October 31, 2003 - Be Young. Have Fun. Egg Houses.
   So, what were you for Halloween? I was seven over par.

Hole
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
OUT
Yards
156
386
258
252
128
435
250
312
116
2293
PAR
3
4
4
4
3
5
4
4
3
34
Cooch
5
5
5
4
4
4
4
6
4
41
• Rochester GC - Rochester, Mass. •
41, 7 OVER PAR
Birdies: 1 - Pars: 2 - Bogeys: 4 - Others: 2
Fairways Hit: 0 of 6 - Greens In Regulation: 2 of 9 - Putts: 16

   We also would have accepted "acting like I was 35" or "exercising before I ate half a pizza." Feel free to contribute your own, since my Halloween costume involved wearing the ooooold Whalers jersey to field high school swimming calls.

   (By the way, if the Whalers were ever to be reconstituted, I would have at least a 5-10 moment of sheer bliss where I'd consider getting season tickets. It would end, however, once I remembered it means I'd have to go Hartford on a regular basis.)

   ((Not that Hartford doesn't have some cool bars. And a shitty radio station.))

   Why Democracy Doesn't Work: As quoted from your source for SouthCoast news, an entity which each day proudly proclaims it is "Serving the SouthCoast community," a story on ballot questions which will appear in the city election:

"Proposed by former WBSM-AM talk show host Barry Richard, the "South Coast" question simply asks voters to answer 'yes' or 'no' to this statement: 'The term 'South Coast' should be used to collectively refer to communities in Southeastern Massachusetts located along the coast.'"

   Nicely done, Barry. Maybe you weren't terminated at the station because of your "controversial views." Maybe you were terminated because you're an idiot who needs to get a life.

"Flipping through the 2002 Verizon white pages for the New Bedford area reveals 39 businesses with the term 'South Coast,' 'Southcoast' or 'SouthCoast' in their name. There's Southcoast Hospitals Group, Southcoast Concrete Products Inc., Southcoast Custom Woodworking, South Coast Towing, South Coast Podiatry, SouthCoast Modular Homes, Southcoast Flea Market and South Coast Sten-Tel Transcription Inc.

There is a regional magazine called The South Coast Insider, the South Coast Research and Technology Park, South Coast Emergency Services and South Coast Mortgage & Investment Corp.

Although popular wisdom asserts that The Standard-Times' Publisher William Kennedy coined the term 'SouthCoast,' it is not so. The phrase popped up in the local business community, and on weather forecasts, several years before the newspaper starting using the term in late 1996."

   (By the way, here's the story on our proud patriot getting canned at his talk radio gig. I especially enjoy the part about his being encouraged to sue those involved "for abusing his civil rights and for censorship." I guess that means I could actually make more if my writing because of lower quality and the S-T fired me. I'll have to look into that for my next performance review.

   The BU Presidency Fiasco: Just go here and here and read. Don't even get me started ... I was going to print the letter the new "interim president" sent out, but the whole thing is just such an embarassment that I'd really rather not publicize it.

   Ignore prestige, ivory towers and everything. I attented an entity that is currently being dominated by an elderly man with one hand. A man that made it into what it is over the course of thirty years, one of the most respected minds in this country, but a man who is both elderly and missing half an arm.

   Don't even get me started.


   • Reminscing is fun. For example, this was written to me on an old site by an old girlfriend who is not the one you just thought of:

"well here me am siging your guestbook. well me like your web page and me liked it even more after me got the full effect in patty's room on her computer(ER!!!!). Well, it has been great typing to you (not yelling) and chatting. and Little Ali says 'hi'. and also the 19 other kids ;). Just kidding. Well best of luck in college and hope to see ya in the break and the new year too :). Me don't know what else to say so me will just say bye and me'll see in like less than twenty-four hours and me hope all works out.. me won't worry and well let it happen ...ok me typed your ear off so me'll let you go and let you read me message cause me just signed it....me know that all the me's that me ahs used in this little message will piss you off(that;s why me did it..) :):):)..well bye babe

   This does not change the fact both that things ended so poorly partially because of me and that I'm still a bit saddened this girl stopped talking to me.

   However, it also does not change the fact she sent a guy to the place where I would have presumably been for that New Year's with the intention of him kicking my ass.

   The sheer thought that I angered someone so much that they sent a mercenary out to get me ... if only I used my powers for good instead of evil.

   Editor's Note: When one does not have stories from the present, they should look to their past.

   Especially if they were much cooler then.


October 29-30, 2003 - Just In Time To Get Egged
   Fact Weaned From A Snapple Cap: And I'm paraphrasing for space concerns:

"One alternate title that had been considered for 'Friends' was 'Insomnia Cafe.'"

   This person was rolled off onto other projects aftet this gemstone came out, correct? Maybe not fired, but definitely encouraged to pursue other areas of interests, yes? Insomnia Cafe?! That's so stupid, it led me to save a Snapple bottle cap in a pocket for more than 24 hours.

   Editor's Note: I've found the only plausible explanation for such stupidity. The writer was Canadian.

   As we drive forward though, more stupidity awaits us. What follows is the result of men misunderstanding the terminology behind the "moustache ride" ...

Moustache Roller Coasters
-- ... and thus growing bicycle seats on their faces.

   Believe it or not, they're in a moustache growing contest.

   That, or the Lord is playing an extremely cruel joke ... especially on Rollie Magic Fingers up there.


   • We will call this feature the "Twenty Talking Points," and it shall be used for any overnight trip not worthy of the big, overblown, takes-a-month-to-do-because-I-have-no-work-ethic features which you all have suffered through above.

   And thus, we begin.

   1) The fact that I have now been to New York City three times in a month, and four times in a year has greatly upset my equilibrium. I will blame this for any hair loss, weight gain or other physical disfigurement I may befall in the near future.

   2) It's essentially the same thing that would happen if, just because you like a little mayo on your turkey sandwich, you start eating jars of it by the hour.

   3) Well, technically what would happen then has a name: mayonnaise catatonia, of which Cooch's World is two of the top three search results on Google. But this really has nothing to do with anything.

   4) What has something to do with something is that this was a pretty awful basketball game. A halftime score of 34-all is not exactly what one looks for in a game where everyone is getting open looks, and when things go to an overtime period, typically someone should break 90.

   5) Of course, one can't really complain when they're sitting in the Sports Illustrated luxury box in a seat that, were the center court line extended out infinitely, would be perfectly bisected.

   6) Maybe not perfectly, per se, but when you walk in and look down to see the Knicks logo at center court essentially laid out right for your sightline, it's pretty humbling.

   7) A note to any future journalists: Have important and awesome friends. You'll need them with your $17.95 a week salary.

   8) The obvious question, upon discovering it was the SI box, is answered by simply saying, "No, I didn't meet any writers." I did meet a very nice SI sales guy named Larry -- who quickly pointed out all the free food and drink -- but as far as I can tell he was the only one from the magazine present.

   9) The only reason one would know it was the SI box was a tasteful little display of periodicals above the bar area, highlighted of course by the latest swimsuit issues.

   10) I was more impressed with the chicken fingers, fajita bar and free beer personally, but that's just me.

   11) If nothing else, it was outstanding to see Vito attending his first Knicks game at the Garden, truly the culmonation of years and years of fandom.

   12) It was even more outstanding to see him flip off the whole team, then correctly predict they wouldn't score in the final three minutes of regulation. It was like watching myself "cheer on the Sox."

   13) Thankfully, the whole Yankee worship in the city died down after they lost the World Series. It's amazing. No one seems to realize New York lost to a hot, superior team. All they'll say is, "We lost to the Florida &#@^&* Marlins!"

   14) Honestly, it's a scenario I'm glad I didn't see play out in Boston. If the Sox had actually made the Series and lost, there's at least a 35-40% chance I would have killed my brother, then committed suicide. I am not exaggerating this. If anything, we're underestimating to facilitate familial love.

   15) Some day, I will honestly let it go.

   16) Just don't hold your breath.

   17) OK, the narrative is all screwed up now. Big finish!

   18) On Friday morning, I put my contacts in and shaved while sitting in Central Park. Why? Half because I rushed to get ready so I could leave with Vito, and half because ... well, Central Park is exceedingly cleaner than Vito's bathroom. *

   19) The halftime entertainment at the Knicks game was Recycled Percussion, a quartet that play various trash cans, kitchen sinks and drywall buckets like drums. In Boston, we call these kind of people "street performers," but Gotham has always had its own thing going on. **

   20) The 2004 Bostonian (BU) yearbook is far better than the 2003 version, despite the College Bowl picture being less the "Sexiest Team in Quiz Bowl" persona and more the "Hey, We Answer Trivia Questions On Weekends For Fun" one. Helping is the inclusion of about 40 clubs whose raison d'etre looks to be no more than blatantly misusing the Undergraduate Student Fee. ***

   * -- This is no knock against Vito, whose kitchen I once spent three and a half hours cleaning essentially on a dare ... some people just aren't neat. He was an amazing friend and an incredibly-talented gentleman long before he started giving me box seats to Knicks games. However, this does not change the fact I had to throw my toothbrush out because I think it almost touched his bathroom sink.

   ** -- Other in game entertainment included the "Knicks City Dancers," whose checks I hope are actually issued in a principality called 'Knicks City'; the "Knicks Jumpers," who jump rope in occasionally impressive fashion; and various in-game shooting contests, the best by far being the one where the woman missed three free throws by a combined 17 miles, then proceeded to bury a three-pointer underhanded for tickets to an upcoming game.

   *** -- Post-trip research has shown Operation Smile is NOT one such group, as they raise funds to help disfigured children. But the Cigar Aficionado Society? Genius.


October 28, 2003 - Bobble-Head Flamingo
   Halloween Is Friday: And tomorrow is Winona Ryder's 32nd birthday. I plan on celebrating both in the same way.

   By buying wicked cheap candy from the Walgreens across the street on Saturday.

   No, I will not steal it.

   Unless the line is too long.


   • Given my body of work lynching Grady Little from the rooftops, it's obvious the kind of letters I'm going to receive:

Subject: So Little
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2003
From: "George" <_____@myway.com>
To: jcouture at s-t dot com

   Little's teams did not finish 1st in their division.

   He inherited a decent team. He did not rebuild one.

   He took a 40-17 record and couldn't make the playoffs last year.

   This year, he only got to the playoffs because Seattle choked.

   Then got to 2nd round because Oakland choked.

   Then of course, the Red Sox always choke.

   Many people thought this year's team would win the WS.

   He couldn't get to first place.

   Can the great season stories.

   Geo
-- The "You're Too Easy On Grady" Letters.

   Makes perfect sense to me.

Emm Esse Gee
-- Knicks-Magic at Madison Square Garden. The natural place for me to end up, of course.
I assure you it's only because I'm sitting in a box. Won't stand for anything less, you know.


October 27, 2003 - Telephone
   Come On, Dead: Rod Roddy is gone. Somehow, I think the "game show obsessed" contingent of our society is going to take this one pretty hard. Rightly, but still.

   Evidence.

Next Decision Will Be Bigger Than Game 7
-- Linked merely to hold form.

   • There's a whole lot that could be said about the Grady Little release, but I don't feel like writing it and you don't feel like reading it.

   Contrary to what all my writing has said, I was not one of these "fire him or else" people. Given who the likely choices are to replace him, the Sox would likely be better off keeping him on, but giving him a bench coach who actually understands the game of baseball as played in 2003.

   There's no reason to believe an ownership/GM group who has done almost everything right will do this wrong. But if they do -- with 2004 the team's best chance to win a World Series -- everything else doesn't matter.


   So with that done, I merely have to make the promised mention of Lonnie -- who has no Web site anymore -- and encourage all of you to play with your marshmallows.

   I don't know, leave me alone. I'm trying to convince myself I have Seasonal Affective Disorder


October 26, 2003 - For A Better Tasting Breakfast
   Geek Alert: It's Microsoft Longhorn, and it's ugly. Hey, what's below means I don't have to try any harder than this today.

   Giants 29, Vikings 17: Someday, the Giants will kill my father. They play enough games where they should score 40, only score 29, nearly lose, but win anyway.

   This is fact: he will die watching the New York Giants play football the same way many fathers will die watching the Red Sox. Merely accept it and move on.

   Patriots 9, Browns 3: This game was so awful, I couldn't even bring myself to listen to it on the radio. At one point, I may have chosen Kelly Clarkson's Miss Independent over this football game. Next Monday, I'll probably be picking Monday Night Raw over the Patriots.

   It's not a personal thing, it's just the way it has to be.

   I just wish I could understand why I can get WFAN in Whale City but not WBCN in Feeding Hills.


   • They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

Mike and Kobe

Boxer Mike Tyson hold signs in support of Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant during the Lakers' exhibition game against the Los Angeles Clippers in Anaheim, Calif., on Thursday. This was the first game in which Bryant has played this season. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

   I see no need to add any more.


October 25, 2003 - 35 Percent-Assed
   Odd Fact Of The Day: In Switzerland, people can not watch wrestling on television, or buy and sell wrestling video tapes or DVDs. They can, however, eat Toblerone they've cut to shape with their Victorinox knives until they puke all over Bern.

   When looking for things to entertain themselves, the Swiss can look to their national jazz station, their commune's associations for music or theater, or the 450 video-tape libraries that dot the small nation.

   Among the other things banned in Switzerland: Nude material, obscene material, horror-related comics or movies, pork, Kava pharmaceuticals, genetically modified corn, sludge dumping, a French book about Osama bin Laden, removing the tails of dogs, and auto racing.

   This does not change my desire to want to go to Switzerland. It just means I'll pack a little lighter.


   • New York should look into that.

   We will ignore ESPN.com's banner headline on the game -- "Josh, By Gosh!" -- which may be the dumbest thing even produced by a company with a selective hiring procedure. Let's just dessicate it down to the core.

   A team with a $53 million payroll knocked off the block of one with a $183 million payroll.

   And I loved it.

   Given how Red Sox fans are, we are often forced to watch the Yankees fail and call it a victory. We revel in it because, well, we have nothing else to hold on to. The 2001 World Series, when Arizona stopped New York from winning their fourth-straight championship, may have created this phenomenon around the country because, well, it really didn't seem like anyone would ever beat the Yankees again.

   Yeah, I screamed a little too loud when Tony Womack doubled into the right-field corner. There are witnesses. They know who they are, and they made excellent backup singers to my Steven Tyler.

   This sort of thing, I said, would not happen this year. The loss had been too painful, and Boston's chance had been too strong. There was no joy to be had in another's failure, because ours had been such crap. Such a ripoff. Even now, I can't let it go.

   Lisa started to debate me on the whole Game Seven thing at lunch today. I very nearly had to excuse myself, because really, a screaming match in an Applebee's over what is essentially a meaningless event isn't the best way to make friends and influence people.

   That said, prefacing a baseball argument by saying one was "sported out" isn't taught in most debate classes.

   But I digress.


   I did not watch the first six innings tonight ... I'd actually been more fascinated by I Love The 80s Strikes Back, because once they hit '87 or '88, I pretty much remember everything. I knew the longer before I switched over to the baseball, the better off for my sanity.

   2-0, just as the bottom of the 7th was ending.

   I remained impartial for about three outs. By the 9th, I was calling Massachusetts' only legitimate Marlins fan, reminding him that I'd been there watching in '93, as Charlie Hough took the start in the franchise's first game (a win over the Dodgers, btw).

   Surprising Stat Remembered By Viewing Retrosheet: The '93 Marlins and Rockies didn't even finish last in their divisions ... the Mets were five games worse in the East, the Padres six worst in the West.

   Stat Requiring Baseball Reference: The Marlins first-ever player sucked.


   At the risk of being melodramatic, this postseason has taught me that I really am a Red Sox fan above all else, for better or for worse. I've seen both of my football teams win Super Bowls, and rioted accordingly. I am a Bruins and Celtics fan, and yet, not enough to really freak out over anything. But to even imagine the Red Sox getting to a World Series, and being outs away from winning it, it's a thought that I still don't even want to think about.

   Really, it all seemed like it was falling together this year. Not just in how the team played, but my being sent to cover the games. Perhaps it was asking a bit too much, but it seemed like it would be the perfect formative year to begin my legitimate journalism career.

   Of course, maybe the puppeteer knows the future, and that this was the perfect to begin what will be a career of covering massive and crippling failure. Maybe my baseball life will be filled with nothing more than cheering when the Yankees fail -- something that will probably happen a lot earlier in '04, because "The Run" has reached its end.

   I'd rather not think about any of that now either. It's a long way until late December.


October 24, 2003 - Suck and Sucker
   First Trickle Of A Deluge: People are all up suing Google for copyright infringement. The story is an intriguing one, may actually have some legs to it, and is certainly a better forum for attacking piracy than commercials before movies than no one watches anyway.

   We saw the stuntman spot and I assure the MPAA that it was met with some excitement. Given the median age in the theater was somewhere around 14.3, it gave the kids an excuse to make-out before the feature presentation began.

   And what a feature it was.


   • But before discussing that, let's have some Cold Pizza. Because like the actual substance, it isn't going to last long.

   Admittedly, almost all shows start with a lot of kinks that need to be worked out -- anyone who saw the early Late Night with Conan O'Brien's knows that. So what's said here needs to be taken with some sodium.

   But there are so many problems in play it may not get the chance.

   1) The need. There's the immediate question of just what audience the show is shooting for. Old people are going to watch NBC's Today, like they have been for 40 years. Young people are going to watch ESPN's SportsCenter, likely multiple times in the same morning. Little kids don't watch morning TV. Nursing home patients are not up between 7-9 a.m., typically.

   The demographic the show seems to be shooting for -- a.k.a. "me" -- does not watch morning television shows. That's why there are few networks producing them ... this was not a case of an available market as much as it was giving a blind man a pair of sunglasses so he can see better.

   2) The overdoing it. I happened to turn the TV on about halfway through the program, during a segment on sports and Broadway. OK, that's a passable topic ... no problem there. After that, an interview with Jeremy Piven. Again, fair game on a morning show.

   Then it got ugly.

   It was the end of the first hour, and thus, halftime. A guy with a microphone came out -- he's a "halftime reporter," kids -- and gave hosts Jay and Kit towels and bottles of water as they all walked backed to the "locker room." All the while, he's asking them sports-cliche questions and prodding them for insight as they "towel off" and "prepare for the second half."

   They call it:

"The Cold Pizza Halftime Report - a tongue-in-cheek review of the show's first hour and preview of the next hour (including live interviews with co-hosts Hoover and Crawford)"

   I call it:

"Horseshit."

   3) The execution. The show is obviously playing to a sports demographic, so you would think you'd be dealing with four people who are heavily motivated and deeply knowledgeable about sports. If this was the case, it could power past a lot of the fluff that they do and save the whole program from being a sad joke of itself.

   Of course, these are the things people like us think about. TV executives do not.

   To put it simply, do not give your straight-laced, white, sports-anchor host a bunch of hip-hop clothes and allow him to go on camera saying, "I need some bling-bling."

   To put it simpler, when you're going to go to the trouble of sending your national correspondent to the NASCAR race in Atlanta, you should probably make sure she knows the name of the race she's at. The Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500, not the "something with 'MNBA' and 'Winston Racing Cup' in it."

   It was at that point I turned it off. Hours later, I would skip driving up to this game that was far too close to make the second entertainment-related mistake of the day.

   Cue the Wayans brothers.

   It's not as though we went into SM3 expecting great cinema. Honestly, getting into the theater was a highlight only because it ceased me getting run into by an absolute pack of high school kids. Seriously, we now know that there really is only one thing to do in Enfield, Conn., and it involves the Westfield Shopping Town formerly known as Enfield Square.

   I just wish I could figure out where the town's ghetto is, because unless these kids were getting trucked in, there's a lot of superstarz about the area.

   Anyway, whereas the first two Scary Movies relied at least partly on slapstick comedy, the third makes sure that it is the only thing it relies on. It was very reminiscent of Not Another Teen Movie, which sought to fit the most possible jokes into the running time, even at the expense of them actually being funny and being the same ones over and over and over and over and over and over and over ...

   Etc.

   It's hard to say whether the TV commercials take most of the good ones -- the scene with George Carlin is, IMHO, by far the film's finest -- but it's a movie best left for random observations and a beer-soaked meal afterward at your local Friday's/Chili's/Ruby Tuesday/place with random crap on the walls.

   We'll leave it to three thoughts:

   Elf -- Would not even be released were it not for Will Ferrell, but deserves consideration solely because it is directed by ... Jon Favreau?! The man partially responsible for "Don't Be That Guy!" and the film that made Wayne Gretzky's head bleed!

   Anna Faris -- I suppose it's not a coincidence that she's been in almost nothing else but these movies. She doesn't seem all that bad an actress, but these just don't seem like portfolio builders. It's like leading off your resume with your time working at Taco Bell as the sour cream captain.

   Simon Rex -- Nice to see him back. Though looking at his "other films", he's been, um, pretty busy.

   Least now we know why MTV probably canned him. They prefer promoting people who are "like" porn stars.


October 23, 2003 - Moo.
   Yanni Update: The man whose Live At The Acropolis I almost bought via Public Television performed the National Anthem at the World Series in Miami tonight, completing a trio of Gloria Estefan and Nick Lachey for the games in Miami.

   I really have nothing to add to this, other than expressing sorrow that Ricky Martin mustn't have been available. It's a good thing Yanni travels with his synthesizers.


   • Today's Picture Of The Moment makes the second reminisce to Coast to Coast this week.

Remember The Steer
-- Ah, Prairie Dog Town. Salina, Kan.

Five Legged Steer!
-- Save yourself the trip!

   Link I Will Not Be Attaching Via Narrative: This Concorde stuff really doesn't go with the steer at all, but such is life.


October 22, 2003 - Why Am I So Dumb?
   Parts of Massachusetts got some last night, unusual considering it was the middle of the week in October. Whale City did not get any, as far as I can tell, which shouldn't be surprising given everything we know about those that usually get some.

   We did, however, get called "The Heroin Capital of New England" by a certain fellow alumni. To me, track marks are more desirable than having the division of one's nostrils be eaten away, so I guess I ended up in the right place after all.

   This ends today's portion of Crossing Lines D.A.R.E. Never Taught Me Not To Cross. Next week, we'll discuss "anthrax falling from the sky" and other things best left in one's own head.

   Posse Mail: Our best-known professional photographer weighs in on why my high school is so screwed up:

   I thought you'd like this. it's still a woosie name.

----------------------------------
Sender: ________
Phone: --not supplied--
Email: ________
----------------------------------

This user's message:

   I know this has been keeping you awake at night, but I finally found out where the hell "Brownies" came from.

   A long, long time ago they were called the Agawam Browns. I guess the original color of their uniforms was brown, and they used to be able to hide the football against their bellies when they ran. This stumped the opposing teams...they called it "Pulling a Brownie"

   Hence the nickname, the "Brownies...."

   Ahh...the things you learn when you talk to cheerleaders.

   Now you can sleep at night!

   Take care.
-- The stupidity of the name does not change how funny
it was when the girls's soccer team came out with shirts that
read "Brownies With Nuts" across the back.

   Also, the mention of "Agawam" and "cheerleader" makes me think of Lonnie, who I would try to call today if she wasn't off building nuclear pipe bombs while ogling military personnel on some beach in Florida where it's 85 and everyone's really, really, really hot.

   Have I mentioned today I should be on a free trip to Miami right now? Because I sure keep hearing it in my head.


   • Anyway, I feel the need to point out a couple of things today, just as a means of getting everyone on the same page -- this one, of course.

   1) I have officially decided to care about Friendster for a few days. There's no real reason for this, as I can't even remember who got me to start an account in the first place, but it struck me as a valuable tool in the quest to remember that, yes, there was a time when I went out and did things outside of a work environment.

   This is my profile. You should read it and, if necessary, link to it, comment on it, whatever. I am unsure what the actual purpose of Friendster is other than discovering that a lot of people know a lot of other people, but I'm intrigued enough by it to care for a good couple of days.

   If nothing else, you can pick yourself up a thong. Merely an idea that would be frightening if carried out.

   2) Re-reading the updates lately, they seem very angry and of a quality even lower than the complete lack of standards I have for this site. I'm a bit bothered by it, since it wasn't that long ago I was getting compliments from people which made me go, "Oh wow, they read it? I'll have to stop swearing so (_______) much."

   Since certain people have taken to using this as a behavioral analysis tool in the past -- really not all that insane an idea given it's role in my daily to-do list -- I want to assure people things shown in this window are far less angry than they appear. I have calmed enough about Grady Little and the Red Sox that I will not need to talk about them every day until the NFL playoffs. I'm currently somewhere between "thinking I've gained weight" and "freaking out and running every day again." And I've certainly got no intention of visiting Niagara Falls in the near future.

   I do, however, have to go back to Hell next week. I can only hope they're all still sedated from the Marlins spearing their asses.

   3) I have not been on Instant Messenger for at least a month. There's no real reason for this other than it has now become a game, just like "I've never seen any of the Star Wars movies" and "I will not go to Meg's apartment," the last of which is a joke exactly one of you will remember and get.

   So be it. I suppose it was funny when she started stealing my CDs and tape dispenser and posting them in her second floor window.

   I'll likely go back on there soon enough, but it's just interesting to see how many e-mails I get referring to me as "The Invisible Man" or saying "Where are you?" I suppose this is why I am only:

24% addicted to Instant Messenger. How about you?

   4) As a consumer of mass-marketed, Mix-radio power-pop and "alternative" music, I am quite excited that Barenaked Ladies have released a new album. So much so, I will now go shower with the express purpose of going to the store and buying it.

   When you consider it takes me three days to force myself to do things like grocery shop and make a dentist appointment, this really is a sad commentary on what has become a very sad life.

   How's that for a little angst to work your day by!


October 21, 2003 - Cold Enough To Make Me Move
   Obligatory 'Red Sox Not Still Playing Baseball' Entry:

Should Coulda
-- Thanks again, GL. No, really.

A test shirt proclaiming the Boston Red Sox as the 2003 American League champions sits on a printing press at Liquid Blue, in Lincoln, R.I., after the New York Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox 6-5 in 11 innings. Liquid Blue was prepared to print the shirts if the Red Sox had won the AL championship series. (AP Photo/Stew Milne)

   Which reminds me, in the grand tradition of FireRonZook.com, it's ... well, you knew it was coming.


   • I'm sorry, but stories like the guy going over Niagara Falls fascinate me. Having been there (which you can relive here, joy of joys) I can not fathom the idea a person would look at it and say, "Wow. I want to fling myself off that."

"It was an impulsive one-second thing and in a second and a half I was in the water," Jones said in a telephone interview with WXYZ-TV in Detroit. "I was in the water for about eight seconds. ... I was immediately enveloped by what seemed like tons of water."

   Therefore that quote doesn't even begin to register.

   Especially when you consider how successful 'Waking Ned Devine' was worldwide.

   This is the fun of the Internet. Above, he wanted money. Here, he was depressed. Here, he was trying to get on 'Jackass,' which isn't even on TV anymore. So in Scotland, he'll be worried about, and marveled at the uplifting story of how he found the will to live again. In Australia, people will think him a 'tart,' a man too obsessed with fame.

   In America, we'll just wonder whether he was a Sox fan or a Cubs fan.


October 20, 2003 - The Casket Company Truck Outside
   A Comment On Newlyweds: Having finally seen the show, and shutting it off because sleep seemed far more valuable, I can safely say the MTV brass have decided the "Make Jessica Simpson Seem As Stupid As Possible" angle is the best way to assure ratings.

   For the sake of all that's holy, I hope it's editing.

   Never Good: And now, an informal poll. Which of the following pictures do you think bodes worse?

Sports Pulse Viewers Wanted
-- That Boston.com is out actively trying to find 'Sports Pulse' viewers ...

Elf ... with James Caan
-- or that James Caan now gets second-billing to Will Ferrell in films?

   Discuss as appropriate.


   • For those of you never from the Boston area, it's probably hard to understand how the Red Sox can so affect our lives. You may even question the validity of the statements I've made, both here and in print. Well, if yesterday's comment about Vito getting swept up in it wasn't enough, below is what happens to us when something like Thursday happens:

"I can only imagine how painful it was to see in person, considering how sick to my stomach I was for the rest of the night. I tossed and turned for over an hour, and ____ informs me that I woke her up a half dozen times in my sleep pounding the mattress and yelling 'no.'"

   Do we have priority issues? Probably. But so don't the people who obsess over J. Lo every freakin' day.

"Jennifer Lopez will appear 'occasionally' on a daytime talk show she's co-producing -- but you'll see her sister every day. Universal Domestic Television announced Monday it's making the talk show, loosely designed as a young woman's version of 'The View.'"

It's the latest talk show to use the wildly successful "The View" as a template. A version geared to men, "The Other Half," has come and gone already."

   In no way was "The Other Half" geared to men. I will not go so far as to list actual examples, being it was one of those shows that would 17 seconds of play before being flipped away from, but when your entire audience is made up of women, you are not "geared to men."

   You are geared to women who believe they are getting the inside scoop on men.

   To actually be "geared to men," you have to be 'The Best Damn Sports Show Period.' And that's a whole other story for a whole other day.

   A Whole Other Story For This Day: A certain Posse member has updated his picture. This would be a good move for people to make who, on various occasions, have told me to the effect of "that picture is old" or "Get me a new picture" or "I hate you."

   Maybe if enough people do this, I could even be talked into doing writeups that are actually current.


October 19, 2003 - Boxed Out
   While I Was Out: Not that my working life has fallen back to normal, I can address the important things that went on while I was off playing "sportswriter." Things like Iraq's First Burger King and, better yet, Manute Bol's return to embarassing himself:

"The 7-foot-7 former center, who also used publicity from ventures into boxing and hockey to raise money for refugees in his native Sudan, is now the tallest jockey ever licensed by the Indiana Horse Racing Commission. The commission on Friday gave him an honorary license to compete at Hoosier Park, a Thoroughbred track in Anderson. He won't race tonight because of arthritis. But after watching a few events from the sideline, he will be invited to the winner's circle."

"I think it'll open up his cause to a group that he wouldn't normally reach," jockey Otto Thorwarth said. "I've been trying to talk him into getting on a horse, but he won't do it."

   It's so honorable, and yet so stupid at the same time.


   • Almost like this letter, the only negative reader comment I've yet received on my ALCS coverage:

Subject: Response: Grady gave it all away!
Date: Sat, 18 Oct 2003
From: <_____@aol.com>
To: jcouture at s-t dot com

   I am responding to your column as of Saturday 18, 2003. I now know why you work at Standard Times. I want to get one thing straight, of all people I am not one to protect Grady Little. However when u write an article and nonetheless ST lets you print it is absurd. I want you to answer these questions. Is Pedro Martinez the best pitcher in baseball? Can Grady strike someone out or can he hit a homerun? You call Grady a coward in your article. So put it in this perspective. What if Pedro struck out 3 batters in the 8th or if he even got out of the inning with just one run given up. Then everybody would be loving Grady and his managing. The point of the matter is Pedro is the best pitcher in baseball (without velocity on his fastball). So you want Grady to take out Pedro to throw in Timlin, Embree, anybody? Well, I'll say again this is why you work for the ST and not for the Globe. You can give me any stat you want about how the bullpen has pitched in the playoffs and I'll say your right. But what happens if he took Pedro out and Timlin lost it. Then what's said "Grady can't manage?" What you have to face is that the article you wrote is wrong not in the aspect of you saying Grady can't manage, but the fact you believe any manager would take out Pedro who in 7 innings gave up six hits and two runs with only 100 pitches or so. My point is if your going to lose I would rather lose with the best pitcher in all of baseball then say Joe Shmoe! Another point that needs to be made upon referencing your article. You said "For Game 7, Torre dropped high-priced slugger Jason Giambi to the seventh in the lineup" resulting in 2 homers, you call this managing but in reality could the Red Sox drop say Manny Ramirez to the seventh whole then fill the spot. NO. I use Manny in that spot because he is the same value as Giambi in the Yankees lineup. So I go back to the point which is the players, managers, personnel, and hell even the fans didn't lose that game 7. The fact is the higher priced, more experienced, and most of all BETTER TEAM won! This isn't second guessing. That would imply I had to think twice!

Sincerly,
A heartbroken RedSox fan
Andrew _. ________
-- Submitted exactly as I received it.

   Yet, such coverage ignores the real story of the day -- David Blaine is alive and well.

   For comment, we turn to a person who took this a little too seriously:

"Well, (Monday 20th October 2003) This morning I woke up feeling...dunno empty I think.

Yesterday I woke up full of excitement, happiness and elation that David would finally be coming out of his box and I was going to witness this great occassion.

Yesterday was one of the most memorable things I have experienced in my life. The past 44 days have taught me about, life, love, friendship, appreciation for my life and the people in it. I can't thank David enough for that.

I arrived at Tower Bridge at 3.30pm yesterday afternoon. As soon as I got to the site and saw David again my heart missed a beat and my eyes welled up. It was all a bit much......He seemed to have this beautiful smile on his face and you could see the excitement he was feeling. I think every bit of strength he had came out yesterday afternoon. When he stood for the crowd It was just breathtaking, applause surrounded me and I think we all then really new what he was about. I got to the front by the railings and decided I would stay there until the big moment. There were some great people around me and spirits were running so high......I stood for 6 1/2 hours just watching David, the people, all the goings on....I couldn't beleive in some ways I was there. It got to 9pm, watching David's face as he watched the big screens showing footage from the past 44 days (everything that was shown on Sky One). He just giggled and smiled. When He spoke of his mother, his face looked so thoughtful. I wish I could have known what he was thinking......I think in his heart he did it for her.

When eventaully he emerged the crowd was wild and the atmosphere was electric. I just wanted to cuddle him and tell him everything would be alright.................

Sunday 19th October 2003.............is a date I will never forget. I saw a brave man carry out a dream which I hope will affect the lives of many.

David..............Thank you so much for making the past 44 days so memorable, for being so brave and for seeing it through....I commend you and my love and best wishes are sent to you. Get well Soon David and come show us some more of your stunning magic...

Thanks everyone on this Forum for making the 44 days so special just by being there to talk to, to laugh with and maybe even to cry with.

I wish you all a happy life. May all your dreams come true.

I LOVE YOU DAVID

Kate xx

   Yup.


October 18, 2003 - Homecoming Dance
   Musicals: It has come to my attention that, though I can appreciate the amount of talent and work needed to perform an excellent musical, I just really don't like musicals.

   Good to know, really.


   • I wonder how many years have to go by before one thinks of Homecoming Weekend as a nice trip back to the college days, as opposed to a reminder that actual college kids dread having their parents come to town because it means they can't drunk and hook up with random people.


October 15-17, 2003
   Plane Death: I'm pretty sure they did an episode of CSI about exactly this, which is amazing since I'm pretty sure I saw the episode a year ago.

   I guess now among the questions asked when checking in at the counter should be, "Sir, do you really need that entire bottle of whiskey?" Because really, if you're that afraid to fly, I'd just go with a full-out tranquilizer and get it over with.

   In Other Airliner News: It's too bad this kid got caught and fessed up. He could have been like the Gideons with the Bibles in hotel rooms.

   Why am I being so easy on him? This paragraph was written entirely straight:

"The items found aboard the two planes included box cutters, clay that resembled plastic explosives and bleach, sources familiar with the investigation said. The liquid was contained in suntan lotion bottles; the clay was inside Play-Doh containers."

   That would be because they are those things, Atlanta.


   • So yes, again we'll do the twenty points, with the last one being much longer than usual. Putting it at the end is my way of avoiding actually speaking about this, because after having gone this long without technically crying, I'd rather not now.

   But first things first, the reason I was there:

Sox Hopes Crushed In 11th Inning

   Honestly, this deserves special mention just because of the sheer number of comments, phone calls, messages and e-mails I've received saying it is one of the best things people have ever read. It's downright staggering and by far my most well-received piece, amazing considering it was written in about 35 minutes because I was under the gun of deadline.

   Having read it over again, reflecting on everything that went into it and how it came together, I have to agree that it's by far the best thing I've ever written anywhere. It's not perfect by any stretch, but I'm actually shocked I wrote it, I like it so much.

   Especially after receiving this from our editor-in-chief, who spend a good deal of his early years covering Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers.


   Jon,

   That front page column on deadline this morning was, in my opinion, a classic, written in white heat for the ages. I have no doubt it will be a prizewinner in the contests to come.

   But, more importantly, it was a test of a young columnist's grace under pressure and you came through beautifully.

   Congratulations.

   Maybe someday, when the emotions have waned some, I'll print the "Red Sox win" piece I wrote before the one above here.

Pedro, Roger Head To An Epic
-- Thursday's Game 7 preview, where I literally had to keep stopping to realize a) there was no way to put into words how big it was, b) how it could never possibly live up to its hype and c) that I was actually going to be there.


There's No Defense For Grady's Decision
-- Saturday's story heavily edited down from the rambling rant I wrote immediately after Game 7, where I went so far as to plan to pack up all of my Red Sox things in boxes, put them in a closet and swear to not even think about the team again until Grady Little was fired. I've only moderately calmed down.

   That's that. This is this.

   1) Among the things I did not expect to see in New York City, Life Or Something Like It had to be pretty high on the list. Yet these are the things you do when you get up at 8:30 a.m. and your colleague gets up at 11:45 a.m. Viva la free HBO!

   2) The film, by the way, was far less worse than anticipated, but still one of those things that, when he woke up, I was embarassed to have going on the TV.

   3) Especially amazing since he was in his "sleeping clothes," and that would be why we're using "he". You can figure it out if you really wanted to.

   4) "He" had not been to NYC before, so the company's putting us up in the Official Media Hotel -- the Times Square Doubletree -- which sat directly in the heart of the part of Manhattan I know extremely well, made me tour guide for the "weekend."

   5) I proved so adept at maneuvering us around that "he" asked me if I ever one day hoped to move to New York City, a place where I knew myself around so well.

   6) I explained I did not, because New York City is a little too big for me to handle and that we were just in the part I knew.

   7) I then emphasized this point the night after Game 7, when instead of making the 10-minute walk from Grand Central Station to Times Square, I put us on the wrong No. 7 train and we ended up in Queens.

   8) When we finally did get back to the hotel and rode the elevator up to the main floor, FOX 25's Butch Stearns was rushing outside in a leather jacket, half looking pained, half looking like he wanted to cry. Given the night's events, who can blame him.

   9) It was another trip of brushes with fame, as I came within about a foot of literally running into Jon Miller and the pastry he was carrying. It wasn't as gawkworthy a trip for me as the first two games were, but one of my heroes, Mike Lupica, did encourage us to get into a crowded Yankee Stadium elevator with him, going so far as to encourage others to make room for us and our bags.

   10) I still talked to no famous press members. Just something about drooling how much you love a person who could care whether or not you exist. Call it a hang-up.

   11) "He" didn't as well, though he did make two jokes about airplanes crashing into our hotel that were, at best, uncomfortable.

   12) Just to get this out there, I'm quite glad the paper sent two of us to cover the last four games ... made both of our lives easier. And we were fine travel partners.

   13) Though it was probably very bad form to discuss how we would get around Miami before the series result had been decided.

   14) It's not like we were the only ones. And everyone tempered it with "if this holds up" or "I know I'm getting ahead of myself, but ..." Don't you dare start blaming us for this.

   15) You didn't have to ride the subway with 100 Yankee fans who don't understand that the saying goes, "You win some, you lose some," not "You win some, then you win some more."

   16) There was one guy on the subway car after Game 7 in a Sox hat. People were screaming at him, chanting all around him, and yet, he wasn't even there. His eyes kept slowly opening and closing, his head on a hand ... he literally looked like he was in a vegetative state.

   17) So did I. We two press members were the only people on the whole train who weren't wearing team colors one way or the other. I didn't even go in a red sweater.

   18) Overall, I saw a perfect 3-3 split -- win, loss, win, loss, win, loss. Yes, this is a new jinx, and yes, I tried to consider ways I could file from the hotel and not attend Game 7.

   19) Unfortunately, it didn't work, and it's point twenty.


20

   It is now more than 36 hours after Game 7, and I still just don't understand it. I have watched, written, slept, written again, and slept again. And I still can't believe what I saw. I can not believe Grady Little left Pedro Martinez in the game to face five batters in the eighth inning.

   Out, double, single, double, double. From 5-2 and the game essentially being over to 5-5 and the game, well, being essentially over.

   Without a doubt in my mind, as explained in Saturday's column, the worst loss in franchise history.

   And it still doesn't make sense.

   When David Ortiz hit a home run in the top of the eighth to make it 5-2 Boston, you could literally feel the air leave Yankee Stadium. The Yankee fans slumped in their seats, and the smattering of Red Sox fans around the park rose above it all. They screamed like they had not screamed all night. They felt what I felt, and what the Yankee fans felt the other way.

   The game was over.

   And then, it all went so horribly wrong. Not because of a Curse, not because of a jinx. Because of Grady Little.

   If I were manager, I would have brought the bullpen in to start the eighth, but I see the validity of letting Martinez start the inning, telling him he was out as soon as he allowed a baserunner. In a lot of ways, I now like that plan of attack better.

   When Derek Jeter doubled over Trot Nixon's head -- a play from my vantage I assumed he'd make until I heard the crowd shout -- that was it. Without question. Nearly everyone in the RF press box to make sure it was Embree coming in.

   But Little stayed seated.

   And the confusion started. Calmly, but there.

   Bernie Williams singles Jeter home. It's 5-3, with left-handed Hideki Matsui coming up and left-handed Alan Embree ready in the pen.

   Here comes Grady, finally. You know, he's had too long a hook all fuc ...

   Wait.

   Why is Ped ...

   And it was over.

   There was nothing left to do but start new stories. They tell you there's no cheering in the press box, but don't think for a moment that we were not angry. There is not a person in this country other than Grady Little who would have Hideki Matsui face Pedro in the eighth inning, roughly 110 pitches into his start. We're not even going to talk about letting him face Jorge Posada, 118 pitches in. Even if his bullpen was as bad as they were in the start of the season -- never mind that they had a 1.01 ERA in the playoffs going into Game 7, and gave him 2.2 perfect innings before the Boone homer -- leaving Pedro in the game for five batters in the eighth is not a loss. It is not a game and it is not a loss.

   It is an out-and-out betrayal.

   Period.

   There was not sadness when this was over. I can guarantee you there was not a true Red Sox fan in this country who was sad at the end of Game 7. The true fans were angry. Furious. Beside themselves.

   He gave it away. Our pennant. Our shining moment in the sun. Grady gave it away.

   It was not his to give.

   In 15 minutes, Grady Little single-handedly continued the Curse talk for another year. He gave away Boston's best chance to win the World Series in 15 years. He turned Theo Epstein's coronation into nothing. He turned Tim Wakefield from a shoo-in ALCS MVP into a Game 7 loser. He took the best season of most of those player's careers and threw it in the trash. He took every laurel, every prayer, every dream of Red Sox fans and spit on them by leaving Pedro Martinez in that game.

   At the helm of a team whose history is pockmarked by tragic losses and legendary failures, he blew himself to the top of the list.

   I cried after the 1999 ALCS, a series where Boston was beaten by a better team.

   Tears wouldn't even do this one justice.


October 14, 2003 - Twenty Minutes To Stamford
   Smart Business: This is what one would call The Palms in Vegas. So long as E! Entertainment Television can act excited about showing things like "exclusive" tape of J. Lo's first wedding, business models like this will make people millions.

   Speaking Of CNN: Flipping channels tonight, I hit Larry King Live. On the program? Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey, stars of MTV's Newlyweds. That wasn't bothersome.

   The fact that Larry's chair was filled by Ryan Seacrest? That was.

   In the grand scheme of the world, Larry King's natural protege is not Ryan Seacrest. Ryan Seacrest is not even the guy who hangs around Larry, getting him coffee and stuff. Ryan Seacrest is the guy who Larry cans after a week on the job for "being too fruity." Imagine that phrase being said in a really throaty Norm MacDonald-as-Larry-King kind of way, and you'll see where we're going.


   • Yup.

A Tale Of Wasted Chances ... So Far
-- All you need to know about Game Five is the stat I culled and used about halfway through this. Boston had ten batters go to the plate with the chance to tie the game. Those ten batters, which covered pretty much every starter, went 1-for-9 with a single, a walk and a pair of strikeouts.

   I don't really feel much like talking about sports right now. Boston has to go into New York and win two games, and yet, they're about three well-placed singles away from already having won this series. You can think that's why I don't want to talk about sports right now, but you'd probably be wrong.

   To cover sports as a journalist, you are forced to turn the fan in you off, turn off the likely reason you wanted to cover sports in the first place. You have to ignore all the excitement going on around you and watch "a children's game played by adults," as Tim Wakefield puts it, with the eye of analysis.

   Sports becomes work. And I'm not saying I don't have it great, but if this week and a half of baseball has taught me anything, it's that being a sportswriter is far less rewarding than you would ever think it is.

   This will undoubtably never be discussed again if Boston somehow manages to win these two games in the Bronx, but I think it needs to be. When one takes something they truly enjoy -- watching baseball -- and turns it into a job, it really spins the perspective on it. Especially as a member of the press, who don't doubt for one second are reviled by players. They talk to us because they know they need to, not because they want to.

   But anyway, I'm going back to New York. Not before, however, stupidity goes international.

"A man who used petrol to clean colour-stained trousers in his washing machine saw the whole lot blow up, wrecking two walls of his Moscow apartment, police said.

He poured a litre of petrol into the rinse chamber in an attempt to fix the colour-run trousers. When he turned on the machine, the whirring action ignited the petrol and led to a huge explosion.

Other residents of the apartment building escaped with a fright."

   It's sad when logic is used for evil.

Back To The Bronx
-- Going back to the Bronx for what I hope is a pair of Yankee losses. As tired as I am,
I could get used to not having a day off for, oh, another week or so. Hopefully you won't
hear from me until Friday. And for the love of God, and all that is holy, Go Sox.


October 13, 2003 - Alive For Five
   The Italics: There is none today. But check out the war zone I was at tonight.

   • We're going to try to actually analyze what was among the best baseball games I have ever seen.

   Pre-Game: The idea of bringing Ryan Reynolds to Fenway to sing the actual "Cowboy Up" song wasn't exactly the best one ever, as none of the crowd knew the actual words and halfway through it, the whole right-field corner started booing because the Yankees walked out to their bullpen.

   I'm still waiting for one of the little kids they bring out on the field to say "Play Ball!" -- they bring them out to read "Those two words we love to hear" -- to just go off script, say "Yankees Suck!, and be cheered so wildly they actually get bought free beer during the game.

   Michael Bolton. I sincerely hope they aired his rendition of the national anthem on the FOX broadcast ... it's not something that should be kept to the 35,000 in Fenway.

   1) His introduction was more or less a shill to buy his new album, which I will not link to because of the upcoming #3.

   2) The crowd groaned when they said his name, louder than they groaned about Saturday's game cancellation.

   3) He forgot the words. Absolutely shocking. About halfway through, he stops, extended pauses, and then opens his hand, where he has the words scrawled out. Crowd goes into hysterical boos, combining their hatred for Michael Bolton with his now obvious mental deficiencies.

   The last two verses, the crowd sings so loud they drown Bolton out. Song ends, MB salutes the flag, and wild cheers go up because he's leaving. One of the most uncomfortable anthems ever -- I was unsure whether to laugh or seethe.


Win Or Lose, We've All Cowboyed Up
-- I had to break the glass for the emergency column when my other idea fell.

   The Game: This was playoff baseball at it's finest. Complete pitchers duel, but an absolute case of the Red Sox good hitting defeating New York's good pitching.

   I had a very hard time remaining silent and impartial after about the sixth inning, because Fenway Park was as loud and as into the game as I have ever heard it. People stood for every three-ball count, every two-strike count, all game long. The fact that Wakefield is among the fan favorites certainly helped, but so did how well the Sox played.

   Damon had an awful night, but made two plays in center that, combined, saved two runs. A running catch at the wall and an amazingly solid throw home to deter a tag-up showed why he has to be in Boston's line-up, bat or not.

   If Walker is benched again at any point in this postseason, I am demanding a Congressional investigation. It looks like he won't be -- Little said he'll play for sure in Game Five, despite David Wells being lefthanded -- but five home runs in 29 at-bats is asanine numbers for someone who's on steroids, never mind anyone else.

   Nomar needs to be dropped to 7 or 8 in the batting order, because he's not even hitting that many balls solidly. He's swinging at anything like always, but without success. Yikes.

   We are officially on "Manny Hits 500 Ft. Home Run" Watch for Game Five. I have no reason to believe this will happen, I just feel it. He's hitting .400 for the series and this hasn't happened yet ... watch out in the Lansdowne parking garage.

   Ortiz struck out twice and hit into a double play. I guess when all you do is launch extra-base hits during the regular season, the off time is a pretty quiet period.

   Millar struck out twice on six pitches, then was walked and scored the winning run. Mussina gave up a pair of home runs, yet this was by far his most critical pitching mistake. My MVP could have missed if he was swinging at a house last night ... he looked nearly as bad as Hideki Matsui.

   Apparently they don't throw knuckleballs in Japan because he looked like he was swinging a cooked piece of spaghetti.

   Trot has come up huge against New York, as you'd expect he would. His home run came in the fifth, an inning where Mussina threw 11 pitches, 10 for strikes. Just solid hitting.

   One of the more amazing things about Walker's HR was to hear him talk about it afterward. Whispered to be the Sox dumbest player by some people I know -- and you know who you are -- he said the pitch he hit the HR off in Game One was the second of two changeups. He thus deduced, correctly, that Mussina would give him fastballs in Game Four.

   Mueller has not looked good this entire postseason. I keep hoping he and Nomar are sitting on this huge break-out, but there's really no reason to believe it's coming.

   Mirabelli had one single and one passed ball. That would be about as expected.

   And then there's Jason Varitek.

   Whole seasons often hinge on plays like this, and this one did. Bases loaded and your catcher coming to the plate, Little calls Tek in from the bullpen to hit, literally. He runs across the field to the dugout, gets a helmet, and steps to the plate. The place is going absolutely bonkers, since they were chanting for Tek while Mueller was being walked intentionally, and because Grady Little has actually stepped outside the numbers-based realm in which he lives to see things for what they are.

   Tek's numbers against Mussina -- 2 for 36 career for an .056 average -- stink because everyone's numbers against Mussina stink. Still, that's a lot of "factual evidence" to throw in one's face.

   He battles, and hacks a splitter at Jeter. The whole place groans as it's a classic 6-4-3 double play ball. Inning over. Bases loaded squandered. Just a 2-1 lead into the eighth, with all the momentum to New York.

   But the catcher beats it out. 3-1. Insurance run, later to become the winning run in the least climactic pinch-hit home run in postseason history.

   There was about a second and a half between when Varitek hit first base and when Joe West called him safe. Tek had signaled safe. The entire region was screaming safe.

   Perhaps West realized if he did not (correctly) call Varitek safe, he would be going home in his luggage.


   Two-two. By winning the must-win Game Four, Boston has now earned the right to win the must-win Game Five. If they do that, they get a sorta freebie Game Six, and Pedro gets a shot at redemption at a game where I could literally see myself having a heart attack no matter the result.

   All of this, however, might pale to the response Jeff Nelson got. When he started warming up, people booed so loud, everyone just leered toward the bullpen the way Fenway fans do when there's a fight going on the bleachers. When he actually got pegged to pitch, there was the most confused cheer-boo I've ever heard. Excitement the Sox were actually getting Nelson, but boos because he's Public Enemy No. 1.

   So of course after a pitch, he gets accused of scuffing the ball and the umps have to check him.

  It's a shame they didn't find anything. I've never seen an actual murder before.


October 12, 2003 - They're Booing A Puddle
   The Golf Tournament: Our team shot an 11-under-par 60 here, birdieing 8 holes on the back nine. We may very well have won ... I really don't know.

   And given the Sox didn't play, the tournament may truly have been the greatest athletic competition staged on October 12.

   Merchandizing Update: Young Cooch weighs in with this shirt on the MLB site, saying "The little blurb they have there is great, too. Too bad they don't let us argue back by selling the 'Take Your 26 Rings and Shove 'Em Up Your Ass' shirt."

   At least they don't have any pro-Curse stuff up. They leave that to the clowns around the Stadium.


   • A rainout at Fenway ends up serving as an open house for the visiting press.

From Section 3
-- My seat in the Sec. 3 Press Box

Unscheduled Day Off Came Just In Time
-- A front page column and a delightful BK Grilled Chicken Caesar Club, all in a day where they didn't even play baseball. How can I complain?

   So on a day with no baseball, let's discuss buying the Moon.

"A new real estate agency, Lunar Realty, based in the southern Australian city of Melbourne, opens its doors Tuesday selling one-acre blocks on the moon for 59 Australian dollars (US$40) and 10-acre "lifestyle" blocks for A$298 (US$202).

Businessman Paul Jackson, 33, announced Monday he had bought the Australian rights to sell the land from Nevada-based entrepreneur Dennis Hope.

Hope has been cashing in since 1980 on what he said was an apparent loophole in the 1967 United Nations Outer Space Treaty that barred nations from laying claim to the moon but said nothing about individuals.

Hope registered a claim for the moon and planets with the United States, the Soviet government and the United Nations and, operating as Lunar Embassy, has been selling plots of extraterrestrial real estate ever since."

   Perhaps the best part of this story is, if we ever actually do colonize the Moon, you know these people are buying the crappy acres. They're getting the Kansas of the Moon, and when they build the gigantic awesome space colonies on the complete other side, these people are gonna be all like, "We got, like, totally screwed."

   Really though, is there anything that screams "credibility" louder than the phrase, "Nevada-based entrepreneur"?


October 11, 2003 - Day Off. With Working!
   Today, I turned down the opportunity to cover Patriots-Giants and Red Sox-Yankees in the same day, because I determined if it's a big deal with Tony Stewart races the Coca Cola 600 and the Indianapolis 500 in the same day, I really needn't try to journalistically rival him.

   • Before tonight, I'd never actually been sent home from work before for "seeming lucid."

   It's was really quite fun.

   Now, to sleep for a golf tournament!


October 8-10, 2003 - Three-Hour Back-Patting Exercise

"Humor is hard to do well, but John has the right touch for it.
A nice style -- breezy and fun. Enjoyable reading."
-- The judges' rationale in awarding my third place in
the NEAPNEA competition for Sports Column.

   The awards were handed out Friday night at a ceremony attended by almost none of the winners, but by many people who have journalism careers spanning longer than my actual lifetime. Highlights included an appetizer that was essentially bruschetta without bread and the ironic abysmality of the copy editing in the NEAPNEA book of winning entries given to everyone.

   Lowlights included my not being in said book, meaning none in attendance will get to see my work unless they really, really go looking for it. And that just pisses me off.

   Yes, I'm reaching. For a change, it's hard to complain when you're me.


   • And now, the rambling thoughts of a guy who just spent his first non-Zoo related weekend in da Bronx.

   First things first, the reason I was there:

History Is History, But Mystique Is A Myth
-- From Tuesday, a rambling diatribe on why the Sox can beat the Yankees. But we've secretly replaced the writer's normal facts with Folgers crystals.


In Bronx, Sox Fans Tread With Caution
-- Only the hardiest of Sox fans made it into this story, as I was outside Yankee Stadium a full 5-6 hours before the game was set to go. The only story I've ever done where the inability of the subject to speak English prematurely ended an interview.


Pitcher-Perfect Performance
-- Given we couldn't get my e-mail to send this from the pool phones at the stadium, I had to dictate this well past deadline, leading to the editor-in-chief apologizing to all our district managers. Yeah, that made me feel good.


U.N. Fails To Tackle Big Issue
-- Thursday's Game 2 pregamer, I asked around at the United Nations as to the official policy on the most important battle in the world. "Hilarity" "ensued."


Frustrated Sox Will Take The Split
-- Boston could have buried Andy Pettitte in the first two innings, but didn't. Considering how loud and obnoxious Yankee fans get, I remained quite calm.

   Onward to what I am forcing myself to limit to 20 points!

   1) The main point of the weekend for me was that, mercifully, the jinx is over. I didn't fully realize I hadn't seen the Sox win live in a half-dozen games before the pair in New York, and it's good to see I didn't carry the string with me down 95.

   2) It was amazing how easily I was able to detatch the fan part of me when I was in the box ... not that it was the A-1 press box, but that's not the point. Game One was pretty much always decided, and my Game Two gamer was begun in like the third inning, so a Yankee win actually saved having to rewrite 500-plus words as deadline was over my head.

   3) The Yankees used three press boxes for the first two games -- their actual press box for the big national writers, a makeshift box out in the second deck of right field, and a makeshift box waaaaaay up in the upper deck out in left field.

   4) It wasn't until hiking all the way up to the tip-top deck, assuming the worst, that I found the list that said I was in the second (read: 'mediocre') box. And given our No. 1 Sox guy didn't make the trip, I even had an empty seat as a neighbor!


-- From my seat, the main box to the left, top box top right.

   5) Also sitting in my box were the big Boston columnists -- Dan Shaughnessy and Steve Buckley -- and a whole lot of radio guys, which may for fun times when they were all filing their pieces by phone on deadline. Can you say, "Take seven!" in a radio voice?

   6) As I say in my first piece, much like at Boston Garden, the subway emerges right next to Yankee Stadium, making for quite the inspiring view. However, honestly, the place is really a lot less romantic than George and the boys would have you believe.

   7) Obviously, age plays a part, and the same thing could be said about Fenway in a lot stronger tone. But once you get past the famed white facade, it's an old stadium where a lot of meaningful games have been played. And that's about it.

   8) This isn't to say, though, that Monument Park is something to sneeze at. Having the advantage of being in the park before it's open to the public, it's an amazing place even for a non-Yankee fan.

   9) Unlike Greg Dickerson, however, I did not rub the Babe's head. I pin the Game 2 loss right on this.


-- G.D. shown sitting near Babe.

   10) Given all the name-dropping, don't think for a moment I actually conjured up the balls to speak to these people. Among others I could have punched, but instead played wallflower: Joe Buck, Tim McCarver, Rick Sutcliffe, Bret Boone, Joe Morgan, John Miller, Tom Caron, Sean McAdam, Peter Gammons, Chris "Mad Dog" Russo, Bob Ryan, Ted Sarandis ... I could go on for at least another line.

   11) This sort of thing started early. Arriving by train at Grand Central and immediately hiking to Boggie's place to drop my heavy stuff, I saw a guy in Times Square that made me remark, "Wow. That guy has a striking resemblance to Theo Epstein."

   12) Of course, when I got to the Stadium and saw that guy in the exact same clothes, I realized it actually had been Red Sox GM Theo Epstein. The shaved head had thrown me off.

   13) Please never forget that I'm an idiot.

   14) All this is not to say I didn't meet some excellent writers on this trip, most notably Jim Donaldson of the ProJo and Steve Krause of the Lynn Daily Item.

   14) I was also lucky enough to meet -- by random chance on the subway platform after Game 1, no less -- Andre, an Emerson grad who, after some time in journalism, went to the Winter Meetings so he could get a job in baseball. Now he runs the Pinstripe Pub at Yankee Stadium ... least I think that's all the details right.

   15) He's also featured in this book, and between he and Matt Bruce, I'm officially sold on the Winter Meetings and rather pissed I didn't go when they were in Boston.

   16) If only I'd skipped a grade, I'd have been out of school, followed through in the search for a job, and who knows where I could be now.

   17) Not the point though ... Andre talked to me for roughly the equivelant of 80 city blocks on the train. And that's saying something, given I have the conversational skills of a billboard.

   18) I did, however, get down the New Yorker look when I was walking the streets in a sweater, slacks, brown shoes and a laptop bag slung across my back. I recall thinking, "Wow. I've actually grown up."

   19) About five seconds after that, a police officer screamed at me for trying to cross the street ... on a walk signal.

   20) New York's always going to be New York, after all.


October 7, 2003 - Sadly, No More Recall
   Media Whore Update: I made an appearance on Jack Ellery's evening show on WCTC AM 1450, Central Jersey's Information Source, today. We talked Red Sox stuff -- more Curse-related than actual analysis.

   I'm going to try and get a tape of my call-in to eventually post up here, but should any of you have been in Central Jersey and heard some screw-off on the radio, there's at least a small chance it was me.

   Today's Quote Taken Completely Out Of Context:

"Really, if I had an opportunity to shoot Britney Spears, I think I would."
-- Maryland first lady Kendel Ehrlich gets a little too gabby.

   Press Release of The Week: Sometimes, it's too easy.

PERFECT 10 MAGAZINE PRESENTS
A NIGHT OF TOP MODEL BOXING


With Announcer Michael Buffer!

   Beverly Hills, Calif.: -- The gloves are on and the girls are ready as PERFECT 10 Magazine proudly makes boxing history when it hosts 'Top Model Boxing,' the first ever all-gorgeous, all-female, all-model boxing extravaganza at the historic Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles on October 10th, 2003.

   Famed ring-announcer Michael Buffer makes it official and The California State Athletic Board makes it legal. KMPC radio's Chris Myers and Bob Golic will broadcast the event live on their radio show to make it memorable, exciting and fun.

   PERFECT 10 brings the real thing into the ring with ten of the world's most naturally beautiful and best trained models fresh from the pages of its internationally coveted gentleman's magazine.

   Each femme fatale fighter has endured eight grueling months of intense training with David Paul, the world-renowned trainer of prize-winning fighters. David's trained the girls to hit hard and take punches, so when they lace up their gloves on the night of October 10th, they are sure to bring new meaning to the "Eye of the Tiger."

   Our Top Model Boxers are serious athletes, at the top of their game after months of rigorous training. So come fight night, they'll be fighting as ferociously as they look. An elite panel of celebrities, (Chris Myers, Bob Golic & Emanuel Steward, for starters) and consummate sports professionals will judge the bout, with the winners awarded cash prizes and the right to defend their titles in future bouts planned by PERFECT 10 Magazine.

   Also, interview Perfect 10's own Dream Team who have been carefully selected as our most alluring, sexy and exciting ring girls. Their outfits alone will make this fight unforgettable.

   This groundbreaking moment in boxing history, when beauty and savagery are combined in the ring, takes place on the night of the 10th, with the first bout slated to begin at 8 p.m. The crowd is expected to be full, eager and ready to go as PERFECT 10 magazine's Top Model Boxing rings in this much-anticipated new era of female sports entertainment.

   Tickets are on sale at Ticketmaster and prices range from $35 to $300. IN DEMAND, Direct TV, and TVN will broadcast the two hour event live at 11:00PM ET/8:00PM PT, at a suggested retail price of just $19.95!

   For more information and/or to book or interview the model/boxers, please call ... [Yeah, I'm giving you that.]
-- Pay to see hot women! Then see them hit each other in the face!

   • Say it with me, everyone.

I'm Going To Pump (clap) The Economy Up!
GOVERNOR ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER

Arnold Schwarzenegger is joined by his wife Maria Shriver as he celebrates his victory in the California gubernatorial recall election in Los Angeles on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

   And you thought the previous was the weirdest thing you'd read today.

Postcard!
-- In a shocking turn of events, MLB has granted me press credentials for the ALCS,
and thus I'm off to New York to be our top baseball guy for Games 1 & 2. My stories will
be on S-T.com as normal, and I'll be back stinking up the Internet on Friday night.


October 6, 2003 - And ... Exhale.
   It seems nobody riots like UMass students ... because most of the rest of us figured out that destroying stuff is dumb.

   Here, now, is a primer on what one should do after an inspiring victory.

"Students surrounded the stairs located between John Quincy Adams and John Adams towers pointing fingers in the air, hugging, yelling on cell phones and waving video cameras through the air."
-- Good.

"When the crowd first began to gather, a beer can was thrown and it struck a police officer. Police were inside Washington Tower, allegedly filming the activities. As students began to crowd around Berkshire, a police officer positioned outside of the D.C. was struck by a beer can. He later moved inside the dining hall."
-- Bad.

"At least five students climbed on top of the Dining Hall, one waving a Pedro jersey. Students began crowd surfing; one female was reported to be on top of a male's shoulders exposing her chest."
-- Good.

"At approximately 12:15 a.m., one of the students on the roof of the D.C. knelt down and then hung from the ledge, as another took a running start before he leapt off the building and jumped into the crowd. It was reported that he was carried to an area behind Washington Tower, possibly with a broken leg. He was set down on the ground as police officers tended to him, and he was shortly taken away by EMTs. 'He was running off [the D.C.], and he fell like standing up; he fell right on his legs, like standing straight up. It looked bad, and then he just collapsed, and everyone started pushing toward the front D.C. to see what was going on,' said frosh Sean Roush."
-- Bad.

   Of course leading to the pointless editorials, because morons don't read. My favorite quotable being this:

"Yes, it was a good game. A homerun in the 11th inning is definitely exciting, and if you're a huge fan of the Red Sox, as most people on this campus are, then it's definitely cause for a little hooting and hollering. But let's think about this for minute: the Sox haven't even won the series yet. And what if they do? Or even worse, what if they actually beat the Yankees and make it to the World Series? What are you going to do then, burn down the whole campus?"
-- They thank you for the idea, Paige.

   Course, it's not as though Amherst is the epicenter of stupidity. People flipped cars around Fenway Park in Boston, and BU undergrads from Long Island continued to ... eh, I better not.

"I feel completely confident -- you can't resist the celebration," said Laura Chardier, a College of Arts and Sciences sophomore. "I'll wear my uniform next time -- I'm a pretty hardcore Yankees fan."

If the Yankees win, there will be no celebration.

If the Red Sox win, the Yankees will have lost.

If you graduate, my degree actually loses value.

Please go home now.

   • Ignoring the longtime Yankee claim that they only celebrate World Series championships, meaning that this must be file footage:

We Want Boston.
-- NY Post Back Page, Oct. 6

   You got it, tubby.

   The irony of this story about Derek Lowe celebrating by "pointing to his crotch" is that he did the same thing as he ran onto the field after Game 3. So he really did do "the same crazy thing" he does every game.

   Considering Sox fans were already bitching about Miguel Tejada's emotional celebrations after going down 0-2, it is rather funny to see this pop up on the other side of the fence.


   But now, the numbers.

AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
SO
SB
AVG.
Mirabelli (C)
4
2
2
1
0
0
0
0
2
0
.500
Damon (CF)
19
2
6
2
0
1
3
2
1
2
.316
Walker (2B)
16
4
5
0
0
3
4
0
1
0
.313
Garciaparra (SS)
20
2
6
1
0
0
0
3
2
1
.300
Varitek (C)
14
4
4
0
0
2
2
2
2
0
.286
Millar (1B)
21
0
5
0
0
0
0
2
4
0
.238
Ramirez (LF)
20
2
4
0
0
1
3
3
7
0
.200
Nixon (RF)
10
1
2
0
0
1
2
1
3
0
.200
Mueller (3B)
19
0
2
1
0
0
0
3
4
0
.105
Ortiz (1B/DH)
21
0
2
1
0
0
2
2
7
0
.095
Kapler (OF)
9
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
3
0
.000
Jackson (2B)
5
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
2
0
.000
Brown (CF)
2
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
.000
McCarty (LF)
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
.000
Merloni (INF)
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
----

   A's Hitting Numbers: I'm not posting full stats, but things look just gruesome outside of Eric Byrnes (.462) and Jose Guillen (.455).

Erubiel Durazo: 5 for 21, .238
Jermaine Dye: 3 for 13, .231
Ramon Hernandez: 3 for 15, .200
Scott Hatteberg: 3 for 17, .176
Mark Ellis: 2 for 17, .118
Miguel Tejada: 2 for 23, .087
Eric Chavez: 1 for 22, .045

   And Boston almost lost!

   Pitching numbers tomorrow, maybe, along with way too many stories from the recall.


October 5, 2003 - Expense Reported Beer
   The most amazing part about this story of Tim Hudson being injured in a barfight on Friday night? That it didn't happen to a Red Sox player and ruin our entire offseason.
   
Li'l Sox Kid

   • Do we ever.

   After the Sox beat the A's on David Ortiz's first hit in 17 ALDS at-bats, it was just one of those scenes where everyone was excited and just needed to tell someone. People were on their cell phones, holding them up so friends could hear the roar. Girls in pink Red Sox hats who think Jason Varitek is cute were dancing around and shouting, seemingly thinking all the guys were really hooting at their tight ass.

   History has shown the truly hot never do this, but we move on.

   It was just one of those scenes unique to Boston -- just unbridled hope that people wanted to share. For a region so well known for having awful drivers and mean waiters, it was one of those afternoons where people just wanted to cheer. For once this postseason, the Sox oblidged.

   I can only hope the irony of chanting "M-V-P! M-V-P!" for David Ortiz, who is now 1-for-17 in the series, isn't lost on you, reader. It was one of those things that struck me right away, because I'm a jerk, but I'm praying it washed over everyone else when they lay down in bed to reflect on what they'd seen.

   Course, I get the sense many I watched with didn't "lay down in bed." They more "passed out on the couch," only to wake up with dry-mouth, a headache and wishes that get to do it all over again on Monday night.


   Anyway, let's start with this:

A Fine Day ... In And Out Of The Park
-- There was a short period that this was going on the front page of the whole newspaper, as the cover's acknowledgement of the game. Hated that idea, as it completely doesn't fit the "front page of a paper" mold. I'm just glad I ditched the idea of a running diary, as it would have been like 60 inches long, rather than the 32 it is now.

   Pieces such as this are the reason Bill Simmons could never work as well in newspapers, by the way. He'd never make inch counts ... but I digress.

   As you'd expect, much of the day did not make the paper. I did only hit those three bars -- Who's On First now being located inside an area where you need a game ticket and the Boston Beer Works being lopped off when I ended up spending four innings at Atlas -- but there's plenty of entertaining stuff that happened that just needs to be recorded somewhere.

   That's why we're here, isn't it? Because it's certainly not for any worthwhile reason.

THE BASEBALL TAVERN

   I've only just now learned that after the team clinched the Wild Card, some Sox players stormed the bar ... something that I easily could have worked in the column.

"It was . . . it was . . . incredible," recalled one breathless patron, Bill Hartmann. "All of a sudden, there was this commotion at the door, there was this wave of people, and you couldn't see who was in the center of it."

Hartmann, who cooks sausages at a Fenway Park concession, was sitting at the bar late Thursday when, he said, Millar ran up and jumped behind it. Millar reached into a cooler and started handing out bottles of beer, stopping to shake a few up and spray them at Tavern patrons. Millar and Derek Lowe, Lou Merloni, Todd Walker and Gabe Kapler stayed for about 10 minutes, shaking hands and giving high-fives. "They were hugging everybody!" Hartmann said.

   If you have any lingering doubt why Red Sox fans are hanging on this particular team, just know stuff like this happens all the time.

   I wasn't really sure what to say about it, as it was both a serviceable sports bar and borderline desolate when I was there. You could have been going to Fenway for decades and never make it out to where it is unless you park on the non-Kenmore Square side of things.

   The story there was the guy I wrote about, who even after marking himself a non-baseball guy bore mentioning. He asked the bartender what the season series against the A's was, and he told him he thought the Sox had dominated at home -- not really right this year, given Boston dropped two of three to Oakland. I then threw in that the Sox went 3-4 against the A's -- since checked to be right -- and the guy looked at me like I had four heads.

   Given this was in the first inning, if he was already drunk, there's a good chance he died sometime Sunday night.

   I would recommend the Tavern though, should you find yourself in the area. Not too crowded, lot of TVs and what looked to be a pretty solid kitchen. Plus the chance Kevin Millar will show up and spray beer on you.

ATLAS / TEQUILA RAIN

   The fact that Atlas now has a giant sign outside proclaiming this -- Jake Ivory's piano bar has become the "Tiki Room," far as I can tell -- pretty much says everything it needs to. The fact that it's so close to the park ensures it's full on game days, but seriously.

   'Tequila Rain'?! Where they pumped 'Shake Ya Tailfeather' and 'In Da Club' between half-innings? How care I dare say even a rotten word about anywhere else?

   It was here where I ran into the very nice Mets fan who, because I knew staying there would leave me way too drunk to write anything printable, I had to sneak out on when he went to the bathroom. One of those things I both felt enormously guilty about doing, but at the same time, knew I had to do since I was (technically) working.

   Should the Mets do anything next season, I'm guaranteeing you now that he will find his way into a later column. It's just how my mind works ... plus the fact that he talked about Mo Vaughn as one of the reasons for their massive failure made me giggle inside.

   I'd also like to point something out about Theo Epstein, the most eligible bachelor in the region right now. When he came on screen, the female bartenders didn't just glance up at him. We're talking full-out work stoppage, complete with huddling, staring, pointing and gasping. And what, pray tell, was the dark-haired Boy King wearing?

   Tan shirt, red tie.

Just Like Someone Else ...
-- That outfit. It sounds so familiar ...

   Thanks again to the young guy at the Filene's tie counter.

CASK & FLAGON

   The comedy of the guy who screamed excitedly at a replay of Todd Walker's home run just can't be properly done justice in print. Here we are in the crucial moment of the game, the crucial moment of the entire season, and the bar is laughing at this guy. Just awesome stuff.

   Also, I lost the ability to breathe right around when Nomar's ball hit the wall, especially since ESPN used their "home run" camera angle.

   First, Nomar's hit was going to be the "Rally That Gets Our Hopes Up, But Fails Anyway." Then Manny's single, complete with him celebratingly pointing skyward, was the 5-to-1 favorite. Then Ortiz came up, and just knocked two pitches he should have killed harmlessly foul. I mean seriously ... I had visions of Rincon pumping his fist as he marched off the mound safe about 135 times in the span of five minutes.

   Then I jumped so high in the air, I almost flung my notepad across the length of the room.


   As soon as the final was secure, I raced outside, dodging the TV cameras that were racing inside, to find this on a light pole:

Cowboy
-- Ahh, capitalism.

   That made me sad, because it means country music is that much closer to acceptance in the north. I was soon revitalized though:

Hi. I'm excited.

   You just don't see enough fanny packs in 21st century society.

   Go Sox!


October 4, 2003 - Eat, Drink And Be Married
   Bid On These.: Please.

   Once Again, Today's Quote Taken Completely Out Of Context:

"Did you enjoy the white tigers? Most people love the white lions and the white tigers. Siegfried and I often fight over which of us should get the spotlight, but in the end, the star of the show is always the cats. Everyone assumes that they work for us, but it's more the other way around! Luckily, I've always had a great rapport with those beautiful creatures."
-- The Onion, hitting a little too close to home.

   And given I tore into the Sports Guy a couple weeks ago, I feel the need to point out his description of Game One was pretty dead on:

"It was excruciating to sit through. Managers can usually stink in one of two ways -- either you can look back at the game and second-guess them, or you can watch the game as it's happening and say, 'My God, what the (bleep) is he doing?' Grady always errs towards the latter. It's uncanny. There's no rhyme or reason to anything with him. And yes, I'm venting, but it's my column and you'll have to bear with me. I just sat through a 162-game season and watched my manager screw everything up in five hours. Takes awhile to bounce back from that one."
-- And that's only the tip of the iceberg.

   • Given most of the readership was actually at the ceremony in question, let me just say the wedding of this guy was tremendously excellent. Perhaps the highest-ever percentage of the alumni from this group -- who looks to have updated their site maybe once since I graduated -- collected in one place, and most of us were rightly placed at "the table most likely to set something on fire."

   Editor's Note: We were only too happy to oblidge the bride's wishes.

   Many of the people in attendance yesterday were also integral parts of my watching baseball in 1999, now being oft-referred to as the last time the Sox went down 0-2 in a playoff series.

   Game Three was played on a Saturday night after a College Bowl tournament at Harvard, and a good portion of us wandered over to the Crimson Sports Grille just in time to see John Valentin cement his place in Sox history a wee time before his knee collapsed on itself while he played third base.

   I then went home to Western Mass. to play in a golf tournament with my father, meaning I saw a good portion of Game Four in an Elks club until I was taken onto a dance floor by a girl far too attractive to be taking to me at that time.

   Editor's Note 2: At the point I was taken away, the Sox had at least a 12-run lead. It should never have come to having to be forcibly moved, but hey, I am me.

   And thus came the perhaps-more-historic Game Five, for which there was a small party at the now-groom's apartment on the BU campus. Specifically, I recall a high-five after Troy O'Leary hit his game-winning, three-run homer in the seventh inning, thus cementing his place in Sox history before he got run out of town for sucking.

   So, you never know. Maybe watching Trot Nixon cement a place in Sox history with most of the wedding party in the newlyweds hotel room will be the start of a story that I'll tell for the rest of my life.

   Hell, the Game Four portion is already going to be good -- "I had to write a column from outside the park, and thus just made a running diary of a Fenway pub crawl."

   Editor's Note 3: Have I ever mentioned how much I hate my job?


October 3, 2003 - Adventures In Stupidity
   There are some things in life we think we'll never live to see happen. To be topical, many feel they'll never experience the Red Sox winning a world championship. Others would say maybe a list that shows human beings who made or lost amounts in excess of one hundred million dollars in a day -- updated roughly every 20 minutes, of course.

   Pretty high on my list, however, would be a Ford Tempo GL -- one similar to the "Mighty" one I used to own -- with a trailer hitch. A towing apparatus on a car that went 0-60 in roughly five minutes on a regular basis.

   Though considering the bumper to my car was held on with a drywall screw, maybe I didn't have the A-1 example left kicking around.

   Reason, Perhaps, To Return To Vegas And Pay $110 For A Show: Sometimes, the tigers get pissed off.

"David Strudwick was one of a group of Australian tourists sitting in the audience at the Mirage Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas for the Siegfried & Roy magic and tiger stunt show. The tiger lunged at showman Roy Horn's neck, critically injuring him on stage and causing what medical staff later described as 'massive blood loss.'

Mr Strudwick thought the attack was part of the act but when other members of the audience began to panic they realised Horn, 59, had been savaged. 'A lady ran past me, freaking out and it was then I sort of thought, no this isn't part of the show,' Mr Strudwick said."

-- From Australia, where apparently it's common for homosexual magic shows
involving tiger love to include scenes of jugular goring and 'massive blood loss.'

   Seriously though, I hope Roy recovers and is back on stage very soon. I'm sure some of the people at that performance didn't get both their free drinks, and when you're charging $110+ for a stupid magic show, the least you can do is make it kinda worth the money.


   • Well, it finally happened.

Bulldogs Crush Case
-- I felt the excitement of high school football as a reporter.

   Honestly, one of the biggest things I took away from this case involved the cheerleaders -- it was cold, so no, it wasn't anything like that. The Agawam High cheerleaders -- among whom was my apparent fiancee Lonnie, who can now rejoice in getting mentioned here -- used to always tell anyone who'd listen how great they were and how award-winning they were. I never really understood what made their performances any better than the average group of high school cheerleaders.

   To all members of the AHS cheer squad, I now apologize for belittling your skills.

   When your team is down 39-0, and you make a first down, the best response is not to clap your Thundersticks and/or cheer anything with the sentence "Let's win!" in it. I would typically stick to celebrations worthy of the occasion, like twirling your index finger in the air while letting out a weak "Woo hoo."

   As a statistical geek, I actually did enjoy myself. I could see myself doing this on a weekly basis if I wasn't supposed to work Fridays, since I think I've got a pretty tight system to record all the plays and numbers without my arm falling off. I just wish it had been a better game -- ORR was so much more physically imposing, this was really the only way the game could have played out.

   The easiest thing one can do at a game like this, as I learned very quickly, is just completely ignore the stadium PA guy. Other than attaching names to the numbers of the players on the field, all the PA does is contradict itself on how long each play was and where the ball is spotted.

   When it's first-and-10 on the 30, and you announce the back ran for six yards, that should not immediately be followed by, "So now it's a second-and-five from the ___ 35-yard line."


   However, one key to covering high school football is not to get too caught up in said numbers. I'm told the key element to getting quotes from the coaches is to catch them as they come out of the post-game handshake line.

   I did attempt to do this, but the team quickly ran to the end of the field to huddle. No matter ... while they do their little post-game, I'll just stand right in the path to their buses and count up my numbers.

   The utter lack of any quotes in my story should let you know there's a couple different ways to get to the buses at Cardinal Field in Swansea.

   There's a reason I wouldn't get mad at Meg when she'd call me stupid, people.


October 2, 2003 - It's Gotta Be The Shirt
   Short Golf:

Hole
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
OUT
Yards
155
190
160
140
145
155
115
170
145
1375
PAR
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
27
Cooch
4
4
3
5
4
5
3
3
4
35
• Heritage Hill CC - Lakeville, Mass. •
Hole
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
IN
Yards
140
130
125
110
145
120
145
160
125
1200
PAR
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
27
Cooch
4
4
3
3
4
3
4
3
4
32
PAR 54
67, 13 OVER PAR
2575 YARDS
Birdies: 0 - Pars: 7 - Bogeys: 9 - Others: 2
Fairways Hit: N/A - Greens In Regulation: 6 of 18 - Putts: 34

   Arnold's Apology: Apparently, The Last Action Hero likes to touch boobies. And he's sorry about it.

"So I want to say to you, yes, that I have behaved badly sometimes. Yes, it is true that I was on rowdy movie sets and I have done things that were not right which I thought then was playful but now I recognize that I have offended people."

   So is this what Cybill Shepherd meant when she said about Arnold going down? I don't know, but I'll be resisiting the urge to elaborate on anything involving her making out with the gray-haired twig.

   Of course, there are protestors out all about this.



Two unidentified women, left and center, protest Republican gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger's treatment of women while standing beside the candidate's supporters after a anti-car tax rally held at the Orange County fair grounds in Costa Mesa, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 2, 2003. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

   I wouldn't really worry much if they were them. Never mind a movie set where you're being hero-worshipped being wholly different than the governor's office. The only breasts in that picture that Arnold would even touch are on the guy.

   [ Why aren't I addressing the actual comments on the sign? Because if he was treating women like the Terminator, he'd be either killing them or stealing their clothes so he could wear them. ]


   • Really, the only reason this is news here is because my governor, Mitt Romney, will soon be on the way to campaign for Arnold. Something he apparently has a vested interest in doing, if Tom Keane knows what he's talking about.

"Schwarzenegger is no conservative. His politics seem more like those of Northeast liberal Republicans: tolerant on social issues such as gay rights and abortion, middle-of-the-road on economic issues. It's a wing of Republicanism many national 'movement' Republicans abhor.

And that bodes well for Mitt Romney.

Yes, Mitt Romney. While it's no secret Romney would love to run for president, his moderate brand of business-style Republicanism doesn't fit well within the national party right now. Given California's size and prominence, however, a win by Schwarzenegger couldn't help but affect the balance of power within the GOP. Schwarzenegger can't be president (he's foreign born). But he and his politics very well may prove a critical ally for a Massachusetts governor eyeing the White House."

   An interesting viewpoint, even if by the time Romney got the chance to really run for president, it'd be 2008 and Arnold could very well have failed miserably in the land of oranges and Hollywood. But instead of analyzing that side of it, let's zing.

   I hope no one goes to any campaign stops when the two of them are together. The sheer brightness of their teeth might kill the weak!

   ZZZZING!!!


   And The Red Sox?: I'm saving myself the need for a full analysis.

   The Red Sox are down 0-2 because they've left 20 guys on base, because Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz are a combined 1-for-17, and because Grady Little micromanaged them out of Game One. Yes, Grady owns a slice of the blame pie.

   Pulling Byung-Hyun Kim with two outs in the ninth is easily the worst decision he has made all season, given he's now blown the confidence of his closer and removed a guy who hadn't surrendered a hit in the inning. Yeah, look at his line.

2/3 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 ER (when Alan Embree gave up Durazo's single)

   However, I predict this series is going back to Oakland, because I don't honestly think the A's can win a game in Boston. The Sox are too good in Fenway, even if they have been struggling. And Derek Lowe? He's going to be unhittable on Saturday.

   And if I'm wrong, I can only hope I'll be drunk enough at this guy's wedding to ignore whatever is going on.

Youth Served At Foxboro, World Cup
-- Column number four for the week, this is an infinitely better story if I'd had to write it in the 15 minutes I was given on Wednesday night. Course, in a normal world, I would have gone up to Foxboro with a laptop, and not had to drive an hour before I got to do any writing.


October 1, 2003 - Skimming The Surface
   It ended at 2:47 a.m., and was lost on a bases-loaded bunt after a blown save ... it was so excruciating, it was hilarious.

   I'm reminded of Denis Leary's take on postseason baseball at a time like this.

"Oh yeah, absolutely there is a curse of the Bambino ... huge curse. I donít think weíre ever gonna win it, quite frankly. If people do what I do, I think it would be easier to accept.

Accept the fact that we are not going to win the World Series -- ever. And just look forward to and root for -- which is what I do -- root to get into the World Series, because you know itís going to go seven. It always goes seven. And just sit there with a beer in your hand, and then wait to see what happens. How does it blow up in our faces this time. I think it's as exciting as hell.

That way you don't feel miserable watching it. You're actually more excited. Because you're not going to win, you just can't wait to see what it is that's going to happen this time."

   Now let us never speak of it again.

   Flipping The Bird: I've specifically not commented on the Springfield Falcons logo change for the past week, because honestly, I hoped I'd grow to love it.

Springfield Falcons
-- It's just not happening.

"'It's a bird with an attitude,' said Falcons president and general manager Bruce Landon before a large gathering of the Falcon faithful at the Basketball Hall of Fame. 'I liked our old logo, but one thing that bothered me was it didn't say 'Springfield,' and I wanted people to know where we come from.'"

   This is not a bird with an attitude. This is a bird with Bell's Palsy who can't close its beak. For one, it's ugly. For two, hockey sticks aren't gray. For three, these are the most hideously plain jerseys I have seen in a long time.

   When you combine this move with the parent club in Phoenix changing one of the best logos in sports to instead look like the Soviet National Team, we may have reached the point where I hate an organization strictly for cosmetic reasons.

   I mean, we do it with people all the time. Why not stretch the paradigm?


   • Cue the women's soccer!

WWC Quarterfinal
1
2
FIN
Sweden
1
1
2
Brazil
1
0
1

You know how superstars usually get the call? The Swedes pushed the tournament's leading goal-scorer down in the box during second half stoppage time ... and she didn't get the call. That's just refreshing.

WWC Quarterfinal
1
2
FIN
United States
1
0
1
Norway
1
0
1

Domination isn't even the right word ... the U.S. held the No. 2 team in the world to one shot on goal in 90 minutes. And trust me ... it wasn't much of a shot.

I'll have a column on it for tomorrow.

   Now, to go play bleary-eyed golf, with an update of the update to follow.


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