July 29 - August 6, 2004 - O.C.ing Is Believing
   Nice To Come Home To: In the clusterfuck of junk mail sitting in my little box upon my return to Whale City -- which is depressing enough for its own italicized narrative -- was my application to be on this sports trivia show, which some of you have said I downright need to be on.

   I can't tell whether or not the "Not Box" scribble explanation for the Return To Sender was my fault, but suffice to say, that's a lot of wrist usage I won't ever be getting back.

   • Now then, while I was gone:

   -- John Kerry accepted the Democratic presidential nomination;
   -- the Red Sox traded Nomar Garciaparra for an order of nachos and a garbage bag;
   -- the Celtics traded for Gary Payton, a deal which I thought was awful until I read intelligent basketball talk;
   -- Rick James died, thus ruining the joke for the six Chappelle's Show fans who will make the connection;
   -- Charlie moved to Boston, in that he moved to Brookline or Allston or whatever;
   -- Roger Clemens was kicked out of his son's Little League game for being an asshole;
   -- Any number of other news stories ... you were awake, fill in the blanks.

   I care about more or less none of these things. I did not make any attempt to keep up with the news while I was on vacation, because I hate the news. I think I also may have decided I hate the Red Sox while I was gone ... not so much for anything they did, but because I spent the better part of 10 outstanding days not even really sure if they'd played the night before.

   By the way, I now both own an L.A. Dodgers hat and are aware they're 6.5 games up on the Padres despite having sold off their entire roster at the trading deadline. Combine that with the fact the Sox are 9.5 back, and this week's column could be a doozy on the Unintentional Comedy Scale.

   I have two other observations, neither of which have anything to do with what was easily the second best vacation I've ever had because the narrative will clear all that up.

   a) After America West showed Shrek 2 and pushed their "you've bought your ticket, now buy your dinner" marketing plan that had to seem better on paper, I pulled out the laptop to watch Thirteen Days, a thoroughly entertaining and generally accurate history of the Cuban Missile Crisis despite Kevin Costner's Boston accent sounding more like my Ted Kennedy, which is actually Mayor Quimby from The Simpsons, but so few seem to notice.

   The actual story is mind boggling. Pretty much everyone in his administration at one point or another wanted JFK to just bomb the crap out of Cuba -- his Joint Chiefs, Robert McNamara, even RFK sort of -- and yet, he went out of his way to find the peaceful solution. Granted he got lucky on a lot of counts, but their certainly wouldn't have been a whole lot of people shocked when, if presented with the same circumstances, that they chose to go to war too.

   You all know how I lean politically, but it's just a fun exercise to plug modern-day U.S. presidents into the same situation and see just how close we would have came to not even existing today.

   b) I'm pretty sure I hate all of your online journals. This isn't meant as an affront to any of you, and it's certainly not a reflection on you as people -- Instant Messenger and the Internet is not the way to analyze someone's personality, and it never will be. All I'm saying is it just boggles my mind at the absolute morbid level of banality that some people can put out there on a daily basis, and the impression they may have that anyone gives a fuck.

   It's also at times like these that I wonder just what exactly keeps people coming back here. Well, at least until I remember that I post a lot of pictures like this one.

I made the beer spell.
-- I made the beer spell. Aren't I cool.

   As you may have been able to tell, this entry was written under duress. What you likely didn't know is it's because it cost $128 to park in Logan Airport's ECONOMY lot for 10 days.

   It's hard to wish ill will on an organization, but I hope Massport gets a nasty case of rectal bleeding.

July 28, 2004 - Moving Out
   Today's "Not Right" Moment At The DNC: Though in a way, isn't this everything that's right about the convention?

-- Finally, the Dennis HAS COME BACK to BOSSSS-TON.

Congressman Dennis Kucinich from Ohio and former presidential candidate reacts to the delegation's applause after taking the stage during the third session of the Democratic National Convention at the FleetCenter in Boston on Wednesday. (Gary Hershorn/Reuters)

   Not exactly. Everything right about the convention boils down to The Daily Show being at BU all week, and Lewis Black here discussing touching himself in Warren Towers.

   Would now be a good time to repost that link to the Warren Towers porno? I didn't think so.

   • Now, most Bostonians are slowly going to make their way back to this end of the state in the next 48 hours.

   I have never been confused for most Bostonians.

-- I'm going back.

   Yes, it'll only be for three days, with the rest of the week spent in the L.A. area trying to decide if I really could take it on a daily basis.

   So yeah, have a nice week. If you see Kerry, let him know I think he's a leather handbag.

July 27, 2004 - Are We Up To A Celebrity "E" List?
   K.J. of the SLC: What makes a great Jeopardy! column about Ken Jennings aside from being a good writer to begin with? Actually having beaten Ken Jennings.

   It's fun to see where our pieces overlap, and also to see how much better a story can be when the writer has actual time to complete it. So it goes ... nice work by JQ.

   Defamer: I usually avoid celebrity news sites like the plague for a number of reasons that aren't important here, but it's nice to see the kids stepping up.

In its ruthless quest to sign up every 15-year-old voter in the country, the Dems trotted out The OC's Benjamin McKenzie, who (according to someone who watched the speech) told the crowd that he "didn't vote last time, but will this time."

   This, friends, is why they only show little bits of the convention on TV in prime time. You have to live in New England to get the full-time coverage, and even that is a little wacky.

   It is fun, however, to hold the hippie-crunchy-liberal chick stereotype up against the celebrity-vapid-hottie Democrat one. While the stereotypical Republican girl is a solid 8 on "the scale" across the board, the Democrats get more 10s, but also more 2s and 3s.

   Yes, these are the kinds of things I'd document with photos if I still lived in Boston. Instead, you get this.

Glove Sittin'
-- Just four guys from work ... sittin' in a glove.

   • Now, we've got a bunch of photos today, yet none of them dare compete for the DNC's "Not Right" Moment of The Day. We'll get to that later, however.

   Little something for everyone. First off, for the conservatives:

Moore Sandwich
-- Michael Moore discusses how much he ate for lunch.

Filmmaker Michael Moore speaks to a crowd at a gathering of the Campaign for America's Future event in Cambridge, Mass., on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

   Now, for the misogynists:

Howard Dean As Female
-- Hilary tries in vain to cup Mrs. Howard Dean's breast.

Sen. Hillary Clinton and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean embrace on stage during the Revolutionary Women Boston 2004 event on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

   And finally, for everyone except stupid AP caption writers:

Jerry Stiller And
-- As they put it, "Actor Jerry Stiller chats with a reporter following a forum about arts, education and the 21st century economy. Glorious

   The star of the day, however, has to be Boston.com's Celebrity Sightings pages. Never mind the fact they're essentially a stalker's journal ... some of the posts, if true, are comedy not even outshone by the brightest of silver and gold. And these are all just from the 1:30 p.m. update!

I saw Steven Seagal doing Yoga in the public gardens this morning. It was awesome.

I saw the "Muscles from Brussels," Jean-Claude Van-Damme with Steven Seagal on Newbury St.

I saw Joe Jaeger chatting with Omarosa of the Apprentice outside a FleetCenter event last night.

I saw Ric Flair having breakfast at the Seaport Hotel at about 10 a.m.

I saw Emanneul Lewis outside of Faneuil Hall. I tried yelling Webster but he was escorted by a friend of his.

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon eating Buffalo Chicken wraps and sharing a smoothie at The Wrap on Huntington Avenue on Tuesday at noon!

   I'm going to have to investigate this all further ... not only do I have no idea who Joe Jaeger is, Omarosa is not a celebrity. But more importantly, it's so hard to find someone who can make a good Buffalo Chicken wrap. The d'Angelo's people at the BU Student Union always put too much sauce in with the chicken, so about halfway through the thing would have leaked everywhere, and made the bottom chicken pieces too strong.

   Ah, the public. As much as I hate them, they're often good for a laugh.

July 26, 2004 - Shooting Fire, On The Half Hour
   Lynx 2, PawSox 1: As nice a place as McCoy Stadium is to watch a baseball game, a game featuring just six hits and the focus of all heckling scoring the winning run on a walk -- he never did acknowledge our screams of "CCUUUUSSSTTT!!!!" -- can only be so many things.

   Despite that, a good time was had by all. When you've got that many ex-Red Sox running around on both sides of the ball, only good things can happen. Especially when one spends a half-inning screaming and waving at Brandon Puffer thinking he's Scott Williamson.

   Today's 'Not Right' Moment at the DNC: No photo wire peering today, though instinct tells me that on any day that Al Gore spoke, the fun may never have ended.

But you know the old saying: you win some, you lose some. And then there's that little-known third category. I didn't come here tonight to talk about the past. After all, I don't want you to think I lie awake at night counting and recounting sheep. I prefer to focus on the future because I know from my own experience that America is a land of opportunity, where every little boy and girl has a chance to grow up and win the popular vote.
-- The whole thing here.

   I'm enjoying the "jokingly bitter Al Gore" era far too much, by the way. I'm also enjoying the FleetCenter delegate map far too much, though I suspect that's only because of the political games that have Vermont sitting in front of exactly two groups.

   Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

   • Speaking of by the way, just a little note to those trying to sway swing voters.

   Don't encourage people to vote for John Kerry based on the words of Michael Moore, who even if he's 100 percent in the right has the aura of being a disheveled propagandist.

   Encourage people to vote for John Kerry based on the words of Bill Clinton, who is among the most captivating political speakers of this or any generation. As I phrased it last night while I searched for a better metaphor that never came, "I'm pretty sure he could sell me a box of tampons."

   There are some who would say Bill Clinton is a worthless figure because of his infidelities.

   Much as I enjoyed Tom Brokaw's observation that Sen. Clinton never once referred to the former president as her husband, odds are pretty good that if the best your Conservative-leaning friend can say against Clinton involves anyone's penis, they're not a very good political debater.

July 25, 2004 - Party Poopers, Every One
   Adventures In Dishwashing: Today was an important day in the life of the Whale City estate. Not only did I cook fajitas that were actually edible, I finally expired the 38 oz. bottle of Palmolive dish detergent that I had been using since I moved into the apartment.

   I moved in on July 2, 2002. That would be 754 days ago.

   For those who enjoy math, that essentially means I use dish soap at a rate of 0.05 ounces a day. It also means that the new 38 oz. bottle that I bought, seeing the first bottle was running low, will last me August 2006, when I very well may not be living here.

   Will I actually pack the dish soap, risking it spraying on other belongings? Will I leave it for the next apartment dwellers? Will I have not gone anywhere? Will it outlive me? Stay tuned!

   Conventioneering: When discussing the Democratic National Convention, which has caused more hubbub in Boston than any event yet to begin short of an Olympics, there are going to be any number of things that can be ruled as "not right." I dare say with enough effort, I could make "Today's 'Not Right' Moment at the DNC" a daily feature.

   On that note, this may be the first of many.

Natalie Heart Kerry

Actress Natalie Portman, wearing a John Kerry T-shirt, arrives at the 'Jump-off' party hosted by Rock the Vote and Democratic Gain Boston 2004, Sunday, July 25, 2004, in Boston. (AP Photo/Chitose Suzuki)

Closeup Kerry

   Honestly, this has nothing to do with politics. I may not exactly be a card-carrying member of the John Kerry Fan Club, but this goes far beyond partisan politics.

   And don't even get me started on wearing earrings that gaudy with a urine yellow / puke green T-shirt. She did go to Harvard, after all.

   • Now, on the convention.

   Maybe this is mostly a culprit of reading a lot of bOstOnian LiveJournals -- with Internet weblogs being the bastion of people who like to openly bitch, but do nothing about problems -- but there are an awful lot of people with an awful lot of complaints about Boston, the political leaders in Boston, the traffic situation in Boston, the armed guards, the bag searches, the protest areas ... all regarding the DNC.

   Yes, I realize the irony of the above statement about weblogs. It's called "comedic effect." Try to keep up.

   I understand the inconvenience many will have to suffer this week because Boston has to be shut down. I understand it better than one might think, given a certain genius who's typing this entry right now booked a flight out of Logan Airport for Thursday night at 8:30 p.m. ... when I-93 will be closed. I understand many have to work in the city, have no choice but to deal with the delays and jostled commutes, and need to vent their frustration in a way that doesn't involve killing other human beings.

   That said, shut the fuck up.

   You stayed. Period. I don't care why you stayed, I don't care if you had no choice, I don't care if you had nowhere to go but a cardboard box or your mother's couch. By staying in Boston, to me, you have forfeited nearly all rights to complain. It's not as though you didn't know this was coming, you didn't know there would be people with machine guns guarding everything, you didn't know the whole city would be screwed up because Boston isn't quite large enough to host this event in the middle of an area currently being gutted ... etc.

   There are thousands and thousands of people who will just suck it up every day, do what they have to do, and make the best of a bad situation. Try that. Look into walking. Do something. Just spare me and everyone else ... there'll be enough crybaby bellyaching coming from inside the FleetCenter than no one needs any more coming from outside it.

   Never mind the fact that the convention is an overblown self-esteem fest -- the best way I could come up with to say "circle jerk" without saying "circle jerk." It's not as though we don't know who the nominee is, and both candidates will get a "post-convention kick" that essentially cancels out any gains that would specifically be made relative to an opponent.

   I mean, look at how having no overblown convention hasn't slowed down the Gree ... never mind.

July 24, 2004 - Super Size Me, But With Quizno's
   Editing ... Mirror ... Closer ... Appear: A big thanks to those of you who made this story possible.

The Question: Is He Ever Going To Lose?
-- Sadly, I did not truly throw the QB community under the bus. The clamor if I had, while fun, might have been too much to handle.

   As is my policy, I have not read the story as published. I wrote it, it was edited, and I fear to find how it was mangled. So long as none of you say anything, I'll just assume the best.

   Though I don't have the same morning after calm that I did with the Red Sox story, that's for sure.

   • Rain delay. Error, Error, Error. Balk. 1-2-3 double play. 1-2-3 putout. A four-hit game. A fielder's choice. A solid performance from Ramiro Mendoza. Home runs. Hit by pitches. An inning that took an hour and had 22 at-bats.

   All it needed was a triple.

Tek Fight!
-- This is why you don't scream "Come on!" at a catcher, dumbass.

   Well, that and me ... though after a lead of "And to think they almost didn't play," I'd really be out of words.

   Is this "the spark?" How should I know ... I've stopped trying to guess that. Now, however, I think I'm resigned to being into it again. I can pretend I don't care because I know the outcome, but they showed just enough life today to make me worry they could actually do something.

   Yeah, "worry."

   And who do we have to thank? No. 33. It's just a Boston tradition.

July 23, 2004 - 1 Hour, 22 Minutes, Far More Slams
   Spam O' The Day: Normally, the premise that makes spam e-mails work is a Subject line that makes you wonder, "Hey, is this a real e-mail?" It piques your interest, and you read it.

   I'm unsure who exactly would react that way to "Your father playing with his asshole!", but there are people who enjoy that sort of thing, I suppose.

   We're Talking Baseball (Sort Of): Paul O'Neill, who now does commentary for the Yankees' YES Network, was eating dinner with John Sterling before last night's Boston-New York tilt in the very busy media dining room. The tables were packed, and seats were at a premium.

   O'Neil got up and walked across the room to get some ice cream, and while he did so, Sterling finished up and left, leaving an open four-seat table that someone else scooped up quickly.

   O'Neil came back, unaware his partner had left and his dishes had been picked up, and spent a moment realizing his seat was now gone.

   It's truly a shame the water cooler was on the other side of the room ... if I was ever going to get to bear witness to Paul O'Neill drilling a water cooler, this was that moment.

   Also Of Note: Sox owner John Henry not only drives a silver sports car, he parks it in the spot closest to the entrance to the park. This makes perfect sense, and yet, I thought it needed noting.

Reality Setting In At Fenway
-- Ain't no one going to be calling me a Sox apologist after tonight.

   • Rage is a funny thing.

   I was talking to my boss in the midst of Boston's ultimately failed comeback tonight -- read the column, you can see what I thought of it -- about how the Red Sox couldn't win because if they did, I would start to believe in them. Sure enough, on the drive up to the park, I was thinking about how this team continued incompetence had kinda built a little apathy shell for me to live in. I don't expect them to do much of anything because in almost 100 games, they haven't.

   Course, as the game teetered, I had to keep writing and rewriting the column. With an 11:25 deadline in a game that ended roughly at 10:35, there's not exactly a lot of time to play with. I rushed downstairs, skipped the locker room for the press conferences, and sprinted back upstairs to get my story put to bed well under the gun.

   For the sake of completeness, there was also a sugared, jelly-filled donut. Immediately regretted it, but I digress.

   So I walk down the five levels to the exit, noting the normal number of people waiting and watchers the cars pull out of the Sox parking lot, and head out across Yawkey Way toward Mountfort Street, where I'm parked.

   It was in the night club parking lot when it hit.

   The pure, unadulterated rage.

   It's hard to say exactly why it srtuck so hard, but being able to look back on it, I pin it on feeling like I wrote the worst story I've ever written, the fact that I was covered in sweat, the fact that I'd eaten that donut and, only then, that the Red Sox had basically bought the divisional farm with that loss.

   So of course, when I get to the car and turn on the radio, WBCN is playing "More Human Than Human" by White Zombie, then another tune that doesn't need to be identified other than the fact it had raging guitars.

   Course, it's hard to maintain that rage when you're both stuck in traffic (no speeding) and Incubus comes on ... even the stupidity of sports radio couldn't keep the early pace.

   I was going to write a ragin entry where I went off on any of a number of different things that buoyed me -- stupid LiveJournal entries you wrote, know-it-all members of the New York media -- yet there's no point. If you comment however and would like a rage-inspired reply, just ask. I can go off on people at the drop of a dime ... it's a gift.

   Now that I'm calm again, the story's not so bad. The sweat is still a bit of a sticky issue, just enough to prevent me from doing that half-hour run I aborted earlier in the day. As is Not Another Teen Movie, which was a hell of a lot worse when it was costing me $9 rather than being on Comedy Central at 3 in the morning.

July 22, 2004 - Applied Marketing
   There Is A Cure For The Summertime Blues: I don't believe we've fully discussed what will become the site 5th and 6th travelogues in the coming weeks. Given these often seem to be the most redeeming thing I have to offer -- "I go bankrupt traveling, so you don't have to!" -- I should publicize them a little more.

   Vegas/California 2 (Working Title) -- July 29 to Aug. 6: Centered around a visit to Mario in SoCal that I invited myself on weeks ago, it's been expanded into another "Land of Broken Dreams" visit that I've actually verbalized as "can't be as bad as the last one, right?"

   If not because of the gambling and the likely forced visit to the palace of high comedy -- the Las Vegas strip club -- there'll be the drive to Vegas on I-15 and a trip around America's Liberal Playland with Erik S., who once said he wouldn't wash the hand he'd use to shake the hand of one John Ashcroft.

   Cruising Cooch -- Aug. 29 to Sept. 5: The folly of four pale white boys wandering around the Western Carribbean on a boat that may or may not feature poker on it.

   See Eric R. collect STDs like trading cards, Todd end up surrounded by attractive women, Charlie drop his expensive camera off the side of a cruise liner and yours truly get either sunburnt or seasick.

   I'm actually debating going fake tanning for this trip, just to prevent myself from spending piles of time watching "The Outside Channel" curled up in a fetal position indoors.

   Yeah, that's why, says the kid who's dyeing his hair orange.

   • The talk of video games yesterday led me to realize I hadn't actually used my PS2 as anything other than a DVD player in months ... something well worth noting considering the swaths of time I spent "not working" via Grand Theft Auto 3 as a college senior.

   So I rented this football game.

   Then I remembered why I'd stopped gaming.

   I've spent a lot of money on a lot of things over the years, but the modem that allows PS2 players to go online and play other people has to be high among the worst.

   I can't even fathom how badly I would be beaten at anything short of Jeopardy! at this point ... considering I broke two PS2 controllers likely because of said modem, I'm pretty sure the combined cost makes me meager poker losses seem a complete bargain.

   Growing up, I used to watch a lot of Nickelodeon, with their "Nick is Kids" slogan. I remember actually fearing what would happen when I became too old for Nick. Not to the point of fearing they'd come to my house with sticks, but when I'd reach the point that the things on there just didn't do it for me anymore, when I couldn't qualify for that Toy Run where you just filled shopping carts with crap as fast as possible, etc.

   This somehow relates to that.


July 21, 2004 - Beaver Power
   More: There's a Blockbuster commercial out there dealing with video games ... you've probably seen it. Various dorks get face time, saying they'd like more aliens, more butt-kicking women, more Cheetos and wireless gear, etc. etc.

   Then, more or less out of nowhere, Carmen Electra just absolutely coos into the camera that "More is a wooonnnnnderful thing." We're talking melt glass here ... just absolutely air brushed, plasticked, made up whatever.

   Now, I understand why. Gamers are definitely among a group who like to stare at hot things, since so often they do not have time to actually pursue hot things. I could get personal here, but really, I think I should be able to pursue hot things before I do that. Seven days from Thursday, I will prove that statement ludicrosity through and through.

   Still though, it just struck me as odd. When I'm looking at a poor Moby facsimile and the kind of girl who wants "butt kicking women," I'm not exactly expecting anything even remotely appealing. Never mind a "trying way too hard, but working it."

   And now that I've confused most and offended the rest ...

   • Miss Massachusetts is an MIT grad.



   Yet a champion.

   Each year, the S-T runs a big feature on said pageant because it's held down here. Being jerks -- and yes, there are women involved in this process -- we look at all the headshots and choose a winner. No one chose her, which isn't all that shocking given the number of contestants, but is worth noting regardless.

   So let this be a lesson to you all who defame the mighty dork.

-- For this 1999 California Science Fair champion ...

-- ... totally became this swimsuit-wearing pageant queen.

   Of course, this also creates a problem. Ebbel has proven MIT students can be beautiful. Jason Szuminski, by making the San Diego Padres' opening day roster, has proven MIT students can be athletes. They already make more money than us, so let's not dig for a link.

   If we lose the ability to make fun of them, we just might have to accept they're better people than us.

   And heck knows plenty of them are already too cocky.

July 20, 2004 - Surprise, Surprise
   Today's Saddest Discovery: Still We Believe: The (Mediocre At Best) Boston Red Sox Movie is the 70th highest grossing documentary of all time, topping such gems as Keep The River On Your Right: A Modern Cannibal Tale, Trekkies, American Pimp and a whole bunch of other films I've never heard of, but have funny names.

   Course, Michael Moore has three of the top 10, and Super Size Me -- the reason I was there in the first place -- is fourth. Yet the best part might combining titles No. 60 an 61 into one, and getting Sex Is ... A Great Day In Harlem.

   • We sure do celebrate a lot of anniversaries on here, be they birthdays or whatnot.

   Yet none might have elicited more dread from me ... except of course for the site's three-year anniversary on May 22. That, and my posting today, are pretty much the most definitive evidence out there that I'm a dork. Though I think this photo of me wearing my girlfriend's shoes would also hold up before a jury of my peers.

Nice Shoes
-- Hottt.

   Yet that's not the point.

   The point is I was dumped a year ago today. You may remember this if you've been here long enough, because I basically spent the next month feeling sorry for myself until enough people told me to shut up.

   By the way, I don't thank anybody for that. Those who did it, whether or not they know it, made things worse before they made them better. Enough time has passed that I'm over it, but it's worth noting for the future -- ironic coming from me, but sometimes being an asshole isn't the best option.

   So much has happened since then. So much ... the beauty of the archive is I don't have to go over it all, since I really don't want to be writing this anyway.

   And yet I feel like I have to.

   Because I came out OK.

   This may not seem very shocking to you, but I assure you, once all my friends cleared out that next morning, I truly did wonder. Over those weeks and months, I didn't know. Anyone who's been in that same place may feel the same thing, or not.

   Anyone who's been there, however, knows that the only way to get through is via those around them.

   There is so much irony in that statement, given so much of what happened over the months leading up to last July 20 came because I had taken everything around me for granted. It's not as though I've stopped doing it today -- wouldn't that be grand if I had -- but I am more aware of it. That never hurts.

   Nor does having a girlfriend who cares about me more than I do, great friends here and across the country, a family who puts up with me in spite of myself, coworkers who go above and beyond the mere workplace relationship ... the list goes on.

   And whatever the hell Sly is, you magnificent bastard.

   In short, I wasn't going to allow this to become some type of well-woven prose, mainly because I didn't want it to be. I still doubt I'll have better times than I had in college, just because of the unadulterated fun that most of it was. And I will always wonder how the events of the past would change if I'd done certain things instead of others.

   The difference now is I'm at peace with most of them. I don't have to like it, but I do have to live with it.

   Thank God that's over. Now I can just silently go back to lusting about Southern California, but knowing in some small way that's if I did move there, I'd both never get any acting work and become much more disillusioned about Disneyland after visiting it for the 32nd time.

July 19, 2004 - A Manchurian What?
   Suck: I don't often talk specifically about a day's given Red Sox game, but tonight was awful. I'm getting to be glad I didn't invest in a Keith Foulke jersey, because blowing four out of six saves is now the best way to make friends and influence people.

   Fuming. It's on nights like this that I don't exactly brim with confidence about the future. The window may not be closing just yet, but the Sox certainly didn't put the piece of wood in the sill to make sure it doesn't slam shut when they're sitting on the couch.

   Or something like that.

Assuming The Worst A Proud Sox Tradition
-- I believe I wrote this exact same column sometime last season, but without it being this good and because I was asked. I could go look, but I'm not really trying to identify whether I've run out of ideas.

   Say It Again Now: The Arnold Schwarzenegger "controversy" is the kind of thing there needs to be more of in California.

Sacramento lawmakers irked Schwarzenegger by failing to meet a July 1 deadline for a $103-billion budget amid disagreements over funding for local governments. The star of the Terminator series of action films had vowed to meet a deadline that has mostly eluded his predecessors in recent years.

"I'm going to make you officially, right now, the Terminators," he told a cheering crowd in Stockton on Sunday. "If they do not pass my budget, on Nov. 2nd, I want you to go out and go after those Democratic legislators, they are obstructionists. Go out there, vote them out of office."

On Saturday, he referred to "those girlie men up there in Sacramento," a epithet borrowed from an old Saturday Night Live television skit about body building. He has also revived other lines, both well known and obscure, from his movies.

   We can never forget the absolute absurdity of the phrase "Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger," and thus we need more moments like this. And really, anything that makes people say this:

"Of course it's not a good idea; liberals don't have a sense of humor."
-- Republican State Senator Tom McClintock

   can't be bad for anyone.

   • Wednesday will be July 20. "Space Accomplishment Day," or "S.A.D.," as we termed it for last year's summer party.

   I may not post on Wednesday, thus starting a tradition and saving what would be a narrative probably not worth reading.

   But really, I may post just to keep you all honest, and see that you're staying sharp.

   One thing, however, is certain.

Singer Linda Ronstadt was thrown out of the Aladdin casino in Las Vegas on the weekend after dedicating a song to liberal film maker Michael Moore and his movie "Fahrenheit 9/11," a casino spokeswoman said on Monday.

Ronstadt, who had been hired for a one-show engagement Saturday night at the Las Vegas Strip casino, dedicated a performance of "Desperado" to Moore and his controversial documentary, which criticizes President Bush (news - web sites) and the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

That dedication angered some Aladdin guests who spilled drinks, tore down posters and demanded their money back, said casino spokeswoman Sara Gorgon.

A statement issued by the Aladdin said Ronstadt had been "escorted out of the hotel" just after her performance and said the performer would "not be welcomed back."

"Ms. Ronstadt was hired to entertain the guests of the Aladdin, not to espouse political views," the casino said.

   Vegas will always be Vegas, whatever the hell that means.

July 18, 2004 - You Waited All Day For This
   I Swear This Isn't Photoshopped: Yet somehow I think it will be.

Kerry Sails

Democratic Presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry, D-MA, walks with his kite board after he was unable to surf because of lack of wind in Nantucket on Sunday. Kite boarding is a sport involving surfing on a footboard while being pulled by a parasail connected to a waist harness. Kerry is in Nantucket for several days to work on his upcoming speech for the Democratic National Convention. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

   Just Throwing It Out There: Ripped from Bill Simmons's latest mailbag, as written by Noted Radio Alumnus Jimmy Kimmel.

Here's a little secret I probably shouldn't let you in on, but I will: Wherever you're living right now, L.A. is nicer. In nearly every category, we win. No reasonable person who has ever spent any amount of time here would argue this -- and those who do are in denial. Our weather is better, we have more to do, more to see -- our gardeners charge 50 bucks a month -- and, as a group, the women here make yours look like livestock. L.A. is to cities what George Clooney is to men. Better. And those "earthquakes" we have once every 10 years? Spielberg, Lucas and -- starting next year -- DeVito produce them to scare people away who might be thinking of moving here. Please don't tell anyone.

   Which also makes a nice segue to ...

   Meg Update: The Angels-Red Sox game today was a BU Alumni event, and at said game, a certain BU alumnae started a "Yankees Suck" chant that could be heard over broadcast. That same alumnae also nearly started several fistfights with Angels' fans due to her ferocity, and might have killed the guy who walked into the IN-N-OUT in Yankees jersey had her boyfriend not slowed her down.

   There is photographic and videographic evidence of this that may need to be reviewed. When I see it, you'll be among the next to know.

   • At one point today, I was chatting with Julie on Instant Messenger, talking to Meg on the cell phone and looking at Andrea sitting in the cubicle next to me in the office.

   That's three of the five right there.

   The Girlfriend Convention may never get closer than this, and let me tell you, I think I'm alright with that.

July 17, 2004 - Trading Deadline
   Shock: Truly the first emotion at hand regarding the SciFi Channel's M. Night Shyamalan documentary.

The documentary, scheduled to air Sunday, says a mysterious drowning of a child in a lake near Shyamalan's boyhood home in the Philadelphia area had profoundly affected his life and fueled his interest in the supernatural. That's not true either, Hammer said.

"We created a fictional special that was part-fact and part-fiction, and Night was part of the creation from the beginning," the network chief said.

Moviegoers walk away from Shyamalan's films not knowing what was real or not, and "we wanted to do the same thing in a special about his life," she said.

   I know that's how I feel. After 'Unbreakable,' I kept checking my wallet to see if I had actually spent nearly $10 on anything that worthless.

   • Clearly in television, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Whether it be trying to cpatialize on a trend or just the general truth that there really are no good ideas left, the same thing keep appearing in one form or another.

   Much of it starts with Trading Spaces.

   FOX is rolling out the reality version of a Dave Chappelle skit, Trading Spouses -- whether they'll be any "doing it through the hole," we'll have to see. ABC is resurrecting Extreme Makeover: Human Edition, doing up a trio of sisters and calling it Trading Faces.

   Clearly, none of this would be happening if Paige Davis wasn't hot. But that's beside the point.

   While far be it from me to put much work into the daily update, I've been thinking about where this trend could possibly lead us. What else could we be trading soon? Here's just a few thoughts to get you started:

   Trading Bases: The 2004 Red Sox just can't keep players at the same position. Pokey Reese, Mark Bellhorn and Kevin Millar have bounced around the infield so much, this could very easily be the theme for the end-of-season movie we'll no doubt be forced to endure by either the NESN people or another documentary maker who thinks RSN is such a compelling story.

   If only they could understand it's just fueled by beer and self-hate, it would seem just so less attractive. And I'm not saying that's a bad thing.

   Trading Cases: A little bit of a riff off a Mad TV skit, "Quantum Dream Team." Cochran, F. Lee Bailey and Robert Shapiro bounce from trial to trial, getting the infamous off for crimes they probably committed.

   The sketch featured Manson, but who wouldn't like to see Johnnie work his magic as a public defender in a Amboy Township courtroom, if such a place even exists?

   Don't answer that.

   Trading Maces: Medieval combat show. Could be on The History Channel as I speak, though they seem to have fazed out Conquest, which was basically a crazy bald man learning how to use a whole bunch of old weapons.

   I sometimes wonder if there are a lot of people who buy DVDs and VHS copies of History Channel shows, since they sell one for everything they air more or less. An interesting business thought.

   Trading Races: Whites in Watts. If you've ever seen Chappelle's The Mad Real World, you know what I'm talking about.

   And yet, I already feel like I've crossed the line.

July 16, 2004 - Del's-icacy
   A City's Common Theme: Although the one pictured was found in Fairhaven, I saw this on the back of two trucks within an hour today:

-- The other side to kids fearing clowns.

   This could be some sort of homage to Sweet Tooth, or it could be what happens when people who own Civics decide a nine-inch spoiler is what they need the most. I'm in no position to analyze.

   • As I had said previously, Andrea is here.

-- Here she is riding a pig at the Buttonwood Park Zoo.

   We did a lot today, from the zoo to a restaurant to a car to another, less dramatic restaurant. She would simply like you to know one thing, though.

   Do not mix beer and liquor.

   Maybe it's just people like me who find this odd, but the New Bedford zoo had livestock, with cows prominently featured.

   There are city children who go through their growing up years not seeing cows.

   I had seven on my lawn when I was eight.

July 15, 2004 - Cape Codder
   • I drove to the Cape today to visit Julie, and the sum of my visit was essentially a salad that had walnuts, healthy lettuce, crumbled blue cheese and Craisins.

   There's just something about seeing the word Craisins on a $16-$17 entree restaurant that struck me as both very odd and very funny, and that's even considering I think I got pooped on while sitting on a Barnstable bench.

   It was clear and salty. I don't know ... could it have been splashback? Sporadic rain? From an airplane? Only time will tell, in that time will forget this ever happened.

   By the way, Andrea is here. Picked her up at the airport tonight. This could lead to a legendary site move, and that's not even considering the last time she was out here, she drank like four Budweisers and pretended to birth a baby in the back seat of a Buick.

   If only digital cameras were more prevalent back then.

July 14, 2004 - Social Call
   • I've said this before, but this falls under one of those things that I can't say enough.

   I ate at a Fresh City today. I mean, I also ate at a Quizno's, even though the idea of a sub that mixes guacamole and ranch dressing is enough to make me the color of a guacamole and ranch dressing blend, but so be it.

   Fresh City is in the pantheon of fast food places that are my favorite -- they make good food that's at least relatively good for you. Baja Fresh, to a lesser extent IN-N-OUT, etc. It just seems a no-brainer ... why would you eat heat-lamped burgers, soggy fries and other crap when you don't have to? When you could eat things that actually taste awesome, yet have some redeeming value?

   Everyone, however, does not feel this way.

   You just have to respect a place that, on their sticker identifying the contents of your wrap/burrito, Peking Duck is listed. I have no idea if they actually have Peking Duck on the menu, but just the fact that they could and it wouldn't be shocking is all you need to know.

   Walking out of the Fresh City here, I couldn't help but hear a parent chatting with his daughter about where they'd eat. I presume she said something anti-Fresh City -- can't say for sure -- because her father was suggesting other places to chow.

"Do you not want to eat here, hunnie? Don't worry ... there's a McDonalds and a Burger King just down the street. We can go there instead."

   I don't care whether his daughter deserved it, or whether I'm overreacting.

   These are the kinds of comments that should take kids away from parents.

July 13, 2004 - So Fresh And So Clean
   Curiosity Killed The Fiver: Pomegranate juice. Certainly not bad by any stretch, and certainly easier than picking the flavor pockets out of an actual pomegranate. Say this for my freshman roomie ... he expanded my horizons several ways.

   At $3.49 a 15.2 oz. bottle, however, I'll continue to take my chances with the free radicals assaulting my skin and just sugar up my locally brewed Cranberry Juice Cocktail each morning, thanks very much.

   Speaking of Expanded Horizons: While at the grocery store today -- buying the normal combination of pomegranate juice, shampoo, vegetarian sausage patties and cottage cheese -- I spied a certain Hollywood starlet back on the magazine rack courtesy of ym magazine.

   The teaser to her cover story? Within one word at worst:

Hollywood's hottest young star
on why she can't get guys

   Bear in mind under no circumstances will I be buying YM to discover just why this is -- if Starburst Dress Girl and friends are still out there, feel free to chime in about this. You are the target demographic.

   Also, the answer is likely something remotely reasonable, like "I'm always traveling, I don't have time for guys, I like to dance on bars on each coast on the same day, etc. etc." Basic stuff.

   There are only three answers to the above teaser that may slow down a multi-state killing spree.

"They're scared of my absurd breasts which,
if real, prove there is no God in the universe."

"I have a penis."

"I am an even worse bitch than even the smartest of humans
can begin to comprehend. To prove it, I will now shoot you in the knee."

   This is, obviously, all speculation. I am very sure we would all react strangely were we suddenly to usurp Britney Spears as the fantasy of the entire male college population. I know I would anyway.

   Especially since I'm so pale and toneless.

   And that link was from Boggie. Don't you judge me.

   • First, go watch this. It's Anchorman, and will get you in the mood.

   Now, I see a lot of statistics on a day-to-day basis. Working in sports, you just do.

   Some prove far more interesting than others.

   Scott Downs -- In leading the awful Montreal Expos to a 2-1 win over teh less awful Pittsburgh Pirates on the last day before the All-Star Break, Downs became the first left-handed starting pitcher to get a win for Montreal in three seasons. Absurd.

   Tony Voce -- Though an asshole for attending Boston College to play hockey, the 23-year-old became the first Philadelphia native to be signed by the Flyers ever today. That's in 37 years of being a franchise ... their first season was 1967-68.

   Maritza Correia -- With her fourth-place finish Monday night in the 100 freestyle, Maritza became the first African-American woman to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Swim Team ever. As in Halle Berry crying sort of ever. As in there have been zero black women who have swam in the pool at the Olympics for the United States today, a number that will leap to one if Athens doesn't fall into the sea sometime between now and August.

   Then there's Ken Jennings, who I finally watched tonight as he cleared the million dollar mark on Jeopardy! and gave the kind of performance that suggests he'll eventually lose only if he miscalculates his Final Jeopardy bet and/or becomes so bored he falls asleep at the podium.

   In watching Jennings, I sometimes wonder just when exactly I'll fulfill my destiny to be on a game show.

   Then I remember I stopped playing academic quiz events as a sophomore after losing a game 30-20 to Dickinson College. Whereas most teams crack 200 in a 20-tossup, 10 points per tossup, 30-point bonus game, we got 20.

   And I don't think that 20 came from me either.

July 12, 2004 - Birthday Girl
   The Star Trek Apartment: It may surprise you, but I am far less mocking of the Star Trek apartment than I normally would be just because it's so well done.

Star Trek Transporter
-- Classy.

   All the photos are here, and I'd like to believe he doesn't live in a real scummy neighborhood. Just something about walking outside from a 24th century apartment into a 21st century ghetto would probably be a little too jarring.

   Mail Time: Long letter today.

Subject: Varitek Story
Date: Mon, 12 July 2004
From: "Matt ____" <____@gazettenet.com>
To: jcouture at s-t dot com

   Nice job on the Varitek story.

   Matt ___
   Daily Hampshire Gazette

   • There are few things in this world that seem designed to provide endless unintentional comedy.

   The International Federation of Competitive Eating adding eater profiles to their Web site has to be pretty high on that list.

   Do we talk a lot about competitive eating here? Very much so. Since this is trying to become an Olympic sport, however, and sports is our business ... this is something that has to happen.

   Now, I could easily quote upwards of three dozen things on these profiles and feel like I've done my job for the day, but it seems only right to introduce you all to the man for whom "mayonnaise catatonia" was coined. After all, I am the top two search results.

Oleg Zhornitskiy
-- Impressive teeth, but unnecessary for eating mayonnaise.

Oleg Zhornitskiy
Many fans believe that Oleg has endured several bad calls in the past 12 months, specifically at the Pelemeni-Eating World Championships. While he failed to successfully defend his title in chicken wings, placing fourth, there is a contingent that believes he remains the true pelemeni eating champion of the world.

Zhornitiskiy's impressive early career performances include victories at the World Pelemeni Eating Championship, the Matzo Ball Eating Championship and the World Buffalo Wing Eating Championship, which earned him respect in a wide range of disciplines. Zhornitskiy has also finished in the top ranks in Coney Island on July 4 and is currently the undisputed World Mayonnaise Eating Champion.

Originally from the Ukraine, Zhornitskiy lives in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. He is avid about disco dancing and is known for his attention to fashion.

   Trust me. Once you find the part about the "One Eater," you'll be sold as well.

July 11, 2004 - Garcia Does (In) Former Team
   Wimbledon: The Movie: Since the first previews for this film starting airing during this year's tournament, something has felt extremely odd about this movie.

Starring Kirsten Dunst (Spider-Man, Bring It On) and Paul Bettany (Master and Commander, A Beautiful Mind) and directed by Richard Loncraine (Richard III,The Gathering Storm), Wimbledon is in the tradition of Working Title's hit romantic comedies Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, Love Actually and Bridget Jones's Diary. Peter (Bettany) is an unlucky guy, scoring ‘love' both professionally and personally.
-- Very similar past roles, don't you think?

   Of all the places to allow a likely bad romantic comedy to be molded in their image, the All England Lawn and Tennis Club seems about as a low on the list as one can get short of Augusta National Golf Club, which apparently covers the names of soft drinks on soda machines as to eliminate every ounce of advertising on the premises.

   Nevertheless, there it is. Though I'm not buying the previews and posters ... no film such as 'Wimbledon' could be made without Hugh Grant in it under British Royal Law.

   Well, he or Dame Edna.

   • Some stories don't need any help.

Bondage babes, horny bachelors and bug-crunching fame seekers need not apply for UPN's newest reality series. Indeed, the network's tapped into a large pool of previously unjaded participants for its latest TV experiment, Amish in the City.

   Mmmm ... Amishy.

   Though because it's on UPN, Mo'Nique is in it. Interesting to see how that's going to fly, since it's only because Malcolm Jamal-Warner wasn't available.

July 10, 2004 - Windowless Window
   Guest Contribution: JQ chimes in with a note of the newest fashion trend for the rich and famous.

Posh and Me
-- Me.

   Though really, can you still continue off the Posh Spice nickname when you stand a little closer to "crack whore" fashion than you'd probably like to admit.

   The Sound Of One Horn Tooting: Read this. Tell your friends to read this. Perhaps even call radio stations and encourage them to read this aloud on the air.

Soul of the Sox
-- There may be other things you want to know about Jason Varitek after reading this story, but I assure you, they're probably dirty things and you sicken me.

   • Sometimes, I wonder just why so many people have become fed up with the sports media out there, as with the old man who scoffed at me and my green armband at the Women's Open.

   Then, I read something like this -- the favorite "thoughts column" that I put here instead of in a newspaper.

Dodgeball only works if you cut out half your brain on your way into the theater.

   And I'm not just saying that because he's sinned against humanity.

July 9, 2004 - Who's Got Waffles?
   Michael Phelps: At the moment, he's cruising around as America's golden hope at the Athens Olympics ... saving us from all the track stars winning gold, then having to give those medals up for being on horse semen or whatever is actually in your average anabolic steroid.

   And yet, swimmer Michael Phelps was described on the NBC Nightly News as, simply:

"A 19-year-old millionaire who lives with his mom in Maryland."

   So really, we could be looking at a 19-year-old millionaire who lives with his mom in Maryland and wins Olympic gold medals by breaking world swimming records.

   I dare say there may not an injury in this universe disfiguring enough to keep Michael Phelps from getting dates. Labs need to start looking into this kind of thing.

   TV Time: Getting a chance to see the first of ESPN's 2004 World Series of Poker shows, you can't help but notice how they've capitalized on the game's popularity by sponsoring everything.

The Miller Hole Cam
The Levitra Final Table
The Toyota Chip Count

   About the only thing they don't have a sponsor for is their wacky, light hearted sidebar piece from every episode -- massages during play, Chris Ferguson throwing cards 78 mph and cutting produce -- entitled "The Nuts."

   Shouldn't Levitra have gotten to sponsor that by default?

   Also, thanks to Quantum Leap, I watched a lot of SciFi Channel today and saw the most prevalent thing on that network outside of dorks.

   Commericals for "Excellent Business Opportunities!," be they standalone Internet terminals plus, portable video stores or some other product whose commerical was packaged around a horse race.

   I have never heard the word "turnkey" used so much in one day ... apparently the thinking is "Hey, dorks like money! They think they can circumvent the working system, and they like not leaving their houses! This is perfect!"

   Of course, I bet the average SciFi Channel viewer actually understands the concept of the Cashless ATM, whereas I just thought such machines probably spit out that Disney money that's no good once you leave the park, and really not much better even when you're in it.

   • A tale of two "movies," one of television, another on the big screen.

   The Buried Secret of M. Night Shymalan -- As they put it:

In an unprecedented move, SCI FI Channel will broadcast a controversial look at Academy Award-nominated writer/director M. Night Shyamalan entitled The Buried Secret of M. Night Shyamalan on Sunday, July 18, at 8PM ET/PT. Sanctioned in October 2003 by the reclusive filmmaker, this three-hour project was helmed by Academy Award-nominated director Nathaniel Kahn (My Architect) and producer Callum Greene (Lost in Translation, 3AM) exclusively for SCI FI Channel.

SCI FI spent over four months trailing the famously enigmatic Shyamalan, who granted the channel exclusive access to his intensely guarded personal lifestyle, as well as his filmmaking process (on the set of The Village). What SCI FI viewers will see on July 18 is a revealing look that lays bare the external forces which have helped shape Shyamalan's vision. Viewers will witness extraordinary unguarded moments, as well as attempts by the acclaimed filmmaker to shut down the production.

   Considering this is the man that put the world through one of the worst big budget films ever made, this reeks of bullshit. When you're a guy who just can't do anything like a regular person would -- for good and bad -- the sense that your documentary will show why you're screwed up in the head is just as likely a thing that you stylized to make it look like it will show why you're screwed up in the head.

   Call it the jade of being in the Blair Witch Project generation. Sometimes, people just can't help themselves.

   Which leads me to ...

-- Anchorman

   As you al know, Will Ferrell is a funny man. He singlehandedly kept Saturday Night Live afloat for several years, and was the man behind my own Harry Caray voice. He was the subtle powere driving Old School to glory, along with several other movies that are funny but I haven't seen.

   However, there can be too much of a good thing.

   Anchorman is too much of a good thing.

   There are very funny parts in the movie, and a bevy of excellent cameos. The plot isn't as absurd as it might seem at first glance, but the problem is that the sleeper/scene stealer role that Ferrell usually works in is taken completely by Steve Karell.

   Just see it, and you too will be saying things like "I ate a big red candle."

   In short, Ferrell's brand of comedy just can't carry anything for more than two hours. I knew this from experience already, but it's good to see the message translated to a wider audience.

   It's no Dodgeball, friends. Let's just leave it at that.

   Which reminds me, between the look of the sheer number of movies he must do in any given year, Ben Stiller should just give up and do porn. He'd already have the same stats were there Hollywood career cards like those for baseball players.

   300 films, zero Oscars, five quality starts. Lather, rinse, enjoy your $15 million.

July 8, 2004 - Fore Twenty-Seven
   Today's Sign Politics Need To Be Stopped: It's W Ketchup, the ketchup for people who don't support the Democrats.

   Yes, because Heinz is foreign and that's why we hate it. And the W stands for Washington ... don't let that Reagan homage on our front page fool you, dang it.

   All this said, there's at least a 20 percent chance this will show up in my house sometime before November.

   • I fear it's days like this that lead to much of the mockery I take behind the scenes, rightly or wrongly.

   5 a.m.: Wake up, spend the next 90 minutes completing update, cleaning up and assembling clothes for a couple days in Feeding Hills.

   6:30 a.m.: Depart New Bedford.

   8:30 a.m.: After range warmup and all that jazz, this:

• Granite Links GC - Milton/Quincy, Mass. •
PAR 72
89, 17 OVER PAR
5847+ YARDS
Birdies: 2 - Pars: 4 - Bogeys: 7 - Others: 5
Fairways Hit: 7 of 14 - Greens In Regulation: 7 of 18 - Putts: 33

   Given the course's location on a Big Dig-created quarry, and the fact that off to the south is the most sweeping view of the distant Boston skyline you could ever hope to see, it makes it OK I lost six golf balls in the long grasses and large ravines all around.

   Plus the white sand bunkers were a nice touch, even if Dave Cowens -- who was playing a few groups behind us -- completely blew us off when he drove by on the 12th tee.

   2 p.m.: Racing from the makeshift clubhouse to my car, I make only one stop on the Mass. Turnpike for a critical supply -- a Fresh City burrito.

   After all, I have somewhere to be by 4 p.m.

• Wyckoff CC - Holyoke, Mass. •
PAR 69
89, 20 OVER PAR
5468 YARDS
Birdies: 0 - Pars: 4 - Bogeys: 9 - Others: 5
Fairways Hit: 7 of 13 - Greens In Regulation: 3 of 18 - Putts: 36

   The day's holes 19 through 27 were going fine until I three-putted thre of my last four. The sad part is the tendency to blame fatigue ... when I played all 27 using a golf cart.

   For as much as I've gotten to play this year, by far the most disappointing part is that I've found no one who's willing to walk the course like you're actually supposed to. Everyone has "bad knees," is "too tired, doesn't "like walking" ... this wouldn't be such a problem if I hadn't decided running was the devil's work, but I'm back to feeling personal body image shame, and that can only bring good things.

   10 p.m.: Take call from friends, won't "go out and be social."

   10:30 p.m.: Sing along is car to insipd pop song whose name I forget, but who's shame will last forever.

   So on the day, that's two birdies, six pars, 11 bogeys, six doubles, two triples, a moderate amount of exercise and little to no tan gained.

   These upcoming summer vacations would probably be a lot of fun if I didn't have the body type of a computer programmer.

July 7, 2004 - Financial Freedom
   Welcome To The Burden: I feel a little bit just now noticing that good friend and Ivy Leaguer Michael Philpy has a blog, especially since on it I found:

Came back early on Sunday to play golf on the Michigan Country Club at the invitation of my boss. For those who haven't played it, the course is very hilly and is fairly long, but the killers are the sand traps (which are deep and hard to hit out of) and fast, sloped greens reminiscent of this year's U.S. Open. Still, I played amazingly consistently and shot a 128, which is quite good for me. I'm no Jon Couture, but I'm getting there!

   Sucking up should never go unrewarded, even if I'm unsure where this magical Michigan Country Club is.

   Welcome to the Links. May you never find yourself late to places because of your Web site, though admittedly, it's not like I ever needed a reason to be late somewhere.

   Today's Reason I'm Questioning Man's Viability: Early this evening, one of our reporters quietly, but seriously, asked our managing editor what year 9/11 happened.

   You know, the thing with the planes and the deaths and the life-altering.

   Hell of a guy, too. I can only hope he never reads this.

   • Consolidating one's student loans is not exactly one of those life decisions that can leave one sucking garbage water with a straw if done incorrectly, but it's still a decision that requires the utmost care. After all, your average college loan holder has a financial picture about as rosy as the inside of a Dumpster filled with the aforementioned garbage water, where the incoming is often dwarfed by the outgoing.

   Thus the need to consolidate the loans in the first place, but I digress.

   With all the cold-callers and nay-givers out there, finally making that choice is a sign one trusts that lending company. That their Web site and flashy green folder are just the tip of the trust iceberg that will lead to one's financial independence, cash savings and the ability to continue playing online poker without going into credit card debt, just to name a few.

   It's the kind of trust one really has to question when one receives a call from said lender about the pre-filled application they'd requested, and if it had gotten there OK.

   The very same pre-filled application that had been sent back more than a week ago, and could have fallen off a postal truck and still gotten to Emporia, Kan., or wherever the hell it was supposed to go by now.

   Especially when this call was preceded roughly a week ago by another call saying more information was needed before said pre-filled application could be sent out -- an odd statement, considering I learned to the message while filling out the aforementioned pre-filled application.

   What does this all mean? To me, it's quite simple.

   I will be playing golf at this magnificent course overlooking Boston on Thursday, weather permitting. If I play my cards right, I will also be playing nine holes with my father later that afternoon.

   If these things weren't free for any number of reasons, I would not be playing golf on Thursday so much as I'd be living in my car, the only thing I possess right now that doesn't have windows falling out of it.

   In my apartment's defense, the windows are very old, and the maintenance man would have already made the necessary replacements if I'd gotten my computer out of the way of said window.

   After all, this is a guy (and landlord) who repaired my broken stove in less than 48 hours by waking me up at 9:30 a.m. with the delivery of a new stove.

   And while you're here, go here -- there's sound, work warriors. Talking to me over the IM for three hours falls under the "sucking up should never go unrewarded" policy.

July 6, 2004 - Swing Voter
   7-2, Four In A Row: I'm telling you, they should just put me on the payroll.

Sox Turning It Around ... Is That So Crazy?
-- Please note the eye for consistency. Craaaaazy always featured five 'a's.

   Dodgeball: At the point when Bill Simmons says in his review of 'Dodgeball':

Part of me hopes that the audience wasn't stoned that night, that the movie really WAS that good, that Gus and I are just getting old and grumpy.

   He is essentially trying to save himself the flood of hate mail he's going to get for ... not panning it, but not exactly fawning over it. If nothing else, he's a man who should know his audience a little better than that.

   All I'm saying is when you write as though you're above cock jokes yet,

   -- you've just spend months working for 'Jimmy Kimmel Live,' and
   -- you've made much of your fame via obsessive knowledge of far worse movies

   it might be time to get a little Windex for that bathroom mirror.

   Tour de France: Forget for a moment that Outdoor Life Network is running ads dubbing the race "The Cyclism" featuring Jason Lee, which is in no way offensive but in many ways hilarious.

   After each stage of the race -- and yes, I've now watched several -- they are interviewing current Lance Armstrong squeeze Sheryl Crow, who basically says little more than "Wow, cycling is incredible. America should get into this."

   Is this funny because the only reason she cares about cycling is she's dating the best in the world? Is this dubious because anyone watching the races live at 9 in the a.m. on the freaking Outdoor Life Network, channel 4,587 on most cable systems? Or do I have no point whatsoever?

   You make the call!

   • Given the things I've said about John Kerry, it should not surprise you that there's a very short list of things that could get me to vote for him ... or more accurately, as in the last election, vote against his opponent.

Kerry & Edwards

   Not gonna lie to you ... this was one of them.

   Though in the vein of not lying to you, it's nice to live in a state where I really don't have to think about these things ever.

   Like you thought I was going to analyze politics.

July 5, 2004 - Noses Shouldn't Burn
   Great Moments In Purchasing Power: It used to be the most embarassing thing you could find a guy's wallet would be a condom, something often discovered by the trademark ring it would form on the outer layer of the leather.

   Times, I think, have changed.

The Value Card for VIAGRA program is designed for users of VIAGRA® (sildenafil citrate). With this card, for every 6 VIAGRA prescriptions for 2 or more tablets that you fill or refill at participating pharmacies, you can receive your 7th VIAGRA prescription free. A prescription will only count toward your free 7th prescription if you pay for your entire prescription or the part of your prescription that is not covered by insurance. Pills obtained with a co-payment will not count for this program.

   The Pfizer people really should have just put a raised ring on the back of the card for the same effect ... no man whose carrying a frequent purchaser Viagra card is going to complain.

   Great Moments In Mediocre Red Sox History: ESPN has come out with a list of the worst MLB All-Stars ever. And they hit at least one dead on.

4. Scott Cooper, Red Sox (1993 and 1994)
Possibly the worst two-time All-Star in baseball history, Cooper, a third baseman for the Red Sox, inexplicably made it without ever being in the top 10 of anything, anytime. Cooper was the lone BoSox All-Star selection each year; in seven seasons, he finished with career totals of 33 homers and 211 RBI, and a .723 lifetime OPS.

   It was more just the afterglow of Wade Boggs than anything else.

   • Just an inexplicable five days after I'd made him my computer wallpaper at work, Eric Gagne blew a save, ending his regular season consecutive saves streak at 84. It had been 677 days since his last blown save, which was also against Arizona.

   Of course, when the streak started, Arizona wasn't a last-place team som uch as they were the defending world champions managed by Bob Brenly, whose firing this week seals his place as "Worst Manager Ever To Win A World Championship."

   Fortunately for Gagne, he does pitch in Los Angeles, and half the crowd had probably already left well before he even took the mound. But that's not the point.

   All this L.A. talk of the past week has gotten me thinking, much like what happened when I discovered my new favorite state department: the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents.

   Why the heck are they called the Dodgers?

   Does it have to do with running away from street cars in Brooklyn? Celebrities going in the back door of restaurants and Cedars-Sinai to avoid the papparazzi and appearances on Celebrities Uncensored 84?


July 4, 2004 - Meg!
   Women's Open Day Finale: And as it were, it was a blowout day.

   Just not like anyone expected.

   What I love the most though? That Ap story linked to above refers to the course as Orchard Golf Club. The man who wrote that has likely been at the facility for at least four days, quite possibly as many as seven depending on if he was filing during the practice rounds.

   No wonder that old guy was so bitter about the "Working Media" badge on Friday afternoon.

   Also of note, I met the guy who filed this story when walking with Michelle Wie's group that same day. He writes about what had to be the oddest moment of the whole week.

   Well, outside of the S-T getting Seat A-1 in the media tent.

   • Even though an American woman was able to claim the women's golf national championship away from a world of competition, we are still inferior when it comes to eating hot dogs.

For the fourth straight year, rail-thin Takeru Kobayashi chewed up the competition at the Nathan's Famous hot dog eating competition Sunday, breaking his own previous world record.

Kobayashi, of Nagano, Japan, gulped down 53.5 wieners in 12 minutes and shattered his own world record by three dogs. In 2002, he had wolfed down 50.5.

The closest competitor Sunday was newcomer Nobuyuki Shirota, 25, of Tokyo, who made an impressive showing but couldn't cut the mustard with 38 downed dogs.

Once again, then, the contest's coveted Mustard Yellow Belt returns to Japan. Since 1996, the Japanese have dominated the competition and only one American -- New Jersey's Steve Keiner in 1999 -- has captured the belt at the signature July 4 extravaganza.

   Still, it was again a banned day for the American woman internationally.

Meanwhile, 105-pound Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas, 36, of Alexandria, Va., could relish two new records: She ate more hot dogs -- 32 -- than any other woman and any other American in the contest's history.

   Clearly, as a nation, we are closing the international competitive eating gap. The numbers show as such -- the previous American record was 30.5. And yet why do we fight so hard.

   The IFOCE makes it just so clear.

The bejeweled Coveted Mustard Yellow International Belt, worn only by the International Champion, is to hot dog aficionados what Faberge Eggs were to Czar Nicholas. The belt is of unknown age and value, and is unveiled only at the annual contest.

   I want to believe it's like the crown jewels of Scotland -- held in a large safe, where no cameras may enter -- as opposed to in the top of some guy's closet behind a tub of pomade and his wife's Nine West platform sandals. I fear, however, that the only way I will ever find out the truth is to spend next Fourth of July weekend at another sporting event.

   And I just don't think the IFOCE would appreciate my sense of humor and history.

A very special year for the contest was 1993, which marked the return of the coveted Mustard-Yellow International Belt to American soil. In November of 1993, in a one-on-one contest, Nathan’s champ Mike Devito beat Japanese eating phenom Orio Ito to bring back the belt, which had been in Japan for seven years. By winning this contest, Devito reunified the world hot dog eating titles (an accomplishment similar to Mike Tyson’s reunification of the world’s boxing titles in 1987).

   Though at least there wouldn't be sly allusions to how I could do compared to the "professionals." I once ate a single Nathan's hot dog at a rest stop and almost wretched before I'd even gotten back to my seat.

July 3, 2004 - Runaways Are Boring
   Women's Open Day Three: I spent much of the day in the media tent, wondering how people spend much of the day in the media tent doing this thing we call "work."

Scenes From A Major
-- This is essentially three columns in one, which in my mind explains why it took me like five hours to write. That seems a better reason than "I was eating ice cream bars" or "The Unisys live stat system was too much fun."

   I've now seen people I know outside the ropes for three days in a row, which is a good sign in a way that probably isn't all that important.

   What I feel is important, however, is that barring a large upset, I will not hear NBC's Wimbledon theme at all this year. As it is my favorite TV sports theme short of CBS's Masters song -- which I can't find anywhere for download -- this is somewhat troubling.

   Troubling in a "really not all" sense, but troubling all the same.

   Hot Dog Eating Contest Preview: This 100-pound woman may be America's only hope against Takeru Kobayashi, who probably has no trouble finding dates.

   • We have an official dilemma in Cooch's World.

   I have never had the Fourth of July off work since I started doing what one would call real work in 2002, so I've never had to worry about plans or fun or anything like that. This year, however, I do have the day off, as the paper expects no more stories from me involving golf.

   From zero to two activities in 365 days.

   But rather than go into the personal details of just what those activities are -- which I probably would do if this was a LiveJournal -- I'll just leave you with this.

-- Now, with convenient carry handle. It's "Pet"!

Wearing a life jacket, Trek, a 3-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, gets a lift from owner Timmy Gossett, crew member aboard the F/V Laguna Star, a salmon seiner moored in St. Paul Harbor in Kodiak, Alaska. Equipped with a handle, the life jacket provides an emergency lifting point should the dog fall overboard. (AP Photo/Marion Owen)

July 2, 2004 - Passed Out Somewhere As We Speak
   Women's Open Day Two: In my favorite moment of the week so far not concerning golf, thus meaning I won't be writing about it, I was walking just inside the ropes today on No. 10 with my credentials prominently displayed. They consist of a credit-card size white badge and a green "armband" for inside access, both of which say WORKING MEDIA large enough to be read.

   An older gentleman, upon seeing these and processing them, fires off a contempt laden comment directly at me.

"Working media. [Insert scoff here.] There's no such thing."

   At this point I chose option A -- the smile and continuing to walk. However, there were so many others that coud have either led to fisticuffs or a psyche out point in Baseketball.

"Yeah, right? What a bunch of bums!"

"Well, I am working to not step on your decrepit foot."

"Well, I am working not to laugh right in your face."

"Quiet, sir. I'm not being paid to be here to hear you talk."

"You ought to see the guys who never leave the media tent food room."

"Actually sir, some of us work very hard at our job,
much like you look to work very hard to be as fat as possible."

   The best response, however, may have been Option A, much fun as I encourage you to have by submitting your own.

   Sadly, the truly best option of all -- proceeding to stand in front of him and block the view -- would have probably gotten me stabbed.

   • Thanks to the magic of wireless Internet technology, I've now been online in a completely fabricated, air conditioned tent situated in the middle of a field.

   Why more people aren't baffled by this when I'm IMing them continues to amaze me. Much like how more than five minutes have gone by since a certain Hollywood starlet has turned 18, and we haven't heard any rumors involving pregnancy, boyfriends, assault or dancing on top of a bar.

   You want to talk about working media ... those poor bastards.

July 1, 2004 - All Horndogs Eve
   Classified Coke: The "Unexpected Summer" promotion probably violates the Patriot Act somehow.

Paul Saffo, research director at The Institute for the Future, a technology research firm, compared the concern about the Coke cans to when the Central Intelligence Agency banned Furbies, the stuffed toys that could repeat phrases.

   Always good to know those in charge have their priorities in order.

   Women's Open Day One: The Orchards wasn't exactly crowded on Thursday, but the whole day was made when I learned the S-T's seat in the media center was Row A, Seat 1.

   A1. Surely less dramatic than it seems, but I'll be stealing that placard over the weekend.

   In a slightly related note:

• Wyckoff CC - Holyoke, Mass. •
43, 9 OVER PAR
Birdies: 0 - Pars: 2 - Bogeys: 5 - Others: 2
Fairways Hit: 5 of 6 - Greens In Regulation: 1 of 9 - Putts: 17

   I did cut out of the tournament a little early to go play, but not until the first golfer I saw on the day proved to be Michelle Wie on No. 1.

   I have nothing else to add yet, as I have no idea what's actually getting in the story.

   • And now, a game narrative.

- M Ramirez homered to left.
- J Varitek struck out swinging.
- K Millar safe at first on throwing error by third baseman G Sheffield.
- D McCarty walked, K Millar to second.
- C Crespo grounded into double play, second to
shortstop to first, D McCarty out at second.

1 run, 1 hit, 1 error
Boston 4, NY Yankees 3

- J Posada struck out swinging.
- T Clark grounded out to pitcher.
- R Sierra singled to center.
- M Cairo doubled to right center, R Sierra scored.
- J Flaherty hit a ground rule double to deep left, M Cairo scored.

2 runs, 3 hits, 0 errors
Boston 4, NY Yankees 5

   Ruben Sierra, Miguel Cairo and John Flaherty. You've got to give the Red Sox this ... they somehow keep finding more debilitating ways to lose.

   I've never been more convinced that that's why I love them.

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