August 29 - September 8, 2004 - Sept. 5th My Ass
   Italics: It just feels like everyday needs them, doesn't it?

   • Now then.

   Those of you with whom I share real life friends may have noticed all three of my cruising partners -- Scruffy, Wiry and Blondie -- all updated their aforelinked LiveJournals while we were on vacation. Disgusted at the exorbitant rates the cruise ship was charging, we ended up at a rather-not-sketchy Internet cafe in Cozumel frequented by cruise crew members and those like ourselves.

   I sprung for the extra to sit in the VIP Room, with its leather chairs and black computers, but that's neither here nor there.

   The fact that each of them updated their LiveJournals, along with jumping onto Instant Messenger to chat with friends back home, during their time tells you something about them. The fact that neither of those activities even occured to me while I was sifting through e-mail and visiting the sorts of Web sites you'd expect I would tells you something else.

   They are dorks.

   Or just that I hate each and every one of you.

   Upon flying into Hartford on Tuesday night -- yeah, because that was in the original travel plans -- and making my way "home," one of the first things I did though was cruise to my own LiveJournal's friends page. After all, when I have all these days of news to now catch up with, I may as well catch up with the unbridled frustration and seething hate you miss when you're floating aimlessly in the Gulf of Mexico out of contact with everyone.

   There were something like 160 new posts there since I subscribe to this community for no real reason, and from those posts, I learned several things.

   Yes, yay learning.

   • Julie worries a lot. Now as my girlfriend, she more than has this right ... I dare say somewhere within my black heart, I even appreciate it. She posted three times while I was gone generally about concerns regarding my whereabouts and being bothered that I was unreachable.

   Again, this is fine.

   What is not fine is, in looking at the timestamps, there's a good chance I was eating while she was writing all three of those posts. I may even be able to boil it down further ... I may have been eating apples while she was posting her loving thoughts.

   If you've ever been on a cruise, this doesn't surprise you one bit.

   • The kids and their book learning. This would be just as disturbing as it annually is becoming -- two years and counting, and yet I'm still posting -- if it wasn't superceded by the sudden realization the NFL season is starting ... in less than 24 hours. The fact that I missed a final fantasy football draft should have clued me in, but the sporadic network coverage we were getting thanks to the storm included enough promos to make me feel hopelessly out of touch.

   And I have to write an NFL picks column for Saturday.

   Sometimes, I like working with only a limited sense of accountability.

   And it does warm my heart to know that all this weekend, packs of freshman girls will be roaming the streets of Allston with their IDs around their necks being proud of the fact they discovered all the haunts students have been coming across for years.

   I would like to believe one of them will just look at all their new friends and go, "Why the hell are we wearing our ID cards around our necks?," but after all those hours aboard the M.S. Inspiration, my faith in society may be at an all-time low.

   • Trivia rides again. I actually saw Ken Jennings first appearance of the new season on Jeopardy!, and am pleased to see he's now content to go for a little more gusto in Final Jeopardy.

   I want to believe he's actually going to get bored of being on the show, leading to my being supplanted as the most insufferable successful person to ever walk the face of the Earth. Really though, we can't always get what we want.

   • Brushes with Internet fame. I've never actually met this man, but he's a friend-of-a-friend and linked here long before I ever knew his site existed. While I was gone, a contribution of his was used in Tuesday Morning Quarterback, Gregg Easterbrook's weekly attempt to show off just how much he knows to an audience ostensibly at to learn about football.

   I have soured on TMQ since it went off ... I'd hate to this it's the convenience factor lost, though I did reach a point near the end where I was just scanning to see him talk about football, novel idea that was.

   • Brushes with actual fame. James talked about an e-mail he got from this game show host, proving that celebrities and famous people often use the Internet to acquire information just like us. James added in a little bump at the end referring to the oft-mentioned Hollywood starlet, who is ironically often referred to as the Hollywood starlet to prevent the above from happening.

   I feel it necessary to make an announcement regarding this.

   With the piles of news out there regarding both our heroine's unquenchable thirst for booze and parties, and all this "promise ring" talk regarding Fez, it has become necessary for me to officially move Lindsay Lohan, the oft-mentioned Hollywood starlet, to the back burner.

   I'm sorry. Sometimes, you just have to be true to yourself.

   Worry not, though. I would now like to officially announce I am in love with Cady Heron, the character in Mean Girls that started all of this all those weeks ago.

   Although she is in high school and thus clearly illegal, the fact that she does not actually exist means I'm totally not getting arrested.

   • And finally, a little baseball. I'm not so much talking about the Red Sox 10-game winning streak, or even the 18-out-of-20 tear that has me actually believing they will win the AL East.

   I'm talking about the fact that not only did the Yankees lose a game to Cleveland 22-0, not only did Kevin Brown break his hand punching a wall in anger, the New York Yankees asked to get a forfeit from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays because the Double A's missed part of a doubleheader ... because of a hurricane.

   Had I learned any of those facts in that Internet cafe, my squeal about the winning streak or the Anaheim sweep might have been slightly superceded.

August 28, 2004 - Procrastination Killed The Cooch
   Consolidation Joy: There's something nice about getting a letter from both of your student loan lenders reading, "Our records indicate that your student loan obligation with your lending institution has been satisfied."

   There's something even nicer about looking online and seeing a payment in excess of $14,000 made to your account, zeroing it out.

   Of course, then you realize all you did was just own that money to somebody else, and in doing so, actually increased the amount of money you'll probably spend in the long term for some short term discounts.

   Still, with the amount of credit card and gambling debts accrued in this country on a daily basis, we aren't exactly a long term kind of people.

   Careying Cali: In the process of flipping channels late night, I came across one Mary Carey conducting an interview on FOX News's Hannity and Colmes.

   Turns out not only does she want to run for governor again, she's for Kerry in the presidential election.

   Seems she thinks John Ashcroft is just "too conservative."

   • I had indirectly made a promise to you guys that the latest trip writeup would be complete by today, as I embark for summer vacation No. 2 in mere hours.

   Obviously, the fact that I am writing this means I'm not.

   Since I refuse to rush the thing, and spent much of the past three weeks not doing any work on it, it is still not done. It is, in fact, much closer to done than it was 24 hours ago, but if this were a term paper, I'd like to think I could sleep with the professor and pull out maybe a "B."

   If I'm lucky ... I'm not very good sleeping with people.

   To be honest, I am about as unexcited to be going on vacation as a person possibly can be. I have said before if there were some way I could recover my money and not go on this cruise, I would exercise it immediately. I feel like crap, physcially and mentally. I have piles of loose ends here in Whale City that certainly won't ravel themselves while I'm gone. I just went on vacation, and thus am both already all set relaxation wise and broke to go anywhere cheap ... never mind the fucking Carribbean on a cruise ship.

   The other day, the four of us who were going began batting around "excursions" we could take -- all wonderful, all once-in-a-lifetime experiences, but all far more money than I should be spending when I haven't legitimately saved a dime since I got my tax refund in February.

   You know the only thing I want to do on this ship? The only goal I have for this expedition.

   I want to work out for seven consecutive days without making a lame-ass excuse not to. Not so much for the results as to see if I'm wrong about my willpower to be a better person actually being broken.

   I have 49 minutes to pack, and I'll still be late.

   See you September 5.

August 27, 2004 - Red Dead ReUpdate
   Caption Of The Day: Admittedly, photographers often struggle writing captions to their shots. This one however, going along with a feature shot of a double cheeseburger, was clearly written by someone who should either know better or is more like me than they;d probably like to admit.

Galen Sprague of Watertown, Mass. handles his double-cheeseburger he is eating for lunch in Boston. Laws to protect restaurants and other food companies from court suits by people who claim the meals or snacks made them fat have been moving through legislatures like burgers through a drive-thru window.

   Admittedly, it works better if "legislators" gets used, but the whole things flows fine if I hadn't have been working tonight and never saw the caption with my poo-poo mind.

   But really, since we're here anyway, let's go with with another.

   Most Pointless And Sad Press Release Of The Day: This will not be running in our paper.

   Nor will it be running in any paper, since "Sad Wedding Digest" is really more of a newsletter. Least until they stop printing it during overnights at the office when the boss isn't around.

Sportsbook Wedding Becomes a Family Affair
Business Wire

   SAN JOSE, Costa Rica -- employee Tonny Castillo, who works in the bookmaking department, married Heizel Fernandez, his girlfriend of 9 years, today at the Betmaker facility.

   Officiating at the wedding ceremony was friend of the couple, and attorney, Yessi Martinez, who also works at in their Customer Service department. General Manager Silvia Vasquez acted as witness to the marriage.

   As a long-time employee, Tonny loves working for Betmaker and feels like part of one big happy family, which is why he felt it most appropriate to get married at the Betmaker facility. Heizel was also happy to be married in the Betmaker offices, along with all Tonnyís colleagues and friends.

   "I just couldn't be happier. Betmaker is part of us and celebrating our love here with all our friends is great," says Castillo.

   The happy couple will honeymoon on the beautiful coast of Costa Rica at the Costa Rica Beach Resort later this year.

   Betmaker has been in the Sportsbook business for eight years ...

   May you all find as much happiness with your bookies.

   • First off, I don't know about you, but things like the California Garage Sale (eBay items are here) are among the reasons I voted for Arnold Schwarzenegger.

   I'm very disappointed at the total lack of bargains I'm seeing on the eBay stuff ... never mind that I'm not in the market for a Leatherman anything. Anyone, however, who chooses to laugh this off for comedy clearly doesn't get it.

   I wish he was my governor, because if you think for one second I wouldn't be trolling a surplus warehouse in Boston with tens of thousands of others, you clearly haven't been here long enough.

   And now, since I will not be posting the deeply personal conclusion I've come to in the last couple days, I'll post the sad article that is at least tangentially related to it.

'Virtual Girlfriend' Demands Gifts
HONG KONG -- She needs to be coddled with sweet talk and pampered with gifts, but you'll never see her in the flesh. A Hong Kong company has developed a "virtual girlfriend" for new cell phones with video capability.

Artificial Life Inc.'s electronic love interest -- sort of a Tamagotchi for adults -- will appear as an animated figure on a telephone screen and respond by voice to text messages you send.

But she'll require a lot of attention, involving virtual flowers and diamonds, company spokeswoman Ada Fong said. Though gifts are nothing but data, suitors will have to pay cold, hard cash.

Fong said prices have yet to be determined.

If she's neglected, "she'll be unhappy and she won't talk to you," Fong added.

Calling the game "suitable for all ages," Fong said the game won't allow sexual interaction.

Artificial Life hopes to launch the service in the English, Japanese and Korean languages in late November, though no wireless operator has yet to agree to offer it. The company also hopes to develop a virtual boyfriend by early next year.

   All the nagging, none of the cuddling. I suppose it's just the inventorial polar opposite of the robot vagina featured today on CrossBalls.

August 26, 2004 - The Outside Looking Sort Of In
   On Scalping: I understand the premise of scalping tickets to sporting, or any, event is to make the most money as possible. This goes without saying, as does the fact that typically all scalpers are working for single entity and that -- especially in the case of the Red Sox -- they've got fistfuls of season tickets in their hands.

   However, there needs to be a middle-level market of scalping for cheaper people. Especially since the Red Sox have essentially sold every ticket to every game, even ones against the Deeeee-troit Tigers.

   Now, sometimes it's good to have the option of box seats, seats behind the on-deck circle, stuff behind the screen ... if you've never been to Fenway Park and want to do it up right. If you go to the game with two other guys and have roughly $175 between you? You should not fail in an attempt to get into the game, even if the visit was poorly thrown together.

   Not angry, just observing. Besides, it would have been really weird to go to a Red Sox game and, you know, have to pay for things and cheer and stuff.

   Yeah, I hate me too.

   In Honor: Today we celebrate for Julie, who despite dragging the lead weight of having me as a signficant other, has secured a full-time job as an "Educational Therapy Assistant at Plains Elementary School."

   And no, it is not the Plains Elementary School on Minot AFB in North Dakota. That's North Plains, you knob, and Western Massachusetts is at least moderately more populated.

   Congratulations, babe. Even if your mom is the principal, and the move screams of nepotism and should be investigated immediately, you are now doing a job I couldn't handle for $75,000/year.

   And that's like 20 times my salary now.

   Too Much Talk: OK, for those privy to the in-jokes featured today, less of that ...

Wicked HoT!!!!!!!11
-- ... and more WiCkEd HoTTTTT male swimmers!!!!!!!!!!11

The U.S. men's 4 x 100 medley relay team celebrate their gold medal at the Olympic Aquatics Center in Athens on Sunday. The United Stakes broke the men's 4x100 metres medley relay world record when they clocked 3:30.68. REUTERS/Jerry Lampen

   I just love that there's three hot guys ... and one who has the same body type and skin color that I do. I can only assume his name is "Irish O'LovesFritos"

   And that's the last time I'll ever say "love" regarding male swimmers.

   • Sometimes, things have to be done for the common good.

   Sometimes, you just feel better about yourself after an incidental thing, because you have left things around you better than they were when you arrived.

   As I go to sleep tonight, Charlie owns his very first Red Sox hat. And all is right with the world.

   Well, not all. Suffice to say I received a phone call today from Pennsylvania, from a man I first heard from last week. He was hoping to hear from me again, but sadly they don't have a studio on this cruise ship.

   By the way, I do thank those of you who proved me right by commeting that I was wearing the same shirt and tie ... I knew I could count on you. Don't worry, my next TV appearance will not be in the tan and red combo.

   I just won't have to go shopping over the weekend to fulfill that. Stupid relaxing summer vacation.

August 25, 2004 - Jabs At The Rivals
   Reporting For My Duty: Sometimes you see a photo, and want to assemble an entirely other visual out of it.


Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., tries to recover a fumbled pass while playing football with the Green Bay West High School team in Green Bay, Wis. on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Laura Rauch)

   I'm seeing the shot after this with Kerry prone, courtesy of said football player "following his instincts."

   Reader Contribution: I'm not sure this was meant to be posted, but the following is a cover letter sent in for an actual job posting. Please file this under both "getting what you asked for" and "how not to get an interview."

Hello, my name is Hannah. I saw your ad on Craigslist and am extremely interested in the seamstress position you have available. I included my resume, but I'm sure you would like to know a little bit about me as well. I am very easy to work with, extremely creative, resourceful, organized, dependable, and I love what I do. Please consider me for the position. Thank you very much.
:-) Hannah

   The smiley face is really what sells it, to me. Though that could just be because we're hiring for some positions in the sports department here, and when asked to send in a writing sample, we got, um ... some fun stuff.

   Speaking Of Poor Writing Samples: In Whale City, our closest competing paper is in Fall River. Each of us have pros and cons compared to the other -- we absolutely kick their ass at everything 99 times out of 100, but they're a union shop so they all make more than us.

   Their lead columnist is a former AP writer from Missouri who, I'm told, is as quirky a gent as you'd ever like to meet. On Monday, he wrote the 'Thoughts' column to end all 'Thoughts' columns ... for the front page of the newspaper. Never mind the fact the page designers decided this was worthy of a six-line headline above the fold -- "A few different things I've been thinking about" -- the following are ACTUAL, NOT MADE UP ITEMS from this column.

The Olympics isn't the same without the Soviets to hate. The Olympics still might be good if any of the Islamic nations had a good team.

When I was a kid, grown men wore one piece of jewelry, and that was a wedding ring. Wearing any other kind of ring marked you as being a little slick for your own good. Wearing a bracelet might have earned you a beating.

The Great Feast of the Holy Ghost of New England. Seldom has so much really good Portuguese food been available for such a low price. I'll be there, and I'll be eating nearly continuously.

I don't care if I'm single until I die. I'm not meeting anyone on-line.

Animals are luckier than humans because animals don't remember how things used to be. And if they do, they don't remember for very long.

Thank God summer is over. People kept asking me to go to the beach. I hate the beach. When you tell beach people that you hate the beach, they get mad. Yeah, that's right. I don't like to go to the beach. I like to go to restaurants, restaurants are where I like to go.

Someone in Fall River should build something new out of granite, like a municipal building or a bank.

If gang members are so tough, why don't they fight with their fists? It doesn't take guts to shoot someone. Wattsa matter? Are the tough guys afraid they might get a bloody nose?

I still don't have a cell phone. I don't pay a cell phone bill, either. If it wasn't for boxing on the Spanish Channel, I wouldn't have cable, either.

   And yet, if you've stopped reading, please resume for the capper ... the last 'thought' they got on the front page.

Is it my imagination or is gravy vanishing from the American diet? I don't mean reductions or glazes or sauces, either. I mean gravy. Brown or white.

   And I'm told this man has a huge following in Fall River, which says all that needs to be said about that city.

   • I have viewed the tape of my TV appearance. There are a few cringeworthy moments, but on the whole, I think I held together pretty well. You'll see it here, but it may not be until after my second summer vacation.

   You'll never guess when the first summer vacation travelogue will be done.

   And now, a screenshot from my latest on-screen exploit.


   And now, a couple I'm actually in.

Lou Tilley shots

   August 2004 is definitely shaping up to be one of those months I look back on one day in February and say, "Wow. Life used to be fun."

August 24, 2004 - Celebrate With Veal And Doritos
   I Didn't Make This: After sitting in my list for weeks, it's nice to finally get around to discussing the Ten Most Embarrassing Interview Moments as a topical discussion.

   Especially since No. 1 got a whole lot of time before me tonight, and No. 2 is, well, historically hilarious.

Jim Rome: You may have even been Jim Everett back there [in 1989] but somewhere along the way Jim, you ceased being Jim and you became Chris.

Jim Everett: Well, let me tell you a little secret ... that, you know, we're sitting here right now, and if you guys want to take a station break, you can. But if you call me Chris Everett to my face one more time ...

   As frequently annoying as Jim Rome is, the man can interview.

   • Rather than get into editorializing just yet, purely the facts.

   I left Whale City about 9:30, a little less than an hour after I cut out of work. Got to the studios at about 10:35-ish, impressing the woman at the window by being so early -- and having her impress me by saying, "You've been here before, haven't you?" Went in, said hello to this guy -- for whom I suspect I owe both my TV appearances -- and chatted with the makeup lady. Apparently I have great color, which is nice to hear.

   I also talked with this guy, who was the last guest on Sports Pulse. As with nearly everyone up there, he knew people from our paper too ... I'd like to believe this TV stuff is actually helping us out that way.

   I watched the first segment of Tilley on TV before being ushered into a small studio from where I'd be doing my piece. It's a nice little set-up -- screen behind with the Boston skyline, the seat (in which I spun just for a few seconds pre-broadcast for old time's sake), then a monitor so I could see what was going on air right below the camera. I had an earpiece also, at which point I officially felt famous. I did not, however, hold my hand to my ear and say "Wait. I'm getting word ... yes, this has just come to us in the studio" for fear of smudging my makeup.

   Again, very little makeup. Great color. I call it "sunburn."

   I was on for two segments with this gentleman -- first in a "Discuss These Topics" sort of debate, then a "Yea or Nay" where we took sides on various points of debate. Unlike I suspect this show is at times, it was not scripted, so I think we agreed more often than we actually disagreed. It was good I wasn't required to get into a real heated debate ... try arguing with your TV set when you can't see who you're talking to, and you'll know what I mean.

   Topics included Mike Williams's eligibility, fixing the NBA and Leonard Little and his legal troubles; then Brian Westbrook, the Red Sox chances in the Wild Card race -- I gave them a big "Yea," for the record -- and a drunken bear on a trampoline.

   Apparently this bear had 36 beers, climbed a tree, then fell out of it onto said trampoline. I resisted the urge to make the allusion to Little, especially since I just thought of it right now.

   And that was it. They thanked me, I thanked everyone and was out of the building just in time for Lonnie to call and tell me I did great.

   The show did get taped, so eventually it will find its way up here. I'm predicting comments will prominently include:

   a) the fact I was wearing the same shirt and tie as last September;
   b) the fact that Lou got my name right, but then said I worked at the Patriot Ledger.

   Hey, TV happens.

   I just wish it would happen more.

August 23, 2004 - All Tilley's Eve
   Everyone Favorite Game, And Always Quite Like This: In the spirit of the great Michelle Wie April Fools caper, I received multiple notes today from people who I'm not sure understood yesterday's entry was written in character.

   I realized this would happen as I wrote that my life sucked for the seventh time as the angst-ridden teen, but in a true sign of apathy, soldiered on hoping my images of the public at large were too pessimistic.

   And yet here we are ... the facts in said entry were all true regarding the party, but were attempted to be made more interesting by the inclusion of character and style additions. Angst-ridden teens would say "this whole life is bullshit, anyway," along with eschewing capital letters because they're cooler than you are. Make sense?

   Let's also not forget I'd just had four additional beers and a shot of Crown Royal in the hours prior to said writing, and that we'll be back tomorrow when I have to clarify this clarification following notes of this nature.

"So sorry to have not gotten your jokes, you asshole. I guess I'm not allowed to read the site at all because I'm not smart enough."

   Ah, drama. How I've missed you.

   Today's Olympic Lesson:

Synchronized Swimming
-- Synchronized swimming is very, very weird.

United States' Anna Kozlova, left, and Alison Bartosik perform in the duet techical routine in synchronised swimming at the Olympic Aquatic Center on Monday. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

   And really, why say more than that?

Delusions Of Grandeur Better Than Nothing At All (?)
-- The more I think about it, the title just doesn't make any sense. Though the column itself may only make slightly more sense than that on it's own.

   • For those who are truly interested, there are many photos from this weekend's Spumoni Day Celebration posted here, with a CoochWorld / CoochWorld login good to get you in.

   Looking back -- and after having discovered one of my friends not only left his vomit all over the bathroom, but then went and laid on Mom's new couch -- hosting the party each year has become increasingly tiresome. It's just the nature of things that the burden is always more on the people who have nearly all of their friends over to get drunk and play on giant inflatables, and there are many people who help make things a success each year, but I'm never left with a feeling other than if I didn't host said party every summer, no one else would.

   And that's fine up until the point Mom calls to tell me one of my friends puked all over the bathroom, left it there, went and laid on the new couch, bossed her around all day ... and then that I should not call said friend to say something because she "doesn't want to deal with it."

   But anyway, cue the upstairs comment about the drama. And cue a big bravo to the patrons at the Munch Museum in Oslo, who seemed to all watch two of the world's most famous paintings be stolen without actually, you know, doing anything about it.

An eyewitness said one man dressed in black rushed towards the "Madonna" painting, "grabbed that off the wall and then started banging it against the wall and against the ground because the gray strings weren't breaking off for him."

"He then saw 'The Scream', ran towards that and grabbed that off the wall and then he started rushing out the front and we started rushing out the back."

   And from Canada:

The thieves also made off with another Munch painting called "Madonna" -- and all of this happened as museum-goers watched in stunned disbelief.

Many museum visitors panicked and thought they were being attacked by terrorists.

   Good to see most weren't too frightened to offer comments to The Associated Press, and quite good that none of these people, who apparently "filled the museum" according to the BBC, felt like sticking an arm out or something. Guns or not, I'd like to think in a similar situation, I could get my hands out of my pockets.

   This probably won't come up tonight at 11 p.m. on CN8, when I am going to be on Lou Tilley's Sports Connection, but I had to fit it into the narrative somehow along with the mispronounciation of my name tonight when referred to as a guest for Tuesday.

   Well, that and the rumors of a "small gathering" in Brookline to watch the show ... I can only hope a drinking game springs from this somehow.

August 21-22, 2004 - As Razorblade Suitcase Said
   We will bastardize with one entry for the weekend. Even though it flies in the face of just what this site stands for, I consider being intoxicated for the better part of 48 hours to be as valid an excuse as any other.

   • Saturday's party redux, written in the style of a person who struggles with punctuation marks.

   We got everything set up and it rained very hard early and we had to stand in the cabana with our Red Bull and vodkas and I couldn't get the Grey Goose bottle open and it had ice sticking to the outside of it because it had been in the freezer because it was so cold.

   Even with it raining we went on the ginat slide because it was faster when it was wet and we got this little inflatable raft to go on the inflatable slide and it made people go a lot faster. Eric almost broke a rib and Jim almost broke an ankle.

   No one used the joust because it was wet but the bounce house got a little action from my mother. I wish I had seen that.

   We went into the pool which was warmer than the rain and some people played pool baseball but I didn't because I wanted to drink more and I did that. We ate a lot of chicken wings but the house got really messy from grass and at some point they took the bullhorn away from me because there were fears I'd get it wet.

   It stopped raining in the evening and actually became a pretty nice night but not a lot more people showed up and we had cigar smoking and a fire pit and food and then a poker tournament that was won by Mike. There were other things that happened that I don't really remember but that was the gist of it and we'll add to it as time goes on and it seems even cooler in our heads.

   And then Sunday, written in the style of an angst-ridden teen.

   my life sucks.

   several people awoke still at my house on sunday morning. i got flak for sleeping somewhat late despite the fact i'd stayed up cleaning the kitchen from the unwashed masses until almost 4 a.m. i should be used to not receiving any credit for my hard work ... the only time these people will miss me is when I'm dead.

   several more people appeared to help pack up all the inflatables and clean the outside, which was done quite well. volleyball was then played again, with the pain in my thumb from its earlier sub-nail injury matched by the pain in my soul that I'm not a vampire. perhaps i should have applied sunblock before exposing my pale skin to such beating rays, but why bother.

   this whole life is bullshit, anyway.

   i took it upon myself to return cans and bottles from the previous day. the total was $16.85, earned after many of them spilled all over the floor of the redemption center. that's 337 cans and bottles ... you jocks couldn't have done that math, nor could you have written the poem "337" i rifled out in mere moments as i collected my things to go to work.

   we went out sunday night after work, we owls of the night. on the prowl, watching girls in foam hats make fools of themselves before the court o public opinion.

   it's a shame i can't drink because i'm just an angst-ridden teen.

   Like I said ... looooooot of drinking.

August 20, 2004 - TV, Here I Go Again
   The 16-Year-Old In Me Is Impressed: Foxwoods Casino is getting a Hard Rock Cafe.

   I'm still impressed the "largest and most popular casino in the world" remains in southeastern Connecticut, and that I've been a part of making that happen because I have poor money management skills.

   • Because I promised, and because planning for Saturday's Spumoni Day Celebration is calling, I will make my announcement brief.

   I will be appearing on Lou Tilley's Sports Connection, the CN8 sports show aired throughout their entire broadcast area, at 11 p.m. on Tuesday night.

   I'm still unaware of what I'll be discussing on said show -- I'll be on via satellite from Boston -- but I can guarantee you I will not be wearing a lapel pin with the URL of this Web site on it. No sir.

   No suit coat. No lapel.

August 19, 2004 - Rockin' Out Ledyard
   An Acceptance Of The Truth: Oasis, who rocked increasingly long ago, is coming out with a DVD to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Definitely Maybe, one of the best albums of my generation.

   Yeah, I said it. Be lucky I'm feeling generous and said "one of" ... Blur's The Great Escape is up there too.

   Maybe Oasis's realization, through the DVD, that they peaked as a band in 1997 will drive their sixth album to not blow. I'm not exactly optimistic, but then again, when is that any different from the norm?

   Career Questions: Hollywood being the odd place that it is, I'm not so much shocked by Heather Graham ending up on Scrubs as I am saddened that it has come to this. Honestly ... has it been five years since she was Felicity Shagwell? Was Say It Isn't So really that strong a blend of career cyanide?

   To cite more entertainment I came across today, Reese Witherspoon. The precursor to the certain Hollywood starlet, but without the publicly being identified as a raging bitch. As enjoyable a film as Cruel Intentions really was -- in that train wreck kind of way -- don't we really have to look back on it as the peak of the mountain?

   Sure, there's been the 'Legally Blonde's and that movie I saw on a plane, but between Ryan Phillippe an her chin trying to escape her face on occasion now ... it's just not the same now.

   Because I'm gorgeous, and I can say these things about others.

   • Tomorrow, I will make an announcement that may cause excitement for those who live between Maine and Maryland and feel like there's never anything on TV on Tuesday nights. So yeah, you look forward to that.

   Today, I want to talk about Carly Patterson. Two weeks ago, I would have been scared to discover Carly Patterson had a Web site. I'm still scared by it now, but that's less because she has one and more because the entire idea of competitive gymnastics is enjoyable, and yet feels totally wrong on levels I can't put my finger on.

   I think it boils down to knowing there are guys across this country watching competitive gymnastics and having, well, "impure thoughts." Competitive gymnastics on television feels like something that no one should be watching. Between the shiny Lycra and the glitter makeup ... I'm not even going to type it. It's enjoyable to watch, and yet since I can't put a finger on exactly why it's enjoyable, clearly it's enjoyable for the wrong reasons.

   And I swear so much of what the women are doing is just waving their arms around. I know it's more than that, and I know I wouldn't be able to complete a single apparatus, but seriously.

   Anyhow, Carly Patterson is now a celebrity -- the women's all-around champion, which is essentially the non-ice form of the women's figure skating gold medalist. She will be on the next pressing of the Wheaties box, and continually draw comparisons to Mary Lou Retton, who, as you may not be aware, won herself.

   Yet, it's funny ... usually when we talk about the 1984 Los Angeles Games, we always hear how those wins are asterisked because the Soviets weren't there. Their reverse boycott leads announcers, writers, etc. etc. to always say "This is the first U.S. medal in ___ since 1984, the first in a non-boycotted Olympics since ..." Things like that.

   Except when we're talking about Mary Lou Retton.

   This wouldn't be the first time I've been barking up the wrong tree, but it just strikes me as odd. Does being an American sweetheart make her immune to being starred? Certainly there's nothing to be taken away from her accomplishment, as she beat the world's best, but then again maybe there is something to be taken away from it.

   After all, if everyone else from 1984 is going to get the short stick, the short people should too.

   Also, it's always nice to work a Tim Daggett reference into the update. Born in West Springfield, the double medalist from 1984 opened his world-renowned gymnastics academy in Agawam because, as I like to think about it, he figured out that West Side sucks.

   Agawam in the hizzouse.

August 18, 2004 - The Man, The Myth, The Moustache
   Comments Galore: Just happening to look at my old guestbook, I found a new comment from someone who got here by Googling for Bambi School in Agawam, notable for being the first place I ever attended classes.

   Of course, I spend most of the first day crying face down on a cot. It just seems so symbolic now.

   For The Love Of Mutton: I'm just not going to let myself rant about the potential latest PETA campaign, other than to say I will be sure to eat meat with every meal today.

   And really, that's no different than normal.

   Still Got It: I walked the better part of eight miles today, going from BU's South Campus to Fenway Park to Newbury Street to Downtown Crossing to Quincy Market and back again in the span of several hours. Errands were run. Sweat was felt. Conversations were heard.

   That's really all. I just thought that was noteworthy, considering I'd actually taken the time to run earlier in the day for once.

   • In a bit of a surprise, the all-time Bond movie count ran up to six tonight, after seeing Goldfinger and The Spy Who Loved Me in a Movie Night run this evening.

   The films were described as "The best ever" for Goldfinger and, for "The Spy," that Roger Moore was the least comfortable Bond of the five actors. Can't really say much to either comment at this point.

   I can say that the pair probably had the best combination of henchmen of any of the films -- you know of both Oddjob and Jaws even if you've never seen a Bond film.

   And really, the stunts and green screens don't seem that absurd through the sands of time.

   Certainly no less absurd that Madonna's song to open Die Another Day. The fact that Pierce Brosnan has to go out on that film is a crime against celluloid.

August 17, 2004 - The Cooch Was Loose
   A Soccer Story: Let it be known soccer balls are not actually spheres. A soccer ball is actually a truncated icosahedron -- why this is exactly I have no idea, but it does allow me to say "Archimedes solid of fun," which is a decent sidelight.

   We did not come in third at trivia tonight because of my failure to grasp this, but it is notable that we basically got it wrong because I'm louder than Charlie.

   Fried Pickles: At said trivia, I was convinced to eat a fried pickle, for which apparently the condiment of choice is ranch dressing. Why this is -- considering the marriage of ranch dressing and unadulterated pickles may be the base for fake vomit -- I have no idea, but it was presented as one of those pieces of common knowledge not to be questioned unless there's a damn good reason.

   The concept worked because, given the bar we were at fried only pickle spears, you were essentially eating four inches of batter. The aforementioned Charlie, however, said both it's a more common practice to fry the entire pickle and listed some restaurant I've been to before where they do this.

   As a nation, we like batter.

   As a nation, we like pickles.

   As a nation, we should not like fried pickles. I will not argue this, as I'm pretty sure the fact someone here looked at a pickle once and said, "Hey! Let's fry this!" is the reason why the French wouldn't back our UN resolutions to go to Iraq.

   Vanessa Carlton: I'd recently asked where she was and whether she could save us. Who knew if I'd just visited the page I linked to, my answer had been posted for 72 hours.

   If she's saving us with this song and this video for said song, we may need additional firepower. Don't get me wrong, it's good ... you just don't get the bathroom clean at a rest stop Waffle House with a spray bottle of spring water.

   And no, I have no idea where the hell that example came from.

   • Both through yesterday's comments and her own site, the author that spawned the Olive Garden discussion revealed herself. That seems as good a reason as any to swing again.

I am SO pissed at Tom Brokaw and his freakin' Nightly News for telling me who won the women's gymnastics team competition before it even got aired on TV. Who does that? They aired the winner at 6:45, and it doesn't even get aired until 8. UHHH. I've been looking forward to watching it all day, too.
-- I will now expand unnecessarily on my comment from here.

   I'm not going to touch the fact we're talking about women's gymnastics ... people who are excited by televised golf should not throw stones.

   The short answer to the incredulous question is "Every media source known to man who reports on sporting events." You may throw an "Umm ..." in front of it if you're trying to be sassy, but hey, it can be done without it.

   If it wasn't clear from the updates during the Salt Lake games of 2002 -- and can I just say, I still can't fathom the Olympics were held in Utah -- I grew up an absolute Olympic junkie. The first year of my life I really remember much from is 1988, and lo and behold, I remember being completely transfixed by the Games in Calgary. Battle of the Brians, Keith Jackson sitting in front of the fireplace, the snowflake logo ... just transfixed. I was crushed when they were over ... even Seoul couldn't really compare because, at that point, I was on the 'love' side of my bipolar relationship with Canada.

   Now, when I remember the SI For Kids with Janet Evans on the cover came to me 16 years ago, I marvel that I never noticed her teeth were as awful as they are in the picture here. Geez IOC ... you can't do any better than that for a four-time gold medalist?

   Anyway, all through the '90s I kept the madness. Albertville, Barcelona, Lillehammer, Nagano ... oddly enough, the Games I cared the least about while they happened were the ones in my time zone because I was in Wales and still had to watch on tape-delay.

   The big sport in BBC Olympic coverage, by the way? Field hockey. I'd imagine it's the same premise that has all the U.S. women's soccer games shown live here, but this narrative is clearly already taking too long for another digression.

   The point of all this is I just can't make myself care about the Athens Games much at all. The obvious blame falls to my job, which has made it completely impossible to watch any Olympic event of any substance without knowing its outcome unless it's aired live. And nothing good has been aired live so far ... sorry, seeing the women's soccer team advance to the quarterfinals against Angola, Cape Verde and The Vatican is like cheering for Whale City Harbor to be there when I wake up in the morning.

   This is going to be a huge problem for the Games, because kids like I was in 1988 are increasingly going to know the outcomes of all the events happening half a world away before they actually see them -- thanks, Internet! They won't care about the Olympics, we'll keep sending teams of people who don't give a blow, and by 2020, Mongolia will be outmedaling us.

   Not really, but you get the point.

   I guess it's just nice for me to get a chance to reminisce about my youth and bitch about things. Because really, at any given moment, you could come here and read a rambling narrative with no point and no discernable facts just because I don't feel like getting myself in trouble when I'm already depressed.

   And by the way, I am both not depressed and do not openly dislike the author of said Olympic and Olive Garden posts. If anything, I think she's dreamy for actually writing these words for other people who are literate:

"I mean that quote is coming from a girl who, if she had her choice, would inevitably wind up at the North Dartmouth Ninety-Nine everytime she ate ..."

   Don't even get me started on the 99, a New England eatery chain that may only exist for people who say, "Hmm. I'd like to just eat any old thing, but I want to have to dress myself and go outside first." Their next menu expansion should include cereal and Pop Tarts just for effect.

August 16, 2004 - Thirty-Six Months Later ...
   Joyeux Anniversaire, Gustave: It's rare for any sort of site anniversary to pass without me being the one to make a big deal, but I got a note today from an old friend who reminded me of something I never should forget.

Three years ago today, the following words were spoken:

"Who would have ever thought that Jimy Williams, Sam Horn and I would become unemployed on the same day?"
-- Jon Couture, 16 August 2001.

   The author of this has moved on from here to here, but fellow Terrier Matt is truly the reason I've accomplished anything in this business. Were it not for him e-mailing out of the blue in need of a copy editor intern for the summer of 2001, I'd probably be working at the Agawam Advertiser News to this very day.

   A cold chill just blew through the room at the very thought. Instead though, I get to do this.

In the Olympics, The Stranger The Better
-- Rip columns out of Web site entries!

   Hey, it was bound to happen sooner or later. You can't write this much crap on a regular basis and not have some of it be worthy of overlap.

   • I really do hate to do this, but sometimes even friends write things that I can't overanalyze and make way too much out of.

______ took me out to dinner at the Olive Garden on Friday night. He had never been there and everyone said it was good, so he wanted to check it out. We got this awesome hot spinach artichoke dip for an appetizer, plus bread and salad, and our meals. We definitely splurged, but it was a nice treat.

   There seems to be a good number of people who get this excited about the Olive Garden. Maybe it's the commercials that play it up to be this magical eatery. Maybe it's the atmosphere, which if you didn't know any better could make you believe you were not in a place that has 477 locations in America, and probably now has more.

   Maybe it's the talk that they have a culinary academy where they sned chefs in Italy to "learn the way," or some similar phrase in Italian.

   As a general rule, you should really never be excited if you're eating at an Olive Garden. The food can be good, but it really can never be better than, say, deciding you want seafood and eating at Red Lobster.

   I'm actually saddened that all the Red Lobsters packed up and left Maine ... for all the state's overwhelming flaws, they should keep a storefront open just so, when anyone not near-death starving walks in wanting to eat, they get punched in the face.

   I shouldn't say I'm amazed that the Olive Garden gets the plaudits from so many ... my food faith in society has long since been beaten down by people choosing McDonalds over Fresh City on the MassPike when they clearly have more than $5 in their pockets. And really, they've got a pretty decent wine list and the food is good enough.

   To me though, it shouldn't be considered 'splurging.' Unless of course you got the $95 bottle of wine.

   In which case, I encourage you to go try the Red Lobster in Maine. I've heard they can do wonders with a clam strip.

August 15, 2004 - DiMar-No
   Weather Aided Disappointment: In Whale City, we take our severe ocean-based storms seriously.

   Waking up at 10 a.m. to find one tree limb, roughly a foot long, in my parking lot leads me to say Charley should work more on spelling his name right as his remnants are battered up around Greenland.

"We're putting in a couple of extra lines on her, taking a lot of caution," said Peter Chmiel, who, with his wife, Debra, planned to stay at the marina on their boat when the storm hit, not only to protect the boat and monitor any damage, but to socialize with everyone else who sits through the storm.

"It's a party," Mrs. Chmiel said. "There's always a lot of fun people out during the storms."

   That's how we roll ... in that I've never met these people and don't own a boat.

Another Cursed Day In Red Sox Nation
-- OK, the curse reference is probably a little much. Didn't come from my pen though ... and I'm sticking to that.

   Feel free to also read the column I forgot to link to last week.

   • Sometimes, we worry about the fate of the world unnecessarily.

   Then a person notices thing like this, where eight of the 16 most popular news photos on Yahoo! are of female Olympians wearing two-piece somethings.

   Look at this photo! A Reuters photographer took this, full well knowing almost no news organization in the world would ever use it!

   Know what? I think we're all going to be OK after all.

   Today at the Red Sox game, a member of the regular press corps was late in arriving for whatever reason. Got there in, let's say, the fifth inning. Immediately after his arrival -- and we're talking like less than a minute on his reaching the press box -- the following runs across the big board in center field.

The Red Sox welcome _________ to today's game.

   And much fun was had by all.

August 14, 2004 - Vijay Day
   Forces Of Nature: Somehow, this feels wrong.

Where golf meets hurricane destruction!
-- Where golf meets hurricane destruction!

Top photo is of Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, home of the PGA Championship.

Bottom photo is of a road desroyed by Hurricane Charley. "Desroyed" is "destroyed" destroyed by bad spelling.

   Phish: As you're no doubt aware, Phish is playing their final shows ever at a festival in Coventry, Vt., which as you can see is just south of Hudson Bay.

   Attendance at the festival is so high -- in the 70,000 range, I believe -- the festival is actually Vermont's most populated town for the weekend. Whether this says more about Vermont or Phish fans, and whether it's good or not, is an exercise I leave purely up to the reader.

   As the story goes, people are just abandoning cars on Interstate 91 as state police block off the Newport Airport to parking because it's gotten too muddy. People are walking 15 miles to get to the concert site, telling TV crews they're "abandoning material possessions" to go see Phish.

   So let's just recap what we already knew, and what we should never forget.

   Phish was, and always will be, a great band.

-- Courtesy and the recent Tweeter Center shows.

Left: Peter Rogen (left), who made the trip down from New Hampshire, said, "If they broke up they wanted to, so I'm glad they broke up." Seth Acton, of Kingston, R.I., says that he is running for president of the US under the Funkatarian Party. His platform will be "Down with terror, up with jobs, and Orange Julius for everyone."

Right: The colorful attire of a fanís homespun dress.

   Phish fans, however, are absolute crazy m.f.ers.

   • I always seem to forget that there are enough of you out there who read this and care enough to worry when I write something like I did yesterday. What's frightening is I actually didn't write when I was at my most ... um, not serene ... and things still came out like that.

   It'll be a fun entry to go over when I'm doing Quotes of The Year for 2004. Get all depressed again, perhaps write another entry inspired off of it ... just one of those moments that makes you wish my computer would explode and consume me in a fireball.

   I can assure you things are nowhere near as bad as anything I wrote would make them seem. I always feel so guilty after an episode like that because there are people, both that I know and that I'd never meet, who would kill to have my screwed up life. When I was out in California, one of Mario's roommates was asking us the various questions one asks to people they don't know. When I told him what I did, he could only say, "Wow. That's kinda some people's dream job, isn't it?"

   This is, of course, a great time to say I haven't started that trip writeup yet. I've been home now more than a week. Disaster written all over it.

   I had a good talk with a great friend tonight about what's going on -- it's all melodrama, and has nothing to do with this wonderful car crashing girl, but thank you for asking -- but there's no point in going into any more detail here.

   Plus, I ate Chinese food tonight and now feel like I'm going to black out. Plus, I have my first Bronson Arroyo start of the year staring me in the face tomorrow barring, say, a tropical storm flying through Boston at like 2 p.m.

   Tis a glorious, glorious age.

August 13, 2004 - Cursed
   Julia Child: Dead. All that butter. All that wine. She almost lived to 92.

   Take that ... people who think otherwise.

   Craig Kilborn: Not dead, but soon jobless by choice. Just seemed to fit in with the rest of the narrative, which you should not read under any circumstances because I'm diluted and angry.

   • I drove home tonight more of less unable to see, with a clouded contact lens and an equally foggy windshield, with the minimal remnants of a five-beer buzz just doing enough to make sure everything else wasn't all that easy to see.

   It wasn't safe.

   It wasn't smart.

   But I wasn't staying where I was under any circumstances.

   Part of me kind of wishes I'd gotten in a car accident -- not only could I have shared that Friday the 13th joy with Julie, it would have been great to see what got said next. I'm constantly amazed at what people who supposedly care about each other can say to one another, or even to watch others say to one another.

   Sometimes, and many times for no good reason, I wonder about just who would attend my funeral. I'm only mentioning it because this did actually get verbalized today, and full well aware this will probably lead to an "intervention" phone call from my mother. To me, it's just an interesting idea ... I'd love to see it unfold on closed circuit TV or something.

   Almost enough to make a person want to fake his own death.

   How very George Carlin of me.

   Two years ago, I'd have just written the rant I came up with in the car that almost drove me off the road. Now, it's just not worth it. All I'm going to say is that for how wonderful my life really is, and it really is something I never take pride in enough, I hope you all have it that much better than I do.

   And I hope the feelings you have are actually worthy of the reality. Because as wonderful a day as I had today, I don't deserve it.

   And I'm never going to be allowed to forget how tinged it all is.

August 12, 2004 - Life Gets In The Way
   And Baby Makes Three: This is more for public record than anything else, but a certain Hollywood starlet and her prime-time boyfriend were featured on Conan tonight ... or a little after midnight tomorrow if you're a pain in the ass.

Of course, such a statement would be clearer if Conan posted his "If They Mated" photos immediately after broadcast, but suffice to say the child had black hair down to the bridge of its nose, cheeks that may have spanned wider than its ears and the effervescent personality surely springing from every child of two Hollywood 'it' people.

   Also, as an aside you may not fully believe, I saw this Rolling Stone spread in its paper form today. I've come away not so much unimpressed, but convinced she may really only be smoking in posed photos and/or cinematic rolls where editing is present. The "papparazzi" type stuff that generally comes across the Wires ... not so much.

   Don't worry, I don't fully believe it either. And I'm the one that said it.

   Returning To The Scene Of The Crime: I played this course today for the first time since this happened, and suffice to say I did not match the stunning 3-under 38 that won me my moderately impressive trophy ... and came after I'd played the course a half-dozen times in the previous 36 hours.

   Normally, 27-21-48 wouldn't be all that much to write home about -- see the scores on the above link for context -- but after seeing they still had the tournament scores posted on one window of the "clubhouse," I aced the 18th hole, setting off the alarm and winning a free game that will assure we'll be talking about this again sometime soon.

   Default excuse will be using the "rented equipment," if you're keeping track.

   • How to live your life like Jon Couture, August 12 edition.

   Eat here.

   Drink here.

   Sleep here.

   Repeat, oh, every couple months or so.

   Then write a Web site about it, completely oblivious to the fact that most people don't care.

August 11, 2004 - One Month ...
   ... until Ellis Burks turns 40.

"I haven't played pain-free in years, so I don't think that's an issue. I think my pain tolerance is a lot more than anyone else in here. I've played with both patellar (tendons) jacked up. I've played through hernias, broken bone in my wrist. That's not an issue. I think the main thing for me is just reassurance, knowing I can't hurt anything else in my knee. And I know I can't because there ain't nothing left in there."
-- And that's why we love him.

   United States 3-0 Greece: Among other games, the Olympics are underway.

   Given NBC -- who wheeling out the same "stone fireplace" set that worked in Salt Lake City, but looks a little iffy in the Aegean Steamroom -- is spreading an average of 70 hours of coverage per day across seven different networks, each of the 28 sports and 37 disciplines will see time on American television at some point or another.

   Which means the race will be on to find the Summer Games' version of curling.

   You know, curling. Shuffleboard on ice. The national sport of Canada. Played by this good man when he gets the chance. The ultimately quirky sport that demands to be watched every time it's on TV ... since it may not happen again for a long, long time.

   • This is a quick list, but here are some early contenders to fill this Summer void:

   Archery: It's a sport a lot of people are able to do -- not necessarily well -- as nobody has to run. It's also like darts to a point, and do drunks ever love darts. Hell, they created Jarts just so some pasties could get some sunlight while doing it!

   The downside is there's very little action in archery. With curling, there's always the chance of stones being knocked, sweeper trip-ups and the like. I don't really think there's a good chance anyone will split an arrow with another arrow in Athens.

   Table Tennis: Again, a sport a lot of people can play, just not necessarily well. Everyone pretty much already understands the rules, and the potential for drunken play makes this a positive for the kids who need to fill time between "Beirut"/Beer Pong games.

   I tend to think this shouldn't count though ... ESPN already shows table tennis on occasion, and it's too widely played already to be quirky. Your mileage may vary.

   Badminton: No. It's just not going to happen.

   Field Hockey: If you're already a well-accepted high school sport, you can't win. Which leaves ...

   Handball: My pick. It's not really a sport a lot of people are going to pick up, but hey ... we used to play it in gym class, even if it was probably bastardized in a similar way to how we played "lacrosse" with all-plastic sticks and "football" with nerdy kids who couldn't catch.

   To me, it features rules a lot of people will only sort of understand and enough action to keep the eye of Joe Q. Channelflipper. Plus the U.S. isn't in either tournament ... the medals in Sydney went to Russia, Sweden and Spain for the men; Denmark, Hungary and Norway for the women.

International star athletes in this sport are:

Men: Magnus Wislander (SWE) (Best player of the century) Talant Duishebaev (URS/ESP), Andrej Lavrov (URS/RUS), Jackson Richardson (FRA), Veselin Vujovic (YUG).

Women: Sinaida Turtschina (URS), Anja Andersen (DEN), Svetlana Kitic (YUG)

   Are you kidding me? The potential is near endless!

   Even if handball doesn't take off though, remember what we're reminded of every Olympiad thanks to looser journalistic rules about morality in reporting.

   Are the athletes ever doing each other.

August 10, 2004 - Born Again
   Tuesday, this very day, is my brother Matthew's 20th birthday.

Young Mateo
-- It's funny. These days, he wears the awful shirts.

   In honor of this occasion, CW dedicates today's entry to him. To him in the sense that we'll spend the whole day talking about me.

   Job Search: Since my first days working in Whale City, I had assumed I'd been the only legitimate applicant for my news copy editor job. The argument could have been made, after all, that luck had merely been on my side in getting the job, thus invalidating my entire career and making me worthy of the international hate I undoubtedly receive on an hourly basis.

   Or something like that.

   As it turns out, there were at least four applicants for my first job. This means though I did get lucky, I actually beat out three other oxygen-utilizing humans with my cover letter, interview skills and -- this floors me too, gang -- work abilities.

   Take that, hate-ripe world!

   I'd follow this with a copy of my two-year (one for sports) review, but to be honest, it's so full of praise I'm actally embarrassed.

"Jon, you have come leaps and bounds over the past six months."
-- That's all you get. Clubhouse decision.

   The Post-Apple World: There are so many stores now that encourage, if not demand, browsing customers get hands-on with their products.

   Until today, I didn't know Maytag is one of them.

Under a new retail format at many Maytag stores, potential buyers of washers and dryers can do a load of laundry. Or if the need is a new range, consumers can bake a sheet of cookies first. They can listen to a dishwasher to see whether it really is quiet.

The "environment" in the Maytag kitchen ... is fully functional: a sink, cooktop, refrigerator, microwave, trash compactor, two ranges and a built-in double oven.

The stores are about the size of a department store appliance department (on average 6,000 square feet) but the atmosphere's more like a mom-and-pop shop. They are located close to venues that a female customer is likely to frequent: toy and book stores, for example. They are independently run, in some cases by owners of existing appliance stores who want to expand with a separate Maytag location.

   I wonder if they ever have the problem of certain college kids appearing week after week, just "shopping" over and over.

   • For the second time, The Sporting News has attempted to make someone care that they're still publishing by naming Boston as America's Best Sports City for 2004. Boston won in 2002 as well, when the Patriots won their other Super Bowl.

This is about Boston, all of Boston, a city in which winning and losing, hirings, firings and signings, trades, potential trades and rumors of potential trades are matters debated with the vigor of campaign platforms, which is to say that 'round here, the only thing argued more passionately is when to yank the stahting pitchuh.

   That's the nice way of saying we have problems with perspective.

Taking into account not only the sheer quantity of courses in its year-round sports feast and the depth and breadth of fan fervor (OK, and often angst), but also the quality of the teams in the sports we cover, Boston is our Best Sports City for 2004. Like the area's NFL franchise, Boston wins it all for the second time in three years, which could serve as salve or salt to the wounds of Red Sox fans, who are seeking their second title in 86 years.

Working address for the Foxboro-dwelling, Super Bowl-winning Patriots and home to playoff-qualifying NHL, NBA and major league teams and postseason participants in college football and basketball, Boston saw its sports scene pulse with life year-round.

   Having recently been to several non-Best Sports City markets, and having just read the above?

   Boston should win every year under these criteria.

Yes, it was quite a year, a best year best summarized by the snapshot of a single day: April 19, 2004.

On that sunny spring day, Patriots Day, the Red Sox beat the Yankees (Jim Calhoun, coach of NCAA basketball champion UConn, Boston native and Sox fan since the Braves left for Milwaukee, threw out the first pitch), Boston Marathoners made their way from Hopkinton to Copley Square, the Bruins lost to the Canadiens in a heartbreaking Game 7 (stop me if you've heard those last four words before) and the Pats traded for running back Corey Dillon inside a week from the NFL draft. The New York Times -- The New York Times! -- called it "a confluence of seasons and events, a big day even by the high standards of a wonderful sports city."

   I don't have anything to add ... I just thought it was cool that someone noticed April 19th too. Because let's not forget what I wrote that day.

I'm pretty sure if I saw Sheldon Souray in the street, I'd hit him in my car once someone obsessed with hockey pointed out who he was.

   Maturity. It comes with age.

August 9, 2004 - Youth, As In Bowel, Movement
   Some items just don't need an introduction ... such as LaToya Jackson wanting people to just call her "Toy."

Jackson fully understands that her name comes with much baggage, good and bad. "People weren't giving me the chance to do my thing, which is to sing," she said. "So, I altered my name for this single to see what would happen."

Jackson, the fifth of nine children, says she has slowly but surely been making DJs aware of the fact that she is indeed Toy.

"I've called many of the Billboard DJs to let them know about Toy's background," she said with a giggle. "One phone call at a time, I am letting them know all about Toy. While some of them knew that Toy was me, others were surprised. The overall response has been rewarding and encouraging."

   I'm not even sure what to say here. So I'll leave it to

Perhaps the least-talented sibling in the Jackson family, LaToya has nonetheless generated lots of controversy, although it's been outside the music arena.
-- And that's in a family that included a kid named Rebbie.

   Wilmer: Just to clarify in case the police are tailing me via this Web site, he is not the person I wish were dead. On the contrary actually ... if you can list Mandy Moore, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Lacey Chabert and the oft-mentioned certain Hollywood starlet among your girlfriends of the past, the entire male nation owes you a beer every day of your life. That's legitimately astounding, especially considering your claim to fame is playing Fez.

   Seriously. Think about that for a minute. How can you not stand in awe of California after learning this is happening?

The Sox, From A West Coast Perspective
-- This column has to be better than the one I began writing at 7:30 a.m. Sunday in my hotel room at The Venetian ... after having played poker for three hours and not slept at all. Any time I can build a column around allusions to the Dodgers, I'm pleased.

   • Speaking of the Hollywood starlet, and not to ruin the broadcast which hasn't happened yet, she won four Teen Choice Awards the other night in L.A. Aside from the fact the press release invents the word "celebutantes" to describe hosts Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, the whole evening just disturbs me.

   Screw it ... I'll just completely save you the two hours. Here's the list of winners.

Date Movie: "50 First Dates"
Movie, Comedy: "Shrek 2"
Movie Actor, Comedy: Adam Sandler, "50 First Dates"
Movie Thriller: "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"
Movie Actress, Comedy: Lindsay Lohan
Movie Actress, Drama/Adventure: Halle Berry, "Gothika"
Movie Hissy Fit: Lindsay Lohan, "Mean Girls"
Movie Blush: Lindsay Lohan, "Mean Girls"
Movie Sleazebag: Seann William Scott, "American Wedding"
Movie Breakout Star Actress: Lindsay Lohan, "Mean Girls," "Freaky Friday"
Movie Your Parents Didn't Want You to See: "American Wedding"

TV Show, Drama/Action Adventure: "The O.C."
TV, Reality/Variety: "Punk'd"
TV Show, Late Night: "Saturday Night Live"
TV Breakout Show: "The O.C."
TV Actress, Drama/Adventure: Jennifer Garner, "Alias"
TV Actor, Drama/Adventure: Adam Brody, "The O.C."
TV Sidekick: Sean Hayes, "Will & Grace"
TV Personality: Ashton Kutcher
TV Breakout Star, Female: Mischa Barton, "The O.C."
TV Breakout Star, Male: Chad Michael Murray, "One Tree Hill"
Reality/Variety TV Star: Ashton Kutcher, "Punk'd"
Reality/Variety Jackass: Simon Cowell, "American Idol"

Single: "Toxic," Britney Spears
Album: "Confessions," Usher
R&B Artist: Usher
R&B Track: "Yeah," Usher with Ludacris and Lil Jon
Love Song: "I Miss You," Blink-182
Hook Up: "Yeah," Usher with Ludacris and Lil Jon
Tour of the Year: No Doubt and Blink-182
Song of the Summer: "Pieces of Me," Ashlee Simpson

Additional Awards
Ultimate Choice Award: Mike Myers
Courage Award: Bethany Hamilton
Male Athlete: Tony Hawk
Female Athlete: Mia Hamm
Comedian: Adam Sandler
Fresh Face: Ashlee Simpson

   Please insert your own joke regarding "and I thought the children were our future" or "I don't want to see the future of these children" or "I thought One Tree Hill was what was next to my house." I need to go lie down.

   Mainly because the Song of the Summer really is "Pieces of Me," and somehow, none of us did anything to stop it.

   Where the hell have you gone, Vanessa Carlton?!

August 8, 2004 - The Admission
   NEAPNEA: Since a couple people have asked along the way this past year, and because I made such a big deal out of taking a third place in Sports Columnist in 2003, it's only fair to tell you I did not win in 2004.

   As a paper, the S-T did drag a whole lot of accolades, from several firsts for our coverage of the Buzzards Bay oil spill to a third by my ALCS cohort Steve Britt for this Red Sox wrapup from last October. That amkes me happy, since more people really should understand why this is such a great place to work.

   This, however, is not that sort of forum. It's more for things like this.

   Guacamole: Without wanting to give away too many of the joyous secrets you'll be enjoying in the currently untitled travelogue, I have more or less become obsessed with guacamole over the last month. Every meal, there was some attempt to find avocado-bearing product to eat, with success coming on all but one day -- I don't think there's a lot of things on a gas station menu that contain said product, and really, that's probably for the best.

   That's it. It gets worse.

   • I have never truly wished for a person that I know -- not that I know them well -- to be dead before. It's an absoultely terrible feeling.

   And yet here I am, wishing someone was dead.

   That's all you're getting. For as many frank talks as I've had in the past two weeks, and for as often as I say something on here I really should shut up about, I haven't got a ... well, a death wish.

   We will never speak of this again unless the person actually dies. For much as I want it to happen, it'd probably be much easier on me if it didn't.

August 7, 2004 - Positively Pacific
   MLS, As In "Morbid League Stupidity": Confirming a story I'd been told about while out there but didn't actually pick up on, Major League Soccer is adding a second team in Los Angeles starting next season.

The MLS club owned by Vergara, who also owns CD Guadalajara (commonly known as Chivas) and Costa Rican power Saprissa, will join the Los Angeles Galaxy as a tenant at the [Home Depot Center], giving the city and league their first 'derby.' The fans' excitement at the announcement was evident as they cheered raucously for Vergara and at every mention of their beloved Chivas.

   OK, super. MLS, along with the addition of a team in Salt Lake City, is growing to 12 teams. Expansion being a sign tied to viability, which means after ten years, the league is a legitimate establishment on the sports landscape.

   This makes me happy.

   Up until the point I realize they're putting a second team in the same stadium as another team.

   Clearly, if there's any major market in America that can support two soccer teams, it's L.A. But to put them in the same facility? Where no real regional rivalry can develop in the way it has with the Angels-Dodgers (O.C. vs. L.A.), Yankees-Mets (Manhattan/Conn. vs. Long Island), and the other two-team cities kicking around?

   Hell, even those that play in the same building today -- Giants-Jets and Lakers-Clippers leaping out -- didn't always play that way. The New York teams are rooted in the same rivalry as the baseball ones, and the basketball squads are ... a bad example because the Clippers are abysmal.

   From what I'm reading, the hope is the heavy Mexican fan base in L.A. that loves Chivas -- the Mexican team owned by the expansion franchise's owner -- will take a liking to his new offering. They'll probably have similar colors to go with their similar play style, etc. etc. One problem.

   Who do they think is cheering for the Galaxy now?!

   I really hope I'm wrong on this, and that both teams thrive to build a legitimate blood feud in the league. Lord knows it needs the storyline ... think of it, the suburban soccer families staying loyal to their beloved Galaxy, while the immigrants and not-so-well-to-do take to the new side.

   A good, old-fashioned culture and race war over soccer, which has historically created fans willing to kill for their teams and national sides.

   I can hardly wait.

   • Before I keep going today, and because I am going to talk almost exclusively about California, I do need to address something.

   One of you gave me a call over the weekend under the impression I was moving to the Golden State. Using my own writing as evidence -- which wasn't a bad thing, since I heart you and it was the first time we'd talked in months -- you said you'd read I was moving to California at some indeterminate time. Since maybe one or two of you others might care that much about the goings-on of a person who told you all your blogs and journals sucked yesterday, I'd just like to clarify something.

   I'm not moving to California.

   At least I haven't set a date to do so.

   As lovely a state as it is, and as much Taco Bell ass as Del Taco kicks, I was left with the feeling that I'm not sure I could handle California 24/7. I'm a walk to work kind of guy, and I think spending that much time in my car might cause me to end up on "World's Greatest Police Chases."

   Please note I maintain the right to up and do something rash at any moment, and that a certain Hollywood starlet was at some T-Mobile party on the 4th at The Grove in downtown L.A. according to the AP Photo Wire. These facts have nothing in common, as fate did not have us cross paths for a photograph that I would post, then never replace as the main image on this site. I dare say I'd type the words "Thank you, and good night" below it, and never post again.

   But clearly, I'm rambling.

   The top story of the day seemed to come from this guy, who apparently faked his own beheading as a way to draw attention to his campaign for a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Mission: The Board of Supervisors responds to the needs of the people of the City and County of San Francisco, establishes city policies, and adopts ordinances and resolutions.

   It's a shame he didn't win ... The Bruce might have had some better Wacky Liberal Stories to share with the rest of us in his urine-soaked classroom.

   One person who did win, however, is Shelley Hennig. The 17-year-old Louisianiananian earned the title of Miss Teen USA this weekend, and it's my duty to post a picture for both those who treat this as their home for pageant news and analysis ... and for those like the person who got here by Googling this lovely phrase.

Miss Teen USA 2004
-- She's 17 gang, and I will alert the proper authorities.

Shelley Hennig, the newly-crowned Miss Teen USA 2004, poses in her tiara in Palm Springs, Calif., on Saturday. Hennig, 17, from Destrehan, La, will spend her year-long reign making appearances on behalf of the Miss Universe Organization, its sponsors and affiliated charities. (AP Photo/Miss Universe, Patrick Prather)

   Really, I'm not sure what's more disturbing about this: the fact people can buy photos of the 51 delegates, or that the best background vista of Palm Springs they had available for the winner's photo shoot was the desert and windmills.

   No wonder Trump is stuck doing commercials for the Visa Check Card.

July 29 - August 6, 2004 - 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.

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