September 30, 2002 - Raven Hate
   • You would think working at a newspaper would propel me to become a news beast, constantly wishing to stay informed to the world around me.

   Today, these are the things I cared about.

   1) For lack of a better substitute, all I ate prior to 7 p.m. was three bowls of cereal.

   2) I invented a game involving chipping a street hockey ball over my driveway with my old pitching wedge, strictly to avoid writing my column for a few hours.

   3) I can get a $150 credit if I join a health club for four consecutive months via my Standard-Times benefits package. Of course, this is contingent on my deciphering the paperwork.

   Today was a day where I didn't work, which at this point means it was a wasted day. My life lacks much meaning outside the Standard-Times right now, something I find greatly disturbing. There are so many things I want to do, yet I find it hard to push myself to do them because I'm on my own. I've never been the kind of person to step out and take the initiative, at least not in situations where it wasn't absolutely necessary or highly advisable.

   This weekend, I golfed with my father in his league's Field Day... their year-end party with a dinner, a full 18 hole scramble, the works. I was actually a member of the league for about a half-season in '99, when I worked my morning shifts at Agawam Municipal, but I've been making appearances on and off on league nights since I was seven years old.

   I know a good deal of the league members, since almost everyone there is a friend of my father's. Many of them know me; a select few know I designed the spreadsheet that calculates handicaps and builds a scoresheet for each week's matches. I've been somehow involved with it for going on 16 seasons, yet, I still feel awkward in their company at times.

   I take the golf very seriously, and I don't drink while there, putting me in an almost exclusive club.

   I love getting a chance to go play golf with my father, and spending time with his friends. I've been bought more Cokes at the course than I've ever drank in any other context - to the point of where I'll refuse drinks now because of tremedous guilt about never having bought one. Yet I've never wanted to leave like I did on Sunday, after the round was over.

   Maybe it was how I'd played below my expectations that had me moody. Maybe it was being tired, or depressed about the Ryder Cup's outcome. It could have even been not wanting to watch football because my virtual lock bet (Dolphins -3, Saints -7.5) came up empty, or because everyone there was well drunk and thus uninformed about what they were arguing.

   I never get to play anymore, and it absolutely kills me. I'm thinking about joining a club on SouthCoast next spring, since there's so many beautiful ones to pick from, but playing by onesself is no fun. It's a challenge, but it's nothing like playing with a friend, with something at stake.

   Overcompetitive is an understatement. I hate losing anything, to the point of where I'll race to catch other cars on the highway, even though they haven't a clue. I thrive on it, and in many cases it works wonders... I keep an itemized budget on my computer now, and each month is a contest to stay in the black. Winning means eating in the journalism profession.

   So to recap, I've golfed 36 holes this summer. I turn bowling matches with friends into personal competitions. And I don't ever see myself being in a golf league with 40 friends, because I can count golfers I know on one hand. It's all troubling, but I'm still trying to figure out why it's not enough for me to change it.

   There are some days I wonder why I even keep updating this.

Strange Lesson In Ryder Cup Defeat
-- He who does not study history was doomed to repeat it. Curtis Strange, there's no surprises here.

September 29, 2002 - The Parity Of The Pigskin
   We will preface these comments by saying I am currently winless on football bets this season, running my mark to 0-5 today with a more conservative wager than I usually make. I am down five units for the year, a number which means nothing because you don't know how much a unit (a.k.a. "how much I bet each time") is.

   I am not overly concerned, as I'm not betting the rent money here, but I am perturbed that I've lost even the bets I considered rather solid locks. My strategy from here is to turn more conservative - I still have no doubt I will end the season equal to ahead of where I began it, since wins pay more than losses lose.

   I'd also just to say I will never drink Coors Light, not just because it sucks, but because I hate those commercials.

   • If there was ever a season when you should let your mother, or someone equally ignorant to football, make picks for you each week, this would be the one. I've come to the conclusion the only reason this has all been so difficult for all who consider themselves fans is because our past knowledge is getting in the way.

   0-2 team to beat a 2-0 one? Of course, because it's the Vikings over the Panthers. 0-3 team to cover a 12-pont spread? Jesus yes! It's the Rams playing the Cowboys!

   My mother used to play, from time to time, a little game we had in the Springfield papers called "Beat Carlo." Carlo Imelio was the Patriots writer, and each week he would make his picks on the NFL games, no pointspread. The object for the paper's readers was to, obviously, "Beat Carlo."

   Dad, Matt and I would, as you'd figure, read up on results, go on what we knew, generally make educated guesses. Mom would either:

   a) go alphabetically
   b) pick all the home/away teams
   c) get the uniform colors from us, and go with the teams that had nicer uniforms.

   Every so often, she'd beat me. Then, I recall being mortified. Now, it really doesn't seem that farfetched.

   On a fantasy note, I will likely win my games in the Free Press and Mark Coen leagues, which is all well and good. However in the big money Standard-Times league, I will lose a chance to go to 3-1 and tie for first in my division because my bench players (including 5 TD throwing Trent Green, and TD catching Keenan McCardell and Curtis Conway) outscored my starters. Bench outscored the starters, meaning an easy win against the #1 team in the league is likely a tie.

   We're now done talking about football. Plenty of other athletic events happened today anyway.

   Oh wait, the United States lost the Ryder Cup on the same day I struggled to play four over par in a team scramble.

   Oh wait, the Dodgers and Red Sox both won 92(+) games, yet missed the playoffs.


September 28, 2002 - Just Swipe Your Card, Lisa

''They have one Tiger. We have 12 lions.''
-- European Ryder Cup captain Sam Torrance on his team's chances in the Sunday singles at the Ryder Cup.

   I swear there are just some quotes born to be the crux of opinion pieces and column fodder, a theory I will likely prove in spades come presstime on Tuesday.

   • Now, I know the chances are remote, dreaming at worst, but is it possible Britney Spears' slow downward spiral as a pop artist has less to do with her passing fad fading and more to do with her conscious decision to market herself as a whorebag?

I spotted you dancin'
You made all the girls stare
Those lips and your brown eyes (oooh)
And the sexy hair
I should shake my thang
Make the world want you (giggle)
Tell your boys you'll be back
I wanna see what you can do (uh)

   It's a noble enough concept, really. The young man and woman at a "dance club," perhaps not unlike Springfield's Hot Club, which has ten simple rules, which they then share five of and say two of them can be ignored by staff at all times. The boy is rocking to the music slightly - anything more and he be perceived gay by fellow "club goers." The girl arrives, and seeing how smartly he is dressed, wonders if he is, in fact, a homosexual. So she slides over and asks him to dance.

What would it take for you to just leave with me?
Not tryin to sound conceited but
you and me were meant to be (yeah)
You're a sexy guy, I'm a nice Girl
Let's turn this dance floor into our own little nasty world!

   Whoa! Where did that come from?! Leave with me? A nasty world? Clearly, our Southern Belle was not taught tact in her Bobby Boucher-esque swampland home.

But the way your boys movin it (uh)
It puts me in the mood

Moan Moan Moan, OUW!

   Now, I've always been a reminiscer. Looking back on the past fondly, on simpler times, on better times. I can't realte to this "love song!" I don't like to "get nasty." At least not in the open. Whatever happened to the quiet longing of a song like E-Mail My Heart?

It's been hours
seems like days
since you went away
and all I do is check the screen
to see if you're okay
you don't answer when I phone
guess you wanna be left alone
so I'm sending you my heart my soul
and this is what I'll say

   We've all been there! Who hasn't been there? It's as though Britney reached into our lives, with her thin fingers, and made us feel strong. Told us we weren't alone when they didn't answer the phone. That's music!

E-mail my heart
and say our love will never die (and I)
I know you're out there
and I know that you still care (I know you care)
e-mail me back and say our love will stay alive
Forever...e-mail my heart

   I understand writing is hard, and that sometimes, the creative flow just isn't, well, flowing. It can be a struggle to produce, day in and day out. You can panic, wonder, wail, just hoping a new idea will come. It's a struggle, and sometimes, it gets the best of us. But we can't give up, we can't just fall to our base instincts and call that art. We have to struggle and strive, because in the end, that's how beautiful music is made.

   Just makes you wish Justin had boned the fake tittied bitch instead of half-assing it, right?

   If you only click on one Cooch's World link this year, please make it the half-assing it above. I'm not asking, I'm demading.
September 27, 2002 - Alarm Inferiorities
   • My article ended up in San Diego via the BigSoccer Web site, to answer the question you at least thought for a moment.

   It's beastly windy in Whale City tonight. Whipping like it would between two buildings, like it did in the old West Campus Wind Tunnel that all former residents there know intimately. The weather here has been consistenyl cloudly for the past three days, though for the past two it can best described as "ambient." Walking outside, at the store and to work, I had a delightful sense of warmth in my jeans and sweater (or new Rockies baseball jersey, depending on the day). It was my favorite kind of weather... overcast and cool.

   Having been to the world's center of overcast and cool, the United Kingdom, twice during the heart of summer, I would myself wishing it was warmer. Humans aren't supposed to be dying hot when it's 80 degrees. Course they're also not supposed to make stars out of bitches like Victoria Adams, but how can we blame a country that gave us Eddie The Eagle?

   Given where I live relative to everything else, I'd be torn to shit in a hurricane. My apartment isn't visible from the water, but I'm close enough that a 30-second walk puts me in the sightlines of New Bedford Harbor, in all it's PCB-laden glory. Don't much know why I'm bringing this up, other than because I sense it'd be a lot like this in a hurricane, only with more Weather Channel.

   It's muggy too. To the point of where all the papers stuck to the fridge are hanging limp, like dead flowers. I have an awful lot of stuff on the fridge for someone who lives by himself.

   It's hard to write about a day where you accidentally slept until 1 p.m., what can I say?

   The answer, of course, is nothing. Damned if I'm missing any more of the Ryder Cup.
September 26, 2002 - Missing All The Flip-Flops
   • Unlike some people, every so often I enjoy a walk home in the rain. Little less often in tropical storm-induced tempests, but even that can be alright once in a while. You get the rain just turning your hair to strings, having it fully sturate a hat brim to the point of water just dripping off the edge... just something romantic about it. Like it's straight off a movie set or something.

   I'm rambling again. Though I like it, I will stop it. Because today, I found out I have a fan.

Subject: Great Revs Article!
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2002
From: Matt ____ <>

   John Couture isn't listed in your email directory, but he should be!

   Congrats on a very accurate and entertaining read!

   Matt in San Diego
   "Fire Fan"
-- Matt, should you end up reading this, welcome!

   I'm not about to delude myself. Odds are if you're reading this, and regularly read this, you've met me personally. I'm a friend of a friend, I'm a former roommate, I let you look up mail-order brides on the Internet in my apartment, whatever. I've always said all I ever wanted to do as a writer was entertain people. I mean none of you any disrespect, but it's one thing if my mother tells me she likes my writing. It's quite another to have someone you've never met say, "Hey. I read your stuff, and I really liked it."

   It's not an ego thing at all. More on the scale of, "Wow. I made someone's day a little brighter." Really at the core, that's all I want.

   I can say that with certainty and conviction now because, unlike last summer, I can afford groceries on my weekly paycheck. Whether I can be motivated to drive to the grocery store, well, that's something else altogether. And it's also not to say I wouldn't like more money... I don't gamble on football just solely for the health benefits, I assure you.

   And on the benefits issue, is it bad that just today, during my 17th week on the job, I followed through on getting my benefits paperwork?

   People can be motivated, Dad. It just varies what they get motivated about. Like, say, remembering how to break 40 for nine holes of golf when all they've been able to do for the past four years is hover around 43.

   But enough about me, let's talk about Randy Moss, who's far more entertaining despite his illiteracy not being striking.

"Other peoples has driven my vehicles."
-- Imagine a black man from West Virginia describing how the pot got into his SUV. I'm not saying the stuff is his, but damn if I'm not laughing about the whole thing anyway.

   The Minnesota Vikings are Randy Moss' team this year. Randy's always wanted this, as exhibited by his ballcap. Labeled "Three Deep" on the front, the back has the names of Cris Carter, Jake Reed and #84. The two now gone are crossed out, literally, in black marker.

   It's Randy's team now. Coach Mike Tice is new, too meek to fight back. The Randy Ratio assures he gets 40% of the passes, because in the past, the team wins 80% of the time when that happens. SportsCentury: Randy Moss features a quote of, "This is Randy's team."

   Randy Moss is cocky, and his team's 0-3.

   I wouldn't worry. Randy will go out this Sunday night, on national television, and put on a tremendous show against an inferior Seattle Seahawks team. The nation will be watching, breathlessly hoping for failure, only to see #84 put on a clinic. Diving, stretching, playing his heart out when he wants to.

   Maybe if he didn't let so many "other people drive his vehicles," he'd figure out we're watching all those other games too.

   Though I list long since graduates writing about college kids right up there with burning my fingers on my favorite stuff to experience list, it's always nice to be reminded who runs the show in the Hub.
September 25, 2002 - Desperately Seeking Spinach
   • The glass, my friends, is now empty. And where did all the water go?

   New Orleans.

   Rosie's Saints, with their victory Sunday, avoided becoming the official "Cooch's Gambling Enigma" of 2002. To become the gambling enigma, a team must be incorrectly chosen for three consecutive weeks, a fate the Golden Ones avoided by beating Chicago. The next nominee is the Packers, who in playing the 3-0 Carolina Panthers Sunday, will not be touched with a ten foot pole.

   Last summer, I went the entire three months without once eating pizza. I found this very impressive and notable, given there were literally seven pizza parlors within a half mile of my Nashua "apartment." The string was broken only on my final night at the Telegraph, when at my party there was about six pizzas. Good times.

   I just really like pizza. That's all.

   Is there any more refreshing, life-assuring moment to be found on late night TV than coming across an old Saturday Night Live with an absolutely washed-up and forgotten musical act? Like, say, Living Colour?

   And on the flip side, stumbling across one of those "a drunk driver killed this person" where the deceased is singing TLC? Dead singing dead... abort, retry, fail...
September 24, 2002 - Rodman And The Rocks
   Many thanks to the multiple folks who said they enjoyed this week's column on Das Revs. Throw that in with the boss calling it "exceptionally good," and I'm stepping out and deeming it a success.

   Now if we could only get the constructive criticisms to start coming...

   • I know I say this a little too much, but Bill Simmons has hit it on the head:

"Personally, I always thought the ideal sports columnist should make you laugh, make you think, make the games a little more fun to watch, and make the reader appreciate the craft of writing in general. If they fail to accomplish all four of these things, they should be considered failures at their job. End of story."
-- This will be up on my cubicle wall before the week is out. Whether the whole article makes it there remains airborne.

   That's basically it in a nutshell. These are the things you should do when you write opinion pieces for print. They're not news stories, but at the same time, they're not a website where you can shoot off about whatever you feel like - unless of course that's what you're paid to do.

   I think I'm batting at least .667 thus far. Meg loved the second column previewing the NFL season, but it just didn't seem to come together. Matt Bruce didn't like my treatise on Mike Martz, but neither of us could point to why. Other than that, I've been at least pleased with the finished products. References available upon request.

   It's obvious, especially after reading the Simmons piece and having the background to know he's right, that there's a lot of "professionals" out there who just don't give a shit anymore. Maybe it's the money, maybe it's being in the business too long, maybe it's starting to believe their own hype. The fact is doing this long-term is hard - after 400+ writeups, I'm beginning to understand why. There's only so much you can say, and while you certainly shouldn't be allowed to keep spewing with no legs to stand on, it can at least be understood.

   Followers of the NFL know the Carolina Panthers, 1-15 a season ago, are a surprise team at 3-0. With a rookie coach in former Giant John Fox, an ancient quarterback in Rodney Peete and a team of almost no big-name stars, a lot of people are trying to figure out just what the hell is going on. In my search for info, I ended up here, where I read this [9/22/02 entry].

"Well no matter how much disrespect the professional media has for the Panthers, they will never be able to top the complete and total disdain and contempt I hold for them. They do not practice real journalism. They merely scour the AP newswire for news fragments and compose half-hearted opinions based purely on the writings and talk of others. If the opinion is wrong, they will find an excuse and move on. They will never take any pride in their work unless they get lucky and make the right bandwagon call for the week."
-- Thank God for stereotyping. Allows less text to come before the "Run, Osama, Run" cartoon at the bottom of the page.

   Now, I'm not disagreeing with what Joker is saying - he's saying the exact same thing as Bill Simmons does about the Boston media. But it's how he says it, quoting the "founding fathers" and the "Constitution," being overly dramatic when he ought to be getting to the point.

   Shocking as it is, I have been asked to give a few people writing advice. There it is. Read the good, read the bad, and draw what you will.

   And Mr. Joker, should you stumble across this, I'm a member of the media's AA league. Your first two wins were based largely on your schedule. In a smaller way your third was too, but the Panthers still had to go out and win those football games. I tip my cap to you and your team. You deserve respect for what you've done so far, but don't put your 3-0 on the table next to your divisional rivals in New Orleans. Put Carolina out against Tampa, Green Bay and Chicago to open the year, and you're riding an 18-game losing streak. Enough said.

   Thus ends the sports discussion for today. You may now return to your upright position with my blessing.

   There's real news to talk about anyway. Britain is coming out hard for an attack on Iraq. Shannon O'Brien and Mitt Romney both said in their first debate that the other was too close to Beacon Hill to solve anything. But more importantly, Miss Universe has been fired.

   Fired! For wanting to stay in Russia and be with her family! Much as I want to blame Donald Trump for all this, it's hard not to point the finger at Oxana. Was she not aware after being crowned, she would have to spend the next twelve months hugging African children and flood victims? You're not the president, you're a hired ass!

"Fedorova's victory in May led newscasts across her country. She was pictured firing weapons with perfectly manicured nails and walking police academy halls, dark hair flowing over her drab uniform."
-- Wait, they already did this one, didn't they?

   This pageant shit is hard though. Eight months ago, the reigning Miss America decided she hated it. Now, they're coming after a judge who asked the Italian Miss New Jersey a question about 'The Sopranos'. In an interview, the contestant later said, "It was a question that I don't think they would ask of anyone, other than someone with my background."

   Maybe because it wouldn't be relevant to anyone else, you pinhead. Be glad she didn't ask you why you weren't chewing gum or didn't have one of those ponytails erupting vertically from the top of your head.
September 23, 2002 - Earthquake? To The Balcony!
   Correction: As pointed out by our Ocean State representative, the correct technical term for the state's treat are "Kenyon's Clam Cakes," as opposed to clam fritters. My family has bastardized the term over the years, thus the confusion.

   Either way, a bag of them should not be $4.95. Its gotten to the point I can remember them being half that, and I think that's saying something.

   • It's hard to believe Meg has never lived in an America where you can get 99 cent tacos from Burger King. How can anyone hate a country with so many places to eat bastardized ethnic food?

   Last week, BK was forced to pull an ad where their talking drive thru menu, played with dignity and restraint by Dame Adam Corolla, makes fun of community college students, sterotyping them as dumb and not likely to get anywhere. As I was all set to start ranting on the oversensitivity, I realized that two of my closest friends are both products of community college and smarter than I am.


   It's nice to be smart enough to see the major fast food chains doing little more than copying each other. It moves in a nice circle, has a nice pace to it, and if you're lucky one of the three big burger joints eventually churns out a product you can enjoy eating with blissful ignorance to its nutritional value. The 99 cent menu, least as I recall, began with Wendy's and the 99 cent nuggets. I've always thought five nuggets was far too few to be considered filling, but I'm a guy who would eat sixteen McNuggets in a signle sitting before going catatonic.

   Everyone always giggles about what neat type the McNugget actually is. What they seem to ignore is coating anything short of blacktop in that much vegetable oil is going to produce something edible. After much prayers and vitamins, I was able to eat twenty nuggets in one meal during last spring's trip to Chapel Hill, N.C.

   I've since sworn off the McNugget, because really, what do I have left to achieve in the game?

   BK toyed with a 99 cent menu for a little while, but McDonald's was the next to really go after it. There's cookies somehow involved, but the only thing I think I've had on it is the Breakfast Burrito, as canonized in Beavis and Butthead's greatest adventure, The Great Cornholio.

   I was a late convert to B&B, but I think there's no show I miss more on TV today. Honest to God. If I remember right, I think I stumbled across their first short, 'Frog Baseball,' right around when it first aired, then forgot about it for years.

   As for the McBurrito, it was much better the first time around. I think they had some sort of red pepper in it then. Though they're wrapped tighter now, making them easier to eat in the car. You have to love a food that you know will make you feel sick after eating it, yet you do anyway over and over again.

   Now with the new BK 99 center, there's two major places you can go for chili. Options are important, but even more important is that no matter where you go, there's the exact same shit with a different label on it. Kind of like how no matter what reality show has a celebrity edition, be it Fear Factor, Celebrity Boxing or Weakest Link, Barry Williams will inevitably appear.

   Greg Brady was third tonight on celebrity Fear Factor, losing out to Keshia Knight Pulliam (of Cosby Show fame) and Teller (of Penn and Teller fame). Though I lost a little respect for P&T because they played for the ACLU, the pair provided two of the greatest reality TV highlights to date:

   -- During the second round, a competition of who could pull the most colored hockey pucks out of a giant aquarium/pool full of snakes, Penn (not playing, merely smack talking) made $200 in side bets while Teller retrieved pucks wearing a full suit. You want to hate, but all you can do is laugh.

   -- Gina Lee Nolin (of giant breast fame) was eliminated in the puck competition, but was given the chance to eat a live, hissing cockroach in order to advance to the finals anyway. As she stood there petrified, Teller walked over, entirely unprompted, grabbed a roach and began eating a roach. I have not laughed that hard since who knows when, seeing Miss Bouncy Lifeguard's eyes fall out of her skull as Teller is eating a roach with as many savoring bites as possible.

   The only current show can be close to as captivating is Real World: Las Vegas. You want Must See TV? They're teasing with shots of a pregnancy test. Gambling, unplanned pregnancies... I hope Osama knows how to program a VCR.

The Upside Of Becoming A Revs Fan
-- I'm not really sure I like this, but hopefully you will. Course in a week where I went 12-2 picking football games, everything can't go right.

September 22, 2002 - Bowling For Monkeys

-- Welsh. It's not so much a language as it is a spelling accident.

   • WE - Women's Entertainment is a network designed to keep women entertained and give them a place to relax. Bull Durham is, at its core, a movie about a woman who sleeps her way through a minor league baseball franchise. You really wouldn't think this is something that should be connected, but I think these are just the times we live in.

   Suppose the same can be said for 10-year-olds thrusting their crotches along with Shaggy at The Big E, and in booths dedicated solely to such things as cheese curds, decorative salt and pepper shakers and the world smallest horse.

   There was also a booth advertising a "Giant Horse," 6'8" to the shoulder, but since it claimed to hold no records I was uninterested.

   At its core, The Eastern States Exposition, New England's Great State Fair, The Big E, has not changed in the literally 22 years I've been attending. There's a building devoted to every New England state, a midway full of carnival rides hastily built by shady folk, large piles of horse and cow feces on roadways and a place where you can watch baby chicks hatch. Knockoff infomercial products can always be bought, be they chopper, mopper or hot-air popcorm popper. There's a giant fiberglass slide, a auto thrill show and nightly concerts on the stage.

   Each year, the formula shifts only slightly. The trend over the last couple years has been to push more youthful musical acts, explaining why the last two concerts I've seen there featured Dream and the aforementioned "Mr. Boombastic". The theme differs, with Mardi Gras beads playing a large role these past two years. This year, the Big E Cream Puff has become the fair's official food, if you don't think the Maine Baked Potatoes, Rhode Island Clam Fritters or Appleflappen trump it.

   I won't stand in line twenty minutes or more for a potato, the clam fritters have gotten progressively worse yet more expensive, I don't think Appleflappen exists anymore, and the Cream Puff was a little heavy on the whipped portion. My winner of the night? French fries and apple cider.

   There have been years I went to five of the seventeen days of the fair, partially because I volunteered there, partially because it's a hell of a time with friends. I've never missed it, and really don't feel like I ever will. It's just one of those things you do - you don't ask questions, you just go, and always have a decent time.

   It's getting to the point where there's less and less of these things to hang on to each and every year. It's been a long-standing family tradition to get a photo button taken each year the fair, of the three Couture males. In my mother's dresser drawer, there exists the most disturbing flipbook movie - Cooch, from age zero to twenty.

   I've missed the last two buttons.

   It was an odd trip to the fair tonight... a limited number of people, with some already having attended other nights or earlier in the day, made for a trip without a lot of the staples. We didn't walk the Midway. I didn't see the famed sculpture made of butter or a lot of the agricultural exhibits. Can't eat like I used to either, for both cosmetic and physical reasons. That said, it was still a good time.

   As continually mad as I am at myself for never going abroad, and as I continued to read about Meg's escapades across the pond with a twinge of selfish jealousy, I take solace in still ultimately believing the thing I rationalized the whole way through college: I live here, and I like it here. Whatever I'm missing there, I'll never know, but what I'd be missing here, I'd think about for a very long time.

   Is it the men walking around wearing flourescent orange hunting socks or frilly muscle shirts with long hair and knee-high boots? Is it the nights doing nothing but looking at digital photos, both pointless and beautiful? Is it ending up having a conversation with a friend's grandparents, who inexplicably remember you from when you met this same time last year? It's all of it, and for what it's worth, I'll take it.

   Not too long ago, I resigned myself to the fact that I will never allow myself to be entirely and truly happy. Something's always wrong - it's not a bad thing, it's a fact of life. Go ahead and tell me you have no regrets. But only after you've gone to the fair and had a wonderful time.
September 21, 2002 - Drive Time
   • Plenty of room on the bandwagon people, climb aboard. Soccer smiles for everyone!

   Really, the only way this could have come together better for Tuesday is if the Red Sox were officially eliminated from playoff contention tonight. Out with the old, in with the new... I mean if you're going to write a propoganda piece, it may as well be balls to the wall. But alas, seems this year's Sox can't even lose when I want them to.

   At this point, if Anaheim lost out and Boston snuck in the playoffs, I'd just feel incredibly dirty. Especially after reading this:

"Life in Boston the last month got so disillusioned that Nomar Garciaparra got turned against in some areas of the media. Hey, Red Sox Nation may incant their 'seven allstars' mantra, but they were seven allstars based on a 40-17 start. It's not a 57 game season, and the fact is that they are not as good as the Yankees, A's or Angels, and don't belong in the playoffs. Period."
-- Peter Gammons, today. Baseball Jesus, slinging lightning bolts. Damn!

   Really, I don't know what he's all in a tizzy about. Stuff always gets puts in places it doesn't belong. Miss Indiana in the fifteen finalists of the Miss America pageant tonight, for example.

   With Miss Massachusetts from Acushnet, firmly entrenched in the Standard-Times readership, it became a civic duty to watch Miss America. All you have to know is the addition of the Miss America Quiz is one of the top five greatest TV creations of the last decade. Fourteen current events / general knowledge questions, asked to the final five contestants. "The highest of high comedy" doesn't even begin to describe it.

   Fortunately for all involved in the newsroom, Miss Mass made it no further than the top 10. Don't think I've seen a hack job that bad since I was paying $8.95 for haircuts next to Ocean State Job Lot.

   All I'm saying is I know a handful of girls who live in Indiana. Most, if not all, could have carried the Jeopardy portion of the program, to say nothing for the rest of it.

   Hey, tomorrow's the Big E trip. I've got a drive to make, and the activity of cheering against the girl from your state and region in the Miss America pageant is really only entertaining if you're there for it.
September 20, 2002 - On The Cusp Of E
   • There is gasoline in New Bedford.

   There are greeting cards in New Bedford.

   There are picture frames in New Bedford.

   Alas, there is no Target in New Bedford.

   Let's be honest, Target and Wal-Mart are the same fucking store. They fail the basic requirement - you should never be able to buy a VCR, full wardrobe and Pringles without stepping outside between, unless of course you live in Alaska or the Yukon, where stuff like this happens. Yet I love Target, and feel dirty in Wal-Mart.

   I blame the Southerners, really. Still, always nice to visit a mall I had no need to go to in the first place.

   So, someone want to fill me in on why Saddam Hussein isn't dead yet?

   The more I think about what we should do with Iraq, the less sense it makes as to why I'm twiddling my thumbs. It's like betting on a team to cover against someone they should just slaughter. Yet you don't make the bet, because there's that one shot out of a hundred it'd backfire.

   Course if you're me, you bet on the Packers to beat the Saints by 6, when you know (and were right in thinking) they won't beat them period. Gotta love football betting.

September 19, 2002 - You've Got Subpoena!
   • Yesterday's leftovers, today's second servings:

   Tiger's new rods! Tiger Woods switched to the Nike Golf forged irons yesterday, giving him a new set of tools with the Ryder Cup only a week away. "There's always an element of risk any time you change clubs, any club in the bag," Woods said. "But I think if you try them out, test them enough ... I'm still working on it, and hopefully they'll perform."

   Yesterday I would have said, "Great move, dipshit. The Ryder Cup, the most important international golf event ever, and you're using it as a test range for Swoosh's new blades."

   Today, I will compliment Tiger on his course-record 65, and hope the million dollar first prize isn't more important than playing for his country.

   Manhattan Bill Jr. comes out swinging. William Weld, the former Republican governor of Massachusetts, began openly campaigning for GOP candidate Mitt Romney, by attacking Shannon O'Brien's record in the legislature a decade ago. The Democratic gubernatorial candidate was apparently very supportive of tax hikes, twice voting to raise the state income tax.

   It should be noted that Bill Weld endorsed Acting Gov. Jane Swift's re-election campaign in March.

   Swift quit the race the next day.

   Always nice to see the "fans" make end-of-season meaningless games more interesting.

   An obviously drunk father and son violently attack the Kansas City first base coach during a game in Chicago. Even less than these two being punished, the effect will be a pondered ban on alcohol at baseball games. A ban that can never happen, but will be bandied about by uninformed think-tanks for maybe a few weeks or so.

"If someone messes with your family, you protect your family. Those two clowns could have taken Tom Gamboa's life, and we didn't want to put up with it. We protected our family the way you'd protect yours."
-- 1B Mike Sweeney on first-base coach Tom Gamboa being ambushed. Perhaps the oddest thing about such a statement is that when the entire team rushed to get the attackers, they formed a mob, crushing their coach into the turf.

   It does really make you wonder though... why has no one ever walked into a football game with a gun, say, and shot a member of the opposing team? It's a sick world, fandom is often intoxicating and sports stadiums in the pre-Sept. 11 universe were essentially open to those with tickets. I can't fathom that no one ever attempted this.

   Even abroad though, I can't think of it ever happening. Though given the mad fandom of futbol, it has to have occurred somewhere.

   Sorry, my mind gets a little wandrous when I start reading. Beats the hell out of going running, let me tell you.
September 18, 2002 - PS2 Does Not Equal Meaning
   • Today, we bring you an irrational news report, thanks to funding by the Boston University College of Engineering Mail Room; The Standard-Times of New Bedford, Mass.; and, in some small way, the Casinos de Tenerife.

   Ah, the joyful days of my youth.

   Agawam being sued! The federal government is suing the city of Agawam for preventing a farmer from building housing for black and Hispanic migrant farm workers. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday by the Justice Department in U.S. District Court in Springfield, charges the city with racial discrimination.

   The city blocked C & E Tobacco's plan to build accommodations for about 27 workers at their Agawam farm because ``the housing would be occupied by Black Jamaicans and Hispanic Puerto Ricans,'' according to the lawsuit.

   Of course we blocked the housing. Twenty-seven minorities added to the population rolls would raise their numbers almost 1300 percent. Next thing you know, we'd actually have to give the Multicultural Club a whole page in the yearbook.

   LPGA wants into Augusta. Even though they'll almost surely never play a professional round there, a handful of LPGA Tour players believe it's time for Augusta National to open its membership to women.

   ''I think men should have had the right to do it, and the women should have the right to have their private club, too,'' Alfredsson said. ''And we are probably going to start one where we are all gong to wear bikinis, and no men allowed. So that's going to be a great club, I think.''

   Having seen most women golfers, I think someone's both shown their colors and can have a good time as far as I'm concerned.

   MCAS results mean more bitching. The city of Cambridge currently gives diplomas to students who fail to pass the MCAS, despite the state telling them it's both a waste of time (as the students did not meet state requirements) and that they're breaking the law.

   They've been doing this for a while, and now fellow Boston burb Brookline is considering such an act.

   Yes, because anyone who deserves to graduate from a state high school is unable to pass a test of basic skills. Let's encourage this, a continued lack of accountability because the tests are "unfair." Just like the SAT is unfair, the job market is unfair and the universe is unfair.

   They're right, it does discriminate... against stupid people.

   Rosie pulls the plug on her McCall's. Rosie O'Donnell abruptly quit her namesake magazine Wednesday, citing a deteriorating relationship with the magazine's publisher Gruner + Jahr. The former talk show host said Gruner + Jahr had been gradually taking control away from her in violation of their contract, and it was no longer feasible for the magazine to continue. The last issue will be in December.

   I feel lost and betrayed. Is it possible she wanted to expand the magazine's "Lifestyles" section?

   Hoosiers rock the vote. Indiana University's student association came up with a sure incentive to get students to vote: a $50,000 Corvette. Trouble is, authorities say, the planned prize drawing for students who vote in November violates federal law. Indiana Deputy Secretary of State Todd Rokita said Tuesday that the state would report the violation to federal authorities if the drawing were held as planned.

   "You cannot induce someone to give their vote, including a lottery," Rokita said.

   Of course you can't. It might work.

   It'd tumble for you. A statue of a falling woman -- designed as a memorial to those who jumped or fell to their death from the World Trade Center -- was abruptly draped in cloth and curtained off Wednesday because of complaints that it was too disturbing.

   Eric Fischl's bronze, "Tumbling Woman," depicts a naked woman with arms and legs flailing. It went on view about a week ago in the lower concourse at Rockfeller Center and was supposed to remain on display through Monday.

   At one point in the creative process does the artist step back, look at his piece and metaphorically put his fingers in his ears and start humming? Really, it's too bad he couldn't go all the way, but I heard he can't craft a skull fragment on a fucking sidewalk.
September 17, 2002 - Still Hoping For At-Home Lipo
   Thanks to the trio of you who pointed out I screwed the link up to the column yesterday. It's since fixed, and nice to know people are actually clicking on it.

   • Ah, you scientists, engineers, lawyers and burger-flippers might make more than we journalists, but we've got Election Night.

   It is the adrenaline that most all of us got into the business for. It's a catered dinner featuring no less than three varieties of meat and four of salad. It's getting to watch the daytime workers, who haven't smelled a deadline since they had a curfew, get shouting and frenetic when stories start coming in late.

   I suppose it's some of this stuff. It's all true, but I sound like I'm trying to be important again.

   In SouthCoast, it was an exciting night. George Rogers has served various New Bedford offices for thirty two years, but was knocked from the State House of Representatives tonight following a term where he showed a high school kid pronography, then wouldn't allow that same student to be honored as an Eagle Scout because he ratted him out. In the 2nd Plymouth District there's a recount, because the two Democratic candidates finished separated by THREE -- 2,131 to 2,128.

   Three votes out of 4,200 cast. Three votes isn't an endorsement, it's a family getting sidetracked by the BK 99 cent menu on the way to the polls.

   Course statewide it was all over early, unless the Republican primary for Treasurer had you gasping for breath. The Democratic reformers went spineless, as the three losers immediately fell into line behind Shannon O'Brien. The Republicans avoided disaster, as Mitt's choice Kerry Healey stomped Jim Rappaport back to the rat hole he came from. So really, we now have the Romney-O'Brien faceoff we knew we'd have six months ago. God bless the democratic system.

   I did not vote today due to mine own stupidity. Having forgotten to change my status back to Independent after the 2000 Presidential Primary, I was not about to go cast a Democratic ballot when I lean the other way. My "choice" was a distant fourth, which says more about who I support this time round than anything else as indirect.

   It's funny to me how much different it makes you feel when you talk to someone you actually love, as opposed to just an acquaintance or even a semi-close friend. Whole dynamic is just so much different... yet another reason "love at first sight" really can't be all that strong, if it's even possible at all.

   The preceeding message of strange mention and complete disjointedness has been brought you by Meg being in London; my being too tired to find a connection for it to voting; and J.Lo's Glow -- when dressing and acting like a whore just isn't enough.
September 16, 2002 - Wistful For The Porn Heartland

• Agawam Municipal GC - Feeding Hills, Mass. •
45, 10 OVER PAR
Birdies: 0 - Pars: 1 - Bogeys: 6 - Others: 2
Fairways Hit: 2 of 6 - Greens In Regulation: 3 of 9 - Putts: 20

   Truly a struggle for positives at the old home course today. This is about as bad as I play nowadays, which is realtively good compared to, say, my father's play. Still, three-putts on the 4th, 5th, 6th and 9th made it clear why my backup putter is just that. There have been summers I don't take three four-putts.

   In 9 years of playing Agawam Municipal, I have still never once parred the fourth hole.

   • Monday Night Football should always be celebrated with ten cent wings, pool and Brian Rondeau drinking a blue cocktail out of a martini glass. On the whole, it's much more fun than gambling on the game and losing.

   It is the eve of the primaries in Massachusetts, and there's not much for a Republican to do. Other than ensuring this assface doesn't submarine the party, there's state treasurer. It's hard to vote for a candidate when you don't know any who are running.

   Outside Mass. Fill-In: Governor and Lt. Governor are run seperately here. Most gubernatorial candidates pick a running-mate, but there's nothing binding tying the voters to decide that way. Kerry Healey, Mitt Romney's choice, is second in the polls behind Jim Rappaport, who has been attacking her by dropping loud hints he doesn't think Mitt will serve out his entire four-year term.

   He's attacking not only his own party, but the man he would be serving as lieutenant governor under. Only to Jim Rappaport does this not make any sense.

   So in this season of candidacies, Cooch's World proudly endorses...

-- Yes kids, I've gone SoCal. The terrorists have won.

Win or Lose, Rams Do It Their Way
-- The title strikes me as way too complimentary on first glance, as it's a column telling Mike Martz he needs to get his shit together. Not that I hope he does, just the alternative was to write the "Gosh darnit, the NFL sure is wacky!" column that should never be trotted out until well after Week 2.

   Just so you're aware, actually reading the column may greatly heighten your enjoyment of it. Asking me, "So, how's the column going?" should usually include you at least having skimmed it if you like sports. It's like Bill Simmons wrote it, though usually with more accurate facts, but less laughing.
September 15, 2002 - 3 Quarters, 2 Dimes, 13 Nickels
   • In the past forty days, a time where my car sits entirely unused between four and five days a week, I have driven 3,089 miles.

   I have not left New England once in this time. I have not left Southern New England. I have not driven once in the northern half of Massachusetts or the western half of Connecticut, but I have registered nearly 3,100 miles in a little over a month. In case you're slow on the uptake, I'm in utter awe of this.

   If you really think about it, the 240-mile round trip to Feeding Hills and 120-mile one to Boston don't make doing this all that difficult. That one weekend I went Whale City to The Hills to Foxwoods to The Hills to Whale City was roughly 400 alone. Course this also becomes less interesting then, so really this is one of those rare sitatuations thinking is discouraged.

   Movies, of course, being the other.

   Life is a game of inches. Or nickels, as the case may be.

   I was in Boston/Dorchester/Somerville today, bowling/eating/celebrating because of Alison's 21st. These things quickly depleted the ATM funds gotten earlier in the day, leaving me with exactly $0.00 on my person when I arrived back in New Bedford before work.

   Knowing I would need money for tolls on the way home, and not wanting to go to the ATM again because having tangible money forces me to spend it, I decided to return soda cans to the supermarket for toll cash.

   Since I was gifted the family Saturn, I've been paying highway tolls with the change I've found in it. Sadly, the reservoir I've been drawing from more than adding to ran out last week, making things iffy because I don't get much coin using a credit card everywhere.

   At the supermarket, I began to feed my cans and bottles into the redemption machines. "Much" to my "dismay," this was the first set of redemption machines I've ever seen to spit out a nickel with every container, versus those who print you a slip to be redeemed at a checkout register. Rather than stopping the process, walking back out to the cars with two plastic grocery bags full and not redeeming them for another six weeks, I put the remaining in the crushers. Upon completion, I took my solid fistful of nickels, returned to the car, and dumped them where they belonged.

   $2.20-ish. I had one bottle left over that the machine wouldn't take - the Dr. Pepper Red Fusion that both spawned a colored soda discussion and I'd bought at that very store. This ranks among the odd things that would infuriate me if I had a complete inability to grasp reality.

   Note I said "complete" inability.

   Fast forward to my night drive. I didn't want to pay the toll in all nickels, but hadn't stopped at an ATM before leaving New Bedford. Not wanting to stop, especially with it raining, I said, "What the hell, change is change," and assembled the 3, 2 and 13.

   Scrounding the large coins and putting them on the top saved me a good deal of nickels. All 5 cent pieces would have been a little much.

   Doing my usual triple count of the change as I drove, I sailed to the toll booth, aplogized to the worker, handed my change and drove away. Just glad I had the window still down, so I could hear her call the State Police screaming.

   To paint the picture, I pull up. Hand over ticket, and as I'm giving the change from my hand I'm told I owe $1.60. I apologize for all the change, and drive away. The woman screams for me to wait, but only after I'm well out of the toll booth and closing my window to keep the rain out. I turn back about 50 feet away to see her hurriedly describing my car into the phone, so the State Cop stationed at the toolbooth at 2 a.m. can chase me down, pull me over, and find out I had paid the exact $1.60.

   Why did I tell this story?

   • The tollworker's indignance. Her screaming at me to "Get back here NOW!" so I could sit there while she counted the change as slow as possible, something never even hinted at by any other toll worker on any other night. Even by this point I wouldn't have been all that bothered if her ultimate response hadn't been the most sarcastic "THANK YOU" I've ever heard from someone working third shift at a fucking tollbooth.

   In Mass., toll workers are actually a high-paying job, one where you have to know somone just to get your foot in the door. Course once your foot is in, you can go on being a complete waste. The fact that the Pike toll workers had an organized "minute where they ceased working" at 8:46 a.m. Wednesday is the most redundant escapade since the ATM machine, NIT tournament and TNN Network.

   • The possible police run-in. This cop undoubtably would have been told I was running the tollbooth. He thus would have sped after me, forcibly pulled me over and acted generally hostile toward me. Upon returning to the tollbooth and my explaining I had paid, my triple-counter change would have been mysteriously "short." I'm in court because I both drive the Pike frequently enough to know the toll charges and had my exact payment amount ready ahead of time.

   • The sheer idiocy of the whole thing. I have no problem waiting while this woman counts the money. Still, a cursory glance at what I gave her, versus her panicked "Oh my God, the kid with glasses is getting away!," would show the three quarters and two dimes on a large stack of nickels. Without even math, she knows she's looking at $1.35-$1.40 anyway.

   She called a state trooper to chase me over a potential 20 cents. God forbid I'd had a dollar coin... I'd have spent the early morning in lockup.

   But really, I'm telling this story because if I'd just been insufferable and stormed back to my car with all those soda cans, none of this ever would have happened.

   I know they want people to get Fast Lane, but really...

   The first person who informs me if every driver screwed the state out of 25 cents, we'd all be poor from income tax, will receive a virtual punch in the chest. If everyone would just racially profile like they're supposed to, you would have gotten to read about Anna Kournikova today. For real.
September 14, 2002 - Anna's On The Doorstep...
"It is almost impossible for a blog to be inconsistent in tone or subject matter; itís assumed that remarks on the failure of homeland security is perfectly comfortable between a post on a friendís wedding or a weather report. The New Journalism? No: itís a throwback to the old model of columns, when the local boys wrote everyday whether they had something to say or not."
-- James Lileks, 9/10/2002

   • Introspection coming... bite it now.

   When the fourth make of Cooch's World started 482 days ago, the point was for it to take the place of the columns I thought I was good at writing. Course reading back the stuff I put in for the Free Press that freshman semester, it all sucks. But that's beside the point...

   James Lileks is an amazing writer... he routinely comes up with the cute little writing witticisms I usually stumble across once a week. For the most part, he writes to himself, about himself. Breathtaking stuff. He takes my previous statement of "something happens to you every day," proves it, shows it weak and slaps me in the nuts with it.

   Suppose you don't really "slap" nuts and much as you "punch" them. But it could be done. I'm a visionary.

   However, our points diverge:

"A newspaper can launch a columnist, but it takes a while for the column to work its way into the consciousness of the audience. And perversely, the more successful a column becomes, the less connected it becomes from the reader. The Great Columnists assume oracular status; they become machines that issue well-pondered remarks at regular intervals."

   His point being that in the old days, columns in newspapers were like what I write every day. They are not the polished hard work that I now put out every week, or in cases like these days past, twice a week. He seems wistful for the days of columnists not spweing importance, but just what came to mind. As though the thoughtful content is, in some way, less desirable.

   I'd imagine he'd disagree, or at least clarify. Making a proclamation that thoughtful, planned-out writing is bad is well... retarded.

   Thanks be to God, I now have a column again -- which if you're scoring at home, you can read here. When I do an update, I sit on the couch and just think. Sometimes during the day, I'll make a note of something I see and want to mention, but most of the time it's just shooting off whatever I'm thinking about. It's not really a journal, because my feelings aren't exactly entertaining unless I'm dissecting someone to their constituent parts, but it is what I think and do and care about.

   If I ever sent in a column like that, never mind the paper. I'd be mortified.

   A column takes time, crafting and editing. It's not a coincidence transposed letters and incomplete sentences end up in this thing, since proofreading isn't exactly the first thing I'm thinking of when I'm done. I think if you're a columnist of a publication, you owe it to your readers to have a point. They're not your friends. They don't care what you had for dinner unless it's snowballing into some grand point about why an Anaheim Angels - L.A. Dodgers World Series would be the most entertaining thing this side of cowcatchers on automobiles.

   For the record, I am hoping for an Angels-Dodgers World Series, so I can entirely split allegiances. Right down the middle... it's a win-win situation in a world of lose-lose.

   The daily update, the blog, at least for me, has evolved by not evolving. My ass can write an update. Only my brain can write a column.

   Have I mentioned that if Meg was in the States right now, my life and career would have me entirely content? I am overjoyed she's loving her time in Britain, please don't get me wrong, but I think I've earned the right to be selfish when speaking in a purely hypothetical situation.

   I did say "Bite it now," didn't I?
September 13, 2002 - Elevenhundredish Words

Photo by J. Cavaretta - The Associated Press

Peggy Haney, 72, right, a Las Vegas grandmother of seven, rolls a fake marijuana cigarette Friday at the Stop DUI headquarters in Las Vegas. The group is opposed to Nevada's question nine on the November ballot which would decriminalize the possesion of up to three ounces of the drug if passed. The fake joints will be used as visual tools to demonstrate to the public what three ounces of pot looks like.

   • Really, the only thing stranger than seeing a grandmother of seven rolling a joint is Jackie Chan starring in an action film alongside Jennifer Love-Hewitt.

   That's Friday the 13th for you.
September 12, 2002 - Without Wittiness

Time For Fans To Play The Blame Game
-- Little extra special special extra. The sports editor was concerned we'd had too little coverage of Manny Ramirez's questionable behavior of the past few days, so he gave me a call. Like I'm ever going to turn down a chance to spew more quality journalism!

   I consider the sports editor calling me in need of emergency sports cover copy a very good thing. Maybe all the co-worker compliments, even compliments in cases where they disagree with my point of view, shouldn't be so subject to my violent self-doubt.

   As a point of order, the daily updates should not be considered "quality journalism" on a regular basis. Oh, the magic of research and self editing..

   • Everyone should always know a little bit about their city. From today's Standard-Times:

   According to a report from The College Board, the schoolís class of 2002 earned an average score of 461 on the verbal portion of the SAT, and 464 on math, for a total score of 925. That was six points better than seniors in the class of 2001, who scored a combined 919 -- the lowest average score by the schoolís seniors since 1996. The highest recent average score was earned by seniors from the class of 2000, with a 940 score, while the class of 1993 scored a combined 811.

   811?! I know people who scratched that on half... and I'm an idiot. THough I have always had educated friends.

   We're the kind of people who see through the stuff others just let go. When we watch The Caroline Rhea Show, we don't see "fun and revealing celebrity interviews, audience interaction, comedic sketches, and humorous and heartwarming human-interest stories." We see an inferior Rosie O'Donnell Show with a very quiet audience. When we see ads for the new Cheese Extreme Quesadilla, we wonder if adding the cheese they put on stadium nachos is really something to be bragging about.

   That nacho cheese sauce is really one of those rare substances that belongs on the periodic table, as it really only occurs in nature via that form. Go ahead, walk into your local supermarket and asks for a pound of nacho. Maybe they'll hand you a bag of Big D's.

   CNN, over the last two months, has been holding a design contest for the World Trade Center site. If this proves anything, it's that architecture is hard and people are idiots. Sixty pages of designs, twenty-four a page, and I like one.

   If you ask me, and by reading you are, there's two ways to go. You either build two new towers, each one floor taller than before, or you build nothing. Make the towers slightly different in design than before, or build nothing. You do not need everyone's name to be listed in a memorial, since we may never know exactly just who died. There should be no buildings shaped as stars, no gigantic arches, no buildings shaped like "H"s for hope or a friggin' Sun sphere.

   I suppose at the core it comes down to what you like to see. Some people just want to live in Judge Dredd.
September 11, 2002
"Look at them sideburns! He looks like a girl. Now, Johnny Unitas -- there's a haircut you could set your watch to."
-- Mother Simpson, first aired 11/19/1995.

   • So here we are.

   Sixty one years ago this December, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. It was a different era, as this shows, but it is the event that draws the grandest comparison to what happened here twelve months ago. A surprise attack on a sleeping giant. Planes used as weapons Massive loss of life, including many whose daily task it is to defend out freedom.

   It was an attack on our shores. A distant piece of our land, but ours all the same. It brought us out of our isolationist stance as a nation, to fight a world-scale war against forces ready to destroy the entire planet's way of life. We, along with our allies, rallied. We fought the evil, succeeding after a long, painful fight. It was not easy. But it needed to be done.

   Here we are, six decades later.

   There are people who will tell you the 9/11/01 attacks awoke a sleeping giant. They taught us our vulnerability. They taught us the world is hostile to our way of life, and that many seek to end it. They taught us the very things Pearl Harbor taught us, six decades ago.

   To honor the dead, some raise a flag. Some decorate their homes in colored lights. Others say a prayer Conduct a march. Contemplate in private, or in a group. There truly is no wrong way to commemorate, my own opinions aside. However you choose to honor the memories of what happened here, twelve months ago, all I will ask is this.

   Educate yourselves, to your country and your world.

   Read the papers. Watch the news. Take in others' commentary and submit your own. Know both sides, as thoroughly as you can. Believe one, but understand the other. Learn as much as you can. These are the ways to honor those who died. Care about your country by understanding it, to the very best of your abilities.

   Understand there are people around the world who do not like you because of where you're from. These people live in countries you've likely never heard of, but don't doubt for a second they want you dead. They don't want you dead because of your music collection, or your rainbow-colored golf shirt, or any of it. They want you dead because you're an American.

   Should we bomb Iraq? You tell me. That's how to honor those who died in Washington, New York, Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

   It's easy to wave the flag walking down the street. It's harder to know just who and why you're waving it for. There is no right place to start, but here's as good as any other.
September 10, 2002 - If You Average It Out...

A Fight Not Worth Waging
-- The Augusta National membership "scandal." It's not really a scandal, nor should it be unless Ms. Burk wants to make some changes she wasn't considering when she started her gender war.

   That link belonged yesterday, but since I posted lucid Monday night, it got skipped. To balance, a discussion that truly belongs tomorrow.

   • Living and working in a newspaper world, tomorrow is today. I've spent the last eight hours reading, absorbing, thinking about the press that you, journalistic consumer, is just digesting now. Truthfully, the Standard-Times has been running 9/11 press since September 1st. Not until going home, and seeing the podunk shitrag I delivered for eight years' utter lack of coverage, did I fully realize what a noble and well-done enterprise this has been.

   It should be noted this "podunk shitrag" never gave me a callback. My bitterness may vary.

   Barring unforseen circumstances, I will be asleep at all times between 8:46 and 10:28 a.m. Wednesday. This is my Sept. 11 memorial, and my feelings on the day are well publicized. That does not change my free recollection of how it unfolded, with no back reference needed.

   I woke up earlier than normal, pre-6 a.m., so I could go to Staples and buy an X-Acto knife. Did that, came home, did my project for the now-legendary 'Class for Queers.' My sportswriting class began in 8 a.m.

   Both planes hit while I sat with Jack Falla, talking about sports. We had no idea.

   Class ended at 9:30. On my way out of COM, there was a small crowd huddled around the TV's in the lobby. I lingered for a few moments, seeing only a long-range pan shot of Boston. Still unaware anything had happened, I continued to my 10 a.m. Military History class.

   Only there did Professor Bacevich become the first to enlighten me something was amiss. Even still, his "If you haven't heard, a plane has hit the World Trade Center in New York. We may be at war," was far from thorough.

   So when I checked my messages at 11 a.m., and I had a message from the Free Press... I just had another class to go to. I'd catch them later.

   How have we changed? Well, the stupidest portions of our society have learned the world hates us. Theu've learned we're vulnerable. They've learned to love the flag and all this country has given, and will continue to give us. Many of these are things the educated already knew, the educated who can now sell "These Colors Don't Run!" on T-shirts.

   Someone, I honestly can't remember who, asked me why I get so pissed off that patriotism is in an upswing now. Something to the effect of, "What, just because you did it first, it's an exclusive club?" Why do I get pissed? It's one thing to love your country, to cherish those who died for it by flagging their graves on Veterans Day. By saluting the flag. Its another to a T-shirt with a large eagle dragging Osama bin Laden down a street, or by letting a tattered flag whip from your car well past when it should have been replaced or retired.

   It's not patriotic to sell cheap souvenir dollar bills on eBay - link gone, unfortunately. That's ignorance in the least case, opportunism at the worst.

   Maybe all this, my continued feeling of disconnection, is what has me so scared right now.

   As you know, the idiots I helped vote into office have got us on alert again. Orange... only red is higher. They have credible evidence of threats, but they want us to "just live our lives," which of course is why they pointed this out in the first place. The threats they speak of seem mostly abroad, with the government's sources saying a likelihood of strikes "to U.S. assets abroad."

   Meg will be attending a ceremony at the United States Embassy in London tomorrow, where a Union Jack found at Ground Zero will be handed off to British officials. She will be at the greatest symbol of U.S. influence, in the capital city of our greatest ally, on the anniversary of the most gruesome attack ever to befall this country.

   I hope she'll pardon me for being the slightest bit concerned.
September 9, 2002 - The Sweet Slice Of Vertigo
   • 'Violently ill' would not be an incorrect explanation.

   I've been awake for roughly the last three hours entirely unable to lie down. Tilting my head back, as one would do in sleep, causes the room to spin so angrily that I have to stand again. It's as though I'm drunk, but didn't even get the sliver of enjoyment from the whole escapade.

   I've spent the last half hour in some combination of pacing, snorting nose spray and attempting to vomit, as though any of those things will solve whatever the hell is going on. I'm so tired I can barely even see, but no sleep can come. The likely reason for this is because off all the cat hair in this house - I'm so congested, lying down essentially causes my nasal passages to fill with so much fluid my balance disappears.

   It fucking sucks. Hardcore. I had something else I wanted to say, but I'm well beyond remembering what it was. Standing up and getting such a head rush it makes you fall to the ground will do that.

   With my girlfriend in London currently, going to Dublin this weekend and to Italy within a month, it makes me think about the time I did study abroad.


   Oh wait, that's right, I wanted to stay in Boston, watch hockey and run the College Bowl team. Is any further comment really necessary? *

   * - Of the few things I regret from college, not going abroad is far and away at the top of the list. Connected to that is running BUCB for a third year, when I neither wanted to do it nor made a good decision for the team's future. I take great solace in seeing Meg have the guts to take the step I never did, and quite frankly hope she goes to every inch of the whole continent before she comes home. Long as she actually comes home... :)
September 8, 2002 - Double "Coupons"
   I essentially wrote two columns this week. The first is below, but I'm not submitting it to the paper. Because there's a guy on the sports staff who knows much more about tennis than I do, I'm deferring this topic to him.

   So my web audience gets a bonus this week, even if it is just a first draft. And here you thought Mondays blew!

   • For every Michael Jordan, there's been a Jim Rice.

   Jim Rice was one of baseball's greatest left fielders, but he couldn't let go. He wouldn't allow himself to fade. Over his last three seasons, he batted under .260, with barely 10 homers and 50 RBI each year. That's how I remember him - not as a slugger, but a shadow.

   Following his first round victory in the U.S. Open, defending champion Lleyton Hewitt was asked who he thought were the strongest threats to his title. He answered, naming those tennis fans would expect him to - Marat Safin, Andre Agassi, and the like.

   The Associated Press tennis writer that day, using the quote in about paragraph 146 of the day's article, made a point to note Pete Sampras was not among the names he listed. We can't fault the Aussie - for Sampras, it's been over since Hewitt dismissed him in last year's Open final.

   Yet here we are, the Tuesday after an amazing fortnight in Flushing, scratching our heads. How can a man whose only numbers worth noting are 4th round in Australia, first round in France and second round in England rise up to disable a world-class field, one more time.

   It's pride, it's confidence and luck. And less skill than he'd like to admit.

   It wouldn't have tarnished Pete's legacy if he'd gone out against big serving Greg Rusedski or three seed Tommy Haas. If he'd passed the baton to Andy Roddick or fallen from fatigue against Sheng Schalken. But he didn't, and it was beautiful to watch.

   In an interview, Pete admitted his guts for the game have faded. Six years ago, he said, it dominated his thoughts. To be number one. To break Roy Emerson's record, which he did at Wimbledon in 2000. He was Tiger Woods. Then life happened. Marriage, family, age, balding, slowing, all of it. There was no reason to think he wouldn't linger, through next year to an ultimate conclusion of second or third round loss in 2003.

   But this was so much better. To play on now would seem so wrong.

   The two titans of American tennis, the generation's best server and returner, facing off in the largest stadium in the game. It was not their finest match, but I don't think anyone went home disappointed. Pete powering out over the first two sets, starting to crack midway through the third. Andre exploiting, muscling out the third, looking clearly the stronger player in the fourth but unable to stop Sampras' serve.

   For these two weeks, the Pistol was back in Pete Sampras. His serve won him this Open. With Agassi at the gates, ready to feast in the fifth, he always had that one last answer. Yet as dominant as it was on Sunday, it showed why two years could go by without a tournament victory.

   No one likes to admit the party's over, but the time is now. Much has been written about the inspiration of this victory, of how Sampras has that 14th Grand Slam in him after all. His new-found confidence aside, he doesn't have a 15th. Not one that will come easily, anyway.

   Pete probably won't retire after this year's Open win, even though he'll be a father before the tennis world next convenes in Australia. He'll likely make one more trip round the majors, give one more shot to Roland Garros, say goodbye to the All-England, defend his crown in New York. There's nothing wrong with that. But there was nothing wrong with Jim Rice playing 56 games in 1989 either.

   A great man once said, "Leave them wanting more." On the biggest stage in the world, I'd like to think Pete Sampras will take that final cue.
September 7, 2002 - Arrivederci Dear!
   • Every year, someone writes this story. The "let's dig in the archives of inane factoids and show why no team can win the Super Bowl this year." Sometimes we're lucky, and we get an additional writing at the start of the playoffs. Oh, to be alive in 21st century America

   For the amount of research that has to go into writing this, why does this even happen? Does anyone educated read this and go, "Wow. Guess no one really can win the Super Bowl." It's not even good by trivia standards, since it's hard to work that "No Team With a Head Coach Whose Surname Starts With the Letter 'C' Has Ever Won a Super Bowl." The piece is essentially worthless, but every year it ends up on television, magazines and the like.

   I'd imagine there's many more items that inevitably always get airplay when they shouldn't, but I haven't seen any of those in the last 24 hours.

   So the 12th Real World is happening - presumably, already has happened - in Las Vegas, the foyer to hell. Read this and tell me this doesn't have the potential to be the best thing even to happen in television history.

"The 12th season of the reality series kicks off with the 'seven strangers' arriving at their new home: a posh penthouse suite in a Las Vegas casino hotel. This time around, the group includes Alton, a likable San Diego resident who plays the violin; sweet Arissa, a Boston native with money worries; and Brynn, a self-described 'party animal' who has a sharp wit ... and a pierced tongue. Rounding out the cast are outgoing Frank, who hails from a small rural town in Pennsylvania; artistic Irulan, who left a boyfriend behind in New York; flirtatious Trishelle, who likes 'nice, but not too nice' men; and Steven, who once got married in Vegas ... and is now getting divorced.
-- I have money worries, and I'm living above a casino with the Amish and a divorcee.

   They've found a formula that works, and I respect that.

   So will there be anything good on TV tomorrow? The Feeding Hills market will be getting Jets at Bills, Eagles at Titans, Rams at Broncos and Agassi at Sampras.

   Funny how the lowest rated will likely be the most captivating. Have we finally seen enough Williams' sister finals to realize they won't be saving tennis anytime soon? If I want to watch power tennis, I'll watch men do it better.

   And lastly, my reaching political statement of the day... Last night, on my first drive through Providence since Mayor Buddy Cianci was sentenced to five years in jail for conspiracy and booted from office, a gruesome traffic accident on Route 195 snarled traffic for a half-hour.

   You can't make this stuff up But you can overanalyze it and put a overblown symbolic value on it, that's for sure.

   It's football season... let the gambling begin!
September 6, 2002 - Calling The Outage Line
   • I came home from work tonight to see my power was out. Not the neighborhood's power, not the block's power... just my house's power. So I did what any normal person would do during an outage at 1 a.m.

   Went out to my car, washed the inside of my windshield, drove through a neighborhood I'd never been to before, then came home and washed dishes.

"The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins"
as sung by Leonard Nimoy

In the middle of the earth, in the land of the Shire,
Lives a brave little Hobbit whom we all admire.
With his long wooden pipe and his fuzzy little toes,
He lives in a hobbit hole and everybody knows him...

Bilbo, (Bilbo),
Bilbo Baggins.
He's only 3 feet tall!
Bilbo, (Bilbo),
Bilbo Baggins.
He's the bravest little hobbit of them all!

Now hobbits are peace loving folks ya know,
they're never in a hurry and they take things slow.
They don't like to travel away from home,
they just like to eat and be left alone.

But one day Bilbo was asked to go,
on a big adventure to the caves below.
To some help some dwarves get back their gold,
that was stolen by a dragon in the days of old...

Bilbo, (Bilbo),
Bilbo Baggins.
He's only 3 feet tall!
Bilbo, (Bilbo),
Bilbo Baggins.
He's the bravest little hobbit of them all!

Well he fought with the goblins!
He battled a troll!
He riddled with Golum!
A magic ring he stole!

He was chased by wolves,
lost in the forest,
escaped in a barrel from the Elf King's halls...

Bilbo, (Bilbo),
Bilbo Baggins.
He's the bravest little hobbit of them all!

Now he's back in his home in the land of the Shire,
that brave little hobbit whom we all admire.
Just a sitting on a treasure of silver and gold,
huffing on his pipe in his hobbit hole...

Bilbo, (Bilbo),
Bilbo Baggins.
He's only 3 feet tall!
Bilbo, (Bilbo),
Bilbo Baggins.
He's the bravest little hobbit of them all!

   I think the music video, versus the actual topic of the song/book/movie, is what has me so entranced. Damn you Greg...
September 5, 2002 - It Took Only 50 Seconds

... for my optomism to be dimmed. Let the Long March begin.

   • Let's just get the football talk out right away, shall we?

   Bill Simmons puts the Pats in the Super Bowl, losing to the Packers. He's crazy, right? They did keep a lot of their starters, though. They're still getting no respect. They do have arguably the best coach in the league?

   Hey, what happened to the Bill Belichick who passed over Brett Favre in the draft and benched Bernie Kosar? Who was only a guru at being frumpy? At what point did he remember his training from the great Giants teams of fifteen years previous and become knighted, dubbed and canonized? Was he hooked on heroin and no one noticed?

   I can't buy in. I won't buy in. Screw it... we'll just concentrate on keeping my money off them. Stupid Sports Guy.

   The soft drinks companies in America work on trends. In a perfect market, they set the trends. They combine what we want with what they're giving, and we all walk the streets with rotted teeth and intestinal cramps from bloating. The colored soda trend that created today's impulse buy can be attributed almost exclusively to Code Red, which did it so well. If only they could bottle that...

   Bottle... soda... I'm sorry. It's like a fat person having to eat another pie.

   If your product line is flagging, changing it's color can work... but only if you make ketchup. There've been some hits, but the misses grow as beverage CEOs keep turning to their twelve-year-olds for help. Let's count 'em down, shall we?

   Mountain Dew Code Red - GOOD: People like Mountain Dew. People like cherry. This isn't so hard people.

   Dr. Pepper Red Fusion - BAD: The Dr. Pepper people fail to understand you can't blend anything with Dr. Pepper - that's why "Diet Dr. Pepper tastes more like regular Dr. Pepper." If the Russians had the Doc in 1916, they could have loaded it full of so much rat poison Rasputin would have died in five minutes.

   Crush - GOOD: Pioneers in soda coloring. Starting with their flagship orange, branching out to red, purple and yellow with strawberry, grape and pineapple respectively made them masters of the pool cabana fridge at 16 East View.

   Goya's Soda Line - BAD: Hey look, this bottle says "Kola Champagne!" Yeah, it's cute. Drink it. Maybe wash it down with Malta Goya. No wonder we're the world's only superpower.

   Crystal Pepsi #1 - GOOD: When it first came out, they had the Van Halen ads going. It tasted like Pepsi, and it was clear. A novelty, and not bad at that. No color is good color! Then they made it taste like fruit. Whoops.

   Pepsi Blue - BAD: Jesus. I mean, seriously. If I wanted to drink Barbicide, I'd get my hair cut more often. The blue raspberry phase of consumerism peaked at the introduction of that flavor Blow Pop. You may remember there was a time we all used to wear b.u.m. equipment clothing as well.

   There's never been enough white sodas. Carbonation bubbles are white... why don't they just make a milky soda? I'd drink it. America would drink it. Kids would put it on cereal to trick their parents. That's what I'd say if I was channeling my inner Andy Rooney.

   Course, colors are often used to make an impact in other areas of American life. Read this S-T article about what a woman has planned for her neighborhood's 9/11 ceremony - a blackout of all houses except for gaudy red, white and blue lights; a walk to a bridge to pray, share feelings and hear a poem; then a walk back home chanting "USA! USA!"

   I just know there's a person in that neighborhood who thinks like me. Who, in just over a week, will be sniped about by all the neighbors because "all [he] could be bothered to do was hang a flag off his house." How dare I/he not want to participate - I can just hear being told, "You have the freedom to leave, America hater," because I won't answer my doorbell.

-- The fine print of an 'Actual Ad' on Conan O'Brien for outdoor strings of red, white and blue lights. Isn't it nice how stuff comes together sometimes?

September 4, 2002 - Birthday Girl, EST
   When I talk to her, that's when I miss her the most. But I'd never wish to be cut off from her during one of the most exciting times in her life. Friends, I'm in a proverbial Century-21.

   • In the sports world, it's a good time to be green.

   With the NFL regular season, roughly half of a panel of 17 ESPN experts pick the New York Jets to win the AFC East. All of them pick the Philadelphia Eagles to win the NFC East. The only one picking the Giants to sniff the playoffs is former Steeler Merril Hoge, who it should be noted had his football career ended in 1994 by a pair of severe blows to the head.

   As for the defending champs, most put them in the playoffs in some form. Joe Theismann doesn't though - he thinks the champs were a complete fluke.

   Some of you might remember Theismann from when He played for the Redskins, but I'd imagine most of America remembers him from when the Giants broke his leg like it was a pretzel stick, leaving only able to bitch and sell life insurance. Don't be bitter Joe, blaze of glory. Out in a blaze of glory.

- * - * - * -

   Witty Sportswriter Lead: The Oakland A's wear green, but lately its been their opponents who are filled with envy.

   The A's blew an 11-run lead last night, but Scott Hatteberg's walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth made them 12-11 winners, extending their asanine win streak to 20 consecutive games, an AL record.

   I'm sorry, but this has officially gotten out of hand. There really can't be enough fanfare about this, because professional teams playing other professional teams don't win twenty consecutive times. No team has won twenty consecutive games in 67 years. Half the teams to ever do it played in the 1880's, for God sakes.

   Before returning home again, the A's played three games in Minnesota and four in Anaheim. If Matt's Bruce's blog reads "27 and Counting" when they return to Oakland, I'm demanding an investigation.

- * - * - * -

   But ah yes, the big green. The greenest greens. [Cue legendary CBS Sports piano theme and borderline-sedated voiceover guy.]

   When golfers talk about the courses they'd love to play if they could, a lot don't even list Augusta National, home of The Masters. It's bigger than the game, and the thought of playing there has been so written off by many, they can't even dream it.

   Augusta National is essentially the world's most exclusive treehouse. We're talking about people who told Bill Gates, "don't call us, we'll call you." It's its own alternate universe - a golf course that closes in the summer because play in the heat would damage the grounds. An upper-crust social club to be sure, but one who cherishes the game that it was built for. One where the first ten or so web sites in a Google search of Masters co-founder Clifford Roberts don't tell you he committed suicide in 1977.

"He was the chief financial adviser and campaign finance chairman for the only president to serve two full terms between FDR and Reagan, and yet, when he died, The New York Times had to call the Augusta Chronicle to get information for his obituary."
-- Maybe it's the journalist in me, but I love this quote

   With every exclusive club, there's people who can't get in. People react to this in different ways, much like high school kids rejected by a clique. Some move on with their lives. Some form their own posse. The rest cry to their Mommies.

   The National Council of Women's Organziations wants a guest house on Magnolia Lane. Really, I hope they keep debating, because the Club's answers just keep getting better.

   The NCWO sent a letter to current Augusta Chairman Hootie Johnson, asking the club to consider admitting women members. Just what was in that letter isn't known, but given past history with bully feminine lobbyists, it may have smacked on antagonism. Feeling threatened, Johnson stuck him tongue out, publicly announcing Augusta would not be bullied.

   Here's where it starts getting good. The NCWO did the latest chic thing, lashing out at Masters sponsors CitiGroup, Coke and IBM to pressure the club into admitting a woman. To force a private organziation into doing what the lobbyist wants by cutting out it's base. Touche - The Masters is now commercial free.

   There's four points you need to know about this argument.

   1. The latest NCWO plan, to have players come out against the club, shows their ignorance.
Normal golf tournaments can't decide to go no commercials and still happen. Being able to run as it did previously, with only four minutes of ads per hour and no CBS promos, shows what an event The Masters has become. The grils' apparently haven't figured out they're dealing with an event much bigger than the sport being played.

   2. There is no comparing this to Shoal Creek. Host of the 1990 PGA Championship, Shoal Creek of Birmingham, Ala., avoiding picketing by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference during the tournament by amending their "no blacks" policy weeks before the event. The PGA TOUR has since added to their by-laws that they will hold no event at a course that doesn't allow African-Americans access.

   Augusta National has never said women can't be on the course grounds (as Shoal Creek said blacks couldn't). Spouses or guests of club members, be they man, woman or alien, can and do play the course each year.

   3. Let's point the finger elsewhere. As a show of solidarity to our omitted women friends, I would like GED recipients to be welcomed into Mensa; wrestling to be aired on Lifetime: Television For Women; and a full scholarship to Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Russell Sage, and Wellesley as provided by the United Negro College Fund.

   Wait, all of those are absurd requests...

   4. Who are we helping here? Members of the club say the female membership question was breached befored the NCWO got involved, as one's application was under review We're to elaborate that it was dropped, since it didn't want to look like a kneejerk reaction as the press came calling.

   Let's say they admit a woman. You think it's going to be Tammy Wilson, single mother living in the projects of Augusta? Maybe Shamika Wilcox, struggling law school student from Savannah? It's going to be Millie May Wilkins, belle from the richest part of Atlanta. She's not a golfer. Millie likes to sit on the veranda and watch the bees pollenate the azalyeas.

   Getting a woman into the membership of Augusta National isn't like Billie Jean King beating Bobby Riggs. It's more like Lisa Leslie dunking - only important to the people who make it so.

   Augusta National will admit a woman when one meets its standards and qualifications, kind of like how someday, there'll be a First Man living in the White House. Course I think I know which one's getting my money.
September 3, 2002 - Birthday Girl, GMT
   Someday when humanity has become extinct, there'll be three versions of my second column floating around with the Rosetta Stone and Britney's flesh colored pants: the exact version I wrote, the version posted on the Net and the version in the paper. I'm not sure whether to be pleased there are editors out there who improve their writers' work, angry I can't get anywhere near my word count or releived the version you're seeing is my favorite of the three.

   • I'm not that big of a beer drinker anymore, but if I was, I'd probably be steering clear of Samuel Adams products for a few months. The most notable thing they've had brewing lately is a cask-conditioned batch of Deep Shit Autumn Ale.

   Don't think you want to know how many bitterness units are in a bottle of that, though I'm sure it's a very rich caramel color.

   It was odd to see America's press figure out about a day after Opie and Anthony were publicly vilifed that the stunt was part of "Sex For Sam," but rest assured that Jim Koch was in the crosshairs of every God-loving, knee-jerk reactionary by sundown the next day. What got a little less notice was that one of his ads got pulled for portraying underage drinking later in the month.

   You may have seen it -- entitled "Noise," it's the Sam Adams Light ad where there's a cop at the door of a house party, and everyone inside is trying to pretend they're not there partying and making too much noise. Course when Captain Doofus throws open the Sam Adams, drinks and has his orgasmic scream of delight, the gig's up.

   Funny story, the beer drinker was actually a cleaned-up Jesse Camp look-alike. Swear to God... Mr. Koch did a little intervention, and you thought he was such a bad guy.

   The ad pull is bullshit, obviously. When the kneejerks are on your ass, you best not go piss in a public place just in case on of them happens to see you through a crack in a bathroom stall -- that's indecent exposure, you know. "They" say the ad promotes underage drinking, because if everyone at the party was over 21, they wouldn't have to hide thier beer, would they? WOULD THEY? BOYCOTT SAM ADAMS!

   Course say if the cop was at the house investigating a noise complaint, and the party-goers were hiding themselves because they didn't want to get busted for being loud, I suppose it would mean they could be... oh wait, BOYCOTT! BOYCOTT! At no point did these kids being underage cross my mind, but of course because you're stupid and irrational, we need to coddle you Mr. and Mrs. Lowest Common Denominator.

   Course at no point did I ever think someone would put this in their obituary either:

"A wonderful mother, she loved taking care of her family and was especially fond of tickling her grandchildren."
-- When we're talking about things you want to be remembered by...

   And as for the Opie and Anthony flak, maybe it wasn't wise for Sam Adams to so publicly tie themselves to a volatile show. Especially one that has had the kneejerks on their back since saying Boston's Mayor Menino was dead all those months ago.

   That was worthy of firing, as it was an outright lie and a life-and-death situation. A sex stunt that, had a guard not intervened, would have been over in five minutes and seen by no one? Seems a little extreme, and a move just treated this way because the Church is on the ropes.

   I mean, if you're not going to fire a guy for bashing out the teeth of and castrating a restrained wild boar... if you're not going to fire a guy for making jokes about the 9/11 attacks... it's kinda hard to point the finger at anyone else.

   Today, students returned to classes at Boston University. They walked the streets with their backpacks, reading their day's Daily Free Press, and the only reason I was there was to drop off some supplies for Matt. For me, Alumni World has truly begun.
September 2, 2002 - Tricking Gamblor
   • So Meg's in London, with my roommate from sophomre year, Brecken. Isn't it nice how everything comes together?

"Ran into Matt, who I'd met at orientation. Flat mate of Brecken (Jon, only you will find it funny that Matt said that Brecken has literally e-mail[ed] about 40 girls here and "seems to know a lot of girls here.")."
-- Reminds me of the old rant I wrote on Brecken, which he then found and forced me to take down...

   He's just a man whore, really. You can't really hate him for that alone, but you can hate him for jamming his seed into all of them and claiming sincerity.

   So it was the end-of-summer haij to Gamblor's Temple last night, which included bringing a dewey-eyed virgin to corrupt as a sacrifice to my dark God. The whole thing turned out better than most nights, as I seem to have come home with as much money as I left the town limits with.

   I literally ate my $10-$20 profit by buying my, and part of Chuckie's birthday, dinner. This eventually became clear after I'd confusingly counted the large amount of bills in my wallet about 13 times. Generally not the best idea, but I was truly puzzled.

   The World learned two things last night:

    After another $75 loss, Catch A Wave is officially no longer my friend. I'm hurt - it's a breakup gone bad, because I lost all my stuff.

    Roulette, after saving the day, is my friend again. It's still a little much to play it exclusively, but after making back a night's worth of losses and then some in roughly 10 minutes, I do have to bow my head to the game with horrendous odds.

   Notable For Humor: With Todd the only one up for the night after asanine slot winnings, the five of us each decided to throw a $5 chip onto a signle number on the roulette wheel. Were we to win, we'd split the winnings five ways.

   It wasn't supposed to work.

Neither was this, and it didn't:

Football Is King, Whether Games Count Or Not
-- The original plan was to write a whole column on the 1992 Patriots, but given a lack of accessible information, improvisation was needed.

   No news is boring news. Or makes boring news... that sounds better.
September 1, 2002 - Caked On Cake
   • It's really a very odd calm, something I'm only broken from if I'm reminded I should be depressed. Then I think it about it a little, get sad, then forget it happened. It's like those moments in my childhood when I'd realize I was blinking, consciouly think about every blink, then thankfully forget the whole thing and return to life as normal.

   Memo To Everyone, Including Yourself: I appreciate your concern about in the face of Meg's leaving. I'm fine. I will continue to be fine for the forseeable future, because for the last three months, I've only seen her about two days a week anyway. It's like last summer when she went back to California, only we've kissed a couple more times.

   But seriously, I do thank you for asking.

   Also from the dreams are over file, America's dirtiest looking girl next door Brooke Burke is about ready ready to hand in her bikini, as she retired from hosting the E! Entertainment TV show "Wild On." This is really only notable for a couple of reasons, the foremost being there's been a tour spanning America for the past few weeks where all the girls who would never talk to you in college are going to clubs so they can be stars, and thus really have a reason never to talk to you again.

   If you've never seen E!'s "Wild On," you're a woman, gay or a little more like me than you probably should be. Under the guise of a travel show, Brooks wears a skimpy bikini and talks about all these places you would never actually go on vacation - Monte Carlo, Monaco, Paris. On the few where you would go, like Las Vegas, they do "pretty people" things, thus eliminating 80% of E!'s viewership.

   The beauty of the show is it fits into a small but growing category - soft core porn disgusied as television. There's Wild On, MTV's Undressed, Crossing Over with John Edward, Doc and, oh yes, we mustn't forget...

   I swore to myself I would never actually watch The Anna Nicole Show, because it would burst the bubble. The dream would be over. But there it was, in a marathon no less. Must... look... at accident scene...

   Now, I fell like a Patriot fan after next Monday.

   Was it the eating contest, the tongue piercing or the flaming gay home decorator that got me? I really don't think I know... just balling it up put it all together. There is hope though, as next week's she goes to Vegas.

   Second straight month discussion has included talk of fatty on the first day. She's getting just what she wants, isn't she?
2002: [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2001: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05]