November 30, 2003 - Up And At Them!
   Always Be Nice To The Soccer Fans: History has taught me that there's no group of supporters who are more vocal about their sport.

Subject: soccer
Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2003
From: John _____ <>
To: jcouture at s-t dot com

   Jon, great article about Soccer and Freddy Adu. Its reading articles like this that will get people to watch our beautiful game and appreciate it.

   All I hear and read about soccer is negative. And the people being negative do not know anything about soccer. Just wanted to thank you and tell you I enjoyed reading your article and look forward to reading more of your writings.
-- And this one wasn't even in all caps.

   Patriots 38, Colts 34: So, what'll it be next week? Why won't the Patriots be universally listed as the solid No. 2 team in the NFL, if not higher than that? Because the Colts had a lot of injuries, and that's why they fell to the Pats? Because the Titans have a better running game, and New England was just lucky to beat them?

   Granted, the NFL is such a crap-shoot that none of this really matters beyond who gets a bye and who doesn't, but it's incredible to watch most of the nation's sporting minds just struggle to wrap their heads around a team not really based on superstars.

   • I already knew that the past four days, given everything I did, were probably the most extended good time that I'd had since I got out of college. That wasn't debatable, since coming back to Whale City to go back to work was something akin to being hit in the legs with a spiked bat.

   But when I thought about it more, it struck me that over the past four days, I had pretty much either spoken to or saw every single person who has ever played a real significant role in my life. Granted there were a couple of exceptions to this -- a few who were very notable -- but it was my extended family on Thanksgiving, the younger Agawam crew, the older portions, then a lot of my graduating class ... more or less all the high spots. Even made a couple calls on Thanksgiving Eve to fill out the list even more.

   And I didn't even have to spend a vacation day.

   BU 7, Yale 2: We've reached the point where a win over anyone, even an awful Ivy League school, is worth holding on to. As the conversation went tonight ...

CW: "Hey look at that ... there's like 1,000 people there."

"Isn't BU, like, the best team in the country?"

"Well ... they used to be."

November 29, 2003 - The Competitive Drinking Open
   • It was by far the line of the night.

"Jesus you kids can drink!"

   It was from the bartender, at some point in our quest, led by E.R. to drown ourselves in a delightful blend of Kahlua and milk.

   Given he drank 15 of them, we'll stick with what was unofficially decided last night -- the White Russian will now and forever be referred to as "The Eric Robinson."

   From a 300-something person class, sixty people isn't exactly a stunning victory. It would make the impression that the night was more about the people who weren't there than those that were. To a point, it was ... I never got my painful conversation with the ex. But that idea would be very wrong.

   If you had no real reason not to go and didn't, you blew it. You missed a hell of a time -- all of us who planned on leaving at 9:01 stuck it out for the other six hours, and even allowed money to pass for alcoholic beverages.

   It was a very cool, yet odd phenomenon. Up the stairs with the orange and brown balloons, and suddenly you're looking at a handful of people that look much different, and yet pretty much are exactly as you remember them. You're talking to the people with whom you never shared more than the occasional sentence, and you're swapping drinks with those same people.

   The high school version of you would just be beside itself.

   It's as though everyone always knew the whole socialist hierarchy of what high school was was just a joke, yet everyone went along with it anyway. It's just the way it is in high school ... when you get out, everyone just kinda looks at each other and goes, "Wow, that was total horseshit, wasn't it?" And you know that it's coming, yet it's still one of those things you have to sit back and absorb in amazement.

   It's hard to tell what kind of reaction one gets for themself, but the general consensus on me was that I'd lost weight and prettied myself up with the loss of the glasses. About what I expected ... and lingering hair loss concerns were abated when I saw the classmate who had put on weight and was bald to the crown of his head.

   See, there always has to be something.

   Pretty much across the board, people just looked five years older. I would hazard that, even given its size, we may have had one of the most attractive reunion crowds ever assembled. We were all pretty much as good as we're going to get, and Agawam is an extremely attractive town. Especially on the female side ... I wish there was some way to determine just what causes it. If we could bottle it, combined with the tax base from the industrial park and Six Flags, we could be the richest municipality in the state.

   I realize this is about as rambling as a writeup should be when its author has a dozen drinks in him, but I just can't stress enough how well this all turned out. I went it with pretty high hopes, expected to be disappointed, but somehow wasn't. A videotape of it viewed later would probably seem a lot less entertaining, but the presence of alcohol as conversational lubricant just makes stuff like this everything they can be and more.

   They (or more accurately, she) don't (doesn't) read this, big the white boy "big ups" to the planners and organizers who put it all together and the people who had the sack to actually go. Anyone who didn't, well, it's your loss.

   If only because there are rumors I spent the better part of four hours dancing at a club. I can neither confirm nor deny this happened, but I do know I'd probably still be standing outside the club watching near fistfights break out if I hadn't been forced to leave.

November 28, 2003 - Building A Case To Hate America

Curt Schilling's Coming To Boston

"Boston should be jumping with joy as the news of this trade hits the airwaves. Let's see how the Yankees react. This offseason is just starting, and it looks like it's going to be a fun one."
-- Yup.

   Your Gossip Headquarters: Tiger Woods is getting married.

   • Seems everyone else is already shopping for Christmas presents. It was only fitting we did the same, though some friends of mine say otherwise.

The Consumer Drones
-- And all we got today were Wesley Clark supporters
are anti-"Occupation of Iraq" protestors.

   Sadly, the 8 a.m. expidition to the mall with the sheer purpose of being ironic and seeing soccer moms get into fistfights over the last "Grind and Bump" Elmo never materialized, as everyone was amazingly on their best behavior. Oh, we went to the mall, but everyone was on their best behavior. All I ended up getting was to wait in the Best Buy line for 50 minutes -- our line weaved through the entire appliance section, then down the aisle all the way back to the televisions, yet it wasn't "the crazy one" -- then watch Charlie try to get sold a Coke by a 50+ year old clerk at the bookstore with cranberry-fuschia hair.

   I'm sorry, but once a person reaches about 25, hair colors that do not naturally occur should be left to Halloween and maybe international spying. You should not have grandchildren and have to explain to them why the dyeing process of your hair may involve Ocean Spray.

   Maybe if you work at an independent bookstore somewhere in Brookline, but Waldenbooks? I'm just not feeling it.

   So what did we learn today?

   1) The pre-noontime crowds at your local mall probably aren't that bad, and if you want George W. Bush to not deport you for treason, you need to show you love your country by spending beyond your means over the next few weeks.

   2) When you go to the mall, consider eating at the Japanese/Chinese place. There's no line, and even though their "Hey, Baby!" calls to get you to come over may insult, odds are you'll get a free sample out of the deal.

   3) The Saturday Night Live "Best Of Will Ferrell" DVD is good, but it's exclusion of the John Rocker "I sign my name with an X!" diatribe, "Get Off The Shed!" and Neil Diamond's "Storytellers" make it a bad purchase.

   Yay whoredom.

November 27, 2003 - The Hanukkah Song Is Far Better
   High School Hell-Yeah: It's Agawam 30, West Springfield 8, making it three straight, seven of eight, 14 of 21 and 53 of 79 all-time.

   Kinda makes me wish I'd have some sort of direct influence on how even one of them had turned out.

   Spam Of The Weekend: It is a gamble to assume it won't be taught, but getting a message about "Free U.S. Government Grants -- Learn how to apply for free money from Uncle Sam." from one Jessica Lynch seems ironic enough to carry things.

   • It's on holidays like this when we really take the time to think about those we love. Be they family or friends, and especially on Thanksgiving, we look at the people around us are really value that they're there. Really cherish that we're actually getting to see them, to talk to them and to spend time with them.

   Of course, we also note that aren't there. And a lot of the time, that's the stronger emotion.

   I got back up to the family farm this year for Thanksgiving, something I'd missed when we had to do Turkey a la Linguica in Whale City last year. It was clear that my being away had been noticed, as there was even more than the usual warm welcome when Matt and I got there.

   There was also the proverbial BC reference and questions whether I'd graduated yet, but hey, it's a beautiful campus and college is fun. It's not like they're handing me raw hemp and saying, "Go roll us some J's, Husky Boy. How's that Roxbury working out for you?"

   As is customary when you're attempting to feed a good deal of a lot of family trees, there was enough food to do all the cliched things a lot of food is known to do. It was in that food line I learned that one of my favorite cousins -- read: "The one who never beat me for amusement." -- had moved to California.

   O.K., I can roll with that. San Bernadino is lovely this time of year.

   Then it came time for dessert, and there seemed to be far less than usual, with quality more suspect.

   Oh yeah, Grandma made the really good pies. A lifetime as a baker will do that.

   The Grandma who, in the nursing home this morning, didn't eat her breakfast muffin because she forgot it was in her hand.

   I'm not going to get into the machinae of my mind ... you don't care, and odds are pretty good I'd run out of analogies midway through. On a day where the entire solid premise is to look around you and just feel thankful for everything you have, there is always that dark tendency to see the things you were once thankful for that have somehow, in your control or not, slipped away.

   It's not a bad thing.

   It's a human thing.

   But really, that's the point of what today is. To know that even if you don't still feel like every one of your ducks is in that row, that you're so happy you just write your whole freakin day in glo orange, you had those moments and let those parties know how you felt. As we did today, and as we know we ought to do more.

   Because sometimes the most important emotions and feelings are the ones we can't put into words.

   And sometimes the most important ones are those we don't mention at all.

November 26, 2003 - Revelations
   There was a mob hit in Springfield over the weekend. It remains the big story in Western Mass., as between it and a whole bunch of loan sharking and gambling arrests, the organized crime syndicate out here is in disarray.

   I went to high school with a nephew of the slain, and everyone knows about "The Barn."

   And you thought we really were all hicks.

   • What did we learn today?

   The woman who cut my hair in Boston today is 28, likes to do yoga, lives by herself and lists among her greatest pastimes taking really hot baths whil drinking rum and Cokes.

   I'm told the condensation on the glass in such a situation, in the candlelight, is "so cool." I imagine that refers to both the actual condensation and how it looks.

   You just don't get that kind of service at your neighborhood SuperCuts.

November 25, 2003 - Feeling The Phlegm
   Hey DFPers and Alumni: Our friends at The Heights are even more screwed.

"Boston College has asked a school newspaper to refuse ads for birth control, alcohol and tobacco, prompting protests from the editor and board of the student paper. The Jesuit college made the request to the independent newspaper The Heights in September as part of the terms of a new lease. The 32-year-old newspaper's yearly lease for a 20-foot by 30-foot basement office ends at the end of December."

   And you thought bankruptcy was bad.

   • You know what's nice? Having four consecutive days off to look forward to, and literally the moment you walk into the door of your apartment, you start to feel the achiness and sore throat that are signs you're coming down with the death flu your mom has. By Wednesday morning, there's a good chance I'll sound like I've spent the last five years practicing endurance smoking.

   I know what you're saying ... "couldn't happen to a nicer guy." Hey, at least I'm not the magazine-ripping rabble rouser.

"The patron, John Callaghan, was offended by the cover of a recent issue of The Advocate, a national gay and lesbian magazine, that pictured two bare-chested men leaning in to kiss each other. Outraged that the library was using taxpayers' money to carry the periodical, Callaghan tore off the cover and took it home."
-- Took it home. Probably to _____ off to, the latent homo.

   Though I suppose there are positives to contracting the death flu at this time.

   1) Hand clamminess and flop sweats make for solid excuse not to dance.

   2) Deepening of the 'radio voice' make Cooch seem much sexier in dark club where no one can see his face.

   3) New reasoning as to why I'll get loopy after three beers and want to go home.

   4) New reasoning as to why I'm leaving when they cut off the free drinks.

   5) NyQuil is a much cheaper pre-party drink than After Shock, and it's almost the taste equivelant.

   6) Will create the hilarious scenario where my mother says I've gotten sick because I "don't eat enough."

   7) Can respond to questions about how my girlfriend is doing by passing out.

   8) Makes me too tired to exercise for the whole week.

   9) I'll be well just in time to have to go back to work.

   I'd go to ten, but Letterman would sue me.

November 24, 2003 - Some Days, This Thing Is Easy
   Sox Fans Unite: By the time you go to bed on Tuesday night, there's a good chance the Red Sox will have both a new manager and No. 2 starter. Depending on how aligned the stars are, there may also be a new closer in the bullpen.

   At least one (and probably at least two) of these things happening by Thanksgiving morning is nearly a stone lock, meaning it's going to be "Quiz Cooch" time when the rest of the family finds out how I spent the playoffs.

   You won't anyway, but don't think for a second this is insider information coming from a man with connections. This is merely a declaration, based on the assemblance of facts, that Virginia, the Red Sox are going balls to the wall in 2004. Like they damn well should, and like they damn well need to.

   Anyone who is a clear-minded Red Sox will tell you this isn't necessarily a completely Good Thing, because the expectations for the team will now leave Asaninely High to enter Absolutely Ludicrous. There's only one other place in America where anything less than a 100-win regular season will be viewed as a failure, and even there one can't think of scenarios where the fans could complain even if the team clears the century mark.

   I guess what the fan in me is saying is, after those dark moments on the subway platforms when we questioned all, I'm officially back on the wagon.

   And that if you thought getting drunk at Fenway was fun in 2003, you ain't seen nothing yet.

   • Now, with every bit of sunshine has to come rain when you're "bitter." Especially when you're the "Most Bitter."

   So let's discuss the impending reunion, which for full disclosure reasons I considered skipping so I could go to this with coworkers.

   Having talked to friends who will not be attending the reunion for the reason one doesn't attend their high school reunion, I find myself perplexed and, well, a little bitter. There will undoubtably be more than a fraction of my class who don't go because they have other plans, they'll be out of the area, they have to work, etc. etc. That's fine ... life sucks that way, and when the planners get the invites out with two weeks notice, it's gonna happen.

   What bothers me are the people who won't go because "they haven't accomplished anything" since graduating. They're ashamed of themselves, they fear mocking, retribution, and so on.

   It's not as though this shocks me -- I'll neither confirm nor deny that I played the "You won't be at the reunion" game while people walked across the stage at graduation. It's happened before now, and will undoubtably continue to happen long after now.

   But I do find it a little sad that, even five years later, there are still people who think high school still is, and always will be, a friggin competition between classmates. That the only point of going back and meeting with these people again is to find out if all the popular people are fat and have kids as a way to improve one's self esteem.

   Admittedly I'm probably the wrong person to be beating this drum, as I haven't exactly had a tough half-decade in the anything department. And I can already tell you that Friday's update will be chock full of tales about seeing a hundred people whom, had I never seen them again, I could have died quite peacefully.

   I actually am kind of dementedly looking forward to the stilted, awkward conversation I'll inevitably have with my first girlfriend, who no doubt will be there. I figure any lingering smugness I may feel about the way things worked out will be immediately tempered by looking next to her and seeing the guy she cheated on me with for four of the six months we dated.

   Oh, Agawam. Joyous and ever loyal I shall be.

   All this said though, for all those conversations I have and observations I'll feel compelled to make, if I can reconnect with just one of the people I've unwillingly lost touch with over the past five years, the whole night will be a smashing success. It'll be worth the $20, the uncomfortable sweats, the cliques, the getting there, the missing the hockey game ... all of it.

   But that's just me. I don't expect everyone to think like I think, because frankly if everyone did, the world would suck. People would only talk to strangers when they absolutely had to; the world's most lucrative companies would be Target, Best Buy and Dole; a large swath of New England would cease to be inhabited and Grady Little would have been murdered in the interview room at Yankee Stadium.

   As a member of the "impartial" press, I don't actually condone murdering a man for something that happened in a sporting event. It is, after all, just a game. And I don't think the way to make my mark in the circle of friends I keep would be to become the first to be incarcerated.

   Instead, I think I'll be the one who defies all the odds by burning out by the time he's 30 and spending the next decade desperately trying to make everything right. Let's just say I'll always be a pessimist.

Will Soccer Finally Get Its Kick Start?
-- And narrowly beating out the column about the Presidents Cup and golf ... it's the column about the MLS Cup and soccer! Be careful what you wish for.

November 23, 2003 - No Texas Trap
   BASF has been telling us for years that "We don't make a lot of the products you buy, we make a lot of the products you buy better." I tend to believe them, as the latest news on their Web site deals with new stir-in pigments.

   So why the heck do they advertise to the general public? In case I wake up one day and want to buy premium fungicide?

   Draw: I would go as far to say how you feel about this result goes a long way to say why exactly you watch sports.

Presidents Cup Draw
-- Feeling neither team deserved to lose,
the U.S. and Internationals share the Presidents Cup.

South African president Thabo Mbeki, center, presents the Presidents Cup to the two sharing captains: United States' Jack Nicklaus, left, and International Team's Gary Player, right, at the closing ceremony at Fancourt, George South Africa on Sunday. There was a sudden death playoff between America's Tiger Woods and International Team's Ernie Els, of South Africa, but the tournament was declared a tie as darkness fell. (AP Photo/Obed Zilwa)

   I think it's great, as an individual crapshoot generally isn't the best way to end a team competition. But I already know you hate it, and can feel "Golf is not a sport" being typed out.

   • One of my toes is currently the size, shape and color of the average spicy Vienna Sausage. It is that way because I beat my brother in a game of Mario Kart: Double Dash!!

   Can you figure out the backstory?

   While you ponder that, let's ponder the D.A.R.E. links thrown up in the comments yesterday.

   The point is that D.A.R.E. doesn't work, to the point of

"In no case did the DARE group have a more
successful outcome than the comparison group."

   That's none. Zero. Which isn't even true, because one of the studies showed student self-esteem levels were actually lower at age 20. Though that probably has to do with us all hating ourselves at that age.

   The zits, the paunch, the awkwardness with the women ... this reunion could be a disaster waiting to happen.

   Count me among the D.A.R.E. success stories though. Oh, I drink, have been known to smoke from time to time and, what the hell, consider myself a social barbituate user.

   But I did win a $50 savings bond for an essay contest on why I wouldn't use drugs. Got in the local fishwrap and everything.

November 22, 2003 - She's Back
   Today's Worthless Discovery: The Web site for Springfield's newspaper features a whole section of Weblogs.

   They don't really seem to serve any purpose, but it does make me smile to know I may be one step closer to my dream -- one day being asked to let the paper publish the blog, then getting fired because of it.

   Authentic Sell Out Of The Day: Somehow, I don't believe Lil' Kim wears a lot of Old Navy, even if she's leading some sort of PG, wintertime sing-along on my TV as I write this.

   This is the definition of selling out, right? Being a hardcore hip-hop artist from the streets, yet being on the TV selling sweatshirts by announcing, "You in the hood now, baby!"

   I guess I could be wrong ... maybe they're brancing out their product line with nipple stickers and sequins. It would make shopping their clearance racks a whole lot more interesting.

   • There's just something about being on Worthington Street in Springfield and seeing one girl who's too drunk to even be able to hold her friend's hair back while she's puking on a tree.

   Obviously the logical conclusion to a night at the observatory, isn't it?

   Well, that's a lie. The conclusion of the night was seeing some girl singing far too loud in a bar, Death To Smoochy and deciding cigarette smoking while toasted really isn't as much as its cracked up to be. Those D.A.R.E. cops from my youth may have been on to something.

   I do have to wonder though ... when they walked around with that suitcase full of "drugs," was that really pot in there or was it just a sack of grass clippings? Given we were all in elementary school, it wasn't like we were going to know the difference.

November 21, 2003 - Explosions And Murders
   Jonathan Brandis: Here, the only reason we remember the now-dead 27-year-old is because on the debut episode of seaQuest DSV, he wore a Florida Marlins jersey with "World Champions 2012" across the back.

   We had no idea what their future would hold ...

   Brandis's apparently didn't hold as much as he had hoped. Though if I ever rent Outside Providence now, it'll have that same sting of 'Jetsons' episodes and the 4 a.m. 'Three's Company' episodes I seem to keep coming across on TV Land.

   Better TV: I suppose the logical question is why my family was watching seaQuest DSV in the first place, especially given Web sites calling show geeks 'Questerians' ... there's no real answer for that. Blind allegiance to NBC may be the only real answer.

   Things, however, have gotten better, with my TV viewing now pretty much completely consisting of I Love The '80s: Strikes Back. Truly the highest of high comedy.

   For proof, take the 1987 episode, which began with the following clips:

   -- The start of 'Bad' by Michael Jackson, who today has a lower jaw about three weeks from leaping out of his face.

   -- A scene from 'Platoon' 'Predator' featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is now the freakin' Governor of California.

   This absolutely will never stop being awesome, hilarious and disturbing all at the same time. As is the idea that in a not-all-that-distant way, Arnold Schwarzenegger is a Kennedy.

   • Given my fascination with the History Channel, there's been a lot of Kennedy news out there this week. Also for whatever reasons, a lot of commercials for Celine Dion perfume.

   Of course Celine Dion has her own perfume. Should somebody tell her she's really not attractive enough to be selling it by making broody kissy faces into the camera, or would that be considered cruel? Does she not realize she's got that Quebecois bone structure jutting out of her face? Just a thought as she sits on her swing above us all, blowing kisses into the wind or whatever her $100 show has in it.

   Not surprisingly, the New York Times has an excellent section on the assassination, complete with an opinion on the only thing I've been thinking about all week -- what would've happened if he hadn't been killed.

   The highlights:

   -- JFK becomes an extreme footnote in history ... certainly not the most popular president in history.

   -- When LBJ dies in office of a heart attack, RFK takes over (as VP) and names Martin Luther King as his Veep.

   -- Most of 1980s history is pushed up into the '70s, including Reagan gaining election in 1972.

   -- RFK returns to office in 1980 when the economy goes in the dumper, loses to the elder Bush in '84.

   -- The Oliver North scandal forces Bush's resignation in 1990, leading to Colin Powell being the president for the entire decade.

   -- O.J. gets found guilty because race isn't an issue in a Kennedy America.

   -- Israelis and Palestinians make peace.

   It's just plausible enough to make those my age understand why everybody cares so much.

November 20, 2003 - Nearly Actual Introspection
   Captialism!: After all these years, you've finally paid off.

   Of course, a line is now drawn in the sand. You either own both volumes of the 7 DVD set, or you're part of the problem.

   More Evidence Fans Are Stupid: Manchester, N.H., is trying to come up with a new name for their minor league baseball team other than 'Primaries,' and the public has thus assembled a list of like 600 names that are all worse.

   Among my personal favorites:

New Hampshire Wood
New Hampshire Wild Turkeys
New Hamsphire Super Newts
New Hamspshire Shrimp Ballers
Manchester Mullets

   I could go on for days. Thank goodness this team will in no way contend with the Pride for hat honors.

   Michael Jackson: I can;t even stomach posting his mug shot, which is more hideous than photos of some shotgun suicide victims. I can, however, encourage all of you to read the heartwarming transcript of testimony from 1993's alleged child molestation victim. You'll laugh! You'll cry! You'll read things like this!

"In about May of 1992 I met Michael Jackson at my
stepfather's car rental business, Rent-A-Wreck."
-- Obviously the place billionaires go to borrow a car.

   Of Interest To Like Three Of You: A yearbook-like Ballot Box is being held for the Agawam members of the Loop / Posse. Though the rest of you can also feel free to jump in and vote me 'Most Bitter.'

   • It's at times like this, when I am the runaway winner for something like "Most Bitter," that I start to wonder just why everyone thinks I'm so angry. I have no doubt that they're very clear in their assumption, as I'm pretty much running the table. Still, is my behavior really that over the top?

   In my mind, I probably have close to the least to be bitter about. But no one seems to question that I'm full of that magical compund, shit-hate.

   I would go as far to say I'm troubled by this ... not so much that I'm perceived to be bitter, but the fact that I'm unanimously perceived as such. I don't know what I'll do. Perhaps I'll consider changing my policy of being too stupid to lie to people. Maybe I'll just sit myself down, and institute an entirely new world view where I more often show my happy-go-lucky and caring personality to others.

   Or maybe I'll go out in a field and, using my current stores of S-H as a fertilizer, create a new, powerful, hybrid form of S-H with which I will kill all the flowers in the land.

   I just don't get flowers that way. You give them to people for something like Valentine's Day, and then they die. Somehow, there must be a better way for one to show their love.

November 19, 2003 - Not Your Palm Reader's Lifeline
   'Red Sox' Joke Of The Fortnight: Yeah, it's probably been adapted to hundreds of rivalries over time, but it's still funny.

   On a tour of Florida, the Pope took a couple of days off to visit the coast for some sightseeing. He was cruising along the beach in the Pope Mobile when there was a frantic commotion just off shore. A helpless man, wearing a New York Yankee's jersey, was struggling frantically to free himself from the jaws of a 25-foot shark.

   As the Pope watched, horrified, a speedboat came racing up with three men wearing Boston Red Sox jerseys aboard. One quickly fired a harpoon into the shark's side. The other two reached out and pulled the bleeding, semi-conscious Yankee fan from the water. Then using (autographed Nomar) baseball bats, the three heroes in red beat the shark to death and hauled it into the boat also.

   Immediately the Pope shouted and summoned them to the beach. "I give you my blessing for your brave actions," he told them. "I heard that there was some bitter hatred between Red Sox and Yankee fans, but now I have seen with my own eyes that this is not the truth."

   As the Pope drove off, the harpooner asked his buddies "Who was that?"

   "It was the Pope," one replied. "He is in direct contact with God and has access to all of God's wisdom."

   "Well," the harpooner said, "he may have access to God's wisdom, but he doesn't know shit about shark fishing. How's the bait holding up?"

   Bah dum *ching!*

   Fun With Cutting Edge Architecture: Remembering the whole site plan in all its craptactularity, pick your favorite memorial.

   None really leap out at me as any better than the others, and reading the write-ups for each of them just confuses me even more. I suppose this is the downside to writing at 1 a.m., but I can't focus when all eight are trying to be as poetic and descriptive as possible.

   • Well, I was initiated into the S-T poker group this evening ... the first I had played the game, or any of the versions of it, without a mouse close at hand.

   Without getting into details -- we play with what some would consider a lot of money on the line -- let's give the math majors out there some word problems.

   Having never played with these guys before, I planned on losing my entire bankroll. To start, I cashed 50% of that bankroll into chips, going into the wallet thrice more when needed. In the end, I lost 55% of the total 'bankroll,' -- some of which never left the wallet -- but still ended up 45% better than I figured.

   As a rule, I tend to play poker tight, because I believe the longer one hangs in, the better chance the cards will turn in one's favor. The fact that I was playing a lot of games -- high-low hands, 727, six card with buying cards at the end, the mysterious "Yes-No" -- that I had just learned the rules for on the car ride over only tightened things further. Though at the end, seeing I was well OK on bankruptcy, I pushed a little harder than I probably should given the end result.

   I'm pretty sure I was the night's big loser -- really, should it have come out any other way, I'd have been a bit disturbed. I did win my share of hands though, including a huge "Yes-No" that saved me in the end, and assuming the worst, nothing but being pleased could have been the end result.

Share with friends. An often free-for all that can turn into some
high stakes stuff given how gutsy your poker table is.

   Dealer determines whether it will be an 'x' or '2x' round, and all players ante up at that amount. They're then dealt five cards, face down, and then must make a choice: Calling "no" by folding or calling "yes" and taking two more cards.

   All players still in then compare their best five card hands, with the losers having to pay the pot amount (number of total players times whatever the ante was) to the winner. So if a person calls yes, they're essentially gambling that pot amount that they have the best hand.

   The deal then shifts to the left, with what was in the pot staying there and players anteing on top of it. It creates a scenario where if the first hand was "worth" $6, the next will be worth $12, then the next $24, etc., etc.

   Play keeps going until only one player says "yes" on a given hand. That player then wins what was in the pot, and that's the end of it.

   I'm told it has gotten as high as a $180 gamble when they are real high rollers playing, but we got no higher than a $36 hand ... which I won from two others with three kings.

   That at least gets you mathematicians started on just how much we were throwing around. Wouldn't make it a regular outing, but it was certainly a good time that I'll be doing again.

November 18, 2003 - We Call It The 'Gay State'
   Spam Of The Day: The body had nothing interesting, but it was one of those titles that really bore reading.

"Why Did You Tell Everybody I Had AIDS?"

   To think it wasn't even a "Grow Your Member" spam.

   Gay Marriage: It was a landmark day for Massachusetts, as the state's highest court ruled there's no Constitutional reason they shouldn't be allowed to wed.

   Comments made to me on the subject thusfar:

"Marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman. Today's decision ... violates this important principle. I will work with congressional leaders and others to do what is legally necessary to defend the sanctity of marriage."
-- Geroge W. Bush, who may be concerned 'the gays' will start 'making babies.'

"It has been so (marriage joining a man and woman) since the beginning of time. I stand with the great majority of people in our country who believe it should continue to be so, and I will work for that to be the case."
-- Gov. and American Hero Mitt Romney

"Massachusetts sucks ... homosexuals are gay!"
-- An IM left for me.

   I live in a very tolerant cocoon, you see.

   Personally, I don't care -- this is one of those issues where people are irrationally opposed for whatever reason. I can actually visualize having a debate on this where someone says if guys can marry guys, people should be able to marry whatever they want -- pets, parking meters, etc.

   You know what else 'ruins' the sanctity of marriage? The fact that half of them now end in divorce.

   Just don't make me read about their celebrations.

"Singing "We're going to the State House and we're going to get married," about 400 people hugged and wiped away tears at a rally last night at the Old South Meeting House. They decorated the room in rainbow flags, linking the birthplace of the Boston Tea Party to the struggle for gay rights."
-- There's not a paycheck in the world
that would have made me comfortable in that room.

   • After all, I will be moderately more comfortable swaying lightly to the dance music next Saturday, when the Class of 1998 has its five-year reunion at ... "the biggest and hottest nightclub in Western Massachusetts".

   Advertising onesself as the hottest nightclub in an area where hot nightclubs are, of course, the paramount. I suppose it's not a question of whether raves have been held in local cornfields, it's a questions of how often you've been to them.

   Many of you are a good deal older than I am, so maybe you can help me out here. Is it:

   -- normal to get just two weeks notice that you're having a reunion?

   -- normal to have it be held not as a private party, but likely just as a piece of a regular Saturday night at a club?

   -- normal to have a night club that has to tell people they can't wear workboots? Not the idea of not allowing them, but the fact that they'd have to say something, lest people show up wearing them?

   In the end, I'm rather shocked we're having anything at all. I'd given up hope when the whole summer passed and there wasn't a word sent out about anything. So, I'm glad I was wrong about that.

   If nothing else, it will be fun to drag some of my classmates into what could be an unintentional comedy free-for-all. Maybe I can convince a couple of them that we all need to go leather pants shopping over the Thanksgiving holiday.

November 17, 2003 - Underly Offensive
   Addendum To The Column: After you read this:

Fans Hold The Power To Make MLB Change
-- A return to the regular column with an indictment of the new MLB steroid policy. I assure you, it was easier than me taking steroids and seeing if I could start hitting home runs.

   you should probably read this, an article Outside Magazine did chronicling just what steroids do to an athlete.

   MVP: The Baseball Writers of America is somewhat of a difficult group to get into -- you must be nominated by a member and reviewed -- yet, three men thought the Most Valuable Player in the American League this season was, respectively:

   Vernon Wells -- Who probably wasn't the best player on his own team, given he plays with Carlos Delgado.

   Miguel Tejada -- The 2002 MVP who probably singlehandedly cost his team the Division Series against the Red Sox with his "I think I'll stop running to argue a call, then get tagged out" in Game 3. I guess it could have been a wedding gift.

   Jason Giambi -- Who hit .250. That pretty much says it all right there.

   • Sad when old people are given positions of power, isn't it?

   Of course, the not quite old aren't doing much better.

U.S. sales of Metallica's latest album, which fell off the pop charts earlier this month, are a "bummer," according to the veteran rock group's singer, James Hetfield. "It's a bummer," Hetfield said. "In Europe it's doing really good, and some other places ... It is what it is. We can't change that. We do our best and that's all we can do."

"It's a very challenging record," (Lars) Ulrich said of "St. Anger," which was constructed by a computer program and features no guitar solos. He added that U.S. rock radio programmers seemed more interested in playing bands like Nickelback.

   It's only sold 1.5 million copies in America, which is undoubtably because it sucks people kept trading it for free over peer-to-peer networks.

   Personal Aside: I worked an overtime shift in the news department tonight, essentially doing my old job while they're undermanned and looking to hire a new night copy desk editor.

   Suffice to say, it took about a half hour to remember just how serious I was that I was a month away from demanding a change before I got moved to sports. Absolutely no offense to my coworkers in that department, but there's just something about going to college for four years to have a job you are:

   a) really rather bored by
   b) not very good at

   That kinda shuts the will down a little.

November 16, 2003 - Firebird
   Football Redux: As expected, Dallas gave New England little trouble ... or as little trouble as one can give in a 12-0 game. Not surprisingly, it was a game that wasn't as exciting as hoped for, so some members of the press had to use their imaginations to keep themselves occupied.

"What, you expected 38-35? You get Pedro Martinez pitching against Roy Halladay, you expect a 1-0 game, don't you? Unless, of course, the Red Sox's brain-dead manager leaves Prima Donna Petey in the game after the seventh inning, and/or allows him to throw more than 100 pitches, in which case the Jays could end up winning 10-0."
-- The Providence Journal's Jim Donaldson, who's a very nice guy,
but apparently has major problems focusing and letting stuff go.

   I'm actually disturbed this column actually ran in a newspaper, never mind in one of the largest in New England. It's disturbing in the way the Giants have become disturbing -- next week's Monday night game against the Buccaneers in Tampa will likely be among the worst displays of football this season.

   It's odd to have this happen in a year when New York probably possess the best offense they've ever had. Course, they'll be playing a team that also makes no sense, so it'll probably be an oddly compelling game that Big Blue will still manage to lose.

   At least they'll be wrestling to flip back and forth from.

Pretty, Pretty Flowers
-- OK, football time is over.
Marked by pretty, pretty flowers.

   I'm all for turning a now-abandoned mental hospital into a floral piece of art, but there's just one problem: If you fill the halls completely, how do people tour it without stepping on the flowers?

A Shining Season For Voc-Tech Cheerleaders
-- Local girls make good. Also fascinating though was the chicken-egg phenomenon of it: Do girls with names like Ashley, Krystal, Chelsea, Lacey and Brittany become cheerleaders because of those names, or do they get those names once they become cheerleaders?

   • Speaking of wrestling, CW's favorite millionaire got all in the act.

"Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban -- who could be called the Vince McMahon of the NBA -- attended Survivor Series tonight at his arena, the American Airlines Center. After taking the RKO from 'Legend Killer' Randy Orton, Cuban headed backstage to mingle with the WWE Superstars, happily snapping pictures with many of them, and specifically seeking out Kurt Angle."

"Oh, man. Survivor Series is top notch," Cuban said. "You've got the best wrestlers in the world. You've got Goldberg vs. Triple H. I'm so sick of Triple H now. I want to see him get his ass kicked. I had to come see Stone Cold's Team just taking on Bischoff's Team. Bischoff's all talk. And I had to do what I had to do out there."

   Mark Cuban remains essentially what I'd be if I became a billionaire. Loud and goofy, buying my favorite sports team and turning them from bums into winners. Taking e-mail suggestions from fans and just generally showing that I gave a crap.

"If you don't love your own product, you're in the wrong business. There's just no in between. There's no substitute."

   Three Boston teams actually have that now, with just the Bruins to go. It's made things much more entertaining, even more uncomfortably entertaining than this video probably was.

"A humorous video was also prepared for the address, depicting Gates and chief executive Steve Ballmer in a spoof of the popular futuristic film, The Matrix. Gates took the role of spiritual guide Morpheus who gives Ballmer -- playing Neo, the savior -- an "innovation pill" to aid him in battling competitors."

   Ah, nerds.

November 15, 2003 - Meat Meat Meat Meat Meat Meat!
   Homestar CD: Should Homestar Runner actually be releasing the CD they say they are -- check the menu for 'CD Out Next Week' -- there's a good chance I may be unable to not buy it. Sample #6 nearly made me black out.

"He fights the law,
but he also fights the crime,
(but not as much)
-- No. 5 weren't bad neither.

   What is bad, however, are these, especially when one considers we could be seeing the old red throwbacks tonight instead.

   And Finally:

Just Another Game? Not A Chance
-- Has it really been two weeks since I wrote something?
Three in four days should clear that up nicely.

   • Though I suppose things could be worse. I could have written this letter (reg. required, thus the reprint below) to my campus newspaper without a hint of trepidation.

   In response to the article "Vegans Want More Options," in Monday's Daily Free Press (pg. 3), maybe Dining Services Director Joshua Hubbard is confused about the meaning of the word "vegan."

   To clarify, it means no animal products; and yes, eggs and cheese do count as animal products. So now you can see how lasagna is not vegan. First of all, soy cheese has never been offered to us. The lasagna on "Taste of the NFL" night was doused in cream sauce -- this is not vegan, even though we were told by managers that it was.

   And in response to a letter written by Mr. Hubbard (Nov. 12, pg. 6): since when has blatant lying been the policy of dining hall managers? Firstly, all those entrées you listed, except for the herbed polenta, are absolutely repulsive. Have you tasted your own food? Your soy chicken and sausage taste like dog food. The filling of the shepherd's pie is the only thing that that is vegan; the bread that goes with it is baked with butter. Soy ice cream is never available during dining hours -- that is an explicit fabrication. And either you are lying about the pasta being vegan or you are lying about training your employees. Either way, dining hall services has some serious re-organizing to do. I have asked numerous times if the pasta is vegan, and I am nightly assured that there are eggs in it. I talk to managers on a regular basis, I have written letters and comment cards -- absolutely nothing is being done.

   Every vegan student here is dissatisfied with the dining options -- all concerns have been voiced and dining services turns a deaf ear. Even the things that are vegan are tainted by the horrible handling skills of your employees. Just today I was trying to make a burrito, when I was sickened to see the guacamole knife covered in sour cream and pieces of chicken and cheese in the beans. This happens on a regular basis. Employees at the deli counter handle the meat and then handle our vegetables. They put our garden burgers on the buns right after scooping up handfuls of meat without changing gloves -- this is absolutely repulsive. Do your job and train your employees!

   You can't justify giving us enough options just by mentioning vegan entrées, just look at the size of these disgusting parcels of "food." Plus, the entrées do not nearly meet our dietary needs. One night it was mushrooms and pasta -- where is the protein? Either you begin to actually listen to our complaints and change what is being served at the dining hall, or you can allow us to have our own vegan dining or housing option. Money is yet another issue: we are paying the same price as everyone else for food when we are clearly not consuming most of the animal products that this money purchases. If one were to examine the price of each meal, and then look at the food that vegans can actually eat (and breakfast, I might add, is a fine example of this), then you would notice a massive price discrepancy, in favor of the university. This policy is unfair and unjust and one would think that a prestigious university such as BU would know better than to insult the intelligence of its vegan students. If you want to know how to improve our dining experience that we pay for then please, feel free to contact me, because my own attempts have been futile.

   Maybe I'm just reacting to this the wrong way, but we've really found the prototypical BU student here. Generally insufferable, complaining and the like, just because her specific dining preferences. Maybe being a vegan isn't equivelant to a child who only wants to eat candy, but I'd imagine their numbers are about the same.

   It's all just so PCU, and so not in a good way. I suppose I could be wrong on the numbers we're dealing with -- BU is just NYU's Charles River satellite campus -- but I boil this letter down to the following:

* You don't understand us.

* Your food tastes like crap.

* You lie to us to get us to leave you alone.

* I was "sickened" by everything I saw.

* You're not giving us our daily nutrition just because
we've sworn off roughly 80% percent of all healthy foods.

* I am insulted.

* I am being overcharged for food.

   Apparently not so insulted that she'd do the big girl thing -- pull out of the dining plan and buy her own God damned food -- but that really wouldn't be in line with the college way of doing things.

   You're eating at a cafeteria -- a building designed to feed a whole lot of people -- and are a student at one of the most prestigious universities in the country. And you're angry why?

   Because your potatoes touched a hamburger.

   Addendum: Just like yours truly, our hero had to make a Web page for CS101 -- the collegiate live-action play of "Computers for Dummies." On it is a critique of Beantown:

* Why are you people in such a hurry? Walk slower!

* Umm...Your weather, it sucks.

* I have met some of the meanest homeless people in the world on Newberry Street. If you want people to give you money, be nice!

* You're all alcoholics.

* Public transportation sucks; I want my car.

   As a response:

We're in a hurry? Because it's so damn cold.

The weather sucks? We like snow in July.

The homeless are angry? They'd be happier if the weather didn't blow
... and if they weren't homeless people.

   Alcoholics? How else can we cope with the weather?

You want your car? Whatever. So long as some road salt scratches it and
you throw a hissy fit because it once was looked at by a cow.


November 14, 2003 - Cocoa Go
   Pencil Neck Geek: Hockey East combatants Merrimack College has a new logo, and does it ever depict all the terror and trepidation one feels when facing off with the Warriors.

-- Can't you just feel the power?

   To celebrate his unveiling, Merrimack unleashed all their fury on the alma mater, registering a ferocious tie with a team it sounds like they probably should have beaten.

"Territorial advantage is what we want," BU coach Jack Parker said, looking at the shot charts. "They got two grade-A [chances] and we got 15 or 20. So the problem is we're just not getting it by the goaltenders. We were at the net all night against this club. We had a lot of opportunities right at the paint. But if [we're] not getting goals it's hard to watch."
-- 0-for-21 and counting on the power play ... I just feel the pride billowing.

   Using My Powers For Awesome: If you visit just one hyperlink today, make it:

-- ProjectExplorer

   And no, I'm not linking to this just because there's someone named Couture involved. I just think it's an awesome idea.

   • Tomorrow's awesome idea will be ripping into vegans, by the way.

   But now, the exciting conclusion of ...


   Alison has a pink page, and often has very exciting things happen to her, such as currently being accosted by a friend's girlfriend who is insane. I miss such exciting stuff ... of course, going home roughly every two weeks kinda kills the whole dramatic part of it all.

   Boggie never really posts anymore, but when he does, it's usually introspective and entertaining. As of last writing, the oddly crippling winds we're getting across the northeast are making his entire skyscraper physically sway.

   Matt is like me in the sense that, were his building to be toppled by the winds, he'd post on the way down.

   John is unique in that I've never actually met him ... he linked to me at some point around the Ted Williams death fiasco, and I thus did the same. He didn't post for about a month, but now seems to be back talking about Buffy. I'm sure it was a very good show, it just really hit in the "Cooch is weaning himself off TV because he has to" phase.

   Julie almost got a job with the Red Sox, which would have made for very exciting writing, but instead ended up at the WMass NBC affiliate and threatened to kill me when I received ALCS media credentials. Anyone who knows Julie will tell you she would actually murder me if meant a shot of getting my pass, and I respect that kind of fanaticism.

   For lack of any other answers, I called Julie while stranded in Queens at about 2:30 a.m. after Game 7 and left what might be the most pathetically despondent voicemail in cellular history. I'd like to thank Verizon for ensuring it was quickly deleted, because it really didn't need to be heard by anyone.

   Erin is Meg's best friend, and thus we don't actually talk a whole lot directly. However she is in the military, and if nothing else, her journal will make you realize that signing up is probably not a good thing to do if you're only motivation is to get out of paying your college loans.

   Ellen just started her journal, and it is basically a repository for her brushes with fame while working in the L.A./Hollywood area. It is not doing anything to calm my infatuation with said area, nor is the surge of quality coming out of Jimmy Kimmel Live.

   Nor is the surge of freakin' wind blowing crap down my fake "sealed off" chimney, but the heavy duty plastic should help with that.

   Rea is a great guy, and he's the only person I know who could write "I want to be a dairy farmer in New Zealand" and have none of us be surprised if he actually got up, left Boston, and became a dairy farmer in New Zealand.

   As for the whole Quiz Bowl contingent, the easiest way to put it is that they're all guys I've met, and they all often have quite insightful stuff to say. Craig's site is the most prolific when he's not busy -- the music tournaments were awe-inspiring in their completeness -- but they're all good.

   And as for this site, well, I really don't know why you're here. Maybe it's for the hardcore Merrimack College logo talk.

November 13, 2003 - Justify Your Existence
   Now That Everyone Else Linked To It: For the brainy among you, it's The End Of The World. Nowhere near as dangerous as a site full of old computer games, but not too shabby.

   Jane Jetson: Dead. It is worth noting that George Jetson (1989); Elroy Jetson and Cogswell (1988); Spacely (1989); Rosie (1999); and Astro (1997) are all dead too. This will ruin any future viewings of Jetsons episodes, much in the same way you can't look at John Ritter anymore without going, "Hey, he's dead."

   The only one still kicking is their daughter Judy, who was also Penelope Pitstop. This isn't quite as interesting as finding out Astro was also Scooby Doo, but it is heartening to know that the making of a second live-action Doo movie is actually the act of pissing on a man's grave.

   • I have added two more people to the coveted list of "Friends who Actually Update Their Web Pages", after about a week of being too lazy to do it: the wiry bastard Eric Robinson and everyone's favorite bomb-making cheerleader, Lonnie.

   Looking at the rut that I've been in for the last few weeks here -- there just hasn't been the kind of genius there was when I could walk onto the BU campus and see people with nine-colored hair playing sitars on the curb -- it struck me that there needs to be a real reason for people to come back here. But until I can come up with something beyond the prospect of ugly, maladjusted children, we'll just have to go with:

They're all there, and I do actually try to glance at them all now and again.
Why should you, dear smut seeker?

   Vito knows far too much about English music and is angry like me, but located in Manhattan, where far more stupid things happen on a daily basis.

   Greg is the only person I know who would ever publish a list of the 1,000 greatest movies ever and be able to bold a good percentage of them based on which he's seen.

   I nearly tried this, only to find out that when I go to the theater, I see things like this and this, which do not help in a "1,000 Greatest Movies" list.

   Coen, one of the few to give a shot to a Cooch-esque travelogue, will likely have anecdotes about married life for the next couple of weeks. Plus if we're lucky, he'll violate his Confidentiality Agreement with the Millionaire and start a lawsuit that somehow will see him use his law degree for good instead of decoration.

"We got our bags and went through customs, which was pretty much walking through a doorway marked 'nothing to declare.' I did take the time to declare that I was just happy to not be touching anyone else."
-- I so would say that.

   Meg is currently tooling around Europe, and every couple weeks or so, she writes something that hints at how much better a time she's having than any of us are wherever we may be. Except for Vito, but we needn't go down that road.

   Brian every so often writes something extremely astute, then posts pictures about it that I can't believe are made with my camera. Though I suppose he has the advantage of not vibrating like a Magic Fingers when he tries to hold still.

   Rosie is in medical school down in Louisiana, and thus can post entire entries composed of words few of us actually understand.

"Well, I didn't dream about cranial nerves, but I did dream that I had leukemia (blood cells) and only a month or two to live."
-- Fun!

   Todd will never post again since I helped him rediscover all the computer games he played as a child, so enjoy reading his site before LiveJournal eats it from lack of use.

   Charlie's fun sprouts better when he posts politicized comments on other people's journals. And when he goes to Vegas and doesn't gamble enough ... looking back, he really plays the role of travel partner very well.

   The Bruce posts so much, you actually become concerned about his well-being if you go twice and there's not something new there. His site is very much like mine ... if I actually had readers I didn't know and said something insightful more than once a month.

   Bill, at some point in December, will post something about how being the editor-in-chief of the DFP killed him, but he'll use some synonym for sexual assault. You should keep looking for it just so you can nod knowingly when it happens.

   April spends most of her time posting quizzes and complaining, which is suppose is exactly like this, but without the quizzes. Her journal often makes me angry for no reason, and yet I continue to read it all the time anyway, so there must be something worthwhile going on at a subconscious level that I don't understand.

   If you're new here, there are many things I don't understand. Since I went grocery shopping today, high on that list is how Pepsi Blue got a fan club, unless of course the tasters are actually self-haters who like getting whipped across the throat on weekends.

   Jen probably has the highest quality-to-quantity ratio on the list, especially now that she's out of college and not posting physics jokes. I suppose they'll be back, given she now has a physics job, but I can blissfully ignore them for at least a couple weeks.

   The other half to come on Friday.

November 12, 2003 - Dead As A Doornail
   Public Service Announcement: If you are going to decide that you are in need of a plunger, it is not typically a good decision to make at roughly 1:30 a.m. in an area that doesn't fully grasp the concept of "24 hour shopping."

   Thank goodness my employer hasn't yet worried that people would "borrow" things from the bathroom supply closet.

   Note To Stop & Shop Supermarkets: You really should stock plungers. I mean seriously ... it's a much more sensible addition than gas stations.

   • I suppose there's an easy answer to this, but let's just pretend there isn't:

   Did the schedule makers set it up so Bill Parcells would face all his former teams (Giants, Jets, Patriots), his former quarterback (Drew Bledsoe of the Bills) and the one he almost went to (Tampa Bay) in just his first year in Dallas, or did he go there because he knew he'd get to face all these teams, and thus get to tell reporters to piss off when asked about his past all season long?

   I should find out about that.

   Then again, I'd really rather not be called a dumbass by a Pro Football Hall of Famer.

   At least not yet anyway.

   Random Aside: Because I so heartily bashed it in the beginning, it's only fair I make sure you know Jimmy Kimmel Live has gotten much better.

   Cold Pizza, however, still blows.

November 11, 2003 - Down On The Fizzarm
   Of Questionable Legality: Fun nonetheless, because where else can you find a good copy of the original Oregon Trail computer game? Why at Home of the Underdogs, soon to become your largest time suck.

   Sure it spawns a whole pile of popups. I'm willing to fight through insurance offers and sweepstakes winnings to play the 1987 version of Classic Concentration. I think you should be too.

   • You all remember the Scrabble game show, right? It was on NBC weekday mornings in the late '80s and possibly the early '90s, hosted by Chuck Woolery. There were stoppers and a virtual board, witty banter, and the Scrabble Sprint, which through the haze of time strikes me as the greatest game show end game but for the car match on Classic Concentration.

   Apropos to nothing, I really miss Scrabble. Since Press Your Luck actually came back and ruined the fading memories, this will become my new crusade. 'Crusade,' of course, being in the sense that I'll mention it today, 1-2 may comment on it, and we'll never speak of it again.

   Of course, when there's apparently no real evidence that seeding clouds actually makes them rain and that CNN planted questions in their historic 'Rock The Vote' debate, who can really tell what is going on anymore.

November 10, 2003 - So Yeah, What Is It?
   Food Ads: Rather than making this a list of advertisements that bother me -- which seems pathetic even in my mind -- we'll merely make this a list of things that bear mentioning.

   McDonalds' Pumpkin Pie: To the new ghetto fabulous "I'm Lovin' It" theme, we're told that McDonalds new pumpkin pie is "Just like your mom used to make ... that is, of course, if she knew how to bake."

   Somehow, I think anyone who has a mother should probably be offended by this, because given the number of hands that will have touched the pie by the time it gets to you, the only way any actual pumpkin will play a role in the transaction is if the grubby-pawed McJobber you hand your money to carved a jack-o-lantern when they were a child.

   Burger King's Shrimp and Pasta Salad: Somehow, through either subliminal ads or halluciongenic drugs, Burger King has created a scenario where one would want to eat seafood from a Burger King.

   It just goes to show it is possible for a fast food restaurant to at least appear like they're offering healthy alternatives. Ironic, given BK fries are among God's unholiest concoctions and that another restaurant is using their own products against them.

   Kentucky Fried Chicken's Chicken: KFC's latest ad campaign is that it is the healthy alternative. And why? Because two breasts of KFC chicken have less calories than ... a Whopper.

   What's frightening is that this might work, even though saying one's food is healthier than a Whopper is the equivelant of saying I have more moral fiber than the average child molester or that the average Chevy Nova is more reliable than an off-the-lot Kia.

   All I'm asking for is KFC to show me their Jared. A man, woman or child who dumped a ton of weight eating nothing but Kentucky Fried Chicken.

   I can almost see the ad campaign now ... just would they use the buckets for displaying their puke from all the greasy chicken, or mine from imagining how fat one would have to have been to lose weight eating nothing but greasy chicken?

   • Questions without answers. Very Matrix-like.

   About all you have to know about The Matrix: Revolutions is that the main site spawns this pop-under. All the third movie does is confirm what everyone who paid for the second movie feared.

   What drew them in by being an amazing action flick is actually a not-all-that-well-hidden Bible story.

   This likely isn't a surprise to anyone today who has seen a part of the trilogy. But it is a surprise when you compare the feeling tonight to the feeling I'd wager everyone had walking out of the first movie. Where the suggestion that it was nothing more than that was met with confusion and befuddlement.

   Well, at least we're back there again.

   What's most disturbing about this is a movie whose tagline is "Everything that has a beginning has an end" chose to completely defy that premise with the last piece of the trilogy. I won't get into specifics in case someone still wants to see it -- I paid to see Scary Movie 3 ... it's nowhere near that disconcerting -- but this is a not a film one should see unless they've got a grasp on their Bible stories. My religious resource didn't go, so the entire two hours consisted of me seeing things that were very heavily symbolic, yet having no idea what the hell they actually meant.

   This would be the actual thought process. It was somewhat like a guy sitting in on a militant lesbian conference ... as though I wasn't supposed to be watching what I was watching because there was no way I could possibly understand the hard work that went into it.

   Which is very ironic, considering the rest of the theater was full of 16-year-olds ghetto suburban white kids, who undoubtably were just pissed because their girlfriends wouldn't go all the way in a movie theater.

   I guess I saw this coming, considering each film offered up that, "So, what was that?" kind of reaction on the way out of the theater.

   I saw the first one in Boston, and it was a reaction drawn from the effects that were so new and unlike anything else, they really were awe-inspiring.

   I saw the second one in Times Square, and it was a reaction tempered by the feeling that it had just been a bridge movie, designed just to get us to the final act.

   So now after seeing the third one in not L.A., not London, not Chicago, but West Springfield, I just have the reaction that there's probably a pretty good movie there that I in no way could even begin to understand.

   I just think if you're going to create cinema that's really a play of that type, you should probably target an audience over the age of 16. But what do I know.

   I think my grandmother could make a better pumpkin pie than McDonalds.

November 9, 2003 - Oversleeping Again
   Blah Blah Blah Revolution: New England has once again advanced to the Eastern Conference final, to be played against Chicago. There's no real reason for putting this here, since the MLS Cup is in L.A. this year, I just needed something to write before I had to talk about the Giants.

   I did already ask if the paper would send me to the game in California. You can imagine how that went over.

   Falcons 27, Giants 7: The Giants were 10.5 point favorites in this game. Anyone who has ever called themselves a Giants fan understood the folly of such a spread, as the Giants just don't beat people by 10 points ever ... another reason why 41-0 was just so awesome.

   I may have to force myself to drive somewhere on Monday, just so I can listen to the callers on WFAN just eviscerate Tiki Barber (two more delightful fumbles in the opponent's territory) and the rest of his teammates. I don't want to think of them like that, but it may be time to quietly slink back to Patriot Nation and hope no one noticed I was gone.

   Brady rulz! Right, guys? Guys?

   • Actually, no. This guy rules.

Rene Zimmerman
-- Rene "Mr. Universe" Zimmerman of Switzerland

Rene Zimmermann, Switzerland, celebrates after winning 'Mr. Universe 2003,' title in the 57th men's world Bodybuilding Championship in Bombay, India, on Sunday. (AP Photo/Rajesh Nirgude)

   I mean, just look at him. He's slathered in what could either be oil or a variety of fecal matter, he could take down most of the Swiss Guard with just a passing glance, he's ascended to the top of his field and is at the absolute peak of human form.

   Plus, he's got the governorship of California to look forward to someday.

   I really don't want to say anything more. Looking at a man wearing little more than a red tissue is making me uncomfortable. Never mind the fact actually working for a joke just isn't in my vocabulary today.

   Just out of curiosity, how many people would actually want to wake up tomorrow and look like this? If you could trade physiques with Mr. Zimmerman, would you? I'm going with no, but hey, one never knows what people like.

November 8, 2003 - I Am The Proudest Gerbil
   How Will You Spend Your Retirement?: If you're John Silber, apparently you've got a full plate.

"President emeritus John Silber said he plans to spend some of his free time, now that he has left Boston University’s chancellorship and Board of Trustees, doing what he loves -- sculpting.

"I did a large bas-relief of Elie Wiesel," Silber said on Oct. 18. "I haven't had time to finish the casting ... I want to do a good deal more sculpture."

   There is likely no factual proof for this -- as there usually isn't with most I say -- but the idea of John Silber sculpting a bas-relief of Elie Wiesel just makes me think of Ghost.

   [ Insert 'Simpsons' ugggggghhh sound. ]

   Drinkie Drinkie: Just make sure it's not pee.

   • Ah, a celebratory beverage like beer. Because to the winners,

Book, Centerpiece, Movie
-- go the spoils.

   When trying to explain to friends and co-workers just what it is we're doing with these tournaments, low on the list of most convincing phrases is "We won a turkey glued to a plate, a novelization of Oh, Heavenly Dog!, a copy of Extreme Prejudice and a trip to Chattanooga, Tenn., in April."

   Maybe right below that on the list is, "And if we win in Chattanooga, we get a giant martini glass and an Extreme Championship Wrestling-like title belt."

   The short of it is we went undefeated as a team today (11-0, really only 2 games were close), won the tournament and placed two in the top twelve individual scorers. Not bad considering I overslept and missed half of the first round.

   My actual points per game is debatable -- Shawn put me at 34.5 ppg over 11 rounds, though if you factor in the missed half, it's 36.2. TRASH (read as Coen in the NE regional) gave prizes just based on the seven prelim rounds, so I was landed sixth overall with 38-ish ppg. Base my prelim stats on just 6.5 rounds played, I'm third with 43+ ppg.

   To the non-CB among you, these stats are based on just tossup questions, of which there are 20 a round. Correct answers are 10 points, wrong ones are -5 pts. if given during the question, free is after it's over. The number basically mean I contributed 3-4 tossups a game, which is absurdly high when you're as dumb as me.

   Though considering all of my knowledge lies in the "useless" range, I suppose we shouldn't be surprised.

   We can't actually talk about the questions asked, since there is still one tournament next weekend that's going to be using them, but suffice to say those of you don't do college bowl -- had you heard the kinds of things I was correctly identifying very, very quickly, I'm pretty sure we wouldn't be friends anymore.

   As for why a 2002 graduate is still playing something often called college bowl, trust me when I say I've got about 10 years left before anyone starts looking at me weird. Not that I'll use them, but just trust me.

   It'd probably be a lot easier to stop if I wasn't so much better at it now than I was as an undergrad. I went four years and topped 20 ppg for a tournament maybe twice ... my last two times out I've been in the 50s and the pseudo-40s.

   Which will, coincidentally, be the age of some of my opponents in Tennessee, but let's not go there.

November 7, 2003 - OK. Maybe They Tried A Little.
   Because I Just Got In From Their Show: Ladies and gentlemen, BOMBdotCOM.

   Given I had to work, it was just the last half of their show, though the job is the only reason I was still in the city.

   Given the alternative, I suppose it all worked out in the end.

   • In the interests of not staying up until 4 a.m. again, we'll keep today to just housekeeping. Besides, Saturday you're getting the excitement of "A College Bowl Event I Actually Played In."

   If you've forgotten what that's like, allow me to refer you to vegas., which really makes the Las Vegas trip sound more fun than it actually was.

   On that same note, Meg's name of "Couture Goes Casino" was truly a missed opportunity. I just wonder how many people ever looked at the porno collage. But I've already said too much.

   The latest to join the Web journaling party is Ellen Rosoff, former BUCB head and current Californian. She has been added to the Links page, which someday she might discover along with the discussion we started on her IMDb message board.

   Though I have appeared on an actual television show, I do not appear on IMDb yet. Well, unless you count this, this and this, all of which seem to fit well enough for what we're doing.

   Hey, BU didn't score tonight. That means I don't have to try either.

November 6, 2003 - Wildcats
   I decided earlier this week that yes, for real, I will be redesigning the site by the end of the year. I don't look to have much going on workwise, it'll keep me busy for a few weeks, it'll save Web space, plus the following:

   -- Cooch's World is no longer based in Boston.
   -- Half the Posse bios are now just wrong.
   -- My resume sucks and is wrong.
   -- A fifth trip is just going to blow that above menu right up.
   -- It saves me from doing actual work.

   So feel free to fire suggestions my way. Not that you will, or I expect you to. I just want to give the illusion this is some sort of democracy.

   • Today's links are brought to you by Fark -- because sometimes you don't feel like thinking at 2 a.m.

   Microsoft Forgets To Renew '' Domain -- For those who are looking for jobs in the high-tech field, it may be time to polish up the resume for Redmond. Especially considering this is the second time something like this has happened.

   Rutgers 8-0 Against The Vegas Line -- What's most amazing about this is that Rutgers, long in a battle with the Sorority Lifers for D1 doormat honors, is legitimately 4-4.

   Of course the University of Buffalo has a server. Computer geeks would never let a pun opportunity like that get passed on ... I'm sure there were many chortles at its expense, and still are to this day.

   My only question is whether they have a server. Or if they even call have to call it seasonal affected disorder when it snows there 17 months a year.

"Buffalo weather is much more moderate than you might expect. We get our share of snow, but the occasional snow storms are more fun than trouble. Fall is beautiful, long and pleasant, and spring is usually short and lovely. Our summer is glorious with lots of sunshine and some of the best temperatures in the Northeast!"
-- From their FAQ, a steamile pile of Bulls-hit.

   It is nice to see a school that can actually elect a president, though. But really, what kind of idiots could putz that up anyway? GO BU!

   Beyonce: Future Queen Of England? -- Apropos to pretty much nothing in the story, the Wires had about 600 pictures of Beyonce performing at the MTV Europe Awards tonight in Scotland. Yet of course, the one that catches my attention is ...

Mmm ... weiner.
... the one where Xtina simulates having a metal dong.

   It's funny, I thought I knew what sexy was. I really did. I knew people who were it, I was attracted to them, the whole nine yards. But apparently all this time, I've been off.

   Sexy is now a woman with a giant elephantized testicle and spring-like phallus.

   They just don't make them like Patsy Cline anymore, do they.

Christina Aguilera holds her MTV Europe music award in Edinburgh, Scotland, on Thursday, the award was for best female act of the 2003 awards. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

   Blaine To Death Drop From 'Plane' -- Really, why doesn't he just get it over with and surf Niagara Falls in a suit made of used hypodermic needles. The climbing K2 in nothing but a Speedo and a full beard. We've already passed the point of, "Wow, this stuff is amazing," for the "Why's he doing this again," right? It's not just me? I say just speed it along to the point where he fakes his own death, and we can go from there.

   Oh come on, you know that's where this is all leading. He's going to be this generation's Andy Kaufman, only with more brooding and less actual entertainment value.

   Michigan Wants Yost Fans To Clean It Up -- Given I once published, "Fuck 'em up! Fuck 'em up! BC Sucks!" here in 10-point type, we can say "been there, done that."

   I'll just straight out point you to Thought For The Day, since Craig surely knows them all by heart and may even break out the list of them he had on his old site that I may have mentally made up.

   Maybe he can also explain why Michigan is wasting their time playing ... ahem, Quinnipiac?! What's the matter Blue, was AIC not available?

   Sleepy time. Big game for BU on Friday ... if only the sports editor wasn't off trying to be a rock star, I could actually go watch it.

November 5, 2003 - When The Saints Go Over There
   As Requested, More On The Beer: It came from here -- which has a much nicer building than they do a Web site -- and may very well have been a pumpkin ale, as reported here.

   You know facts and I have never really made friends. Though at least I've never appeared to advocate porn in printed material.

   elimiDATE: Apparently, the whole show is scripted, and thus complete and utter bullcrap.

"They were telling me to say that I like to take walks alone in the park and look at birds," says Miller. "I don't do that shit. I've never taken a walk alone in the park in my life."

   I can only hope Blind Date hasn't been lying to us all these years. I don't know how I'd go on.

   • Oh wait, yes I do. I'd read awesome fan mail:

Subject: (none)
Date: Mon, 03 Nov 2003
From: <>
To: jcouture at s-t dot com

   Just wanted to let you know that since the playoffs for the World Seriese, I've become a big fan of yours. I like the way you tell it like it is -- or maybe it's because you've been saying everything I've been waiting for someone to say.

   Keep up the good work!!!!!

   Bill ______
there was typed shouting, this reader thought I was so awesome!

   ... and after that, I'd wander around the Blind Date site and end up here to read this sentence:

"As host for the successful syndicated series Blind Date, Roger Lodge has become the preeminent dating expert. Roger has lent his dating expertise to such popular publications as Mademoiselle, Glamour, Seventeen, Brill's Content and Elle magazines, just to name a few."

   Not only has it ceased publication, Brill's Content was a media review and criticism magazine. Talking about the press, journalists, standards, etc. etc. Why it would have had dating advice in it is a very good question ... of course, given it has ceased publication, maybe the fact that they were doing articles on the hard-hitting Roger Lodge was part of the reason for that.

   Brill's was one of those darling publications that COM tried to get us to read religiously. "It will make you a better journalist!," we were told, adding it to the long list of things that I never did while in college, presumably with people who will become very famous one day.

   If they'd just pointed out Romenesko first, maybe we'd all have been better off.

November 4, 2003 - Center For Pumpkin Beer Studies
   Where One's Vote Does Not Matter: I saw the setup for the 'Rock The Vote' forum on Monday night ... quite elaborate for Faneuil Hall.

   Thoughts from watching it:

   -- Howard Dean may be one of the most awkward-looking individuals I have ever seen. Admittedly saying absolutely nothing about his politics, every time they pan to him and he's sitting there, just looking cross-eyed confused with his sleeves rolled up ... I'm not sure whether he's going to try and sell me insurance or fall off his chair.

   And if he actually said the Dems need to appeal to "guys with Confederate flags on their pickup trucks," he's got more problems that first thought.

   -- I may have to consider voting for John Kerry because even he would have taken Pedro out in Game Seven, GRADY.

   -- Dennis Kucinich is coming off as a dope. Not so much because of his "get out of Iraq now" demands -- which we can't do now, given how far in we are -- but the fact that he feels the need to scream all his answers because he's behind in the polls or feels threatened by everyone else or whatever. To be articluate, dude, shut up and sit down.

   -- If there is a Democratic candidate out there that I would vote for -- and there probably is, given how I fall -- it unfortunately seems to be a mix of the nine of them that just won't happen. Thus, I will spend the rest of the campaign merely making trouble and wasting your time by saying nothing of substance.

   Not like I have to pay attention ... Massachusetts is a free pass for the Dems anyway. Viva the Electoral College!

   Making One's Vote Matter: In the Agawam City Council election, an 18-year-old fresh our of high school secured the 11th and last Council seat by two votes. We'll say Charlie was 3,544 and I was 3,545.

   I now expect major favors, of course, but it's hard to say what one could embezzle from an Agawam politician. I'll shoot for a free Six Flags pass and go from there, I guess.

   • I suppose such pull should have had me knowing more about the people running than some of their names. But it's a town election ... they don't exactly "blitz campaign" during primetime for the town School Committee.

   Course, given I barely live here anymore, my vote should only count for like 2/7ths. But honestly, can one really, really screw up a small town?

   In other news, who would've thought I'd see the "well regarded drama" before the movie guy? In an art house theater no less!

   It's very good ... in one of those "I can't really describe what I just watched, but I liked it" ways. That's probably the best way to leave it.

November 3, 2003 - Vote Tuesday, You Bitches
   Baja Fresh: It is both very good and now in Massachusetts. The fact that I ate there means a certain girl who likes getting metioned on here stood me up for dinner, but it does not change the fact that it is both very good and now in Massachusetts.

   Any restaurant that has a fresh-made salsa bar can feel free to open as many damn fanchises as they want, in my book. Now, if only we can import another Cali chain ...

   Still Going Strong In November: The only question now is if I'll really join a gym this winter in the hopes of getting in actual shape again.

• Hawthorne CC - Dartmouth, Mass. •
44, 9 OVER PAR
Birdies: 0 - Pars: 4 - Bogeys: 3 - Others: 2
Fairways Hit: 5 of 7 - Greens In Regulation: 3 of 9 - Putts: 18

   It should be noted this is the worst 44 in history. I drove the fifth green, had about 40 feet left, said to myself "It's OK if you three-putt this and make par," then did it and was OK with it. I played far too well -- four pars, more than 80 percent of the fairways, which may be an all-time record for me -- to be nine over but, hey, that's why I suck.

   By the way, I've rationalized the golf reporting. Bruce has his fantasy football, and I have my golf. Just be glad I don't live in a year-round golf zone ... things could get much messier.

   Like when I crack out the "Golf Year In Review" during the New Year's Week Extravaganza. That was so much fun last year, I can't not do it again.

   • Merely as an aside, my fantasy teams are 5-3-1 (4th of 12 in a free S-T league where I missed the draft) and 5-4 (the Coen's league team mentioned in Bruce's post, 7th of 12 but winners of three straight). Both are called the Agawam Ex-Patriots, and have nothing to do with Lawyer Milloy. It's a case of a college educated nerd being punny about a town where one could say I have "withdrawn (oneself) from residence in."

   One won this week via the Monday Night performance of Denver's Clinton Portis (26 rushes, 111 yds., 1 TD), the other lost courtesy New England's Deion Branch (3 catches, 107 yds., 1 TD). I would talk about the teams more except, well, the whole 'fantasy sports' thing just doesn't do as much for me as it does for other people.

   I'm quite happy with the actual games, to the point of where I leapt silently around my parent's living room like an idiot when Daniel Graham sealed a 7-2 first half.

   The fact that it came a day after I again declared myself a Giants fan? All the more hypocrisy to love.

   Another Reason To Smile: The Yankees are going to hire Don Mattingly as their new hitting coach, thus assuring they will never win another championship until he's gone. Given it's Steinbrenner it could be just a year, but hell, I'll take what I can get.

November 2, 2003 - Big Blue Sucks Less Than You
   Giants 31, Jets 28 (OT): While watching this game, I couldn't help wonder what a great one it was. Two essentially equal teams, in a strong (maybe not fierce) rivalry, both desperately needing to win for a shot at the postseason if they're lucky.

   Only after it was over did I fully accept it was an awful game ... that the Jets had four turnovers, yet it took the Giants seconds short of 75 minutes to put them away. This is why Big Blue is a team that very easily could be 7-1, but is instead a team that's 4-4.

   It's just odd to see them with such a potent offense. It's not the kind of thing that's going to make me bet literally several hundred dollars on them, but it may be the kind of thing to make me resurrect the yearly pilgrimage to Giants stadium idea via ... several hundred dollars.

   It wouldn't technically count as another trip to NYC, would it? Too many people are now asking when I'm just going to move there for it to be funny anymore.

   • The easy (yet no more tasteful) joke is to claim things like the California wildfires are God's way of punishing the state for you know what. Saturday Night Live already made that one, in this weekend's Kelly Ripa-hosted abortion of a program. There have been deliveries of fatal disease news that have brought more smiles than Saturday's performance.

   Ignore that Ripa may have been the worst host I've ever seen in the show's history. The writing level was actually frightening. Given what gets on TV is actually the top half of the skits produced, there's a good chance the stuff that gets left on the cutting room floor could be topped by a person eating Alpha Bits cereal, then puking it up and transcribing.

   We go for the hard jokes here, though.

Run Mary Run
-- Hard. See, that's funny. Haaaaard.

Adult film actors Ron Jeremy and Mary 'Mary Carey' Cook pose on the set of their adult film 'Run Mary Run' on Sunday in Los Angeles. The adult film is based on her actual run for California governor. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

   The fact that this Negro spiritual is the top Google search for the film's title? The most frighteningly hilarious revelation of the day.

November 1, 2003 - My Ninth Retirement Notice
   Agganis News Brief: Boston U. is building a new arena, a fact that if you did not know, you probably do not care.

   I got a mailing about premium seat packages and, sheerly for my own curiosity, I replied seeking details on what costs what. Given how things works in Alumni World, I fully expected to be blown away.


View the Premium Seating here.

View the information sheet .PDF

View the specific price details .PDF.

   I say this in all seriousness ... if there are any of you who want to pool money for a seat, let me know. Numbers are, shockingly, low enough that they could be split by some people and be almost affordable.

   Provided, of course, you consider college sports at an academic university a good investment.

   • Of course, if every time you go back to campus and realize how much more fun it was when you were actually a student there, that's probably not something you want to revisit again and again.

   Though it does help make it easier to further sever ties with a group you keep saying you're going to sever ties with, but never do.

   Nothing against those currently in this group, especially since I share an address with one of them and enjoy the company of some others. However, given I was only around for as long as I was because of all the good friends I made there, when almost none of them are left, it's little more than a sixth work day to attend events. Now I know how she felt in the end.

   I have enough other reasons to go to Boston that "reading questions to people smarter than me" doesn't have to be on the list. I'll always be a part of it at least a little, but it'll be more in the "Sting is a member of The Police" sense.

   Even if the Web site still lists me as in charge.

Red Sox Still In The Spotlight
-- Written as the News Department's 'Looking Back' feature they run every Sunday, there's nothing revolutionary here. A recap of the week's events written for pseudo-sports fans, just to get everyone up to speed.

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