July 31, 2002 - The Fact Dissemination Zone
   • What exactly should you do when you realize you're living in a Dilbert strip?

   Last week, the Circulation Department of the Standard-Times held a barbecue for itself, to celebrate its name change to the Reader Services Center. Why the Reader Services Center, you ask? Well, it reflects the change in their mission statement! And I quote...

"The Mission of the Reader Services Center begins with an employee environment that prides itself on striving for superior teamwork, effective communication, a genuine mutual respect for all persons and a spirit of caring and good humor with every encounter along the path in our pursuit for excellence.

In this positive environment, we will endeavor to deliver a level of service that not only helps us to achieve our goals but also, more importantly, exceeds our reader's expectations. Exemplary service is in the eye of the beholder. We will be viewed by our readers as caring, professional, helpful, friendly, reliable, happy, pleasant, empathetic, capable, honest and responsible."

   To further enhance this change, the department has hung beach balls from their ceiling. I have no joke for this.

   Change is inevitable, much like Yankee playoff trips and soap scum buildup. In the early days of the Food Network, there was a show called Feeding Your Family On $99 A Week. Today, there's a show that shows us all how to eat on $40 A Day. The message is clear: poor people don't get cable.

   A few days ago, I got a mass mailer from ESPN.com, urging me to consider becoming a fan of a new summertime sport. They've got the best uniforms, I was told. There's no millionaire player squabbles, and we mustn't forget the WNBA's "mad game."

   Today, Lisa Leslie of the L.A. Sparks became the first woman to dunk in a professional game, doing so partway through the sixth season in WNBA history. The game was stopped, the fans celebrated, and it led every game story in the country... which is pretty stupid, since the Sparks lost the game. Course when nobody actually cares about the outcome, I suppose it doesn't make that big of a difference.

   Six years without a dunk is like a baseball league going six years without any home runs. Sure, you don't really need to hit home runs in baseball, but then again I don't really need to watch you play either...

   And as for baseball, the conspiracy theorists are coming out of the woodwork to say Bud Selig and his cronies rigged the deal that sent Cliff Floyd to the Red Sox, since they handpicked John Henry and already run Les Expos.

   There are several ways you can make an argument. Joe Sheehan gets it right, explaining why it was a stupid deal for the Expos to make. Just when the Colon and Floyd were making a few natives care about baseball again, the Commish shows he's still pulling all the strings. He gives you that guilty feeling... like should the Sox win the lot, we should all hang our heads in shame.

   Wait, wasn't Cliff on the last team that made us hang our heads in shame? Funny, I didn't care then either.

   Michael Kay gets it wrong, as he's prone to do since the Yankees sign his paychecks. We're supposed to pity the Yankees, the poor poor Yankees, since they've been branded "everything wrong with the game."

   The Yankees, regardless of the rivalry, are one of the few team that actually have an owner who gets it. If I want to make money, I should put out a good product. A good product will attract fans, who will lift revenues, allowing me to make my product better and attract yet more fans.

   You've got so much to be cynical about, Michael. Your entire broadcasting career, from college to today, spent in the nation's largest market. A city with eleven professional sports franchises. Pardon me while I flog myself.

   Maybe you ought to change your mission statement. I'll get the beachballs.
July 30, 2002 - Now Batting, Number 30...
   • We'll look back on this night in a couple months, we being the Diehards, and either annoint it the day Jesus came to Fenway Park or just another in a string of foibles that's left us doubting everything short of our marriages.

   Same thing happened last year when Joe Kerrigan was promoted to manager. Course, little did we know then an implosion of epic proportions by Sox standards was about a week away. What we hoped then won't be a blip compared to what Red Sox Nation is going to expect out of Matt Couture's favorite player

   Best part of my job is I knew before you. Knew before TV, knew before Jerry and Joe, knew before all but fellow desk guy Nate, who was checking the sports wire as it came across. Hell, I'm the one that told three of you... course, the fact that I didn't even know this deal was in the works proves I mean it when I say baseball doesn't get my full attention until September 1.

   Course come Sept. 1, I'm betting on football. People talk about the baseball strike of '94 making people stop caring about the game. Between the miscarriage of justice the '99 ALCS was and the nuclear disaster that was Red Sox '01, baseball just doesn't fire me up anymore. Please ignore that sentence should the Sox make the playoffs. Boston reaching and losing the World Series would be akin to the death of a loved one.

   Cliff Floyd, may you be just the latest superstar we've ripped from the Expos. You've stolen lead slot in the update from New Bedford Mayor Frederick M. Kalisz, Jr.:

"The mayor said he got the idea from recent trade shows he has attended and from watching 'The District,' a broadcast television program about law enforcement in Washington D.C."
-- The mayor wants to break the city up into 170 to 180 districts, then assign every city employee with managerial rank to oversee one, examining for infrastructure issues.

   The actual idea? Not necessarily a bad one, though it does seem to overstep the bounds of your average town clerk. My concern is that the mayor of the city where I'm starting my adult life watches CBS primetime for mamagerial ideas.

   Some cities have suave mayors, full of personality and charm but weak on the mayoral talents. Some cities have mayors who aren't easy on the eyes, but weave the personalities clashing within a town to a glorious matrix. Whale City has a combination notable for its rarity, and I think you know it's not hot genius.
July 29, 2002 - 6-4, 0-6, 6-0
   • Bowling Alone is one of those pop cultural references that educators and ivory tower types have worked into being some academic masterwork. I tend to believe the same thing about the music of Los Lobos... I can just see them doing a show at a small club, with a bunch of tweed jackets in the back scribbling feverishly on legal pads.

Los Lobos doing Conan ... Hispanics aligning with Irish for master race?

   When you do an activity by yourself, it really boils it down to the essence of what it is. All the excess enjoyment is gone, so you concentrate on just what you're doing. Golf works this way, since it's a solitary game to begin with. You fighting against nature to put a pebble in a four-inch hole, 400 yards away. Bowling becomes rolling a rock at a series of sticks. Video games becomes a battle with the computer, losing its trash-talking and competitve aspects.

   Gambling becomes throwing your money out of a moving car. Not really working that well that way.

   The trip was for my mother, was wanted to see Foxwoods the same way she did Mohegan Sun. It was her birthday and all, so it only seemed right. Course she wouldn't play anything with me, so the wonders of Catch-A-Wave were left for me to experience alone. Not a game that travels such well.

   The only test anyone needs to see if they're a problem gambler is to go to a casino by themselves. Go play a few table games without anyone you know. I suppose being personable with other players could change things, but the theory still holds. It's you, alone, against the odds. And the odds always win.

   It's hard to tell what I actually lost versus what I gave to my parents so Mom could enjoy her birthday. Suffice to say it was something, meaning there'll be no more casino trips until the big end-of-summer bash. I don't fault Catch-A-Wave, as I left before the stopper could get me. I don't blame roulette, though had that stupid little ball not bounced out of the 27, things probably would have perked up a little. I don't blame Winsor Pilates, though it is a half-hour of my life I wish I had back.

   Thank goodness it's football season!
July 28, 2002 - Good Morning Secaucus
   • I just want everyone to know that the curtains in my kitchen, with the lighthouses on them, were not my idea.

   I do like them though.

   Note to Self: Two-day weekend with Meg excellent idea, especially since first in long time. Even with Providence Place closing at 6, she contained anger well. Anger, of course, meaning spite. I do love her for a reason. :)
July 27, 2002 - Budgeting, Sugar

We're live from World Youth Day in Toronto...

-- Facing massive debts, the church borrowed Creed's stage lighting.

   • Everyone talks about saving money. Building that retirement nest egg so you can live comfortably for a few years, then blow it daytrading or give it to your ungrateful children after you die. Yeah, everyone talks about making a budget, but it takes someone with nothing to do before 4 p.m. to actually build the needlessly-complicated Excel spreadsheet.

   I am the product of two financial schools of thought. My father has worked for phone companies his whole life. The only financial advice I recall gleaning from him is credit cards are designed for you to carry debt on them... they're easier than taking out a loan. My mother has worked for banks her whole life. The only financial advice I recall gleaning from her is never, under any circumstances, to listen to my father.

   College students aren't supposed to make all their money during the school year, then blow it over the summer. It's like being on a cycle of going to all your classes and skipping frat parties... completely backwards in every way. Yet this is how I've lived, working crazy hours during school and more fun jobs out of it. Two summers working grounds crew for free golf, one being an intern living off nectarines and dinner rolls. Glamour it was not.

   When you don't have to pay for rent or food, you can do things like live off $5 a week. Really quite simple... just cut out all the comforts of CDs, movies and the like, and you're golden. Despite having a full bank account, it was one ATM stop a week. Made pay day like Christmas, which is a nice feeling when you're sub-$9 an hour.

   Hard to say when the budget really went to crap. Could be when I got that first BU Mastercard, could be just a general overrelaxation within the shell of college, could be dropping $800 betting on the Giants-Ravens Super Bowl. Who knows really.

   To come into money is always a difficult adaptation. It's a hard thing to get pity from, especially since most of you are bastards, but it can be a struggle to keep a budget when you go from making nothing to four times nothing.

   At least one of you will think to e-mail with the witty, "w00t, nothing multiplied time anything is still nothing." Before you hit send, please please punch yourself in the nuts/face as appropriate.

   Puff Daddy told us all, "the mo' money we come across, the mo' problems we see." Course he's also says "Biggie!" after every other word, and dated the walking ass. Regardless, I ask...

   Obviously, I'll play MLB Slugfest 20-03 under the colors of the Olde Towne Team. But what of NCAA Football 2003? Do I return to my roots and go UMass? Do I ignore Indiana's horrific football pedigree? Do I fill myself with guilt by pushing BC? Play as Hawaii for purely comic reasons?

   Scott Stapp wouldn't have this problem...

   Let it be known that Cooch's World does enjoy Creed's musical stylings, especially the anthem 'My Sacrifice'. CW just finds the religious connection a little too much to comprehend.
July 26, 2002 - ... And Bingo Was His Name-O
   • Some days, nothing really happens. Nothing of importance anyway. No schools collapse, no whale carcasses get dragged to shore, no iconic baseball players with local ties die... these things happen when your entire readership is on methadone to ease their heroin addiction. It's on these days your local newspaper turns to the Associated Press to fill its pages.

   The AP, much like God, is everywhere. Unlike God though, their existence can be scientifically proven - open up the front section of your local rag, and tell me how many AP bylines you see. Hardly a reputable paper exists that doesn't cull the wires each night to round out their world view.

   Course some days, nothing happens anywhere. The stock market doesn't implode, national armies don't start hacking up national presidents, the Palestinians and Israelis behave themselves... so what to do then? AP's always got your back, baby.

   That, friends, is how the following story finds itself on page three of Saturday's Standard-Times:

New Rules Make Bingo All The 'Rage'

   STOUGHTON - Bingo in Stoughton is now a contact sport.

   Senior citizens unhappy with new rules on weekly bingo games are getting out of control, the town’s council-on-aging director says.

   A police officer was stationed at the town’s senior center for last Tuesday’s game after director Christine Quinn told the Stoughton select board the situation is "potentially unsafe."

   Quinn said she’s been poked and pushed twice by seniors, who are angry with new regulations that prohibit seat saving, moving furniture, and aggressive behavior. She did not see who did it.

   Before the new regulations, seniors would claim tables at 8:30 a.m. for the 1 p.m. game, and many would rush the dining room at 11:30 a.m. while others were eating, Quinn said.

   "The crowd was so unruly. I couldn’t even control them," Quinn told the Patriot-Ledger of Quincy. "I was trying to control a group of 90 irate elders."

   New rules, announced this month, restricted entry before 12:30 p.m. Seniors also must show identification to keep non-residents from taking up seats.

   Players were angry.

   "Bingo is a very social thing," Florence Stearns told the newspaper. "People come early. They like to sit in the same seats. They like to sit with the same people."

   Quinn wrote to the select board, calling the scene "potentially unsafe" and that the crowd has become "increasingly unmanageable and intimidating."

   While the writing comes from the big boys, the headline is pure Cooch. A delightful weekend, all!
July 25, 2002 - Big Fatty Sue
   • Eureka. We've done it, America. Raise up and cheer. We've created a society where nothing is anybody fault!

   The no-fault divorce ensures you can just marry anyone you feel like, with no bothersome worries about having to spend the rest of your life loving just one. No-fault insurance means I can flip my car over while drunk, and talking on my cell phone, and not feel bad for claiming whiplash. Now through no-fault consumption, I can eat fast food at every meal and sue because it's making me fat.

"The lead plaintiff, 56-year-old maintenance supervisor Caesar Barber, ate at fast-food restaurants four or five times a week and blames his fatty diet for his obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol and the two heart attacks he has suffered.

'I trace it all back to the high fat, grease and salt, all back to McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King -- there was no fast food I didn't eat, and I ate it more often than not because I was single, it was quick and I’m not a very good cook,' Barber said in an interview with Foxnews.com."

   He ate the food because it was convenient for him to. The restaurants provided him a service because he was unable to cook his own food. He clearly realizes now he's fat because he was eating there... why was this not abundantly clear while the gorging was going on?

   Oh wait, he was aware of it. Only he didn't have a lawyer telling him he was a victim back when he was frenching Filet O' Fish sandwiches. You know, I bet the lawyer's not one of those suave, pretty-boy Fifth Avenue guys either... he's gotta be a fat lawyer from the Bronx or something. Has his practice across from the barbershop and next to the Jamaican grocery. Wears old, badly-tailored suits.

   No layer of any sense would even consider taking this into a courtroom. We'll soon see if that's what we're dealing with here.

   Really, this guy should have been watching The Pulse tonight, because as I understand it, they announced the cure for fat. Straight up, fat has been cured. Go enter that taco eating contest, and try to break my two-hour record of 13. Fat can now be phat, because we're a pill away from erasing it forever.

   People who regularly visit eBay have known this for years... every day, we have hundreds of opportunities to lose "*80 LBS. BY TOMORROW!!!" If we can't trust an auction site run by the public, who can we trust?

   Linda Vester, that's who. The hero of every BJ girl to pass through the doors of BU's College od Communication. She worked in Florida, was a corresponsdent for NBC before getting to host "NBC News at Sunrise," formerly hosted by tabloid news queen and rejected actual journalist Deborah Norville. Now, Vester can try to follow in her high heels, telling us live concerts by Britney Spears are lip-synched.

   Linda Vester is an excellent journalist, as is Bill O'Reilly. It's not awful that we're programmed to hero worship alumni like these, but neither of them revolutionized their profession like another COM grad. But we needn't go down the road of his snubbing again...

   Mr. Barber, if you're not too busy suing clothing companies for embarassing you or TV networks for making you sit on your couch, go for a walk. Even if it s for a Grilled Chicken Flatbread Sandwich, you're bound to burn a couple calories.

   If Jared can do it, so can you!
July 24, 2002 - What's Better Than Porn?

With a subject of 'Fwd: TOPLESS DANCERS'...

-- Who'd have ever colored my mother a fan of the kiddie porn?

   • Know that feeling when you pull the winter coat from the back of your closet and pull a $20 out of the pocket? Course you don't, because you never have that feeling. Maybe you find a $1, on a rare day a $5, but never a $20. It's still nice though, to make that discovery of something valuable where you thought there was nothing more than an old ATM receipt and a slightly-soiled napkin.

   This is the feeling I got when, upon opening a rarely used directory, I discovered a copy of the rarely-held Boston University College Dorm Masturbation Video, better known as the "Warren Towers Porno".

   Porn and I have a strange relationship. I can't watch it. I don't know why. I think it's disgusting. I mean, I like porno music, I often make it just to spice up my regular activities. You'd be amazed at how much more exciting a porno background can make a walk to the bank or post office.

   I accept that no guy on the planet believes anything I've just said, but I don't care. Call me crazy - I just don't want to see a crooked-toother blond woman eating pee-pee. That's not sexual, that's just awful. Dare I say "That's horrible!"

   That said, the details of the Warren Towers Porno is at least funny enough to mention. Four freshmen, obviously at least slightly inebriated, decide it would be fun to make some pornographic cinema. The two guys quickly grab the video camera and the more drunk roommate retreats to her bed, thus leaving... the ugly one who likes to touch herself. Doesn't that just happen all the time?

   Rumors started circulating around campus that there was such a video on the Net near the end of the year. At a get-together at the Mountfort estate, a little time on Morpheus for the 22-minute holy grail. There was the "Hey wow, that is Warren Towers!" moment, followed by the "I think I know her!" Then by the seven-minute mark, we couldn't go on.

   The film has many problems:

   • The obvious issue is that the girl's just a beast. She obviously thinks she's pretty, or else she wouldn't be doing this. She's definitely not drunk, meaning she's the classic BU whore. Downright disturbing.

   • The guys talk through the whole thing, just trying to find something the girl can... accomodate. Plus the repeated cries of, "Holy shit!" remind of why we're all happy we're only college freshmen once.

   • The girl's wearing socks with spiderwebs on them. If this pre-teen flashback wasn't bad enough, she flatly refuses to take them off near the end of the movie. Seems our little slutbag thinks she has ugly feet! What a modest whore.

   • The female anatomy is just not pretty. Yeah, flourescent light isn't flattering. That must be what's making me squirm when I look at hers. That and it looks likea screaming man. It's one of those things that just caused everyone to look at each other and make that "I just saw a guy get kicked in the nuts" noise.


   Combine it all with the fact she willingly starts licking her hand after use, and I'm sticking to my guns on the porn issue. Hey here's an idea... why don't you go pee in a cup and drink it? God I hate bitches.

   A reliable source sent the girl's name into the Free Press, but sadly, it was after our publishing schedule had ended. That's a story that definitely would have flown to the top of the clip list.

"So, you cow, what compelled you to show the entire campus your disgusting body?"
"Can I shoot your parents?"

   Course I've always had a strange view of what relationships are.

"Jon Couture Sex: does not necessarily indicate real sex as the world knows it, its most common meaning is 'a monumental affair or event, with lots of build up and waiting, and in some cases, dissapointment'"

   All I know is I'm amazingly lucky to know the hottest girl ever to hold a BU College Bowl buzzer. That she and I have shared, and continue to share, some of the greatest days of my life is only icing on the cake.

"You are more friendly than you think. Your best asset is your personality -- you are witty and funny... much more than the average guy. You are both smart and athletic. You seem to care enough about health to be fit. Damn! You're a guy who cleans the bathroom... I have to say I'm impressed. And for some reason, you have chosen to let down your guard for me. Of course I like you hair. I want you to try contacts a little more often. You have cute facial features that are hidden by your glasses. I feel honored to have seen you with out them. And you are a good height.

"You're also a good height, and I think if I were to see you in any six inch heels, I'd probably freak out because you'd seem way too tall. You're one of the few people I know who I feel like I can crack a joke to and they're always actually going to get it. You're a baseball fan, and even if it is as a Dodger fan, that goes a long way. You can eat a veggie burger and yet still not lose the blood lust for meat. You too also look very good in the morning light, and I can't think of a whole lot of ways I'd rather spend a night when I don't get any sleep than lying there with you talking about absolutely nothing."
-- 5/13/01

July 23, 2002 - To Care About One's Work
   These usually get written at the office... tonight I just had to get out.

   • I have it pretty easy. I write about my wholly insignificant life every day, mock the likes of Mariah Carey for having a lounger-recliner in the middle of her kitchen, wonder who in New Bedford isn't taking methadone to clear up a heroin addiction... that's pretty much the gist at this point. I'm out of school, the thing every 12-year-old stuck inside on a sunny day dreams about.

   Here I am, out of school. Beautiful apartment in a decent neighborhood. Job fresh out the box. Biggest paychecks I've ever seen. Working in the newsroom of a major newspaper.

   Of course there's a problem. Would you expect anything less?

   Tonight, I handed my boss the New Bedford city cover. The lead headline read: "Group Working Toward Cape Verdan (Verdean) Center." Lower down: "Department Offers Activites For All Ages." These are headlines... big, easily readable headlines. Those aside, there may have been more correction pen than printer toner when it came back.

   Didn't much care, which scared the living crap out of me. Work quality is the one thing I've always been a complete bitch about, as evidenced by the running critique of the Free Press that probably cost me a few friends a couple semesters ago.

   Cruising's not the right word... cruising is thinking you're good enough at your job not to care about putting in effort. I don't believe I can do my job at times. I don't believe I want to do my job at times.

   The copy editing job get held up to a higher standard because, hey, this is what I've been in it for all these years. So each day when Bill sends me e-mails explaining why he would never do my job for any amount of salary, when my friends tell me they can't understand if I work at all because I'm on Instant Messenger all through my shift... really builds my confidence in the future.

   When I looked at my handiwork tonight, seeing the errors anyone not named Magoo could have picked up on, I just felt an overwhelming embarassment. For me. For the people that hired me. It won't stay... it'll pass back and forth again any number of times.

   I just struggle to grasp that this is it. If I stay with this job, I will never write for a newspaper again. There's no reporting jobs a copy editor works themselves into. You become a more important editor. That's it. No columns, no breaking news, no byline. You toil a hair away from having a city know your name, because they touch your work each day.

   I once got asked, at an internship interview for a shit position that never got filled, why I wrote. Course they were dot-commers... jaded enough not to actually know their own answer for the question. "You in it for the money?" "For some spiritual stuff?" "To be famous?" I shouldn't be so short shrift with them. Maybe they were trying to remember themselves.

   Why do I do this every day? Set myself up to be told "I've lost it" and "Being away from college has sapped your material?" Because every so often, it clicks. You get what I'm saying, and you enjoy it. You relate. You get pissed. It makes you smile. It makes you think. It makes my mother mail it to a newspaper for printing. You get an emotional reaction. It evokes. That's why I do it.

   I respect my coworkers. They're extremely skilled, and very good at what they do. Without copy editors, no newspapers get published. That said, I fail to understand why someone would want to do this. It's grammar. Skills I don't know, that I don't understand.

   It's hard to write this not in the office, because the mood melts away. Just getting out of the office calms me greatly, and having people there to talk it through with makes it so much better. Even if they do have to work early in the morning...

   So right after I finish ripping the VMA's, sparing the "Jimmy Fallon laughs at all his own jokes" for sometime in mid-August, a commerical runs for them featuring Meg's friend of a friend Natalie Portman.

-- Hun, I know we've gone over this before, but there's about 25 back rubs in this if you can pull something off.

July 22, 2002 - I Want My MTV (Circa 1996)
   First things first, congratulations go out to Mr. William Yelenak of Southington, Conn., who was the first to correctly identified the mystery "it" as Pennsylvania's own Arcadia University (nee Beaver College).

   For his trouble, Bill will get some sort of New Bedford postcard/magnet/whale collectible. Given I got half a dozen answers (nearly all correct), future questions will be both harder and given on weekdays. Now, to search for decent prizes...

   • As a public service, the directions to get from Misqumicut Beach to my hometown of Agawam, Massachusetts are:

1 to 78 to 2 to 95, Exit 82, which is Route 85, to 11 to 2 to 91 to 5 to 57
-- No wonder I fell asleep at the wheel.

   And as a continued public service, a recap of today's episode of TRL.

   We will conveniently ignore the fact that as a video request show, TRL shows no complete videos. The tangents would just be endless.

   Baby, we're live from New Jersey! Does that not have a ring to it or what? Nothin' says summertime cool like New Jersey! It's so cool, Carson's got the day off, so filling in is [INSERT GUY WEARING VISOR AND SHADES]. Hot show today!

   Right into the videos, where the song titles won't be listed. Like it matters anyway...

   10. Shakira - We've got some sort of animation-live action twist here, as Shakira punches out a guy, then deflates a woman's breasts by poking holes in them with her finger. Now she's been thrown through a glass table, but picked up by a knockoff Superman and Batman! Not a scratch on this bitch, as the villians take a big ride!

   If Shakira blew any more, Laundry Service would start appearing as a colleg bowl prize in the fall. Her music is so bad, she actuallly seems less attractive for it... a career has not shot down this fast after a first single since Vanilla Ice did Ninja Rap for the Ninja Turtles movie.

   To enforce my point, it's announced Shakira's netted four MTV Video Music Award nominations later in the show. Thank you John Norris, please go back to pretending to be alternative by leaning awkwardly against the hot tub.

   9. Kylie Minogue - She's standing in some sort of video display, with the camera stuck on a tight head shot. The sound on the song is low enough to where it can't be heard. Utterly, and completely, of no conseqence.

   Long time ago, MTV aired the MTV Europe Music Awards over a Thanksgiving break. I was much enfatuated by it, as I was fresh back from the islands and Blur was up for some hardware. I've still got them on tape, and I spottily remember a few details. Bono launched a diatribe on the awards podium over Jacques Chirac's nuclear testing in the Pacific, and the show's resident piece of ass was Kylie Minogue, carried onto the stage by Carson's European counterpart Ray Cokes.

   That's all. Just sharing.

   And we've got a TRL Wannabe... of course meaning votewise he didn't make the countdown, but we're going to give him the exact same amount of airplay we give the stuff on the countdown! It's Mario, with a cover of Biz Markie's 'Just A Friend.'

   No American can have lived in this country and not heard 'Just A Friend' somewhere. This is the highest sacrilege, since black people aren't name Mario for a reason, and because I'm seeing Baltimore Raven and Washington Wizards jerseys in a non-ironic sense.

   8. Enrique! We're on a plane looking at fans. Thank you, tour outtakes.

   New Found Glory's a wannabe, and they've made the music video I would make... the one making fun of music videos.

   In a way, my heavy-handed ironies are now cliche, thus meaning I am mocking the very ground on which I stand. Sentences like these are why I hate deep-thinking hippies.

   7. 3LW's latest album is entitled A Girl Can Mack, which is amazing since Webster's defines mack as a variation of mac, itself a variation of Mackintosh, which is "a lightweight waterproof fabric originally of rubberized cotton."

   Since playing snips of six videos has our producers, let's bring out special guest Solange Knowles! You might know her from several MTV sponsored tours that you didn't go to, but she's also the little sister of Beyonce Knowles of Destiny's Child, Version 8.6! Solange's carrying a small dog with her today, and now she's forcing [INSERT GUY WEARING VISOR AND SHADES] to ballet dance with her! No wonder she's slated to have her own show on The WB this fall!

   Perhaps the hardest thing about the release of Goldmember will be the public admittance that, yes, we've liked Beyonce all along. Admit it, you all couldn't get 'Say My Name' out of your head either... right?

   6. Vanessa Carlton, who has now officially made it a theme that her videos need to be centered around her wearing a black outfit, playing a piano in a place one should not be playing a piano. Her third single will have her in a morgue, followed by a baseball diamond and falling from an airplane.

   5. B2K. They're teenage rappers, but I can't. There's flames in the video, and I'm thinking of hamburgers. Wrong, but they should have seen it coming.

   We now interrupt the countdown for a special video request. Yes, we're interrupting the countdown of most requested videos with a video request. And we're not interrupting the countdown like [INSERT GUY WEARING VISOR AND SHADES] said, we're just airing 4. Britney reeee-miiiiix!

   Reeeeeemiiiiixxxxxxx! Whole crowd, in unison. Nice to see the Thought Police still have work.

   Eminem at #3. It only took 45 minutes to come up with something listenable, though now that I've heard Geoff Krapf sing it in the car, the whole affair just feels dirty.

   Our final wannabe? And I quote...

"When Jennifer Love Hewitt hosts a televised concert on FOX with Britney, Ludacris and the like, does she think, "Hey! I have slight to a dash of musical talent! Why aren't they letting me sing?!"
-- June 18, right here. Finally, the long-awaited follow-up to 'How Do I Deal (With Having Humongous Augmented Breasts)'

   Avril Lavigne on a skateboard ramp, looking all of 9. Her bioquote said she could never live in Los Angeles because "it's all movie stars and big boobs."

   Allow me to add: gridlock, sweet women and In N Out Burgers. I've determined I'm bipolar, but only when it comes to discussing my feeling about L.A. It's like the friend you can only take in short bursts, lest you rip his esophagus out.

   As for #1, someday once we're all dead, two white-haired British scientists will be sitting at a table, poring over documents unearthed. Learning about what life was like in 2002. What words will they exchange? What will thet glean of how our life was?

"Jennifer, it's getting hot in here. So take off all your clothes."
"William, I'm getting so hot, I'm going to take my clothes off."

   The rappers call New Bedford the 'Secret City,' because of all of its unknown talent. I'm all for musical independence and all, but really... keep it to yourself.
July 21, 2002 - Sleeping Under The Pine Straw
   • Arrival at the non-slot machined woods was with incident, as a mile's drive on the road marked "Burlingame State Park" is in no way affiliated with the road marked "Burlingame Camping Area." Thank you, Rhode Island Division of the Federal Highway Administration.

   I was excited about my arrival, given my girlfriend and closest friends lay waiting, all presumably intoxicated and doused in merriment. Meg greeted me with "You're so much cleaner than all of us!," delighting both office staff and campers alike.

   That about ended the evening's merriment, as most were in bed and all had sobered. Within five minutes, we'd logged a bogus noise complaint because I made a scene upon arrival. A good scene... enjoyed by all except a sleeping Todd, who muttered some sentence with a swear in it.

   I have no inherent problem with camping, really. I enjoy sitting by a roasting campfire built so well it's burning blue. I enjoy chatting with the friends about how much our lives suck respectively, relative to the fact we're all intelligent and college educated. I even enjoyed legitimately sleeping on the ground, for lack of supplies and since the fire's warmer when you're next to it. They just all add up to something I wouldn't do on my own. I am a wuss, I admit it. Where's my friggin' free shampoo?

   At 3:30 a.m., I settled onto my back and stared up at space from between the pine trees, pondering any number of different things that are probably only interesting to me.

   The proposed opening to this update while I was still on the trip was excessive veiled and over what I was thinking about, but having not followed through on what my idea was, plus realizing the stupidity of talking gibbering about myself in my own writeup, we will now fill this space with a picture of the first bumper needed for the Saturn.

-- Longtime readers are saying it with me now... F_C_ _AN_D_

   By 5:40 a.m., it became clear sleep was no longer an option. I was comfortable, but the morning light pelting one in the face tends to deter the entire sleep-getting dynamic. So at 6:10, with Ash's Free All Angels blaring in my ears, I sat on a rock and watched the Sun rise over a lake.

   It was one of those moments where the music you're listening to starts intertwining with what you're doing... the shuffle picks the song with a chorus of "you are a shining light" as I see the Sun peeking through the treetops, then follows with the orchestral "There's A Star" while I'm watching geese swim by me... really makes you forget you're writing about living out a cliche.

   That was the highlight of the first lap around the campground. The second lap peaked when one of the rangers stared me down as I was walking toward the swing set, as though they get a lot of child predators at the 7 o'clock hour. No sir, I just came here to swing and generally act like an eight-year-old. If you don't believe me, wait nine hours and watch how I helped build a dam to ward off the incoming tide.

   I have a natural tendency to try to impress people just meeting me, so of course all weekend with Meg's HS friend Alison around, I was pretending to be cool (as I often try to do). Course, this didn't occur to me until after I'd help build a sand wall and "houses" with the help of an empty plastic cookie tin for about forty-five minutes.

   Hey, someone had to save the people of Rhode Island. I'm not sure what's sadder - that I cared at all, that we actually did manage to hold back the tide until we left or that Rhode Island is so small, a sand wall made with a plastic cookie tin could probably could be built around the entire state in a week or so.

   Rewinding, members of out three-site large conglomerate finally started waking for the beach trip after I'd...

   • made a third lap of the campground on foot, revisiting the place we set off all the giant illegal firework that almost ignited our tents in a summer past.
   • cleaned all three sites to kill time, including digging the wooden spoon covered with meat juices out of the pinecones.
   • sat in my car long enough to go through all of Heathen Chemistry.

   I've been with Meg long enough to know she'll always remind of how much noise I made cleaning rather than thanking me for what I did, but it still doesn't make me feel any better about it.

   It's the beach. Use your imagination as to what went on. Should there be any blanks it in, you know what to do.

July 20, 2002 - Eighty-One Reasons To Cheer
   • Last night, while walking home from work, I passed the big Whale City night club. Cutting across the parking lot to get to my apartment easier, I noticed a car in the lot with its dome light on. Walking over to the car to investigate, I thought to myself, "Maybe I should go into the club and tell whomever's car this is that their dome light is on."

   Then I thought no, it would be much better if I stood by the car for an hour, until the club closed, and when its owner arrived and asked why I was standing there, I could say, "Oh, I just wanted to see how pissed you get when your car doesn't start."

   I used to be nice once. Lot has happened since then. Now all I do is remind Tiger Woods what he shot today.


   Hey, I played on a windy Scottish day once, on one of the seven courses of St. Andrews. Shot about a 110. Given our relative skill levels, at least for a day... I was Tiger Woods.
July 19, 2002 - Presenting... Rooves
"Inadvertently, the fact that our own name was the butt of many jokes meant that (people) across the country and outside the country heard the fact that we were changing our name," President B.L. said Friday. "That was unexpected advertising."
-- To what entity is B.L. referring?

First correct answer received at cooch@joncouture.com gets an honest-to-God authentic Whale City collectible! Fo' real!

   • There's always been the metaphorical giving. Now comes the actual giving... I'm like a bad radio morning show.

   So I'm going camping this weekend in the wilds of southwestern Rhode Island. Strange that I'm actually looking forward to it, given my whole stance on sleeping on the fucking ground. I won't actually be joining the posse until late Saturday night, where my usual two hour drive will be shrunk by 30 minutes. Course I'll miss the drive down, the day screwing around, the pre-cooked meal and the preliminary boozing, arriving just in time to get bit by mosquitoes, force down alcohol and go to sleep sweaty.

   You know, if our forefathers wanted us to go camping, they wouldn't have invented Motel 6.
July 18, 2002 - The Long, Silent Stare
   • Today was half-written by noontime, given the glory of morning golf.

   During my last trip to the British Isles, a 17-year-old amateur named Justin Rose flipped the golf universe onto its hypothetical ear and sending English hearts aflutter. He contended for his nation's title, arguably the most coveted title on the world scale, until late Sunday, when a 50-yard chip-in for eagle on the final hole of the tournament sealed a fourth-place finish.

   He was the babyface of Britain, the poster-boy for a new generation of bluebloods. On a wave of popularity and papparazzi, Rose turned pro... and proceeded to miss 21 cuts in a row, the equivelant of getting a gun for Christmas and shooting yourself in the arm every day for a year.

   One-hit wonder? Probably. Not for today, though. Back on the British stage, Rose stared golfing reality in the face and denied it. He shot three under to Tiger's one, something I'm sure he'll take solace in after that second round 75 rains shit on the parade.

   Course, I can't devote a whole update to talking about golf, for reasons other than it making you, Joe Q. Netgoer, catatonic. I can't analyze what's wrong with making this the printed rememberance of a rest area stabbing victim.

"Carroll described Zapp as a bubbly, petite person with long blond hair and brown eyes who loved pink and green outfits."
-- Even better, the Wire photo of her was a blurry Polaroid of Zapp in a cowboy hat.

   I can't even fully discuss the ramafications of today's toothbrush purchase, and the promised "new levels of clean!" I will be feeling tomorrow morning. No no, the following just has to be addressed.

Judge Rejects Moussaoui Guilty Plea

   The sole person charged in the Sept. 11 terror attacks, Zacarias Moussaoui, tried to plead guilty yesterday and declared himself an al-Qaida warrior loyal to Osama bin Laden. The judge insisted that he take a week to consider the consequences in the death penalty case.

   U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema took the rare step of refusing to accept the plea after Moussaoui stunned the courtroom with his announcement. He kept talking after the judge told him to stop and almost was removed from the courtroom.

   Brinkema entered a not guilty plea for Moussaoui, but she also set an arraignment for next yesterday, so Moussaoui could respond again to a revised indictment that now includes alleged conduct that could let the government execute him.

   "I want to enter a plea, I want to enter a plea of guilty," Moussaoui said, insisting this would allow him to spare his life by explaining what he knows about the Sept. 11 attacks.

   Moussaoui, acting as his own attorney, has said in written motions that he was not involved in the attacks, despite an indictment that accuses him of conspiring with the 19 hijackers.

   "I know exactly who done it," he said, standing at the lawyers’ lectern facing the judge. "I know which group, who participated, when it was decided. I have many information." He added, "I am member of al-Qaida. I pledge bayat (a loyalty oath) to Osama bin Laden."

   Thank God she saved him. I have nothing more to say.
July 17, 2002 - The 'Burnt Pizza' Food Group
   • You're a consumer if you get excited when your Verizon DSL equipment arrives at your apartment, allowing you to get online, all the time, from home. You're a nerd if you laugh at Verizon for creating a ten-page instructional booklet when the installation involves four wires and a box.

   Pre-DSL, television and video games had kept me from going outside for several days. With Instant Messenger now at my fingertips 24 hours a day, I should just black out the windows and buy DiGiorno pizzas by the crate. I'm praying for my own salvation at this point.

   There's not really a delicate way to talk about groin injuries. Crotch soreness has befallen me from excessive use... unless I've been thrusting in my sleep, it's from the lake tubing, Bill. Strange, as in all my years of physical activity, I never remember there being sore before.

   I sense it's more in the thigh where the pain is, but any guy knows threats to the area tend to manipulate themselves into more than they really are. Thus, for the second time in four days, I'm mentioning the phenomenon of one guy getting kicked there, and the whole room feeling it.

   'Summer TV Trainwreck 2002" made another stop this evening, to pick up Craig J. Jackson and his merry band of freaks for 30 Seconds To Fame. Such a program clearly would have dominated today's update had I been home to see it, but alas, I work the same schedule as America's bartenders, hookers and crazy people who wander the streets screaming at rats.

   So with the recap of what will go down as the biggest FOX premiere since The Chamber is posse member Todd Lovell.

Hahahaha. Hahaha. There is a rapping old lady. Hahahahha. It's going too fast. Bouncing ball piano man. Two gay gays doing balance shit. Dancing chicks. Haha, black guy with a flat top doing the robot. Unicycling bowl man, stacking bowls on his head with his feet while unicycling. Magic trick guy. Rapping old lady got booed, hahahaha.

Dude. This guy is making his nose dance.

   It was around this point I realized I really should have cut work for this.

Olga is twirling a baton box thing. (I ask if Olga was good at it, and am assured she was.) Gary Morgan, the nasal flutist, booed off. Black soul lady singing. Crowd likes the soul lady, singing "R-E-S-P-E-C-T." Guy spinning a cheeseburger on a umbrella. Human beatbox, really impressive.

Another comedian, black guy, wearing a bikini and a do rag. Eliminated... oh, that's freaky.

   Very strange this is the first thing to earn specific 'freaky' designation, though it does sound deserving.

Black guy doing yoga, put himself in a box. White guy, tryin' to be a funny pimp.

   Now apparently, the audience is gonna vote for a fav out of that set. I almost can't keep up with the show.

   That's FOX baby. So fast, they stole your wallet before you ever saw them walk by.

   The show's ending caused much controversy on the '30 Seconds' message board, with the black soul lady claiming the $25,000 via audience vote over the human beatbox and the guy playing piano by bouncing balls on it. Detractors to the ending called it fixed, and the performer "fat," "black" and "a fat, black bitch." The winner's son spoke in his mother's defense, saying both "Leave my mom alone!" and "That gay Russian guy was funny shit though..."

   Todd said it best.

"25 thousand to Soul Lady."
-- It has a strangely Bob Costas feel to it. The emphasis of the unchangeable ending, said plainly, said truly. God bless the competitors.

   God clearly wants me to get a TiVo.
July 16, 2002 - Wire-d
   • There's not a whole lot I remember about fourth grade. I missed the half-hour afternoon recess on two occasions: once because I drooled on a table, the other time because I talked during 'quiet time' at lunch. I remember making a diorama using Red Sox Starting Lineup figures, presumably because I'd read a baseball book. Plus that whole getting glasses thing, which could quite possibly be on the outs again if I can find proper contact lenses.

   One of the last things I remember from fourth grade was an assembly we had in the cafeteria, because that's where we had assemblies. It was a puppet show about understanding peole who were different... there was the girl in the wheelchair, the Chinese kid, the deaf person, the metally retarded girl... come to think of it, I think it was an assembly about people with disabilities.

   I sure hope the Chinese kid had a disability I've forgotten about. Otherwise, we've just found the seed of my racism!

   We're taught to accept people for what they are nowadays... to a fault. The assembly I went to in fourth grade, lighthearted and positive as it was, would never fly nowadays. Having the assembly singles the handicapped out, and we can't do that can we? Everyone has to be the same now... if I attack and make fun of someone else for their beliefs and pastimes, how dare I take such an accusative tone. Who am I to say what's 'cool' and what's not?

Vampire-Obsessed Youngster Charged With Grisly Murder

   LONDON - A teenager obsessed with vampires killed an elderly neighbor and drank her blood because he believed that would make him immortal, prosecutors said yesterday at the start of his murder trial.

   The 17-year-old youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is accused of killing 90-year-old widow Mabel Leyshon at her home in Llanfair in north Wales on Nov. 24. He denies the charge.

   Prosecutors said Leyshon’s chest was ripped open and her heart removed, wrapped in newspaper and placed in a saucepan on top of a silver platter. Blood was drained from her legs, probably for drinking, prosecutors told the jury at Mold Crown Court. Two fireplace pokers were left crossed at her feet.

   Prosecutor Roger Thomas said the teenager was obsessed by "his two main questions, 'How do I become a vampire and how do I become immortal?'"

   The defendant decided "a sacrifice, the murder of another human being, was necessary," Thomas said. With his parents away, the youth committed a "planned, deliberate murder to satisfy his own grotesque and selfish ends," he said.

   The prosecution said the teen entered Leyshon’s house by breaking glass in the back door and attacked her from behind as she watched television, stabbing her 22 times and removing her heart.

   Thomas said the youth had been arrested a month before the killing after using force to get a 16-year-old German exchange student he believed was a vampire to bite his neck so that he, too, could become a vampire.

   Of course this is an extreme case. Know what? If your son forces a kid to bite his neck because he think he's a vampire, it might be time to 'stunt his creative growth.'

   We are different. If you want to be gentle about it, fine. Being gentle might get the point across better. Some people are weird, and you should tell them so. Yes, everyone has quirks in their personality, may like certain movie series or whatever, but sometimes you gotta call them on it.

   Hey, after hearing Meg's kickass friend from high school Alison give the exact same reasons why I won't watch the Star Wars movies, I'm on a high. Go ahead, call me on it, lest I go out and kill someone over it.

   There's a guy in Rhode Island who now has four counts of something against him because he followed various women around various stores and licked their feet. There's a disorder which causes the patient to pull out all of their hair and eat it. and a generation of kids who think Britney's Dance Beat is the world's best exercise.

   While I don't think I should be the one to tell everyone what's wrong with them, I have managed to calm down how pissed off I was about the friggin' vampire story. I hope they stab the little freak in the face. Yeah, go goths...
July 15, 2002 - Hollywood Ending
   • "Who shot JR?" "Who shot Mr. Burns?" "Jer-ry! Jer-ry!"

   These are the moments we remember, when the stars came out and the planets aligned. When television raised our culture and our lives, making us better for just being there.

   Last night, it happened again. Years from now, people will ask, "Where were you when Dog Eat Dog had their Reality All-Stars show?"

   Here wirh us today are Mother and Father Cooch. A repeat Fear Factor has led to what could be the truly historic: six C-list celebrities assembling to compete on an F-list game show. The anticipation is so thick, it could choke an asthmatic!

   From Survivor the First... evil genius Richard Hatch and trucker witch Susan Hawk! From the original Temptation Island, the apparently infamous Kaya and Ytossie! And the wild cards... bouncing back from defeat on Celebrity Boxing, white-trash princess Darva Conger and America's sweetheart, risen from the ashes, Kato Kaelin.

   We must ask, what role will alliances take? Will there be collusion? Can Kato spell collusion? Will Darva marry someone, then get angry about it? How many 'Rich gets naked in the pool' jokes can fit in one hour? Will one of host Brooke Burns' breasts turn black and fall off from the pressure of an ill-fitting top? STAY TUNED!

   The premise of the show is simple. The six are shown an event, and vote on who they think is the least likely to complete it. If the person fails, they're sent to the 'Dog Pound.' If they succeed, they pick one of those who voted for them to go. Whomever's left at the end is the 'Top Dog,' and then faces off with the five-person Pound in a trivia showdown for the $25K.

   First event is crossing a long balance beam being doused with water over a pool, getting two flags, then bringing them back in one minute. Immediately Hatch shows his brains, getting Conger selected because she's afraid of heights. Showing a continued weakness for millionaires, she blows him a kiss, which causes a happy dance from Richard.

   Conger reaches the first flag quickly, but slows and fails to stay balanced. Upon her failure, she declares the experience "still better than a walk down the aisle." Who'd have thought marriage would have stemmed from a show called 'Who Wants to M-A-R-R-Y a Multi-Millionaire?'

   Second event is the 'Vomit Comet,' which on a show with a NetZero clock and a Circuit City Big Screen, begs to be sponsored by Vanilla Coke. As the person is strapped in, being spun both vertically and horizontally, they'll be given phrases they have to count the vowels in. Brain teaser? Kato, you're on!

In description of why she voted for Kaelin, Ytossie says he 'acts like a woman.' Kato gets ready to say something in his defense, and then realizes Ytossie could rip his head off. Instead makes joke about Richard's penis size. Comedy classic.

   Kaelin only gets six of eight correct in the time limit, but successfully hits on the two of the show's four women. He, his 'Joker' T-shirt and his black wristbands move to the pound, where he mounts Conger and impregnates her pigtails.

   Next up is 'Earthquake Island,' where contestant must get a flag off one side's rope ladder, plant it on top, climb down a ladder on the other, getting another flag to plant, all while the island is moving. While Hatch is chosen and ultimately fails, my father chooses instead to talk about the plot for Eight Legged Freaks.

"What a fucking plot for a movie."
-- Dad won't be there opening night, I guess.

   My father has been a classic throughout the whole show. He's accused the 'Temptation Island' pair of collusion and can't figure out why Kato can't count. Mom, though, had the quote of the night, when TI's Kaya was chosen to have to shed a real tear in a minute and a half.

"You got bitchslapped, you big... dude."

   There's no better TV than watching a man try to cry. Throw in Kaelin and Hatch making homosexual jokes at the top of their lungs, and we may have had the worst 90 seconds of television ever created.

   Kaya's elimination left Ytossie and Susan Hawk to compete in the final event... standing on a wobbly pole in the pool. Ytossie was at a clear disadvantage, since her swim top was actually covered more of her breasts than the shirt she'd worn throughout the show. She fell after about 40 seconds, meaning Susan stood just minutes away from a possible quarter-of-a-hundred-thousand-dollars-before-taxes.

   In the final round, the top dog is given a category and must choose which Dog Pound member will answer a question incorrectly. First to three wins the money, to split if necessary.

   What did we learn?
   • Kaya looks a little light in the loafers, but doesn't know theater.
   • Darva Conger knows her Cheers.
   • Ytossie misses our former first lady, Jacqueline O'Hare Bouvier Kennedy Onassis.

   But biggest of all, Richard Hatch would never be able to name the film 'Basic Instinct' because, duh, he likes boys!

   Kato Kaelin never would get to answer that question in the clutch. He can only now wonder what could have been, as Susan Hawk wakes up this morning with $25,000 more in her stretched pocket. Won in the most ironic way possible - snatched from the hand of Hatch, who took a million from her all those months ago. A storied ending to a historic night.

   Television can be magic again.
July 14, 2002 - Nerds On The Water
   • You just haven't lived until an out-of-control friend lands on your skull and slams you into a lake.

   Conversely, you just haven't died until, while trying to be a hot shot, your Indy car gets flipped into the air, falls downward into traffic in slow mtion, then is slammed into a lake upside-down. As the gas leaks out, the tree on fire falls in the lake, and everything blows up. Driven, because Sly Stallone got a CGI graphics machine last Christmas.

   Why is it fun to sit in an inner tube and get dragged around a lake, while having water kicked in your face? What compels one person to try to kick a friend off the tube next to them, thus increasing the chance a wave will surprise them and cause their body to flip in the air and skip across the water?

   These questions, assembled together, show what happens when I have nothing to say.

   It's hard to observe people doing the stupid and humorous when you're on a remote lake in a town known for little more than an antique fair. While I'd imagine much could be drawn from seeing the elderly pick through old mattresses and dented furniture, it is a process that involves watching the elderly pick through old mattresses and dented furniture.

   Antiquing, much like studying and soaping up my entire body in the shower, is a process I've just never been compelled to attempt. There's a science to it, and there are bargains to be had, but no one's ever told me I smell or anything. Just hitting the high points and letting the water do the rest seems to be sufficient.

   Old furniture just wasn't built to be comfortable, especially in New England. Every old house up here has that an antique chair in the room no one can go in - some houses have entire antique furniture sets in that room. No one ever sits in them, since they're stuffed with gravel and the legs can't support today's fat Americans, but it's just one of those things you don't question.

   Those houses that don't have an antique chair have the "new chair that looks antique," because every consumer is looking to combine the cost of new furniture with the ass cramps only old can provide. It's one of those confusing questions, like how I can continually meet more excellent people from California and still give the state that slow, downturned shake of the head.

   I continue to blame CityWalk.

July 13, 2002 - So What If They Lost
   • Tracy McDaniels is smiling tonight.

   McDaniels' grandfather, Herbert 'Chink' Holmes, was a Negro Leaguer of little renown, when you consider only the greatest in that league got any praise at all. Playing in the '30s and '40s. he kicked around a dozen teams from Canada to Philadelphia, settling in Boston for the 1948 season.

   Boston's about as far from a Negro baseball hotbed as you can get. Those that played here liked it because it was cooler than the South. There's a reason the baseball scholars know the New York and Kansas City teams before the Boston ones.

   In 1948, Holmes settled on what would be his last team... given Jackie Robinson had integrated the majors the previous year, he wasn't the only black ballplayer who made that his last year. Holmes, and the rest of the borderline stars left in the city, formed the Boston Royal Giantsfor that '48 season... the best Negro team the city ever had.

   Fast forward thrity years. A young Tracy McDaniels, sitting on Grandpa's knee, finds out 'Chink' had known Rube Foster. Eh, no big deal, just the guy who started the original Negro National League. Decent pitcher, he was.

   McDaniels was bit. Grandpa Holmes died in '95, and he left Tracy his jersey, a jersey that now hangs in K.C.'s Negro League Museum. He began a push to get the word out, to get the history noticed. He gave presentations around Boston to anyone who'd listen, whic is how he ended up giving a lecture for BU's Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity on the legacy of Negro League baseball.

   How'd I end up there? Well, one's first reporting assignment for the campus rag has to come from somewhere...

   He had a little handmade poster... a cobbled-together history surrounded by a gold border. It was pretty insignificant, but given a Google search of "Boston Royal Giants" comes up with one article, the team history ain't exactly falling off the bookshelf.

   His love for what he spoke of is what hooked me, is what made me go up to talk to him afterwards. He wasn't the best speaker, and had really sparse facts, but passion will go a long way over quotability. He told me he'd tried to get the Red Sox and Yankees to play a game at Fenway in all-Negro uniforms, but without financial backing, they turned him down.

   That was October, 25, 2000. This is July 13, 2002.

   Today, I rolled into work to see Frank Castillo take the mound in a strage black hat, one with an intersecting 'RG'. After scaring every co-worker in earshot by knowing what it was, I thought of Tracy in Dorchester. Of my first story all those nights ago, back when the Free Press was just something I was doing to build a clip file for an internship.

   Safe to say I'll lose my top billing on that Google search, that I'll be the only one ever to string those three words together and pertain them to baseball.

   Mr. McDaniels, Gramps is real proud of you, wherever he is. Once you get that merchandising agreement set up, I'm going to want to add a new hat to my collection.
July 12, 2002 - Found Out!
   • Some things just need to be repeated.

Skydiver Loses Dentures During Jump

   ADDISON, Vt. - Carl Root says before he took his maiden skydiving jump, he received some ad-vice he now wishes he’d taken.

   "I told the guy I had plates, and he said ’Just keep your mouth shut," recalled Root, 34, who lives in Essex. But at 9,000 feet with a cameraman documenting his first jump out of a plane, Root let out a war whoop and lost his false teeth.

   "It’s a very expensive learning lesson," said Root, who vows never to jump with his dentures again.

   His advice to parachuters with prosthetics: "Take ’em off or take ’em out."

Oh, but it's what comes next that makes this story special.

   By the time he landed, Root had narrowed the search for his wayward teeth to Addison County's 770 square miles, but wasn’t sure where to begin.

   "Chances of them ever being found are pretty slim," he admitted.

   Let's see... we've got the "nothing to cover in Vermont" angle, the "old guy jumping out of planes" angle and the "man debating searching county for teeth" angle. He thinks he doesn't know where to begin?

   Course there are other stories where the lead's just a joke itself.

Green Bay Packers fullback Najeh Davenport was arrested Monday, accused of breaking into a university dormitory and defecating in a woman's closet.
-- No no, we don't haze the rookies...

   Today is the second consecutive day I have not gone outside other than to walk to or from work. There's so many people I'd like to thank for this: the makers of my sofa, the people behind Quaker Oats Honey Grahams bagged cereal, the Lime Tostitos people, the Lean Pockets people... I really shouldn't me making a habit of this, but aren't I entitled to live like a hermit if I've got sixty more years until I die?

   Gayest guy on The Price is Right today... from Sharon, Mass. Was one of the first four into contestant's row to start the show, and was the last one out. Got on stage, jumped and squealed, hugged Bob, won a Broyhill bedroom group, jumped and squealed in center of stage, ran into audience. Then he lost in the Showcase Showdown. Why is this even worth mentioning? Seriously, I don't know.

   Thanks to the fine folks at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, I can now tastelessly wonder, "Isn't it a bit hypocrifal to ask for a last meal of justice, equality and world peace when you beat a woman with a lamp and rifle, sexually assaulted her, stabbed her in the neck and shot her in the head?" (Inmate 209)

   Worst thing you can do when you're hungry is read the last meal requests of people on the Texas Death Row. I suppose they all want fried chicken just because it's ironic.

   It took five weeks, but the website has been discovered by a co-worker. Course, it was my temporary host Eric who found it through a web search for my last name, then read my pissed-off rant about when I got asked to pay rent. Turns out my lack-of-lodging predicament was presented as a money-making opportunity for the entire newsroom, one which no one bit for, leading to no less than the editor-in-chief asking Eric to help me out.

   Am I going to pay him for his hospitality? Yes, because he asked me to. Am I unhappy about that? No, he put me up and should be compensated. Am I a little disappointed no one in the entire paper would be openly willing to let a new hire stay with them, even when promised money?

   Wouldn't you be?
July 11, 2002 - Spare Me Your Jiggling Eagle
   • Nice to see Western Mass. getting in on the church scandal.

   Twelve months ago today, I believed two things: that I would soon buy a lot of bagels, and that the Yankees were going down. One came true, one didn't. Guess I just didn't really want any bagels after that.

   It's looming, you know. Only two months from now, it's a date circled on not just my calendar... September 11, 2002. Maybe not since the day of the attacks, but at least a month or so afterwards, I started thinking about what it'd be like one year later. Not from a fear sense by any means... especially now with me out of Boston, the odds of me being killed in a terrorist attack aren't even existant.

   It's a dread thing. Hard thing to complain about, these rampants shows of patriotism. Parking at the grocery store, seems half the SUVs and minivans have little flags, USA decals... we won't even talk about the pickup trucks. They look so dumb, the pickup trucks.

   Never is it a good idea to attach a flag of any type to the roof of any vehicle and drive down the street with it flapping. This coming from a man whose Tempo had it's flag forcibly ripped off it's radio antenna. I'm talking one flag, and two wrongs don't make a red, white and blue right.

   The flag trucks are cheap. The newspaper page flags in my neighbor's windows are cheap. The "These colors don't run!" T-shirts with the big bald eagle are exceptionally cheap. I'm an elitist when it comes to patriotism, and I have a hard time believing every knee jerk flag waver has any idea why the Mrs. bought him a flag tie for Father's Day.

   This probably has more to do with T-shirts than anything else: be them the aforementioned eagles of the "I (Heart) NYPD" babydolls that have come up before. What can I say, I (Heart with cross over it) assholes.

   You know as well as I do what's goimng to happen around 9/11/02. Every city in America will have some sort of candle lighting, vigil, fun run, ceremony, flag lowering, BBQ contest, quilting bee, You get the point. People will go, close their eyes, hold a candle, look at the ground. They'll think of that indelible image of the Boeing tearing the Trade Center open, of all those lives lost, of the death of the "protected on both sides by oceans" mentality.

   Patriotism is personal, so here's mine. It's looking at a flag, and knowing you live in the best country in the world. You don't have to scream it at the sky, fire guns and dance around to say it. You just feel it. Seeing the flag makes me smile. I look at it, and it's beautiful. It's sacred, respectful, and clean. Maybe that's why I don't like seeing it flapping tattered on a truck, or cracking apart from overwashing and strain on a fat guy's homemade shirt.

   There's only one other general vicinity I could ever picture myself living in... an archipelago not far different from the non-island nation I inhabit now. I was taught to love my country not in a time of crisis, but in a time of calm. I was taught to love it because of that calm, because it was so hard earned. If you had a significant other, and bought them a bouquet of roses every single day of your relationship, you'd be an ass and your gift would become meaningless and expected.

   Imagine the day you didn't buy the roses... holy hell, you're sleeping in the closet.

   There are no flag stickers in my cubicle, no decals on my car. I don't own a "Go USA" T-shirt, nor do I foresee buying one. The most outward piece of my patriotism will likely be rehung tomorrow. An American flag, three-foot-by-five, requested before but received after 9-11. It will hang on my wall in Whale City, home of a hepatitis epidemic, as it did in Boston, home of my red, white and blue passion. Tacked up, with the bottom hanging free as it should.

   Every fashionable apartment has art on the walls.
July 10, 2002 - Charcoal and Pale
   • Having received my first copies of Bostonia and COMtalk today, it feels right to comment on the latest Terrier news.

Boston University President Announces Resignation: Westling Will Join BU Faculty

   President Jon Westling announced his resignation today as Boston University’s eighth president, citing his desire to return to the classroom and the need for a president who can make a long-term commitment to implement the University’s strategic plan. The resignation is effective immediately, although President Westling will assist in the transition period. President Westling will take a one-year sabbatical before returning to Boston University as a professor.

   As Meg told me in an expletive-laced tirade, this does not mean the world will end, nor did President Westling affect me in any way directly. John Silber's return to the University presidency, albeit in an interim capacity, will not doom my brother and my friends.

   I still feel slightly saddened by his departure, with it cushioned by his having the balls to quit for what he loves: teaching.

   Westling likely knew he was calling it quits in May, when he announced himself the graduation speaker. I, along with over 2,000 others, signed a petition to get our commencement a "real speaker." Given the coverage the drive got, we all know he got wind of it.

   Jon Westling (with assists to Marisa Tomei, Bill Russell and COM for screaming so loud) ending up saving what easily could have been an awful commencement. You mold your exercises around a terrorist attack, the ice is pretty thin. Whomever wrote his speeches and choreographed the whole Commencement 2002 deserves an awful big beer.

   He pulled it off with his manner and words... who wrote them is irrelevant. In that way, he did affect me directly, so hun... beer me.

   So let me get this straight. The kid who punched a cop, resisted arrest and drew blood, and was then slammed against a cop car and punched back while restrained, is suing the cops in Inglewood?

   I don't so much have a problem with this boy suing the police, since he clearly was assaulted. Really, I'm jealous of the kid. I want to figure out how I can punch a police officer and get several million dollars.

   Delving deeper into the race card deck, Michael Jackson has decided the record industry is racist, because they refused to publicise his latest album, thus its tanking. He's said the industry has called him a freak, a homosexual, a child molestor... and really, hasn't music taught us that two out of three ain't bad?

   Yeah, you poor brotha'. With your strangely white skin, your strangely straightened hair, your strangely shaved thin nose... what a debilitating disease to have turned you into a white black man. What are the odds all of these things could befall one human being? Maybe we're not contracting it because all the toxins we take in from the air are killing it before it seeds. If only you didn't walk around in that little surgeon's mask like you do.

   That's i-r-o-n-y, which even though it sounds like e-b-o-n-y, is a tune you clearly can't seem to hook yourself to.

July 9, 2002 - Definitely Peaked
   • If there were ever an incident where baseball's, and the All Star Game's, absolute insignificance on the sporting landscape became concentrated into a singular moment, it was the boos raining down in Milwaukee tonight as the Midsummer Classic was ended in a tie.

   No moment of victorious elation. No Most Valuable Player awarded. The Commissioner slipping away to the press room, meaning he wouldn't have to face the tough questions before someone briefed him on what to say. Why even bother? Seriously. Why even bother holding the fucking game? I'm not as much angry, since I couldn't even be bothered to watch it... I'm just utterly stupified.

   Change the rules, Bud. Don't want one pitcher being forced to throw a large number of innings? Change the rules. Allow subs to be put back in... you've already proved the game's irrelevance by ending it in a tie. Play with a different deck.

   But really, maybe it worked out for the best. Is there any way to better tippify the 2002 Major League Baseball season than a game ending with a stadium of people booing Bud "Baggy Suits" Selig?

The title of this update was written before the game's completion. In a stroke of writer's luck, it just so happened baseball's also topical and going to poo.


   Eight years ago, it was the hook that got me into modern music.

You and I will never be
all the things that I want to be.
Now is not the time to cry,
now's the time to find out why.

I think you're the same as me.
We see things they'll never see.
You and I are gonna live forever.

   Right around then, Soundgarden's Black Hole Sun, off 'Superunknown' was also catching my attention. It was the first CD I ever received, with 'Definitely Maybe' the first I ever bought.

   The critical opinion I lack in movies carries over to music. Throughout high school, all it took was one good song to get me to the music store. This is how one ends up with a CD collection including Silverchair, Puff Daddy and the worst album ever widely released.

   Oasis, plain and simply, rocked. 'Definitely Maybe' was their first album, and to make a splash, they just came out and rocked. Their lyrics were gibberish, songs generally ending with the chorus repeating for a minute or more, but it was just about getting out and being "the best band in the world." No one understood them in interviews, but all they really wanted you to know was they were going to be bigger than anything you'd ever seen.

   Most albums released have maybe 1 or 2 really strong songs, a handful of tolerable ones and then the one where the drummer wanted to write a song. 'Definitely Maybe' had a half dozen songs that could have anchored an album alone, with the rest all being infinitely listenable. Stuff like that just doesn't happen.

   I was hooked. Oasis replaced Billy Joel as my favorite artist, a position he held basically alone on 'We Didn't Start The Fire.' I remember stumbling into the record store and finding '(What's The Story) Morning Glory?' was out, adding another half dozen classics to the cadre. If "Live Forever" planted the seed, "Champagne Supernova" made it hardy. If I had to pick one song, that'd likely be it.

   Oasis' second album was not their best, yet "Wonderwall" could debatably be considered their one-hit wonder in the States. It's good, but it's just not that good. There's at least four songs on 'Morning Glory' competing with it - "Don't Look Back In Anger," "Morning Glory," the aforementioned "Supernova"...

   I blindly became a fan, spending a good chunk of money when in Scotland and Wales buying the CD singles... just to get the B-sides. It was moer than that though... "Live Forever" got me listening to the radio, put MTV on my radar screen... I started listening to Blur and the rest of the BritPop bands just because the Gallaghers claimed they were so much better than they were.

   When Be Here Now came out, I was at a Circuit City the first day, finding it on that bottom shelf it'd been stuck. It was classic Oasis... we're just going to play the same stuff we always have, this worldly spanning "we kick your ass" rock, and if you don't like it, too friggin bad. "All Around The World." Listen to that, and you have what makes Oasis what they are.

   By the time this third album came out, the "favorite band" status they held was waning... there's just too much other good stuff out there. But every album Oasis released, even a B-sides album essentially repeating all the work I did buying imports, brought an excitement with it. That excitement was strong as their fourth album, Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants, came out with fanfare.

   Bands, like writers, mature. They write and sing about different things... they grow as artists. You can't fault them for it; it is what it is. The only two non-Gallaghers who'd been there since 'Definitely' left before 'Giants,' and it showed.

   There was nothing inherently wrong with 'Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants,' it was a good album. It just wasn't great... there were no real "this song kicks ass" moments. When the album's best work is the half-serious introduction, you have a problem.

   While in Boston on the Fourth, I bought three new CDs: Ash's 'Free All Angels', Jimmy Eat World's eponymous masterpiece and the brand new release... Heathen Chemistry. The three are all more of the same - Ash just rocks hard, Jimmy's got that whole emo groove and Oasis... just seems to be going through the motions of a rich band with an established fan base.

   I have no hopes any future albums they release will head anywhere but down... 'Chemistry' seals it. Like before, they're 11 good songs... but they're just good. As much as I try to find some massive hook on the album, it's just not there.

   I write this as a eulogy, to that first moment after I listened to 'Be Here Now.' A great album, at a great time. I won't stop being a fan of the band, as I hold four tickets to a show on the waterfront, but it just can't be the same anymore.

"There's no need for you to say 'I'm sorry,'
Goodbye, I'm going home.
I don't care no more, so don't you worry.
I'm going....

July 8, 2002 - Coming Clean From The Original 'Woods'
   • Anyone who regularly drives the Massachusetts Turnpike's western portion knows about the Friendly's sign. As one enters Wilbraham from the east, off on the left is a noticeable hill. On said hill, facing the road, is a large hedge molded to read Friendly's Ice Cream, which is based in said city. "Welcome to Wilbraham"... it may as well say, "Welcome to Western Mass."

   There's many landmarks along the Pike that bring relief, that feeling of knowing I'm close to home. The electric sign before Exit 9, the first sign signalling Exit 8, then the Friendly's sign... one drives on the same road enough, they start to notice the most meaningless details.

   There's always a relief attached to that Friendly's sign. A sigh when it passes behind me on the right. Western Mass., as my life stands now, is a relaxing place. When I'm there, it's because I'm not working. It's the weekend, it's where my friends are, it's where my family is. In many cases, it's the place I get to see Meg.

   That feeling you get when you finally see the movie that allows you to get several inside jokes? Got that today, and it's similar to the WMass emotion. How is it that in the "broadcast premiere" world, Dogma ends up on Comedy Central, but ABC puts Brendan Fraser & Alicia Silverstone in Blast From The Past on in prime time?

"Oh my lucky stars! A Negro!"
-- Why do I see Brendan Fraser, not in any character, saying this a good four times a day?

   Sometimes, I just can't be funny. In my mind, I'm in a very tough spot at the moment, adjusting to the fact I really am no longer a kid. Think about it... all my excuses are gone. Not in school anymore, living on my own, working a permanent job... the tethers have pretty much all let go.

   I believe I have a lot of friends... some much better than others, but many in a lot of different places. My Agawam crew above all, and the places they've spread their wings too; BU friends who spatter to Outer Pennsylavania, the deep South, the upper Midwest, and God knows where else I'm forgetting. There's some across the world, others going across the world... yet New Bedford is not a place any others have seen to sprout yet. I'm scared. I admit it... I have an amazing support system around me, but I'm out on my own. It's not a very good feeling one month in.

   Meg has been amazing through most of this process, dwarfed only by the amazingly thorough contributions of my family. The guilt of being repepatedly bought rugs and mattresses is building, but hey, what can you do? Meg sees me one day a week, and has continually managed to be one of the few things keeping me from going insane with my challengeless job and gobs of free time by myself.

   When you're in school, if you're me, you prayed for the days when your life would be more calm. You could have a relaxing schedule, just go to a job each day, never have to worry about too much to do... I actually seem to thrive on that. Forty hours a week of work and nothing else is going to drive me reclusive. In Nashua, there was a return to school in sight... no longer.

   It's been a very hard thing to really get one's head around (if your head is mine, of course). There's really no school left. It's over. The prep time has led to now, and it becomes time to evaluate whether all those years of Friday nights prepping for quiz tourneys and years watching golf were really worth it. Jury's out, but I need something else. I need the pressure of two jobs, a club, something... that's the next few weeks' project. Moreso than this...

   Tonight, the gang went bowling at our favorite spot in Windsor Locks, then went to Denny's for a late night meal with the freaks on a leash. Been doing that exact thing for five years, give or take. Some of the faces have changed, but the core will always stay true.

   It's never going to be the same, as I can no longer eat a Denny's Meat Lover's Skillet without guilt, but it doesn't have to be. I don't know how long the times here will last, but I'll continue to enjoy them while they're here. At the moment, life's better west of the Friendly's sign.

   I call it "maturing as a writer." You call it "being an asshole and only writing about yourself." I'll try to meet you halfway... which would be around Worcester. Hope you brought protection.
July 7, 2002 - Ted Minus The Turtles
   • In thirteen months, nothing I've written has drawn as much response as my comments on Ted Williams. Legitimate stuff's been said, thus both encouraging my behavior and doing nothing to curb my existence.

   Matt Bruce seems to think I'm quite the writer, comparing me favorably against himself. His piece has the flow and polish mine lacks, likely because of 'editing' thing I'm suppposed to know well now.

   Everyday, I'm just surrounded by words on all sides. Here, and at the office... it's hard to describe to people who don't know newspapers just what it is I do. They see a lot of Instant Messenger, checking e-mail and Internet surfing. You just can't tell some people I work for a newspaper, then have them understand I don't actually write anything... they give you that quizzical look of "Then wait, what do you do? I thought the reporters made the paper..."

   Maybe Blockbuster is hiring...

   Jay Cook's take on Williams' death has gotten more press than it probably deserved, since more and more are coming up to me to say they also didn't know who Ted was. I shouldn't really have been surprised by this, though given the way I was raised, I can't really get my head around people not knowing the Joe DiMaggio's and Babe Ruth's of history. Sure, they just played baseball, but non-basketball fans know Michael Jordan and Larry Bird. Everyone knows Tom Cruise, even if you haven't seen one of his movies. That's what Ted Williams was... ask any of your fathers and grandfathers who Ted Williams was before his death, and I still don't think you'll go through a whole family who collective draws a blank. Throw in the local connection... he was one of those people New Englanders just know.

   My real gripe with my friend Mr. Cook, and I do stress the friendship as I say this, is any comparison of Ted to people who create stuff for the Games Workshop. Not even including my own biases against sci-fi, fantasy games, since the same can be said about my sports fandom, there are things that are common knowledge, and there are things that are so specialized, they border on the unimportant. Ted Williams was a link to what life was like the the 1950's, and the proof is his reverence by those who grew up then. If those he mentioned are someday what people remember about the turn of the millenium, I'm growing up in the wrong time period.

   The only reason this debate is stretching into a third day, something I swear will cease at midnight (the stretching into a third day...), is what Husky Boy Geoff said to me. I quote him at length, because one should always be rewarded for a well thought-out argument.

   This may put me on the completely wrong side of the fence, but in Jay's defense, I had no idea who Ted Williams was either until I saw the article on boston.com. :) I figured he was a politician or something to have the tunnel named after him... ah well, you can tell I'm not a sports guy, as though that wasn't obvious.

   Not that any of this means that I agree with his Romero example... that's just wrong. Carmack, maybe... ;) Steve Jobs may have been a slightly more belivable although still not comperable example.

   You see, I live a virtual life as a sports fan through your site. I know next to nothing about sports, and to tell you the truth completely ignore most of the stuff that goes on unless it directly affects me, i.e., the NU Superbowl riots, Huntington Hounds Hockey, etc. So it always astonishes me, and many of my non-sports literate brethren, when the world makes such a fuss about athletes and sports figures, esepcially seeing as how we all ignored their prominence and passed them off as "just dumb jocks" similar to how we thought of our high school football playing classmates. In honesty, it constantly shocks me how much effort, time, and money is put into sports when real advances in science and technology are glossed over by an uneducated and uncaring public.

   Geoff is pretty much one of the few reasons I've ever debated creating a "Comments" system for the site. Given he'd be the one making it, there's much truth to this.

   Contrary to what John Updike said with "Gods do not answer letters," Ted Williams was not a deity... to my generation. We never saw him play, and much of his reverence came from the things we were told he did. My respect for Ted, his stance as my favorite athlete of the past, is he's what I believe an athlete should be: someone who realized his skill at a game was not alone a reason to live.

   Ted was good at hitting a ball with a bat. Not just good, but better at it than anyone else who ever did it professionally. The numbers, to a point, say that. The only way that would change the world by itself is if a fan was so moved and motivated by it, he worked harder and made something of himself based on the motivation. The majority of today's athletes, and to be honest, the majority of yesterday's athletes, stop at their play, believing that makes them deserving of millions of dollars.

   Williams is the reason the Jimmy Fund exists today... he was a driving force behind the organization until the days congestive heart failure made him too weak to go on. He would show up late to ballgames, because he'd be at the hospital, visiting kids. We don't know this because Ted's "people" put out press releases saying it, we know because others have told us this information Williams never announced. He didn't want people to know what he was doing... it wasn't about him.

   Ted gave up the best years of his baseball career to become a military aviator. He didn't enter right when he was drafted, he had his reasons. But he did enter, served honorably in World War II, then again in Korea. He almost died for his country, at a time when some of our relatives hid in colleges and Canada for fear of their own deaths.

   For years after his retirement, he sponsored a baseball camp on my new stomping grounds in the SouthCoast, just to teach those who wanted to learn how to hit. These alone are not things he should be revered for, but I would like to think they show what kind of man he was. He was an insufferable prick at times. He battled the press. He went through two divorces. But there was more there than just a guy who hit a ball with a stick and took more money than he deserved.

   Athletes are not as important as scientists, doctors and others who make our lives better. They play games, and that's it. They entertain us. Nothing more. The only others on par with the professionals who make our world a better place to live are great people, those who try to give as much as they take. Those who realize we're no there long, and do their best to make their mark on a humongous world. The tunnel under Boston Harbor is named after Ted Williams because he was a great man. To say he was just a great hitter is to sell him short.

   That's why you should know who he was.
July 6, 2002 - Move-In, But For Real
"And I'm sure there are even more who don't care."

   • Jay was angry today, because I singled him out for not knowing who Ted Williams was. He is correct in telling me there are several out there who may not know who Ted was, and there are some that don't care. He was a hero to my father's generation, a national treasure, but Ted Williams wasn't a God, he was a mortal. That's why he died.

   To make a comparison, of a famous person I haven't heard of, Jay spoke of John Romero, the maker of such computer games as Doom, Quake and Daikatana. Very high selling computer games, revolutionized the shoot-em-up world!

   One one hand, we have Ted Williams. On the other, John Romero. The only way this could balance better was if Romero had commented on the death of Teddy Ballgame.

   So when Will Ferrell leaves SNL, should the show even bother continuing? Jimmy Fallon would be a great cast member, if he could stop laughing at everything. Couldn't they just run Weekend Update for 90 minutes, then have a crappy band come on and be hardcore?

   VH1's creation of a 'Behind The Music' like 1 Hit Wonders series, chronicaling the lives of the Frankie Goes To Hollywood's and Kajagoogoo's, haven't they earned the right to stop being called "The Shitty MTV?"

   Afghanistani Americans were protesting in Washington the other day, because of the errant U.S. bomb that killed some 40 civilians celebrating a wedding. One protestor was quoted as saying he "demanded the United States government create an Afghan victims fund."

   Shit, you mean we didn't? Oh wait, I must be confusing it with the "If it wasn't for us, the Taliban would be cutting your balls off right now" fund.

   I wish there was a place I could go to bet on things like Andrew WK never having another hit. Foxwoods, help me out here.
July 5, 2002 - Ted, Tim and the Ninja Turtles

-- June 15, 1939

   • Never would I have thought there are people in the world who don't know who Ted Williams is. He was far from someone who made Earth-shattering changes in the way we live our lives, but he was one of those people informed Americans just know. I've never read a comic book, but I know who Todd MacFarlane is... that kind of person.

   Ted Williams was a true baseball player. Every time a true baseball player dies, I'm left reminded how few of these individuals are left. Baseball is very sick right now. It is not the national pastime, not the game that fascinated a nation and dominated the thoughts of children. When Ted Williams played, little boys didn't want to be football players or basketball players. They wanted to be Ted Williams, Stan Musial, Joe DiMaggio...

   Far greater writers than I have long ago played the "Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?" card, so I'll just leave it with you resting assured when the heroes of sport today die, it won't run front page on every daily paper in America.

   When we celebrate one's life with the grandeur this is getting, why does it always have to be in death? Why are we programmed only to appreciate something once it's left our grasp? Throughout his career, Williams fought bitterly with the press. After his retirement, the classic "Red Sox rift" later modeled by Carlton Fisk emerged, only to be mended decades after it should have been.

   To answer your question Jay, Ted Williams was a ballplayer. He was a great ballplayer, in an era of great ballplayers, and the only reason his star doesn't shine brighter than the rest is because he willingly gave his prime to the United States military, serving as a fighter pilot in two wars. He was the driving force behind the Jimmy Fund, the namesake of the Ted Williams Tunnel, Ted Williams Highway and Lord knows how many other things around the region. He pitched Moxie. He caught fish. He excelled at nearly everything he attempted not on raw talent, but on the only thing that truly gets a person anywhere: the power of their mind.

   He was the most prolific hitter who ever lived, one of the finest athletes ever to play the Boston stage and the greatest Red Sock of any generation.
He is that plus boundless other things, to a generation of young boys who grew up wanting to be him.

   I really don't feel pain today though, not for Ted Williams. He died years ago, but blah blah blah... spirit will live on forever.

   This is why I will never be a world-renowned sportswriter. Everything I've said is true, and everything above is deserving, but to write it made me throw up in my mouth ten times.
July 4, 2002 - You Look Good For 226
   In honor of the Fourth, I announce the new Cooch's World is offering theme music to go with the writing. Just aim your browsers to live365.com/stations/ddrfreak and crank up some of the world's finest songs from the 'Dance Dance Revolution' arcade games. DDR and Cooch's World, perfect illusions of a party where there is none.

   • There they all were, I presume. Not all of them, but a good deal. My friends, with friends of theirs, with my girlfriend. With a buildings-worth of MIT frat boys undeserving of their presence, in a smoldering airspace no one deserves. A rough estimate of their evening involved scoializing, a twinge of drinking for some, escapades of many sorts and sleep.

   I have to guess, for I was sixty miles away from it all.

   I went home today, to the city where I belong. Much of the opinion comes from my friends always being there, but there's never been a place outside WMass where I've felt so inherently comfortable. I know it, I can navigate it without thinking. The shortcuts, the places to park, the places to eat... all the anti-answers to those questions. Boston's a place where you can't just do nothing... there's too much going on. I've never spent an extended period in any other place I could say that, my European travels aside.

   It all started with such promise. Getting an extra hours sleep, flying up Routes 140 and 24, seeing the Hancock peek out from behind the Keyspan boilers off 93 South. Gawking at the B.U. Medical Center gave me that, "Shit, I'm a friggin' alumus!" moment the family paid some obscene amounts for.

   Driving in Boston, when you know how to do it without panic, is the ultimate power trip. Use the logic you do as a pedestrian: trust no one. Beat them to the spot, and never stop on yellow. Ever.

   One hour from my apartment door to my old stomping grounds at Danielsen Hall. Walking back into the Free Press seems foreign now, since my "DFP Staff" byline's been forever retired. Running across the train tracks, walking the painted line between lanes, dodging bicyclists in front of CAS... how can it be that I'm really through with all these things? That Matt will now learn to love that smell of melting tar and rubber Comm. Ave. spews in a heatwave.

   Newbury Comics, Prudential Center, Copley Mall, Cali Pizza Kitchen... the things that two months ago weren't taken for granted, but were welcome diversions when my ass lifted clear of bed. Now saved for a visit every couple months. For Christ sakes, Oasis released an album and I wasn't there on debut day. Next, you'll be telling me seven Red Sox got picked for the All-Star Game...

   I left Boston content with my situation of having to work, only to see things slowly unravel as the air conditioning broke, I couldn't get a decent dinner, New Bedford's lackluster fireworks paling to the show in the state capital... I sit here now brooding, which I why I could flipping care if you're at all entertained.

   I panicked when people started to tell me I was losing my touch. I started dwelling on finding a hook every day, aiming my prose at imaginary targets. This is me. You came here because you like me, or because you like what you see. Take it or leave it, it's going to keep coming the only way I know how.

   Matt Boggie is the only other BUCB president I've known, and one of the few I've respected. As he graduated, he told this rising sophomore that the greatest opportunities would continually fall into my lap, and the only combining theme to them is I'd bitch at every one. I look at my Nashua internship, earned because Matt McSorley saw my name on a list. I look at my flight to Glasgow, Scotland, where fate put me in the seat next to Andrea Nicole Abbott. My current employment began as an e-mail from my advisor, through no search of my own. To say nothing of one Margaret Kathryn Kocimeba, whom I love dearly regardless of what some would prefer...

   I have been incredibly lucky throughout my life to have the friends I have, to have the opportunities many work years for and never see. But can this really be what I've been chosen to do? If working nights, on holidays, reading and arranging others words in a place I don't know is the point of it all... I don't even want to think about it.

   Never has one evening in time so fully crystallized why I need to write, why I need to take a chance on going to Nashville, going to the Connecticut School of Broadcasting... something that's risky, bu tcould ultimately end with something even better.

   I feel so much better now than I did a half-hour ago. Throw in a shower and the cable guy arriving tomorrow... I'll be jiggy by the weekend.

   Happy trails, Bill Guerin. Thank you for reminding us why the Bruins will never win another Stanley Cup... because they don't really want one.
July 3, 2002 - Wet, Yet Not Wild
   • My shower is so sweet...

   I didn't watch a whole lot of 'Seinfeld' while it was on. I like it well enough, am well aware the 7th century invaders of Spain are the Moops, saw the only airing of the episode where Kramer burns a Puerto Rican flag... you get the point. Somewhere along the line, shower water pressure became a plot device, leading Kramer to buy a circus elephant sprayer that took the skin off his body and snapped both his femurs like assassin's bullets.

   Or something.

   My new shower is a stall, which at first glance is a negative, since it eliminates the bathing option (which would never be exercised anyway, unless via filling with garbage pails full of hotel ice to create a makeshift cooler). Yet there is more to the picture. Much less surface area to clean, gives that cozy feeling of being wrapped in vinyl, fits my folded-in-half shower curtain perfectly...

   And the water pressure. Holy Christmas cookies. I've been looking for a suitable replacement to the strong showers of my youth, and I proudly say it has been found. Combine a controllable release lever with my head being three inches away from the nozzle, and my bloody, gruesome corpse being found in my bathroom is only months away!

   Perhaps the saddest part of this entire diatribe is there was legitimate excitement upon discovery of the water pressure controller. Perhaps I even said aloud, "Hey! You can control the pressure." I've been known to get crazy like that.

   What's there to say about a city like New Bedford, trapped in the grip of a heatwave? There was supposed to be a cruiseship stopping in Whale City Monday afternoon, the first of a summer's worth of happy travelers stopping here to look at whale bones and visit Foxy Lady: Southcoast. As fate would have it, thunderstorms led to the Regal Empress skipping its New Bedford stop, meaning all those waiting to greet with streamers and speeches got dumped at the altar.

   The S-T's front page photo on Tuesday was of New Bedford mayor Frederick M. Kalisz Jr. standing on the pier, waving towards something out of frame. Understand Kalisz is not a suave and attractive politician, and there is clearly no ship coming this day. So what you have is a fat guy with stubby fingers, waving at the water.

   This was the main art on the front page.

"[The deceased] Mr. Pacheco was a knot tier in the textile mills for most of his life."
-- His main calling in the working world was tying knots. Stay in school.

July 2, 2002 - Welcome [Back] To The Ghetto
   • Johnny and I thank you.

   It's smaller than I remember it being. That's not to say my apartment is small, just not suitable for all the pieces of furniture I mentally bought for it over the past seven days.

   Oh yes, there is a format to be followed... Today, I moved into my New Bedford apartment and officially struck out on my own.

   It's a very strange sensation I'm going through, since all these monumental things I'm doing are stuff I've done already in the past. I suppose buying a shower curtain is a new experience, and judging that I spent $15 on one that's twice the size I needed, let's hope we don't have to go through that again.

   I had the right idea, really. I went to the shit shop at the local mall, only to find the lone shower curtain for sale had stars and moons all over it. Undaunted, I went to J.C. Penney, where I learned they make $35 shower curtains. I also learned that a "Certified Bra Fitter" can help you get the quality fit you deserve, but that's neither here nor there.

   Was it really the best omen to have planes landing and taking off from New Bedford Regional Airport going over a cemetery?

   You buy into omens? Driving toward the airport, with destination the New Bedford offices of AT&T Broadband, I was plowing down Route 195 at a logical highway pace. Roughly 150 feet in front of me, a small red car with four black girls in it was trying to pass a large Oldsmobile with an indeterminate number inside. I didn't actually see anything develop between the two, as I wasn't giving them much heed, until the red car cut hard left, as if it had blown a tire.

   Across almost onto the median, only to whip hard right, inevitably into the Oldsmobile.

   The Oldsmobile went off the road, hard. Into the gully on the side of the road, through the thick brush on the steep sidehill. The car somehow rolled to a stop upright. A look into the girls car saw them unhurt, but in shock.

   I'm not sure why I kept driving. Others stopped. A policeman was nearby monitoring roadwork, so there was no need to call 911. My rationalization that "I have to get to the cable company so I can get a service call tomorrow" was blown out when my Friday appointment got assigned. Why didn't I stop?

   I guess I just really didn't want to see what was in that car.
July 1, 2002 - Sprinklers Spray Water, Sparklers Death
   Today's entry is brought to you by the folks at Million Dollar Vocabulary, who via radio ads remind us, "A weak vocabulary can sink you more quickly socially than bad breath."

   Don't worry if you're lost, I just picked up the irony quicker than you did.

ClearChannel everywhere!
-- Is this supposed to make me feel good?
I'm just getting a violated vibe instead.

Do your duty, America. Vote early and often for JOHNNY DAMON!

   • With trepidation in my voice, I tentatively announce that at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, I will finally move into my new apartment at 38 Foster Street. The power is on, the DSL is ordered, the cable... apparently is owed money by my Argentinian predecessor. But worry not. The Whale City palace will soon be operational.

   Hell, in a week, my furniture will get there too.

   Perhaps the easiest way to do this is, for every day, pick one item. The one thing occurring that day, that stands out from the rest. It'll help synopsize, help focus things. Maybe it's a little too simplistic, but hey, I do live my life via stereotyping and general shyness.

   Today, I bought a couch and a dining room set. My mother also said this in the car.

"Your father can't find his keys because they're behind his humongous [trouser monkey]."
-- Yes, I'm bleeping the word she actually said. Yes, she really said it. I feel better now.

   When I get a thank-you note from someone, I really don't feel thanked. The thank-you note, like a lot of things in our society, is more a tradition than an actual conveyance of emotion. I feel like if someone wants to thank me for something, they would come up to me and say, "Thank you." They would shake my hand or give me a hug... not hand me a card. I know how I feel when I write thank you notes - it doesn't mean I'm not appreciative of the people who gave me money at my graduation party. It's the exact opposite... I feel like a thank-you card isn't enough to show them my gratitude.

   There's a lot of such things out there in the world. Go here, to the official website of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Look at the top banner of the site... on most team pages, it's a celebration of players and successes. For Arizona, it's last year's world championship. For the Cubs, it's a tribute to Wrigley Field. For the Devil Rays, it's a banner reading "Heart & Hustle," universally translated to "We suck, we've always sucked, but we're trying."

   I hate hypocrites. More than that, I hate that I am a hypocrite. Over the past few years, I have made a very conscious effort to come clean with people. It's failed many times, but in the end, I like to think getting the truth out there is what's best. This is something I've had arguments over, this is something I've lost very good friends over. Was it these people not being able to handle reality, or was it me not knowing enough what things should be kept under wraps?

   For a long time, I've had a constant fear of fake friends. It's easy enough to say, "Ignorance is bliss" and leave it at that, but what if you ever found out all your friends really didn't like you much? What if they were just constantly on your case, and putting up a facade for you?

   What the hell am I talking about? Over the past few days, I've noticed a lot of people close to me withholding true feelings about others, not saying what they mean, making moves on people that they shouldn't. Maybe they don't see anything wrong with it. Maybe I'm just being hypocritical pointing the finger. I readily admit I'm not of the purest heart and mind. Now it's your turn.

   Let's leave it at this. Look in the mirror. If you can look yourself in the eye, and with a clear conscience say you're alright with the way you're acting, continue as you are. If mome people did this, maybe my afternoon television watching wouldn't be filled with teenage mothers on talk shows, and divorced couples bickering over money and kids.

   The producers of Dog Eat Dog have no problem throwing a canned audience on screen and flaunting their show as little more than T&A. The contestants have no problem openly rolling in their stupidity, announcing Microsoft makes the Pentium chip and America's first vice president was named Johnson.

   We now return to much more sensical idiocy.
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2001: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05]