June 30, 2005 - It's A Throwback
   There Are Stupid People Everywhere: How $15,000 is enough to pay for a child to get into private school, I don't know, but it is good to see the world will continue to have GoldenPalace.com to kick around for a long, long time.

According to her eBay page, Smith loves to be the center of attention everywhere she goes, making her the perfect cranial billboard for GoldenPalace.com, who have become publicity specialists with their eccentric advertising ideas.

"I really want to do this," said Smith. "To everyone else, it seems like a stupid thing to do. To me, $10,000 is like $1 million. I only live once, and I'm doing it for my son. It's a small sacrifice to build a better future for my son."

   Actually, I would consider having an Internet casino's Web address permanently flashed your forehead is more than a small sacrifice. But then again, I don't have my ear to the ground as much as one Karolyne Smith, who apparently doesn't understand she lives in Salt Lake City, Utah -- not the place I presume to be the best for casino forehead advertising.

"We decided to go with these guys because they work with a lot of charities," she said. "I want this to mean something."

As a result of their eBay shopping spree and other advertising campaigns, GoldenPalace.com has amassed an impressive collection of oddities including such unique items as the Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Britney Spears’ Pregnancy Test, Marilyn Monroe's personal address book, and Pope Benedict XVI’s previously-owned VW Golf; all of which have garnered extensive worldwide media attention for the casino.

   Yeah, those paragraphs were one right after the other all buy themselves. Sometimes, the press releases write themselves.

   And much as I wanted to include a picture, I literally can't look at them. Willies all around.


   • How can you not love gratuitous HEMI usage?


June 29, 2005 - Zero, In More Ways Than One
   Reviews: After reading what so many other people had to say about Coke Zero, I felt compelled enough to go to Walgreens and buy a couple bottles, even if it cost an extra quarter because I felt bad for the clerk's inability to count out change -- if I need a quarter badly enough for her to have to go find a manager, I've forgotten how much spare change just ends in my work cubicle.

   It is, well, soda. It's certainly better than C2, which I maintain will one day be found to do something really awful to people, but it's no dnL. dnL, of course, only being a "failure" because the American public wouldn't know something good if it kicked them in the groin over and over again. The public didn't like the original incarnation of Crystal Pepsi either.

A large marketing campaign was launched along with it (accompanied by Van Halen's hit song "Right Now"). Initial sales were good, but they quickly fell to the point that the product was failing to generate a profit adequate to warrant continued marketing of it. This was due to the fact that many consumers did not like the taste of it, and many others thought it was too similar to the regular Pepsi soda to merit being sold as a separate product.
-- An accurate statement, but still slighty aggaravating.

   Really though, I don't drink much soda, so whatever. Why Coke Zero needs to exist with Diet Coke around is something I won't understand.

   And while we're here, remember that band that sent me a CD of their music just because they found my mailing address? Well, I'm ready to say my piece about them. And I've sadly thought about this for a good couple minutes, just to put it how I think it should best be put.

   On the "liner notes" they sent, the band advertises themselves as "The Greatest Band You've Never Heard." Well, here's a sample of some of their lyrics -- certainly a source of pride given the some 500 songs they've written.

"This is well rehearsed. This is well rehearsed."
-- "Well-Rehearsed Serenade"

"Eating Ramen noodles curled up on the floor."
-- "Broken Hearted Is A Nice Way To Be"

"Heeee's the Pope, he'sthePope, he'sthePope,he'sthePope,he'sthePope,he'sthePope,he'sthePope"
-- "Papaphobia"

"I drink wine, I drink it all the time, ain't no crime, to drink my wine."
-- "Moppin' Concrete In Early May"

"I tell fractured fairy tales to my friend Hilary Duff."
-- The famed "I'm So Jealous Of Ashton Kutcher" (And I Love Liz Phair)

   As a duet with exactly one folky-rocky-we-want-to-be-funny song that has much potential, I can safely say that, now that I've heard them, they are probably not The Greatest Band You've Never Heard. They're clearly not The Greatest Band I've Ever Heard.

   They are, however, The Greatest Band Who Culls The Internet To Find People To Listen To Their Music. Which probably says something, though not much beyond that given how often I complain about Sunday nights being a local rock wasteland on radio station everywhere. Though I am following their request to pass the disc along.

   I just don't feel like taking a picture of a CD sitting atop a trash can with a "FREE MUSIC!" sign above it.


   • It wasn't terrible, nor was this after the last couple of times for me at Fenway.

Mirabelli Just What The Doctor Ordered
-- I had no intention of writing much when the day began, but when you go up and eat two bowls of ice cream, plus a slice of pizza, pasta salad, some various types of cut peppers and these chicken things that were dead ringers for old-school Chicken McNuggets, you feel like giving something back.

   I have to say ... were it not for the occasional periods where I realize what I'm doing, this physical giving up that so many people do would make a lot more sense. It's just so much easier.

   Plus I'm pretty sure that stuff listed above equals the weekly caloric intake for one Billy Corgan, who showed up in the clubhouse after the game in a Cubs bucket hat to presumably meet up with budding rock star budding rock star Bronson Arroyo.

   You want to talk about needing a sandwich ... Corgan's Adam's apple nearly leapt out and started spearing people to the wall.


June 28, 2005 - Virtual Insanity
   Today's Veiled Foreign Policy Statement of the Day: Especially with the president's Iraq statement coming on the same afternoon, this one is easy:

Mr. Met and Politics

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice addresses a City Hall rally Tuesday to support NYC2012, the city's Olympic bid. At left is Mr. Met, the mascot of the New York Mets baseball team. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

   And she's not even the one who let Vladimir Putin walk off with a Super Bowl ring, which I clearly consider a sign of things to come.

   Yes. The Russians will win Super Bowl XL. It's as assured as people other than me making snide comments about this photo.

Beyonce Staring

Beyonce Knowles dances on actor Terrance Howard's lap as Destiny's Child performs during the 5th annual BET Awards on Tuesday in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

   Really, his uneasiness makes the whole thing. As did the photo that ran near the same time as this did, featuring Tom Cruise ... why? I'm not even sure anymore. All I know is he had to write this bio himself, and I enjoyed Days of Thunder's corresponding video game.

   Whether the "success" of that picture led him to renounce God and embrace Scientology that same year? Well, that's an exercise I leave up to you, reader.


   • Because my former boss reminded me about it via his column, it's the Xbox minor league baseball game. And no, that doesn't mean what you probably think it means.

Here's one for the record books. The first two innings of the July 16th game between the Kansas City T-Bones and the Schaumburg Flyers will be played virtually.

Equipped with Microsoft Xbox game controllers instead of baseball gloves and bats, two video gamers will climb into recliner chairs around home plate at CommunityAmerica Ballpark and slug it out on the park's 16- by 24-foot video screen. Their scores from playing two innings of MVP Baseball 2005 on an Xbox will stand when the T-Bones and Flyers take the field to finish the last seven innings of the game. Mike Stone, commissioner of the minor-league baseball Northern League, said the idea "brings new meaning to the term 'fan involvement.'"

The idea for the promotion came from the 6-year-old niece of Bryan Williams, director of community relations for the T-Bones. "It was a fun way to get my niece involved in things I do every day," Williams said. "Then it just grew and grew and took off."

   He later added, "The players really love it. They're just happy they didn't go with my niece's other idea, which involved some combination of Barney the Dinosaur, a red kickball and gallons of apple juice."

"There's never been anything like it in baseball," said Bryan Stoffel, sales manager at CompUSA's Overland Park store.

"Everybody in the world is going to want to do this after us," Williams said.

   Just because the Royals will doesn't mean everyone will, Bryan. Though I made another friend from my stupidest decision of late (Feb. 20 entry) ... maybe it will work for you too.


June 27, 2005 - The Wimbledon Theme
   A Better Handle On Things: Last year, when I tried to play here, the round was halted on the fourth tee after rain caused my 3-wood to fly further than my ball did. Despite sweat issues, there were no such problems today.

Hole
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
OUT
Yards
392
363
144
292
359
489
348
154
440
2981
PAR
4
4
3
4
4
5
4
3
5
36
Cooch
5
6
4
5
6
7
5
4
5
47
• Olde Scotland Links at Bridgewater - Bridgewater, Mass. •
Hole
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
IN
Yards
423
339
490
189
340
349
112
314
478
3034
PAR
4
4
5
3
4
4
3
4
5
36
Cooch
5
5
5
4
5
5
5
4
5
35
PAR 72
90, 18 OVER PAR
6015 YARDS
Birdies: 0 - Pars: 4 - Bogeys: 10 - Others: 4
Fairways Hit: 4 of 14 - Greens In Regulation: 6 of 18 - Putts: 35

   Despite the fact I didn't sink a putt of much significance all day -- on the quick-but-fair greens, I three-jacked Nos. 1 and 8 after hitting them in regulation -- the only hole that really bothers me in No. 16. Listed at 112 on the card and with a tee actually playing at 100 according to the sprinkler heads, it's probably about 75-80 yards in actuality.

   So, the good sand wedge I hit ended up hitting the cart part behind it on the fly and going into a hazard ... fun for everyone. Though I suppose it cancels out finding my tee ball on No. 12, hacking it out with an eight-iron, then hitting the green with a four from some 190 yards.

   Balancing It Out: On top of all that, I actually did work to boot ... I have the best days off of anyone, anywhere.

Another Anonymous Winner In An Anonymous Sport
-- Ahh! It's women's golf! Run for your lives! Well don't, but I'm a realist at heart.


Indians Turn The Tables On Sox
-- It's the game story from the clear snoozer of my 21 Sox games so far. And yes, I am keeping track.

   • Tonight in the press box, the guy sitting next to me in vaunted Row Three got a call on his cell phone. This sort of thing happens all the time, and normally wouldn't bear mentioning, except he had what I viewed as a rather excellent cell phone ring.

   The theme from Knight Rider, which can apparently now be referred to as the award-winning theme from Knight Rider.

   So, is this actually bad-ass, or am I just a dork? Would I actually use said theme, or would I stick to whatever generic ring I have now? These are the questions I need answered, because I haven't truly stopped moving since about 7:15 a.m. and have ceased to be able to think clearly.

   I wonder if my game story reads as lucid as I certainly wasn't while writing it.


June 26, 2005 - Birdie Boring
   To Complete The Anticipation:

Bullpen Lift Needed For Run At Repeat
-- And this was written (and run) before today's near debacle made it all the more obvious.

   • Early morning golf.

Carry on.


June 25, 2005 - Bang, Bang, Boom
   The Women's Open: In 2004 at The Orchards, I spent the final day hoping against hope that Michelle Wie wouldn't find a way to win. Because it was the Fourth of July and the tournament looked for the most part over -- Jennifer Rosales had a solid lead. I gambled and didn't go, deciding to party in Boston instead.

   I won when Meg Mallon won, even if her 65 was a historic comeback and the best round of the week. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been following her around the course.

   So now, with me lined up to cover the 2006 Women's Open in Rhode Island, I have to hope against hope again. Quite simply, she's in position. She and her teenybopper friends, going out to party in Colorado on a Sunday afternoon.

Pos.
Age
Score
T1
Karen Stupples
31
+1
Morgan Pressel (a)
17
+1
Michelle Wie (a)
15
+1
T4
Birdie Kim
23
+2
Young Jo
21
+2
Paula Creamer
18
+2

   And if you don't think this is going to be Tuesday's column topic, well, you haven't been paying attention for long enough.

   And this would be where I would normally link to "Inside Baseball," but because it didn't get put on the Web site, that will have to wait a day.


   • Tonight, I went to a fireworks show in Easthampton, which is about as idyllic and Western Mass. as you're going to get. Big field with vendors off on the sides, hot air balloon rides, bandstand ... then fireworks. First time I've been there, so it was nice.

   It was also the first time I've even been showered with ash and fireworks casings, thanks to sitting downwind from the show.

   I'd always wondered when I was a kid just where the fireworks went when they hit the ground. Now I know ... they go in my hair.

   And I'd like to thank the man behind us who kept comparing the larger falling pieces to "mortars" and repeatedly encouraging those in attendance to "save it and put it on eBay for" escalating amounts. His humor was top-notch, and the fact I was there with someone who has been to Iraq -- and thus is probably aware of what a mortar is -- just brought the whole thing full circle.

   I'm not exactly sure where I'm going with this, so let's just leave it with kitties and puppies. They always seem a logical answer.


June 24, 2005 - Gosnold
   Trophy Time: Hey, at least I now know the intern's name.

   Together Again: Well, the incident is apparently over, as today marked the first time I was able to come home and get my car back. The new engine seems to be purring as engines with their full complement of oil often do, though I've been warned that it burns a good deal more oil than its predecessor did.

   Because there had been some confusion on whether this sat within the bounds of something I could be mocked for, there should be none ... stupidity is never simply its own reward. I'd like to thank those who stepped up to take their shots, as well as online poker and the unexpected refund from my oral surgeon. Their monetary contributions in the past few weeks, plus the loan from work, have made this financially pain-free. I suppose that won't help the learning aspect of the entire ordeal, but that's balanced out. Should it happen again, I'm pretty sure my father will seek government assistance in having a Mrs. Cartman-like 110th-trimester abortion.

   Deep South Park references. Now that's free quality entertainment.


   • It should be noted that tonight in Philadelphia, the team I said "just isn't very good" moved into first place by winning their 10th in 11 games.

   Sadly, I feel like I predicted this would happen when I said it given the Cincinnati-Pittsburgh-Cleveland stretch of opponents that were coming up. I suppose it's equally sad I would say that knowing this, plus the Philadelphia visit is followed by home series against Cleveland and Toronto ... they're good for three wins, at least.

   So, new prediction. The four-game set at Camden Yards before the All-Star Break will expose the Sox as not quite as good as this stretch makes them seem. Though the seven-game homestand after the Break (Yankees, Devil Rays) will bring everyone back up to the clouds.

   Why do I feel that way? I just don't buy the relief pitching ... when I think about the way Theo Epstein sought to solve a fatal flaw on his team in 2004, I look at the way the relievers have pitched this season. I need to investigate what's out there in the setup world, especially since it'd be a cheap-ish fix in a season I maintain is getting a little bit of the gravy treatment.

   The whole Sox landscape changes in 2006 ... I can't help but think we're just kinning time until the young guns reshape the franchise one way or the other.


June 23, 2005 - Coalition Building
   Irony and Poor Comprehension: After writing this column for Tuesday's paper, I was asked if I wanted to cover the World Series trophy's trip to Gosnold/Cuttyhunk -- which includes boarding the ferry in Whale City -- for a front page column.

   Yeah, it was quite the relief to realize I didn't have to lie and say I had plans because I actually had plans. I'm sure our writing intern will appreciate the work a little more, anyway.

   I'll Keep This As Brief As Possible: Perspective is always a wonderful thing, and as such, I genuinely thank anyone who took the time to respond to yesterday's missive in this, my "precious memory book" as I believe it was once called. As with anyone who e-mails Cooch the Quasi-Professional Journalist, I appreciate the time.

   At the same time, however, I find it a little telling and a little ironic that none of the ... emotional (I guess that's how to put it best) response came from the parties it would seem to some that are directly involved in all of this. I guess, however, that's my fault too, as the emotion with which I wrote was clearly not the same emotion that was conveyed out in the blue type with the white background and the red frame.

   Used to be you could use a phrase like "dork fight" and that took care of everything. Ah, youth, how I miss you so.

   I guess the best way I can sum this contrivoversy up is this. Thursday, I woke up a little early, had some breakfast and headed out to play golf.

Hole
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
OUT
Yards
155
190
160
140
145
155
115
170
145
1375
PAR
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
27
Cooch
4
6
3
4
4
3
4
3
4
35
• Heritage Hill CC - Lakeville, Mass. •
Hole
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
IN
Yards
140
130
125
110
145
120
145
160
125
1200
PAR
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
27
Cooch
4
2
5
3
4
5
3
5
4
35
PAR 54
70, 16 OVER PAR
2575 YARDS
Birdies: 1 - Pars: 5 - Bogeys: 8 - Others: 4
Fairways Hit: N/A - Greens In Regulation: 4 of 18 - Putts: 31

   The birdie was as close as I've ever come to an ace -- 9-iron landed legitimately 3 inches past the hole, and missed on a spin back --but that's neither here nor there. From there, I went out to lunch ... had a pesto hamburger I tasted all night. Went home, cleaned up, went to work and put out the best damn sports section we could have put out. Got the NBA Finals game in, inside of deadline, despite all the odds being against it.

   It was a magnificent day. One where I didn't spend a moment dwelling on anything involving crap written on a Web site of any color, a day I wouldn't have done a thing differently outside of not swinging so hard in the early holes on the course. There was no self loathing, no incapacitation because I can't get over anything from my past.

   Pretty much all of my days are like that, but a scant few. I'd imagine most people's days are like that.

   Most people, though, are smart enough to not write about themselves each day, every day. I'd probably be wise to follow their lead.

   I don't want to, however. I don't want to because I know there are some who take great pleasure from my only marketable skill, but also because, in a lot of ways, I need to do this. So that nearly all of my days keep being like Thursday.

   Take that all for what you will, even if the beauty of it is that you will, the danger of it is that you will as well.


   • I had hoped today to have a review about my new mass mailing friends in Moes Haven, but as you may have deduced, the aforementioned day didn't leave a lot of time to listen to unrequested compact discs.

   As such, I'll plow through it during this, my upcoming weekend, and see what I can come up with. It's not a vacation writeup, but it will have to do.

   Did we all hear that? IT WILL HAVE TO DO. Apologies for the bold, and I truly am flattered that that many people really were reading them, but I just think things are too far gone to go back now. The notes are all still out there, but the mood has been lost.

   Plus the whole "I do enough work and don't get paid for it already" stuff, which really I know you don't want to hear. Especially if you happen to be my Managing Editor and are here for your one visit or so a month so you have the proper amount of material to mock me in the office.

   Just remember ...

True Love

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes arrive to the premiere of 'War of the Worlds' Thursday in New York. (AP Photo/Diane Bondareff)

   True love always finds a way.

   I'm not alone in thinking it's a little creepy that they're in full physical contact in every single picture, right? Seriously, look for yourself ... there's something ... there's something weird going on there!


June 22, 2005 - A Proud Day
   Vacation Writeups: Now, it's not news to anyone who reads this regularly that they're overdue, given I went on two vacations a year ago and completed exactly half of one writeup. This is something I know, contrary to what some may believe.

I just had a novel idea ... when I go on the cruise this summer I will bring a notebook and actually produce a vacation writeup which I will then publicly post on this new-fangled Internet thingy-ma-bob, thereby inflicting great shame onto my good friend well known for narrating ever minutia of his life (except when it comes to vacation writeups of course).
-- Captain Charisma, he is not.

   Now, allow me to make this very clear ... I am incredibly honored that my writing is leaving that many people wanting more. Seriously. Though that feeling is being drowned out by the marveling at how much he needs to GET. A. LIFE.

   Double seriously.

   And I know he's kidding, and that he's razzing me, that I might even deserve it and that I'm getting bent out of shape over nothing. All fair statements. I also know, however, that there may be reasons I haven't completed these writeups that stretch beyond my being a slovenly waste of space. Perhaps, for example, that there are things that happened on these trips that I don't really feel like revisiting or remembering. Maybe incidents happened with certain people since the trips that would unfairly color what I write. It could even just be that, at 25 and working a job where I'm pretty much in the office on my on days and writing a story a day on my weekends, I've reached a point where rehashing my genuine periods of not having to worry about work isn't any fun for me anymore.

   Thankfully, however, there's a pale white soldier out fighting against this bullshit indifference, returning to his POW-like cry of "You are not forgotten!" periodically in the 10 months since this travesty began. Most would have, and actually have, let it go, but not this man. Because he sets the bar high with each missive he submits each day, whether it be deep analysis about everyday life like "Everyone tries to act normal, but in reality none of us are" or "Hooray! Google Maps has one way streets now!" You know, the sort of stuff the world would just cease to spin without. The sort of stuff it takes hours and hours to craft into something beyond forgettable tripe. It is for those who savor these tidbits that he fights thanklessly, kind of like how the vacation writeup writer occasionally feels when he's spending whole nights writing HTML code just because he can't make himself stop.

   Look, I know I'm moody and a little out of line here, but I also know if there's a general feeling that the world would be better without me "narrating ever minutia of [my] life" -- and really, who's to say it wouldn't -- doing stuff like the above is a good way to get me to stop. It's called being smarmy, rude and really, really petty. So take it for what you will ... maybe this is a nice way of a friend saying the quality of this every day has become so poor, there's no point in continuing what was once something stellar.

   Or maybe this is par for the course for someone who has three beers, drunk dials people at 2 a.m., attempts to leave vicious voicemails on their phones because he's an angry drunk, fails to do so because three beers completely incapacitates his motor skills, and then apologizes to said people for said voicemails despite their lack of existense.

   Either way, that's how you shame someone in a dork fight.


   • If you don't know anything about the band Moes Haven, you will in the coming days. Why? Because they sent me one of their homemade CDs in the mail.

   Why? I have no idea. The small liner note that came with the disc said it was because, "They went online and happened upon your address. You seemed interesting to them for some reason. And so they sent you this disc." As such, I'll be listening to it and reporting back as to whether it sucks or not.

   If for no other reason than there's some serious potential, one way or the other, for a band who writes a song called "I'm So Jealous of Ashton Kutcher (And I Love Liz Phair)" Or for a band who has played two live gigs in the last five years, but written "more than 500 songs."

   I don't think I'm the person to find that potential, but I'm sure Mary didn't think she was the top choice for the Immaculate Conception either.


June 21, 2005 - Friends
   Making Friends With Laser Printers: As an offshoot of yesterday's story about my happy-go-lucky neighbor, there is now a homemade sign on the inside of my front door, reading:

DON'T
SLAM
THE
DOOR !!!

   in 30-ish block type. You have no idea how badly I want to walk the five feet it is from my door to said door and write "or throw temper tantrums" on it, but it just seems like something better left inside my head.

   Course, if you've read this for long enough, maybe you know exactly how much of an idea it is.

   In Case You Were Wondering ...: Two stars.

Let it go on the record that the critic's wife and daughters and daughters' friends and daughters' friends' parents were each of the opinion that the new "Herbie" was "better than I expected," perhaps because recent tabloid reports had led them to expect Lohan to stagger in front of the camera blind drunk, shriek obscenities, and collapse from anorectic heart failure. She doesn't; in fact, she's as gruffly engaging as ever -- Hilary Duff with a spine.

As for the critic, who tries to avoid gossip and focus on the movie at hand (discount those Internet rumors that Lohan had her bust digitally reduced in the editing room!), he found "Herbie: Fully Loaded" exactly as blandly noisy and inoffensively average as he thought it might be. So there's something to be said for lowering your expectations.

   Two stars and about a one percent chance I will ever, ever, ever, ever, ever see it, which of course won't change the fact it'll be No. 1 at the box office this weekend, but just seems like it warranted mentioning.

   In the olden days, I'd have posted a picture here. However, I'd much rather allow the time I'm wasting on celebrities to be limited to this story, about which I am begging for there to be some truth.

The newly engaged Katie Holmes still has some explaining to do to her friends and family. There were 16 days in April during which no one seems to know where she was.

   The thought that Tom Cruise has a lair somewhere deep in the bowels of the Sunset Boulevard Scientology complex, where he taken Hollywood starlets to brainwash them with drugged wine and who knows what else, is honestly something that excites me more than any movie that's come out since Beavis and Butthead Do America. I mean, I was amped for that opening night.

   Though given it was nine years ago, I'm really hoping for Hollywood's sake that I'm forgetting something.


   • While this is hardly the time of year to say this, and it's not like I know any kids graduating from high school anymore, I feel the admissions process at colleges and universities needs to be changed.

   It's not a large change, though ... I'm thinking on the whole, it's something that could help out everybody in the long run.

   Along with the admissions process as it is now, there should be a single blank page added to the back of all college applications. If schools want to not make this a written portion, and instead tack it on to any personal interview there is, even better. On the blank page, there should be a single question, centered, across the top. The inference would be to fill out the rest of the page with an answer, but maybe some wouldn't choose to.

   The question should simply be this:

"So, if we give you this degree, what exactly are you doing with your life?"

   Perhaps, you say, this is an unnecessary step. Perhaps this is the internal conversation that intelligent people have with themselves before leaving for a school, before spending 2-4 years of their life working toward something, before casting much of their youthful lot into majors like art history, film studies, women's this or stdy of that. Perhaps the application of a degree is not a process that people need to see spelled out in front of them on paper.

   Perhaps, however, it is. Perhaps in being forced to write down why exactly "Goofy-Ass Study Focus" is what they want to do, the intelligent can be shown that they're really just setting themselves up for years and years of annoyance. Perhaps the schools can stop them pre-emptively, either guiding their hand to something more practical or refusing them admission, thus sparing the bitching that will come years later when said graduate isn't even fast-tracked through "Barista University" at their local Starbucks.

   Believe it or not, I aim to help sometimes. This is one of those times.

   Though I'm guessing the world's movie stores, grocery distributors and substitute teachers don't think it's very helpful to be thinning their work herd. To them, I apologize.

   There are some days I miss working maintenance on a golf course in exchange for free play, spending much of my day on a mower, sweating, wearing yellow slicker held up with a bungee cord belt. They don't come real often, but it was very nice to not have the pallor of the Ghost of Christmas Past for three months.

   Even if it was simply the most crippling farmer's tan you've ever seen, it was still awesome. When my hair turned summer orange, it actually looked normal.


June 20, 2005 - Sharing Is Caring
   Fun At Whale City Manor: At about 6:30 this evening, I noticed some door slamming and screaming going on somewhere else in my building, which as I've mentioned before is a house broken up into six apartments. Since I was watching Cops at that moment, I figured I'd better listen in.

   The screaming and slamming was being done by my female neighbor across the hall, an older woman who goes by Star. Sometime last year, I noticed she was carted out of the building on a stretcher, and since that time, I've only seen her being pushed around by her companion in a wheelchair.

   About 40 percent of the time, there's also a smell seeping into the lobby from their unit that's an awful lot like "incense," but I digress.

   For what I can tell, someone slammed their door at about 2 a.m. Monday morning, which I'd have to assume woke up Star and really, really pissed her off. Why this set her off 16 hours later I can't tell, because in her post-shouting, shouted discussion with her roommate, she denied being in a bad mood.

   Regardless, this is what I would have missed if I'd been at work last night.

"It's about fucking time the people in this house had some fucking respect!"

"I've lived here 35 fucking years, and I'm fucking sick of this shit!"

"I'm so sick and fucking tired of fucking people slamming their fucking doors at two o'clock in the fucking morning! I'm not doing it at tw in the fucking morning!"

"If anyone's got a problem with me, my name's Star. I live on the first floor, on the north side of the building. If you've got a problem, come on down here, but if you slam your fucking doors again, at two in the fucking morning, I will come up there and eat your fucking face off! If your door's broken, call the landlord and have them fix it."

"I'm so sick of you 25 or 30 year old kids, living away from home. If you've got a mother and father, why don't you go back and live with them? Go fucking bother them by slamming the fucking doors at two in the fucking morning! There are sick people that live here!"

   There was plenty more, as this went on -- from the front lobby to the back lobby -- for at least 20 minutes. I know I listened to about 10 minutes worth, went and took a shower, and it was just petering out when I turned the water off. Just tremendous stuff.

   Especially since I came home from the bar on Monday morning at about two, so there's at least a chance she's talking about me. I hardly slammed any doors, but I do live right next door. In the love nest that is the Whale City Estate.

   This really puts my shoveling the walk after every big snowstorm in a whole new perspective, doesn't it?

Too Much Of A Good Thing?
-- For all my whining about headlines, this is a better one than I probably would have come up with. That's all I'll say for now ... I'm interested to see how this column goes over.

   • Everyone gets spam e-mails, or at least used to before Gmail came along. It's often annoying, but with the right software programs and a positive outlook, you can take a few smiles from the occasional message.

Tiberius Erectus

   Especially if you still enjoy cock humor and have a respect for the Roman influence on society. And especially if that translates into reshaping the old He-Man joke into hearing, "By the power of Erectus ..."

   I could go on, but really, what would be the point?


June 19, 2005 - Maori Is A Little-Used Word
   The U.S. Open: I suppose in the end, I'm glad I didn't go. Hotels were apparently scarce enough as to be quite expensive, and as nice a week as it would have been, it wasn't exactly a duel to the line. To say nothing of the final group shooting 81-84, which has to be a record ... suppose that would be a nice thing to confirm.

   Next year might prove a better choice to perhaps even pull a double, as the Women's Open is again a no brainer and the men's Open is at least in the neighborhood.

   Of course these things, like everything else, concern you greatly.

   Batman Forever: Contrary to popular belief, it takes something rather impressive to keep me up until five in the morning. This counts, considering it features all of the following:

   -- Quality U2 song; -- Still-smoking-in-1995 actresses A and B ... a frightening thing to recall upon stumbling across the film; -- Excellent insane performances by Fire Marshal Bill and the guy who did that UT cheerleading movie; -- Plot better than, say, anything that's out now; -- I think, to be a guy, another Kidman and Barrymore mention is necessary.

   I've had the soundtrack since the movie came out, since there was a brief period where I did buy CDs. I'd like to think I stopped because I figured out, in some small way, I was supporting the musical career of Seal, but that's probably not actually true.


   • Look, it's a childhood dream I actually had.

   Because we had no real good backyard tree, I wanted to soup up a shed. Though I did once create a nice little living space in a reclined box in the driveway ... sadly, this probably happened when I was at least 12, but understand it was a real young 12.

   Which leads to being an old 25, where I can read that sportswriting TV dad Ray Barone would be making $46K in real life and have me reaction be, "Why the hell aren't I making $46K?! I could afford to build the damn treehouse if I was making that!"


June 18, 2005 - Analysis By Tempo
   Pirates 2, Red Sox 0: I hope this doesn't come across the wrong way, but I've never wished so hard for the Red Sox to not score as I did in the ninth inning. With my story already being written and the paper's new 10:45 p.m. drop deadline looming, I'm pretty sure if I had to ditch the shutout storyline, I'd have contemplated a suicide leap off the back row of the press box.

   Not that such a leap would have killed me ... I mean, I probably would have sprained something ... there could be swelling. And no one likes swelling.

Scioscia Could Learn Something From Robinson
-- This week's Inside Baseball, which I'm listing first because it's one of the better ones I've done in weeks. Having live information always helps, as does having the time on a Saturday to do it justice. Plus, my favorite managerial whipping boy makes a positive, and negative, appearance.


Offense Let Wakefield Down
-- The aforementioned story, in which I managed to play celebrity watcher as well as baseball writer. In hindsight, I'm not quite sure the ending really works, but it seemed at least a passable idea a couple of hours ago.

   A Rebirth: Just out of curiosity, who out there said it was OK to restart the celebrity career of Wendy The Snapple Lady? I'm simply curious, and this press release isn't exactly filling in the blanks.

   There was never anything wrong with her ads by any stretch, but then hearing one tonight, it just struck me she's not been on "I Love The" whatevers, "Celebrity Fit Club," radio commercials ... did America just decide they missed her that badly? Can someone just will themselves back into public consciousness? Does Ms. Regular Jane have an agent working the phones constantly?

Snapple is the leader in great-tasting premium beverages. Founded in 1972 by three childhood friends, Snapple got its start in Greenwich Village, New York and is now available throughout the United States and 80 countries worldwide. Snapple prides itself on developing, producing, and marketing a wide variety of premium beverages, including ready-to-drink iced teas, juice drinks, 100% vitamin-fortified juices and water. Known for its down-to-earth approach to marketing and its beloved spokeswoman, Wendy "The Snapple Lady," Snapple continues to delight fans across the world. In 2003, Snapple made history by becoming an official beverage of New York City.

   None of this has to do with the fact I don't like Snapple, but it surely doesn't help. Nor does the fact that asking these kinds of questions keeps finding people to answer them months and year later. Which reminds me ... I saw Casey Stern (see 10/22/04 and 1/3/05 to get the joke) at the ballpark for the first time in a while today. At no point did it seem a good idea to run over and say "Hey, Casey! Remember me? The microphone cord guy?"

   I guess that's why I'll never get ahead in this business.


   • I've long said Sunday nights are a radio wasteland, given most stations use that period to showcase local music that's best described as "local ... for a reason." Well, driving home on this Saturday night, I came across this syndicated programme, self described as "Music To Piss You Off."

   I'm not exactly sure why it's music to piss you off, but maybe even they realize playing songs, then cutting them off in the middle to play other more confusing songs, is not such a good idea.

   Now, I enjoy a good mashup more than anyone ... the version of "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" by Party Ben featuring Oasis, Travis and Enimem is close to, if not full on, better than the original. But the words "good mashup" seem to be lost on some.

   Specifically, Missy Elliott should never be mixed with Rage Against The Machine. I'm going on record with this. Along with saying there should be a little more substance there that playing one song for 25 seconds, playing the next song for 25 seconds, playing one song for 15 seconds, and then being cut a cutoff by a DJ screaming "THIS IS MUTHAFUKING MASHUP RADIO, BABY! MASHUPRADIO DOT COM! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"

   OK, that didn't exactly happen. But since I'm guessing you weren't listening to the radio at midnight this morning, just go with me on this. I have a trusting face.


June 17, 2005 - Leather Thursdays
   Loved Up and Down The Seaboard: Well, in so much as West Virginia is the "seaboard," which I suppose isn't at all.

Subject: Poor cooch
Date: Fri, 17 May 2005
From: <____@aol.com>
To: cooch at joncouture dot com

   Cooch,

   I live in Wheeling, WV. If you had taken the time to stop in our friendly little city, you would have found a world class resort, a symphony orchestra, another hospital, and numerous civic and charitable organizations. More importantly, you would have found welcoming, kind hearted people who don't judge others by how "cool" they are. I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and blame your lack of good judgement on your 1980 birth date. Maybe in another twenty years or so you can come back to Wheeling and see it with a different perspective.

   Susan

   Now, let's ignore for a moment that the words I wrote about Wheeling are approaching four years old. How they got found by someone who clearly wasn't looking for them is one of the Internet's great mysteries, along with "Who was the first person to post pornography?" and "What ever happened to that 'I Kiss You!' guy?"

   I can't afford resorts. We have symphonies here I regularly ignore. Hospitals are not attracations so much as civic necessities. Charitable organizations ... much the same. Kind people?

   I'm from New England, and went to college in Boston, America's Angriest City.

   So why should I have stopped in Wheeling again? Clearly I do have a lack of good judgment, though my passing on Wheeling is hardly the best evidence.

My Desk, via CN8
-- Posting pictures that end up on TV ... now that's bad judgment.

Sports Pulse with Ed Berliner - June 16, 2005
15:06 Running Time - 50.7 MB - Right-Click to Download

   Now, given I've never made my own video clip before, there's a good chance this one won't work. I've purchased two programs in the past several hours so I can take shows off my TiVo, convert them to straight video files, edit them as a choose and shrink them to a Web-friendly size and format, but bear in mind I am technologically deficient.

   I was, after all, getting episodes of Caillou for several days when I turned the thing on. Though now I've got it honed to get stuff like Morgan Spurlock's 30 Days, which, if the first episode is any indication, is going to be outstanding.

   And Susan, should you ever return, look at it this way ... at least you're not a Dakota.


   • Now as I'm sure you know -- and if not, this is clearly the place you would turn -- Tom Cruise has proposed to Katie Holmes, doing so on top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris to end a whirlwind courtship that lasted as least three US Weekly/In Touch/People/Star/Entertainment Tonight/Inside Edition/The Insider production cycles.

   Some would have you believe Bunker Hill Day is the reason so many things were closed in Boston today, but those of us with our ears to the ground know the real story ... day of celebration. Just wait until the wedding.

   Anyway, while I could very easily discuss this topic at length, I've decided to rip off a friend's own published work on the topic. My good friend Lisa -- last featured here after I witnessed her trip over the shoes she was wearing for the second time since we've known each other -- wrote extensively earlier this morning on this very subject.

I swear the people who work at Dunkin' Donuts are the stupidest people on earth. All I wanted was an iced coffee, and what do I get? I get a blueberry iced coffee. It is about the nastiest thing I've ever tasted. I'm pissed that I just paid $2.00 for a coffee I won't even be drinking. Awesome.

Oh yeah, and I think Katie Holmes is the biggest retard ever. Who would say yes to marrying a guy who gets on national television and jumps up on a couch professing his love for you. What a psycho. I think they've been dating a whole two months, maybe. Man, Tom Cruise has really gone down hill. I used to love him -- Top Gun, Rain Man, Cocktail. Now he's just a loser. Katie can do way better than his 42-year-old scientology freak ass. I don't even know what scientology is, but I heard on the radio that it's founded on the belief that humans come from aliens. Hahaha, that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

   I left the first part in just because I like Dunkin Donuts. I'm a simple man -- a medium strawberry Coolatta, for which I take whipped cream if I'm asked, but say nothing if I'm not. It's an experiment, much like how Spurlock would only super-size if asked at the counter in his entertaining film.

   Not that 30 Days needs help from unintentional comedy to be successful, but the fact Spurlock mentions "Super Size Me" at least five times in his first hour program is tremendous. I understand why he did, but still ... the thing made $11 million plus in the U.S. alone. I'm guessing there aren't a lot of people just watching FX who weren't there on purpose.


June 16, 2005 - Tomorrow For Viewing
   The Interesting Sort of Quiz: At a time when a lot of people are trying to write interesting columns about the Red Sox, this quiz actually gets the job done. A Red Sox quiz that's actually tough enough as to warrant taking the test.

   For the record, I got 16 of them right, missing ones that all predate me. Someone who gets 20 would impress the hell out of me ... not because they're all that obscure, but because it's just a lot of knowledge to maintain.

   I'm a B student ... just something to be accepted.

   Rumored Golf: Playing here at a place without a whole lot of additions since 1904, it didn't go too well. To the point of where I kind of gave up at some point, and just began swinging for the sake of swinging.

   It made me glad I didn't actually ace the par-3 ninth, because it would have been really awkward to include. Ten feet with a pitching wedge is about as close as I've ever gotten.

   Which brings us to ...

   The Open: After one round, it's nine players under par, seven more at even and Rocco Mediate bringing the obscure vocation of check-raise-fold to the front.

"What little chance I have of winning the U.S. Open is better than my chances of winning the World Series of Poker," joked Mediate, who began playing online poker when his balky back sidelined him for a part of last year.

   Everybody else is doing it, so why can't he?

   It'll be good to have someone to putt for if Mickelson does what Mickelson has been known to usually do in the big time.


   • So, in case you were wondering how it went tonight on the television ...


   Let's just say the Web site was fair game.


June 15, 2005 - An Actual Day Off
   Why Spamming Should Be Hand-Crafted: Sent to my BU account, which continues to be operational to this day despite several messages to the contrary and which is the source of nearly all the spam e-mail I receive:

"A Genuine College Degree In Two Weeks!"

   Course, I'm not the businessman ... maybe that's the most fertile ground they've got. Just seems more of a Judge Mathis crowd kind of thing is all.

   Well, Because They Asked: Softball time.

No, Actually

Bill Burns, left, Meg Twohey and John Carr, right, protest the dedication of a 'Bewitched' statue in Lappin Park on Wednesday in Salem, Mass. The statue depicts Samantha Stevens, a fictional witch played by the late Elizabeth Montgomery in the popular 1960s sitcom. Salem officials say it's all meant to be in fun and hope to drum up more tourism for the so-called "Witch City." But some have criticized the statue, saying it trivializes the real and tragic events that occurred in Salem in 1692, when 20 people were put to death after being accused of witchcraft. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

   No, there isn't. Just because you live in a town that probably doesn't allow McDonald's in the town square unless it's covered in a faux 1700's decor doesn't mean anything.

"They're trampling on my heritage," said John Reilly, 49, of Gloucester, who said he is a descendent of witch victims Mary Estes and Rebecca Nurse. He held a sign that read, "Stanley, It's Not Art," a reference to Usovicz's belief that the statue is more about pop culture than history.

John Carr, a former member of the city's historical commission, criticized the quality of the statue most had never seen before the unveiling. ''I'm more appalled by it than I ever imagined I would be," said Carr, 56. "The average Salemmite is going to be repulsed by it."

   Then the average Salemite makes me glad I never went there and pretended to be impressed by whatever stupid BS they do every Halloween. Just be glad they didn't put up a statue of Captain Chingobble, shut up and move on.

Sean McHugh, 39, loved Montgomery so much that he flew to Salem from Florida to see her immortalized. "She was my dream wife," he said, wearing a matching black "Bewitched" baseball cap and sweatshirt.

   Also, be glad this man lives far, far away.


   • A note to all you future drunk dialers. While I respect what you do and have been known to practice it on occasion, please exercise great care when attempting to reconcile your actions.

   Specifically, if you go to great lengths to apologize for leaving a caustic voicemail on someone's cell phone, please make sure you weren't so drunk as to not actually leave a voicemail. For efficiency purposes, of course.

   Though I will say that the apology was so heartfelt, I almost felt guilty for both not getting the voicemail and thus not being pissed off. Felt like a lot of wasted emotion. I can only hope it was a good drunk, though given who it was and who he was with, Bud Light was probably involved.

   And don't forget ... Thursday night, 10 p.m., CN8 in New England, if only to see what color shirt I decide to go with. Or, for that matter, if the curmudgeonly leather jacket returns. These sorts of attraction points will make it less likely what I say bores anyone to tears.


June 14, 2005 - Like That Doctor Movie
   It Hadn't Come Up: New Englanders, to your televisions ... I'll be appearing on Sports Pulse again Thursday night at 10 p.m., with the topics to be discussed hopefully yet to be determined. Considering they have their "MLB Insider" slated to appear before me and discuss the pitching staff, I'm a little concerned, as that would understandably be what I know best.

   Who knows ... there's supposed to be a guy on to talk golf Wednesday night -- given the U.S. Open is this weekend -- but I know already I can talk circles around whomever he is. If little Ralphie Wiggum had sleep to be a Viking, I'll be dropping obscure references to Steve Jones, the Stimpmeter and who knows what else all night long.

   If only Tyson could do something interesting in the next 24 hours ... this went over real well, as the compliments were both unsolicited and genuine.


   • Depending on who he was talking to and where he was in Florida, there's a good chance this statement was accurate.

Suspended Florida State quarterback Wyatt Sexton was taken to a Tallahassee hospital on Monday evening by local police after causing a disturbance in the street, then identifying himself to police as "God" and the "son of God."

Sexton, the son of running backs coach Billy Sexton, played in 10 games last season, completing 55 percent of his passes (139-of-252) for 1,661 yards with eight touchdowns and eight interceptions. He finished spring practice as the first-team quarterback, ahead of second-year players Xavier Lee and Drew Weatherford.

According to the Tallahassee Police Department report, when a police officer responded to a call regarding unusual behavior on Monday evening, the officer found Sexton lying face down in the middle of the street. Sexton, friends told the officer, had attended the rock festival in Tennessee that featured the Dave Matthews Band and returned to town Monday.

Witnesses told police that Sexton had been making strange gestures, and at one point jumped onto a car. When asked to identify himself, Sexton "yelled that he was 'God,' " the report said, and acted in a manner irrational enough that the officer pepper-sprayed him.

   Sometimes, I was glad we didn't have a football team at BU. Especially since they'd have been terrible, and stuff like this -- if it happened -- would have been nowhere near as funny.


June 13, 2005 - Freak Review
   The Jackson Verdict: On days like this, we need to take stock of everything around us. Especially the things we turn to when we need a grip on just what is truly important.

Jacko Press
-- Do you think New Yorkers are disappointed when they use the same one?

   After last week's "Sweat, Freak," this is terribly disappointing. Though really, that's what I keep coming back to in a case like Michael Jackson's.

Dove Lady

A fan releases white doves as she learns the not guilty verdict(s) in the Michael Jackson child molestation trial outside Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria, California. (AFP/Robyn Beck)

   Why can't I be this happy about a verdict involving a musician who hasn't made any good music since 1992? Whose seminal album is now 23 years old?

Drink Up!

Michael Jackson fans celebrate his acquittal on all charges in his child molestation trial outside Neverland Ranch in Los Olivos, California (AFP/Jayme Burrows)

   What compels humans to do this? Are these the same people who stood vigil for Terri Schiavo? Do they have meetings? Did they leave yesterday with a hearty, "Well, see you in five years?"

   And having watched the verdict come down on FOX News simply because I wanted to enjoy their unabashed disappointment, is there truth to the story that the Jackson fans from Germany and the Jackson fans from England fought yesterday over who loved Jackson more?

   There's just so many questions. Questions that might have been answered if I had been compelled to give even half a crap about one second of this trial while it was happening. Questions that are only growing by looking at this photo collection.

   I can't do it anymore ... I have to go to work in six hours. You, however, view the gift that keeps on giving and a column that's somewhat related to it all.

Tyson Does Us All A Favor
-- I always wonder what went wrong when a headline feels misplaced on one of my writings ... it's probably my fault, but I can never really pin down why. Regardless, just know I cut out some of the better quotes solely to keep from getting reprimanded.

   • Now, while I'm certainly not going to place them in the same pantheon, I think there's another odd-looking celebrity that needs to be addressed by those that really care about this stuff. You know, the "Access Hollywood" generation, the LiveJournals of America, people like my mom.

Nicole Kidman

   What the hell is going on here? Did we agree to her as a beautiful woman on a holiday, when there was nobody around to vote? Is this like when the elderly get to keep their drivers licenses just because they were competent enough to earn one at one time?

   Are the Hollywood cinematic cameras really that good at tricking us? And if so, why haven't I made a movie yet?

   I think I've gone months without using this many question marks. Though I have gone weeks without genuinely putting any effort into this ... well, at least less effort than I put into my golf game, because I know what's really important.


June 12, 2005 - You've Got The ...
   Inside Baseball: This week's article was so small, it doesn't really count. It did, however, feature at least some remotely interesting facts.

Hearing that the Red Sox and Cubs were facing off for the first time since 1918 this weekend, ending nearly nine decades of wondering when the meaningless pre-summer series connecting them would finally come, it reminded me that this is a very special year for the interleague experiment.

With all the permutations permutated and the calculations complete, when the 2005 season ends, every team will have played every other team in the regular season at least once.

Given interleague had stayed division-specific until 2002 - East playing East, and so forth - this took a lot longer than it should have. However, this year's schedule makers finished the mystery forever, making sure the final 13 matchups happened on this year's slate.

Some had already happened in far-flung World Series, such as Pittsburgh-Baltimore (1979), Oakland-Mets (1973), Pittsburgh-Yankees (1960), San Francisco-Cleveland (1954, when the Giants played in New York), plus Boston's battles with Cincinnati (1975) and the aforementioned Cubs. Seven, however, fulfill our dreams of just what it would be like to see two dream teams face off.

Now I don't mean to disappoint you, but three have already happened - Philadelphia swept Texas and the White Sox did the same in Colorado, with the Angels taking two of three from Atlanta. Two others joined Sox-Cubs on this weekend's slate - Houston took the series opener from Toronto, as did the Dodgers over the Twins. This week upcoming, however, offers the true baseball buff a first-ever look at two long dreamed of battles of the titans. Plus, they both involve America's team at baseball's most beautiful theater.

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Tropicana Field.

After flying home from Pittsburgh following this afternoon's game with the Pirates, Tampa will play host to Milwaukee and St. Louis in a pair of three-game series. The Rays, a stirring 20-41 through Friday night's play, have never seen either. After this week, we'll never again have to wonder what young gun Chris Capuano would do against the likes of Travis Lee, or how Jim Edmonds would field a fly ball that bounced off a catwalk mysteriously in the field of play.

And after that, all the mystery will be gone forever. As good to a reason to head down south and buy a ticket while they last.

After all, Tampa often has one of the best offers of any park in the majors - buy one seat, get the entire section free.

   Course, I missed the paper's new 4 p.m. deadline for material, so this didn't run. And no, I'm not kidding ... it takes an awful lot for me to lose pride in the work that I'm doing, but there's some things happening that are doing a pretty good job. Such as talking before the season about getting me to 60 Red Sox games this year, and then paying me to cover exactly four out of last 19 first-half dates at Fenway.

   I didn't just say that out loud, though.


   • As others have already said, it's delightful that New England has decided to eschew spring weather this year, instead immediately jumping from the 50s to the high 80s and muggy.

   I do have to give it credit, though ... every time I think I've made peace with the climate here, things find a new way to make me wish I was dead. Impressive on all sides.


June 11, 2005 - A Sign Of Things To Come ... In A Bit
   Iron Yourself Some Sansabelt Slacks: The only way anyone almost got Kevin McBride killed was putting him in the ring with a psychopathic street thug. Good to see Mr. "I'm Going To Gut You Like A Fish" felt staying seated on a stool was better than going out and getting legitimately knocked to the floor for the final time.

   Classy, as always.

"I'm not interested in fighting anymore. I don't have the guts for it. I'm not going to disgrace the sport," Tyson said. "It's just not in my heart anymore. I'm going to look into my missionary work."

   It's hard to disgrace a sport that really doesn't have much dignity left. And as for McBride being a "legitimate contender," maybe he should try going four rounds without becoming winded before deigning himself The Great Irish Hope.


   • This bummed me out in a way a Red Sox game hasn't in a good while ... though this upcoming homestand with Cincinnati and Pittsburgh will probably mask the reality up until the All-Star Break, it's really not hard to see this just isn't a very good team.

   And yet everyone keeps talking about the Red Sox and Yankees as though they're just a pair lying in the weeds, waiting to strike on the unsuspecting little ones atop the American League.

   I suppose it could happen, but they're both not charging hard late. The Yankees are all but dead, and the Sox really need a handful of things to happen if they want this to be more than their worst season since The Joe Kerrigan Experiment.

   I'm pretty sure Boston has never made the postseason three times in a row, ever.

   Odds are at least better than half that it's not happening this year either.


June 10, 2005 - Marlin ... Out
   Today's Unflattering Lohan Photo Of The Day: Well, we're not there yet, but with this upcoming feature film appearing featuring the hot version, it just seems like a natural progression.

   Until then, it'll just have to be golf, golf and more golf.

Hole
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
OUT
Yards
375
289
275
436
336
119
382
141
501
2854
PAR
4
4
4
5
4
3
4
3
4
36
Cooch
4
6
4
6
5
4
5
5
6
45
• Acushnet River Valley GC - Acushnet, Mass. •
45, 9 OVER PAR
Birdies: 0 - Pars: 2 - Bogeys: 5 - Others: 2
Fairways Hit: 1 of 7 - Greens In Regulation: 1 of 9 - Putts: 16

   Pretty nondescript, really. When your best hole of the day is No. 1, that's usually not a good sign.


   • With Mike Tyson ready to fight again this weekend, Classic showed the Tyson-Buster Douglas fight from 1990 tonight, in its entirety.

   Which led the 2004 me to wonder, "With odds of 42-1, there was no one in Vegas who threw down $50 on the underdog, with a shot at $2,100?"

   It was a hell of a fight to boot ... I swear I might have seen parts of it live, but if it wasn't on HBO, I'm probably making that up.

   And Tyson having no real boxing people in his corner that night, with his crew trying to solve his swollen eye with what looked like a condom full of tap water? Then going to trial for rape with a tax attorney? Man ... he took Rocky III way too literally, then shut it off before the end.


June 9, 2005 - No Point
   • I've actually got no time to update today with an 8:30 a.m. tee time staring me in the face, but I just wanted to say one thing.

Awful

Actress Lindsay Lohan accepts her award after winning the Best Female Performance award for her role in the film 'Mean Girls' at the 2005 MTV Movie Awards in Los Angeles. (REUTERS/Fred Greaves)

   This woman should be arrested.

   Though I do thank her for at least making it quick and painless.


June 8, 2005 - Three Percent
   As Always ...: I am an idiot.

   This Is Why I'd Given Up Fantasy: I haven't spoken much about the Mass. Mooninites, my grand return to fantasy baseball, for a reason. Things actually could be a lot worse -- despite opening the draft with a Bonds/Prior/Wood troika, I'd hung around the middle until about the last week, where I've quietly slipped down to ninth out of 12 teams.

   Course, there are two owners who've publicly admitted they've given up. Thankfully, I'm still ahead of them.

   The culprit, as it has been all season, is hitting -- my pitching carried me through the early going, but has waned in recent weeks because of a big deal I made in an attempt to run at the top. Trading this Marlin away for this Brave could not have gone any better -- in the time since I've gotten him, he's supplied me with four runs, four RBIs, a .143 average, .440 OPS and another guy I can't fit onto a two-man DL.

   Jones, Prior, Milton Bradley and Odalis Perez ... not a bad quintet, except when none of them are playing.

   Eh. It was fun while it lasted.


   • Vito sent in an updated Posse photograph.

   It's funny ... I'd just assumed everyone had stopped looking at those.

   It'll be better tomorrow, I promise ... something more exciting almost has to happen.


June 7, 2005 - Over Our Heads Again
   A Glorious Day For A Sunburn: Eighty-plus degrees, good people, slight breeze and one of those courses hidden from the road.

Hole
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
OUT
Yards
354
401
417
180
356
517
337
393
203
3158
PAR
4
4
4
3
4
5
4
4
3
35
Cooch
5
4
5
5
6
5
5
5
3
43
• Bay Club - Mattapoisett, Mass. •
Hole
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
IN
Yards
350
508
153
375
205
532
381
442
418
3364
PAR
4
5
3
4
3
5
4
4
4
36
Cooch
5
6
4
5
4
9
4
5
5
47
PAR 71
90, 19 OVER PAR
6522 YARDS
Birdies: 0 - Pars: 4 - Bogeys: 11 - Others: 3
Fairways Hit: 5 of 14 - Greens In Regulation: 6 of 18 - Putts: 37

   We were playing with an actual golfer for a change, and I'd like to think I held my own, especially considering she hadn't been practicing and was more goofing off than trying to embarass three losers far older than she is.

   I continue to have almost completely lost my lefty slice through little to no work of my own, and probably played a lot better than the scores indicate -- the greens here are so quick and so large, the three back-nine greens I hit in regulation were three-putt bogeys because I couldn't get the first-putt speed right.

   I don't hit two drives in the woods on No. 15, and I'm right around where I should be. And plus now, it doesn't look like I haven't worn anything but long pants since the fall of 1997.

   Cardinals 9, Red Sox 2: I really wish I'd make public my feelings that the Sox were getting swept out in St. Louis ... didn't really have any reason to believe so, outside of the basic truth that these Red Sox aren't very good.

   At least not yet, with the clincher of that statement likely being delivered at some point in some future.

   Sort of likely.


   • Really, isn't this how high school really should be?

What makes a high school yearbook most likely to become the target of a recall effort? A slew of superlatives in which students say they are most likely to be the "last dying virgin" or, on the flip side, to be a stripper, a porn star or a bum "most likely to spread multiple diseases."

St. Louis schools Superintendent Creg E. Williams is calling for students at Central High School, a visual and performing arts magnet school, to return their copies of the yearbook for a refund of their $15.

The yearbook -- a photocopied affair with spiral binding -- is riddled with sexually suggestive statements, photos in which students flash gang signs and other material that Williams described as racist, sexist and offensive.

   We went really classy in the suburbs, with what was always described to us as the nicest yearbook for the cheapest price anywhere.

   It reminds me of my campaign to be named "Best All-Around Student" senior year. There's a good chance I'm remembering this wrong, but I believe I finished second among the guys, which when you're me is an accomplishment.

   Though I don't think many other people went around asking everyone they could find to "Vote Cooch." And really, if we're being specific, I'm pretty sure no one else went around telling anyone to "Vote Cooch."

   Now that would have been vulgar.


June 6, 2005 - Letdowns All Around
   Pistons 88, Heat 82: It's nice to see every time that basketball offers me hope, they yank it away just as quickly. Of the four possible Finals configurations, a Pistons-Spurs matchup would be No. 5 if combinatorics allowed it to be possible.

   I'm not saying it won't be great basketball. I'm just saying I won't know it, because I'd rather watch old episodes of Square One TV and learn about things like combinatorics than willingly watch the bad boxing match San Antonio and Detroit are going to be. This is reminiscent of the 2002 World Cup, when all these new, exciting teams ended up in the quarterfinals -- the U.S., South Korea, Turkey, Senegal, even England -- and the final would up as ... Germany vs. Brazil.

   Only difference is I like soccer, so I watched it anyway.

Millar Or Olerud? The Debate Rages
-- Well, it really doesn't, though the fact that's the point of the story doesn't really go with the way the story was assigned. But in the grand headline pantheon, it could have been worse. The story could have been too, and that's always nice.

   • So tonight, in addition to America's guiltiest pleasure, I watched an old SportsCentury documentary on The Yankee Clipper, Joe DiMaggio.

   Now, documentaries being what they are now, images can be shaped, and I've obviously never met Joe DiMaggio. I've never even met his brother Dom, even if I am golfing Tuesday in the town next to where he lives. But here's what I got out of the hour.

   Joe DiMaggio liked to be alone, was estranged from his only son, enjoy spending time in new hotels watching TV, wasn't real close to his family, would do 30-40 takes on a commercial so it would appear he was perfect and at ease, was constantly concerned with his image and legacy, had a greatest fear of "looking bad," demanded he be referred to and introduced as "The Greatest Living Ballplayer" in his later years, liked having things done for him, was always complaining despite what was done for him, and basically told all of Hollywood they couldn't come to the funeral of his ex-wife.

   Individually, these things would seem like quirks.

   Collectively, I'm pretty sure that makes one a pompous asshole.

   Discuss.

   Not to mention his biographer Richard Ben Cramer speaks of Joe D. as though he were the second coming of Christ. Literally ... I'm pretty sure he was the one who said it looked like DiMaggio walked into the room on a pillow of air.

   And no, this has nothing to do with this or this, even though those certainly wouldn't help were they included. Not that he had anything to do with them ... it's just piling on.


June 5, 2005 - A Day Of Rest
   • So after attending five of the first six days of the homestand, not only do I miss the game that featured the "Queer Eye" first pitch, but one attended by good pal Bill. I suppose I can't complain.

   But I suppose that would cause the site to cease as well.

   It's somewhat reassuring to know that it doesn't look like any of the Fab Five know how to throw a baseball, though given their whole show is the extension/acting out of the gay stereotype, I shouldn't be that surprised that they build out that part too. The pink Red Sox jersey just struck me as weird, because in the video feed I'd seen on the news, the "C" had had fallen off the back, so it said "Arson."

   And the fact they were all wearing the vaunted No. 5? You can be pretty sure that wouldn't have slipped by me had I been in the press box. I make a living off things like that.

   I also make a living off reading this column, bolding all the kids' names and making a many changes as I can before my brain explodes, but that's a far less interesting story.


June 4, 2005 - Something About Blowouts
   In The End ...: There was very little comedy. Mom got heatstroke and had to watch the game from the Big Concourse ... she's fine. Matt got to try on a replica World Series ring, and Dad ... well, they plus Julie put away two Uno samplers while I wrote.

   I'd say a good time was had by all, but really, who knows. I'd imagine it could have been worse.

   It could have been 13-1.

This One Was Bad, To Say The Least
-- The headline appears to be an offshoot of my conversation with Steve ... no hello to open, simply "Look at it this way. No matter how bad the story is, it couldn't be any worse than the game."

   • On the drive back south, I was listening to the undefeated New England Revolution remain among the best of MLS. Apparently they're allowed to score when I'm listening on the radio, since I still can't actually see any goals.

   After a few minutes, I noticed a distinct familiarity to the broadcast, from the voices to the production to everything ... odd, since I've never listened to soccer on the radio before. After a while, it was clear something was amiss, or at the very least not normal. When the work "looking" or "thank you for watching" came along, it became clear what was going on.

   One of the best soccer teams in the country has to use its TV audio feed as its radio commentary. No one wants to pay to do it for radio.

   In that same vein, I don't really feel like that needs anything further.


June 3, 2005 - Finally, On Location!
   This Is Why I Walked Across Boston:

"He has to go in, and he has to cum in you."

   Actual conversation, Newbury Street, by Sonsie, approximately 11:35 p.m. Hardly out of the ordinary, and hardly shocking, but worth relaying as I would have in college.

   And this was minutes before the sensual lesbian kiss on the bridge in the Public Garden. Not at all related to the previous conversation, though it did tie in with how lovely the night breeze was and how logical, as always, it seemed to do this round midnight heading into a weekend.

   Substituting Newbury Street and the Garden/Common for Storrow Drive, of course. My scenery was better, plus I didn't have to balance on a guardrail with a laptop on my back and a coat under my arm.

Damon Takes The Hero Role
-- Back to the game story route, which is always useful for games that can't figure out what the hell they want to be until their last trimester. And here before the game, I thought I'd have no use for Johnny Damon material ... makes me wish I hadn't stood there with my recorder in my pocket.

   And for the record, the first comic occurrence of the weekend was more of my own creation. Upon receiving a phone call while in the clubhouse, I see it's my family and thus decide to answer it. They're in the city, and want to know if I want them to come over to say hello. I explain I'm in the clubhouse, and ask if they want to get some food or something.

   No. They already ate, and are just curious if I'd like them to drop by.

   My next words were then, roughly, "I gotta go," at which point I hung up on my mother to go talk to Kevin Millar.

   Of course, I then didn't go talk to Kevin Millar, since he was first talking to somebody else and then on his cell phone. However, the fact I nearly hung up on my mom to talk to No. 15 ... well, when I explained this after, the words "Tell him 'Hi." were involved.

   I can't express how much I love this stuff.


   • With the level of fanfare appropriate for a Web site no one reads, welcome to the first-ever Cooch's World post being written and published on the road ... in this case, we're at the aforementioned Wyndham Boston Hotel, which is where the family stayed on the weekend of my college graduation four Mays ago.

   And I'm sitting on the bathroom floor, posting with stolen wireless with the laptop on the family cooler. Why the bathroom? Is it because I don't want the light to keep my family up while they try to sleep?

   Or is it because this is where the travel bottle of Dewar's is being kept?

   Well, I'm too much a sally for scotch, and the Instant Messenger profile on this thing did always make the bathroom joke.

   What can I say? The fact I can, in my boxer shorts and in view of a tub, read the story I filed less than two hours ago impresses me. Were I in the Back Bay, on land built predominantly out of household waste, I'd have completed the progress trifecta.

   I wasn't single for 18 years by accident, you know.


June 2, 2005 - Walking, Again
   Predict Your Comic Outcomes: I don't know if I've mentioned this, but my family is going to Saturday's Sox-Angels game. I'll be there as well, obviously in a different role than average bleacher bum, and with an obviously better seat. When I talked to Julie earlier this week and she talked about needing a shower afterward to clean off the grime and sunblock, she was nice enough to let my openly laughing at her go.

   I do miss watching Red Sox games as a fan, but I'm pretty sure if I sat in the crowd and tried to cheer like everyone else again, I'd be completely unable to do it.

   Anyhow, some of you who read this know my family, whom I love but whom often does things that could be classified as "wacky" -- of course, they could probably say the same thing about me imploding the engine in my Saturn due to lack of oil, but they can get their own damn Web site if they want to talk about that. What sorts of things do you think could be "comic relief" on Saturday? Possible guesses:

   -- Mom gets mad when I won't go get Matt an autograph from Kevin Millar;
   -- Someone gets so sunburned, a hospital visit is required;
   -- Bleacher commentary becomes too much

   Of course, it's possible none of these things happen, or that things top out with a failed attempt to let them see the press box after the game.

   I just like to try to predict comedy before it happens, because that way it can be properly documented on film.

Bar Point
-- I swear, there are no more of these photos.

How Long Can A Slump Last With Papi Around?
-- There have been three walkoff home runs so far this year, and I have been lucky enough to see them all. Back to the usual sidebar today, which is good, since this was really one of those games where I could go off. Sadly, however, I can fit in no reference about Ortiz's U.S. Championship belt.

   • Being the voracious reader and prose producer that I am, I read this unofficial literary review and immediately thought, "This requires further investigation." And since I was at Fenway Park, I was able to pick up a copy of Barstool Sports right outside on my way back to the car.

   Now, since all the articles are on the Web, I don't really need to go page-by-page on what's in there. It's nowhere near as bad as that made it out to be ... this article alone was worth the amount of effort it took to stop walking, slightly bend at the waist, open the newsbox door and put the paper in my pocket. Perhaps even the walking to my car and discovering, yet again, that I didn't get a ticket despite being at a meter for 9.5 hours.

BOSTON, MA -- In an unprecedented move, Boston Red Sox owners John W. Henry, Tom Werner, and Larry Lucchino announced today that Senior Vice President and General Manager Theo Epstein, who was named GM in 2002 and was largely credited for building the team that finally broke through and won the World Series in 2004, has been replaced in his position by Mike from Arlington, a frequent listener and occasional caller to WEEI sports radio.

The Red Sox would not comment on Mike from Arlington's former profession prior to being named GM. However, an unnamed source has revealed to Barstool Sports that the new sports operations executive was a long-time fixture of the possibly-coincidentally-named Mike’s Deli on Mystic St. in Arlington. The source commented that, "Working behind a deli counter should have prepared Mike from Arlington well for the GM job. Every time I went in there for a smoked turkey sandwich, he was rattling off his opinion about last night's Sox game. No matter what moves the manager had made, Mike disagreed with them. He obviously knows a better way to do things as a big-league executive."

   Which is good, since the rest of it didn't quite have that "I Just Watched Chaotic" feel, but I wasn't exactly holding it aloft on my way across the parking lot. If any of the writers are trying to build actualy journalism careers out of their work in Barstool Sports, I seriously hope the guy whose couch they've been crashing on is very, very well paid at his job.

   In the Sports Guy era, one never knows, but I'm guessing most of these writers think the Globe and Herald suck. Funny, but probably accurate.

   A few highlights, just to send you on your way:

I have history with this guy. Many years ago, The Tick sat next to my lovely wife at a Sox game. They sense weakness, and realizing that she was too nice to tell him to go pee up a rope, he proceeded to tell her his whole tedious life story.

I got involved. Words were exchanged. My precious beer got spilled. I told him I was getting him kicked out. He dropped the f-bomb and told me he was just going to watch the game. So I told him, "Then you better hope the gay bar you end up in has NESN, because you're not watching it from here."

But to make a long story short (too late), it got ugly from there. Suffice to say I was still there the next inning, and he wasn't.

-- A Red Sox Fan's Enemies List

From Her Perspective
How to Please a Woman

-- Yeah, I won't be quoting anything in there.
There's enough people here looking for porn already.


Did people see that Natalie Portman shaved her head for an upcoming movie? She still looks smoking hot. This is the ultimate test for a beautiful woman. I should make all our cover models shave their head before they can be in the Stool. If they still look good we'll use them in 6 months or whenever it grows back. If they look ugly, they're out.
-- Random Thoughts

Bald
-- We'll agree to disagree, though she does deserve some credit for not yet tearing up a picture of the new Pope.


In the end, two major criterions were deemed the most important. The first is championship pedigree and contribution. Simply being on a championship team isn't enough. What is more important is the quality of the player's contribution. Would the team have even sniffed the trophy without this player suiting up? Did this player raise his performance to a legendary level? Was this player the only reason the team was even in contention?
-- Ranking Boston's Best Athletes
(35 men listed, including Luis Tiant, Curt Schilling, Nomar Garciaparra,
Jason Varitek, Fred Lynn, Wade Boggs, Jim Rice, Carlton Fisk, Carl Yastrzemski, Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez and Ted Williams.)
((Apparently Unimportant: David Ortiz))

   In view of what I'd just seen, it appeared even more egregious. These are the "hardcore fans" however, so shows what I know.


June 1, 2005 - Ding
   Once Is An Anomaly: While driving back from Boston tonight in my racing-like backup car, Matty Cooch's Ford Tempo cleared the 100,000 mile barrier. The actual tumble took place on Route 24 in Brockton (alongside the Westgate Mall), and comes some 2,500 days from the last time I sent a Tempo past the number -- July 15, 1998, on Route 187 in Feeding Hills.

   Why do I remember the date? It was the day before I left for Scotland, and Girlfriend No. 1 was in the car. This would be the girlfriend with almost no Web presence because she's a preschool teacher, not to be confused with the girlfriend whose sister got married to a SouthCoaster. That's Girlfriend No. 2, who verbally assaulted me when I crashed her high school reunion.

   All straight? They're so easy to get confused.

   I actually feel kind of bad swooping in and stealing the 100,000-mile moment from Matt, especially since it only happened because I fired a tie rod through my own car's engine. Though there's a pretty good chance reading this will actually be the first thing to make him aware his car was even close.

   What a great story.

Monster Beating For Wakefield
-- I'm game story crazy, so much so I wrote for too long and didn't have a chance to give this a true final read before I sent it. So I already know of a couple clean-ups I'd have done in a perfect world. This "perfect world" of course being somewhere that doesn't actually exist, or would disappear instantly if I ever found it.

   And only because I calculated all this yesterday while spending time not running, tonight was my 15th Red Sox game of the year on the team's 22nd home date -- I went to one road game in New York, recall. This puts me on pace to hit roughly 55 games this season, which even I know is less than 60.

   It's got all the makings of a Maris-like home run chase, except with all the excitment and public interest replaced by mangled prose and bowls of Fenway Park ice cream with strawberry sauce and Reese's Pieces. It's so bad now, simply reading my workout book makes me feel like I've accomplished something.

   I suppose that's half the battle. Except when you figure out I bought the book like six months ago and I'm just reading it now.


   • It's been a while since I embarassed myself.

Meet My Desk
-- This is my desk at the paper.

   Please note that things have changed some since the photo. Most notably, the bobblehead collection currently obscured now stares at whomever is sitting in the chair, in front of the collection of press passes.

   Well, I suppose the true most notably is my former boss isn't standing in my cubicle any more. Though the knit tie hanging from the goal light is still there, to be worn when someone asks me why I'm not more formal at the office.

   With a hint of professionalism, I always say.


2005: [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2004: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2003: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2002: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2001: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05]