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August 31, 2006 - Sicks, Not Seals
   Hope: I've never spoken to Tony Massarotti, but I know he's a longtime baseball writer and, generally speaking, knows what he's doing. To that end, I hope to God that when he writes Jon Lester is having a cancer scare, he's got a little more than enlarged lymph nodes.

Infections that commonly cause swollen lymph nodes include mononucleosis, German measles (rubella), tuberculosis, mumps, ear infection, tonsillitis, an abscessed or impacted tooth, gingivitis (swelling of the gums), mouth sores , and sexually transmitted diseases.

Immune or autoimmune disorders that can cause swollen lymph nodes include rheumatoid arthritis and HIV . Cancers that can cause swollen glands include leukemia, Hodgkin's disease , or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Which lymph nodes are swollen depends on the type of problem and the body parts involved. Identifying the location can help determine the possible cause.

Swollen lymph nodes may also be caused by some medications (like phenytoin for seizures) or certain vaccinations (namely, typhoid).

-- Some medical site.

   I have no reason to think he's just pandering outside of the fact he works for the Boston Herald, long a poor-man's version of the New York tabloids. He's got enough sources that there's no reason to suspect anything nefarious is going on, and that is serious. The team's reaction backs this as well.

   However, when the 'best-case' scenario might be that you're an idiot who's getting people to jump to conclusions because you don't understand the medical testing process, you might want to reveal a few more of your cards in your story.

   Historic Newsmen: Not that I would have known if I hadn't heard the guy next to me in the press box watching the clip, but tonight was Bob Schieffer's final night anchoring the CBS Evening News.

In the end, he broke into tears when praising the influence his mom, wife and daughters had on him.

Schieffer said: "This has been a great experience for me. We were in kind of a hard place when I came here... I feel really good about what we did."

Couric will begin Tuesday, after Russ Mitchell fills in on Friday and Monday. Schieffer will do a commentary piece for Couric's show on Wednesdays, be an analyst for major Washington news stories and continue with Sunday's interview show "Face the Nation."

-- The FreeP, Detroit Edition.

   I was first struck by the comedy of having a "moving sendoff" for a guy who was on the job from March '05 to September '06, especially in the face of the men he replaced ... no one grew up with Bob Schieffer. He's the Seattle Pilots of evening news anchors, memorable because of that awful, pixellated headshot used in that story I linked to.

   Yet now, I'm struck by this Russ Mitchell guy, who looks just familiar enough to make me wonder why I know him -- not real big on watching Sunday night evening news, whether it comes on after golf or not.

Russ Mitchell has a wide fan base for his plain spoken style, sarcastic dry wit and his ability to tweak common network news conventions. He often makes side comments that indicate his clear displeasure wih typical network news puns.

. . .

His willingness to gently ridicule the foibles of news programs, even his own, have prompted some of his fans to call him "Russ Mitchell: Speaker of the Truth."

-- I like him already, even if that's a nickname I would give myself.

   Does he get to have a big sendoff? If this was ABC, would his Friday and Monday work feature a "Countdown to Katie!!!" ticker in the corner?

   And where the hell is she on vacation that she has to start on a Tuesday? Was this a critical part of the hiring process, Couric telling CBS that she needed Labor Day to "unwind"?

   OK. Clearly, this has gone too far.

At Times Like These, Tito Shows His Value
-- Space issues (sort of) killed the notebook, but this column got the proverbial 'critical praise' from two co-workers before it even made it to print. That's rare, and for once, brings me genuine excitement.

   Considering I spent the last three days with no clue of what the hell I was going to write about a Dead Team Walking, I'm quite pleased.

   • Also, for reasons I don't entirely understand, I immensely enjoyed tonight's 6-4 win.

   It was just guts, with Julian Tavares, Bryan Corey, Manny Delcarmen and Jonathan Papelbon combining to do just enough -- Mike Timlin pitched too, but he's dead to me, and should be to you too. Even with Toronto being what they are, the Sox had no business beating Roy Halladay.

   But they got a diving catch from Gabe Kapler, right when they needed it.

   They got what damn well better be a Web gem from Dustin Pedroia, saving Timlin's ass by starting a double play that will endear him to the Fenway faithful.

   Mike Lowell homered. Alex Cora did too, though Alex Rios's botching of that ball was worth sifting through ESPN's pain in the ass video service to show it to Julie.

   Course, you could also now see it on YouTube. Thanks, Internet!

   It was stupidly inspiring, as though I thought the last two weeks would undo what have been 40 years of Sox worship. The people who've given up on the whole show never really mattered, and even if the park was ghost-town empty right before first pitch, it was full when it mattered. It was fun to watch, though I largely seemed to be in the minority among the media contingent on that front.

   Bob, my pal from Brockton, loves fantasy baseball too much. Having Roy Halladay, this led to him walking up to my seat in the second row at least four times, giving me running commentary on how he felt about Halladay's 'awful' start throughout the game.

   I had enough wit to defuse him the first time.

   After that, I just kept hoping he would go away.

   Course, all this said about baseball, tonight was the night I realized I still do love football. Not watching any of the Giants' win, I still spent a good chunk of the night reviewing their 4-0 preseason and using the definitive Pats blog to catch up on a month of neglect.

   Once again, I have high hopes for both.

   Course, you saw where that got me a year ago. Half-watching the Super Bowl while pretending I wasn't sitting in the office, having a fake party while laying out SportsMonday.

August 30, 2006 - Smoke Here, Fire In Boston
   Cohabitation, Day Three: Wednesday night, I returned to work, capping an evening of trying to remember how to do my job by ordering a buffalo chicken calzone -- good choice, at least from a taste perspective -- and getting the paper out earlier than I've done in at least three months. Not that I did all that myself, but I did oversee it.

   At home without me, Julie apparently filled the entire apartment with smoke making herself pan-seared pork chops with glazed carrots and a potato pancake. Because the apartment is in an old building, opening the windows is hard for her, so I got home to find the place smelling ... interesting, with candles going everywhere and her making that "I hope he's as oblivious as he usually is" face she does.

   Also, I had to teach her proper cast iron skillet care, which I don't actually know but can fake pretty well from watching various food shows. I'm pretty sure "leaving it soaking in the sink" isn't listed anywhere, but really, I already actually let it sort-of rust once. Plus, what the hell am I doing owning a cast iron skillet, considering I eat most of my meals at either Subway or Fenway Park?

   Speaking Of: I have to go to Fenway both Thursday and Sunday. Never in the world did I think I'd be saying I have to go to Fenway, even as someone who buried the Sox at, well, the exact perfect time.

   In their 21-games-in-20-days stretch, Boston is 2-12. Thursday, Roy Halladay will pitch against David Wells in Fatty's Boston finale ... why keep him around when we can all safely say the season is over. Four games with the Blue Jays means the Sox could be in third place in the AL East by Saturday night. They're eight behind the Yankees in the division, 7.5 behind the White Sox in the wild card.

   And yet why can I still find a reason to smile? Because the scalpers, for once, at going to take it in the groin all September long. Enjoy those playoff-race ducats you overpaid for! Don't worry, all those fairweather fans will be replaced by BU freshmen, many of whom will think it's a hoot to go to Fenway for the first time.

   You hope, anyway.

   Every time I walk up Brookline Avenue to get to the park, I almost always want to stop and ask what they want for whatever they've got. Now, more than ever, I want to do it the customary 3.5 hours before the game when I get there, just laughing heartily as I walk away up the street.

   Don't Ruin My Fun: I'm well aware ticket agencies are awash in money because people are stupid. Also, they probably got their tickets at face value, so at the very least they'll be able to get their money back. Even if they don't, they've made their share.

   Just let me have a moment.

   • Why's it nice to be an Arizona Cardinals fan? Not only can you have your own message board to discuss your team with other delusional fans, you can apparently be blissfully unaware of the symbolism in this:

Monster truck crash
-- A monster truck, five days before the football opener
there, crashing through a concrete end zone wall.

Went to the monster truck thing at the stadium tonight and guess what? Second race of the night and "Bear Foot" blew the steering and POW!!!! right into the north end zone wall on the visitors side.

M. Bidwill must be really happy. Hope they can do something before Thursday, cuz the plywood that they put over it just doesn't cut it asthetically (sp).

-- Original message board post, found here.

   The chatter, as they say, centers around why stadiums hold these events, how dirty they get everything, whether supercross/mototcross is a real sport, that arenacross is the real small-time sport, why the media are assholes and how apparently the entire show was a joke.

Fans who checked out the first motorsports event at Cardinals Stadium last weekend said the show was delayed by more than an hour, had poor sound quality and offered fewer fireworks than promised.

"It was a total fiasco," said Phoenix resident Terry Guy, who paid $75 for two tickets. "They refused any refunds, so we went home. We didn't even stay for the show."

   You do not screw with a man's fireworks, damn it.

   Maybe he should look into picking up some Sox tickets instead. I know some guys he could talk to.

August 29, 2006 - Old Fingers
   Cohabitation, Day Two: Today, I received an e-mail from Jon D., made famous here when he was immortalized on his softball team's "Playoff Media Guide" two weeks ago.

Hey dude, I heard the wife moved in with you

Nice knowing you, good luck with the rest of your life because its over

   JD, for the record, still lives at home, as his attempts to move down the street from me with a couple friends were turned down. He's also a big fan of asking if anyone's girlfriend has any "hot friends," and once was incredulous because engaged Nick still does his own laundry.

   He was kidding about the last part.

   Rememberable Quotes: On this Tuesday, it seems fair to pass along a link sent to me by Sly: Stereogum's favorite rocker in Springfield moments.

   I'm partial to Homer thanks to Smashing Pumpkins: "Thanks to your gloomy, depressing music, my children no longer dream of a future I can't possibly provide." And this.

Eight different meats.
-- "Oh, I've eaten eight different meats. I am a true renaissance man!"
("I'll go to the first aid tent and tell them to plug in ye olde stomach pump.)

   Thinking Of Everyone: When we're talking about online sports gambling, no one ever thinks of the bookies. Well, Wager Solutions does! They want you "a drink in your hand, sitting in your 50-yard-line seats, instead of being tied to the phones all weekend."

   The other side of this ad I got in the mail -- despite not making an online bet in years, the junk still pours in -- has a guy in "I just broke someone's leg" sunglasses relaxing in a hammock, with a cigar and a newspaper. Because really, nothing says "Hey, bet with our site!" than an ad showing you that every bookmaker is a millionaire because of suckers who bet on online gambling sites.

   • We ended up at Blockbuster tonight, with me renting the latest college football game. I've had success with the franchise in the past, with the last game fascinating me by my improved play netting me hotter and hotter girlfriends.

   A year later, the makers have succeeded in making things far too complex, just like every other game on the market.

   It's amazing to me, but I think I've managed to either outgrow video games or have them almost completely pass me by -- the sports games largely suck, but there's still "Grand Theft Auto". How is it I can still enjoy Tecmo Super Bowl for the NES all these years later, and yet the coming of Madden 07 just makes me remember how many PS2 controllers got broken in frustration from playing online Madden 05?

Bases Loaded
-- Still awesome.

   So, anyone have a younger nephew or someone that would want a PS2 with 15 or so games? I'm willing to at least entertain offers before deciding I have to at least keep pretending I'm not 26.

August 28, 2006 - Day One
   Now, I Ask For A Lot: At least a relative lot, since I usually don't ask for anything. If nothing else, I'm aware that this space is usually reserved for other things, like bowling scores and me showing myself unable to think in even the most rudimentary terms -- see "The Pluto Discussion" of the 24th, and be gentle.

   Today, however, I'd like to pass along that it would really mean a lot to me if you considered buying Jonathan Comey's book.

   As you may know, Jonathan Comey holds one of the most hallowed spots in my journalistic career. If I ever win the lottery, am struck in the brain by a car and decide the best way to spend the money is to build the "Jonathan Couture Hall of Fame" in Feeding Hills, he would go in as a charter member of the "Founders" wing.

I don't think I would even go.
Lawrence "Larry" O'Brien
Matt McSorley
Jonathan Klarfeld
Jonathan Comey
Dan Rosenfeld
Steve Buckley

   I could tell the stories and talk about the people, but along with considering buying what I assure you is a good book -- I read an earlier version of it -- I'm also asking you to consider donating to Julie's autism walk.

   You're not really donating to the walk, I suppose, as much as you're donating to stop autism, which I'm told affects roughly 1 in every 166 children in the United States. Why do I know that? Because I think I've been told it 166 times.

   It's good, though ... it's like how I can't see the year 1994 without thinking about baseball lost season, but with far more meaning.

   The more astute among you will notice a certain demanding "guy who's writing this" is not yet among those who have donated. Whereas last year I set the bar high at the start, this year I'm waiting, both hoping others shame me and that I find some absurd amount of money in the street I can use.

   It's been a long day. And that was before the begging.

   Collections Update: Today, what with a whole other person bringing all their crap into my living space, was a day set aside for sorting through 10 years of old clothes and shoes. I've actually been meaning to get a Goodwill/Red Cross donation available for a while, but nothing says "do it now" like six unidentified boxes sitting in front of your closet.

   As is my custom when deciding whether or not I really need things, the casualties were heavy -- three pairs of shoes, two garbage bags full of clothes and another two garbage bags full of trash yanked out in the process of emptying forgotten boxes and reclaiming space. It's always fascinating to me finding things that used to be important and seeing how they've aged. For example, I found a poster tube I packed with stuff from my walls the day I graduated from BU.

   Nomar Garciaparra, in a Sox uniform! Movie posters from 'Swingers' and 'Trainspotting'! This tequila poster, which wasn't even mine, but offered to me by my roommate's girlfriend who didn't want it. All of it ... torn up and thrown out. I only saved the plastic WEEI 850 AM sign I ripped off a bar one night because it might have a nefarious use in its future.

   Anyway, as I noted that pretty much all of my Hard Rock Cafe T-shirts have yellowed from overwear, I noted that collection has been cast aside for baseball jerseys. Part of the reason was because I was in the process of buying this:

Cleveland Indians, Navy
-- This started with a search for an '80s Indians jersey.
(And is being rationalized by the sale of a too-big Tigers jersey.)

   I've never been a terribly good collector, since I've decided my life is a lot about reducing clutter by owning as little as possible. I did, however, have the Hard Rock collection up to more than a dozen at one point, only stopping after buying a shirt at Niagara Falls (Canada) that was both far too big and far too ugly.

   I probably own that many jerseys already, including all the hockey ones I've collected over the years and the soccer remnants from my trips to the British Isles. I doubt I'll ever end up with a dozen-plus baseball jerseys, because I'd imagine the folly of it will have kicked in well before that.

   For now, however, I've got my weird quirk. And Julie, bless her heart, is either actually on board with it or blissfully willing to let it keep flying.

   • Speaking of Julie, let's call this the first of what will be a recurring series of cohabitation updates. After all, what good's a trainwreck if you can't see it coming?

   Because I'm still on vacation -- although really, this won't change once I go back to work -- I was showering when Julie got home from school. With the former contents of my bedroom closet tagged and bagged and out from in front of the fireplace, I threw down the challenge of her doing the same. We then went to dinner, which really wasn't any different from when we usually go to dinner, except afterward we went to Bed, Bath and Beyond to argue about wicker baskets.

   Through some fault of a lot of people, we've ended up with about 17 blankets. People made us blankets as a couple, my mother has made us each individually blankets in the past, we've acquired blankets over the years, etc. Julie thought we could put all the blankets in a basket. I agreed, since it beats a pile.

   Upon getting to the store, she was swayed by this varying-size, three-basket set that was "a great value," though that ignored the fact we don't need three wicker baskets. As she treid to explain to me how she could use the extra baskets, I explained how I like being able to see the floor in all the rooms of the apartment. It wasn't a fight, per se, but however this all ends some day, the wicker basket debate will go down as the start of something.

   Technically, I won, since we bought one cheaper, smaller basket. Also, I bought this for no other reason than being able to walk into the office, with it held over my head, fully aware I'm sparking the return of office JunkBall games. I don't think setting off the fire alarm is what stopped them, but the stop is almost as alarming as how solid the plastic bat feels.

   After that, we spent $118 at the grocery store, which isn't alarming because I pretty much spent that amount every time I go to the grocery store. In the pasta aisle, however, it struck me that the shopping process was harder because each of us were trying so hard to shop for the other person that Julie was spending 30 seconds debating between types of pasta sauces. As easy as it would be to make a UMass/state school joke, it's not worth it.

   Her sister goes to college on Tuesday, and is apparently having the largely unnecessary first-night jitters that you have when you've moving out and onto your own for the first time.

   I hadn't missed them, but it's good to know you can get them again.

August 27, 2006 - A Nice Touch
   The Flip Sides: There are good writers out there. Men like Bob Ryan, whom I try to design myself as a junior version of, but who then go and write columns like this I could never properly enunciate.

Somewhere along the way, far too many members of this so-called "Red Sox Nation" have perverted the concept of fandom. As a result, there is no more narcissistic group of people rooting for any sports team in North America than that subsection of Red Sox followers who have made the shifting fortunes of the team all about them. When the ball went through Buckner's legs, it was, "How can he do that to me?" And so it continues.

   There are also bad writers out there. Bill Simmons isn't one of them ... sorry, but he's where he is for a reason. The problem is when he writes a diary about a weekend in Milwaukee and hits on a heaping fistful of reasons he's a completely hateable weiner.

   Continued whining about Johnny Damon, which was over about three months ago. Getting uppity about seeing former Sox third-base coach Dale Sveum. An obsession with things like Corey Hart and comparing things to Grade F pop culture events like "Lisa Lampanelli at the Shatner Roast." Not knowing "the baseball glove on the old Brewers hat was really an 'm' resting on top of a lower-case 'b'." The lionization of blackjack, which is only moderately better than the other table games in the short term unless you're counting cards, and that's hard to do when you're trying to be the center of attention for multiple hours.

   And that was just fro Friday. You're on your own, though I do have to mention having a conniption because you found out Bud Light is better than Miller Light ... wow. I didn't know piss had flavors, especially when you tried Sam Adams Light and decided against it.

   Popularity's A Funny Thing: The comments in the last few days got me to checking my Web stats, which were largely the same as they always are.

Webstats, August 2006
-- It's been a big month for Dougie and ... cottage cheese?

   In the refers, however, there was this MySpace about 100 times. As my site goes, that's a significant number, so I dug around trying to find what was the connection between myself and a 30-year-old country music DJ in Akron, Ohio.

   Had I written something in the paper that caught him?

   Something on the site mocking his value system?

   A link from a link from a link?

   Nope. Just a picture.

Chipped, Chopped Ham
-- This picture, taken at Heinz Field after the AFC Championship Game.

   According to the commenter, said DJ had been discussing chip chop ham on his show, which led said commenter to try and find a photo of it. And I'm quoting, "did you know this is the only one pic of chip chop ham on the entire internet!!? wtf is going on here. it isn't even a pic of chip chop ham, it's only ABOUT chip chop ham!!!"

   Course, if instead of typing "chip chop ham" into Google, one typed the very "CHIPPED CHOPPED HAM" that is IN THE PHOTO, you get all you need.

   If all you need is five photos.

   Who would have known my throwaway photo would create true radio interactivity?

   • I would presume there'll be some pictures of the party here eventually. Rest assured, I took none of them. All mine are more like this.

Gate B, Fenway Park
-- Seriously. I have more photos of Fenway than you've ever seen.
It would be emba(r)rassing if I could spell that word correctly.

   Anyway, there'll be time enough for that. With Julie starting her new job in Funtown, U.S.A. on Monday, today was the day to get the majority of her stuff to Whale City and for me to freak out about how much of it there is.

   Combine that with it raining all day, making the removal of the saturated, deflated giant slide in the neighbor's yard both a late and harder-than-hell enterprise, plus a mysterious 10-mile traffic jam on the MassPike, and I was in rare form. Which is always nice for your companion to be in when you're a girl moving across the state and starting a new job.

   If only it made it better than I was at least aware of this.

   So my Monday, though I'm technically still on vacation, will be spent doing something I've been meaning to do for months -- going through all my clothes, which still includes stuff I wore in high school, and determining which will be going into the first clothing donation bin I can find. Though I suppose it could be worse.

   I do like having a baker's rack with food on it. A nice touch.

August 26, 2006 - Megaphones Cost $100!
   Because Every Great Party: Three hours of writing is always the best way to start the day.

Kyle Fernandes: A Work In Progress ...
-- I have no idea what the actual headline for this was, but given how long it's been in production, I pray to God it came out in the paper a hell of a lot better than this.

   Local kid in th Sox system, just a handful of gigantic steps away from becoming the next Brian Rose. Don't remember Brian Rose?

   Hopefully, that's not the point.

   • We had an outdoor chair get broken today.

   When that's the lone bad thing you can ay about a party, then really, it was quite the success.

   Thankfully, no one attempted to drink the far-beyond-absurd amount of beer we had. There might have been an incident.

   More when I don't have a headache and a saturated, deflated giant slide collapsed in the neighbor's yard.

August 25, 2006 - Lists Can Lie To You
   $ale Of The Century: The discovery of GSN's countdown of the 50 Greatest Game Shows led me to come hard truths, at least relative to the game show genre.

   Perhaps the toughest is, upon seeing $ale at No. 34 behind DOG EAT DOG, realizing that it really wasn't anywhere near as good as I've always thought it was.

   Because of when it was on -- weekday mornings -- and the fact my grandmother always watched the Today show, I saw a lot of $ale and generally thought it was the greatest game show I've ever seen. On watching both clips and a full episode via YouTube, I can't really figure out why. I mean, I had the home version and everything ... it just hasn't held up, mainly because the final level after someone wins the game just sucked. As exciting as one episode was, you really had to watch a bunch of them in a row for the drama to build and it to translate into anything.

   I suspect this is at least part of the reason it's not in reruns anywhere, though I'm sure that's an incidental piece.

   Eh. If nothing else, it's nice learning that Billy Crystal once got someone to the jackpot on Pyramid in 26 seconds, and that the original episode has been destroyed. The drama of it all.

   Short Notice: I'm having the first summer house party in three years on Saturday. You should come, even though you've either already said you are or aren't.

   I'm glad we had this discussion.

   • So driving home tonight, I heard what is supposedly the worst rock and roll song ever, "We Built This City" by Starship.

   No way this is the worst song ever. None. It's cheesy as all hell, comical and downright embarassing. It does, however, have redeeming qualities. The "dun-DUN!" that keeps coming up between verses makes it feel almost like a joke, which already makes it thousands of times better than every band that sucks, but wants you to take them as seriously as they do. Like, apparently, Eve 6 used to. I never listened closely enough to notice, but I guess they had some issues.

   Sadly, the Google search for "bands that take themselves way too seriously" doesn't reveal any surprises.

   And yes, I'm aware Oasis has not been metioned yet. You can all go to hell.

August 24, 2006 - Old Time Baseball Game
   Someone Wake Up Clyde Tombaugh: He should be alerted that he sucks.

Leading astronomers declared Thursday that Pluto is no longer a planet under historic new guidelines that downsize the solar system from nine planets to eight.

After a tumultuous week of clashing over the essence of the cosmos, the International Astronomical Union stripped Pluto of the planetary status it has held since its discovery in 1930. The new definition of what is -- and isn't -- a planet fills a centuries-old black hole for scientists who have labored since Copernicus without one.

"It could be argued that we are creating an umbrella called 'planet' under which the dwarf planets exist," Jocelyn Bell Burnell -- a specialist in neutron stars from Northern Ireland who oversaw the proceedings -- said, drawing laughter by waving a stuffed Pluto of Walt Disney fame beneath a real umbrella.

   Good to see Northern Ireland's developed a sense of humor over the years.

   As a former member of the Young Astronauts at Robinson Park Elementary School, I meet this decision with disappointment. I remember when there was all the talk of a Planet X, and being excited at the prospect of 10 planets. Now, I find out there's eight.

   My life, quite simply, can't go on. Everything I've ever known is wrong. My very educated now just serves us nine pizzas. End of sentence! Never mind that no one calls them pizza pies ... it's different.

   Though really, for that reason alone, maybe we should have done this a long time ago.

   Oh, Hey. Look At That.: They talked to Clyde Tombaugh's widow, who lists among her hobbies knitting, talking with friends and not having her story straight.

The American astronomer who put Pluto on the solar system map would have accepted its demotion to non-planet status because he was a good scientist, his widow said on Thursday.

"Clyde said, 'Well, it's there. You can do what you want with it,'" Patricia Tombaugh, 94, said from her home in Las Cruces, New Mexico, after the International Astronomical Union downgraded husband Clyde Tombaugh's crowning achievement.

Tombaugh told Reuters by phone that her husband was frustrated and disappointed when scientists began questioning whether Pluto had the right stuff to be a planet.

   As long as we all remember our emotions on this day come July 14, 2015 -- when a small bit of Tombaugh's ashes will pass near Pluto on a spaceship -- we'll all be OK.

   Besides, all these years, I thought William Herschel discovered Pluto, when in reality, all he found was an ass.

   • Perhaps it's better this way, since while something died half a universe away, something also died right here at home.

Aged 4 years, 1 month, 23 days
July 2, 2002 - Aug. 24, 2006

   This afternoon, it became official that my Julie will be working with children at Fairhaven's Oxford Elementary come next week. Her meeting with the superintendent crossed, dotted, set the salary and everything. Mercifully, I still make more than her, though I will say that until my own raise officially goes through, the numbers are slightly closer than a man of my skittish masculinity is really comfortable with.

   That, however, isn't the point. The point is today was the day a majority of her girl things came to Whale City, and to my Whale City Estate. Which, now, is no longer my apartment alone -- though I'd appreciate everyone keeping that quiet until I tell the people who might be concerned I'm "violating my lease."

   Suffice to say, I'm not terribly worried. Yes, I'm expendable, but do I really strike you as a bad tenant kind of guy? Can you even imagine how clean my apartment is compared to the other ones in the building?

   This, thus, ends my magical ride without a roommate. While I'm certainly not trying to jinx anything, it would seem that's a train that's sailing for the forseeable future as well, which makes me sadder than I probably want to admit. After my final two collegiate years brought me back from the brink of roommate sanity, there were points I missed living with other people. There were things you get to have with roommates that you don't get to have living by yourself.

   I missed them.

   Like twice over the entire four-year period, and I got over it real quick.

   To say I embraced living alone would be an understatement. It wasn't unhealthy by any stretch, since my social skills have nominally improved in the post-college period, but the independence was delightful. I could do things like play poker until 5 a.m., not keep any food in the place, forego doing dishes for a week before spending an entire afternoon cleaning like a madman, and many other things that are equally banal and nothing you care about.

   Those days are over. My efforts to keep my life to as few possessions as possible will now have to take a backseat, as I join together with someone who both has many things and enjoys eating meals every now and again.

   I'm OK with that, but I'll miss the past. As the years go by, maybe I'll look back on it with reverence. Maybe, like that day I went back to visit high school and questioned why I ever enjoyed it, I'll wonder what the hell I was thinking.

   Whichever it is, it's time for change.

   And to be asked about princess-cut rings approximately 14 times a day.

   This is why it's nice to live in a fantasy world. Given who reads this site regularly, everyone knew this was happening. But I couldn't "announce" it here until it was official, as though a majority of the world both needs to know and was hanging on this breathlessly.

   Damn, this Internet is fun.

August 23, 2006 - Respecting The Effort
   Fergie Update: This afternoon while flipping channels, I found the video for the song by which 2006 will be remembered, "London Bridge."

   It's hard to boil the entire production down to one event, but I think noting the portion where she's grinding her ass against a member of the Queen's Guard sums things up nicely.

   On the plus side, they didn't make the connection with Lake Havasu City, Ariz., which it's good to see has been confirmed as the second hottest f'ing place in the universe (behind the center of the Sun, of course). And I'm sure the wry Brits were very polite when they pointed out the cover of said single is of Tower Bridge. It's their way, of course.

   Red Sox 5, Angels 4: I've reached a happy place with the Sox, even if the sentence "Jon Lester lasted five innings for the win" is beginning to make me want to go on a killing spree. When they win, I'm happy because the Red Sox won. When they lose, I'm happy because, well, it ends this production before I have to go to Detroit again.

   As it is, I'm trying to decide about pushing to attend the mid-September series in the Bronx. Because really, Yankee fans are at the core of everything I fear, hate and regret. Seriously ... thank God I'm not ever getting a master's degree, because I would try to stretch this into a thesis.

   • Quick request for everyone. Western Mass. doesn't get enough credit from the rest of the world, so please tell everyone you know about Sox Fan Pens Love Song For Favorite Sportscaster.

   The 'caster in question is Hazel Mae. If you're from around here, I really don't have to say anything else.

   If you're not, please start reading. It gets so much better.

Mae, who has been described by the media as sultry and competent, is seen by Duseau as "spunky, happy, funny ... adorable."

   I'd like to think that if someone were writing a story about me and the work I do, a writer needing adjectives to describe me wouldn't have to reach for 'competent' on the second one.

   An additional note: The Web site where the guy's shilling the song says at the top, "50 cents of every purchase goes to a famous Boston children's cancer hospital." Noble.

   But why the ambiguity? Is this like when you hear an ad giving away a trip to the Super Bowl, and because of rights, they have to describe the top prize as "a trip to the BIG GAME in" wherever it is? Is the hospital pulling rank? Can you not say "Jimmy Fund" in an ad unless you pay them rights fees?

   I don't think it's possible he doesn't know the name. Though he may be distraught:

"I'm flattered and, to be honest, a bit alarmed that somebody would take the time that Mr. Duseau obviously put into this to write and record a song about me," said Mae, who heard it for the first time on Monday.
-- It's the 'I think of you as a brother' of stalker song responses.

August 22, 2006 - Tuesday
   Word Choice: It's been brought to my attention by, let's say, several people that the story about Julie surprising me at my apartment the other day could easily be misconstrued into something dirty by people predisposed to that type of thinking.

   It's people like you that are the reason it's socially acceptable to make your MySpace photo one of your ass. Sick. All of you. I'm disgusted.

   Apparently, the word 'sprawl' is a problem, even though it was often the nickname of my fantasy teams back when I enjoyed such things -- Nashua Sprawl was a favorite, even when I'd stopped locking myself out of apartments and climbing through windows there.

   So, allow me to apologize to all involved, most especially the grandmothers whom I may have given the chills or sweats or vapors to. Julie is a very nice girl. As I've stated several hundred time, far too nice to be hanging around with me.

   Fortunately, either no one's noticed or no one has the heart to say anything. It's that sort of prevailing wind that allows me to succeed.

   Interviews: In my four years as "Cooch: Total Journalist," without question I have had more interview requests and phone calls go unanswered than ones successfully completed. This is not even close ... you might suspect why I'm writing this now, but today's in no way was needed for that side of the ledger to win.

   I have no idea why this actually is. Maybe this is the way it is with everybody. Maybe the fact that I don't try to do as many interviews as I should is part of the problem. Maybe I should stop asking people to call me at their earliest convenience, or (more probable) stop waiting so long in the pursuit of getting as much of my shit together as possible, as not to sound like an idiot on the phone.

   I mean, there's all kinds of stupid people on the TV news, and clearly they get stuff done. Maybe that's the secret ... look so pathetic, you clearly need someone to tell you what to think and say.

   Regardless, having a story not completed makes it very hard to actually enjoy my fake vacation. This is of no concern to you, but then again, I haven't been sleeping much lately. This is the least of my concerns.

   • This, however, isn't.

   Tonight, I may have killed a wolf with my car.

   As some of you know, I love animals. Like, a rather significant deal ... Julie will gladly tell you about every time she's on the phone with me, and she hears me say I just saw a stray cat, well aware when the call is over I will go try to find said cat. It's my mother's fault, really.

   I believe the pet tally in my 26 years is six dogs (one now), a couple fish, a rabbit, a hamster and who-the-hell can even count how many cats. Seriously. There's four now, and over the years, there's had to have been at least 10.

   So understand why I'm as freaked out about this as I am. I'm on Route 195 West, somewhere in Seekonk or Swansea just before the Rhode Island line. It's the 9 o'clock hour, and while I'm not the only car on the road, I'm the only car in the area where I'm traveling at the moment. Going somewhere in the vicinity of 70 in the left lane, fully prepared to move over if a car even appears on the horizon behind me.

   It's not like I'm not paying attention, which is good, since some wolf/dog comes screaming into the outer right edge of my headlights less than a few hundred feet in front of me. Had I been looking at the radio or something, I clearly would have had a gruesome car accident. There's not a moment's doubt about this ... this was a large animal, and as it was, there was nothing I could do.

   I actually hear myself audibly say, "Oh my God." I'm going at a speed that, while not absurdly fast, prevents me from jerking the wheel right to miss this furry streak. Well, unless I want to ditch the car across the highway, which isn't exactly in the playbook. As it is, I give it a controlled jerk, clipping whatever it was with my left front bumper hard enough to shoot me across the middle lane and into the right.

   My initial instinct is that I've blown a tire ... it was one of those semi-fishtails. Because there's no one near me, I'm able to save it, not cause an accident and take a few moments to reassemble and see my car is still in working order.

   So now what the hell do I do? Whatever I hit is somewhere in the median now, but given it's a wild animal and I'm on a major interstate, I'm not really in a position to go back and see if it's OK. Clearly, it's hurt. Do I call the police? What do I tell them?

   In the end, this is what I do. I come on here and write about it, fully expecting to hear I'm awful for not going back or calling someone or doing something. Thanks. I don't feel bad enough as it is ... I can't even bring myself to look at the front of the car closely. Until I do, I can believe that the shot said animal took wasn't really that severe.

   For the rest of the night, every piece of trash made me jump. I'm driving expecting stuff to fall out of trees, kids to come streaking out of driveways. Really, it's a great way to live.

   If only I hadn't stopped at KFC, or had calculated my expense report at the office quicker, or not gone to the office, or stopped for gas, or anything ... it wouldn't have taken much to shift the time I got there.

August 21, 2006 - I've Changed
   The Kids and Their Cards: Ignore the fact that the kid's photo looks like it could be an Onion centerpiece, and you'll find this online poker story does a lot of making up for the dozens of them that fill me with rage at the stupidity.

Zakarian started playing Texas Hold 'Em with friends in high school, and moved on to Internet poker in college. He'd win $50 here, $100 there, and lose only occasionally, he says. His first big score came at the end of his sophomore year: He put down $40 to enter an online tournament, and won $4,000.

His earnings have helped pay his tuition and afforded him nice vacations. But Zakarian hasn't always been cavalier about the game. "There were times when I could feel myself inside losing control," he says, "and I left it for a couple of months until I felt better. I just didn't want to get caught up in it and lose everything I'd won."

   Yes, there are some people who have a gambling problem. And look at that, there are some people who don't. We aren't pushing to close all the Wendy's because some people are 570 pounds and can't stop eating Classic Triples.

   This is also a nice segue for me to tell everyone that tonight, after all the awful, awful baseball ended, I finished 13th in a 1,222-player tournament. That finish, almost comically aided by very, very good cards, won me 10 times my tournament buy-in.

   Course, the buy-in was $3. In one way, it's nice to know that three bucks can provide almost five hours of fun. In another, it's sad that I got that excited over essentially making minimum wage for an evening.

   All I'll Say About Said Baseball:

Mike Schuster, The Saddest Man in America
-- Thank God he's still on our side. (Globe Photo)

Not Much Left In Sox Drawer
-- An honest assessment of where the Red Sox are this morning. Suffice to say, it's all about letting the facts speak for themselves.

Hansen Gets Chance To Regroup
-- Probably the best notebook I've ever written. Course, it's still a notebook.

   Also note, if you go to the photo collage, how well I'm doing restraining myself.

   • Somehow, I wonder what the 2003 version of me would think of the five-game sweep. I mean, I'd probably take it pretty well, but I doubt I'd take it the way I did -- hearing myself tell my boss that it was easier to write today because they lost all five, rather than lose four and win one.

   If only I had the ability to kick my own ass, as opposed to the ability of posting this:

Geriatric Profanity Disorder
-- It's a growing problem, desperately crying out for self-help.

   I resisted the urge to use Reverend Lovejoy running down the street, screaming "IT'S ALL OVER, PEOPLE!" Too cruel.

August 20, 2006 - I Owe You An Apology, Bill Simmons
   Things With A Deeper Meaning, I'm Sure: There's a correctional facility right near the Massachusetts Avenue entrance to Route 93 in Boston, which is the way I take to get to the highway and back out of the city. As you might imagine, I'm quite familiar with it as of late.

   The other day, as I was cruising toward the ramp, I noticed a distraught girl standing on the nearby sidewalk looking up at the building. She had a friend nearby, but the friend had a different kind of distraught in her demeanor. Kind of an apology to the cars passing, that they were seeing this.

   So as I drove by, I gave a quick look up in the direction of the other girl's wails. And sure enough, in the upper-floor window of the correctional facility were two silouettes, rather wildly gesticulating downward.

   There's a story there. I just wish I knew what it was.

   • Yesterday, I came to the conclusion -- at least publicly, anyway -- that my life is pretty good.

   Tonight at the park, my laptop, after a week-plus of hinting at it, crapped out. It's steadily gone from shutting off if you bump the area to the left of the keyboard, shutting off if you bump the entire left side, shutting off if you bump any of it to the present day, shutting off about a second after the start of the boot-up process.

   The final gasp happened about an hour before first pitch, once I'd transcribed all my interviews and written about a third of my notebook. As you would imagine, the other people at the park both needed their laptops and had no way to get at all the juicy work which mine contained.

   This makes work hard.

   Fortunately, what also makes work hard is an 8 p.m. game that features a one-hour rain delay and finished somewhere in the vicinity of 1:30 a.m. So considering the quality of story I would have been able to put out in a game like that -- especially one that ended like it did -- things again probably worked out for the best.

   Right up to the part where I'm getting to bed at 4 a.m., and will have to stop in the office sometime before 9 a.m. to pick up a loaner laptop to finish the homestand with. Plus, the whole "Hey, your computer might not work anymore" phenomenon, though that at least features the part where I submit my repair bill -- all work use, bitches -- and see whether I'm fired.

If only they saw the value in making pointless Photoshops.

August 19, 2006 - Positive From The Negatives

Postcards From Thailand
-- For obvious reasons, I could not put this together earlier this week from Fenway. Something about professionalism. Enjoy it now.

   Nightmares and Causeways: After the doubleheader and the getting in bed at 3:09, I had a dream. I was driving on some sort of causeway heading into some kind of big city, and for whatever reason, the car in front of me stopped short. This led to me slamming on the brakes, for some reason slightly jerking the wheel and falling off the causeway into the water.

   Somehow, not only did my head not sink below the water, I got out of the car before it hit the surface. Then, concerned about the car sinking to the bottom, I sort of succeeded in dragging it over to some dry land there was. Except the car then flipped, and sank to the bottom.

   Some guy showed up to drag the car out of the water, and he clearly didn't really know what he was doing, but I woke up before getting to see whether he'd be able to complete the task.

   It was an hour after I'd intended to wake up, so if I'd only gotten that hotel room outside Boston, who knows how much worse this story would be?

   The Red York Conundrum: As I should have expected, the guy in the "Red York" jersey exhorting people to cheer with him was working for FOX, the same people who brought you "Scooter," the baseball puppet that teaches toddlers who watch Saturday Baseball how pitches move.

   Apparently, I saw the least offensive portion of the "Red York" hilarity, as the guy later went over to Terry Francona, Joe Torre and various players to be wacky. The TV in the press box had the volume turned down, so I didn't actually get to hear what got said, but I can only hope Tito dropped at least 13 F bombs.

   Though it was before any of the games got played, so he probably didn't get much above seven.

Hang 'Em Up: These Sox Hopes Are Worn Out
-- Column

Seanez Squeezed Off Of Staff
-- Notebook

   • So this afternoon, as the above column will explain better than this, I buried the 2006 Boston Red Sox.

   I'd like to think you all know me well enough to know this isn't something I do lightly. It's not a gimmick, it's not pandering, it's not me trying to sound unnecessary alarm bells. This is what I believe ... by giving up on Josh Beckett for 2006, there's no reason to think this team can win the World Series. Before yesterday, I still had hope because they are close.

   Now, I only really want them to make the playoffs because I'd like the overtime and it'd be a excuse to drive somewhere really far away. That's not entirely true, but you get my point.

   So after covering some 12 hours of baseball over 28 hours, I get a phone call from the office that there's a high school story breaking. Two of the people on the desk are chasing it and writing, so they could really use me coming in and putting together a couple of pages for the Sunday section.

   So I trundle from Boston to Elm Street, hoping I can keep my body forgetting I've only slept six hours and that I should be about ready to crumple into a pile. I get to the paper, discover (as I usually do) that things are in a more severe state of disrepair than originally thought and go into that frenetic state of desk work that really shouldn't be necessary to get the paper out 10 minutes after deadline.

   Somehow, that's a best-case scenario. Papers our size, in a week, don't usually have a guy at Red Sox-Yankees, two others at a Patriots-Arizona exhibition game, another at the local semipro football game and two guys digging around a breaking news story involving football and hazing.

   We had it in one night.

   And that's why the next person I hear say we're a joke newspaper is getting socked in the fucking mouth. But that's neither here nor there.

   After all this, we're all invited out to a local watering hole as a sort of congratulations that we cobbled it all together and completed a kick-ass section. I have some drinks, mainly, because I'm reasonably sure the stimuli are the only thing that will keep me from the heap I ultimately realized I needed to be in about a half-hour before deadline.

   So at 2 a.m., I trundle home, pulling into the parking lot whistling a Green Day song to myself and barely aware of my surroundings. I go in the front door, grab the mail, throw it on the table and go to the bathroom.

   Beginning to change for bed, I decide maybe I'll go sit on the couch, aimlessly watching TiVoed wrestling until I either doze off or run out of wrestling. To that end, I walk into my bedroom to grab some clothes.

   And it's at that point I discover Julie has come down from Somerville, where she apparently had been, and is sprawled out on my bed to surprise me as I've done on occasion in the western half of the state.

   In short? My life's pretty good.

August 18, 2006 - Where's My Overtime Check?
   Let's Go Red York! Let's Go Red York!: I wouldn't have thought there would be a major market for half Red Sox, half Yankees jerseys sewn together, but I saw two today. One of which was being worn by some guy leading a chorus of about 15 behind home plate prior to the opener.

   And yes, I was bothered by the fact neither jersey appeared to be an accurate one. As egregrious as the bad numbering on the York half was, I was more bothered he used a Sox home jersey with "RAMIREZ 24" on the back.

   Course, in the long run, it was hardly the most bothersome thing to happen all day.

   • So, how bad could a day-night doubleheader be?

12-4, 14-11, F-U

New York's Melky Cabrera, left, and Johnny Damon congratulate each other on ruining all our lives sometime, someplace, that no one can actually identify because they're all punchdrunk. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)


   You have no idea how much I wish I had access to a T-shirt printer, because I would show up Saturday with several dozen "I SURVIVED THE SOX-YANKEES DOUBLEHEADER" for the entirety of the press box.

   Many of which I'm sure don't have my same sunshiney outlook on things, and can't even enjoy that they were witness to history.

Junk Ball: Pitchers Make It A Long, Ugly Day
-- Amazingly, even though the game ended 90 minutes plus after my deadline, this somehow holds up. I am, apparently, a genius.

Happy Hinske Off To Hot Start
-- The notebook, however, really didn't. Contrary to David Letterman's assertions, apparently, my genius switch has an off position.

   It's also worth noting my column, when I ran an initial word count on it, had exactly 666 words.


August 17, 2006 - Redoubling
   The Nice Thing About Friday: I can say with some certainty that I'll walk down Yawkey Way around 9:30 a.m. for the Sox-Yankees doubleheader. As I'm walking down the street toward Gate D, I'll look over to Who's On First and note there's a bouncer outside.

   If he's standing alone when I see him, rest assured he won't be alone for long.

   JonBenet Update: With the one unfortunate side effect of being home for a brief respite being I have to see pseudo news shows, I did get to see one of those fun moments that makes me remember why I hate society.

   "Entertainment Tonight," for whatever reason, felt the need to send reporters to both Colorado and Atlanta, conveniently ignoring that the beauty pageant bullshit that they're part of the foundation of is what caused all this in the first place. Whatever ... their talking head is flap, flap, flapping away between teases to some Barry Manilow interview, when all of a sudden he reveals that ET was the one to break the news of the arrest to Vanessa Williams.

   She's then shown looking every bit the 22 years older than the first black Miss America, offering the generic response that you offer in this case.

   Especially when you have no connection whatsoever to what has happened.

   It was the equal to me being asked to interview Whale City residents about how they felt regarding Fenway Park's collapse, Wall Street collapsing into the sea or the revelation that Tony Blair is a woman. Not virtually worthless, actually worthless. And yes, I'm well aware these things happen all the time.

   It's because of stuff like that that this video works, but perhaps that's too harsh. After all, I was alerted in a tease to tomorrow's hard-hitting almost news that Thailand is commonly referred to as "The Paradise of Pedophiles."

   Now, I knew they had some issues in that regard, but I had no idea they were taking it so well.

   • Less words means more time for dread.

   Or, like most things, a bigger shift when I find the silver lining sometime about 3:30 p.m.

August 16, 2006 - Faces of Death
   Dumb Things That Might Be Right: Bill Simmons believes the team to beat in the American League is ... the Yankees.

   If only his logic wasn't just sound enough to make sense, all my rage at his controlled panic would feel far more justified.

   That said, being mad about the Coco Crisp signing when the guy missed 50 games is uber dumbass.

   Remember Me?: If the arrest of a suspect in the 10-year-old JonBenet Ramsey case does nothing but get those uncomfortable "little kid beauty pageant" clips back into rotation again, I think we'll all be better off.

   Honestly, no one sees anything wrong with those? That sort of stuff is acceptable behavior? Nay, excouraged?

JonBenet Ramsey

   Isn't this how every child should live? Dressed up like some odd Audrey Hepburn-like woman? Or whatever the hell dresses like this?

   I can picture the outfit on someone, but I can't place the stereotype. Anybody?

The Hard Side of Softball
-- The story which inspired yesterday's media guide. It's interesting, but it would be more interesting if you could actually hear the delivery of 'Hawk' Medeiros's quotes.

   It's at moments like this when I'm happy I have no athletic friends who want to form softball teams. I'm pretty much the prototypical "Hey, let's be overly competitive for no reason!" player, and I'd really rather not shatter my wrist against someone's pelvis.

   Someone else's wrist shattering against my pelvis? Not even real big on that.

   • Today, I put in my timesheet for the rest of the week, forcing me to fully acknowledge the fact that on Friday, I'm working a 14-hour day.

   Part of me wants to live blog it. The other part of me wants to cry in a corner for hours.

   You guess which part will win.

August 15, 2006 - No Inside Pages
   Entering The Shark Tank: Sometime in the next month, as part of a larger facelift to the site, the sports department will start a handful of blogs written by those of us who do important things.

   One of them will, not surprisingly, be a Sox blog. They think I'm going to update it twice a week, but given this thing, there's no reason my less-than-daily baseball ramblings can't be relocated a wee bit.

   Suggestions for a title, unnecessary as they may prove to be, are more than welcome.

   Also, speaking of interactivity, I'm told that the comments system may not actually be accepting any of your comments. The person who told me this is smart enough that I believe it's true, but even if I didn't, this is now my new rationalization strategy.

   I appreciate the patience.

   Simpsons Did It ... And We Forgot: An all-time classic, and one of my favorites ...

Prez Sez: School Is For Losers
-- Nooooo! Noooooooo! Nooooooooooooo!!!!

   Plus for good measure:

-- "It's not the mayor's fault that the stadium collapsed!"
(Quimby: If you were running for mayor, he'd vote for you!)
((Paid for by the Mayor Quimby For Mayor Mayoral Committee))

   There's really no good way for this segment to ever end, is there? Sure wish I'd thought of that before I became concerned about 450 Simpsons images sitting on my Web server.

   • Beginning with my landmark work on David Beckham after his transfer to Real Madrid:

Stay Classy, Internet.
-- You can smell the professionalism.

   I've been telling people I have meager Photoshop skills. Given I'm never taken any classes with the program, learning through both osmosis and error-filled trials, I'm at peace with that.

   However, I'd both like to upgrade myself to "below average" and make sure you know that being my friend opens the possibility that I will create something like this involving you, given the materials.

Isotopes Media Guide
-- Standard-Times celebrity and phone number checker Jonathan Darling,
showing his form during his softball team's regular-season finale.

   It goes without saying that I spent too much time on this.

   It also goes without saying that I made it the wallpaper on almost a half-dozen computers somewhere in the 1 a.m. range on my way out the door.

   As my boss would say, this is the sort of maturity he was looking for when shopping for an Assistant Sports Editor. And how do I know that?

   Because he already said it when I stole all the photographs off Ed's desk, plus a water bottle and a notepad.

August 14, 2006 - For The Kids
   MySpace Update: After a quiet couple of months where the site seemed to simply work as I'd hoped, I've received friend requests from a Providence-area rap producer, a gasoline additive and someone from C.L.E.V.E.L.A.N.D.

   I'm going to leave the rest of it alone, because I appreciate the idea that I can now say I'm from F.E.E.D.I.N.G. H.I.L.L.S. I can't even fathom the fun I could have trying to make that into an acronym.

   Which reminds me how much fun this game was.

   Meeting The Fans: According to this blog, my Bard-for-Mirabelli trade column from last week makes me sound like I'm "auditioning for Glenn Ordway's show on 'EEI." Also, I apparently have ignored the team's real problem is injuries, despite writing:

All that said, it'll be injuries, not Epstein, to blame if the 2006 Red Sox wrap on Oct. 1.

   I don't ask for much, you know. A paycheck every two weeks. For the Subway in downtown Whale City to be open when the sign says it should be. My car's new engine to not explode. People not removing parking tickets from my car. And attacks on my knowledge of baseball to at least come after people absorb what I have to say.

   Though that is five things. Maybe I've been needy all these years and it took this for me to notice.

To Be Better Than Good, Aces Need To Step Up
-- I spent half this game with a stomachache, debating whether I could go home if I actually got sick. I'd like to think the column holds up regardless of this fact.

Lefty Breslow Recalled To Bolster 'Pen
-- I doubt Craig Breslow would remember me from having giving him my boss's phone number in Spring Training, and really, I don't want to find out.

   • You can always tell it's a good night at the ballpark when, along with doing my work, I'm jotting down notes about the update in my notepad.

   1) Something tells me that when Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci gave the MLB schedule a first perusal at the start of the season, he didn't think he'd be putting in to go to Fenway Park for the Aug. 14 game with the Detroit Tigers.

   He probably didn't also think there would be 10 reporters traveling with the Tigers when he got there, either. I know it never crossed my mind.

   2) The rule in the Fenway press box is supposed to be that the first two (of four) rows are reserved for members of the Baseball Writers Association. You know this, because I made a big thing out of how excited I was to sit in the second row for the first time.

   I couldn't tonight, because the seat I usually sit in was taken by a guy who wrangles quotes for a radio station, and clearly is not in the BBWAA.

   When the season's over, one of the foremost things I'll have learned is that the Boston BBWAA is definitely not at the apex of its influence and organization. I'm still way too excited to have been offered membership, but I'm also a guy who saves all his old press passes, with the plan to turn them into some absurd wall decoration.

   3) Having to sit in the third row is one of those things I'll bitch here about, but would never consider making an actual stink about in the actual world people inhabit. I have enough asshole tendencies that I don't have to start acting on ones that my heart's not even in.

   4) In the same way Red Sox fans have taken to cheering Wily Mo Pena and David Ortiz before they've even gotten to the plate, they're booing Rudy Seanez and Julian Tavarez simply for being brought into the game. This leads to absurd situations, like the other day against Baltimore, when Tavarez gave up one hit (a two-run single) coming into the game with the bases loaded, struck out two guys and was booed off the field.

   Last night, Seanez came in to pitch the seventh, was booed, then retired the side in order and left to chants of "RUUUUUUUUUUDY!"

   If I'm them, upon hearing the boos just for existing, I take a split second and think about throwing repeated meatballs to hitters, getting shelled, then flipping off the crowd as I walk off the field. You know, the proverbial "Well, screw you guys!"

   That's reason No. 755 I'm not a Major League pitcher.

   5) If anyone is free next Thursday night (the 24th) and in the vicinity of North Cambridge, feel free to meet Julie and I at the Old Time Baseball Game -- more here. It'll be fun, I've been told.

   Even on the off chance it's not, it's Thirsty Thursday, and I'm sure some of you will make sure that doesn't get forgotten.

August 13, 2006 - No One Stole My Picks
   My New Favorite Columnist: I think it's T.J. Simers, at least for a week. Just a nice mix of smarmy ass plus quality writing.

THE OTHER night Kent hit a home run and then asked for my autograph. Between you and me, I don't know what took him so long. Shy, I guess.

"I bought this so you'd sign it," he said, pulling out a Los Angeles Magazine, which included other Times sportswriters trashing Page 2, one of them, who writes about hockey and would have to be considered an expert on such things, calling it a "waste of a space."

Kent had a big grin on his face when he read the "waste of space" comment, and mentioned it several times before insisting I sign his copy of the magazine, or else. The way brothers sometimes tease each other.

   If nothing else, he has the advantage of not being Bill Plaschke.

   Fun With The Year 2000: I spent a chunk of today cleaning out a bookshelf in my room, finding things it took a little while to figure out why I kept. Among them were some issues of Sports Illustrated from the 1997 range.

   Perhaps I'll keep them and scan some of the funnier "Hey! That was nine years ago!" moments, but I particularly enjoyed some of the AT&T ads.

   It's the Internet! Without wires! On your cell phone or something! You can get Yahoo on your cell phone!

   As Jasper once said, "What an incredible age."

   • Last night, Julie became captivated by aerobic gymnastics, the world championships of which were being aired on Shannon Miller's gymnastics show on CN8. And somehow, "CN8" is the only thing from that sentence I knew about prior to yesterday.

   I can't say I blame her, since she had spent the prior two hours watching my online fantasy football draft.

   As I may have mentioned before, I don't particularly enjoy fantasy football, but every year I wait too long to consider whether I really want to stop playing. The year I had three football teams and they were all awful really soured me on the whole genre, and yet I never quit.

   Tonight, I had the No. 3 pick based on prior sucking. Larry Johnson was a keeper for someone else, which led to me ending up with Clinton Portis.

   The same Clinton Portis who separated his shoulder maybe an hour or so after I selected him.

   It doesn't get any better than this.

August 12, 2006 - The Sweet Scent of Fire Pit
   Today's Quote Taken Completely Out of Context:

"If you open the L.L. Bean catalog,
that color's described as 'Fag Red.'"

   To which, a bystander to the conversation said, "Easy, Ozzie."

   Names withheld to protect, well, all of us.

Dombrowski's Vision Brought Roar Back To Tigers
-- This week's Inside Baseball, written and assembled in a semi panic since I neglected it forever. It, however, is more awesome than normal.

Sox Reclaim Their Winning Formula
-- Words on a page, friends. So many words on a page.

   They're Improving: Driving west on the Turnpike today, I was dismayed to see an over-the-road electric sign warning of impending road paving in Framingham It was going to delay my trip ... perhaps I even swore at it.

   A couple minutes later, one of the portable electric signs warned of the same paving: "Monday to Friday, 8 p.m. to 5 a.m." Apparently, it was too much for someone to turn off the other sign.

   At least they were telling me about it Stockbridge.

   • Tonight, I showed up a barbecue people had assumed I wouldn't be able to attend, given work-related stuff. I got there just before drunkeness hit most the people, which allowed them to genuinely be happy to see me.

   Let me just say, that's a feeling that never gets old.

August 11, 2006 - Have A Column Idea? I'd Like It
   Red Sox 9, Orioles 2: Honestly, how can you not love this game?

Mike Lowell, Jeter Wannabe
-- Not shown: being hit in head, RBI single, absurd stolen base

Third baseman Mike Lowell makes the catch as he dives into the stands on a popup by Baltimore's Nick Markakis during the third inning at Fenway Park on Friday. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Lowell Shines On A Weird Night
-- It was all enough to make you forget he's still not hitting much better than .200 since the All-Star break and still went 1-for-5.

Foulke's Tale More Of The Same
-- The notebook, which succeeds in existing and little else.

   In an unrelated story, apparently Boston's print center Copy Cop has opened a location on Newbury Street that they're describing as "boutique like." Whether this means they have lots of comfy sofas and empty space, or just that copies are now $3.95 each, we may never know.

   • Today, unofficially, was a pretty big day in Cooch's World: Offline Edition. However, because it is still unofficial, it was also remain a vague, poorly described day in Cooch's World: Offline Edition.

   It'll all make sense later. Especially the part where I've given up what I had just decided was going to be a closet exclusively committed to sports jerseys.

August 10, 2006 - Have A Happy Birthday, Maaaaatt
   Royals 5, Red Sox 4: In so much as a sweep is hilarious, it's decidedly not hilarious at the same time. In so much as seeing Kansas City had a 0.93 bullpen ERA in three games is flabbergasting, it's still losing three games to a 73-loss-in-August team.

   Though it was nice to see the Royals get to crack out their "broom sweeping a B off the scoreboard" for the first time since 1991 and have it entirely not be Wily Mo Pena's fault. I just think it's scary that my doom-and-gloom father predicted this two days ago, and I thought he was just being cranky.

   Personalizations: Driving in front of me today on Route 57 was a car adorned with the following on the back windshield:

COWGIRLS want more
than 8 second ride

   Course, knowing that, you wouldn't figure the car would be a Ford Focus. That definitely moves our cowgirl out of the actual cowgirl genre and more into the one who wears a cowboy hat downtown and rides the mechanical bull even though she's already had seven Red Bull and vodkas.

   Anyway, she'd appreciate it if you lasted longer in bed. I think she deserves it, since she was for some reason getting off the highway and driving toward my hometown's famed sewage treatment plant. Work? Or did she drop that ring that guy bought her a couple years ago down the toilet and wanted to know if it showed up in a filter?

   Do not stay tuned.

   • In no way tied to Matty Cooch's 22nd birthday:

Matty, 2002
-- Cliff Floyd T-shirt, circa 2002

   I was digging around on the old family computer the other day when I came upon his college essays. Given I wasn't living at home anymore, I'd never seen them before.

   The one I read was entitled "Why Bad Things Happen To Good People," and given Matt was pushing to enter college in the fall of 2002, it should come as no surprise 9/11 was the topic of discussion.

   To be honest, I skimmed most of it ... I'd wager no one has ever written a real keeper of a college essay, simply because they're pieces that are a means to an end. The final line, however, struck me ... something along the lines of "And yes, Mr. Bin Laden, I'm talking to you. Your days are numbered."

   It struck me even before knowing I'd spend a large chunk of this morning alternating between naps and learning about how England saved our ass in WW3 (just as The Simpsons predicted).

   After a morning of this, I'd kind of wrapped my head around everything as best as one possibly can. These guys I can't say the same for, since I turned to their "guy radio" afternoon show right as the news segment was starting. One of them, for the life of him, could not comprehend why anyone would do what these terrorists had planned.

   "So they're just going to blow up a bunch of planes over the ocean? That's stupid. That's just stupid." His argument seemed to be that the World Trade Center was a symbol of America, and knocking it down made more of an impact because of the symbolic piece. It wasn't for a little while that his co-hosts convinced him that, yeah, double-digit airliners blowing up simultaneously over the ocean would be pretty symbolic too.

   I did what most people did at some point, mentally trying to figure out when the next time I'll fly will be. If not October to some Red Sox Division Series -- and boy, does that not look likely for the time being -- it probably wouldn't be until March for Spring Training: The Sequel. Then a June trip to Hawaii for a wedding, then who knows.

   Will we have some grasp on everything by then? Will I need to get to the airport three hours early, and have to check a bag because I'm trying to put all my bathroom things in my backpack? Is there ever any possible way we, as a nation, are going to stay ahead of the curve on this stuff?

   Honestly? I doubt it. It's the Revolutionary War all over again, and the way we live is the theoretical equal to marching in bright red coats, lined up and down the street.

   Now, wouldn't that make an interesting college essay?

August 9, 2006 - Maybe She Wanted Kettle Chips
   Royals 5, Red Sox 4: Now, I'm paid to think about these things rationally. I'm supposed to be able to observe, analyze and then say something that's not fueled by rage or excitement or anything other than the facts at hand.

   That must be why tonight, in my car, I attempted to put my fist through the dashboard after the Sox lost to the Royals ... again. Because you saw it coming a mile away, and yet, there's always that thought it's avoidable until it's over.

   All year long, I (and plenty of others) have tried to figure out how a team that hasn't appeared to be all that good was doing so well. I can think of a couple times where I borderline dwelled on it, only to have no answers.

   Well, perhaps it turns out it all will figure itself through. Terry Francona's fond of saying teams and people usually end up where they belong after 162 games, and it's becoming increasingly clear his team is too.

   On the silver lining side, no team flopped harder than the 1978 Red Sox, yet they still were a couple innings from making the playoffs. There's six weeks left, and really, no irreparable damage has been done.

   But of all the days where I'll be in the car, and inevitably end up listening to sports radio ... just kill me now.

Epstein Bowed To Panic In Bard Deal
-- This was the Tuesday column, which I never posted a link to. Having a laptop that keeps shutting off for no reason will make the updates a little edgier that way.

   • And now, some thoughts after an afternoon at the mall.

   1. By one of the elevators, I saw the generic couple of teenagers hanging out. Longish hair, scruffy, just generally wasting time until their lives somehow discovered they had no meaning. However, somehow they were different, and for a moment, I couldn't quite put my finger on it.

   And then I figured it out ... one was wearing an ankle-length green skirt, the other blue and red clown pants.

   I wish I was making this up, because then I could add in the part where I asked them directions to something, and they spoke to me in cultured British accents.

   2. Now out on DVD? The first five seasons of The Golden Girls.

   I can't even begin to imagine who this is marketing toward. In so much as I watched The Golden Girls growing up, it was more because it was on television and I'd already watched the full loop of The Weather Channel three times.

   And I hated myself, much like DVD producers who expect dead and elderly people to operate a DVD player.

   3. Lego sets have gotten way too weird for my liking. Just stopping to look at what's available, there was a World Cup-esque soccer setup that would be impossible to actually play, then a bunch of fantacrap that didn't even interest me in passing.

   Growing up, I loved Legos. I especially liked the kits, where the direction booklet was basically a series of pictures where you had to figure out what had been added and how to arrange it.

   A sociologist could tell you what that says about me, but I didn't even sniff an 'A' in that class. Plus, I left my windbreaker with the hidden pocket in the back in class one day. Never showed up at CAS Lost and Found. I at least hope a homeless person ended up with it.

   4. Apparently, people who try on sandals at Target don't regularly feel the need to put them back where they got them. So that whole section of the store takes on the distinct feel of a war zone.

   I don't know why I even noticed this, but it probably had something to do with the children in there, throwing sandals at each other while their mother shopped.

   5. As will be revealed once the San Francisco write-up is done -- think "after the baseball season," kids -- I tend to have a problem telling needy people "no" when it comes to money. Even if they're an odd-smelling man 'citing' me with a 'ticket' for not holding Julie's hand while we were walking down the street.

   If you ask me for money, I'll probably give it to you, with the only exception the guys who wait before the I-93 entrance in Boston and routinely almost get run over.

   Fast forward to me leaving the mall, when I note a girl with pink hair walking some reasonable distance away. I'm in a bit of a rush, given I have to get home for Matty Cooch's birthday dinner, and I'm not generally a person who dawdles.

   As I round the corner and head toward Best Buy, outside of which my car is parked, the girl with the pink hair looks at me and says, "Hey! Hey! You dropped something back there!" As someone who's had a problem with my wallet falling out of my shorts, along with generally being a bit goofy, I'm concerned. Could be anything. So I look back, only to see nothing.

   As I'm turning back forward, confused, Pink lets me know what I dropped.

   "Your smile."

   Instinctively, I smile at this, because it's not the kind of thing you hear every day. To which she replies, without missing a beat, "Look at that! You picked it up without using your hands!"

   I begin to walk again, hoping this is the end of our interaction since I'd checked during my once-over that this girl wasn't holding a clipboard as she hovered ... the mall frequently has people trying to do questionnaires, and you may not entierly believe the lengths I will go to not walk anywhere near them. Pink, however, is undeterred, as she starts to walk toward me and asks, "Hey, can I ask you kind of a silly question?"

   Now, she could have wanted anything. A date. Bus fare. A ride to Springfield. My kidney. A pretzel. Usually, I would get to find out what she wanted, because I let her ask the question and, inevitably, whatever shpiel comes with it. Today, however, I really was in a hurry.

   So I turned back, smiled again, and offered a cheery "No."

   She looked sad.

   I walked out into the sunshine.

August 8, 2006 - Neighbor, We're Awesome

-- Look at this country! U Are Gay.

   No one ever said I was a role model.

   Relative Trust: Earlier this afternoon, I learned that there's finally a gummy vitamin with a name parents can trust: Flintstones Vitamins.

Meet The Flintstones

   I think it's great that, despite Rick Moranis's gaffes shrinking and blowing up "The Kids" in the late '80s and mid '90s, we're again able to trust him with the health of our children.

   Well, your children. Should that day ever come, it'll be straight Centrum for mine ... the simple, oval shape will teach them that life is not inherently fun and drugs are not a plaything.

   Also, 'The Flintstones' sort of suck.

   In A Related Story, Beer: I don't really know the backstory, but Rhode Island's own Narragansett Beer has been reclaimed by "the people." If, by "the people," you accept that it's radio voice-over people reading scripts that make you think they often fish "off Sow and Pigs" and frequently trundle around Providence in their cars.

Our beer. The stuff of great stories, backyard burns and Sox games. Straight-forward. Solid. If ever a bottle of beer could've had your back, this was the one.

And now, what was once practically a public trust around here, is once again. In the locals. On ice, out back on the porch. In the dunes at Horseneck. Narragansett is always there because, of course it would be.

Is it who we are? Not really. It's just a beer. But it's our beer. And starting here, starting today, we're taking it back.

-- Their site.

   It didn't take much digging, or straying far from home, to find out what's going on -- the guy who used to run Nantucket Nectars bought the brand back from Pabst -- in and of itself a paragon of suck -- and is making it work again.

   My natural instinct is to suspect the beer is awful, but since I've never had it, I'm not about to call the 800 number -- (866) 505-1919 -- they keep touting in their radio spots to "talk about it." The passion for it is nice, especially if people kept drinking it even when they moved the brewing to Indiana, where the water apparently isn't as good.

   Really, it's just good to see that New England, above all else, still thinks its better than everyone else anywhere. If I ever left, honestly, I'd miss that sense of entitlement the most.

   • In digging around for stuff on Narrgansett, I found this timeline on the history of Falstaff Beer.

   Something tells me it's of more interest to people who aren't me, even if I like its liberal use of the Wingdings font family and the following:

Beat writer Jack Kerouac succumbs to the effects of alcoholism at the age of 47. Rumors have it his last meal was a can of tuna, some whiskey, and cans of Falstaff.....(this will probably be your webguy's last meal as well)

   I like people who are hopelessly devoted to forgotten things.

August 7, 2006 - Another Needed Solo Career
   Red Sox Rock: Never let it be said that Western Mass. has given baseball nothing other than Rabbit Maranville and Leo Durocher. This site plays music.

   I'd imagine "taunting my Yankee-fan friends" with a song would have been a lot easier three weeks ago, but the point remains the same.

   Why We Love Children: The commercial for the upcoming Teen Choice Awards, hosted by a well-compensated Dane Cook and America's Choice Divorcee, finishes off your pessimism about watching the show with this:

And for the first time anywhere,
a live performance by Kevin Federline!

   Apparently, not only is he closing the show, he's nominated for "Male Red Carpet Fashion Icon." With P. Diddy, Kanye West, Ryan Seacrest, Terrence Howard and ... Nick Lachey.

   Now that's good TV.

   • And now, Fergie's "London Bridge."

Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit
When I come to the clubs, step aside
Pop the seeds, don't be hating me in the line
V.I.P because you know I gotta shine
I'm Fergie Ferg
Give me love you long time

All my girls get down on the floor
Back to back drop it down real low
I'm such a lady but I'm dancing like a ho
Because you know what, I don't give a f***
So here we go!

Chorus (x2)
How come every time you come around
My London London Bridge want to go down
Like London London want you to go down
Like London London be going down

Drinks start pouring
And my speech start slowing

   It's strangely ... I don't know. Strange.

   Thank you, the randomness of Rhapsody Radio.

August 6, 2006 - Four Runs To Tampa. Outstanding.
   Reader Request, Bratwurst Edition:

Kobayashi's Brat Record

Joey Chestnut, left, of San Jose, Calif., Sonya Thomas, of Alexandria, Va., and Takeru Kobayashi, of Japan, try to cram in as many brats as they can in the last few seconds of the Johnsonville World Bratwurst Eating Championship on Saturday in Sheboygan, Wis. Kobayashi set a new world record by consuming 58 brats in 10 minutes. (AP Photo/The Sheboygan Press, Sam Castro)

   Kobayashi's number cruncher, Elizabeth Holst, is a friend of a friend. To her credit, in every photo taken, she has her mouth open in what I assume is a sympathy gesture.

   The whole thing was broadcast on ESPN. Somehow, I've never gotten into watching these things unfold on television. Perhaps it's because in live, moving color, eating contests aren't all high comedy and intrigue. It's a lot more distended stomachs, drooling and The Violent Femmes.

   Somehow, I don't think that's the first time all those things shared space in one sentence. And that's not even considering one of their opening acts, Uncle Meat and the Sausage Tossers.

   I'll be quiet now.

   Shockingly, Not A Redeeming Character: It didn't take long in this L.A. Times feature to discover that the man behind "Girls Gone Wild" is a scumbag. Reading to the end, however, gives so many more reasons.

For "Spring Break 2005," Francis and his crew prowled the beaches of Miami, South Padre Island, Cancún and other sunny destinations. They filmed women not just taking off their tops but taking it all off, and having sex with one another. Francis is often on the other side of the camera, asking sweetly if he can hold the girls' tops, inquiring about their class schedules, chiding them for being "so naughty," saying he wants to see if they've shaved their genitals, begging them to play with their breasts and bend over to expose their thong underwear. They comply.

Francis has aimed his cameras at a generation whose notions of privacy and sexuality are different from any other. Nursed on MySpace profiles and reality television, many young people today are comfortable with being perpetually photographed and having those images posted on the Internet for anyone to see. The boundaries that once contained sexuality have also fallen away. Whether it's 13-year-olds watching a Britney Spears video, 16-year-olds getting their pubic hair waxed to emulate porn stars or 17-year-olds viewing videos of celebrities performing the most intimate acts, youth culture is soaked in sexuality.

   It's a shame this wasn't in The New York Times. To say this would have gone over big in Westchester is the understatement of the century.

What's more, the press has been omnipresent and, he says, too critical. "I've been anally raped over and over by the media."

It's an odd sort of thing for him to say. In January 2004, as news reports recounted, he was forced at gunpoint to simulate sodomizing himself with a vibrator as an intruder videotaped him in his Bel-Air mansion. A 28-year-old named Darnell Riley was arrested 14 months later, after police received a tip from Paris Hilton.

   Somehow, I'm guessing Entertainment Tonight didn't lead the weekend edition with this.

   • Between these two videos, I'm now angrier than ever that the Edmonton Oilers didn't win the Stanley Cup. Even since the lockout, I've wanted the NHL to somehow formulate in a way to guarantee every Stanley Cup Final is a Canada vs. U.S. matchup, though I suppose that's nearly impossible and would ultimately probably take a little bit away from one of the Canadian teams going that far.

   Thinking about it now, I've cheered for three Canadian Cup finalists over the years, really picking them up midway through their playoff runs: Vancouver in 1994, Calgary in 2004 and Edmonton in 2006. All three of them lost in seven games.

   Perhaps I need a new plan.

   On the other hand, it's always nice to see an old friend back in the news.

Not-so-mutual decision

According to industry sources, it was not a mutual decision as previously announced by CN8 for Lou Tilley to leave the network.

Sources say that until Tilley was told that he was not going to be part of CN8's plans. He thought he was going to host one of the two sports shows that will be part of the network in the fall.

The longtime Philadelphia personality started at CN8 in 2000 as the sports anchor for the 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. news and host of the 11 p.m. show "The Sports Connection." In 2005, Tilley was replaced on the news by Gregg Murphy, and "The Sports Connection" changed from a live, hour-long show, to a pre-taped half hour show, called "Out of Bounds."

Last month, when CN8 announced its plans to become more of a national network with plans to drop the news, Tilley was replaced on "Out of Bounds," and Murphy was named host of the upcoming 7 p.m. Philadelphia-based show.

Tilley did not respond to e-mails seeking comment.

   I hold nothing against the man ... indirectly, he put me on his show. Course, he then called me the wrong name and taught me that it's not actually much fun to talk to a television camera and monitor hundreds of miles away from everyone else.

   He'll surface again. Hopefully, with the moustache.

August 5, 2006 - Left My Gun On The Seat
   Bully Pulpit of Agendas: I've been asked to pass along the following notes:

Sabres Clip 'N Mail
-- Nick wants you to inform the Buffalo Sabres how you feel about their new logo, returning to the blue and gold. I'm thinking 'toupee,' myself.

   Also, Matt would love for you to be a part of his new Web-based music tournament, The Wussiest Songs of All Time. It's a spinoff of this AOL feature, and like everything else coming out this summer, Taylor Hicks is prominently involved.

Taylor Hicks
-- He gets what he wants. He goes where he pleases.
And this is his angry, angry face.

   The Definition of an A$$hole: Driving on Route 195 between Providence and Whale City ... let's say I'm in Swansea, because it has a Welsh equal. I'm in the left lane, moving faster than the flow of traffic, when a Buick of some sort speeds up behind me at an alarming rate.

   I'm fully prepared to move right and let him go kill himself on his own time, but before I can, the blinker comes on and the driver cuts across two lanes, screaming into the right without incident. Having passed me during the cut right, the window apparently opens, because the next thing I see is a cup of some sort smashing against the guardrail, sending whatever its contents were flying.

   The driver then, with slightly more care, cuts back across the middle lane to the left one, speeding away as I marvel at what's just happened.

   There's actually being considerate, then there's being considerate by defenestrating your trash into the woods as opposed to the median.

Boston Bashers United On One Slugging Team
-- One of my favorite Inside Baseballs ever, I spent multiple days digging up stats on performances against Red Sox and formed the 'Sox Killers' side since 2003. That, and a Stat Nick remarked was 'one of the better Stats in a while.'

   Apparently, he didn't like learning Alfredo Griffin created a dish mixing minced Slim Jims with peas and potatoes.

   • Never let anyone say the Commonwealth of Massachusetts doesn't care about the citizen. Today, an electronic sign informed me "Airport Tunnel Closed -- Seek Alt. Route" with more than enough time to plan.

   The sign was in Springfield.

   The next sign told me Boston remained 82 miles away.

   I suppose it's asking too much to tell me something I can use. Something, like, that Red Stripe is apparently the beer choice of James Bond.

   Boo T.G.I. Friday's Tostado Nachos! Hooray Beer!

August 4, 2006 - I Hate Statistics
   • I'm just going to say this once, and let you infer from it whatever you'd like to.

   I am never eating T.G.I. Friday's Tostado Nachos ever again. For reasons above and beyond they are not a good nachos to share amongst a group of people.

   Porcelain reasons.

August 3, 2006 - What Internet?
   For The Children: When no one was looking, they made 10 Kidz Bop albums, six of which have been certified Gold.

   Also, for some reason, they're started letting Blue The Dog from Blue's Clues talk. Though I suppose that's better than what became of Steve.

Red Sox Acquire Catcher Lopez
-- It's a notebook with a newsy lead. Not bad for another night off.

   • I'm sorry.

   Discovering that Steve Burns actually left 'Blue's Clues' because he didn't want kids to know he was losing his hair ... man, I hope that's true.

   Kind of like how I hope it's not true a red hawk ate the little black bird that was running around the Fenway infield earlier this week, but I certainly believe both to be true.

August 2, 2006 - That's Mr. Blowhard To You
   Only The Herald: And this is why we love it. Outside of how they find ways to put bikini shots on the cover all the time.

Boston Herald: Aug. 2, 2006
-- The cover on Aug. 2, referring to this story

"My dad had to pack up his suitcase at 10 years old with his three brothers, who had nothing. And my mother was 11 years old and my grandfather, who'd been a dentist for 15 or 20 years, had to go back to school to be (politically) re-educated," Lowell said.

"My cousins were political prisoners. My father-in-law was a political prisoner for 15 years because, at 19, they asked him if he agreed with communism and he said, 'No,' so they sentenced him to death. That’s not the way to live. I know it's terrible to say, but I think of all of that and I hope he (Castro) passes away."

. . .

"Reports are that Eighth Street is as crazy as when the Marlins won the World Series, and that was crazy," Lowell said. "I think if I was watching the media and I saw that in, say, Jamaica, that they're celebrating someone's illness, I'd think it was kind of weird. But what you have to understand, and what hits home with me, is what my family has been through."

   Tastefully done story. Don't think I'm being critical of Jeff Horrigan, because it's written well. But seriously ... I would encourage them to just stop trying, but they already have.

   And there's a poll!

Castro Poll

   Interactivity, as they say, is the spice of life.

   Spreading The Content: I owe you a 'Simpsons Moment That Time Forgot.' Didn't want it to take away from my awful T-shirt designs yesterday.

Cat and Mouse Adultery

   It's just too good. Kind of like my kitchen, holding firm at 89 degrees all the way down the other side of the apartment, but refusing to make the one-degree push into comically unbearable.

   Though it has gotten so oddly atmospheric today, the small, flexible TiVo man affixed to the front of my box is no longer affixed. I'm sure it's covered by the warranty.

   • This afternoon, ending a multiple week process that has been awaiting the final dotting and crossing for a couple of days, I accepted a promotion to become the new Assistant Sports Editor of The Standard-Times.

Subject: Moving Up In The World
Date: Wed 2 Aug 2006
From: Josh
To: Everyone Who Should Care


   As you all know, we've been without an assistant sports editor since Steve went over to news in February or March. As some of you know, I've been working to fill the opening.

   Please join me in congratulating Jon 'Elmo' Couture in becoming the assistant sports editor.

   His exact job responsibilities are still not set in stone. One thing we do know is he will [ CAREFULLY EDITED OUT BY THE ESTABLISHMENT, AS TO KEEP COMPANY SECRETS SAFELY CONCEALED UNDER THAT WEB POLICY I REMINDED THEM THEY NEEDED TO CREATE ]. And needless to say, when I'm not around, and he is, he'll make the decisions that have to be made.

   I am sure he is ready for the additional challenge and (will) continue to do a good job covering the Red Sox.
-- Good. Not great, not superlative, but also not mediocre or acceptable.

   In a move that should shock no one, I was holding off on accepting the job until I saw if the company met my exorbitant raise demands. You can't feed your family on NEAPNEA awards and fancy titles, of course.

   Also, there were two joke replies to the above e-mail within the first eight hours after it was sent out. One, harkening back to perhaps former 'Sports Pulse' host Ed Berliner's greatest moment: when, after a coworker had been on his show and passed along "tell Ed I said hi" wishes on my behalf, Ed responded with "Great. What's he do again?"

   It was at a point when, really, he had no reason to know. And by the end of his tenure, he knew me well enough to start pillaging my Web site for material every time I was on the show. It all worked out for everyone, though depending on how he's spending his time off, maybe not for him.

August 1, 2006 - It Could Be Worse
   Anglophiles, Unite: There's ads on the radio proudly touting the arrival of the Download Festival to America -- it's coming to Boston in like three weeks. Touted as Britain's biggest music festival (or something), some British woman comes on and proudly proclaims how great it is that we here in New England are getting a taste of this English delight.

   Here's the lineup:

311, formed in Omaha, Neb.
Dropkick Murphys, proudly from South Boston
G. Love & Special Sauce, alternative hip-hoppers from Philly
Jurassic 5 from Los Angeles
Pepper, apparently a ska band from Hawaii
The Wailers, remnants of Bob Marley's group

   Now I don't know about you, but I can't wait for England's greatest music festival to be in my backyard.

   Semi-related Aside: This is too funny to just leave alone.

Bob Marley, Noted Square
-- Taken from here, the middle man is apparently Bob Marley in the mid 1960's. These are the original 'Wailers.'

   You can't tell me this photo wouldn't make a great T-shirt.

Bob Marley, Noted Sellout

   Let the hate mail begin.

Varitek To Have Surgery
-- I get newsy, panicky and rational all in the same 20 inches. Plus, any time there's quotes from Doug Mirabelli, you know it's got to be good.

Sox Crouching Into An Uncomfortable Position
-- The notebook, which features a Mike Lowell story that seemed incredibly less fun when he fouled a ball off his foot and limped around like a doomed horse.

   He's fine. I'm fine. We're all fine.

   • At 1:18 a.m., I drove past a bank in Fairhaven with a thermometer on its sign ... 81 degrees, at 20 past one in the morning.

   Ten minutes later in my kitchen, the furthest area of the apartment from my air conditioner, the thermometer read 88 degrees. At 1:30 a.m., my kitchen was 88 degrees.

   And I'm pretty sure, in the rush to leave my apartment that had led to me forgetting to shave on Monday, I forgot to wear deodorant on Tuesday.

   Now, no one said anything to me at the park, and I have been blessed over the years to not be someone who goes from shower to full stink in a quick period of time. In so much as I spent a chunk of the evening hoping I didn't smell, it's not like I ran panicked to Store 24 in the fourth inning.

   But would you say anything? Did I say anything when I was stuck next to the distractingly aromatic Web guy who would not shut up and let me work during a Yankee game last year? And is it going to become necessary for me to store Speed Stick in the car the same way there's a toothbrush and toothpaste in the glove compartment, just in case?

   There's also a bottle opener in my glove compartment, bought on the night I went to see Green Day in Foxboro because I'd forgotten one. In so much as I'm a little dubious about the fact I store a beer-enabling system in my car, I did buy it at a gas station frequented by truckers and football fans.

   That's good enough for me.

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2005: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
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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]