July 31, 2003 - With 100% Less Skidding Fetuses
   Duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, golf.

Hole
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
OUT
Yards
123
463
384
190
235
393
326
364
345
2823
PAR
3
5
4
3
4
4
4
4
4
35
Cooch
4
6
6
3
5
6
4
5
5
44
• Hawthorne CC - Dartmouth, Mass. •
Hole
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
IN
Yards
153
441
395
177
259
370
334
347
356
2832
PAR
3
5
4
3
4
4
4
4
4
35
Cooch
4
5
6
2
6
6
4
4
6
43
PAR 70
87, 17 OVER PAR
5655 YARDS
Birdies: 1 - Pars: 5 - Bogeys: 6 - Others: 6
Fairways Hit: 6 of 14 - Greens In Regulation: 4 of 18 - Putts: 34

   An honest-to-goodness birdie. And you know it's real, because it's hidden in a thicket of double bogeys. Four-iron to 12 feet, drained the putt with a little right bend at the end. Then buried my next tee shot into a pine tree, never to be seen again.

   And given I have four pars in four times playing the 7th/16th at Hawthorne, it is officially the greatest golf hole ever built.

   Comedic Potential: Comedy Central presents The Roast of Denis Leary, August 10 at 10 p.m. Any time your preview commercials are based around a "home movie" entitled, "Denis Leary: The Making Of An Asshole," you've sufficiently earned my ratings points.

   Of course until then, I'll just have to recommend the video vault at The Daily Show site. If not for Steven Colbert, you can unearth gems like these from the charming Lewis Black:

"Now by the way, when Fleischer marked his last day as press secretary last week, a soldier sprayed him with a fire hose. Now they say it was a playful prank, but I like to think they were hosing the bullshit off of him."

   • Baseball by the young ...

More Than A Game
-- Easily the longest thing I've done for the paper, at about double the length of the usual column, it's also the best written and most enjoyable.

   ... and baseball by the slightly less young. With all the deals now done, as least before the waiver wire gets involved, the Red Sox have essentially added relievers Byung-Hyun Kim, Scott Sauerbeck, Scott Williamson and starter Jeff Suppan at the cost of Shea Hillenbrand (who remains bitter), Freddy Sanchez (who may really not be able to hit in the majors) and Phil Dumatrait (who I've never heard of).

   So this is what it feels like when a team really decides to go for it. What it feels like to be a Yankee fan every single year.

   Seriously though, this is not the usual pickup of a Cliff Floyd (sorry, bro) and a Larry Andersen. This is sitting down and trading for people who can both help this team win now and possibly help them win a lot more in the future. And as a bonus, it's not at a cost that will cause blood to run down the streets of the farm system. I like to equate it to a poker player who just keeps folding mediocre hands, just kind of staying on the fringe of the game, but then goes all in on a very good flop. It was just an opportunity, a set of circumstances too good to pass up.

   I would have used this metaphor to open a column, but my editor is obsessively into poker and he probably would have messed himself.

   I know we tend to say this at the start of every August in Boston, but it's going to be a hell of a two-month run. The Sox are 3.5 games behind the Yankees, and they're not really playing for the Wild Card this year ... deserved or not, there hasn't been a feeling that the Yankees are this beatable for a very long time. Past precedent has shown having the better team isn't always enough, as phrased in this Jayson Stark column:

"If you stack up the Red Sox against the Yankees right this second," said one AL scout, "Boston is the better team. But how it plays out, we'll see. Hey, they're still the Red Sox."

   We'd probably all be angry if we didn't know that guy was absolutely right.

   In Other Trade News: The Dodgers got Robin Ventura. How bad has the offense on my adopted second team been? Well, bad enough that a guy currently hitting .251 could presumably be sought as the answer.

   By the by, a .251 average wouldn't een crack the Sox first nine. But then again, I'm pretty sure I've stuck my neck out too far.


July 30, 2003 - Li'l League Barrage
   Since today's is about kids, why not talk about the birth of one?

Refusing Help, Woman Gives Birth Aboard T
By C. Kalimah Redd and Mac Daniel, Globe Correspondent and Globe Staff

   A 42-year-old Braintree woman gave birth to a baby boy while standing on an inbound Red Line train Wednesday morning, refusing help from stunned passengers who heard her moan and seconds later looked down to find her baby on the floor.

   Witnesses told police that Joyce M. Judge, a former nurse who later said she was on the way to a Boston hospital, kept quietly refusing help during and after the delivery.

   "'Thanks for your concern, we're OK,'" she said, according to Chris Chin of Duxbury. Standing 4 feet away from Judge, Chin said, he saw her tie the umbilical cord in a knot and wrap the baby in a silk scarf. "She cradled the baby in one arm and grabbed the handrail with the other and continued to ride the T and stare out the window."

   Bill Mahoney, also of Duxbury, watched the scene unfold: "It was simply surreal."

   Transit officials said they received a call from the train operator for medical assistance and had an MBTA official waiting at the JFK-UMass station on the platform when the train arrived. But Judge refused help and sprinted up a flight of stairs toward the turnstiles, MBTA Lieutenant Gary Fredericks said. She then grabbed some newspaper to wrap up the baby, ran across the platform toward Morrissey Boulevard, and hustled up another flight of stairs to the Columbia Road overpass.

   MBTA police intercepted her and took the baby boy, who was breathing and kicking but not crying. As two officers examined the baby in the front seat of a police SUV, Fredericks said, Judge pounded on their backs and screamed: "Let me see!"

   Mother and child were doing fine yesterday at Boston Medical Center, authorities said. Officials from the state Department of Social Services are investigating.


   There was a criminal case not all that long ago about a sexual assault on the T, where the female victim was more or less raped as she stood holding the handrail on the busy train. Police were amazed at the number of other passengers nearby who either averted their eyes from what was going on or just flat out ignored the girl's cries for help.

   I'd like to thank Chris Chin of Duxbory personally, because the quote, "She cradled the baby in one arm and grabbed the handrail with the other and continued to ride the T and stare out the window," is one of the oddest and coolest images I can think of from this year.

   I'm sorry, but the rest of this story begs to be told. It's from update nirvana.

   "At first I thought someone spilled coffee, but it kept dripping," said Chin, 32. "But she stood staring out the window ... I started doubting what I saw."

   About 90 seconds later, Chin said, "I saw a head, then full baby fall out from her skirt, hit the floor sideways and slide the length of the doorway, stopping when he bumped up against the next row of seats. Still she stared out the window. Either she didn't know it happened or didn't want to acknowledge it."

   Judge bent down, picked up the baby and wrapped it in her scarf, Chin said.

   As passengers slowly realized what had happened, witnesses said, the train rallied around the new mother. People offered sweaters and implored her to sit or lie down. Still, Judge refused.

   "I'm fine," she repeated throughout the trip. "I'm fine."

   With the JFK-UMass stop still three minutes away, passengers, some of whom vomited in the wake of the bloody birth, inundated State Police with cell phone calls. Dispatchers told passengers to ask Judge if she had passed the placenta. Passengers yelled back that she had not. Dispatchers asked if the baby was breathing. Others yelled back that they weren't sure.

   At one point, Judge took some nearby newspapers and placed them on the floor to soak up the blood. Some witnesses heard Judge apologize for the mess.

   After leaving the train and heading for the stairs up to the station's main lobby, witnesses said, the placenta fell to the platform. Judge turned around, grabbed the afterbirth, put it in her shoulder bag, and headed upstairs.

   "She just literally picked it up with her hand and put it in some kind of bag she was carrying, and this was in mid-stride ... It was the craziest thing I've ever seen," said Robert Busby, of Weymouth.


   I stand corrected. The quote, "I saw a head, then full baby fall out from her skirt, hit the floor sideways and slide the length of the doorway, stopping when he bumped up against the next row of seats," is the oddest image I can think of from this year. I've dropped pens on the floor of the T that have landed in things so messy, I won't pick them up.

   I ... I'm just not going to say anything. Not "Well, I'm really never riding the T again," not "Could they have found a crazier-looking picture of the woman," not "They finally found an efficient use of the Metro," not anything. Some stories just tell themselves.


   • The image of a newborn sliding blood-covered across the gritty floor of a T -- I can only hope hitting someone's flip-flop adorned foot on the way -- is the perfect segue to my evening with the kids, covering the Whaling City Youth Baseball League. The night really could have only been enhanced by the image of a blood-covered newborn stuck in my head, as it could have if I didn't spend all game scratching my sunburned chest, but I had a great time there anyway.

   The game was a decent one, with the regular season champion N.B. Police Union beating second-place Dave's 7-4 under the lights. Since I have no idea just what I'll write about, I'll recount a story of my own folly that you're all sure to enjoy.

   I suppose it would have been more enjoyable if the screaming liner had ricocheted off my face, but everything on here can't be a happy ending, like a helthy baby skidding across the floor of a T train.

   In the last of the sixth, Dave's was in the midst of a rally where they'd score all their runs. All night I had been bouncing from side to side, leaning on one dugout to get the general vibe on one side, then doing an inning or two on the other. I was also trying to keep a running game log, so I'd often be looking down while the pitches were being thrown, say if I was jotting something down.

   It occured to me at several points in the evening that this could prove hazardous to my health, but given how succesful I've been getting pucks at hockey games and baseballs at pro games, I figured the last thing I had to worry about was getting one sent my way.

   Suffice to say young Ron Thibeault had other ideas, skipping a liner off the top of the dugout and right over top of my notepad.

   In hindsight, I should have ducked behind the dugout and stuck my hand up to catch the ball, if for no other reason to show off my slightly-above-average athletic tendencies. But really, when you've got less than a second from bat to bridge of nose, instinct says DOWN! NOW!

   I suppose I also impressed with my quick dodge, but as the coach of one of the league's other teams razzed me, "Man, you gotta protect your notes! Some reporter you are!" I believe I said something to the effect of "My playing days are long behind me," but I was sufficiently shamed.

   This would count as the closest I've come to being recognized ... I knew I should have worn the press pass. I could have developed a grassroots following as, "Jon Couture. The writer who's scared of a batted ball."


July 29, 2003 - Big League Dreams
   The United States has captured Saddam Hussein. Just remember this if the story is true, since it was broken by ... The Sun of London.

   On the front page of the Sun, just as an aside, was Becks Bad Hair Day. And when I say "was on" the front page, I mean it "was" the front page, sharing space with "Angelina v. Kylie -- The Battle For Olivier's Heart" and "Your Dog's A Goner," with a lede of "Maniacs have vowed to avenge the death of teenage burglar Fred Barras -- by killing Tony Martin's beloved dog. Travellers put a 60,000 contract on the farmer, 58, after he shot Barras at his Norfolk home."

   And people wonder why I have a thing for London.


   • It what can only be described as"tragic" news for "fans" of women's tennis, Anna Kournikova may be forced to retire due to a long-standing back injury. Her agent says the injury may end her tennis career, but would allow her increased time in men's magazines until wrinkles and sagging force her to retire from there as well.

   OK, so he didn't so much say the last part. I didn't use quotemarks ... no court would convict me.

   In light of this revelation, I think the WTA Tour needs to reach out to their fallen superstars as a way of increasing their own attendance and profile. With now two of their highest-profile superstars forced to retire before their time due to injury, something should be done to bring them back to the people and show, yes, they still have a place in the game. Given the two have worked together before as a doubles pairing, I sense there's only one possible solution.

   Turn Martina Hingis and Anna Kournikova into a t.A.T.u. clone and have them perform at poorly attended WTA events.

   Naturally, I expect some questions about the plan. So I'll take a few questions.

   Q: Won't this in some way demena those actually playing tennis on the WTA Tour? You know, the athletes?
   A: I'm not making anyone watch the concerts. If people want to go and watch the tennis, they're more than welcome to. I'd go as far as to say I'd encourage it. All I'm saying is if the punk-alternative music scene can reach out to extreme sports via the Warped Tour, there's other connections to be made.

   Q: Won't Martina and Anna need to have some musical talent? I've never seen either say they know how to play any instruments.
   A: And you've seen t.A.T.u. play instruments when? Besides, with the wonders of editing and synthesizers, even I could be a musical superstar.

   If not for the hair, of course.

   Q: You're an asshole.
   A: That's not a question.

   Will this in any way change your list of popular bands about which you can't be bothered to care?
   A: No, but I would like to add another to the list: Jane's Addiction. I enjoy their songs well enough, but I just can't see myself being able to listen to Perry Farrell for longer than a 10-minute span without my ears bleeding. His voice operates at a pitch that can't be healthy for either he or his bandmates.

   That said, the images of him in the 'Been Caught Stealing' video with pantyhose over his head are enough to haunt anyone's dreams.


July 28, 2003 - Not Real Good At Tanning
   The Holy Grail: Starting in a couple weeks, my work schedule has been changed from Tue-Sat to the ultimate schedule, Sun-Thu. Friday and Saturday off is about as close as one can get to a "normal" schedule, and it's just the kind of thing I needed ... six months ago.

   Also, as there's no need to make this a special surprise, I'll be covering the Whaling City Youth Baseball League on Wednesday ... anyone who'd like to accompany me in watching the battle between league leaders N.B. Police Union and second-place Daves, let me know.

Is It Too Early To Believe Our Eyes?
-- As the numbers pan out, this column is my first paid one. I can only hope
all the ones from here on out are worthy of that.

   • This time, he really did.

"He loved entertaining. I think it was apparent to everyone
he was there because he wanted to be there."
-- Carl Reiner on Bob Hope.

   Everyone knew Bob Hope was going to die ... at least everyone at CNN. And it's been roughly three years since Hope did any real performing. But we mourn him anyway, because he spent the majority of his life just trying to make people laugh.

   Growing up, I recall watching a few of his Christmas specials on NBC ... almost all the humor was probably over my head, but I recall liking him because he golfed.

   He was a very noble man who lived a very noble life. And that's why, in my ravaged sunburned state, I wish him well today. To be cliched, thanks for the memory.


July 27, 2003 - Big-Worded Hate, By Request
   GHO: In the end, it really wasn't all that exciting. And the whole Buick Championship thing ... well, it's nice to see somebody cared. I suppose there's upside to the move ... Tiger Woods will probably defer to his personal sponsors and play in 2004. Course, then there's the downside ... Tiger Woods will probably defer to his personal sponsors and play in 2004.

   While this would be good for the tournament as a whole, if instead of six of the top 30 on the money list the field just becomes that plus Tiger Woods ... there's nothing less compelling than a 12-shot victory.


   • First off, let me just say this Red Sox victory is the kind of win the team hasn't been able to get for the past five years, and it was one of those games that was much bigger symbolically than it really was numerically.

   It's not exactly going out on a limb to say it, but this is the most likable Red Sox team in some time. Never mind that they're hitting over .290 as a team ... the biggest a-hole on the team may be Pedro Martinez.

   But I don't want to talk about them now. The less I say, the less I can regret later.

   I suppose the same could be true for the rest of this, but I just don't have any answers. And I think that's what is getting to me the most ... I feel myself getting angry, and having it get to me, but I just don't know what to do because I still just don't understand any of it.

   Among the things on my desk is a card I got on Valentine's Day 2002. Just what it says isn't really important (or getting published, bitches), but I just can't get my head what is different from then to now. There's the obvious "we don't live a 90-second walk apart" anymore, but in my mind, things really haven't changed all that much. There's just been no watershed cheating/fight/relocation ... just nothing major that one could point to as "the problem."

   I think the part that really gets me is that if there was one side really wasn't feeling it anymore, why they felt the best of course of action was not to tell me, but to hold it in and then just fling it out at the last second. I probably shouldn't be writing all this down for public consumption, but I'm not going to sit here and hold it in when I may never really have a good chance to discuss it face-to-face with the person with whom it matters.

   My biggest problem on a relationship level may just be my ambivelance toward a future, i.e. some kind of fear that I'm looking to move things to another level way too fast. News flash to everyone ... I'm not looking to get married anytime soon. Last I checked, I'm 23. If there's any situation where I'm looking to move in close to or with someone I care about, take it for what it is -- an effort to spend as much time as possible with a person I care a lot about, something rather difficult given a work a schedule opposite to what's considered a normal one.

   I'm sorry, I can't shake the feeling this really has no place here or interests almost no one. But, to put it bluntly, I really can't shake any feelings at this point, no matter how hard I try.


July 26, 2003 - I'll Admit It ... A Waste
   On The GHO: In what has to be one of the biggest surprises on the PGA TOUR this season, after three rounds, Peter Jacobsen has a chance to be a wire-to-wire winner. Normally this would be enough to drive me to go on Sunday, but I just don't think I'll have a chance to make it down there.

   I really, really hope he can pull it out ... not only is he one of the guys who makes it a point to play here every year, it'd be a great way to finish the last tournament before the bastards at Buick gut it and turn it into the "Buick Championship," which is only a nominally better fate than having the tournament canceled altogether. I'm serious ... this is an outcome on the level of U.S. Cellular Field and whatever corporate name ends up on Fenway or its replacement. My money's on Hancock Park, but let's not go there.

   I might end up writing a column about it, but then again, as one of our reporters departing for Waterbury said when we went out for drinks the other night:

"I really like you're columns, they're good. I just
wish you wouldn't write about golf so fucking much.
"

   • There's a very symbolic meaning behind this, but I'm not going to spell it out for you. I doubt you'd really want me to anyway.

A Pinch of Power
Boston Red Sox pinch hitter David Ortiz,center, is congratulated by teammates Gabe Kapler (29) and first base coach Dallas Williams after Ortiz' game-winning RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning during their 5-4 win over the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on Saturday. (Winslow Townson/The Associated Press)

   Meg was at this game, watching it from the bleachers. I was at work, because I had to be, thinking how amazing it would be to be at this game.

   I must just be missing the point ... when a person these overly-dramatic, "feel bad for me" writeups, isn't it supposed to make them feel better.

   Honestly, I think the extended feeling of self pity is what's making me feel the worst, just because I want to punch myself in the throat. Yet tomorrow, just you watch ... I ain't going to be talking about the Tour de France.

   Well, maybe a little.


July 25, 2003 - Camelbak Does Commericals?
   Vito has a present for everyone ... Objective: Christian Ministries, who among other things offers children a chance to compete at a creationist science fair.

   And what kinds of things appear at a creationist science fair?

"My Uncle Is A Man Named Steve (Not A Monkey)"
Cassidy Turnbull (grade 5) presented her uncle, Steve. She also showed photographs of monkeys and invited fairgoers to note the differences between her uncle and the monkeys. She tried to feed her uncle bananas, but he declined to eat them. Cassidy has conclusively shown that her uncle is no monkey.

"Pokemon Prove Evolutionism Is False" - Paul Sanborn (grade 4)

"Thermodynamics Of Hell Fire" - Tom Williamson (grade 12)

   And my personal favorite, just because I can see a seventh grader stading, reading this report to someone who's never heard it?

"Women Were Designed For Homemaking"
Jonathan Goode (grade 7) applied findings from many fields of science to support his conclusion that God designed women for homemaking: physics shows that women have a lower center of gravity than men, making them more suited to carrying groceries and laundry baskets; biology shows that women were designed to carry un-born babies in their wombs and to feed born babies milk, making them the natural choice for child rearing; social sciences show that the wages for women workers are lower than for normal workers, meaning that they are unable to work as well and thus earn equal pay; and exegetics shows that God created Eve as a companion for Adam, not as a co-worker.

   • As this is being written, Lance Armstrong and Jan Ullrich are preparing for the 19th stage of the Tour de France -- a time trial that will decide whether America really cares about cycling in 2004. Sure, you could debate that most of America already doesn't care about the Tour, but just imagine if Lance isn't going for a record sixth consecutive title next year. It'll get as much press as the Hambletonian ... the folks at OLN must be sleeping on tarps from the cold sweats.

   I am not among the growing contingent -- at least within my workplace -- that Armstrong just up and lose. It's my belief that a story continues to be feel-good until it's not anymore ... not until I'm sick of reading about it. And that said, I must issue a warning.

"It's not important losing 2 seconds.
I don't think the Tour will be decided by 2 seconds."
-- Armstrong following Stage 18.

   If sports has taught us anything, it's that you NEVER say these things. Sure, no Tour has ever been decided by such an amount -- the closest being 1989, when Greg LeMond won by eight seconds in an 87+ hour race -- but come on ... the Shea Stadium scoreboard once read "Congratulations Boston Red Sox, 1986 World Series Champions."

   Then again, maybe doesn't deserve the recognition. We are dealing with an event where spectators handbags cause falls, protestors block the already narrow course paths and, well, let's just say I'd have fodder for weeks.

   Someday, there's a major media outlet who's going to send me to major sporting events just to riff on stuff. Wimbledon, the Tour, the Ping Pong World Championships, etc. But hey, we'll worry about that when the time comes ... anything that lets me travel and have a social life would right now be what I'd call a "dream job."


July 24, 2003 - My Day At Summer Camp
   So many, I'm going to have to call it SpamSSS Of The Day:

Subject: (none)
Date: Sat, 19 Jul 2003
From: jwatson138Q@hotmail.com
To: Me!

   
F___ MOMS NOW

Our members are getting laid LIKE CRAZY and their email boxes are filling up with responses from horny MILFS worldwide! Here's a short tally of some of our completely satisfied VIP members:

OVER 1,115 INSTANCES OF FORNICATION DOCUMENTED!

How can it be that our members GET LAID so f___ing much?

1) Because this isn't a sausage fest. We make sure sure that theres 3 MILFS for every guy! (Other date sites have gay guys pose as ladies and lie to you... NOT US!)

2) Because our women are AUTHENTIC, HORNY, and NEED to GET LAID. We don't trick them, these are LOOSE WOMEN

3) The internet has brought together all walks of life and this is the MOST CONCENTRATED location of Horny Women that need to get F___ED!

SPACE IS LIMITED! ONLY 124 SPOTS LEFT THIS MONTH!

Don't get cockblocked! this SPECIAL invitation is given out ONLY to a select few like yourself! Dont Delay. Start the party Now!

-- I like a spam that's frank. Sounds like it's written by Stifler. But most of all, one that promises me I'm not looking at gay guys posing as ladies.

Subject: DWG Needed aiiyrn mflqusic
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2003
From: shana@arcor.de
To: Me!

   Hello,

   I'm a time traveler stuck here in 2003. Since nobody here seems to be able to get me what I need (safely here to me), I will have to build a simple time travel circut to get where I need myself. I am going to need an easy to follow picture diagram for a simple time travel circut, which can be built out of (readily available) parts here in 2003. Please email me any schematics you have. I will pay good money for anything you send me I can use Or if you have the rechargeable AMD dimensional warp generator wrist watch unit available, and are 100% certain you have a (secure) means of delivering it to me please also reply. Send a separate email to me at: info@federalfundingprogram.com.

   Do not reply back directly to this email as it will only be bounced back to you.

   Thank You.
   gateqvpiwj

-- This could be the either the worst e-mail scan ever, or something I really need to forward to government authorities.

   And the last one for today ... well, I'll just put the picture up.


-- Thank you and good night.

   • Well, today was the big day. The true sports coming-out party. And as somebody guessed, it wasn't at the GHO.

Camp Brings Big Buildup ... And A Little Letdown
-- You can always tell it's going to be a good day when you're standing outside in a rain that going sideways.

   The things I learned being a member of the press at training camp:

   1) Dress? Casual. A Dockers shirt, slacks and nice shoes are more than not necessary ... I'd sort of thought this going in, given the weather and that it was just training camp, but figured I'd err on the safe side. Err being the key word when it's a quarter to 10 and your pants are soaker up to your hip.

   2) Buy a recorder. I always held off doing this is college, because I was able to serviceably transcribe and just put down what I thought I'd use. But there's just too much to get down now, and it's delivered too fast. Especially considering how cheap they're getting, it's likely well worth the money, if only so one can cncentrate better on what's being said.

   3) Media Camaraderie. There's a definite chemistry between the members of the media, though there are soft lines between certain media outlets -- it's not violent dischord, just in the same vein as you wouldn't give true dating tips to the other guy pursuing the girl you're after. I was very lucky in that the main Pats writer for our paper, Dan Pires, is one of these people who has a repore with everyone and thus introduced me to about three-quarters of the Boston press corps.

   4) I could theoretically do this. Obviously, I'm nowhere near the talent level of people who cover the Patriots on a daily basis. And I'm not going to be getting the opportunity right away. But for as otherworldly an idea as it seems, I really could do sportswriting and be absolutely serviceable at it for years to come.

   A ringing endorsement, I know, but after eating lunch with men who could write me off a balcony, everything has to be measured.

   In an unrelated note, South Boston is lovely this time of year. Even lovelier while Meg is still in it.


July 23, 2003 - (Re)Branded
   As much as I hate to congratulate the University of Massachusetts for anything, especially after they seriously considered dropping the Minutemen as their nickname in favor of friggin' Gray Wolves, their newly-designed logos are absolutely top notch:

New UMA Logos
-- A full collection of the logos is available off a link here.

   It definitely beats what I thought would have been a fitting logo for the university's athletic teams ... a picture of Rhett smashing the Mullins Center.

Rhett Relief
-- Just imagine if it was the more-powerful hockey Rhett!

   • For whatever reason, I could not sleep last night ... waking up at 4:45, 6:40, 7:25 and 8:15 just has a way of depressing a person well beyond whatever had them before. But because the story arc of that is pretty much now expended, I decided to get off my ass and complete the first piece of the 'vegas.' smorgasbord for which you all clamor.

   Ladies and gentlemen, the excessive number of pictures!

Casino Royale Success
-- The trip's big win!

Vegas In July

http://www.imagestation.com/album/?id=4289650279
[Login using CoochWorld/CoochWorld]

   Please bear in mind that my four sixes, a real rarity in video poker, paid out a tremendous $12.50 because it was a nickel machine. Given that was the highlight, perhaps you're no longer wondering why the writeup is taking a little longer than hoped.

   Thursday is another excuse, but one with a hopefully happier ending.


July 22, 2003 - Thursday's The Day
   Though I plan on sending out things more personal than this, I want to thank all of the legitimate flood of people who have sent me messages to see how I'm doing, or just to say "Hello, I know what you're going through." It means more than you may even know.

   Programming Note: I was up way too late on Monday night, transfixed by a documentary called Sons of Saddam on the History Channel. Imagine my surprise this evening when, coming in from a long day at the golf course ...

SONS DEAD
-- CNN.com

TWO DOWN, ONE TO GO!
-- Drudge Report

SHOPPING SPREE
-- ESPN.com? Well, they did technically have the story.


   • You know them, you love them, it's another golf round recap.

Hole
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
OUT
Yards
123
463
384
190
235
393
326
364
345
2823
PAR
3
5
4
3
4
4
4
4
4
35
Cooch
4
7
7
4
5
5
4
5
4
45
• Hawthorne CC - Dartmouth, Mass. •
Hole
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
IN
Yards
153
441
395
177
259
370
334
347
356
2832
PAR
3
5
4
3
4
4
4
4
4
35
Cooch
4
5
5
6
6
6
4
4
6
46
PAR 70
91, 21 OVER PAR
5655 YARDS
Birdies: 0 - Pars: 5 - Bogeys: 7 - Others: 6
Fairways Hit: 4 of 14 - Greens In Regulation: 4 of 18 - Putts: 35

   To keep it simple, private courses tend to have fast greens. Fast greens tend to result in shots rolling off greens and into fringe, making for tough lag putts. Averaging a infintessimal under a two putt per green means one will not be breaking 90 like they always seem to do.

And playing the last six holes with the club pro, after I'd gone in the woods and contracted West Nile virus in the swarm found there? Yeah, that went well.


   Anyway, I'm back in New Bedford. I've now had a stomachache for going on three days, and it doesn't show any signs of abating any time soon. A lot of it probably had something to do with coming back here, because as much as I enjoy my job, and as much as I know I need to just suck it up and go on, this is a solitary place for me.

   The downside of living by onesself.

   I really feel like my move to sports is going to change this some ... they seem a group of people more willing to do things together outside the office, just because of the more specific shared interests. You can work in news/editorial and not really care as much about what you're reading ... you almost need to care about sports to be your best there.

   Given I spent most of today golfing with two of my coworkers, I may be on to something.


   Living for the weekend has just been a way of life for me here. I can't fault anyone for not coming to New Bedford, as as nice as my apartment is, it's not really near a whole lot of things that would be a good way to spend time. I've sepnt many a weeknight here just telling myself that soon I'd be able to go out and have fun. Soon I'd be able to go see Meg, and that at least I still had her.

   I live just a five-minute walk from where I work. The only way my commute is hectic is if I hit green lights on the four streets I have to cross. My apartment, for what it costs, is an absolute steal. But I just don't know if I can stay here in the face of everything else going on in my life. I never tried to get a single room in college because I knew I was the kind of personality who'd just be content to spend night after night in it ... and that took into account I was minutes from some of my closest friends in the world in a city where there never stops being something to do.

   In my mind, a bad roommate was always better than no roommate at all. An option I don't even have here ... unless, given this is a 1BR, I find someone willing to move into my bed. And I'm most certainly not looking for that right now.

   I'm not really sure where I'm going with all this ... it's the kind of thing that a year from now, I'll look back on these updates, these weeks, and marvel at how everything seemed to work itself out.

   Of course, given one of the only true classic works I've ever read is Candide, you really wouldn't think I'd be that kind of optimist.


July 21, 2003 - After
   The following was printed with my column in Tuesday's Standard-Times:

Sports Editor's Note
Jon Couture has been moonlighting as a sports columnist for the past year while working on the night copy desk, but as of this week he became a full-fledged member of the sports department. We look forward to seeing his face on these pages on a more frequent basis, and think you will too.

British Open Breeds Cinderellas
-- Conveniently and oddly enough, the ABC TV signal can be easily picked up on 87.7 FM in Southeastern New England. Sure, a TV feed without pictures is tough to follow, but you can always get by.

   I apologize in advance for what's going to follow this disclaimer. I have always maintained that my main reason for doing this, even beyond the entertainment purpose it seems to serve for roughly 53 of you, is for myself. Some days it's self-esttem building, others it's theraputic. This could be a combination of the two.


   • The astutue among you will notice there is no update for July 20, 2003. And there never will be either ... a first over the two-year plus history of the site. In the grand scheme of things this fact barely makes a ripple, but in context, that gesture serves as both a tribute and a sign that I really have no desire to remember the day of July 20, 2003.

   The long of it being that at roughly midnight, just as the new work week was technically dawning, I had one friend so drunk he couldn't walk down my upstairs hallway, another collapsed in my brother's bedroom on a sleeping bag and a third asleep on a couch he'd just puked on wearing clothes he had also puked on.

   The short of it being on top of that, Meg had hours before delivered me the double news of her impending move back to California and the end of our relationship.


   First, I'm OK. I thank those of you who took the time to ask me today, and those of you who have shown genuine concern ove me in the past ... thinking about the massive number of people around me who I can truly call my friends, and how I can never in any way express my gratitude to them, does honestly bring tears to my eyes. Understand I'm not OK, that I'm completely crushed and have a just ceaseless ache in my stomach, but having just recently seen The Pianist, I can never with a clear conscience think that my life is really all that horrible.

   To those people who were just casual acquaintences of the two of us, this was not out of the blue. Speaking from my own perspective, the amount of time we got to spend together was the culprit, and when you combine that with her decision to go home to her family, there really was no reason to go on. I spent a good portion of today just trying to find things to be angry at, with my work schedule (and how it was changed to Mon-Tue off for a four-month swing) the main result, but really that's not going to get me anywhere.

   Honestly, the hardest part of this for me is the feeling that I'm losing my best friend. With no disrespect meant to anyone, since the day I've met her, Meg has been the one perosn I know who I've always felt like I could telling anything to at any time. More than any other, she was the person I could jsut go visit and, even if we didn't do anything worth mentioning, it would still be an enjoyable time. To just sit and talk with someone so beautiful, yet so intelligent, eloquent and blunt at the same time ... there are many I know who fit some of the traits, but she was always the only person I know who met them all so well.

   It's just sadistically funny that on the same day I'm ready to embark on my "new" job, what could theoretically be the start of something I thought I'd have to work my whole career to get to, I have to prepare myself to say goodbye to the girl I've loved more than any other. Yet that job, the one which I've internally sought for so long, is now further tying me to here at a point in my life where I just feel myself saying, "You're young. You should be exploring the country, exploring the world. This is your chance."

   And yet I can't, which may really be for the best.

   I just can't make that clean break. I can't make it from New England just I can't make it from Meg even if I wanted too. She has changed me in so many ways for the better, made me realize so many things about myself that I never really knew, there's not a portion of my life, personality or being that she hasn't her fingerprints on. My trips across the country and the Canaries to my online bank account, my diet to my clothes. She's everywhere a part of me, and I can't help but feel I let her down in that aspect vice versa.

   I could sit here for days and think of the ways I let Meg down. I readily admit I just took her being there for granted over the last few months, and as hard as I tried to let her know how special she is, I'll just never feel like I truly did enough. So I'm not going to do that here ... instead, I want to say something to those out there who want so badly to have someone special, it seems to dominate almsot everything they do.

   I'm not going to lie to you ... a truly special relationship makes both people far happier and far ore fulfilled than they could ever be singly. But no matter how long you have been dating someone, and how content you are, never forget that the bond you've forged is something as special and as brittle as any precious metal. When you do find someone, and I do believe there is a match out there for every person, never forget those nights you spent wondering when you would. Always say what you feel, what you think, what you want. Just never leave anything unsaid. And never stop working to make sure the other person just knows how much you care about them, through action and through words.

   Because otherwise, the day will come where you'll only realize what you had because it's gone.


July 19, 2003 - Vague Like A Wiffle Fastball
   This Picture Of The Moment takes on a bit more political bent that the usual, but it just struck me as something that needed to be discussed:

Ich bien ein posterboard.
Protesters wag, and a thirve signs and shout slogans across the street from a Houston hotel where President Bush was attending a fund-raising event Saturday in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

   I'll even give this woman that you could equate George W. Bush to a man who attempted to exterminate every Jew in the world. If you're angry enough to start calling the President of the United States "Fuhrer," I would think smiling while you're doing it is among the least convincing persuasion methods.

   Course what do I know ... I also think the following is ludicrous:

   HAKONE, Japan (AP) -- British Prime Minister Tony Blair persevered with his Asian tour Saturday despite the apparent suicide of a weapons expert snared in controversy over Britain's case for war in Iraq.

   "Have you got blood on your hands, prime minister? Are you going to resign over this?" a British reporter shouted at a tense news conference following a summit between Blair and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.


   Yes, jackass. Because if he had the guy killed, he's gonna tell you.


   • It's the end of many eras. Route 666, on which I once traveled, is ceasing to be ... having its name changed to Route 491. Jan Ullrich is sitting poised to end the Lance Armstrong era at the Tour de France. And, after roughly 58 weeks, I cleaned out my cubicle tonight at The Standard-Times.

   Now's the point when people who haven't read the updates before this start scratching their head and wondering how I'm taking it so well.

   When I return to Whale City, I've got a new job ... something I'll be immersed in within 72 hours, as you'll soon see. With all the talk and the parties, it hasn't seemed real yet. And it hasn't been ... but now it is.

   I just hope that's the only era ending this weekend.


July 18, 2003 - On Cussing And The French
   In a continuing effort to be the most French country in the world, France has decided to ban usage of the word "e-mail," instead officially making the word they'll use "courriel" -- a combination of "courrier electronique," or "electronic mail."

   I have no problem with the French defending their language from the invading forces of ze English. In a way, it's kind of noble. But then in another ... well, what other country could this urban legend be circulated about and have it be believed? What other government would go make an "official" change in the language just to defend their nation's honor?

   Exactly. Now eat your freedom fries.


   • The greatest domain on the Internet is now active ... ladies and gentlemen, dontbethatguy.org.

"What is this? You're going to wear the shirt of the band
you're going to see? Don't be that guy."
-- Droz from PCU, now finally coming on DVD.

   Though at least if you continue to choose to be that guy, you still won't be this guy, who's a bona-fide piece of merde.


July 17, 2003 - Prowling
   Here's to drinks with your coworkers and finding out things that, well, things that should never be found out about anyone. We're talking old bachelor party stories and hot oil enemas, people.

   Yeah.

   About The British Open: There's essentially zero chance that Greg Norman will win The Open this week despite his 2-under 69 today. Still, it's nice to remember when he was the dominant force on the PGA Tour and, a young golfer myself, I tried to dress like him. Right down to the big straw hat.

   And of course I say "used to" in the sense that I haven't worn those loud shirts at all this week.


   • I've gotten my first assignment on the sports desk, coming one week from today. With that in mind, it's time for some more good writing ... the Spam Of The Day:

Subject: We F___ Goats, DOgs, Snakes, Chicken's, and more exotic animals! SEE IT NOW!!!
Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2003
From: zoo-hardcore-f___1109@europe.com
To: Me!

   Huge Zoo Sex Archive FEATURING NEW ANIMAL SEX Models!!! This week BEST animal model: Snake "Gangbang". Our hot Lesbians like to play with each other and with snake. The beautifull Dorthe, and Betty are having some damn hot lesbian snake sex!!! Increadiable video!

   Young beatifull Betty and Christiana like extreme horse sex very much! We get some great extreme close ups, where the girl really puts the horse cock up the tiny pussy. And fucks the horses brains out. Christiana is one of the best horse cock suckers we have ever seen. WANNA SEE?

   GREAT NEW VIDEO features 3 great looking chicks. They fucking and sucking goats and horses. The movie starts with 2 Girls having hot sex with a goat, sucking some goat knot first, and after that one of the girls fuck the goat. Next scene is horse fucking, with our star Linsay, she sure can fuck a horse. SEE COMPLETELY FUCKED HORSE HERE!!!

   Two great looking ladys Kimmie and Rikke are young lesbians and zoo-sex lovers! Kimmie is one of the youngest girls in the animal porn industry. First the girls have fun with fish & eels, then it's time to fuck and suck the dog - and each other!

   REALLY AMAZING ANAL ZOO Sex is here!!! First time you can see such video!!! 2 dogs fuck 2 young girls in their tiny assholes! It is painful but extremely pleasant!!! CLICK HERE TO SEE IT!!!

   LOOK at this young girl with amazing body. She loves to suck. She can suck animal cocks 24hours/day. Horse cock, dog cock - doesn't matter, she can suck and fuck ALL kind of cocks!!! SEE it now!

   AND this girl can't decide what it is she wants fish or dog. We caught her trying to find out. It looks like the fish is giving her something she never had before... She just Loves it!!! And take a look at this big over sized dog cock. It just glides right up in her and finds her soft spot... no more to be said, just enjoy! SEE IT HERE!!!

   And it is just a little part of our members area!!! We offer:

   - New episodes every Week!
   - Unique pictures and videos
   - Thumb-nailed Pictures
   - High-Quality Videos
   - Download or Stream Videos

   We Fuck Goats, Snakes, Chicken's, and more exotic animals, than any other site on the net. VISIT US NOW!!!

   2000+ Beast Stories And Guides just uploaded. READ IT NOW!!!

   It's a very convincing argument they've constructed, trying to appeal to everyone. If the mysterious "WANNA SEE?" doesn't get you, you'd be hard-pressed to refuse the "SEE it now!" and the "SEE IT HERE!!!"

   Seriously though ... when we're talking about having sex with a horse, is there really any situation where the adjective extreme wouldn't apply?

   And I'm pretty sure I could have died peacefully and fulfilled without ever having read the phrase "goat knot."


July 16, 2003 - Break's Over
   Hunting For Bambi: I came across this story as this story, the feature on KLAS's 11 O'Clock News. A great deal about my trip can probably be weaned from my watching the 11 O'Clock News one night, but that's not what we're here about.

   We're here to shoot naked women with paintballs.

   The thing I found odd, the thing I found just so 'Vegas' about the story was from the reporter -- round here, you just don't usually hear reporters openly opining about the "submissive types" who'd be into something.

   Equal Opportunity: Lisa would like to share this gentleman with everyone. Lisa being a graduate of UMass Dartmouth, who according to Niedziela just got some press on The Tonight Show.

   On The ESPYs: After watching Jamie Foxx's hosting involve talking like Snoop Dogg and wearing nut-hugging shorts, I'm reminded of what was written a couple years back about the show: If it was anything more than a sad parody and a self-congratulatory pat on the back, it'd be getting broadcast on ABC by now.


   • It's a common complaint by baseball fans that each team must have a representative on the year's All-Star Team. In the past decade or so, it has led to clear non-Stars getting playing time in what's supposed to be a shocase of the game's best.

   That changed this year, what with the expansion of the rosters to 32 players and the seeming urge to actually play the game to win it.

   The numbers seem to bear this out.

Team
W Pct.
Stars
Plyd
Team
W Pct.
Stars
Plyd
NYY
.613
5
5
ATL
.656
7
5
BOS
.591
3
1
PHI
.565
1
1
TOR
.516
3
3
MON
.521
1
1
BAL
.451
1
1
FLA
.516
3
2
TB
.348
1
0
NYM
.430
1
0
HOU
.532
1
1
KC
.554
2
0
STL
.521
5
5
CWS
.479
3
2
CHC
.500
2
1
MIN
.473
1
1
CIN
.462
1
1
CLE
.436
1
0
PIT
.451
1
0
DET
.272
1
0
MIL
.398
2
1
SF
.606
2
2
SEA
.624
5
5
ARI
.553
1
1
OAK
.581
4
3
LA
.527
3
2
ANA
.533
3
3
COL
.515
3
2
TEX
.409
2
2
SD
.365
1
1
Each team played 26 players. Through injuries and replacements,
the NL had 35 All-Stars to the AL's 34.

   So in the end, the six last-place teams had just eight All-Stars, with four of them (TB's Lance Carter, DET's Dmitri Young, NYM's Armando Benitez and MIL's Geoff Jenkins) not playing at all.

   And it's hard to argue with playing two Texas Rangers, when one is a bonafide superstar and the other won the game.

   The three teams with the best records (ATL, NYY, SEA) each had five players play, as did St. Louis, despite their being eight teams with better or equal records than them who had less. Of special recognition are first-place Kansas City, whose two stars didn't play; Philadephia, whose one star just pitched a single inning; and Houston, who got just one star despite leading St. Louis at the break.

   Being who I am and where I am, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the Red Sox having the Majors' fifth-best record, yet getting just one player in the game late (even if the team's only starter was injured). Course lest we forget that going into last year's ASB, the Sox were cruising along at .612 and had eight All-Stars.

   Yeah, that all worked itself out.


July 15, 2003 - Forty Degrees Cooler
   On The All-Star Game: As much as I had come out against MLB's "decision" to tie home-field advantage to the Midsummer Classic, if it produces games where the starters play past the fourth and the necessary Pirate, Devil Ray, Tiger, Met and Indian don't see a second of PT, sign me up.

   Though I'm sure the league office is overjoyed that neither 32nd Man, after all the fanfare, spent the night on the bench.

   Equal Opportunity Card-Play: With all the right-wing poker players designing new decks to keep themselves occupied, it was only a matter of time before someone drew up George W. as the Joker.


   • When a person returns from Vegas, the only thing anyone wants to know is "So, how'd you do?" In that vein, and because I don't want to delve too deeply into what will eventually reside here as the Vegas write-up, allow me to be as succinct as possible.

   If things had gone any worse on the tables and machines, or if my trip had lasted even a day longer, I might have eaten Charlie for the cash and food value.


July 10-14, 2003 - Viva!
   The following was written somewhere over Iowa on Thursday night, as I attempted to kill time after my purchased copy of RedEye had exhausted its usefulness:

   • It could just be that I've got way too many things on my mind right now, regarding my future and some of the very important people in it, but I wouldn't list "excitement" as the correct check box on my emotional state right now.

   Vegas is so many things to so many different people -- just a place to revel in all things sinful, to do the things you'd never do anywhere else -- there's a good chance a dork like me, traveling with another dork like me, could be rubbed the wrong way by all of it. That the heat and the hookers and the endless, endless train of fake people and debaucherous behavior could just me shut down, unwanting and unwilling to cope.

   Or I could end up buying a piece in a time share.

   All I know is I don't know what's gonna happen. And that this plane better land soon, because just writing about it has me hoping to see that oasis in the desert sooner rather than later.


July 9, 2003 - Becoming One Of The Vultures
   'vegas.' Update: Sadly, weather.com's Las Vegas forecast is now predicting it will not be 114 degrees during my time in the city. Temperatures will top out at 113 degrees on Saturday, with Friday's predicted high plummeting to a chilling 112 degrees.

   Actually, I bet 112 will be a little chilling, but more in a "I have heatstroke because I'm walking the Strip to take pictures of all the hotels" kind of way.

   Also, thanks to weather.com for pointing out one of the cruelest town names in American history. I'll have to remember this place for Coast To Coast 2: The Search For More Stuckey's.


   • Nobody fret. Soon the Vegas talk will creschendo, reaching true overload about two weeks after I return and have gotten all my writing uploaded, and then it will fade to anecdotes and inside jokes.

   Replaced with chatter about my new job, which for sports fans and even somewhat for non-sports fans, could make these daily updates rather interesting.

   Once I really get into the swing of my transfer to the sports department, I'll probably never work five nights a week in the office ever again. This has it's own ramifications to note, among them being I could likely easier stomach a move to a place more than five minutes from the office, but we won't get into that here. Suffice to say I'm looking at 3-4 nights doing pages and editing every week, which really isn't bad.

   As it was put to me tonight, my optimum week under my new job would be the above, plus 1-2 columns and a feature every week. If just out of necessity and sanity, this'll probably get a lot of the idle sports chatter out of these updates and into the paper, which really probably is a better place for it. Of course, I'll have to try to be even more immersed in sports to garner material, which probably means I'll end up in the press box of both the Sox and the Patriots before the year is out.

   Yeah, that got my ears perked too. My first goal in this vein, because Tony Robbins encourages us to repeatedly set new goals for ourselves, is to attend the Patriots-Giants game of October 12 and ask Jeremy Shockey a question so stupid, he dropkicks me in the chest.

   This is not for lawsuit purposes or anything like that, of course. Just so that every time I watch a Giants game for the rest of his career, I can smile knowing my chest has a divot in it taken by #80.


   Of course, the transition isn't going to be all Peaches & Herb. Sports works on a much more flexible schedule, so my newly-gelled drinking subset of the Posse may have to learn to a moving weekly trip to The Hangar *. The actual nights on the desk will likely be several times more hectic, between having to write and paginate on some night, having double to triple the workload of a normal news night on others, and the more-than-possible possibility that there will be nights where I'm in charge.

   Talking to Jon -- my new boss -- about it, my understanding is that this move was made for a lot of reasons, but the main one of them being there are people who matter at the paper who feel like I have a lot more that I can offer in this new position. The upside (or as a pessimist would view it, the nihilistic downside) is now, I must offer it.

   But let there be no doubt among you -- no matter what happens, wherever I may move, whenever I may work, whatever I may cover, this Web site isn't going anywhere. Especially if I remember to renew the domain soon. And especially, especially because who else would tell you way too much about my trip to Vegas?

   The correct answer to this could only be my travel partner Charlie, though given the only thing he's so far said he really needs to do out there is eat a 99-cent jumbo hot dog from Slots-A-Fun, I wouldn't hold my hopes real high.

   * - There are so many things I could say about The Hangar, most notably Jen's longstanding adoration of it, that they literally have the largest chicken wings I've seen and that they serve tequila shots in empty oil drums, but I think the one that best gets the point across is that we've been driving 30 miles without hesitation to go there.


July 8, 2003 - Del Transfer
   'vegas.' Update: According to weather.com, here's the forecast for my time in Sin City:

Thursday: Sunny, high 112, low 80.
Friday: Sunny, high 114, low 82.
Saturday: Sunny, high 113, low 82.
Sunday: Partly cloudy, high 110, low 82.
Monday: Sunny, high 109, low 80.

   I'm just glad those clouds are gonna clear out before we have to fly home. I hate flight delays.

   Jay Weighs: Seeing a Photoshop contest that reminded him of a previous CW bitchfest, Jay sent along a link to this piece of "Fun With Propaganda":

South, Stalin, It's All The Same
-- See the rest of the contest here.

   For a split second, I thought about Photoshopping myself with an In-N-Out Burger in my hand. And then I realized I could just eat one ... IN 48 HOURS.

   [ Between this and my quest to finally eat Del Taco, I may end up two-seating the flight back. ]

   Hangovers: I never used to get them, but now I do. The whole update was going to be about this, and how it's a shame I can't write a fun drunken update anymore. But then the workplace bomb got dropped. And no, it's not that.


   • As it was phrased to me, "I've been traded."

   The crux of it all is that in about two weeks -- July 20 being the initially said date, though details are yet to be ironed out -- I am officially being transferred from the Editorial (read: News) Department to the Sports Department. At that same time, one of the people in Sports will be switched to my current job, thus the trade analogy.

   For a glimpse into how my mind works, my initial reaction to this announcement was honestly, "Damn. Now I'm going to lose the best cubicle in the office!" As though that was going to be the most serious of the changes.

   While the jobs are somewhat similar, there are some subtle differences. I'll now be on a full-time 4 to midnight schedule, with the possibility that I won't have the same days off each week. The important part of the switch, though, is that my job description will now officially include writing, as opposed to being strictly copy editing and page design.

   As it was told to me, and I have no reason to doubt anything or anyone, our Sports Editor has been trying to get this switch made for a long time, as both he and the Managing Editor feel I'm much better used in a position where I write. And really, as much as I've improved as a straight copy editor, I tend to think that in the end, this is probably the best thing to be done with me for everyone involved.

   The words "talented" and "coveted" were thrown around in my regard, so I'm told, but if they were actually made in the same sentence as my name, it had to be something like, "In-N-Out is talented at making burgers ... Jon Couture has coveted them for a long time."


   It was apparently believed by most other than my current boss Fred that this was an announcement that would immediately send me into cartwheels across the newsroom floor. And I'm not going to deny I'm excited by the prospects of it all, or that it's now crystal clear that there are people at the S-T who think I really have my poo together. It's just all too new right now, and there's too much still undecided for me to be overjoyed yet.

   I like what I do now, and I like the people that I work with on the news desk. I like reading the wires and getting to do page one once or twice a week. I have reached a point, after 13 months on the job, that I'm nearly completely comfortable with everything I could be asked to do on the news desk, and to be moved is essentially asking me to completely start over again.

   And at the same time, had it been presented to me as a choice versus something that had already been decided, I know that choosing to stay on the news desk would have just left me wondering what I passed on for possibly the rest of my career.

   When I was in kindergarten, I was given the opportunity to leave my class and study reading with a first-grade class. It wasn't unprecedented, but it wasn't exactly something your average kindergartener at Robinson Park Elementary got the chance to do every day.

   I said no, both because I didn't want to leave my class and because I was, and still am a bit, a shy kid. Every so often, I'll wonder whether anything in my schooling would have turned out any different if I had done it ... the obvious answer being "no," but it's just a comparison that seems rather comparative here.

   Well, no it isn't, but you get the point.


July 7, 2003 - Steady Only In One Sense
   Congrats to both my grammar cop Sly and my lovely girlfriend Meg for noting the other errors in yesterday's copy editor posting from The Republican. Admittedly, I'd only noticed two of the three on the first read, with "appy" being the most egregious ... history has shown you're both the better people in this regard.

   Finally: After a weekend of sub-par championship events at Wimbledon, the three-way playoff at the U.S. Women's Open was well worth watching ... all three players birdied the final hole, with Hilary Lumke winning the title by a single shot over Alison Stanford.

   It should be noted that I, a long-time golfing choke artist, can drive the ball further than the U.S. Women's Open champion.

All For Nothing
-- And at the very least, watching the golf was a nice diversion
from having to watch the baseball nonstop.

   • I bought a tripod today.

   And since I followed that purchase with roughly seven beers, I'm going lie down.


July 6, 2003 - Musicaly Incined
   The Wimbledon Men's Final: So yeah, that was real exciting, wasn't it? "Outclass" may not even be a strong enough word for what Roger Federer did to Mark Philippoussis ... he entered full-out "eviscerate" territory.

   I guess sometimes words just aren't enough, as this job posting proves:

Accuracy: Ann Abbsolute Muste.

   In the paper's defense, I'm sure they were just trying to show they'd be the perfect newspaper for a copy editor like me.


   • By design, music can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Take, for example, this chick anthem quinella my scanning ears heard as I drove through Providence today:

   Christina Aguilera, "Beautiful": Many, Matt Bruce among them, have fallen in love with this anthem. And it is a beautiful song, latched to by many people who have been called "weird," who have questioned whether they belong in this society, or who have just had days where they've had to take the slongs and arrows of a'holes. Most notable among these groups, if the song's music video is any evidence, are homosexuals and ugly people. And hey, homosexuals and ugly people can have an anthem in modern society.

   And yet, my mind can't help straying when I hear these lyrics:

I am beautiful no matter what they say
Words can't bring me down
I am beautiful in every single way
Yes, words can't bring me down
So don't you bring me down today

   Mentally, I wander to the stage of Jenny Jones or Ricki Lake, with Xtina standing in the center of the stage before hundreds of catcalls and fist pumps. With her hair blown out in a Lady Marmalade-esque poof, and her body wrapped in a golf towel as it was at the MTV Awards, I see her screaming to the crowd as she waves her hand, "I am beautiful! No matter what all y'all say!"

   "Words can't bring me down," in this argument, is shorthand for "You don't know me! Y'all don't know me!," as "So don't you bring me down today" is shorthand for "I look good! Look at y'all!" But I feel like the point still stands.

   Meredith Brooks, "Bitch": Maybe it wasn't this song that did it, in fact it almost definitely wasn't, but there's a belief that a girl being a bitch is a good thing. You know, what many call a bitch is actually a powerful, independent woman, the kind of authority that keeps me, as a man, awake at night. The kind that I pray is never my manager in a job enviromnent, because I'd have all I could not to sexually harass her, to be insubordiante and not respect her, both, never neither.

   Uh huh.

   All I hear is a song, from beginning to end, which says we must accept that all women are emotional trainwrecks who sway from irrationally pissed off to irrationally, unconsolably sad multiple times a day. And even if that's true for all women, which is isn't, I'm just curious who thought that was the kind of message they were trying to get across on the Lilith Fair.

   I realize the Lilth Fair was not named for Bebe Neuwirth's character on Cheers and Frazier, but you'd really think the tour organizers could have found another powerful female-friendly deity to name their summer tour after. Especially since you all though of the other Lilith the first time ... and if you didn't, you're probably a way-too-hardcore college bowler.

   Spice Girls, "Wannabe": I'm pretty sure the whole song is just a solicitation for anonymous group sex, so let's just move on.

   No Doubt, "Don't Speak": Really, this was never an anthem song for anyone, but it just seemed to fit given the lead singer is also a woman. It just seems weird to me that the message of "Just A Girl" was "Hey, I'm a girl, I'm going to come to your house while you're sleeping to kick your ass," then two singles later it's "WAAAH! ::Sob sob::, don't talk to me, ::sniffle::, I miss you too much!"

   But perhaps even odder is that last three songs in this list were part of a station's tribute to the "Top 12 of 1997." Seriously, look at this list. What the hell were we thinking?! The first song on that list that truly stands the test of time is MmmBop, and that's only because it's like a bus crash on staff paper.


July 5, 2003 - The Poker Knows
   Today's Quote Ripped Completely Out Of Context:

"Two weeks later Becky, of Argyle Road, still finds sleeping difficult and is getting fed up with people joking about the holiday recharging her batteries."
-- Not even I am a big enough jackass to make fun of someone who was struck by lightning. Even if she was zapped through her stupid facial piercings.

   That Said ...: Venus Williams has the oddest hair I've ever seen on a woman. She looks like she's balded halfway to her brain stem, and when she scratches her head, it all moves like she's wearing a badly attached toupee.

Venus, Papparazzi.
-- "The London Egg Dome" or "Bald Like Me." Take your pick.

   And really, she's made more than a million dollars in prize money this year alone ... if she's going to take snapshots after her matches, don't you think a digital camera would be a good investment?


   • Those who know me should know I'm a big believer in fate ... you know, everything happens for a reason.

   I acutally woke up early this morning specifically to see the latest Serena-Venus tilt. Wimbledon's the one tennis event that really gets me going, and I figured the sisters would put on a nice little battle for me to enjoy with my cereal and banana.

   They didn't. Oh crackers, they didn't. I won't deny it was at times compelling to watch, but given the first set was Venus winning because her sister was leaking hydraulic fluid all over the grass, then the last two sets were Serena trying to delicately defeat her clearly injured sister, it was entertaining more along the lines of "two pathetic drunks fighting in the street," as opposed to "two world class athletes giving it everything they have."

   I have high hopes for the gentlemen's final on Sunday, since I really doubt Federer will be as sharp as he was against Andy Roddick, who he'd beaten handily in their three previous meetings, and I think Philippoussis will play like he knows he may never get this chance again, given how wide open his protion of the draw flew (aside from Agassi).

   This has been Tennis Talk, written specifically so Vito's scanning eyes hit something he knows.


   Anyway, I channel-flipped after the match, since the fact that I played doubles does not mean I could ever watch doubles. And what do I find on the ESPN family of networks?

   The 1998 World Series of Poker, "live" from Las Vegas! There's a couple hours I'll never hear from again.

   When that was over, with Scotty Nguyen winning the title over some guy who's a crossbreed of Matt Hypho and my old friend Josh Trudell from the Nashua Telegraph, I began flipping to find the Red Sox-Yankees game. I never made it though ... because what did I come across on the Travel Channel?

   The World Poker Tour's Five Diamond Classic, "live" from Las Vegas!

   As Shawn DeVeau would say it, five more wake-ups!


July 4, 2003 - Fourth Festivus
   The addition of Julie to the Posse page marks the first change there in more than a year. I'm not sure what that means, but I am sure the following is disgusting:

Takeru and his Weiners.
-- Takeru swells with pride ... and rancid pig intestines.

Takeru Kobayashi of Japan, right, poses with a tray of 44 1/2 hot dogs, the equivelant of what he ate during the 2003 Nathan's hot dog eating contest at the original Nathan's in Coney Island, N.Y. Kobayashi won his third-straight Nathan's title with his performance. (AP Photo)

   Given the American record of hot dogs eaten in twelve minutes was just set today at 30 1/2, and Kobayashi performances the last three years have run 49 1/2, 50 1/2 and 44 1/2, there's naturally questions of just what he's got that the other competitors don't ... especially since most outweigh him by 200-300 pounds.

   While Kobayashi says it's because he coats his stomach with aloe vera, and others have suggested his lack of fat lets his stomach expand more, there's always allegations he's surgically altered or taking performance-enhancing drugs.

   That's what led to this frightening quote.

"We don't need to test yet," said "Hungry" Charles Hardy, who ate 17 hot dogs and buns. "But when this becomes an Olympic sport, then we're going to have to do it."
-- He didn't say 'if,' kids. He said WHEN.

   • So, how was your Fourth, the cities of America? If you're Philadelphia, you had Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in town, to help open the new National Constitution Center. And you nearly killed her, along with Mayor John F. Street, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter.

   We won't even talk about the Phillies losing a game in which they allowed a measly three hits. It's not like we'd expect any better ... it's not like they're playing the Sox!

   Then there's New York. Along with celebrating the nation's birthday, the city was also celebrating George Steinbrenner, who turned a curmudgeonly 73 on the Fourth. And how did his team thank him? They gave up seven home runs, the most ever allowed to the visitors in Yankee Stadium.

   Stick that in your Righetti and smoke it.

   And then there's Boston. Not only did the Sox bludgeon the Yanks, if only for a day, a record 750,000 converged on the Charles River Esplanade for the day, to revel and to wait for the nationally-televised and annually-anticipated free show put on by the Boston Pops.

   After the show brought the crowd to its feet and the nation to its televisions, Boston treated the world to one of the most ambitious fireworks displays ever seen. And I quote, "Boston has long been viewed as the premier pyrotechnic experience among America's Fourth of July celebrations. The fireworks industry itself looks to Boston to lead the way."

   Don't buy it? Think I'm exagerrating? You tell me which city owns july4th.org.

   It's nice that for at least one day a year, we can all remember the things that brought us all to Boston in the first place.


July 3, 2003 - It Is What A Hamburger's All About
   In a continuing effort to provide you with mediocre computer wallpaper ...

Sox Take The Field
-- Taking the field for a 10-9 loss.

Sox-Marlins - 6.28.03

http://www.imagestation.com/album/?id=4289769889
[Login using CoochWorld/CoochWorld]

   There are definitely some pictures I'm proud of in this set, but since most of them are pictures of or for Matt, only he will thank me. Thank goodness the driving force of this site has ceased to be your encouragement, but the simple fact that I have nothing better to do.

   'vegas.' Update: One of the best-known free forms of entertainment at the Vegas resorts, the Buccaneer Bay pirate battle at Treasure Island will close Monday and stay dark until October 26, when a new show featuring busty chicks will take its place.

   Anyone wishing to try out for the new show is encouraged to do so by Cooch's World, with this bit from a press release emphasized:

"Dancing and singing candidates should come dressed in a body-conscious outfit
and bring heels. A picture and resume also are requested."
-- Hint: They do not mean a resume that looks like this.

   Those concerned that the loss of what would have been ten minutes I spent not gambling and outside could entirely ruin the trip need not worry. My discovery that there is an IN-N-OUT Burger just 0.91 miles from my hotel room has left me giddier than a cheerleader on a crystal meth binge.


   • Really, IN-N-OUT is to me what Krispy Kreme seems to be to the masses. I kid you not ... if an IN-N-OUT opened anywhere within about 100 miles of here, not only would I drive there immediately, I'd order about 17 Double-Doubles Animal Style and then lock myself in my car.

   Two things:

   a) I would also likely get fries. Maybe not 17 orders of fries, because that would just be overkill, but maybe 3-4 orders of fries. Some regular, some well-done ... all so I could ensure I would die upon completion of my meal.

   b) The fact that I don't even like hamburgers that much, and almost exclusively eat chickenstuffs at fast food joints, is completely irrelevant. I definitely didn't buy into the hype when Meg first took me there, but the discovery that there was an IN-N-OUT within a mile of my hotel was seriously the most exciting discovery I made in figuring out just what I want to do in Vegas.


   That was today's project ... compiling a large list of entertainment, restaurants, exhibits and whatnot that I'd like to see during my approximately 96 hours in the entertainment capital of the Mountain Time Zone.

   Among the things I discovered:

   • The Strip, from Mandalay Bay to Stratosphere, is 5.28 miles long. Width-wise, from say the Hard Rock to the Orleans, is about three miles.

   This is the one question I wanted answered, but couldn't find anywhere because it's irrelevant to people to shuttle/drive/cab everywhere. Though I now know why, since it would take me two dedicated, unwavering hours to walk its length.

   Just remember that when I attempt it anyway.


   • Of the traveling acts in town when I'm there, the only ones that actually interest me are Dennis Miller at Paris, Brad Upton at Excalibur and Anthony Cools at Stardust.

   Course, one has $65 tickets, another takes place at the same hotel where people go to swoon over Wayne Newton and the third is at friggin' Excalibur. It's the battle of which venue could suck less.

   • Tickets to Siegfried & Roy's show at The Mirage are $110.50. I'm all for laughing at bad hair and being ironic, but $110.50?!

   I'm sorry, but for that price, they better have sex with one of the tigers onstage.

   It's things like this that make me look at the Lance Burton show at Monte Carlo and think, "Hmm ... $60.45? That's a pretty good deal!" All I know is if I'm paying anybody to see magic tricks in Vegas, it's gonna be this guy.

   • There's way too many good looking restaurants and buffets to ever be covered in a four-day trip, especially since I don't eat and I'll be having at least two meals at IN-N-OUT. I could very easily not gamble at all on this trip if I just ate meals at all the places I want to in the different casinos ... because I wouldn't be able to walk.

   Mexican food seems to be very big in Vegas, as do steakhouses. The first please me greatly, but the former ... I prefer my beef in ground patty form.

   • At Main Street Station in downtown Vegas, you can pee on a section of the Berlin Wall. I may just travel downtown to do this, because it will be the only situation in my entire life where it's OK to take a camera into the bathroom and have someone photograph me peeing.

   • Now I have to cheer for the Buffalo F'ing Sabres.

   OK, so it has nothing to do with Vegas. But we're dealing with Chris Drury here, and hockey royalty deserves that kind of play. A pox on the friggin' Flames ... thank goodness I never followed through on getting myself another jersey. And at least now I can get all my personal connections on the same team.

   All I know is Friday, the most significant thing I will do to celebrate the holiday is Page One of The Standard-Times ... and surf for pictures from the Nathan's Famous hot dog eating contest.

   Nice to see Orbitz spending their money wisely, sponsoring the broken scale used at the contest weigh-in. What's the matter gang? Just flinging it out your Benz's sunroof wasn't fast enough anymore?


July 2, 2003 - (D)Our Tim
   She's back. And, I pray, she'll be so for a very long time.

   Spam Of The Day: Whether it be trying to engage in questionable international bank transactions, selling a banned CD or just stealing cable TV from "The Man," spams encourage us to break the law every day.

   Most just aren't this direct about it.

Subject: FREE CHILD PORNO: www.russervice.cjb.net
Date: Wed, 2 Jul 2003
From: Webmaster [webmaster@russervice.cjb.net]
To: Cooch

   U can get from us:

   Drugs, Child Porno, Driver Licenses.

   Contact us for any unlegal services: www.russervice.cjb.net

   Best regards,
   boainfo@phreaker.net
-- Too bad for them some idiot is just wasting unlegal.com

   • Henmania is about over for the year, I think. You don't trail in a set 5-1, come back to tie it, then lose anyway.

   But on the plus side, the Brits are already problem drinkers ... so at least they know how to cope.

   I've decided some year I really need to go to Wimbledon -- it just strikes me as one of those ultimate sporting events that a person really needs to see once if they're parading around as a sports fan.

   And plus, it's an excuse to go back to London ... this time, I might even stay for more than seven hours.


July 1, 2003 - F.K.C.U.
   Full F'ing Disclosure: Looking in the S-T print edition, this week's column about the stupidity of "unwritten rules" got more play that nearly anything I've ever done -- not just a throw to let it run long, but a picture of Friday night's line score with a cutline specific to the piece. It's something I was very proud of, and something the editor was equally proud of.

   Which is why the factual errors in it kill me.

   The first was pointed out in the comments Tuesday by Sly, a closet trivia geek who noted the Tigers' manager in 1917 was Hughie Jennings, not Jenkins. Clearly my bad, as I played my own little game of telephone transposing it to a pad from the Internet, but one I could probably get away with since anyone who say Hughie Jennings manage the 1917 Tigers is at least 90 years old.

   The other, as e-mailed to me by a reader is just as inexcusable, but a lot more noticeable.

Subject: Unwritten Rules
Date: Tue, 1 Jul 2003
From: ______, Nicholas R. <____@BWSC.org>
To: jcouture@s-t.com

   Jon,

   Just to clarify a point in your article this morning. Robby Gordon passed his teammate Matt Kenseth for the lead racing back to the yellow, not Jeff Gordon who was third at the time. Great article.

   Nick ______

   Given I watched nearly all of the Sears Point race in question, I really deserve a good five between the eyes. Especially since the column was solid on all sides -- it's one thing to putz up something you scraped off the bottom of the pickle jar, but quite another to vomit on a bowl of caviar.

   Well, relative caviar.


   • And yet, great as it always is to hear from a reader I've never met, I think the following e-mail might be right up there with the highlights too:

Subject: Tampa Bay Devil Rays Partnership
Date: Tue, 1 Jul 2003
From: tickets@sbc-global.net
To: cooch@joncouture.com

   Hello,

   Would you be interested in exchanging links between our sites?

   I noticed that your site is the type of quality web-site containing Tampa Bay Devil Rays information that we would be interested in linking to. If you are interested, please reply to this email and I will be happy to discuss our link exchange requirements.

   Wishing you a great day and hope to here from you soon.

   Steve
   http://www.mlbschedule.net

   Allow me to gloss over all the "How did they find me?"s and "Why would they want my site?"s. The Devil Rays page in question currently has no links on it, which is enough to perk my ears alone.

   But to mention Tampa, a team I've maybe mentioned once in a non-derogatory sense, about a site that is clearly Boston-biased leads me to believe somebody needs to sharpen their targeted marketing filter. I think I've linked to Sarah Kozer's foot porn pics more times than I've discussed the Tampa Bay Double A's.

   Then again, maybe with a half-dozen mentions over the course of 26 months, I lead all Web sites in Tampa Bay talk.

   But On The Non-Sports Front: In America, we have the Lingerie Bowl, a pay-per-view football game played between teams of women in lingierie. In China, they censor the weather report.


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