebrate that afterwards.

   Somehow, I bet it would have flowed anyway.

   I ate lunch on the beach, to celebrate my own achievement of the day. And no, it wasn't stumbling across a movie blending problem gambling, foot fetish and Courtney Cox.

Jonathan Couture
38 Foster St., Apt. #1S
New Bedford, MA 02740

Starting around the 24th, give or take. For sure.

June 4, 2002 - Do Hookers Charge Late Fees?
"We're #1... in the No. 2 business."
-- My first day in the adult working world, and I see this... on a sewage truck.

   • I guess immaturity finds us wherever we go. Stupidity must as well, since the government is trying to make me believe coal is a viable primary fuel source... not so much because it's abundant, but because it's "increasingly clean."

   Telling me coal's "increasingly clean" is like saying my own ass is "increasingly edible." Burning a dirty rock, under no circumstances, is "clean." Showering? Clean. Natural gas? Clean. Compressed shit? Sorry.

   As usual, I digress. My propensity to do this should make me an awful editor, as the whole point of that is to say much in little. Thankfully it's not an issue - my ego is such I believe I'm the best writer in the world, thus anyone else's prose is getting slashed anyway. Over time, it'll prove interesting to see if any co-workers start reading this.

   Maybe the best part of The Bruce's journal is the long stretches of introspection and out-and-out ranting, followed by the fear of public consumption. I really should follow his lead on this, but then it's not any fun. This thing will cost me a job at some point, I can almost guarantee that. I've already pissed off one person enough to make future communique excessively weird, something that is definitely not quality.

   I ate a banana before I left the house. When I went back over a forgotten jacket, I pet the neighbor's dog. For some reason, whenever these life-altering events happen, I start thinking to mention the things that would be poignant for an obituary writer. I'm not actually obsessed with dying, I'm obsessed with witty writing. That's why I'm a journalist.

"As of this writing, approximately two hours."
-- My answer to the question, "How long have you live in S.E. Mass?" on the questionnaire used for my write-up in the company newsletter. I'm curious whether they'll use this gem, or...

"Basically, I'm hoping the reporters don't hate me by Labor Day for hacking up their stories."
-- Hey, honesty counts. Least in golf and telling Meg how her boobs look.

   The actual job seemed the least significant thing of the day. Got my parking pass, entry card, login for the computers, was indirectly told I was underdressed, laid out two pages, ate a full-size wrap after a full-size bagel sandwich, went "home." So I dressed in my "beach clothes:"

   1. I don't go to the beach. Ever. It's like clubbing, smoking pot and committing a homocide: I'll do it once to just for the sake of experimentation.
   2. I'm living out of a duffel bag in a Days Inn by the highway. Cut me a little slack.

   I thought nothing much of my accomodations until I read this Onion article, enlightening me that I'm living in such a Days Inn by such a highway. Course staying for four nights puts me in the clear... on the company dime and $530 a week, there's no way I could afford keeping the hooker that long.

Nashua (Telegraph) vs. New Bedford (Standard-Times)

   Who (I work with): The Telegraph staff seems more fun - most of us had Boston stories of some sort, plus the Wednesday night basketball (winlessness aside) was never to be missed. N.B. has no basketball hoop, no Bostonians and an eerie sense of quiet. Edge to Nashua.

   What (it is I do): Jury's still out on this one. The two pages last night seems an average load, and here there's a good chance I'll do a front page at some point. Given it was my first night, page three's not a bad start (even if I didn't choose the stories). Still, there's some nagging design and editing issues that don't agree with me... the jury's out. I do pity our intern though - if I started in New Bedford and went to Nashua, instead of vice versa, I'd be relatively clueless. Push.

   When (I do it): Though I may technically work slightly fewer actual hours, having Sunday & Monday off just doesn't have the ring of Friday-Saturday. Edge to Nashua.

   Where (it gets done): Nashua had the Pride, whom I never saw play because of my work schedule and propensity for going home. New Bedford has an actual downtown with actual activity. The newsroom here has actual lights, whole cubicles and cable television in the newsroom. Living arrangements? Yeah, that discussion's not necessary. Edge to New Bedford.

   How (I get paid): Granted, the situation is different, but seriously. Edge to New Bedford.

2-2? I'd take that Wednesday, 4:55 a.m. You know I'll be up.

June 3, 2002 - I Am The King Of France
   • Kicked a football round the yard I used to play home run derby in. Sat with the dogs on a deck we had cotton candy on at one of my legendary summer pool parties. Walked around the pool I rarely swim in, since I always think it's cold. Got my football stuck in a tree... twice. Sat in the corner playing video games... like when I used to sit in the corner playing video games. These are the ways I spent my last day at home.

   I keep alternating between anticipation, fear and out-and-out denial of what happens on Tuesday. It's Little Cooch's prom night - the Tuesday before he graduates high school. Yet as he's cruising in a limo and sitting in a tux, I'll be in cubicle, quieting editing copy. The first night at a place I could theoretically stay at until I die.

   Probably not, though.

   It's a strange time we're living in. Winona Ryder got out of a court date after being injured by papparazzi. Office supplies are dancing. "I'm feeling fat, and sassy." Until I get that first pay check, a place to sleep that's not a hotel and some decent Net access, these updates are going to suck. "Suck," meaning way too introspective and not enough talk about ugly people and mixing Miracle Whip and pizza rolls.

   On that same note, I don't know what kind of Internet access the Days Inn - New Bedford provides. My ability to post this crap may be spotty at best, so if nothing shows up for a couple days, rest assured. I'll get around to it at some point. Like you really care.

   Why does this smack of so much finality? I'm stepping out. If college was off the ledge, this is off a cliff. No dining hall to save me, no RA to check if that smell is my rotting carcass. Though I'd imagine my co-workers would say something if I started to smell of death. It's a large office, but I'm sitting close enough to people it would probably start to bother someone.

I am a consumer whore.
Least I'm not a banana. I'm buying it on DVD.

June 2, 2002 - There Can Be Only None
"But Joan, we're French! We don't even have a word for [victory]!"
-- Lisa as Jona of Arc, Homer as... stupid parent. Aired again.

"That ending could not have been more dissatisfying than if the final shot was of a chortling Chris Carter holding aloft two bulging sacks of money, saying 'Want to know how this turns out? Then go see my movies, assholes.'
-- Teevee.org's take on the final X-Files, funny because he said a naughty word.

   • When your cat unleashes monster diarrhea at 5:15 a.m. and you have to scoop it to even think about more sleep, do your consider it misfortune (since she's prone to shitting on the edge of the box and floor) or a lucky coincidence (since it wakes you up just in time for England-Sweden)?

   Are these the kinds of things seperating the men from the boys? Damn well hope not, since I ended up falling asleep again halfway through the first half.

   From here on out, it starts getting a whole lot more real.

   Today was a typical Sunday... least, what has been a typical Sunday. A relaxing day at the end of a relaxing weekend, peaking out with watching sports, spending time relaxing with people I care about and paying attention to the Sun only when it shone on the TV. It wasn't entirely normal - it's not every day one attends a graduation party - but for the most part, this is what my Sundays have been for 21 years.

   Starting this week, Friday and Saturday officially lose their significance as fun days. For the forseeable future, I have the endlessly fucked-up schedule of Tuesday-Saturday, 4:30-ish to 12:30-ish. I will likely live in a Days Inn for the next week, since my tentative apartment won't be available for another three weeks, tentatively. Within the next 72 hours, I will hate my job, hate life and hate the Sacramento Kings for being such miserable fucking choke artists.

   Everyone not named Mike Bibby faded so fast on Sunday night, they should have starwiped to black when OT began. If you put your ear to the ground and the wind is just right, you can hear Sac-town still missing free throws.

   Ther are just teams out there, the Lakers and Yankees mainly, that just always find a way to win. I'd like to be a fan of a team like that someday.
June 1, 2002 - She Bought Sandals
   • Shoe shopping doesn't bother me. If you step back from it, the whole process is just comical - Filene's shoe department at 6 p.m. looks like the east end of a war zone as much as a place where ugly women can buy equally ugly shoes.

   I know nothing about fashion. Not nothing - I know people shouldn't buy shirts that say "I Love NYPD" just because they look cool. Still, people with ugly feet, which are most of you, should not buy anything other than Army boots. They're pale, they're all weird looking... go for comfort. For the love of God, go for comfort.

   Shoe shopping, at its core, is the gender race. Look at guys shoes... simplicity. Nothing more complex than, say, a loafer. Look at girls shoes... damn. Get out your eight-inch cork heels, but only if they go with your sundress. If they don't, alter for the black strappy with the silver buckle, or the brown boot with the mini-raise. Maybe the fashion sneaker would be better... you know, cuz we'll be walking and all.

   Equality between the sexes my ass. Being a girl sucks, even if you can confuse Bill just for the hell of it. The only time it'll take 45 minutes for me to prep for an event is when I'm getting embalmed.
2002: [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2001: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05]