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Wedding Weekend - June 20-22, 2008
   News of the Morning: What goes best with a wedding perpetuating Western Mass. stereotypes by being held in the middle of the woods? A story in the local paper, with locals agog over Google StreetView.

Traipsing through her Connecticut Avenue neighborhood without leaving her computer screen, Katie A. Kozikowski, of Springfield, pronounced, "This is so cool!"

. . .

Google is looking to expand "Street View" coverage across the country, Fialdelfo said. It has practical applications, she said, noting that she uses it to check out parking areas when she travels someplace new.

"If you're a tourist and you feel like exploring, you can see what your hotel looks like and what's around it," she said.

   Next to the hotel where we spent our wedding night is an abandoned gas station and an empty warehouse. That makes for a fun picture.

   Also out there, the New York Times reports the sad story of college grads lamenting losing their summer vacation forever.

It is a bittersweet time for freshly sprung college graduates, at least those lucky enough to have landed jobs.

   Well, no, it isn't. At least not in a "we're reporting this in a newspaper" sense. Maybe in a "I'm writing on my MySpace blog" sense. In a newspaper sense, anyone should be very happy they have a job because of things like "GAS PRICES!!!" and "RISING FOOD COSTS!!!" and "THE ARABS!!!"

   (Sorry. Dad watches a lot of Fox News. I had no idea TV anchors had so much concern about who to "blame" for everything. Seriously ... I heard that word in the background at least 30 times in an hour on Saturday morning ... the perfect segue to married life, huh?! Ba-ZING!)

Gia Branciforte, 21, who graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May, is working a summer job at a nonprofit agency in Chapel Hill. She will move back to her native Queens in August to work full time at a nonprofit agency, and already feels trepidation at the prospect of vastly fewer vacation days. "I have such wanderlust," she said. "That's the part that makes me nostalgic, not being able to just get up and go."

   'Wanderlust' may be among my 10 least fvorite words in the English language. If I had to make an estimate, 80 percent of the people who use the words in conversation need to be punched in the face.

   Scientifically calculated, of course. I feel pretty good about my assessment of Gia.


   • I got married. I don't yet regret it.

   To be updated, presumably forever.
June 17-19, 2008 - It's Getting To Be A Blur
   Well, My Knee's Not Destroyed: No sooner do I mock my own ineptitude do I solve much of it.

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
5
36
Cooch
7
4
7
5
5
2
6
3
7
46
• Acushnet River Valley GC - Acushnet, Mass. •
Hole
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
IN
Yards
315
113
470
388
529
257
328
145
336
2881
PAR
4
3
5
4
5
4
4
3
4
36
Cooch
4
4
5
5
6
4
5
4
5
42
PAR 72
88, 16 OVER PAR
5735 YARDS
Birdies: 1 - Pars: 6 - Bogeys: 7 - Others: 4
Fairways Hit: 6 of 14 - Greens In Regulation: 4 of 18 - Putts: 31

Hole
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
IN
Yards
334
314
382
453
373
340
186
335
148
2865
PAR
4
4
4
5
4
4
3
4
3
35
Cooch
5
4
6
4
6
5
6
5
5
46
• Wyckoff CC - Holyoke, Mass. •
46, 11 OVER PAR
Birdies: 1 - Pars: 1 - Bogeys: 3 - Others: 4
Fairways Hit: 2 of 9 - Greens In Regulation: 1 of 9 - Putts: 17

   A little more than four years ago, I shot the exact same score on the exact same course. So in my negligence, at least I'm not getting any worse. If I could only figure out how to play an opening nine holes, we'd be getting somewhere.

   Not sure where exactly, but I seem to care.


   • On my last night before a week and a half off, the Boston Celtics won their first championship in 22 years. There must be some symbolism in there somewhere.

   Perhaps it also had something to do with the one sliver of the rolling rally I saw, when a scan of the crowd revealed one large sign.

GASOL IS A HOMO

   Smartest fans in the country. Not that the country is full of real intelligent people on the whole.
June 15-16, 2008 - Go Green on Tuesday
   • My 21st birthday predated this site by about 10 days. Rest assured, the update would have been very detailed, as I still remember every almost alcohol-free detail -- bar for one beer, game of Keno, drive to Dorchester for bowling, home.

   My bachelor party will go into the same file. While Julie will be spending Thursday night at what is loosely being termed an "all-male revue" at some God-forsaken club by a K-Mart, I ended up at Foxwoods, ahead at the end of the night by not having to pay for dinner and the grace of the casino's highest-skill game:

   Keno, on a multi-game video poker machine.

   Pressed six random numbers. Hit five of them ... hello 544 quarters. (All six, for what it's worth, was 12,000. I could have used that, even if I would then have probably had to pay for dinner.)

   Other highlights included:

   -- Not actually playing any real poker -- it tends to kill the whole social vibe -- but walking though the poker room and seeing James Woods.

Diggstown
-- From the "Shit Cooch Won in College Bowl" collection.
Not quite as cool as the G.I. Joe Spanish videocassette, but up there.

   Group consensus was that James Woods is a rather large man, and he looked very intense, striding down the center aisle with a hands-free bitching about something. Also, the least-appropriate thing to say would have been, "Hey! Aren't you the guy from Ghosts of Mississippi?"

   Obviously, "Aren't you the guy from Diggstown" would have been a thosand times better, but I don't know movies ... I tend just to think of him as the guy sleeping at the end of Peter Griffin's bed, dreaming he's running.

   But really, aren't these the stories legends are made of? "Yeah, so I was having my bachelor party, we saw James Woods and said 'Hi' to him. Next thing we knew, I was doing blow off a hooker's stomach!"

   Lost opportunities.


   -- Making a rare foray into blackjack, I sensed the man next to us was about to enter into the classic rant, "You stole my card/You stole the dealer's bust card/You're the reason I just lost the rent money/I hate you/I hope you die." He was probably right ... I don't have a complete grasp on basic strategy, and Geoff was getting the concepts of doubling down and splitting explained to him by me as we played.

   Still, there is no gambling phenomenon I enjoy less. And while I'd like to say I offered up some unqiue putdown, withering him into the carpet, I just kind of looked at him long enough for us to catch eyes, conveying to him, "Dude. It's a $15 a hand table. Get a hold of yourself." He busted about two minutes later.

   Come to think of it, this isn't a story at all. Me doubling down on six consecutive hands because I kept getting 10s or 11s, that's a story -- I broke even.

   -- Walking through the vaunted "Asian Gaming Area," which was packed solid and loud, then joining the parade of inappropriate, racially based jokes that belie near everyone in that room having more money than us.

   -- Wondering how my father and Julie's father spent the chunk of the afternoon where we didn't see them, then figuring it out when Dad nearly drove off the highway twice on our way back home.

   In his defense, he may have just been tired. Not that it would have made the death certificate any more worth savoring, but at least we would have gone out inside the law and laughing at the Celtics' radio play-by-play stylings of Cedric "Cornbread" Maxwell.


   Also, the new MGM Grand has a gelato bar that appears to sell wooden ducks. I have no idea what it means, but I'd like someone to get to the bottom of it.
June 14, 2008 - Best Wishes
   • Long-time readers are friends likely know Lonnie, who existed here for years as part of the proverbial furniture.

Jen, Cooch, Lonnie
-- Given the situation, I am not surprised I appear to be
oversmiling hard enough to fracture my jawbone.

   She got married today, in a ceremony at the Harvard University Chapel. I was going to preface that with "beautiful" or "obscenely beautiful" or something like that, but I would think the notation that the church is actually inside Harvard Yard should make that clear.

   There are any number of emotions and circumstances that go with that I'll conveniently ignore for this setting. (We're talking a thousand-word mess here.) Instead, here is a small note that came plastic-wrapped with the card we bought for the occasion.

Papyrus: Cards That Mean Business

   Crafted with care. Artisans. Finest of papers. Setting the standard.

   The card didn't fit in the envelope. It was just barely too big, meaning it got forced in and folded over uncomfortably.

   In the finest manner possible, of course. Befitting kings and archdukes.

Inside Baseball didn't get online again. It killed Julio Lugo. Revolutionary stuff.

June 12-13, 2008 - Putts!
   You're Never Going To Believe This:

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
7
5
5
4
4
3
3
4
4
39
• The Back Nine Club - 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
3
3
3
3
4
3
4
4
4
31
PAR 54*
70, 16 OVER PAR
2575 YARDS
Birdies: 0 - Pars: 7 - Bogeys: 8 - Others: 3
Fairways Hit: N/A - Greens In Regulation: 7 of 18 - Putts: 34

   Golf. Honest to God.

   The last time I played this course, it had a different name and different ownership. That ownership is now gone ... in a ghastly literal sense.

   I'm tempering how well I played with the skill needed to shoot 70 on a course that proudly proclaims itself "certified 'Beginner Friendly' in 2002," but hell ... I shot a 70 when I last played it in 2005, and I clearly remembered how to play after dumping balls out of play on the first two holes.

   (In 2004, I played 297 holes of golf ... almost 17 full rounds. In 2005, 198. Since the start of 2006, 63.

   That makes it little easier to stomach that I haven't made a birdie since July 18, 2005, but not by much. I probably didn't even get that excited about it ... I'd make five of them in the span of two weeks.)


   • Stuart Scott:


-- Circa 1989, Baltimore.

   How in the hell has "Now THAT'S a clean colon!" not been made into 14 million awful parodies and a couple strokes of genius. (Edit: Actual PSA missing. Link explains the story.)

   And do not tell me the Internet suddenly found its morals because Scott had/has cancer ... need I remind everyone with what we're dealing.

   I was going to link to a picture, but this feels a little strong, even if he uses "BFF" as a noun.

      * -- Back to the golf, the course has changed the layout ever so slightly under the new ownership ... they list a couple of four-pars. They're not really four-pars, and much as I'd like to be 12 over instead of 16, it wouldn't feel right. Lord knows I've shaved as least that many legitimate shots off my score through the years.)
June 11, 2008 - Still Chest Pain-Free
   • Tonight was the 188th Majoe League Baseball game I've covered as a member of the media.

It's Been An Ugly Path To The Top
-- Glass half-full, from the guy who hates most everything. (Hardly.)


Dice-K Working At Team's Pace
-- Notebook. I always find it humorous my paper rarely spells out Daisuke.

   It was also the last I will cover before my wedding.

   I was going to say it was the last I'll cover as a single guy, but why tempt fate?

   Hell, someone in my physical condition, unable to force myself to run on a treadmill for three consecutive months and approaching 10 years removed from my last doctor's visit ... I'm sure I'm going to outlive everyone reading this.

   Enjoy this when I'm dead, please. That's all I ask. My "day I die" post is going to be a doozy, I promise. I hope they have cable Internet on the other side. What a magical time that's going to be.
June 10, 2008 - In Tough Times, Blame The Fatties
   Today's Quote Taken Completely Out of Context:

"They like the can," Mr. McGraw said. "They want the can."
-- Some guy from Northwest Airlines,
trying to cut plane weight to save fuel.

   And you know what? He's absolutely right. Whenever I've flown, one of the things that always disappoints me is when the drink cart comes around and they don't give the whole can of soda.

   Course, I've haven't flown since gas became morbidly expensive (relatively speaking, of course). The number of people who've commented on that story pushing for airlines.to charge fat people extra ... these are trying times.

   I mean, Internet users are almost all fat people, aren't they? Seems like the ratio is way off.


   • No wonder Derrie-Air got a million hits a day.

We recently ran ads for a fictitious airline that were designed to put a smile on your face and to address the timely issue of carbon emissions. But we also did it to make a point. Namely, that advertising in The Inquirer, Daily News and philly.com can be a stunningly effective way to reach the people of the Philadelphia region. The ads for Derrie-Air ran for just one day. While this was not a research project, we're pleased to note that in just three days, we generated over 2.7 million website hits. We had over 210,000 page views. The one-day traffic alone was almost double the average daily page views for airline sites from our region. Hundreds of national and international stories about the Derrie-Air promotion continued to attract visitors to www.flyderrie-air.com.

When creative advertising messages are put into the region's leading newspapers and website, it works. Nothing works like our media -- reaching over 1.3 million people every day. We thank you, our readers, for your response. We thank our advertisers for supporting our media and placing offers which readers notice. For more information about placing an ad, contact our Advertising Department at 215-854-5560.

   That's where we are, people. Looking for good news in the newspaper industry? The Philly papers created a fake airline, got a bunch of people to look at the Web site, and are shouting, "You thought our ad rates were too high? We're actually AWESOME!!!"

   Seriously, I can't be taught how to manage an IT network or program a computer in 10 easy steps? I mean, I'm home during the day ... maybe I should just start watching Jerry Springer and begin the road to becoming a medical assistant.

   Seems way easier than an HVAC technician, though having my own van would be a tremendous perk.
June 9, 2008 - AC!
   Nerd Recession: One of the ways I wasted my college years has folded up shop.

   (The Web site has disappeared, driving this point home. Basically, the easiest of the quiz bowl formats and the direct descendant of the 'GE College Bowl' TV show that started it all is done. CBI, not to be confused with the lowest rung of the college basketball postseason.)

   I used to always do well on it because a good chunk of the questions were based as much on wordplay as facts. Better nerds than I disliked it because of that, and apparently, their money talks.

   As does their dedication to tearing the crap out of the company ... that "QuizBowl Wiki" brings back some memories of people I never met and never regretted not meeting.

   But hey, at least they're feeding my delusions of Internet grandeur.


   • So today, Julie and I applied for our marriage license at Whale City Hall. I was sweating like a pig during the whole process, but that was largely because it was about 110 degrees.

   If you haven't done it, the process involves filling out a couple forms, then raising one's right hand and taking an oath that says there's not a guy outside with a gun forcing you to do this. In Massachusetts, it also includes being given a copy of some of the Mass. General Laws pertaining to marriage, which they'd like you to read.

Section 1. No man shall marry his mother, grandmother, daughter, granddaughter, sister, stepmother, grandfatherís wife, grandsonís wife, wifeís mother, wifeís grandmother, wifeís daughter, wifeís granddaughter, brotherís daughter, sisterís daughter, fatherís sister or motherís sister.

Section 2. No woman shall marry her father, grandfather, son, grandson, brother, stepfather, grandmotherís husband, daughterís husband, granddaughterís husband, husbandís grandfather, husbandís son, husbandís grandson, brotherís son, sisterís son, fatherís brother or motherís brother.

Section 24. The clerk or registrar shall not, except as provided in the following section, receive a notice of the intention of marriage of a person under eighteen.

   Et cetera.

   My beloved looks over the laminated paper. She mulls it over for a moment.

"It doesn't say anything about marrying pets!"

   A humbling moment, to be sure.

Newton Sleeps
-- He likes shoelaces and crumpled up balls of paper.
Please buy your gifts accordingly.

June 6-8, 2008 - My Site, Not As Good
   Ana Ivanovic: Have fun, but please, play careful.

   Laziness As Business Strategy: Why go all the way to a park when you can just look down?

The 35-year-old Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau last month brought on its first full-time executive. His immediate charge: a marketing campaign that distinguishes a vacation at Grand Canyon National Park from Grand Canyon West. The park is the second-most-visited national park in the country after the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the North Carolina-Tennessee border.

"My response then was, 'They've got a $35 million gimmick (the Skywalk). We've got the Grand Canyon. There you walk above it. Here you can literally get into it."

   Or it could be brought up that it's $30, whereas almost every other edge of the canyon is not $30. Somehow, I think that would work.

Rice: 2007 Sox No Match For '75
-- Thank you, small paper in New York. I needed a lede.

   • They couldn't even wait the full 10 years. Though, given the name, I suppose technically they should be waiting the full 1,000 years.

   Who knew the loss of Flavor of Love would hit VH-1 so hard?
June 5, 2008 - Tangent
   For America's Review: Speaking on the crisis in Burma, comic whore Tila Tequila.

   I'm not going to watch it ... I'm not sure I'm physically able. This is merely a public service announcement. If someone could alert the president that the answers are out there, I'm sure he'd appreciate it.

   (Look. Production for the second season of her "let's find me a sexual release" may have begun the week the first season ended. Say what you will about the "stud/whore" argument between the sexes, but at least Flavor Flav ...

On May 14, it was announced Flavor of Love 3 would be the final Flavor of Love. After 3 seasons, Flavor Flav chose to not to marry or date any of the winners from any of the three seasons, including Thing 2, winner of season 3. Instead, it was revealed that he would marry Liz, the mother of his seventh baby, on the season 3 reunion show.

   Um, never mind.


   • I've seen benches clear, but I've never seen a full-out brawl.

Punch
-- Globe photographers steal everyone else's lunch.

Gomes cocked his arm as Rays catcher Dioner Navarro held Crisp on the ground and in a head lock. (Globe Staff Photo / John Bohn)

   I'd have written about 95 inches today ... where the hell to even begin?

   This is not the correct answer, but it's good to see newspapers trying to relate to what the Internet is all about.
June 3-4, 2008 - Ice on Ice
   Excellence: One of my favorite teachers growing up is retiring at the end of the year, and I managed to make it home for his retirement party.

   Since we first crossed paths when I was in seventh grade -- which, sweet Jesus, was 16 years ago -- we've had a rather constant Red Sox-Yankees banter going. Always good natured, because let's not forget how bad those Boston teams were.

   So he makes some sort of jibe about my continued Sox fandom -- aware of what I do now -- on Sunday. I answer as Sox fans waited generations to answer: "I don't know what you're talking about. I'm pretty cool with having had two World Series to cover in four years."

   He makes a crack about having had 26 World Series, I respond with shock he was alive for all of them ... everyone laughs. Really, the a'hole I am today is based on being surrounded by enablers for two decades.

   He later tells me that he used to go to Cooperstown every summer for the induction weekend, and once snuck into the enshrinement press conference by telling some guy who asked he was a writer for the Boston Herald. Somehow, I don't think that would work anymore.

Sox Better Equipped To Produce Without Papi
-- The speed story I almost wrote the night Jon Lester threw a no-hitter instead.
I think I wove it into current events pretty well.


Ortiz Hopes Two Weeks Will Do Trick
-- Obligatory wrist sheath update.


A Method To Epstein's Madness in MLB Draft
-- A WEB EXCLUSIVE story on the draft. Aren't we just on technology's cutting edge?

   • Any why was my draft story a Web exclusive? Because I refused to allow the paper, on a night I was in charge, to put the Stanley Cup clincher on the agate/throwaway story page.

   Instead, it was on Page 5, since its presumptive spot on the cover was filled by a Marshall's department store ad.

   I have the distinct knowledge that's more effort to promote the NHL than my boss would have made. Sadness reigns, in so many ways.

Marian Hossa
-- At least Detroit actually likes hockey. A better choice than Tampaheimolina.

Future Bruin Marian Hossa sits at mid-ice, not yet concerned with the money these playoffs made him, after the Penguins lost 3-2 to the Detroit Red Wings in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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2006: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2005: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2004: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2003: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2002: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2001: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05]