September 30, 2003 - The Cusp Without Cust
   Latest *** Curse Rumor: The Curse of the New York Times, which apparently stems from the NYT writing "Boston is the luckiest baseball spot on earth, for it has never lost a world's series" after the Sox 1918 title.

   So ***.

   The Rundown: As Charlie deemed it, "Awesome, yet awful." If you drop your expectations upon entering the theater -- and given it's a theatrical-release action movie, why wouldn't you -- you're in for a great time, as the film is excellent for what it's shooting for.

   Perhaps the most amazing part of the whole film, outside of my noticing it uses actual XFL footage without even a hint of irony? That Christopher Walken really can't turn it off. I'd imagine he just walks down the streets, stops, then goes through these slow talking diatribes while everyone around him runs away in fear while laughing hysterically.

"I feel like a child who has put a tooth under his pillow for the Tooth Fairy, but burglars have come in in the night, and taken my tooth. They have taken my tooth. Wait. Do you people even understand the concept of the Tooth Fairy?"

   And now, the second column from Monday's "actual work day":

Buckle Up, It's Going To Get Bumpy
-- Apparently, it's columns like these that have made America hate Red Sox fans. Therefore, I say "Cram it, rest of America. It's not our fault your teams are boring and have no storyline."

   • You can tell we've officially reached playoff time because reading Barry Zito Forever now actually makes me angry enough to mention it. I've kind of missed the higher level of

   A few points:

   1) We're real sorry the Red Sox have become the fashionable pick in the American League as of late. If it's any consolation, most of us have been picking them since June, because we're all either horrific homers or just doing it to make the fans not hate us. I, obviously, fall in the first camp.

   2) Regarding Sean McAdam's piece about a Red Sox - Cubs World Series making someone "want to puke," apparently the fact that he's right is of no consequence. That matchup would make for the highest-rated World Series of the past decade, and anyone who doesn't think so is wrong. Period.

   3) I apologize for anyone thinking Sox fans are obnoxious. I won't deny it ... we probably are. But it keeps us smiling, and anything that does that when we've almost won a World Series for the better part of 90 years is fine by me.


   To limit the amount of sports talk, Game 1 is the hinge on which the whole thing rests. If the Sox win Wednesday night, they will win the series in (at worst) four games. If the Sox lose, all of Red Sox Nation (myself included) will go into a full-fledged state of panic.

   If you thought we were irrational and obnoxious before, wait until we're staring an 0-1 deficit in the face with Tim "I either give up 1 run over 7 innings or 7 runs over 3 innings" Wakefield poised to start two of the next three games.

   Look at it this way. The further the Red Sox advance into the playoffs, the quieter the team's fan base will get. We'll all be so paralyzed by fear of saying something to jinx them, an actual World Series trip would likely be accompanied by complete silence. Hell, if we were to win it, we'd never have anything to say again.

   So, as Craig once phrased it to me, "For the love of all that's holy, Go Sox."


   And now, for today's actual non-sports news, or what I like to call "Something That Really Should Have Never Seemed A Good Idea."

Texas Band Chief Apologizes for Nazi Flag
By The Associated Press

   DALLAS -- A high school band director has apologized for a halftime performance that included "Deutschland Uber Alles," the anthem closely associated with Adolf Hitler, and a student running across the field with a Nazi flag.


   Do I even really have to go on?

   Mark Briskman, regional director for the Anti-Defamation League, said his organization received many calls and e-mails expressing shock "that in 2003, this type of insensitivity would occur. This can serve as an educational tool that there are certain tools and certain symbols that still carry ... an amount of hurt. It was a mistake, and they've apologized for it, and we basically accept their apology."

   Apparently so.

   I'm sorry. Ignoring the fact that you're from Texas, perhaps the least sensitive state in the Union, the man sent a child running across a football field with a Nazi flag.

   Maybe if it was one of those states that still flew the Confederate flag at the State House, but still, come on. A Nazi flag? Why didn't you just have them throw their arms up with the beat?

   A Nazi flag! In Texas!

   Seriously.


September 29, 2003 - A Spaceship In Soldier Field
   Football Picks: At the risk of creating doubters, I'll just tell you I went 9-4-1 against the spread and 9-5 straight-up with my NFL picks this week. Spread proof is here, and given I'm admitting I picked the Bears to beat the Packers, my word is good as gold on the rest.

Week Three Spread: 9-5
Week Four Spread: 9-4-1
Overall: 32-25-3

Week Three Straight: 11-3
Week Four Straight: 9-5
Overall: 40-20

   I do ask if you use my picks and make actual money, tell me. I don't want a cut or anything, I'd just like to know I'm helping people. Makes me smile.


   • This new schedule, however, does not. For those not interested in spawning another window, here's the point.

ALDS: Twins at Yankees -- Starts Tuesday @ 1 p.m. EST
NLDS: Marlins at Giants -- Starts Tuesday @ 4 p.m. EST
NLDS: Cubs at Braves -- Starts Tuesday @ 8 p.m. EST

ALDS: Red Sox at A's -- Starts Wednesday @ 10 p.m. EST

   In the original schedule, the Marlins-Giants were (I believe) a 7 p.m. start on Wednesday. This gave an obvious reason for putting the Sox-A's at 10 ... you're giving one game to the West Coast fans, allowing them a start in their actual prime time. Now, however, by moving the Giants to Tuesday, there's no reason not to move Sox-A's up to 8.

   West Coast fans or not, when you have all the other three series starting on Tuesday, the least you can do is accomodate the fans of the teams that are losing an off day.

   That's what is perhaps the oddest about this new schedule. It's one thing to make the road harder for the Wild Card teams -- Boston and Florida -- by giving them just one off day in their series. But the Cubs-Braves battle of division winners also has just one off day. The only teams that get two?

   The Twins and the Yankees.

   Thanks in advance for the weeks, and possibly whole offseason, worth of talk radio caller ammo, you dickweeds.


   I'd like to think there's a rational reasoning for this, and I kind of see one. If MLB wants to give one prime-time game to the West Coast, they know they can pull more Boston fans to a 10 p.m. EST start than they will Florida fans. It's still weak, however, and it's not as though any perceived biases are going to be let go by a fan base that is convinced the world is out to get us.

   That's perhaps one of the oddest storylines every time the Red Sox make the postseason. If they actually do win it all, once the euphoria dies down, the entire mindset of New Englanders is going to have to change. We're built our entire lives around being failures and sucking, around suffering -- see "Winter, Five Months Of." The Celtics are the most successful franchise in the history of the NBA, and they've been relegated to No. 3 by teams with a combined one championship between them.

   Have no doubt that if the Red Sox get it done, and I genuinely think they have the team to, it will be the celebration to end all celebrations anywhere (except the North Side of Chicago). But I'll enjoy the next season almost as much as I enjoyed this one.


   And now, on to (part of the reason) I sat at a computer today from 11 to 5.

Don't Count The Twins Out Yet
-- The day's first piece. Analyzing why the Twins actually do have a shot to beat the Yankees, and hitting all the major points I wanted to make. After my study, I am now officially pleading with the Yankees to win this series. Minnesota is an AWFUL matchup for Boston in nearly every way.


U.S., Norway Quarterfinal Would Be A Fitting Final
-- The day's third piece. I'm a bit perturbed the S-T Web site has buried this well below an AP story on the same topic that uses most of the same quotes I do. It may be nominally better, but our Web site is so screwed up the whole thing could look much different in print anyhow.

   It's amazing how odd a "normal work day" actually feels when you've been doing without them for going on a year and a half.

   Another Red Sox piece coming Tuesday for Wednesday. I'm officially in the groove, much like Gene Gene The Dancing Machine or this kid with the curtain rod.

   Probably more like the curtain rod, really.


September 28, 2003 - Must Go Do Actual Writing
   The Picture Of The Moment has truly come full circle. We began with this picture of breasts being ogled at an auto race ...

Yeah.
-- and now we've returned.

Grand Prix of the Americas second-place finisher Roberto Moreno of Mexico clowns around as he poses with two unidentified runners-ups for the Miss Grand Prix of the Americas on Sunday in Miami. (AP Photo/Terry Renna)

   Admittedly, this is no "we caught Howie Long staring at Britney Spears." It'll just have to do.


   • As we will have to do with the Sox being the "Oh, hey, you're in the playoffs too." start at 10 p.m. on Wednesday. The scheduling isn't really all that surprising, but still, can you say, "Goodbye getting the gamer in for normal deadlines across New England?"

   Personally, I'm happy about it. Given U.S.-Norway is at 7:30, I can now both reap the exposure benefits in first edition and speed home at like 90 miles an hour in time for the fifth inning or so.

   Course, that's far from the only problem going on around here.

"The 5-foot, 300-pound adolescent gorilla escaped from its section of the Tropical Forest exhibit in August, but did not leave the exhibit grounds.

'Needless to say, until further notice, he is not going to be on exhibit,' Linehan said."
-- How the saying go? "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, I'm really, really stupid."

   Film Aside: Theaters around the country owe it to us to pair this with "Fahrenheit 911" as a double feature. There are few things that could get me to sit in a theater for five hours. This would probably be pretty close to it.


September 27, 2003 - A Witness To (Kind Of) History
   A Thank You For The City Of Sin: After walking around Foxwoods like a quarterback hearing footsteps, I'd just like to offer some thank yous to Las Vegas.

   Thank you for thoroughly violating me for the sake of a couple hundred bucks. Thank you for giving me a credit card balance I can't pay; for keeping me from saving any significant cash for the past three months; and for being the least rewarding, most expensive vacation I have ever taken.

   But most importantly, thank you for ruining casino games for me for the rest of my life. Now I can go to Foxwoods for the rest of my life and play poker, the only game at which anyone can succeed.

   I can't wait til global warming and chlamydia level that whole fucking show. Like the apocalypse would dare start anywhere but Las Vegas.


   • The announced attendance at Gillette Stadium today was 14,356 for the Women's World Cup, leaving the stadium slightly more than a fifth full. Given what went on, that sounds about worthy.

WWC Grp. B
1
2
FIN
Norway
4
3
7
South Korea
0
1
1


WWC Grp. C
1
2
FIN
Canada
1
2
3
Japan
1
0
1

   To get the game stories out of the way, neither were exceptional contests. But both went roughly according to expected form.

NOR 7-1 KOR

   South Korea had yet to score in the tournament and had already been eliminated. Norway entered the game ranked No. 2 in the world and felt they needed to score a lot of goals to up their differential for a shot at the group title.

   Yeah, it was a mess. Beyond a mess. Whereas Korea was content to play ball control in the first half, Norway didn't even really set up plays. They just attacked. And scored, scored, scored, scored.

   Korea looked much better in the second half, but their goal came as a result of a Nowegian mistake on a playback to the keeper. If this game was played 100 times, Norway would win it 101.

   The eight goals tied an all-time WWC record for most scored in a single game -- just the sixth time 8 had been scored over the four tournaments. If nothing else, cheering for the 9th goal kept me occupied in the waning minutes ... and let's just say I wasn't the only person in the stadium on the edge of my seat when each team had a solid chance in extra time.

CAN 3-1 JPN

   The winner of this game earned a berth in the quarters, so it was rightly expected to be hard-fought. Japan was by far the sharper team, but they fell victim to Canada's game plan.

   High balls, because Asian people are short.

   It sounds so simple and obvious, and yet, it worked. Canada wasn't as sharp passing the ball, but they didn't have to be. They spent the whole game lofting balls into the box, and scored on a sliding chip over the keeper, an open header off a corner and another chip over the keeper. A bit of a cop out, but you can't knock it's success.

   The first goal, by Christine Latham, could easily be the best of the tournament. Fighting a Japanese defender on a through pass near the corner of the 8-yard box, Latham was able to slide with the defender on her back and left-foot it over the sliding keeper. Dare I say in the British voice, "Fan-TAS-tic goal!"


   The games, however, weren't the whole story. And thank goodness. Considering I started the day by realizing I'd mistakenly requested a photographer's credential, as opposed to a reporter's one, I had to spend the whole day making sure the thing was flipped backward around my neck, hiding where I was supposed to have access to.

   This just reinforces my belief that if you dress the part, look like you know what you're doing and don't really bother anyone, you can pretty much do whatever you want anywhere. I got in the pressbox, aside from the obvious "lack of space constraints," because I was dressed better than most reporters, carrying the equipment of reporters.

   And yes, I resisted the urge to try and use my photographer's pass to get on the field. Something about "not having a camera" might have posed a problem.


   Given I had no official seat in the Blue Press Box -- as described in the Pats preseason game review -- I just hung out in the Red Press Box, which is far better anyway. Below the Blue with the announcer's booth and scoreboard control, it has a single row of seats, windows that actually open, better views and is where they put the free food and drinks. Of course "free food and drinks" means soda and a boxed lunch with salt and vinegar chips, but anything that kept me from going downstairs and spending $17 on chicken fingers is AOK in my book.

   The Red box is usually reserved for TV and radio people, but let me stress that the first round of the Women's World Cup is not exactly a large media draw. Not surprisingly, there were as many Japanese media members there as there were New England ones.

   I resisted the urge to go to the Japan press conference and start killing reporters, thus freeing up space for a potential Sox-Yankees ALCS media credential, by the by.


   Hanging out in the lower box gave me much more contact with, um, "unofficial media members." People with day passes, VIPs, guests there for some odd reason, etc. Suffice to say many of these people had either far too much soccer knowledge or none at all, which led t oexchanges ranging from analyses of play strategies to things like these:

"I'm still convinced No. 18 is a man. And No. 7 on China. No boobs. I think they're ringers, because Norway has all attractive women."
-- Please Note: Korea was playing, not China. And the player in question IN NO WAY looks like a guy.

   Given Korea was playing, there was the large contingent of Korean fans wo gained acclaim in the last men's World Cup. As they did there, they pounded thundersticks, slammed drums and waved flags for the entire 90 minutes, barely even stopping when their team was scored upon. Given how loudly they cheered even when saluting the Norwegians after the game was over, it's clear to see they're true soccer fans.

   It's also clear to see that I will never, ever go to a soccer game in the Far East. My brain would explode somewhere around the 20th minute.

   Their numbers even found a way to outnumber what you would expect at a WWC game in New England -- young girls soccer teams attending en masse. There looked to be one from Canada in the club seats, but only two or three that I saw who looked local.

   And how does one spot a youth soccer team at these events, you ask? Because they always see fit to wear matching clothes, be it their uniforms or the same T-shirt. It's like the youth soccer boards are writing guides about this stuff -- "How To Show Off You Play The Game They're Playing On The Field."


   The other overarching theme of the day was the way FIFA ensures all the advertising in the venues are covered. It's Olympic-like in that sense, ensuring nothing obscures the purity of the competition on the field.

   Course, the halftime show then consists of nothing but an endless stream of commercials. It stil beat the ads for Nestle MILO and Vitaball from the MLS Cup, but the video showcasing the release of 'Bend It Like Beckham' on DVD seemed way too cliche to be actually happening.

   All this said though, I had a good time as I always do. I've yet to go to an event I haven't enjoyed, and what happened today set up an absolutely landmark match-up in the quarterfinals at Foxboro -- U.S. vs. Norway. No. 1 vs. No. 2, for a berth in the Final Four.

   Should you wonder the further significance, I'll be writing about it for Wednesday.


September 26, 2003 - Where's Your Wheelchair Ramp?
   I'm With The Chicken: Arnold won't debate Gray Davis. I'm so not voting for him. Though it is nice to finally find his agenda.

   Kindergarten Cop was a true comedic classic, wasn't it?

   In Other News: I may very well have been getting hit on by a young, cute press official at the Women's World Cup today, or she may have just been a very friendly person. Either way, I didn't fully realize this until I was about halfway back to Whale City, which makes it very hard to investigate further.

   Going so long with metal scaffolding on the bridge of my nose, it's hard to imagine the first situation actually happening. And being sent to the wrong place twice for credentials couldn't have helped my head either.

   That and I'm oblivious.


   • Really tough month to be alive, it seems.

   If it's not the WUSA, it's Johnny Cash. And John Ritter. And George Plimpton, not George Clinton. And Robert Palmer. Dead, dead, dead, dead, not dead, dead. Plus Lord knows how many other people you've never heard of who choose their last memoriam to have something like this in it.

"Ms. Bertha enjoyed bargain shopping, and had some of her happiest moments on the days she watched the prices rollback at her local Wal-Mart. She also enjoyed needlepoint, but her greatest treasure was teaching her grandchildren what old people smell like."

   Now, there's been some concern about the incompleteness of these death cycles. You know, deaths happen in threes, yet there only being two Johns, and just Plimpton and Palmer. Many are concerned about what they can do to avoid being the next in the circle.

   Of course, I have a solution.

   Meet Alison. Despite her advanced age, she has never been to a funeral, meaning all her friends are set.

   Aside from the general benefits of knowing such a kind human being, if you're really nice to her, she can get you crack wicked cheap. We're talking way below wholesale.

   OK, she cant' really get you crack. But what do I know, I just spent the majority of the evening spawning office sing-a-longs of 'Simply Irresistible.'

   Coming Tomorrow: Experience what it's like to be in the pressbox for a Women's World Cup game ... through typing!


September 25, 2003 - Yee. And/Or Haw.
   U.S. Beats Nigeria 5-0: There are few ways I could have been more wrong. I just felt that Nigeria's ultra-physical play would pose some obstacle, as it did in the 2000 Olympics when they lost just 3-1.

   I guess it was just an unstoppable night for the whole Hamm-Garciaparra clan.


   • First, let's try to ignore the obvious topic of conversation for a few moments so we might discuss a couple Pictures Of The Moment:

Le Roi
-- Twas only a matter of time.

President of the United States George W. Bush as King of Diamonds in 'The 52 Most Dangerous American Officials' cards, sold by the French group Reseau Voltaire (Voltaire Network). A little over 2,500 decks have been sold on the Internet in recent weeks. (AP Photo/Reseau Voltaire)

   The translation of the card reads, "Head of a baseball club and director of Salem bin Laden's oil company (brother of Osama). Designated President of the United States by friends of his father at the Supreme Court before the vote count showed that he lost the elections."

   It has it's own little "factual inaccuracies" -- he didn't still head the Texas Rangers when ran for president ... duh -- but it's generally a strong effort from a man who'd like us to believe no plane crashed into the Pentagon and that 9/11 is a conspiracy from within the U.S. government.

   He had me right up until he started speaking. So close. But I do recommend reading that transcript ... it's fascinating how his theory is then shot down by another conspiracy theory.

   Generally though, we can't be surprised by the deck of cards. Or, given the hoopla surrounding it, this.

I'm Not A Chicken ... You're A Turkey!
-- The California Recall ... More Or Less Than A Chicken Holding Toilet Seats?

Todd Warden of the California Democratic Party demonstrates against California Republican gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger outside LA Center Studios in Los Angeles on Thursday. Schwarzenegger was a guest on 'The Sean Hannity Show' at the studio. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

   I didn't watch the debate the other night because, last I checked, I don't get to vote for governor of California. But I would love to see Arnold debate Gray Davis, since I'm convinced that the whole thing would devolve into actual name calling.

"You ah stupid, Gray Davis. I'm bettah than you."
"No you're not. I'm better."
"No. You're stupid, Gray Davis. You ah dumb."
"No, you are."

   I just see it as what happens when there's a complete talent suck happening.

   Which is not the case at Fenway Park, even though combining John Burkett and Omar Daal's numbers over the past two days creates this monster starter:

2 IP, 14 H, 13 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 3 HR

   There was no suspense tonight, only celebration. The game had the feel of honestly being over when the Sox plated two in the first, because you just knew it was far from the end of the scoring. I actually spent most of the night kvetching that they were scoring too much -- given I was doing the sports cover, the game had to actually end before I could move on.

   And yet you just could watch that ninth inning, and everything that went on after it, without a goofy smile on your face.

   A lot of fans as of late are comparing this 2003 team to the 'Impossible Dream' year of 1967. Not literally, of course -- it was an 'Impossible Dream' to win the AL in '67 because Boston was 22 under .500 in 1966 -- but in a likability sense. I can't speak for that, but I can say without a doubt this is the most likable Red Sox team of my generation.

   You saw it last night ... in the same way you probably saw it when a young team clinched the AL East title in 1986. Out on the field celebrating with fans, screaming into the stadium mike, thanking everyone. Going into the clubhouse, then coming back out onto the field. Jason Varitek dumping beers all over everybody. Manny firing a garden hose around the clubhouse. David Ortiz screaming unintelligibly. Kevin Millar singing. Todd Walker saying "ass" on live TV. Trot Nixon biting through a beer can and double fisting "like Stone Cold Steve Austin."

   Even owner John Henry trying to speak about the scene, and being unable to find the words.

   Sure, maybe it was a little much for nabbing the American League's emergency playoff life raft for the third time. But this team deserved it, and if this Division Series is the end of the line for the Sox this summer, at least now both sides know how much they mean to the other.

   If it isn't, well, we're practicing for when it really counts.

   Aside: The Red Sox truly mean business in the ALDS, and how do I know? They refused me a media credential for the series, meaning I will be unable to jinx the team with my presence in the park.

   I tell you, this ownership group thinks of everything.


September 24, 2003 - My Argument Is Awful
   More Private Course Piracy:

Hole
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
OUT
Yards
281
455
350
149
137
410
174
398
315
2669
PAR
4
5
4
3
3
4
3
4
4
34
Cooch
7
7
5
4
2
6
4
6
6
47
• Reservation GC - Mattapoisett, Mass. •
Hole
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
IN
Yards
281
450
340
189
157
384
252
420
315
2788
PAR
4
5
4
3
3
4
4
4
4
35
Cooch
4
5
5
3
4
6
5
4
5
41
PAR 70
88, 19 OVER PAR
5457 YARDS
Birdies: 1 - Pars: 4 - Bogeys: 7 - Others: 6
Fairways Hit: 7 of 13 - Greens In Regulation: 3 of 18 - Putts: 35

   The sad thing is I'm remembering how to putt and how to hit irons, and I still can't break 85.

Kevin Millar For Red Sox MVP:
It's His Spirit, Not The Stats

-- Part of a package that looks much better in print, thanks be to my crack design style. Six of us wrote on who we thought was Boston's MVP -- I took a somewhat unorthodox approach.

   • First, you heard it here first. The United States women's soccer team will lose to Nigeria on Thursday night, throwing the U.S. soccer universe into all-out panic.

   This will be nothing compared to the panic in Red Sox Nation if Boston doesn't have the playoffs officially locked by Friday. Really though ... how would John Burkett ever beat Pat Hentgen?

   Oh yeah. If they were bowling.


   Now, many of you have correctly noted I take a lot of my writing style from the Boston Sports Guy Bill Simmons. It's just the nature of being 23 and a sports fan in his former market.

   Of course, as time has gone by, our views have started to split. And I'm trying my best to ignore his calling the ovation for Roger Clemens one of his "lowest moments as a Red Sox fan." That'd be a perfectly valid argument to make ... if he was 12. Cheering him seven years ago would have essentially been cheering your ex-girlfriend when you see her with a new guy a week after you broke up, you dope.

   But I digress.

"I was in Hawaii when I heard the news (of Isiah Thomas being fired). That's right ... it was my belated honeymoon. Literally. I remember that it was 3 in the afternoon there. I went online because one of my whatifsports.com teams was in the playoffs."

   Oh, OK. You're on your honeymoon in Hawaii, and the best way you can spend it is playing with the pitching rotation of your made-up fantasy baseball team.

   Here's the column where he goes in depth about the site. As a certified wallflower at normal parties, nevermind ones with legitimate celebrities, I still can't even find the words.

   But hey, great minds do think differently on occasion. Of course, his probably wouldn't have drafted David "Suspended" Boston as a top receiver choice, or traded away his No. 2 QB the week his No. 1 had a bye, but mine probably wouldn't have his whole week submarined by it.


September 23, 2003 - Rub The No Rub
   Submitted Without Further Comment: After all, there's 18 more coming tomorrow.

Hole
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
OUT
Yards
123
463
384
190
235
393
326
364
345
2823
PAR
3
5
4
3
4
4
4
4
4
35
Cooch
5
8
5
4
5
5
4
5
4
45
• Hawthorne CC - Dartmouth, Mass. •
45, 10 OVER PAR
Birdies: 0 - Pars: 2 - Bogeys: 5 - Others: 2
Fairways Hit: 1 of 7 - Greens In Regulation: 1 of 9 - Putts: 17

   I'm Linking To A Shaughnessy Column: Wow. On purpose and everything.


   • I'll be quite honest.

   I'm officially scared.

   Not about the possibility of the playoffs, not at all. That's a berth that was theoretically clinched when Boston went 4-for-4 on Seattle the third week in August, and only now are the Mariner faithful realizing excuses like "They're stealing signs!" aren't going to get them in the playoffs any faster.

   I'm scared because of the writing on the wall.

   1) Down 5-2 in the bottom of the ninth, 2 on, 2 out, 3-2 count, the stuff of children's fantasies ... Todd Walker hits a home run to tie the game. An inning later, David Ortiz (who is now officially a legitimate candidate for AL MVP) wins it with another home run.

   2) For the first time in a long time, if ever, Pedro is peaking in September. 4-0, with a shot at 5-0 tonight.

   3) Byung-Hyun Kim has thrown three straight 1-2-3 ninths.

   4) The entire team is healthy, excited and ready to go into the playoffs.


   Seriously. I'm going to quote Dan Shaughnessy.

"It's nights like this that make you wonder ..."


September 22, 2003 - The Grind Of More Golf
   Radio Ratings: To calm fears about another station fond of changing formats, and for whom a change might lead me to commit homocide, I looked at the latest Boston ratings book.

   Honestly, I'm a little concerned. Not so much for BCN, who is still in the top half, but for WFNX, which deserves much better than where it is. Course I suppose it's not going anywhere, given it's "family" owned.

   I would, however, be real curious to see where one can pick up WBRU in the Boston market. I mean no slag, as it's actually a really good college radio station, but given the campus in question is actually Brown ... well, I'd like to believe kids on the BU campus have a better shot of picking up a Providence college station than they do their own.

   Apology Plug: Here is where I would give you a link to WTBU Radio - THE BEAT of Boston University, but their whole site is down. BU's College of Communication, children. Educating tomorrow's vultures ... TODAY!


   • After about 20 or 25 times, please promise me you'll force yourself to stop playing this and get back to work. I don't want anyone to fall into the black hole that has become my productivity pattern.

   Contrary to a comment made after Thursday's "Day In The Life" update, I am not in a funk of any sort. Yes, it would be delightful if I had a special person with whom I could share the exorbitant amounts of free time this new job seems to give me -- I inexplicably had today off and will have tomorrow off in exchange for working Friday night. But I realize that it took me a very long time to meet someone as special as Meg, and thus will take me a very long time to cultivate the kind of relationship that can equal or exceed her in my mind.

   I'm banking on it happening someday. For now, I'll just have to stick to stumbling into Howard Dean flash mobs for entertainment.

   Well, that and beer.


   So, at the risk of exposing my life for the fradulent escapade that it is, how did I spend my night off?

   Grocery shopping, watching wrestling and the assembly of one computer desk that actually goes perfectly in my apartment.

   If you're not among the seven or so people who have acutally been inside the Whale City Estate, you don't know that my computer, up to now, has been "temporarily" on the end table next to my couch since I moved in. This meant I had to sit on the couch to use the computer.

   You really have no idea how much harder it is to do work sitting on a couch until you attempt it ... for a year. The fact that the past twelve months have actually seen me advance at work boggles my mind because of this.


   Instead, I can now sit straight in my permanently borrowed and quality Boston University desk chair -- thank you again, chair provider -- and think of what a nice view of the water I'd have if all of downtown New Bedford were leveled in a nuclear blast.

   Grocery Shopping Aside: Why is it that, wherever you go, the person working the fish counter is far more excited about their job than anyone else in the store? Are they trained like this? It's as though they're actually eager to get you the freshest fish possible, and will go so far as to suggest fresh things they have in the back.

   You have to understand ... in a city where I recently spent upwards of 20 minutes getting exactly two digital prints made from a "self-service" kiosk at Walgreens, I'm impressed if someone just comes to the counter and does what I ask. The whole fish thing floors me to the point I've continued buying things there for months.


   Hey, don't laugh. Someday you'll be out of college and on your own too.


September 21, 2003 - Goat This
   The Wroundup: The novelty of writing about every football game, even the ones I got to see no more than highlights of, has worn off. I hate writing it. You hate reading it. And thus, it goes the way of the Ivy League Word Of The Day.

   The Ivy League Word of the Day, which highlights some of the verbiage encountered when editing copy from Ivy-educated reporters, became a lot harder to write when all of the Ivy League-educated reporters left the paper for "other" pastures. Note I did not say greener, because I'm not sure things ever get green in Concord, N.H.

   Reformatting: It's not uncommon for radio stations, stuck and downtrodden in the ratings wars, to change formats. Thus, as absolute bullshit as it is, goodbye Radio 104, hello Power 104.1, which will now fill all your 50 Cent and DMX needs as appropriate.

   As is being thoroughly discussed here, for as popular as it was in my age bracket, WMRQ had piss-poor ratings, getting beat by WCCC in both Hartford and Springfield. Of course, I'm convinced the discrepancy had a lot to do with one station having this morning show and the other having had this morning show, but I'm clearly biased.

   Or not a redneck. Something like that.


   • So here's a question.

Mary Carey's Boobs: Bigger Than Gary?
--Mary Carey's Chest ... Larger Than Gary Coleman?

   Did tickets to the Emmys come in the Gubernatorial Recall tote bag, or did they have to pull strings in their respective fields to secure an invite?

   I suppose Coleman probably has free tickets for life given his landmark work on The Fantastic World Of D.C. Collins. And come to think of it, Carey has probably been nominated for a few AVN Awards, so that must be enough to get into a show of equal weight.

   I'm just hoping someday we can finally have a true double winner -- the "Best Alternative Video" prize at the VMA's and the AVN's. And give the way MTV's going, can it really be that far off?

   Tonight's Emmy awards were undoubtably full of thrills, spills, crying, orchestras and inside jokes no one out of the industry would get. And I didn't even watch it! For the most part I'm OK with that, but there is one burning question I need answered.

If All The King's Horses ...
-- Do you think Joan Rivers understands the irony?

California gubernatorial candidate and adult film actress Mary Carey poses for photographers as she arrives at the 55th annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday. (AP Photos/Kim D. Johnson)

California gubernatorial candidate Gary Coleman, right, is joined by Ana Ray as he arrives at the 55th annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday in Los Angeles. (AP Photos/Laura Rauch)

Joan Rivers, with E! Entertainment Television, arrives for the 55th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Laura Rauch)


September 20, 2003 - A Jerky, A Can And A Bag
   The Picks: Now presented in a delightful nested table!

Bucs (-4) over FALCONS
Pack (-8) over CARDS
SEAHAWKS (-3) over Rams
Vikings (-3) over LIONS
 
PATS (-6) over Jets
 
 
 
Steelers (-4) over CINCY
COLTS (-8) over Jaguars
Chiefs (-7) over TEXANS
Giants (+2) over SKINS
Ravens (-1) over CHARGERS
49ERS (-7) over Browns
DOLPHINS (-3) over Bills
Saints (+4) over TITANS
Raiders (+5) over BRONCOS

Week One Spread: 4-11-1
Week Two Spread: 10-5-1
Overall: 14-16-2

   As for the no spread, take Tampa, Green Bay, Seattle, Minnesota, New England, Pittsburgh, Indy, K.C., the Giants, Baltimore, San Fran, New Orleans, Miami and Denver. Not real hard to figure considering I picked three underdogs out of 14.

Week One Straight: 7-9
Week Two Straight: 13-3
Overall: 20-12

   Losing Lines: Scott Sauerbeck's pitching line tonight in Cleveland: 2/3 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 2 BB. That would be bad. Then Scott Williamson came in and fired off a 2/3 IP, 3 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 1 K. And thank God he got that strikeout!

Will Sox Fans Find Relief In October?
-- I knew I should have just referred to him as 'Sauersuck.' Even if Scott Williamson didn't live up to my "make him the closer" call, I still like what I've done here. And that's not just the time investment that went to it talking.

   • This could be interesting.

   Perhaps more than our group walking into a Howard Dean flash mob in Somerville tonight, but definitely more than walking into the nearby Store 24 and seeing that they're selling guacamole-flavored Doritos that, for some reason, taste spicy.

   You can say what you will about Howard Dean. But it is heartening to see a Democrat who figures his best chance to win the nomination is to act like a Democrat.

   I'm just glad, living in a state where the Democratic party has already received our electoral votes, I can vote for Johnny Knoxville and be done with it.


September 19, 2003 - It's Hip To Be On IR
   Correction From Yesterday: I did not, in fact, oversleep my 6 a.m. alarm. Somehow I rousted, so I make the drive to here to do this:

Hole
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
OUT
Yards
342
364
169
414
336
278
197
385
341
2826
PAR
4
4
3
4
4
4
3
4
4
34
Cooch
4
5
5
8
6
4
4
4
4
44
• Cape Ann GC - Essex, Mass. •
Hole
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
IN
Yards
357
379
181
462
346
289
258
410
354
3036
PAR
4
4
3
5
4
4
3
4
4
35
Cooch
4
4
5
8
4
4
5
5
6
45
PAR 70
89, 20 OVER PAR
5862 YARDS
Birdies: 0 - Pars: 8 - Bogeys: 3 - Others: 7
Fairways Hit: 5 of 14 - Greens In Regulation: 2 of 18 - Putts: 29
Money Won - $6

   This may have been the first round all year where I truly remember how to both chip and putt, but taking no less than five penalty strokes for hitting golf balls into salt marshes has a very negative effect on a round, but it's hard to get all that angry about it when you're playing on the coastline amid 30 mph wind gusts from Hurricane Isabel.

   It's also hard to get angry when you're riding and playing with a golfer who's blind.


   • Today was pretty much the speed of any bachelor party most friends of mine would have -- a round of golf, drinking and a trip to a sports bar for eating and yet more drinking. Suffice to say when Mark is married two weeks from today, he'll be able to look back on today's festivities and think, "Wow, we must have drained an entire keg of Harpoon IPA.

   Perhaps the most striking, yet least surprising, thing about Manchester By The Sea's Harbor House Pub? A pub-fare menu based almost entirely on seafood. Yes to wings, pizza and nachos, but yes also to steamers, clam plates and what-have-you.

   Of course, you come to expect this when the kitchen staff could literally run across the street to the fishermen when each order was placed.


   Given Mark's betrothed is of English origin by way of Maine, there was bound to be some sort of accented contingent at today's festivities. It ended up being Chris, an extremely affable gent who lives in Wales and has a long military service record behind him.

   He's got stories and jokes to last most of the day, and he talks to you with that kind of British familiarity that makes it appear to others like you've known each other all your lives.

   He's also lost most of his vision, yet just took up couple a couple years back.

   Each year during the U.S. Open, when the USGA throws out their "fund drive" commercials about all the wonderous things they do, they bring out the one involving the blind golfer. His name escapes me, but he's entirely blind, needing people to aim him, describe the terrain to him, the whole nine yards.

   I always marveled at that.

   And now I got to see it in person, sort of.

   Chris didn't actually play a full round with us, but he rode along, taking a shot here and there. Not being able to see to the end of his club at address, he'll sort of square off the face to the ball with his hand, then require someone to point him at the target and tell him how far the shot is. From there, it's all him, He plays to a 48 handicap -- about three times what mine is now -- and is in a group back home of blind golfers, one of whom just won the world championship of blind golf in America.

   This all just boggles my mind. It did on TV, and it continues to after having seen it in person.

   A couple of weeks ago on the AP Wire, they ran photos of an amputee/paraplegic/actual name escapes me golf tournament. These were men and women without an arm, without a leg, without both legs, playing golf. People for whom playing may actually be a difficult physical task, yet they do it anyway for enjoyment.

   I will leave you to attache a cliched ending to this story yourself.

   After all, this was a bachelor party, not a soap opera. Chris's greatest talent may have been translating his hundreds of British jokes to terminology we Americans could understand. Plus in the span of about 20 minutes, I ate a steamer, a Buffalo wing, a nacho, a pizza and drank a beer. That's not likely to ever happen again.

   And I didn't even end up the wasted one.


September 18, 2003 - Day In The Life
   David Blaine: I think I overstated my fervor about the whole illusionist thing yesterday. I do not actually care that his box trick is probably an illusion, for it gives the world's morons a new story to attach their sinking lifeboats too. I actually respect that Blaine is the showman that he is, and that he can captivate nations with his tricks or dreamscapes or whatever he calls them.

   Thank goodness that message board was there to calm me down.

   I'm A Fashion Faux Pas: Please note what school most of the fashion plates in this Boston.com feature attend, including the first girl, from whom the story says Boston College but who is standing on the BU campus for the shoot.

   Also note that the plethora of girls at BU who look like this

Nice, Even With The Nose

   or better still is among the list of reasons why my graduation, and consequent departure from campus, causes me to cry myself to sleep at night, and that the plethora of guys who look like this:

Nice Jacket, Jackoff

   make me glad I don't own a firearm.

   Though I do have to say, the use of the phrase "denim jeans by K-Mart ($16)" in an actual, serious sentence is awesome.


   • In my mind, where this site gets 13,000 unique visitors an hour, I am often asked the question:

"So Cooch, how do you spend the average day?"

   Now I'm not one to brag, but I think I have it pretty well. Sure, I live by myself and can't even be motivated to list wrestling tapes on eBay, but I've got it pretty good. So good, I can use "pretty good" twice, the correct "pretty well" once and not even fucking care.

   So, imaginary reader, I'll be happy to tell you how I spend the average day, right down to the minute-by-minute. For example, here's today, September 18, 2003, in prose.

   8:22 a.m. - Open my eyes to note the time, that I'm fully dressed and that I can read my clock across the room because my contacts are still in. Wonder for a moment how this happened, since my last memory was of lying on the couch to watch Conan O'Brien.

   8:25 a.m. -- After going to the bathroom and removing contacts before they fused to my corneii, determined it was way too early for me to be up, changed clothes and went to bed like normal people do.

   Though normal people typically do not do it at 8:25 a.m.

   11 a.m. -- Succeed in waking up, realizing I can now watch SportsCenter from start to finish in one hour, as God intended, as opposed to seeing the last XX minutes, then getting the rest at the next re-airing.

   This is the equivelant to Jerry Seinfeld's "Perfect Pump" in those American Express commercials of yesterday. It's exhilarating, difficult to accomplish and utterly worthless in a reality-based system.

   1 p.m. -- Finally finish plodding through weak update for September 17th, whose only redeeming trait is the tying of needlessness to the whole thing.

   Only Now: I realize the irony of needlessness in relation to this Web site.

   1:15 p.m. -- Realize that I have three writing assignments I need to have done for Friday night, but that during the day Friday, I will be at a bachelor party and unable to work. Slight panic.

   2 p.m. -- After determining one of the three pieces is not happening, ditch it and retire to the kitchen, where I'm reminded the only thing I have to eat that doesn't involve preparation or being disgusting is a plum.

   2:30 p.m. -- In attempting to write the second piece, a column on the Red Sox, I decide I really need to buy an actual computer desk, because the reason I get no work done in the apartment probably has a lot to do with my computer being next to the comfy couch.

   3:15 p.m. -- After determining that even Major League Baseball doesn't know who the fuck is eligible for postseason rosters, freak out about the column and immediately decide I need to shower.

   The pre-shower routine of running and doing 30-something pushups is skipped. I've continued to do the pushups with some regularity because they have helped me add 10 yards to my golf game, but the running has ceased since Meg dumped me.

   Whereas most people find motivation in someone special saying they don't love them anymore, I've decided it's much easier to just hate my pasty, ugly body every now and then and call it even.


   3:35 p.m. -- Now out of the shower and changed, recieve call from sports editor pretending to be AT&T telemarketer. Finally reaches point of the call with, "Can that Sox column run on Sunday?" Panic abated, since no excuse was ready as to why piece I should have written Tuesday wasn't done yet.

   3:55 p.m. -- Prepare day's first meal out of, I shit you not, two turkey burgers, a tomato and a slice of provolone cheese. No wonder my midsection looks like a garbage bag full of wet leaves.

   4:30 p.m. -- After arriving to work to find my desk occupied, I solicit the office for Dunkin Donuts requests and go for a walk downtown. Return some half-hour later with only request and nothing for myself, as the fucking Coolatta machine was broken.

   Determine my day has officially been a failure, but leave the decision subject to change.

   5 p.m. -- Given my pages for the night, I see I have both high school sports pages. This ostensibly means I will have basically no work to do for the next four hours, but that the last couple before deadline will be a crunch. I abate as best I can.

   The Next Four Hours: Among other things, I eat nearly an entire can of Pringles and an order of boiled Chinese dumplings, discuss how our golf writer and I can continue to play free golf at area courses, realize we have played golf at several private clubs we should be arrested for looking at, that we need to play at the other private clubs we have no business on, make loud jokes mocking various people, discuss toilet humor, continue to welch on principle over a stupid bet previously made with a coworker, and do most of my job because things got done early.

   9:30-10 p.m-ish -- Turn on Instant Messenger, and am almost immediately in three conversations. Freak out, but realize when one spends the better part of six years on a chat service and then disappears, people kinda freak out.

   11:30 p.m. -- Done fucking around for the evening because most everyone else has gone home, I begin to write the third of my three pieces. I am then systematically interrupted over the next two hours by, among other things, an excellent conversation about Spike Jones with a co-worker, this Web site I was using for research and the computer for our imagesetter deciding the deadline crunch was the best time for it to shut down and cease operation.

   2:34 a.m. Friday -- Am the last person who leaves the office but for one of the Web guys who shows up at like 1 a.m. every night, and sings really crappy songs aloud because he's used to being there alone.

   2:35 a.m. -- Think it smells like Coors Light outside, then determining that yes, it really does smell like Coors Light outside. Think to self that it'd be funny to write, "Repeatedly punch self in face to blur our smell of Coors Light," but decide against it.

   2:40 a.m. -- Walking past a car in the parking lot of the apartment building, I note there's a woman whom I thought lived in the building sleeping in it. After initial instinctual response that she was dead, decide the best course of action is not to knock on the car window and ask why she's sleeping there, because the only end to that story is the woman sleeping in my apartment.

   This is not a good ending when Friday will be a day spent almost entirely out of the apartment starting at like 6 a.m.

   4:15 a.m. -- Finally done with long, better-than-usual Web update, go to bed.

   And of course, the predicted but obviously logical ending to all this:

   6 a.m.: Sleep through alarm, miss day of golf, leave Hypho with no ride and generally ruin day for self and others.


   But hey, at least I de-declared the day a failure. Definitely pushed it to "draw."


September 17, 2003 - Your Utility Bill Has Arrived
   Needless Introspection: Given my day consisted of waking, golfing, working and sleeping, I really have no right to complain about anything. And yet, my mind keeps getting triggered into depressing thoughts by seemingly innocent things like roadways and beaches.

   It's not news that I think too much; that very trait is half the reason I'm where I am today. But I could really use a little selective ignorance right about now, so if anyone can simply explain to me how the hell to bottle this, I'd really appreciate it.

   More Needless Golf Talk:

Hole
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
OUT
Yards
310
383
381
201
433
428
170
462
391
3159
PAR
4
4
4
3
4
4
3
5
4
35
Cooch
6
4
7
3
6
6
4
5
5
46
• Acoaxet Club - Westport, Mass. •
Hole
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
IN
Yards
310
383
383
184
393
471
151
394
378
3047
PAR
4
4
4
3
4
5
3
4
4
35
Cooch
5
4
6
4
5
5
4
4
5
42
PAR 70
88, 18 OVER PAR
6206 YARDS
Birdies: 0 - Pars: 6 - Bogeys: 7 - Others: 5
Fairways Hit: 7 of 14 - Greens In Regulation: 3 of 18 - Putts: 34

   Playing golf at a private course overlooking Westport Harbor is very, very good.

   Five three-putts and three shots lost out-of-bounds is very, very bad.

   And I still can't figure out why all the private courses we play get so little action when we're there. You'd think for tens of thousands of dollars, the membership would be a little more motivated to get out the sticks on a regular basis.


   • Personally, I hope someone drills him.

   When it comes to "needless," I think sitting in a glass box and not eating for 44 days is pretty near the top of the list. When your listed reason for doing something involves the sentence, "I think it is worth it for my art even if I drop dead," you clearly need to get a fucking job or something.

   When previously in your explanation you say that it will be triumphant for a human to survive this, then you say it really won't make a difference if you die doing it, that is what we call a "contradiction."

   But perhaps the best part of this is when you list your occupation as "ILLUSIONIST," it gives the impression there's some kind of trick to it. Like that there's glucose in his water or whatever.


   Either way, there is one positive to come out of all of this.

   Another delightful Internet message board.


September 16, 2003 - Sauteed Day Off
   "Fame" Not Involving Me: For all the compliments and hullabaloo surrounding my TV appearance, fellow former BUCB Governor General Ellen Rosoff is now in the Internet Movie Database. As a group project, I now demand those of you that know her -- and even those that don't -- start discussing how cool she is on her personal IMDb message board.

   Worth Mentioning: The fans at the UConn-BC game on Saturday were apparently out of control.

"The UConn fans were really mean. They threw open beer cans
at the BC student buses, and all the tailgaters were harassing us
on the way to the stadium. I was scared."

   So congratulations of UConn, for you've now proven yourself worthy of a big-time college football program. And congrats to Lisa who, as a UMD grad now referring to herself as affiliated with BC for no important reason, caused my skin to spontaneously combust.

   The California Recall: Contrary to what the Official Taco Poll says, I think I know a Last Action Hero who won't be becoming governor in March 2004. And really, if Gray Davis can't even win when riding on the back of the most yummiest item, he's screwed too.

   I mean seriously, losing with the soft chicken taco? To hard beef, and its Shrapnel Shell of Death? As they would put it, "Dude!"

   I suppose it could be issues of cost, with the CST possibly double the price, but if you're classing it up by going to Taco Bell in a state with actual quality Mexican on every friggin streetcorner ... you'd think an extra buck wouldn't be an issue.


   • Just delaying the recall election from October to March completely changes the dynamic of things, helping the Democratic candidates while hurting guys like Arnold Schwarzenegger, who now has to fill five months with all the "why" questions he's been skirting.

   This is nothing like the operational shutdown of the WUSA, which sucks for everyone.

   Having written a feature tangentially on this very topic just one month ago, I wanted to take a little time to think before I said anything about the league's folding. But you know, there's only so much you can say about an outcome that I think everyone expected when the league began.

   I mean, let's be honest here. Soccer is not really marketable yet in this country, and neither are women's sports in general outside of tennis. We all know why tennis succeds, and the only thing keeping the WNBA afloat is the millions of dollars the NBA is pumping into it.

   The WUSA had no such financier, and it wasn't a league about whoring itself out. And thus it couldn't succeed long-term. Plain and simple.

   But you can't really say it didn't succeed, because it made inroads. Read over the quotes Joe Cummings gave me that I used in the story. The Boston Breakers were a success ... arguable the biggest success in the entire league. They didn't make a huge splash in the Boston sports scene, but almost nothing does in the face of the Pats, Sox, B's and C's.

   I believe the numbers I saw in the Globe were losses of under $1 million this year, and ten seasons before they'd break even. And that was for arguably the league most succesful team, playing in a soccer hotbed region. Yeah.

   What may be the saddest part of this whole story is, looking over the way the league promoted itself and what kind of people it filled itself with, there really was no other way this could have ended. The players in the WUSA are the world's greatest female soccer players, yet they remain accessible to the fans they're always trying to convert. And yet that still wasn't enough.

   I believe the number is 56 players from the WUSA who be taking part in the Women's World Cup, starting Sunday. Roughly a quarter of those involved ... we were genuinely dealing with the premier female soccer league in the world.

   One would have to hope that the league's failure won't undo a lot of the roads it started to pave -- the stuff Joe said to me about establishing one of the first real places where women could make a living as athletes especially. But the fact is there were people who claimed this would fail when it started, watched it fail and now have the sick smile of "being right."

   So what is there to say about all of it?

   The league began on the enthusiasm of the '99 WWC, so naturally, a lot of people think the same kind of kick will come from the '03 WWC. But it's not the same. The U.S., even more than in 1999, is expected to win this year. So even if they do, there won't be that kind of uplifting story and fervor.

   And when I say uplifting, it has nothing to do with the sportsbra thing. I swear.


September 15, 2003 - Meet The Badgers
   Who remembers Madonna's first book? The kind of thing that elicited reviews of "I finally succumbed!" and those who celebrated that it contained a lot of pictures.

Kids Books Give You Wings
-- Really, wasn't a quintet of
kids' books the logical next step?


Madonna arrives at the launch party for her first children's book, 'The English Roses,' at the Roof Gardens, London on Sunday. The book will be officially published around the world in 30 languages. (REUTERS / Michael Crabtree)

   At risk of getting all hypocritical when I have plenty of other things I can get hypocritical about, we'll stick to The Guardian, who have actually read the book, for the review.

"However, the story's charm is completely undermined by the odious pictures. They are like mid-60s advertising copy cut-outs on 'skinny chic' legs. They are repulsive and faintly unpleasant with big doe eyes and bowlips which never change. Their form is both passive and sexual, it is Disney meets Twiggy, the waif.
It all makes you feel slightly unpleasant."

   • Ah, slightly unpleasant.

   Just like a Giants game in prime-time.

Failure Number Five: Cowboys 35, Giants 32 (OT)
   Two years ago, the Giants went down to Arizona are were dominant, winning something like 28-0. It was amazing. Don't get me wrong, the Cardinals were awful as always, but the Giants' just do not play well on Sunday nights, Monday nights or any stage where the world would be watching.

   And yet, when that (-7) line came down the pike, I bit. Just a fraction more than the number of field goals they lost the game via.

   When the Giants fell behind by 16, with Kerry looking and throwing ... drunk? ... it wasn't so bad because you expected it. When Jeremy Shockey starting dropping every pass thrown to him, you accepted it wasn't their night. And when he started smiling about it, you ... got really confused.

   But then, it was their night. The merciful comeback came, and 29-14 made a lot more sense as 29-all.

   Looking at the numbers, the Giants were dominated in time of possession, but held the ball for much of the end of the game, taxing the Dallas defense. Really, it was a genius game plan to comeback against an inexperienced team.

   It just came down to what can't even be termed a special teams mistake. To have a squib kick end up rolling out bounds is an error, but it happens.

   To lose to Dallas, who'll be lucky to win six games this year, is a blown opportunity. To fail to move two games ahead of Philly, who sadly won't suck forever, isn't good. But it happened because of an assemblage of flukes and bad weather ... nothing worth panicking about.

   Really. Total calm.

   Though Shockey's 'Evening of Too Many Butterfingers' I could have done without.

I Second That Emotion
-- I seem to have strong streaks and weak streaks when it comes to the columns -- runs where I have topics I drill every time, then others where I'm stuck staring at the blinking cursor. Lately, I have the distinct feeling I'm in the second of those.


September 14, 2003 - Fair Criticism
   More At The Fair: The Big E story would be so much easier to tell with pictures, but because there are none, I'm going to have to resort to the style of notes at the end of an AP sports story. [Big breath in] ...

   Despite what you may feel about Bambi, the fur of deer is very wiry, much like Cooch's hair ... Carnies have now publicly accepted and announced that their games are rigged, by putting signs like "Rims are not regulation to test your skill." on basketball games. This did not stop me from spending $2.50 to try to win an X-Box via ring toss, only to have the ring thrown perfectly over the top of the bottle glance off as carnie physics demands. ... The Big E Cream Puff, the fair's newest concoction, has about 50% too much cream in it. It's like trying to eat a tub of Cool Whip, then eat a powdered croissant. ... The Vermont building this year featured a "Dean For America" staffer waiting at the door poised with what looked to a sign-up of some sort. I don't know, because she didn't actually approach us, which is odd considering the entire group I was with was 18- to 23-year-old registered voters. ... In keeping with my new hatred campaign announced March 16, I cussed under my breath at the University of Maine display, making a comment about fat women. I also bought a root beer float from the New Hampshire building, and though I enjoyed it, subconsciously I knew they stiffed me on a full scoop of vanilla ice cream, the fuckers.

   Just so I can end that with a swear about New Hampshire, new paragraph:

   The Republican sponsored an exhibit of 20th Century Headlines that I greatly enjoyed given my profession, but I did find it odd that there was only one Springfield front page in the whole 100-or-so on display, and that the majority were from the Wisconsin State Journal. ... Also reassuring was that the first front page in the 20th Century Headlines exhibit described James A. Garfield's assassination, which happened in 1881. ... Though it was not complete when we were there, this year butter sculpture will feature a cow looking at a computer screen with two children. ... There's a circus museum in the Hampden County Building. Having lived in Hampden County for 18 years, I knew of neither's existence until about two minutes ago. ... Lynyrd Skynyrd, who was to perform on Saturday night until they cancelled, was previously unknows to both Charlie and my father, both of which thought it was just some guy with a weird name. ... In perhaps the funniest thing Charlie has ever said, upon seeing shorn sheep wearing full white hoods with only holes for their eyes, "Look! Klan sheep! They want to kill the black ones!" ... It may seem insensitive here, but I assure you, it was so funny at the time I almost stepped in dung.

   Dung is a good way to end it, I think. I'm just going to leave it at this -- if you're in the area, and you don't go to the Big E at least once, I hate you. Yes, hate.

   Hate.

   Football Picks: Last week, Matt Bruce announced via comment that my 4-11-1 opening record could be beaten often by trained monkeys. He may have been right.

   As such, this week I've gone 10-4-1, with the Giants to play and my losses being Houston, Tampa, Oakland and Cleveland. As a football gambling writer, were I one, I would be 4-3 on recommended games, and up 7 units.

   There is still time to climb on the bandwagon, everyone. At some point, I may even resume betting.


   • If it's Sunday, it's time for another week of self-hate and odd links. But before that, it's the Week Two Wrundown.

Urge To Kill Falling: Patriots 31, Eagles 10
Somewhere in the sands of time, there's an alternate universe where the Patriots lost this game 31-10, are 0-2 and have been asanyingly outscored in their first two games. It's not a happy place, because Bill Belichick is just murdering people left and right. Mainly members of the press, because the armageddon proclaimants are just too loud and the boos are just too strong for him to persevere.

We call this place "Philadelphia," and it's not Belichick killing, it's Donovan McNabb.

The offensive success today was probably more a function of Philly's loss of Shawn Dawkins, but they still got it done. The six turnovers and seven sacks was likely a function of a QB with zero confidence, but they still got it done. That was what this game was about. Sucking it up, moving on, and getting it done. Days like today are why the Patriots are still a viable Super Bowl candidate. It's irrelevant how they feel about their coach ... if they want to steel against him and win, so be it. But I don't think they are.

It's not ever that Lawyer Milloy may have burned the bridge too thoroughly on his way west. Playing football subjects the human body to way too much punishment for a guy not to play to win. Anyone who thinks the team is going to fold is, well, wrong, and you heard it here first -- they beat Buffalo in Week 17 by two scores.

   As for Philadelphia ... well, at least you guys still have scrapple.

Report on Giants' (upcoming) underwhelming performance coming Monday.

Rams 27, 49ers 24 (OT)
Cedrick Wilson-bashing aside, you officially "have to wonder" about Mike Martz. Last week, Marshall Faulk gets 16 touches for 55 yards (11 of which came on a 4th-and-12 the Giants were happy to give up), and the Rams lose. This week he doesn't throw the ball 54 times, instead giving Faulk gets 18 rushes, 22 total touches, he scores a touchdown and the Rams win (even if they should have lost). And yet, the story is Marc Bulger playing hero again.

Is this really so hard to follow? Does this mean I, too, can be an offensive genius and get a Super Bowl ring? Or does he not-so-secretly hate Kurt Warner and is trying to destroy his "creation" like Vince McMahon tried to do in Hulk Hogan?

The world may never know.

Saints 31, Texans 10
Wynn's only loss of the week was a flyer anyway, and given Joe Horn played, it's not that unexpected. But after all the hoopla surrounding the win over Miami, we're all reminded that the Texans will go as far as David Carr will carry them, and no further. Though if he keeps juking DBs out of their gold pants, that could be a good ways.

Dolphins 21, Jets 10
Possibly as soon as next week, Vinny Testaverde will pass Johnny Unitas on the all-time passing yards list for eighth all-time. I'd like to declare a moment of silence for this, because 40,000-yard club or not, Vinny Testaverde isn't even fit to sweep up the shavings from Johnny U's flat-top.

Bills 38, Jaguars 17
Last week's performance aside, I think cutthroat players across America are underestimating just how solid "the team playing the Jaguars" pick could be for the rest of the 2003 season. Here it is Week 2 and they've already given up on Mark Brunell ... 3-13, here they come!

Sorry, Matt. I'm just not feeling it.

Jamal Lewis 295, Browns 13
I really wish I had seen the pregame comments of Lewis about how he planned to break the all-time, single-game rushing mark, just so I could have tacked it on my "Why I Hate The Non-Ray Lewis Ravens" bulletin board. Of course, we now have concrete proof that the Browns defense is, yes, much worse than advertised.

Redskins 33, Falcons 31Washington has the Giants next week at home. Only if they win that will there officially be reason to get excited in the nation's capital. Course, any time you come back from 17-0 down on the road, it's almost enough to make Gator fans forget how they blew the Miami game.

Packers 31, Lions 6
Brett Favre's line today: 15-for-28, 132 yards, two TDs, one pick. The sad truth is that it's lines like this that are going to make the Packers successful this year. Well, that and playing the Lions 6-7 times.

The Lions, whose bandwagon I am still constructing, will go 5-11 this year, but it will be a much improved 5-11. Unfortunately though, this game has begun a four-game losing streak going into their bye.

You heard it here ... well, at worst fourth or fifth.


Colts 33, Titans 7
Actual quote from the AP notes of this game: "(Running back Edgerrin) James trimmed his dreadlocks this week after getting yanked down by his hair in Cleveland last week." It's probably for the best, given he was the only person in the state to ever wear dreadlocks not as a joke.

Chiefs 41, Steelers 20
If only there was going to be playoff baseball getting played in Kansas City, my mind could go so idyllic that I would fly to K.C. for a Royals-Chiefs weekend. Of course I would never actually do this, because I'd be arrested when I took the side trip to Kansas so I could pee on a tollbooth.

Panthers 12, Buccaneers 9 (OT)
Having three kicks blocked in one game generally means it will not be a fun week of practice in Florida. Though it is nice to see the Panthers are contending again for "ugliest jersey in the league" honors by wearing all tealy-blue.

Seahawks 38, Cardinals 0
About the only good to come out of things like this is that Emmitt Smith won't bother finishing the season.

Broncos 37, Chargers 13
Yeah, that Clinton Portis draft pick is looking pretty good, playing the second half or not. Though really, I haven't even looked at the opposing rosters this week, and I already know one of them will have been starting Jamal Lewis.

Raiders 23, Bengals 20
Using the transitive property I learned in high school, if the Broncos beat the Bengals by 20, and the Raiders beat the Bengals by 3 ...

Vikings 24, Bears 13
Randy Ratio takes a hit as with 27-yard day, Moss now only has 43% of his team's receiving yards for the season.

   At some point, I will start trying to be as insightful about football as I've been about the fair. I promise.


September 13, 2003 - A Day At The Fair
   Football Picks: Here. For straight-up picks: Dolphins, Seahawks, Bills, Saints, Browns, Colts, Packers, Redskins, Rams, Chiefs, Bucs, Pats, Broncos, Raiders, Vikings and Giants.

   Defending The Film: It's safe to say I now have a large percentage of friends who believe Just Married is among the worst movies ever made. The Bruce said his piece on it previously, and now that we ended an evening out with it, much of the Western Mass. populace feels the same way.

   Now don't get me wrong, Just Married is very bad. It is remarkable in that there are only two truly likable characters, and their combined screen time is barely five minutes of a 90-minute picture, if it's even that much at all. Ashton Kutcher is so stupid as to be offensive -- not even a jackoff like me would spend his honeymoon in Italy watching the Dodgers in a bar. The ex-bethrothed guy who actually follows the couple on their honeymoon is so rich and pretty, you hope he gets blown up in a terror attack. The rich family, the poor guy, the friction ... the whole thing is a stereotype blown horribly, horribly out of proportion.

   But the worst? I can't give it that ... we at least had Brittany Murphy to look at. Even if her character didn't seem believeable for a young rich girl, which she really kind of did, she's still attractive enough to carry this film to one star. Unbreakable, now and likely forever the Cooch's World Measuring Stick for "Worst Movie Ever," didn't even have that.

"Unbreakable is a film that begins with a train wreck
and then, figuratively speaking, becomes one."
-- Jay Carr, The Boston Globe

   • The film finish to the day came after the annual trip to The Big E, New England's Great State Fair that's known by a large hunk of the SouthCoast population and a sliver of the Boston Metro one.

   Unsurprising given its Western Mass. location, the Big E's roots are as an agricultural fair. And there's still the large crafts area, the agricultural displays and competitions, the large 4-H contingent and the building they call Farm-A-Rama. But now, the Big E is also the place to buy every infomercial product known to man, be robbed of an X-Box in a ring toss game and flaunt open container laws by walking around the grounds toting a $5 beer.

   The Eastern States Exposition is an event that begs for photography -- I mean, they had a whole booth based around selling Billy Bob Teeth, with among the uses listed "Blind Dates" -- but given my camera was left at the house, just close your eyes and imagine.

   Each New England state has a building on the grounds where the merchants from there can display and tout their wares. In Rhode Island, it's Del's Frozen Lemonade and Kenyon's Clam Cakes. Massachusetts has honey sticks, cranberry stuffs and U.S. Women's Open T-shirts. Maine has potatoes and fat, ugly women. Vermont has hippies, syrup, Ben & Jerry's and a gay marriage booth. But the story for the day was in the Connecticut building, which is generally notable for being the worst of the six state buildings since they jettisoned their Lego booth for the likes of an oldies station and still more UConn merchandise.

   This year, Connecticut has a Krispy Kreme booth.

   I did not get a doughnut, but to give you an idea of what kind of anticipation is surrounding the company's rumored expansion to Springfield, thirty-two people asked us throughout the day either where we got our Krispy Kreme paper hats or where they could get doughnuts. And they weren't even all fat people!

   Today was 4-H Day and a salute to 75 years of the Future Farmers of America, which ostensibly meant little more than that all the kids there to show their animals got to walk in the parade. Perhaps the most notable of these was the sextet of girls walking with a "4H Fashion Revue" banner -- of the six girls carrying the flag, five were allowing it to completely cover the outfits they were wearing.

   Of course, you watch the parade to try and catch the Mardi Gras beads being thrown from the Mardi Gras floats, and then joke about getting the girls to do what they usually have to do to get Mardi Gras beads. Then you look at the girls from downtown Springfield who populate the fair, sheepishly laugh and spent the rest of the day trying to forget what their breasts probably look like.

   Really, the best thing about the Big E is that it's an event. You go not so much because there's new things to see there, but because it's going on and it's just what you do. You know exactly what to expect -- that you'll see 35% of your high school class -- and the fair always delivers. It gets all the friends you never see to come home -- this year's winner being Lonnie, who can now be excited that she was mentioned here again -- and you get to see all the things you've loved to see since you were zero.

   Like a cow sculpture ... made out of butter.


September 12, 2003 - Rare Birds
   JOhNny Cash: There is a silver lining to the Man in Black's illness and death early today. It kept Cash from making his last public appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards, where he was up for several awards because of his 'Hurt' cover.

   And really, a man of his stature shouldn't be overshadowed by 200 pounds of Kelly Osbourne in a 150-pound bag.

   JOhN Ritter: When people die, we often learn things about them we never would have before. As is such, now we know John Ritter was the voice of Clifford, The Big Red Dog, and was married to Helen Chapel's sister on 'Wings,' Amy Yasbeck.

   That's it. I'm just concerned about the guys who are now going to try to take advantage of his teenage daughters.


   • It's been said that bad things often happen in threes -- deaths, playoff losses, etc. etc. So when two people named Jo(h)n kick off in the same day, I'm going to be noticeably alerted to everything that goes on.

   So when I go play golf and the following happens:

Hole
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
OUT
Yards
375
289
275
436
336
119
382
141
501
2854
PAR
4
4
4
5
4
3
4
3
5
36
Cooch
6
6
2
3
4
4
25
• Acushnet River Valley GC - Acushnet, Mass. •
25, 1 OVER PAR
Eagles: 2 - Birdies: 0 - Pars: 1 - Bogeys: 1 - Others: 2
Fairways Hit: 1 of 5 - Greens In Regulation: 2 of 6 - Putts: 9

   I begin to wonder if I'll be struck dead by lightning or driven off the Mass Pike by a tractor-trailer later in the evening.

   The golfers among you clearly see the rarity of what I did tonight, and are rightfully already doubting that it actually occurred. For the other 95% of you, eagles are an extremely rare bird. When you figure your average teens handicapper like myself makes 1-2 birdies a summer -- I have 2 so far in '03 -- most will go their entire lives making a handful of eagles if they're lucky.

   Having been playing for 16 years, I had one eagle in my golfing career going into today.

   Then I made two in about a half an hour.

   The fact that they're back-to-back is really the amazing part of it. I promise, after today, we will never discuss them again. But when you golf like me and this happens, well, let's just leave it at I was writing the Web update mentally after I drove the third green.

   I'm always trying to get a quick nine in somewhere after 5 p.m. -- courses will often let you out for cheap, and you can go off by yourself without a tee time. Course when traffic gets you there at 6:30, you're pushing you're luck. And when the starter won't give you a discount off a $17 fee when it's obvious you won't get more than six in, you're not happy.

   Then you knock your opening tee shot into the woods and out of bounds. Followed closely by hitting to the fringe in two on the second hole, only to (essentially) four-putt from there on the aerated greens.

   Looking at the card after No. 2, I muttered to myself that I'd have no shot at the elusive 39 that night as I was 4-over through two. Shows what I know.

   The third at Acushnet River Valley is pretty straightforward -- pretty flat hole, bunker all the way down the left-hand side of the fairway, green sloping back to front with pin cut in the middle back. I hit a pretty clean three-wood off the tee, going just slightly right-to-left and hugging the left edge of the fairway.

   It was starting to get dark, so I couldn't really see where it ended up from the tee. When I had some trouble finding it on my walk down the fairway, I figured it probably kicked into the sand.

   See, when you're me, you don't typically look for drives three feet short of the hole. Perhaps the best part of this is the closest I've ever come to a hole-in-one was on a par four hole.

   With much gnashing of teeth, the little right-to-left putt fell in just on the left edge, and my golfing year had officially been made. A sport so frustrating often has to leave these cookies lying about, and it really doesn't take much to re-sell me. In that "slightly better than average" quadrant of players, I'm probably the easiest to please.

   I didn't really think a whole lot of it when I sent my drive on the fourth 285 yards just into the right rough, because I can't say I expected anything else that good to happen. Looking at my second shot, 150 yards to a two-tiered green with the pin in front, I figured I'd get to write "I even had a chance for eagle on the next hole, but ..."

   Eight iron to six feet, at which point I genuinely thought I would be having an aneurysm at some point later in the evening.

   I've spent most of this summer saying that I'm very close to being a genuinely good golfer again, but there's always little things that are keeping me from scoring well. Most notable among them putting, which is why while looking at my putt for a three, I realized there was still the distinct possibility I'd three-putt for a five. The thought that actually calmed me down, and convinced me there was no way I'd miss it? I was by myself, and thus, no one would ever actually believe a suck like me could make one eagle, let alone back-to-back eagles.

   The power of negative thinking. A New Englander's best friend.

   And really, that's the end of the story. The putt went in center-cut, I sprinted around the green like an idiot, switched golf balls (as not to lose the one that obviously was defective) and knocked my tee shot on the fifth into a waste bunker.

   Nothing like this will ever happen again, of course. The odds of my hitting five shots like these consecutively ever again are far too high, and the fact that they happened once have ensured I will never win in any lottery for as long as I live. But hey, such is golf.

   Frustrating, aggravating, soothing, exhilarating golf.


September 11, 2003 - Two Years From The Black
   The Conquering Dong: It's now been fixed. You really ought to look at it, given it's work safe and all.

Hole
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
OUT
Yards
351
385
176
307
518
326
381
180
485
3109
PAR
4
4
3
4
5
4
4
3
5
36
Cooch
6
6
4
5
6
5
5
4
6
47
• Poquoy Brook GC - Lakeville, Mass. •
Hole
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
IN
Yards
372
336
185
366
436
173
426
428
455
3177
PAR
4
4
3
4
5
3
4
4
5
36
Cooch
5
5
4
4
5
4
5
5
5
42
PAR 72
89, 17 OVER PAR
6286 YARDS
Birdies: 0 - Pars: 3 - Bogeys: 13 - Others: 2
Fairways Hit: 8 of 14 - Greens In Regulation: 6 of 18 - Putts: 36

   It's the enigma of mediocre golf. If you miss greens in regulation, you make bogeys by chipping on and two-putting because your first putt often ends up being inside 15-20 feet, and you send up an easy lag. But if you hit greens in regulation (par 3's in 1, 4's in 2, 5's in 3), you make bogeys by three-putting because your first putt is often 50-75 feet, and your lag fails miserably.

   All I know is if on 17 holes you're using your putter for a shot at par, and you only make three ... it's nice to think about the past, when the "putt for dough" half of the cliche was the part you had down.


   • Well, I've owned an X-Acto Knife for exactly two years today.

   Sept. 11 will likely forever be one of those "you remember what you were doing" days, and that's my story. I woke up at 6-something a.m., walked to the Staples in the Fenway, and bought a metal ruler and an X-Acto Knife. "#1 - For precision cutting and trimming." With the "A" Handle.

   September 11 may have been the last time I used it as well. To this day it amazes me that, on a day where so many lives were changed forever, I and my classmates had to tell a professor how certain letters made us feel.

   There is always going to be a glut of writing done on this day, and even though I have things I want to say, I'm not going to. There's no need to add to the din.

   Instead, please go read this Esquire story. It's quite worth your time. As is what Jen wrote. She, in an unsurpring turn given how smart she is, gets it.

   "And I don't believe that waving the American flag in the face of immigrants or wearing a 'These colors don't run.' T-Shirt is the measure of patriotism. Neither is living in a constant state of mourning over the events of two years ago. True patriotism is being proud to be an American, and accepting all of the pros and cons that come with it."

   I went golfing today. In my mind, a mundane, everyday, same-as-ever thing like that is the best way we can go on.


September 10, 2003 - Low Key
   The Conquering Dong: The Spam Of The Day today isn't so much a spam as it is a piece of rare art.

The Conquering Dong
-- A true bringer of emotion.

   You can almost feel the woman cowering in fear as her man revels in what he has done. What he has crafted.

   Well, in what Natural Gain Plus has crafted, anyway.

   Her tongue peeks slyly out of her mouth, not so much as to say, "Oh no! What is ... is ... that?!" as to say, "Awww, he thinks he's really big!"

   Because really, if the bigger bulge is in your girlfriend's short shorts, you better hope she's a really nice person. And I just don't think you get that kind of emotional support from someone who plays peek-a-boo on a crowded beach full of wakeboarding children.


   • Say about this what you will.

   When we prepare photos for publication at work, we name them based on the four-digit date and a four-letter slug based on whatever the photo is. You end up with stuff like "0524PDRO" ...

   It was this that made me realize Thursday was September 11.

   At least I'll be up at all the pertinent times this year, even if I'll be in my car driving somewhere very unmemorial.


September 9, 2003 - Can't Stop The Music
   This Week's Column: It was in the paper, but for whatever reason never made it onto the Web site and has disappeared from the file system. At some point I'll scan it in manually and get a copy that way, but that'll be more for my records . Odds are anything that's taking this long to get to you will be well under expectations.

   However as an alternative, and thanks mightily to the technical savvy of this guy, I now have a full clip of my appearance on CN8's Sports Pulse from Monday night.

   A few ground rules:

   1) The clip is about 14 minutes long, and is a 35 MB Windows Media file. If you have a dial-up connection and really want to see it, e-mail me and we'll figure something out as it would take you approximately six weeks to download it.

   2) As (I assume) the show is copyright material, if anyone from the network asks me to take it off the site, it's going. They've been excellent enough to me that it's not worth arguing about. And really even if no one asks, it'll probably only be up a few weeks anyway, as it's size is nearly equal to everything else I've had on the site since the start in May 2001.

   3) Your downloading it for viewing comes with the promise to me that you're not going to put it on KaZaA or anything like that, and that you won't be doing anything more nefarious with it than watching it and doing screen grabs so you can doodle on my face.

   I mean seriously, of what other worth is it to anyone?

   4) Take my use of the word "doodle" for whatever you want. This is the Internet.

   Sound good? Then go to town.

Ed & Cooch
RIGHT CLICK here to start the download.

   Among the things I've already learned from the show? I close my eyes when emphasizing a point and the fact that I was rocking in my spinny chair more than got picked up by the camera. Ah, television.


   • Now, given the above getting three downloads would shock me, you wouldn't really think I'd need to spend pixels talking about copyright infringement. But it's very important not to take and distribute what isn't yours ... and for any of you who are already mounting your soapbox to tell me that music file sharing is legal, spare me. I'm out of college, and I deleted KaZaA from my system because I was sick of getting Viagra popups while I was trying to play Text Twist: Chicken Run.

   Plus, now the hypothetical (Sugar Honey Iced Tea) is hitting the proverbial (Fanatic Appreciation Network). The RIAA is suing people, and they're showing no mercy for race, color, creed or secret affection for songs by Sean Paul.

   Oh, wait. Yes they are.

Music Industry Settles Copyright Lawsuit With 12-Year-Old Girl
By Ted Bridis, The Associated Press

   WASHINGTON (AP) A 12-year-old girl in New York who was among the first to be sued by the record industry for sharing music over the Internet is off the hook after her mother agreed Tuesday to pay $2,000 to settle the lawsuit, apologizing and admitting that her daughter's actions violated U.S. copyright laws.

   The hurried settlement involving Brianna LaHara, an honors student, was the first announced one day after the Recording Industry Association of America filed 261 such lawsuits across the country. Lawyers for the RIAA said Brianna's mother, Sylvia Torres, contacted them early Tuesday to negotiate.

   The case against Brianna was a potential minefield for the music industry from a public relations standpoint. The family lives in a city housing project on New York's Upper West Side, and they said they mistakenly believed they were entitled to download music over the Internet because they had paid $29.99 for software that gives them access to online file-sharing services.


   There's essentially two ways to look at this, and pardon me if I'm just continuing my crusade against teenagers:

   1) The RIAA has essentially made ignorance a legal excuse in trading music. So because this mom and her daughter payed a fee to access KaZaA, now every person who has can cite this precedent when saying they "didn't know what they were doing was illegal." This logic also says that anyone who has ever bought a cable descrambler box can say they thought the purchase allowed them to legally leach cable TV. Doesn't matter that it's a product that allows illegal behavior ... because you paid for it, it's OK.

   Maybe the least surprising part of both the AP story and the NY Post story -- especially in the second case -- is the prominent mention that this girl is "an honor student." Oh, OK, that must make her innocent. Good kid or not, 12 or not, she broke the law. Why don't you report the part of the story that says the RIAA is only really going after people who've downloaded more than 1,000 songs?

   At 9-10 songs a CD, that essentially means she paid $29.95 for the equivelant of every CD I currently own, and most of the CDs I own, unlike music one would download, suck. I mean dude, I bought Dizzy Up The Girl. What was I thinking?


   But then there's the flip side:

   2) The RIAA is actually trying to be civil about this. As much as they have been ripped off -- according to their definitions, anyway -- they're still offering a limited number of people $3,000 settlements. Sure, future ones will cost probably closer to $15K, but according to this letter from BU's general counsel, they could very easily start trying to bankrupt people left and right.

"If it can prove infringement, the RIAA does not even have to show that the record companies actually lost money. Under the copyright law, the RIAA can opt to collect statutory damages ranging from $750 to $30,000 for each song wrongfully downloaded or shared. For willful copyright violations, the court has the discretion to increase the penalty to $150,000 per song!"
-- Robert B. Smith, who once blew me off for an interview.

   But no, they actually are trying to be as civil about this as they can be while still sending a message. Their reward? They get throwaway lines like this:

''Are you headed to junior high schools to round up the usual suspects?,'' Sen. Dick Durbin (Ill.) asked RIAA President Cary Sherman during a Senate Judiciary hearing.

   Well, Dick, they probably are. Given most music downloaders are probably closer than 12 than 62, there's probably a better chance they'll find people ripping off music. Not a whole lot of people your age are all that good with the Internet, as Orrin Hatch proved thoroughly. It's the same sort of principle that says if I was looking for people who were having affairs with Capitol Hill pages, I would look on Capitol Hill.

   Disclaimer: Dick Durbin is probably a very nice man, and as far as I know, has never had an affair with any Capitol Hill pages. He also has a Web site that, among other things, features an animated GIF of a cup of coffee.

   Awesome.


   The simple truth here is if you want kids to stop shoplifting, you have to show them that it can get you arrested. The problem with this is from a PR standpoint -- in order to do this, you have to arrest kids. You have to come after poor college students, because they're the ones breaking the law. Life sucks like that.

   And please don't get into the machinae of why music swapping is legal. You know you're stealing ... typically, legal processes don't have to go through Holland to get done. Take it from me, a guy who has dormant sports gambling accounts with books in both the Channel Islands and Costa Rica.

   And yes, the dormant implies I'm done for a while. You can point to the 4-10-1 picks against the spread, but I'll choose to point to the liberating feeling that all those losses weren't costing me a single dime.

   But for the record, I'd have won money last week betting my hypothetical picks.

   OK, I'm done.


September 8, 2003 - Better Than Antiques Roadshow
   Proof It Can Be Done: You know that point when you're getting ready for a trip, and you threaten to stuff a person in your suitcase so they can come along with you?

Man Ships Self In Cargo Crate From New York to Texas
By The Associated Press

   DALLAS -- Charles McKinley found a unique way to save a few bucks getting to his parents' house: He crawled into a wooden airplane cargo crate and succeeded in shipping himself from New York to Texas.

   After hours of traveling, McKinley, 25, of New York City, pried open the crate with a crowbar Saturday morning. He popped up outside his parents' doorstep in the south Dallas suburb of DeSoto, shook the hand of a shocked deliveryman and walked away.

   The deliveryman called DeSoto police, who arrested him on outstanding Texas warrants. The FBI and the Transportation Security Administration are investigating.

   McKinley has not yet been charged with a crime, officials said.

   "It's amazing that the gentleman survived. It's absolutely a bizarre case," said FBI Special Agent Lori Bailey, a spokeswoman for the Dallas field office. "Our concern at this point is to determine how this was done."

   Officials said McKinley's crate was put aboard a pressurized Boeing 727 from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Fort Wayne, Ind. The crate was transferred to a second plane bound for Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

   A ground shipping company picked up the crate and delivered it to the residence of McKinley's parents. McKinley spent at least half a day in the crate and broke out just in time for the deliveryman to see him.

   "We sure don't see something like this happen like this every day," DeSoto Police Chief Mike Brodnax said.


   Why is it so amazing he survived, because he was lucky enough to go in a pressurized plane? People do this all the time ... it's called flying.

   But perhaps the best part of this story is, using the numbers here, it had to cost Captain Cheapo at least $300 to ship himself from New York City to Texas. I can go on Orbitz right now and book several weekend flights, NYC to Dallas, for under $250.

   It's amazing what people get into the news nowadays.


   • Absolutely amazing.

Me!
-- How poor people do screen captures -- by taking pics of their TV.

   When Comcast finally finished their takeover of AT&T Broadband and created CN8, I marveled at its existence. Really, I've never understodd why cable companies need their own networks ... it's not as though they really need "ratings" for themselves, and it often ends up just being a clearinghouse for infomercials and reruns of Laverne & Shirley.

   Yeah, I'm glad I never wrote that update. And to think it probably had something to do with interest in the services of the DiStefano Medical Group.

   After preparing for the show by watching another delightful episode of The OC -- now officially my favorite "drama" on TV -- I got to the studio at 9:30 for the 10 p.m. taping. Met the producer John, who'd invited me, and Ed, the host, then sat to watch the Sox blow it before going on about 10:25.

   At some point, I also went into makeup to get touched up. That was pretty uneventful, excpet that it's good to see there's no compound in the universe that can defrizz my wire hair.

   To me, the whole concept of sports talk is to create a conversation of intelligent things going back and forth, keeping silence to a minimum. I think we did that -- Ed is excellent at creating a conversation, and there were only 1 or two points where I really felt like I had nothing to add.

   And that's about it. Given the compliments I've received just since last night, I'm hopeful this won't be my last appearance, as it was a great time to talk sports with knowledgeable people. And suffice to say the whole "no glasses" look is pretty much about seven games up with ten to play. Whether it be via contacts or trained professionals shooting lazers in my eyes, I think the time has come.

   And special thanks to the folks at Filene's, who provided my wardrobe in the sense that they were given a lot of Couture money, then provided me with nice clothes.

   I'll attempt to come up with more deep analysis of everything tomorrow, but until then, you're stuck with photos of naughty food items. Normally I'd have linked to my column from here, but it's oddly not online.

   Though trust me, you're not missing much.


September 7, 2003 - Week One Wroundup
   Positive Punditry: It should be noted that Vito, regarding the U.S. Open, picked Justine Henin-Hardenne and Juan Carlos Ferrero as champions in the tournament's first week. Justine did win, and Ferrero lost today's final to Andy Roddick because, among other reasons, he'd essentially played one full match more than Andy.

   I think that's pretty impressive on his part, especially given I couldn't even tell you who Juan Carlos Ferrero was when the tournament started.

   Of course, you didn't know who either of them were. So all the better.

   And The Rest: As is now so delicately pointed out in yesterday's comments, I am 4-11-1 in my against-the-spread picks for Week One, with my only winners being Detroit, Kansas City, San Francisco and the Giants.

   But as I pointed out to my coworkers, given the picks recommended here, I am up one unit by betting three times as much on the Lions as on Dallas or Carolina. Given the goal there is to be ahead at the completion of the year, you rubes can suck me.

   But, of course, I mean that in a nice way.


   • For those of you in death pools, Warren Zevon is now a point scorer.

   Say what you will about his music and the grace with which he handled his illness. The story here is that after being a lifelong smoker, and after developing lung cancer from it, Zevon went back to smoking in his last year of life.

   I can't tell if that's something I should be so amused by and admire, or whether I should be contacting the truth people to make sure they're crafting an ad about it.


   And for those you in football pools, given my current status as "athletics pundit," a rundown of the week's football action thus far.

   This is undoubtably to become a recurring feature, and I think beats the alternative of explaining individually each of the 11 games I picked wrong.

Everyone Hates Lawyers: Bills 31, Patriots 0
When the Pats lost Lawyer Milloy -- and the fact that they're now talking collusion means we can call it a loss -- it didn't so much clinch New England would be beaten Sunday as it did open up the opportunity that the Bills could blow them off the field. Drew Bledsoe alone doesn't often lead a team over anybody, but with Drew on one side, Lawyer on the other and the emotion of that, this officially become possible:

"Six minutes into the second quarter, the Patriots had minus-4 yards of offense."
-- Blood, meet streets. Now run.


To be quite honest, it got so bad I started cheering against New England ... I wanted both to see them lose their worst opener ever (which they did, as I wrote about here) as much as I wanted to hear the callers on sports radio this week go officially go from agitated to suicide watch. As bad a barometer of fan intelligence as sports radio can often be, it rarely fails to be absolutely hilarious.

Let me assure you. You haven't lived until you hear someone, in all seriousness, propose a trade for [Insert crappy unility player here.] for [Bonafide superstar with possibly slight contract troubles.]. They should make a DVD of this stuff and hand it out instead of Zoloft.

Return Of The Big Blue Wrecking Crew: Giants 23, Rams 13
Kerry Collins holds the NFL record for most fumbles in a season -- 23 -- but appearently Kurt Warner through t it would be cool to try to break the mark in one game. Six times Superman fumbled, once in the end zone for a touchdown, then he spent the post-game on a trainers table with an apparent concussion. This of course means the whole week will be spent debating Warner vs. Marc Bulger, and our collective brains will explode. So thank you, Giants.

As good as the defense looked -- 6 sacks, 4 turnovers -- I do have to give special thanks to Mike Martz, the worst coach in the NFL today. Down 23-13 with about 5:30 left in the fourth quarter, and facing a 4th-and-12 at the Giants 30, Martz went for the first down, falling short and turning the ball over. Getting the ball back off a three-and-out, and then facing a 4th-and-8 at the Giants 24 with about 2:20 left, Martz went for the first again, falling short and essentially ending the game. Apparently Rams kicker Jeff Wilkins isn't just ineffective, he has cerebral palsy.

As for that three-and-out by New York, it was the classic Giants offensive day. Kerry Collins throws for 200+ yards ... and no scores. Tiki Barber gets 146 yards ... and no scores. Amani Toomer? 98 yards, no scores. Shockey and Hilliard? Combined 68 yards, no TDs.

The only offensive TD? Brian Mitchell. One rush, one yard, one touchdown.

They're like fantasy lepers.


Thursday: Redskins 16, Jets 13
"Ramsey near-flawless in first half," yet Washington wins the game over the QB-less Jets by just three. Pardon me while I stop the Super Bowl ticket presses.

Broncos 30, Bengals 10
Plummer throws for no scores and three picks, Cincy wears black pants, yet Denver still wins by three touchdowns. I'm officially disassembling the Bengals' bandwagon ...

Lions 42, Cardinals 24
... and rebuilding it for the Lions. After those four touchdowns passes, my 15th round pick of Joey Harrington doesn't look so poor, does it Coen's League?

Colts 9, Browns 6
I'm not sure what's sadder, that the Browns have lost their last three openers on field goals at the gun, that Peyton Manning had to watch the game ball go to Mike Vanderjagt, or that I almost recommended people bet the OVER 45 line on this game.

Chiefs 27, Chargers 14
Dear Mike Martz, This is what you do when the best player on your team in your running back. Perhaps you should go back and watch some of those old videos we made. Good luck. Sincerely, Dick Vermeil.

Texans 21, Dolphins 20
The thing that scares me about this game, even more than my twisted logic behind picking the Dolphins, is that if Miami starts losing in September, they might start winning in December. And that would cause the Moon to crash into Earth.

Steelers 34, Ravens 15
It's sad. Given I've become a Ray Lewis fan, I don't even give a little smile anymore when the Ravens D just gets eviscerated by the likes of the XFL MVP. Moving on from a true gambling tragedy ... I hope this never happens with Vegas, I'll be bankrupt.

Vikings 30, Packers 25
Memo to future Minnesota opponents: Culpepper completes 15 passes for 195 yards. Moss catches nine for 150. The Randy Ratio is finally operational!

Panthers 24, Jaguars 23
Jake Delhomme is from Breaux Bridge, La., went to Louisiana-Lafayette and is now QBing the ... Panthers. This man is the second coming of Bobby Hebert, and the fact he's not running the show in N'Awlins is a national travesty I demand investigated.

Seahawks 27, Saints 10
See?! They need him too!

49ers 49, Bears 7
You know, I'm not a Bears fan, but if I open up my paper and read "Stewart Era Starts Poorly For Chicago," I'm canceling my subscription and putting my head in a hot coal oven.

Falcons 27, Cowboys 13
As much as "Dallas Sloppy In Parcells' Debut" competed with Kordell for "Best Headline That Could Have Been Written On Wednesday" honors, the sad truth for Atlanta is they very easily could have lost this game. The sadder truth is that I made the home favorite Boys a recommended pick, but we needn't go down that road.

Titans 25, Raiders 20
After my proclamation about them, I now think these Titans have "Ohio State 2002" written all over them. Well, after Saturday's squeaker over San Diego State, we can also call it "Ohio State 2003: Now 100% Clarett Free!"

   As for Monday night, set your VCRs. CN8 (Ch. 9 in Western Mass, Ch. 3 in the East), Sports Pulse, 10 p.m., with me, competing against Monday Night Football.

   Least a large audience won't see me talking with my hands.


September 6, 2003 - Thank Goodness
   Rims: I'm officially befuddled. Today, driving behind me, was an entirely rusted out Honda Accord -- sky blue, with the hood bent upward and nearly completely without a back bumper -- with a car bra and brand new rims on the shitty tires. At the intersection we pulled up to, driving the other way was a nice Neon, with white and orange flames all down the sides, with no hubcaps at all.

   Jokes are often made about "souped-up Civics," but really, you've got to be asking for trouble when the most expensive thing on your car isn't even the wheels, but the things inside the wheels.

   Course, neither compared to the oddest/saddest vehicle I've seen this weekend. In Providence, I was passed by an entirely rusted out Toyota 4Runner driven by a mom with her two kids inside. This thing literally looked like a still breeze would collapse the engine compartment it was so rusted out, and yet, the story was on the back window.

   Partially open and pushed down, as though it was trying to be hidden, were the offwhite remnants of what had been written there some time ago.

"Just Married"

   • As if that weren't pointless enough, now watch as Jon Couture Sings His Hits.

DETROIT (-4) over Arizona
DALLAS (-1) over Atlanta
CAROLINA (-4) over Jacksonville

NEW YORK GIANTS (Pick 'em) over St. Louis
New England (+1) over BUFFALO
Baltimore (+5) over PITTSBURGH
MIAMI (-13) over Houston
CLEVELAND (-1) over Indianapolis
CINCINNATI (+6) over Denver
GREEN BAY (-5) over Minnesota
KANSAS CITY (-5) over San Diego
New Orleans (+3) over SEATTLE
SAN FRAN (-7) over Chicago
Oakland (+3) over TENNESSEE
PHILADELPHIA (-3) over Tampa Bay

   This would be how I'd recommend picking them, with the seperated top three as best bets, if I was a football gambling writer.

   But since I'm not, and since the credit card companies have officially stopped letting me buy virtual gaming chips from my Channel Islands bookies, I'll just have to pick them straight up: Lions, Cowboys, Panthers, Giants, Patriots, Ravens, Dolphins, Browns, Broncos, Packers, Chiefs, Saints, 49ers, Raiders and Eagles.

   It's Football Sunday again, America. Turn off your TVs and hide away as appropriate.


September 5, 2003 - Someday, I'll Stop Talking Golf
   But Until Then,: welcome to the enigma.

Hole
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
OUT
Yards
480
375
144
465
121
360
385
560
155
3045
PAR
5
4
3
4
3
4
4
5
3
35
Cooch
4
5
4
4
4
5
4
6
4
40
• Agawam Municipal GC - Feeding Hills, Mass. •
40, 5 OVER PAR
Birdies: 1 - Pars: 2 - Bogeys: 6 - Others: 0
Fairways Hit: 1 of 6 - Greens In Regulation: 2 of 9 - Putts: 16

   A par putt on every hole but the one I birdied, and a pair of missed two-footers from shooting 38. Not bad considering I was playing with my driver from high school and, courtesy of contact lenses and the setted sun, the last two holes were essentially played blind.

   On Contacts: It's pretty clear to me, after three days giving contact lenses another run, that the only way I'll really be able to see without glasses is to pay someone several thousand bucks to shoot lasers in my eyes. As it was explained to me, I have astigmatism in both eyes, yet not really severe enough to go to the more expensive lenses that will correct for it.

   Basically, it's like trying to hang a picture with dental floss ... just kind of throw it up there, fling your arms out and hope everything holds.

   Sadly, this is what my vision has come to.


   • And now, a word about Miller.

   Miller brews beer. Several kinds even -- Miller, Miller Lite, Miller Genuine Draft. They even have a South American Brewery ... SAB Miller. Miller is renowned for not their ad campaigns "Made by Dick," but for their "Great Taste, Less Filling" argument by the likes of Bob Uecker and gigantic breasted women who parlayed their fame into roles at Wrestlemania XIX.

   As someone who used to regularly drop $30 of my parents money for wrestling pay-per-views, and now has received several pay-per-views for free on DVD, I marvel that there are still people who have the money to spend. You're essentially paying for one good match, and really, that's like paying for a boxing match.

   And no one is stupid enough to do that anymore.


   Given Miller's storied history, you would think it would not be an empire based on sand. That their beer would, in fact, be worthy of the work needed to lift the glass to one's lips and tip it back, spilling its contents into one's mouth. You would not think it could be termed, as it was tonight, "negative beer."

   This would not be the case.

   Last week, I mixed Keystone Light and rancid chicken, creating a toxic substance that became a part of the landscaping at a Hess station in Allston. Yet there was something far more satisfying about that blend, because at least the chicken tasted halfway good while I was eating it. Drinking Miller, especially after actual beer, just left me confused. I definitely felt there was no "Great Taste," but "Less Filling?" Sure, but it wasn't exactly something to be proud of.

   It came out the same color it went in!

   So remember, even if your waitress is in a contest to sell the most Miller and it's her birthday, don't drink Miller. Save the two dollars and just drink your own pee.

   This message has been brought to you by Jon. Thank you.


September 4, 2003 - Happy Birthday To Her
   Anatomy Of A Broken Club: We'll get to it.

Hole
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
OUT
Yards
400
393
509
174
349
412
327
164
493
3221
PAR
4
4
5
3
4
4
4
3
5
36
Cooch
5
5
5
5
5
4
6
4
6
45
• LeBaron Hills CC - Lakeville, Mass. •
Hole
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
IN
Yards
470
147
330
193
386
507
391
370
377
3171
PAR
5
3
4
3
4
5
4
4
4
36
Cooch
5
3
5
3
6
6
5
5
6
44
PAR 72
89, 17 OVER PAR
6392 YARDS
Birdies: 0 - Pars: 5 - Bogeys: 9 - Others: 4
Fairways Hit: 5 of 14 - Greens In Regulation: 4 of 18 - Putts: 35

   This is probably the nicest course in SouthCoast -- a private country club with a lot of PGA Tour-like polish ... and an initiation fee of 77.3% my yearly salary -- which is why I'm agitated to have pissed away a really good round with equipment issues.

   12th Hole) Using my driving club of choice, a 3-wood, I bomb it 290 off the tee. Yes, I wasted the drive by chunking a chip, but I still hit a golf ball 290 yards.

   14th Hole) I hit my drive oddly sky high and twisting right, taking a huge divot. I manage to get to a greenside bunker in two anyway by using the 3-wood again, but it makes the hole that much harder.

   15th Hole) Drive goes dead right into a lake. I think the club may be twisting in my hands, but forget it when I get on the green in four anyway.

   16th Hole) Drive skied right with huge divot again. It's at this point I really start to think the club is twisting in my hands.

   17th Hole) Drive not only skied right with huge divot, clubhead makes horrendous screeching noise on contact. Now have actual proof club is twisting in my hands, as clubhead is now about 60 degrees from where it should be given my grip.

   18th Hole) Before teeing off, physically twist clubhead on the shaft with my hand. Determine 5-wood might be the better play.

   Despite how it ended, I can't recommend this place enough. And I'm not just saying that because I had 14 par putts in 18 holes, and because scary weather literally meant we were the only players on the course for our entire round.

   After all, I only made 5 of the 14 par putts.

Pats Face Tough Road
-- Given I knew for a week that I had to do a piece for our Patriots preview, this is pretty shameful. But given I wrote this in an hour and a half, I'm rather impressed.

   • Any recent college graduate living on their own will tell you the two highest percentages of actual mail received are loan consolidation notices and credit card applications. They just are ... it's not all that odd to get seven pieces of mail on a given day, and have all of them be the above two things. For the Internet savvy who pay their bills online, it's even worse.

   It's far less aggravating that the most common telemarketer call here ... people trying to sell me The Standard-Times. At first I was aggravated that this company would continue trying to sell to a guy who puts the paper together, but given the telemarketers once directly called the Sports Department to buy a subscription, it's just kind of become a fact of life.

   I have reason to ignore both sets of correspondence, given I think rates are going to fall even lower and I already have multiple credit cards, but I always open both for "shredding" purposes. "Shredding," in the world of those who don't have a shredder in their office, meaning "tearing up into little pieces with one's hands, then throwing into the air like a tickertape parade."

   So while going through my mail today, I came across the usual from Capital One. Yet, it wasn't that usual ... clearly, I'd started receiving the "young adult" series of credit card marketing.

Beer, Cards and Fire
-- Beer, Cards and Fishing, the choice of a new generation.

   In and of itself, there's not really anything new about credit cards having really pretty pictures on them. These designs just happened to strike mas, well, putting a smiley face on heroin, so to speak.

   Eh, I have no point, really. It's been a tough day.

   Yeah, playing that fancy private course for free really took it out of me.


September 3, 2003 - Sex Ed Not With Coach Buzzcut
   Sexxy, Sexxy Sweepstakes: In MTV's Protect Yourself with Good Charlotte contest, the winner will write a 300-word essay on "why you and your community desperately need sex education." The first prize?

"Good Charlotte and top sexual health experts (provided by SIECUS) will come to your town. You'll get all the details about sex ed, meet the band in person, and snag 50 VIP tickets to an exclusive Good Charlotte concert in your hometown."
-- Sadly, Good Charlotte will not be the one talking sex ed.

   • Now, the billing for the contest clearly is targeted at towns where sex ed is either shunned or entirely non-existant. The kinds of places where, as in my hometown, it's a huge controversy to be talking about intercourse in schools.

   The details are a little hazy, but at the sheer thought of us spending one gym class putting lubricated condoms on bananas, many parents felt the need to go to the School Committee to scream and point. I'm sure it seemed like a good idea at the time, before they became grandparents at 42, but that's beside the point.

   So you've got a town that's likely going to be up in arms about some outsiders coming in to talk sex to their kids, and who can they look toward to appease their fears? Who can they use as a basis to calm themselves down? That this isn't just another spectacle and something to be taken seriously?

Good Charlotte
-- The upstanding boys of Good Charlotte.

   I hope the twins know the best reaction to being told they have a "purty mouth."


September 2, 2003 - Televised Bodily Things
   On Madden: After losing my seventh consecutive game earlier tonight -- to a guy playing as the Lions, no less -- I've decided maybe it's time to stop playing online for a while. Video games are just that ... games. And games are supposed to be fun.

   Games shouldn't make you throw your shoe down the hallway while screaming.

   On Lawyer Milloy: When the Patriots cut a four-time Pro Bowl safety, the fans of New England know just how to react ... turn it into a Craig's List Missed Connection.

"I've seen you the past 4 years in February in Hawaii. You also gave everything in Foxboro and other assorted AFC East cities.

Why couldn't you have just renegotiated?? Why did you have to be so stubborn? I wish you the best. When no one will sign you for as much as you think you are worth (remember, you lost a step last year and are getting older) I hope you call us back and let us sign you for much less.

-Pats Fan"
-- As posted about here.

   On TV: Me. Tonight I taped an appearance on the New Bedford Public Access sports show "Sports Ramblers," essentially an appearance I got to make because I showed up at work minutes before the one of the hosts that I work with was leaving to tape it.

   Of course, none of you outside Whale City will be able to see this, my TV debut.


   • You'll all just have to watch CN8's Sports Pulse Monday at 10 p.m. instead.

   Yes, you really did interpret that correctly. I have been asked to appear on a sports show that's aired in six states and presumably watched by people with whom I am not related.

   I realize the thought of me as pundit on anything is sheer lunacy, but I do ask that no one contact the producers of CN8's Sports Pulse and tell them this until after I've appeared on the show.

   Suffice to say, I'm already nervous and excited, and the show is triple-digit hours away. But if I had any other reaction, something would clearly be wrong. I know I'll do fine, I know I'll be prepared and the extra time gives me the perfect excuse to finally break down and buy a suit.

   It just makes me smile to know that, in the same medium over a three-day period, I've announced that I puked at a gas station and that I'm going on a popular regional sports show.

   And they said the Internet was only about the porn.


September 1, 2003 - Tube News?
   Red Sox Hypothesis: A couple of days ago, Craig offered up his idea on how the BoSox can finally finish off the Curse of the Bambino, if such a thing actually does exist. His idea? Retire The Babe's number three. Even though the number has no real connection between Ruth and the Red Sox organization -- Boston didn't use uniform numbers while he was here -- Craig said it's the kind of thing that'd tweak the Yankees, among other things, and quite possibly put everyone at peace.

   Now I've been thinking about this for a couple days, and I'm basically back to the same solution I came up with a long time ago. In my mind, there's only one real way to end this Curse ... get rid of the only tangible common denominator still in play from the time when The Babe played in The Hub.

   Replace Fenway Park.

   There are both rational and irrational Curse-related reasons for this. Not only did Babe actually play in Fenway Park, and thus could theoretically still lurk in it, it's long been hypothesized by sportswriters and fans alike that the extreme hitters-park nature of Fenway burns out the Boston bullpen (and starters, to a point) well before the end of the season.

   So even though the Sox are one of the better home teams in baseball this season -- 46-24 so far ties them for the second-most home wins -- it could be argued that as beautiful and historic as Fenway is, it actually hurts the team in the long run.

   But as we all know, there's no such thing as the Curse. After all, that would be as ludicrous as living or dying on the results of a baseball team, wouldn't it?

   They're (not) Grrrreat!: While talking about Craig, it should be noted that his fandom of the Detroit Tigers has made me feel guilty about my quiet hoping that they make a run at the 1962 Mets record of 120 losses in a season. I suppose technically they've already made a run at it, becoming only the second team to ever lose 100 games by the start of September, but my logic of "Well, at least they won't be just another bad team, they'll be the bad team of all-time" may be a bit flawed.

   Thought For The Day has been tireless tracking the numbers for most of the season, but in brief, the Tigers lost their 102nd of the season tonight, and need seven wins to finish the year with a higher win percentage than the .250 (40-120) of the 1962 Mets.

   Detroit has 26 games remaining, and many potholes in its highways.


   • While I'm not sure it's going to become a recurring feature, given the man is retiring after 30 years steering the good ship BU, it's the first Silber Speaks -- things said by current BU President and longtime BU not-so-silent force John Silber.

   Silber spoke at likely his last freshman class matriculation today, putting 3,950 more freshman officially into the school he has molded into one of the nation's finest over these last three decades. He said all the usual kind of Silber things -- "I hope that each of you will be touched with fire and move through your years at Boston University with passion and intensity." -- before handing the stage over to Boston University president-elect Daniel Goldin, but still managed to speak with the kind of bluntness that has made Our Man John a touchstone for controversy through the years.

   Silber, on why BU doesn't distribute free condoms:

"If you aren't smart enough to know where to get them,
you're not smart enough to be in college."
-- From this Boston Globe story.

   On the one hand, he's right. On the other, he still calls a stereo a "hi-fi."


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