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November 30, 2006 - In
   Submitted Without Further Comment: Seinfeld: The Lost Episode.

   It was only a matter of time, and I was waiting.

   Size Matters: There's a story on ESPN.com about young Holley Mangold, sister of NFL center Nick Mangold and the first girl ever to play high school football near the highest levels in Ohio.

   A 5-foot-9, 310-pound girl.

The subject of weight and high school girls is a delicate and potentially combustible combination. With Holley, not so much. Clearly, her family history, her DNA and her personality make her a perfect candidate for handling the physical rigors of football -- and the emotional fallout that can come from being a woman in a man's game.

An unabashedly big woman.

"If I was a big girl and did nothing, I probably would hate myself," Holley said. "It would be horrible to go through high school and be a fat girl and not do any sports. I couldn't imagine that.

"If you looked at me just walking down the street you would think, 'Wow, she is probably out of breath just walking down to McDonald's where she is probably going to go to eat.' But I love proving that I do have muscle, and I love to use it."

   Great. Super.

   People in high school shouldn't weigh 310 pounds.

   Period. That's insane to me. Can not wrap my head around it.

   Though on the plus side, it completely overrides the "girl playing football" part, which really isn't a problem.

   310 pounds!


   • Eh. After the Seinfeld video, everything else just feels a little too dirty.


November 29, 2006 - Yeah. Live. Yeah. Win.
   A Delightful Convergence: The South Park episode "Make Love, Not Warcraft" just hits everything so well ... if you've seen it, you're well away of its quality. Seeing it again today, I had forgotten one of the best parts -- a classic South Park montage, where the boys kill repeatedly boars in the forest, increasing their characters and becoming slovenly, grotesque slobs.

   It works because the background track is a song called "Live To Win." Anthemic rock, which I knew was probably a real song, but hadn't bothered to further identify until tonight.

   It's the first song off a solo album by KISS's Paul Stanley.

   That makes at least 10 times better. Especially if you go as far as to think of while they were creating it, hearing the "You know what would make this so much better? PAUL F'ING STANLEY!"

   TV is pretty awesome sometimes.

   The Developing "Bob Ryan Might Be A Huge Dick" File: As though he knew the linked-to interviews of previous days had me on edge, Bob Ryan fired off the perfect conference call volley this afternoon during a rather extended, but largely benign chat with Theo Epstein.

   The laptop being busted means I can't chop out the audio, but trust me, the words work just as well.

Moderator: Your next question is from Robert Ryan of The Boston Globe.

Bob Ryan: Theo.

Theo Epstein: Robert.

BR: Yes. How are you? ... What's the fascination,
if it is true, with J.D. (short pause) Drew.

TE: Uh, you know, Bob, I don't think it's appropriate to talk about potenital free-agent signings. Certainly there's a time and a place to talk about players and it's just our policy not to talk about a potential acquisition until it's done or not done.

BR: (Sighing, clearly perturbed.) Then what are we
going to accomplish today then, Theo?

TE: I was asked by your colleagues to be made available as regularly
(Ryan says, "O.K.") as possible during the offseason, so I'm trying to ...

TE: On behalf of an eager constituency, let's hope,
that the rumor, is not true. Thank you.

   In the pantheon of dick moves, it's not in the building. It's also straddling that line between hilarious -- he was clearly firing for dramatic effect at every clause -- and making me wish Drew hits .340 next year and blasts Ryan in the groin during the waning summer months.

   ( Course, if J.D. Drew had that in him, we wouldn't be having this conversation. I, however, digress. )

   Obviously, Bob Ryan can do these kinds of things because he's Bob Ryan. That said, much like Google, I'd much rather Bob Ryan was not self-aware of his own greatness.

   It's safe to say I'm not enjoying the "Bob Ryan Might Be A Huge Dick" phase of the 2006 offseason. This has the potential of ruining everything he ever writes for me, much the same way people are saying Seinfeld might be ruined forever because Michael Richards just might be extremely, extremely racist.

   Course, I think those people are idiots. What this means in my case is an exercise for you.


   • For whatever reason, I'm not so much bothered that taking my car in for a tune-up and a repair cost me $559. I tend to pile all my car repairs together, so tune-ups are me bagging all the leaves at once, so to speak.

   I'm more bothered by the fact the car I was criss-crossing the state in had $559 of non-cosmetic things wrong with it. When I got the car back from the shop -- which, by the way, I would highly recommend if I thought you needed a Whale City-area mechanic -- there was that moment driving out of the lot as I realized, "Damn! This car is awesome again!"

   Obviously followed by the less exciting, "Damn! I was probably cheating death for months in this thing!"

   This should come as no shock to anyone who recalls me blowing up my engine, not because I forgot engines need motor oil, but because I neglected to actually act on knowing engines need motor oil. There is a difference, and I'll thank you to keep it clear.

   Because of this, I just want to make it clear that should I be killed in an auto accident, I don't want anyone putting one of those makeshift memorials wherever I plowed into whatever I plowed in to. If you must remember me in a way that's not printing out every banal nothing I've written on here in the last five years, then leaving it by your bedside for perusal in throwaway moments, go to a Red Sox game.

   Find Bob Ryan.

   And ask him if he's really a prick, because you had this friend who, before he died, didn't have the heart to ask him.

   I'm not sure I can properly explain to you how torn I am about J.D. Drew, even before his receiving a $70 million contract necessitates me writing a mediocre "Worst Contracts Ever" column for next Wednesday's Standard-Times.

   Even when he's the least popular free agent in the pool, Trot Nixon still finds a way to ruin everything.


November 28, 2006 - Holiday Cheer
   BU 2, UMass 2: The best of all worlds. The Terriers didn't lose, and I didn't drive 120 miles round-trip to watch them tie for the fifth time in 12 games. That has to be some sort of program record ... 5-2-5.

   Anything else would have restoked the wallpaper war, and that really doesn't jive with the holiday season vibe. Though it is a lot more manly than the delightful snowman I'll be staring at between NHL '94 games later.

This Time, Manny Talk Seems Real
-- I'm apparently saving the screaming about how stupid
it is for when it actually happens.

   Also, it appears they're going to pay $70 million for J.D. Drew on top of this. Suffice to say, I'm not going to have to worry about being too positive when these two things get tied together in a column.


   • I'm curious as to what my former full-on Sox fan persona would think of all this.

   I needn't be curious, however, about this site, specifically its section about baseball wives.

   That's something we can all enjoy forever, even if I probably could have lived without knowing Aaron Boone is married to a former Playmate of the Year.

   No wonder he was so surprised Sox fans booed the crap out of him when he returned to Fenway Park. He had been very busy previously not giving a crap.


November 27, 2006 - Holiday Cheer
   Oddly Pompous, Part Two: In the second part of the Bob Ryan interview I was talking about the other day, he's asked to list his favorite writers.

   Somehow, I am not one of them. An oversight, I'm sure.

   While we're here, though, Fire Joe Morgan continues to remind me why I hope they're more popular than I think they are.

   There's something I just enjoy about writers across the board complaining about the blogosphere. Admittedly, I haven't really experienced it much yet -- this, as you can see, caught my attention for a while. There's just something about it in my mind, though, that makes it seems incredibly whiny.

   Sometimes, I say things on here that kind of hold me above the fray. I note people's behaviors in situations that, given me being in that role, I probably wouldn't react all that differently.

   I can safely say that had I been an MVP voter, and voted in such a way that I was in the middle of this, I would not open my defense column bitching. I'd get to my damned point, I'd quote some numbers and I'd generally try to convince people I was right.

   "Criticize us all you want, but I believe these awards are in very good hands with the BBWAA" is a bad last line, whatever side you're on.


   • Cohabitation Update, Day Our First Christmas.

XMas Living Room, 2006

   My involvement in this is exactly what you would expect, though I did design some of the pages in the newspapers on the table.

   Thank goodness people who love me know how to decorate.


November 26, 2006 - Free Money
   Titans 24, Giants 21: So I've got a new wallpaper on the office computer.

The worm has turned.

Boston's Zdeno Chara (33) punches Florida's Bryan Allen (5) during a fight with three seconds left in their NHL hockey game in Boston on Monday.

   The Giants? I don't even want to f'ing look at them right now. I've never been so glad a game wasn't televised in my area.

Mathias Kiwanuka, Proud BC Graduate

   You'd just kind of assume this was a sack. Though you'd probably also assume the would-be tackler would continue to move in the direction of making the tackle, rather than just pushing the QB and hoping he fell down.

   I can't not make a joke about Mathias Kiwanuka being a BC graduate. I mean, I physically can't. Even if I wanted to, though I don't.

   Supermarket Knowledge: A certain Hollywood starlet is on the cover of one of the checkout magazines this month, with the headline "[Starlet] Looks Ahead."

In Style
-- Best I can do, apparently.

   You go ahead and tell me what's wrong with that. Admittedly, not exactly at the top of the problem list, but I'm a proofreader. We're supposed to spot this stuff.


   • Apparently, I can again post all the stupid stuff I know from that trivia goof-off I took part in a couple weeks ago.

Randi Rhoades (of Air America Radio)
Frau Farbissina (of Austin Powers)
Raiden (of Mortal Kombat)
The Banker (of Deal or No Deal)
Roger Maris
Long Snapper
Tito Ortiz (of UFC)
Foxxy Brown
Paperboy (the video game)
Long John Silver's
Turner Field
Milton Bradley (the company and the player)
Albert Haynesworth (Mr. Kick in the Face)
Winged Foot (the golf course)
Brooke Hogan (thanks, random VH-1 watching!)
Seattle Storm (WNBA)
PBA Tour (I don't TiVo it anymore, either.)
Humpty Hump (He does, in fact, have a namesake dance.)
Discovery Channel (cycling team)
Ryan Howard
Chris Klein (of 'Say It Isn't So!')
'Hot Coffee' mod (of GTA: San Andreas)
Borg Warner Trophy (Indy 500)
Tommy Salo (goaltender)
Snapalope ("Standing 31 inches tall according to their hunting Web site ...")
Stephen Jackson
Head-On
Phil of the Future (from Disney Channel)

   If you can figure out how I answered the Snapalope question that fast, have yourself a Slim Jim in my honor. And keep it to yourself.

   Some questions should never be answered.


November 25, 2006 - Pith
   USC 44, Notre Dame 24: That's another $5 picked up against years and years of gambling folly.

   Jon Darling's a hell of a guy, but man, does he love Notre Dame too much. Though he did make me give him the eight points.

   J.D. Drew: I'm resorting to a public plea.

   Not that I believe I've reached the point where readers are following me that closely, but I'm on record as saying J.D. Drew, in all his craptacular glory, is the Red Sox best option for right field in 2007.

   I'm not sure I'm comfortable feeling that way, considering I'm also on record as saying his five-year, $55-million contract former contract with L.A. was perhaps the worst professional contract of my generation. (Matt Clement, bless his heart, is rivaling that, but he did at least get hurt.)

   I have a few ideas of my own, but I'm curious since some of you are arguably bigger baseball fans than I am. Who do you think is the Red Sox best right field option in 2007?

   I think I'm probably going to stick to my guns on Drew, but I should at least make sure I'm not missing anything obvious. Especially since I'm currently trying ot figure out exactly how many nicknames Drew had in L.A.:

Nancy Drew
D.L. Drew
Senor Fragile

   They just keep coming out of woodwork ... apparently, making up stuff to call their leading home-run hitter was all Dodger fans did last year.

   Though it's good to see at least one guy on my side.


   • Cohabitation Update, Day Whatever.

   I cam home on Friday night to find Julie already decking the apartment out for Christmas. Apparently, I've won the fake tree vs. real tree battle, but the flip side is I more or less have to quietly accept every other battle for the holiday season.

   I suppose it's all worked out for the best. Prior to 2006, my mother decorated the apartment for the holiday with nearly no input from me. Post 2006, the face has just changed.

   And before I say something else stupid, I'll just stick to the baseball questions.


November 24, 2006 - Not A Skeleton Crew
   Maybe They Use Nicotine: I'm prone to go on rants about sports radio. How I hate it, how it contains little useful information, how it's a waste of what it could be, how it brings out the dumbest of the dumb in nearly every fan base.

   Regardless, I listen to it in my car. It's just what I do. Today, when driving back to Whale City for the first of seven consecutive days on the desk, the station it's simulcast on out of Providence had major technical difficulties. I couldn't pick it up.

   This drove me nuts for about 50 miles. Flipping back and forth from channel to channel, trying to find something to fill the void.

   This is probably somehow Matt's fault, since we took his car up for Thanksgiving and he has Sirius Satellite Radio. I wouldn't say it's awesome, since the selection of songs wasn't really as tremendous as the picture I'd painted, but the control was outstanding. Something about knowing exactly what you're getting ... if Major League Baseball hadn't had to be bastards and be the one major sports league to throw themselves behind XM, I'd have already bought into Sirius and have been paying for it for months.

   Blue is better than orange.

   Do I Sound Like That?: It's hard not to like the writing of The Boston Globe's Bob Ryan ... at my most over-the-top moments, I dream that I'm a little-paper version of him.

   That said, read this interview and tell me he doesn't come off sounding like a pompous jerk.

   I suppose you could make the argument that it's not bragging if it's true -- I'm not making it, but it's out there and it's probably very accurate. Still, aren't a lot of the things that he says in there the sorts of things you just kind of let other people say about you?

I see people crafting columns in the fifth inning or the third quarter and I say, "You're not watching the game". And people say, "I'm writing about the people and the color". Well, guess what? It starts with the game.

   I generally am not crafting my columns in the fifth inning, even if our deadlines almost make that a necessity. But I'll just say that even as much of a fan as I am of Bob Ryan, and as much as I'd kill to have even half the career he's had, if we're ever sitting next to each other for some reason and he said something to that affect to me, at least a few of the "Hey. F&$% you." bells are going off in my head.

   Even if I've gotten corroborating opinions that Santarpio's really is that good.


   • This is the first year in two or three where I never even had the urge to go to the malls today. Apparently, the curiosity has been beaten out of me over the years.

   Today's annually the day where I realize that I now need to start worrying about doing my Christmas shopping. Of course, this year (and all future years where this isn't resolved), I'm ready to take my fair share of questions about whether I'll be buying any small, golden shiny things during the month of December.

   Amazingly, I was only asked about this twice on Thanksgiving. Once by my father's older brother, who hosts the Thanksgiving affair in the farm house he's more of less rebuilt himself, and once by Erik Sunny. The second made me think a little more, since for being such a close friend, he thinks I'm both a commitment-phobe and that I shouldn't drive a car with a veterans license plate on it -- it's my father's car, technically.

   The postscript to all this being that day after the day after Thanksgiving starts a magical week where I deny the holiday season, only coming to realize once we're into December that I have to deal with all this gift-buying crap.

   That, however, is a magical week from now.


November 23, 2006 - In Photos
   Agawam 20, West Springfield 12 (OT): Supposedly, since it appears that the Springfield Republican didn't actually cover the game, this was an outstanding Turkey Day tilt. So long as hcaoc is to be believed.

   I would suspect the number of people I would have known at the game is now in the single digits ... well, at least the number of people around my age who I would talk to. And here it was only five years ago I did an update entirely in blinding, unreadable orange.

   Which reminds me. It's two years and counting to the 10-year high school reunion, which has no possible way to live up to the hype. It actually came up in discussions on Wendesday night, again.


   • The return of Pop-A-Shot in the return to Boston Billiards was nice, though my 74 on a third attempt wasn't all that close to the high score of 89.

   That, however, isn't what Thanksgiving is about, or why I was the only person in my sports department to get the day off.

   This is.

Turkey Day, 2006
-- Not local.

Turkey Day, 2006

Turkey Day, 2006

Turkey Day, 2006

Turkey Day, 2006
-- Not close to the full crowd.

Turkey Day, 2006
-- Posting this may get me killed.

Turkey Day, 2006

Turkey Day, 2006
-- I should be scared, right?

Turkey Day, 2006
-- Not long after he'd punched me in the eye.

   I can't remember how many years the annual gathering at the farm has actually been held ... it has to be less than 10, since I'm pretty sure it started during my college years. It feels, however, like it's been happening since the dawn of time.

   I'd like to think it'll last that long, too.


November 22, 2006 - Drink Up
   Car Thoughts: I understand the concept that HD Radio is extra stations "between the stations," playing blocks of commercial-free music in some semblance of vibrance or something.

   Who are these people? Pirate broadcasters? Are there DJ jobs available? Can my brother have one?


   • Tonight, I went out drinking. Nothing much happened, though I did see one person I knew from high school who had no idea who I was.

   Then, I ate McDonald's. Amazingly, this was not discouraged by seeing the number of people riding the mechanical bull who looked as though they've done the same a little too often.

   For now, the end.


November 21, 2006 - It Does Get People Talking
   Worcester State 71, UMD 51: Bless their heart, the hometown Corsairs are as bad as advertised.

   Even saying that, the difference between Div. 3 college basketball and the best high school basketball I've ever seen is still appreciable ... that may not surprise you, but at the very least, it made me smile.

   Julie's sister, in her third collegiate game, had four points, three rebounds and a block. As I said at the game, her demeanor on the court would scare me if I didn't actually know she's a goof who's obsessed with Disney movies.

   Apparently, one of her teammates body-slammed her during a practice in some odd half-hazing, half "stop taking my playing time, recruit" moment. There was a team-wide apology involved. Who knew D3 basketball was so serious?

   Two Kinds of People: Tonight, I took an 11-minute phone call from a reader who felt we were undercovering a certain high school football player. We've been doing features on players from all the teams in our area, and this man was apparently acting as the voice of a groundswell that feels said player hadn't gotten his due, given he's arguably the best running back in the state.

   We went back and forth for a stretch, obviously. He wasn't rude, but he also clearly wasn't all that interested in what I had to say or letting me say much of it. He left unfulfilled, and uninterested in leaving a name or number for us to get back to him. Didn't want to talk to my boss, either.

   I was genuinely glad he called, since I'm of the opinion it's better people let us know they're pissed so we can remedy situations where we've done something stupid. It became clear to me afterward that not everyone feels that way.

   I don't really think we can succeed operating in a vacuum, though it's becoming increasingly clear that the fact I think about this stuff puts me in a slightly more select few than I'd think at first blush.

   Who knew that after all these years of being a tremendous jerk, my downfall would be that I care too much?


   • If you read my Red Sox blog, you know the AL MVP vote legitimately shocked me. I figured Derek Jeter in a close vote, but felt definitive about that.

   Shock's not the word to describe this stat-head thread which has broken out because of it. The word is whatever best mixes "shocking rage" and "ultimate hilarity." It probably needs a word, actually.

Wow. Just wow. This is amazing. Unprecedented, really ... has a team's third best player ever before "won" the MVP?

How did the Baseball Writers of America screw this up so badly? Their utter incompetence is almost staggering. Their sheer inability to adapt their reasoning to present day, sensible statistical advancements, such as V.O.R.P., is at best laughable, at worst irresponsible.

This awful decision only leads credence to the fact that American sports journalism is broken beyond repair.

-- Commenter No. 189, who wrote this on his blog, wherever that is.

   To say I believe he's overstating it would be slightly less than massively understating it.

Morneau One Of Many Who Fill '06 MVP Bill
-- I wrote the headline. I can have no complaints.

   Clearly, that column makes me part of the problem, because I'm not crying in the streets. Good to know for future use.

   I, obviously, don't have a ballot, though I'm closer than most. These are the ballots. I have no idea whether I would have matched any of them, so here's what I've cobbled together ... I did a 1-2-3 prior to the vote.

1. Derek Jeter
2. Travis Hafner
3. David Ortiz

   In the postscript, and I'm not getting terribly deep into rechurning through numbers, my next four would be some combination of Johan Santana, Jermaine Dye, Joe Mauer and Frank Thomas. Let's say:

4. Joe Mauer
5. Jermaine Dye
6. Johan Santana
7. Frank Thomas

   I could probably be pushed into flipping Dye and Santana, but like I said, I'm just doing a rough draft now.

   Grady Sizemore would clearly be in my bottom three. Carlos Guillen probably. Same with Morneau.

8. Carlos Guillen
9. Justin Morneau
10. Grady Sizemore

   Were that my ballot and I voted, I would have been the proverbial sore thumb. I would have had the MVP of the American League ninth, whereas no other voter had him lower than fourth. Maybe it shuffles a little if I sit down and really dig, but I'm hard-pressed to say he rises higher than sixth.

   Depending how it all turned out, I could have gotten a phone call from some sports radio guy demanding an explanation. The same way Chicago's Joe Cowley did from New York's Mike and the Mad Dog. Hard to believe sports radio guys would be pissed about something, but they had good reason ... here's Cowley's ballot.

1. Morneau
2. Dye
3. Santana
4. Thomas
5. Ortiz
6. Jeter
7. Guerrero
8. A. Rodriguez
9. Hafner
10. Pierzynski

   Pierzynski being only notable being he got on the ballot ahead of Mauer, being the ... eh, let's be generous, sixth-best catcher in the American League.

   Course, because it's sports radio, two of the better radio guys in the country were complete a-holes. Granted, they were talking to a guy who clearly was an idiot, but when you scream and shout anger that a Chicago voter doesn't know what Derek Jeter did in the second game of the Sox-Yanks five-game disaster, you probably shouldn't be screaming the Red Sox were 7.5 games out on Aug. 12 when they were really only two games out on Aug. 12.

   What's the point of all this, especially given I'm going on and on about something that's at best the season's final sidelight? Exactly what I said in the column ... there were about four guys who could have been MVP, given what the term means waffles between from year to year. One of them won. Sorry for the other guys.

   Just like there's two kinds of people regarding angry phone calls, there's two kinds of stupid people. There's plain-old stupid people, and then there's smart stupid people, like those that proclaim Justin Morneau winning the AL MVP after the season he had proves "American sports journalism is broken beyond repair."

   I'm not saying it isn't, though, well, it isn't. But that dickhole thinks he's intelligent, and surrounds himself with people who also think they're intelligent. They think that viewpoint is because they're smart, when in reality it's because they're a bunch of melodramatic, whimpering ladyparts.

   And really, if I ever had an MVP vote, you'd obviously be polled for your opinions on the matter. Which is probably why I'll never have one, but that's beside the point.


November 20, 2006 - Feel The Excitement
   
Voc-Tech Looks To Start Rivalry With A Win
-- You write a story about two 0-10 teams playing on Thanksgiving. Even Agawam vs. West Springfield has never had that happen, and believe me, they've tried.

   • I have to say, I'm quite happy I've made it through the entire baseball awards season without having to write about it once. It shows that there might be hope for all of us.

   Though I will say, if David Ortiz wins the AL MVP on Tuesday, I'm reserving the right to offer up a spit-take at some odd location. Probably the UMass Dartmouth - Worcester State women's basketball game, where Julie's athletic sister will hopefully do what everybody does to the Corsairs' women's basketball team.

   Beat them at women's basketball.

   You don't often hear about the team that places last in the preseason conference coaches poll. But they're out there, and I get the press releases.

   We actually used to have a recently graduated UMD player working for us. It was fun the day she came in for an interview completely overdressed ... they all learn so fast.


November 19, 2006 - Need Some Blue Help
   Time Wasters I Don't Do: It's always fun to see my worst fears confirmed.

Blizzard has created an alternate universe where we don't have to be ourselves when we don't want to be. From my vantage point as a guild decision maker, I've seen it destroy more families and friendships and take a huge toll on individuals than any drug on the market today, and that means a lot coming from an ex-club DJ.

   It's an interesting article, though it might have come across more interesting if I could find a good screen shot from the Warcraft episode of South Park.

South Park, Warcraft
-- That's better.

Lombardo's A Leader, Through and Through
-- Is this too cliche? Part of me is concerned, the other part of me thinks it's fine.

   • The other, other part of me thinks hate mail is coming.

   At least it'll give me something else to write about.

   Just imagine if I'd used any of this.


November 18, 2006 - Not For The Kids
   Bruins 3, Capitals 2 (OT): The Boston Bruins have won four games in a row for the first time since March 2004 ... not quite as impressive as it would be if there'd been a 2004-05 season, but the point remains.

Tim Thomas
-- Forgiven.

   Fortunately, a replacement has already been found.


   • So apprently, my father is greatly bothered by the Tom Cruise - Katie Holmes wedding, since neither's church is actually viewing the ceremony as an official wedding.

   My mother is bothered that the media is the one deigning to term this a wedding, since apparently, neither of the participants are viewing it as such.

   I, on the other hand, spent an hour and a half calculcating statistical history on an 0-10 high school football team who will be playing another 0-10 high school football team on Thanksgiving day.

   I leave it up to you to decide which of the three of us you'd like to be.

   Matty Cooch was involved in none of this because he was working. Upon coming home, he got a beer and we watched this guy on Comedy Central.

   I'm beginning to wonder if he's actually funny, despite chuckling at his act and almost going out of my way to see his show the last time I was in town. Somehow, I think if I'd gone to the show, I'd have a definitive answer.


November 17, 2006 - Like Super Bowl 25!
   Obsolete: On the first night my gaming system -- which no one bought -- was truly overshadowed, I went to Blockbuster and rented Burnout Revenge, the somewhat-acclaimed sequel to Burnout 3: Takedown. Given that may actually be the best driving game there's ever been, being somewhat acclaimed should be enough.

   Course, I then got home and decided to download NHL '94 for Sega Genesis, and played that for an hour -- the Whalers advanced past the Sabres in six. Why this never happened before now, I don't know.

   As such, the Wallpaper War is on a temporary hiatus. As I've replaced my latest salvo:

Paper War, Round 7
-- UMass design experimental because, well, they don't need it yet.

   with lots and lots of these:

Whalers, 1994
-- Zarley Zalapski says hello.

   For faceoffs at the Hartford Civic Center, it plays a synthesizer-fueled "Brass Bonanza" that absolutely needs to be my cell phone ringer.

   The irony of this being that I'm pretty sure I like the Whalers more now than I did when I was a kid. But really, logic went out the window hours ago.

   I'll Never Ride The 'T' Again, For Real: So apparently, in the latest round of fare increases, the MBTA is eliminating free outbound rides on the Green Line.

While CharlieCard holders will pay $1.70 to ride the subway, travelers using CharlieTickets and cash will pay $2.00 to board the T, according to the MBTA website. These fare discrepancies for CharlieTicket and Card holders will be uniform through the subway system.

   I can not stress this enough ... if you go to Boston, you have absolutely no reason to take the 'T' anywhere unless you're an invalid or in a rush. And if you're in a rush, it's not going to get you there in time anyway, so suck it up and get a cab.

   The Green Line still has stops every two blocks -- I could literally throw a baseball from "BU East" to "BU Central" -- but it seemed a better idea to rejigger the whole system to card-based. Clearly, logic is also not their overriding factor.


   • It may be that Judge Joe Brown is only entertaining in a laundromat setting -- that is, where it's all the TV can get with an antenna and changing the channel might piss off someone enough to get you on Judge Joe Brown's show.

   Regardless, JJB is pretty damn entertaining in that setting. And never is that clearer than when Mr. Peterman's version of Family Feud follows it up.

   Ray Combs, we miss you. Bo Schembechler, let's just throw you in there too.

   I've never really understood why I have a soft spot for Michigan, or why I seem just opposed to the idea of Ohio State. Schembechler probably has something to do with it ... when I was a kid and ABC would broadcast Michigan games, I always loved the way Schembechler's name would take up the entire bottom of the screen in ABC's wide-white font over a red line graphics.

   This is probably right around the time I also became enfatuated with the Olympics because of the Calgary games. It was in the past, so automatically, it's better than now, right?


November 16, 2006 - Geeks No More
   The Internet's Greatest Phrases: "Submit your own stunt video."

   Admittedly, these are stunts akin to "not eating the last slice" and "not exaggerating my resume," but is there any doubt that these things always end poorly? This is, after all, the Jackass Generation.


   • So at midnight, PlayStation 3 goes on sale. All week, there've been pictures of people sitting in line outside Best Buys and Targets, some for in excess of 72 hours.

   As we're not immune to this, we wrote a story on it.

Many of the sidewalk campers, who began arriving as early as Tuesday evening, aren't gaming geeks or kids, but local entrepreneurs interested in making a quick buck. Several are Best Buy employees and eBay re-sellers planning to auction the PS3 online for up to four times the $599.99 retail price.

The man who claimed the fourth place in the queue at 10 p.m. Tuesday said he is planning on a big payoff.

"I don't even want to play it," Jason Perry of New Bedford said. "I'm just buying it to sell it on eBay. I think it's worth it to sit here for three days and make $2,000. We're all here for the money."

   Normally, I would hope for the market to implode, and for this guy not to make squat. But really, I can't help but wish I'd thought of it.

   I do have a schedule that could actually be shaped to make this work, though as a certified wuss, three days on the street isn't exactly a roll in the hay.

   Regardless, the story just keeps getting better.

group of UMass Dartmouth students endured Tuesday night's rain without a tent. By yesterday they had invested in tents and an air mattress.

"Never in my life have I done anything like this," said Lakisha Jordan, a sophomore at UMass who is seven months pregnant. "There's a first experience for everything."

   Wait ... better.

In addition to the PS3 re-sellers, there are others interested in making a bit of quick cash. Some stand-ins are being paid for their time in line. Alex Cabral, 17, a student at New Bedford High School, said an older friend is paying him $200 to wait for a ticket.

Others showed up early to get a place in line, hoping to sell their spot to a more interested buyer. The original campers who held spots five and six sold their places in line for $225 and $100.

   Yeah, because HIGH SCHOOL'S NOT IMPORTANT OR ANYTHING.

   God bless city living. And God bless the two mistakes in the story I found in the last three paragraphs.

   I really am always on, I guess.


November 15, 2006 - Return of the Card
   America, Working Quickly: As sent along by Nick, it's good to see people speedily showing their displeasure with things that also sort of displease me.

D'backs? No. D'bags.

   There's no actual RivalryCentral site beyond the one linked above. They have, however, perfectly captured how you feel about whatever the hell it is team that you feel that about.

   Especially if they somehow involve Baltimore.

FU, NY
-- I'm just confused whether I'm supposed to wear this,
or other people are supposed to wear it to insult me.

   Celebrity Update: I don't often wish I was a celebrity, because the scrutiny pretty much makes everyone seem like a complete a'hole at some point.

   It is, however, good to see that some aren't being misrepresented.

Pop singer Britney Spears' estranged hubby Kevin Federline has reportedly threatened to go public with the couples honeymoon sex tapes if she fails to make a hefty payout to him and hand custody of their two sons.

Britney fears the raunchy footage will destroy her wholesome image unless she caves in to his demands for a 16million payoff and custody of their children Sean Preston, one, and Jayden James, eight weeks.

. . .

The home-made video is believed to show the naked couple enjoying an uninhibited range of love-making and sexual games. It was made during the first weeks of their relationship two years ago when they were holed up in one of the exclusive bungalows at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles.

"At the time the two of them were in the honeymoon stages of the relationship and couldn't keep their hands off each other. They did nothing all day but have sex . . . and play the odd game of chess. They were insatiable and they believed they would be together forever."

   There may never have been more apropos use of the words, "the odd game of chess."

   Though it is good to see both sides are thinking clearly. Federline is angling to get a 26 million pound pay day, while Britney Spears is worried a sex tape will "almost certainly ruin her chance of a career come-back" like it ruined Paris Hilton.

   That would be the Paris Hilton who, post sex tape, reached No. 6 on Billboard 200 in September.

   I only wish my mother would call me to weigh in on this. Then, the circle could truly be complete.


   • Someday, I hope to get in the news for pushing someone's chin. Regardless of whether that's an accurate description of what Bobby Knight did, I want to know if I've ever actually pushed someone's chin.

   Instead, I'll have to take solace in playing my first 18-hole round of golf this year on Nov. 15. That's got to be some kind of record.

Hole
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
OUT
Yards
424
415
543
183
380
438
353
168
511
3415
PAR
4
4
5
3
4
4
4
3
5
36
Cooch
7
7
5
4
4
7
6
4
5
49
• LeBaron Hills CC - Lakeville, Mass. •
Hole
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
IN
Yards
491
184
339
210
413
552
412
389
398
3388
PAR
5
3
4
3
4
5
4
4
4
36
Cooch
5
4
5
3
7
5
5
5
6
45
PAR 72
94, 22 OVER PAR
6803 YARDS
Birdies: 0 - Pars: 6 - Bogeys: 6 - Others: 6
Fairways Hit: 6 of 14 - Greens In Regulation: 4 of 18 - Putts: 31

   Because clearly, playing from the tournament tees was a good idea.

   In some ways, I view this as a success. Making six pars, with at least a couple legitimate birdie chances, means I had my stuff together for a lare portion of the day. That's kind of how I felt after playing the scramble with my father last month ... I clearly have retained some baseline of skill after playing this stupid game for 19 years.

   That said, my putting may never have been worse ... I'm still not sure how I only had that many putts. And four sevens is, well, four sevens. Dumping balls in ponds or out of bounds on the first two holes does not exactly set an inspiring tone.

   But, what can you do. I'd like to get out again this year, but really, I'd like to have gotten out for more than some computation of 36 holes the entire calendar year too. Saw how well that worked out.

   At least I still have no desire to ever make a sex tape, ever.


November 14, 2006 - A New Societal High
   Vermont 2, BU 1: And the free-fall continues. Though I do take some solace that the game-winner was an outstanding goal ... perfectly tipped right in front of John Curry.

   This is what I was talking to my co-workers about right after they noticed I'd been watching this on TV for an hour. I'd never actually want to go to a game in Vermont, because if I drove this far -- or this far, as the case may be -- and had to listen to victorious road fans after a late game-winner, I'd probably drive through a group of people.

   Let's figure Durham is the limit, and even that's only because they have crazy fans.

Sox Bid Worth Every Penny
-- The crux is generally that I'm glad the Sox are throwing their weight around again, a la Manny Ramirez. Especially since they'll make that bid money up at the expense of my sanity in 2007.

   I, for one, love this quote for reasons I don't fully understand.

We are pleased and excited to have acquired the rights to negotiate with Daisuke Matsuzaka. We have long admired Mr. Matsuzaka's abilities and believe he would be a great fit as a member of our organization. We look forward to meeting Mr. Matsuzaka and beginning the next step of this process with him and his representative, Scott Boras.
-- Sox press release.

   I like the idea that you can spend $51.1 million on someone you've never even met, and that the signing actually takes into account the team's relentless marketing skills. When we all discover the Japanese-themed Web site the Red Sox eventually develop to cater to their new fan base, it might be one of my favorite days covering the team.

   Also, I'm mulling the idea of trying to learn Japanese. It's something it feels like I should try, but I'm debating both the usefulness of it and whether I'm smart enough to actually learn it by March.

   Course, I'll probably never mention it again, so that's a nice feeling.


   • Almost as nice as this, which feels beyond human comprehension even by Fox standards.

Fox said Tuesday it will air a two-part interview with O.J. Simpson at month's end in which he describes the 1994 murders of his ex-wife and her friend that he says he didn't commit.

The interview will be conducted by editor and book publisher Judith Regan. On November 30, her Regan Books is publishing a book Simpson wrote with the working title "If I Did It, Here's How It Happened."

Fox said Simpson's book "hypothetically describes" how he would have committed the murders. The special will air at 9 p.m. November 27 and 29 on Fox.

Fox executives declined comment about the show Tuesday. In a statement released Tuesday, executive vice-president/alternative programming Mike Darnell said: "This is an interview that no one thought would ever happen. It's the definitive last chapter in the trial of the century."

   Somehow, nit-picking that it was actually last century feels dirty just by association.

   On the plus side, though, I did see the opening few minutes of Show Me The Money, William Shatner's new ABC game show.

   There's dancing girls and some guy won $220,000 for knowing what show the "Soup Nazi" was on. Seriously, that was it.

   It can't possibly last, and I'm not really sure whether it should.


November 13, 2006 - Take It To The Bridge
   Latest Salvo: Guess which side came up with this.

Wallpaper War, Jersey Edition
-- You get one guess, and you don't get to guess me.

   This has all the makings of ending poorly. I'm just not sure how we're getting there yet.

   Alibi Network: I'm not so much troubled that this company is offering "alibis and excused absences as well as assistance with a variety of sensitive issues" ... as the site says, rich people get to BS their way out of everything already.

   I'm troubled that they're selling T-shirts.

Alibi Network

   Doesn't this defeat the purpose? Honey, where'd you get that shirt? Oh, it's from the company that created the cover I used so I could diddle Mrs. Thorsen across the street!

   To say nothing of the craftsmanship looking terrible ... just what you want out of a company aiming to be your savior. Plus, "Is your ass too big? Why not sit on two chairs?"

   What does that even mean?!


   • So after reading this, I'm left to wonder ... who's inventing games now?

   It's pretty open-ended, really. Though that's about the end of it.


November 12, 2006 - Almost Nothing
   Hidden Talent: So apparently, I'm very good at doing an Andy Rooney impression and coming up with Andy Rooney-like rants.

   I know I had no idea. Nor do I know why you would possible care.


   • So for the past few days, Julie and I have been entertaining ourselves via teh desktop of my computer. It all began election night, when I posted this frightening image of a staring-at-you Mitt Romney signing a book. Assuming, of course, that I was the only one here with meager Photoshop skills, that figured to be the end of it.

   I was actually both surprised and overjoyed when I returned home the next night to see this:

Wallpaper War, Counterstrike

   It was, because we're dorks, on.

   Given my feelings about politics, I quickly moved things into the collegiate bashing field where I'm more comfortable. The rest are generally self-explanatory:

Wallpaper War

Wallpaper War

Wallpaper War

Wallpaper War

   I do, however, maintain that I'm proud Rhett is a pimp. That's a management degree put to good use.


November 11, 2006 - It Just Made Sense
   Clarifiriffic: The lead singer of Lordi didn't actually present an award to Depeche Mode, they presented to The Killers for "Best Rock." Also, they actually won the Eurovision Song Contest with a record 292 points, though apparently some didn't want them to represent Finland out of a belief they're Satanist.

   Also, I wrote a column for Saturday's paper, not that you'd know it from this dump.

Hot Stove Heats Up In A Hurry
-- In so much as it can heat up without anything having officially happened, that is. That's part of the charm.

   How's the Free Press Doing?: On Thursday's front page: "Ex-Sex Addict Warns of Porn's Prevalence." An even better tale when you get to the part that it was sponsored by the Campus Crusade for Christ.

   Carry on, college journalists. Carry on.


   • So today was my latest showing of quiz-related nerditude, and as such, here are the answers to the 28 tossups I answered correctly. You don't want an elaboration, but on the off chance you do, ask quickly. I tend to forget things.

   Which is not something verified by this list, and take my word.

Randi Rhoades (of Air America Radio)
Frau Farbissina (of Austin Powers)
Raiden (of Mortal Kombat)
The Banker (of Deal or No Deal)
Roger Maris
Long Snapper
Tito Ortiz (of UFC)
Foxxy Brown
Paperboy (the video game)
Long John Silver's
Turner Field
Milton Bradley (the company and the player)
Albert Haynesworth (Mr. Kick in the Face)
Winged Foot (the golf course)
Brooke Hogan (thanks, random VH-1 watching!)
Seattle Storm (WNBA)
PBA Tour (I don't TiVo it anymore, either.)
Humpty Hump (He does, in fact, have a namesake dance.)
Discovery Channel (cycling team)
Ryan Howard
Chris Klein (of 'Say It Isn't So!')
'Hot Coffee' mod (of GTA: San Andreas)
Borg Warner Trophy (Indy 500)
Tommy Salo (goaltender)
Snapalope ("Standing 31 inches tall according to their hunting Web site ...")
Stephen Jackson
Head-On
Phil of the Future (from Disney Channel)

   We finished second, which means I've earned myself a trip to some destination I may not actually want to go to in April. If nothing else, I won a paperback copy of this, which is nice since I threw out the 1988 and 1990 copies of my childhood when we were cleaning out the basement a few weeks ago.


November 10, 2006 - George Bush Hates Canyons, Too
   Remembering The Good Times: Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Philippe edition.

Golden Globes 2006
-- The dream is over.

   The above scene may have actually happened, and given the media is already being their respectful selves, I can only hope it was followed by gun shots.

   Also, Jack Palance is dead. This would have saddened me more if I hadn't thought he'd been dead for several years.


   • And now, things I learned by watching roughly 25 minutes of the MTV Europe Music Awards, which were chopped down and rebroadcast in an hour tonight.

   -- Actress Juliette Lewis, last seen in all the VH-1 "I Love The '80s" permutations, apparently is the lead singer of Juliette and the Licks, who are big in Europe, apparently. She was hosting some sort of Web cast wearing a head-dress.

   -- Nelly Furtado, who once came to my area to celebrate her Portuguese heritage, may actually have tattooed flames on the length of her arms. Apparently, they're fake, which I suppose is nominally better than actually doing it.

   -- No one in the world is worthy of the "Free Your Mind" award, because we've all been failing to "do our bit" to help the environment.

   Cameron Diaz then told me to unplug my cell phone charger when I'm not using it, since it's still using electricity and hurting the planet. Later, Tenacious D informed me baths take four times as much energy than showers.

   I'm reasonably certain I doubt both assertions, though I suppose their hearts are in the right place.

   The lead singer of GWAR came out to give the Best Rock award to, logically, Depeche Mode. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess it's the first time they've ever met.

   --- The next season of The Real World is going to be in Denver, and if the commercial is any indication, may actually feature three consecutive weeks of the castmates just interchangeably fucking each other.

   Someone, please report back to me on this. After all, I did watch that episode of "Britney and Kevin: Chaotic" for you.

   -- Tide's Simple Pleasures apparently makes your clothes and sheets smell so delightful, you'll be "unable to go to bed angry."

   That does, in fact, make it the official laundry detergent of abusive husbands. Which is just terrible.

   -- The Kayne West stage invasion actually happened. It was the only reason I'd started watching, and damn if it didn't deliver. He was mad he didn't win Best Video because, and he really says this:

In a tirade riddled with expletives, West said he should have won the prize for his video "Touch The Sky," because it "cost a million dollars, Pamela Anderson was in it. I was jumping across canyons."

"If I don't win, the awards show loses credibility," West said.

   The best part is the guys who won, Justice and Simian, are two completely unassuming white guys who clearly have never had anything this big happen to them, ever.

   -- The band I mistook for GWAR is actually Lordi, Finland's No. 1 band and the nation's representative in the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest.

   And now I have to leave, to go to a place where that information might actually prove handy.


November 9, 2006 - In Stride
   Get Off My Property, You Rascals: Doing their part to continue making me aware of my aging, the MBTA's latest fare hike means I now remember a time when "T" fare was exactly half of what it will be come Jan. 1.

   It was in 2000.

   Somehow, it seems to me if a service is going to double their cost in seven years, the service should be approaching twice as good as it was seven years ago. You could argue that Boston's subway was a bargain at 85 cents.

   You don't have to argue that it'll be a rip-off at $1.70. That's just the truth.

   Kind of makes me glad. Not that I'm no longer living in the city, but that I already swore off the T after years of sucking. It's a walking city, people. Embrace it.

   Or tell your company they need to start buying your "T" pass. That ought to go over well, if they're not already doing it.

   Burnt Colors, Like The Fire They Should Be Tossed In: The Arizona Diamondbacks have unveiled their new uniforms, taking their cue from the Phoenix Coyotes (whose "Picasso Spuds McKenzie" never got the respect it deserved) that purple is not a Southwestern color.

Houston Diamondbacks
-- Then taking their cue from the Astros on everything else.

   The general idea is a solid one, and these do actually look better than the cavalcade of oddities which only begins here. Plus, Arizona has the distinct advantage of never having worn these in their several permutations.

   But if I felt the need to go all jersey snob, I'd start with the "using the nickname's nickname on the jersey," never mind making the type too big and having four jerseys to begin with.

   Remember all these facts when I'm rationalizing a cheap purchase of one on eBay, will you?

   The Internet is For Porn, And Scams: So, I've now seen television commercials for both Zwinky, some "make an avatar that's cooler than you" site, and Smiley Central, which seems to offer nothing more than goofy smileys.

   Web addresses and the same over-the-top ad style make it clear one's a subsidiary of the other, and that they desperately want you to download their free services. Free, "with the download of toolbar."

   And what does said toolbar offer? The mystical "search the Web directly from your browser" that's been available for, what, eight years? 10?

   There's something odd about finding a scam, but not being exactly sure why it's a scam or what the nefarious goings-ons are. Never mind the fact that it's odd that one could convince themselves TV ad time was a good idea solely on products that allow ugly people and children to dress up a cute cartoon character in clothes nicer than they're own.


   • The Office is the best show on television.

   Last year, I more or less started watching it because I believed there had to be at least one current network prime-time show that was worth my time. There were points when I was forcing myself to keep watching, because for all the entertainment, there was a lot of just dead, not-funny time.

   Not this season. Capped by tonight, which ... oh my God. You can watch them online now. Watch them.

   "Arrested Development" started trying too hard. "Prison Break," eh, just kind of stopped being on when I felt like watching it. "The OC" went from entertainingly bad to just bad, like when your apartment goes from being full of curry smell to being full of an impossible-to-get-rid-of-without-candles curry smell.

   "The Office," though, is at its peak. If I was Bill Simmons, I would now make some parallel to Vegas or buddies or something, but I'm not (thank God).

   Any show that, if only for a split-second, make me think, "I wish I could get 'My Humps' as a ringtone" is clearly something special.


November 8, 2006 - All Meat Extravaganza
   People's Republic: The jokes are always made about Cambridge, Mass., what with its bike lanes and colleges and general liberal everything. Some people laugh. Some make jokes about California. Others cry.

   Now, however, there could be a new cry. Because people, as we often do, have forgotten the rights of leaves.

Cambridge city officials this week established a Leaf Blowers Advisory Committee to determine whether the noisy lawn and garden machines should be muffled for good or least regulated.

"People really don't like the noise, but when you get down to it people are really concerned about the health impacts," said City Councilor Craig Kelley.

   Yes. People complaining about the noise of leaf blowers is actually the least reasonable reason to have formed an advisory committee.

Last year, Palo Alto, Calif., banned use of the cacophonous gas-powered deleafing devices in residential zones, joining more than a dozen of California communities that have outlawed high-octane leaf blasting or limited the hours that the turbo garden contraptions can be in use.

The yard-clearing conundrum isn't just about neighborhood racket, leaf blower naysayers said. It's also about health risks and actually robbing your lawn of the nutrients needed to stay healthy.

"Everybody has this idea that it's important to get the leaves up," said Karen Carmean, co-chairwoman of the Cambridge Public Planting Committee.

"It is the best thing for trees to have leaves on the ground around them because it creates leaf mulch," she added.

The leaf blowers also kick up dust particles that pose a health threat, Carmean and Kelley said.

"Particulate matter is more dangerous than we thought it was a few years ago," Kelley said.

   Know what else is more dangerous than people think?

   Busybodies.

   Back Across The River: Continuing to bask in the boost given his career by being the fatherly figure on The Surreal Life -- the Flavor Flav one that may in fact has jumpstarted the downfall of the species -- Dave Coulier played BU on Election Night.

Dave Coulier at BU
-- And he's never looked ... fuller.

Comedian Dave Coulier, better known as Uncle Joey of Full House, performed last night in front of nearly 400 students at the George Sherman Union's Metcalf Hall, resorting to fart jokes and impressions to follow Boston University's funniest student Steve Macone's well-received performance.

College of Communication senior Macone, a Daily Free Press columnist, was a named the university's funniest student at a stand-up comedy competition last month, winning the chance to open for Coulier at the event. Student Activities Office event coordinator Jihane Bouchareb said she thought students would connect with Macone in particular.

"I think it's cool to see a fellow student be on stage with a big performer like Uncle Joey," Bouchareb, a School of Management freshman, said.

   Yes, he's referred to as "Uncle Joey" throughout the entire article. It crushes my spirit to know the next generation has forgotten his trademark work on Out of Control ... "Cut. It. Out!"

He made comedic observations about airplanes and relationships, also joking about peanuts and what men really think about.

After a few minutes of jokes receiving mixed reactions, Coulier found his stride with the audience, performing impersonations and fart jokes for the remainder of the set.

"I think I found the level of this group," he said during his performance.

   That's best left to stand on its own.


   • Especially since I will now spend the next two hours looking at this related site and going, "OHH! I remember that show!"

   Sadly, it does not have a list of the winners of the "Super Toy Run," which I think I can safely say was a young Cooch's first impossible dream. Given the choice between getting to cover the Red Sox first World Series victory in 86 years or winning the Super Toy Run -- which was, I think, five minutes buzzing through a Toys 'R Us and keeping whatever you grabbed -- I can guarantee which one I would have taken in 1988.

   The one where the downstairs closet in the Feeding Hills Manse would be full of even more boxes that haven't been opened in 20 years.


November 7, 2006 - Three Boxes of Coffee
   Non-Election Moment of Clarity: Two tickets to a Providence College hockey game at Schneider Arena -- either $6 or $8 per, plus a $1.50 fee -- are significantly less than one ticket to a game at Agganis Arena. One is less than parking at a BU hockey game.

   So yeah, I'm considering the 1/5/2007 BU-PC tilt ... I have an extra $20 lying around. Course, BU-BC is Dec. 2, and there's deals aplenty.

Epstein Ready For A Busy Hot-Stove Season
-- The Revs column idea has been passed on, given I had actual Red Sox news to write about. In so much as there not being any news is news.

   • I fluctuate somewhere in between educated voter and proud ignoramus when it comes to politics, so while I was able to help out a co-worker with what Massachusetts' Question 3 was on the fly, there's many things I learned tonight that I should have known a long time ago.

   -- Christy Mihos is the guy who owns Christy's. I knew the man who got my gubernatorial vote had made all his money in convenience stores, but it never occurred to me it was probably the chain that, you know, is named after him.

   I can't remember exactly when the convenience store in BU's South Campus changed from a Christy's to a 7-Eleven, but I know I gave him at least some of his riches. Even if I was eating much less crap at that point in my life.

   -- California was electing Schwarzenegger again. I had just last week really begun to enjoy the idea that California actually elected Arnold Schwarzenegger as their governor, and that "Governor Schwarzenegger" is regular news fodder. Now, come to find out, they did it again on a night when Republicans lost pretty much everything that they could.

Voters on Tuesday did what pollsters had long predicted: They handed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger a second term. Compared with his successes as bodybuilder and action star, Schwarzenegger triumphed without breaking a sweat in a year when other Republicans were sweating bullets.

Legions of Republicans will look at his strong support from Democrats and independents, and ask, "How did Karl Rove lead us wrong, and what did Schwarzenegger do right?'' That answer holds the key to his second term: crossing party lines to collaborate on issues.

   Party politics are stupid. Serves you all right.

   -- The rest of the country must love Massachusetts. Idaho, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin all banned same-sex marriage, with maybe three other states joining them. We not only have that, we elected the nation's second-ever black governor.

   A man who, prior to his acceptance speech, was shown walking in from the back on a big screen like a wrestler.

   Part of me wishes I could be a fly on the wall of every hole bar in the Bible Belt. The other part of me is glad I'm not, since hearing what they're saying would cause me to wish I could give each and every one of them malaria.

   -- Flouride is apparently evil. Whale City's lone local ballot question was whether or not to add flouride to the city's water supply, which shocked me initially because I assumed that debate was settled decades ago. I couldn't possibly imagine why anyone wouldn't want flouride in the water.

   Then, I was told my employers came out against it in an editorial. It's not true, but the mayor is apparently against it and measures failed in both Worcester and Springfield. Apparently, flouride can cause cancer, or has some risks that our story didn't feel the need to outline and that I can't be bothered to find.

   The question won in a close race.

   -- Nancy Pelosi's eyes are less scary than I remember.

Mellowing.
-- She's mellowing in the autumn of her years.

   I just needed some art is all. Come back in 2008 for Election Live 2: With Lots More Stereotypical Drawings.

2004's A Long Time Ago
-- 2004's a long time ago.


November 6, 2006 - Wine and Cheese Spread Party!
   Country People: So, tonight was the Country Music Association Awards -- an event which I can clearly say I've never watched and probably never will watch. Through all my years listening to music, I can think of maybe three country songs that have caught my attention for a few weeks, and I can't remember any of them beyond knowing they exist.

   "Achy Breaky Heart" was not one of them, though, and it's a good thing.

The Cyruses
-- It just has not aged well.

Miley Cyrus, left, and her father Billy Ray Cyrus arrive at the 40th Annual CMA Awards in Nashville, Tenn., on Monday. (AP Photo/Chitose Suzuki)

   That is, in fact, his daughter, Disney Channel superstar. Not that you could notice a resemblance behind all the hair and the windshield masquerading as sunglasses.

   It's probably a stretch to say Cyrus was ever the "clown prince" of country music, since as some point every genre has a clown prince who jokes about everything and flames out after a quarter of an hour.

Blue Country
-- I'm guessing Blue Country is filling that void for the moment.

Aaron Benward, left, and Scott Reeves of Blue County arrive at the 40th Annual CMA Awards in Nashville on Monday. (AP Photo/Chitose Suzuki)

   I can't actually determine if I know of anything they've done, but really, when you don't actually want to click on their music player and see what's on it, you're not trying very hard.

   Related Note: Carrie Underwood, in winning Female Vocalist of the Year -- which, even in award-speak, must be good -- and appearing smoking hot enough that I'd be uncomfortable posting her picture a day after revisiting the Certain Hollywood Starlet issue, has clearly leapt to the top of the "American Idol" pile. Ruben Studdard's site is subtitled "The Return" and crashed my browser ... never a good sign on many levels.

   Clay Aiken, last I knew, remains both on the talk show circuit with a new haircut and the only American Idol contestant I've ever seen in concert.


   • Why, exactly, did I just write half an entry centered around the Country Music Awards? And why, in that entry, did I not reference Cowboy Troy showing up with a giant silver belt buckle reading "Black Hop"?

   Because Mike Ditka, Wine Producer could never carry a narrative for that long.

The highest-end bottle in the line: a zinfandel-syrah-petite sirah blend called Mike Ditka Kick Ass Red.

"One word: powerful . . . with a nice, pleasant pepper finish," said Bill Hanson, Midwest region vice president for Costco, which will carry the wines.

   To recap, Mike Ditka wine, sold at Costco, Kick Ass Red, $40-$50 a bottle.

Ditka's name is on frozen pork chops, barbecue and steak sauces, and a cheese spread and will soon be on cigars, also to be sold at Costco.

   I'm done.


November 5, 2006 - Theeeey're Awesome!
   Today's Post Is: No. 1,877. That means we've got plenty of time to overhype a celebration that really probably impresses no one, myself included. Maybe I'll put up one of those Web countdown clocks, which are always fun when they run past the date and have some infinite time on them.

   The counting was fun, because it allowed me to remember a couple things. Not the least of which being how hot Lindsay Lohan was before ... whatever the hell happened to her.

Hot. Still.
-- Ah, memories. Not dirty ones, either. Let's call them dusty.

   Colts 27, Patriots 20: Apparently, New England can't just lose game like normal people. They have to commit five turnovers and lose, as though that makes it clearer or absolves them from saying anyone else beat them.

   I'm just going to have to stop climbing on bandwagons altogether, apparently. I knew I should have just focused on the mighty New England Revolution, who have made five straight conference finals and (now) two straight trips to the MLS Cup.

Revolution Home Page

   • I'll be entirely honest. There are about a half-dozen things on that page that I, as an American soccer fan (and ostensible voter for the Honda Player of the Year Award, though I keep forgetting to vote), can't identify.

   I didn't know Toronto was getting an MLS franchise, never mind that they're getting their own stadium immediately. The middle two guys in that header? I can guess names, but I'd undoubtedly be wrong. Season ticket packages?

   Well, I get all those press releases. Plus I know all about Slyde, who apparently came into the office before the home-and-home with Chicago to drum up interest.

   Of course, I wasn't there, thus killing what would have been one of the 10 greatest photos of me ever before it was taken. Thanks, time off!

   I actually feel bad, because I was supposed to do a story on the team (via Clint Dempsey) before the Foxboro game with the Fire, but it fell apart -- understandingly and heartwarmingly to the chagrin of the Revs people.

   I just can't get into MLS. I've tried harder than most, too, constantly coming back to the product and hoping it's better than I remember. I love that they're thriving and expanding, building soccer-specific stadiums and getting nice TV deals. I just continue being underwhelmed, with the notable exception of notable exceptions -- 61,316 people at Gillette for MLS Cup 2002, with the added fun of getting to watch the thing grow in the week running up, as section after section of the stadium kept getting opened for ticket sales.

   Course, in all the events I've ever attended, the only one I've left more disappointed was Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. And that was different, given I was covering it versus sitting in the crowd behind a large Guatemalan family who loved Carlos Ruiz scoring the game's only goal.

   That Revs-Celtic FC game I went to earlier this year? Massive disappointment. Throw out the quality of the soccer ... it was like they played it in a canyon. Too many empty seats. Too much space to fill with noise. Too much time spent trying to feel the emotion of the sport versus just being immersed in it. That's not going to win anybody over.

   You're telling me someone couldn't throw the Revs a friggin' bone, end the whines about how soccer players somehow chew up an entire football field and build a stupid little soccer stadium? No, Bob Kraft would rather blow his money on a "Man Mall" off Route 1, which isn't fun to traverse when the Patriots aren't playing.

   Jesus ... it's nice when you suddenly realize you have a column idea bouncing around your head.


November 4, 2006 - For The People

Apple Party
-- This is what it looks like when newspaper people make cider.
Not shown is what it looks like when I smash rotten pumpkins with other rotten pumpkins, even though pictures taken by me probably wouldn't do that justice.

   The cider was very good. Whether that's because I had nothing to do with the process is an exercise best left to the reader.


   • I often times takes my peers to task here, complaining about things they write and perhaps hyperbolizing the whole thing.

   Writing, however, should never be belittled to the point we forget it's a craft. People who can do it well do have a specialized skill, and mucking a story or two up along the way doesn't necessarily mean they're not talented.

   If you need proof, I encourage you to read this -- a drag-on-forever narrative comparing Theo Epstein and A Christmas Carol, I think.

In 1946, a cutoff throw mysteriously disappears in Johnny Pesky's glove as Enos Slaughter scores the World Series' winning run. Supernatural forces carry a fly ball off the bat of weak-hitting Bucky Dent in 1978, depositing it just over Fenway Park's famed Green Monster. A ball with animal-like reflexes eludes Billy Buckner's glove in 1986, and a type of Dominican voodoo helps Pedro manipulate Grady Little's will during the eighth inning of a seventh game in 2004.

   I'm not trying to say no fans have the ability to write cogent, cohesive, entertaining copy, or even that I have that ability.

   I'm just saying there's far fewer who can than who think they can.


November 3, 2006 - Remember All Those Days?
   Because This Is Worth The Effort: Through the end of 2004, this site had 1,239 posts, not including vacation writeups. That's as far as I've counted to this point, and given the site had existed for 1,320 days to that point, it seems pretty clear we're not quite as close to the 2,000th post as initial estimates had first thought.

   For all the hullabaloo I made about not posting on a certain day in the summer of 2004, in the initial months, my record was far more spotty than I remembered. Which isn't to say I'm going to be breaking the record of 38 posts made in Nov. 2001 anytime soon ... thanks, BU hockey!

   The count, however, has unearthed one milestone. The site's 1,000th post was made on April 3, 2004. It was the day I won the second Massachusetts Open mini-golf tournament, which spawned what has to be the longest miniature golf newspaper story ever.

   At least it wasn't the day I went to the Celtics game. They suck so much, they're not even worthy of such a low-hangng honor.


   • Honestly, how could I top that much inanity and navel gazing?

   With a link to Dancing With The Stars: The Tour, that's how.

   I'd rather let you stab me in the eye.


November 2, 2006 - When Three Just Isn't Enough
   Cohabitation, Day Whatever The Hell It Is: Earlier this evening, Julie was showing me some dish towels and other kitchen odds and ends she'd been given by her best friend Emily, whose positives as a person I'm not sure I could describe in several sentences. Let me just say that if Emily is ever struggling to find a date to anything, I will have legitimate doubts about not simply the dating process, but whether our species on the whole will be able to survive to the end of the decade.

   
Julie: We have these towels now, and ... you know ...
that ... um ... an adult bib for while you're cooking.

   Cooch: An apron?

   Julie: Yeah, that's the word.

   In the interests of fairness, something which never was an issue prior to anyone having access to my worldly belongings while I'm out of the apartment, I did later in the evening have a conniption because she had put candy in a kitchen canister on the living room table. Not only was using the canister a poor choice in my eyes when we have semi-decorative bowls, in was in the corner of the table, a far worse choice than the center.

   She works with autistic children. If you've ever found yourself wondering why this relationship works, remember that she works with autistic children, then comes home to me.


   • Last month's Hockey Homecoming made me acutely aware of the shortcomings on the 2006-07 Boston Bruins. In so much as I enter every season wanting to believe the Stanley Cup is coming back to the Hub -- since they and the BU Terriers are the only teams I care about who haven't won a championship under my spotlight -- I'm well aware it won't be this year. I dare say I'm sort of OK with it.

   But this ... WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS?!?!!?!

Buffalo rallied from a three-goal, third-period deficit and beat Boston 5-4 in a shootout Thursday night, with Ales Kotalik scored the tying goal with 95 seconds left in regulation and then converting the last shot in the shootout.

"I still can't believe it happened. I guess that's what we're capable of," said goalie Ryan Miller, who stopped 30 shots and then two out of three in the shootout. "We were in a deep hole. This shows we don't quit."

The Sabres won their first 10 games of the season before falling to Atlanta in a shootout on Saturday despite rallying from four, one-goal deficits. They trailed Boston 4-1 before Maxim Afinogenov scored with 8:49 left in regulation; he got another with 2:30 left and Kotalik tied it just 55 seconds later.

"I can't remember being on a team that has done that," forward Chris Drury said. "Coming back that late is pretty unique."

In the shootout, Glen Murray lost the handle on the puck for Boston before Daniel Briere put it between Tim Thomas' legs. P.J. Axelsson tried to score straight on, but Miller stopped him, then Thomas turned back Afinogenov. Patrice Bergeron put one through for the Bruins, but so did Kotalik.

And the Sabres were back to their winning ways.

   And I now get to listen to every jackoff who cares nothing about hockey make fun of the Bruins, AGAIN. For something else they blew, for losing their 10TH SHOOTOUT IN 12, for blowing a THREE-GOAL LEAD in EIGHT MINUTES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

   The best part is that I then got to lay it out on my page. Even if I did quite like "Bruins fall on their swords" as a headline, I didn't like it that much. Especially since the page ended up being late because it's hard to fit the NHL standings and a schedule in a small space. But that's neither here nor there.

   My work computer has a new wallpaper on it now.

Tim Thomas

   Do I really need to say anything else? Does that not just get the point across on its own? I don't care whether it's fair or not ... that's the Boston Bruins, and it's not new. That's the Boston Bruins of my generation.

   And I still love them.

   God, I'm an idiot.


November 1, 2006 - They Aren't Me, Apparently
   Why We're Late: You might be surprised at how it is to motivate onesself to write a voluntary, self-congratulatory Web posting when you have one of those headaches that are so unpleasant, you're walking around your apartment feeling ready to puke at any moment.

   Know that I thought about it all day, mainly because when you're rapidly approaching 2,000 posts, the project has clearly taken on a life of its own. I'm literally to the point where, if I stopped, I'd almost be frightened at the prospect.

   New Project, Discovered This Second: So, exactly how close am I to 2,000 posts?

   It's slightly presumptuous math, but if you count on the average of 30 posts a month and recalculate a little:

May 2001 - Dec. 2001: 210
2002: 365
2003: 365
2004: 365
2005: 365
2006 (so far): 300
------------
1970, give or take.

   Remember that for all the extended periods I either turned into vacation writeups -- remember those?! -- I had all those extra BU hockey posts while they were slowly killing me with their teasing suckitude.

   I almost don't want to find out ... not because of the counting of old posts it'll take, but because then I'll try to do something special for No. 2000. Like design a logo.

   Having it not include the picture of Genie stabbing Fergie with a scimitar will be tough.

Genie aims to please.
-- A month ago. Still here. Now lingering for another month.
By the way, if you know Fergie, congratulate her on all the money.

   • Were you aware the Barenaked Ladies had a new album out? Did you know it's been out since Sept. 12?

   Does not knowing that make me really able to say they're one of my favorite bands? And is it unprecedented that I learned this by attending their concert tonight at Agganis Arena?

   I'm genuinely curious. I'd long ago reached the point where I wondered what they were waiting for, or what they were doing. I suppose the double-disc release would explain that, though you'd think I wouldn't have needed someone to tell me that.

   It was a rather musically oriented day given why I was originally going to Boston today ... the first offseason meeting of the Boston's Baseball Writers, at which I learned it's hard to listen to a conversation in a place where they brew beer.

   The meeting was largely uneventful, especially since I generally don't say anything at them. They're We're planning our annual dinner, which apparently lost somewhere in the vicinity of $15,000 last year. As such, when I start asking people to buy tickets, it'd be cool if you, say, bought one.

   I'm not sure what happens if the Chapter goes bankrupt, but I'm reasonably certain no one wants to find out.


   Late last week, however, the always affable Charlie -- who, I can say with exact certainty, makes 162% of my yearly salary annually -- informed Julie he'd come upon an extra ticket to their Wednesday show.

   The fact that it was because he and his girlfriend of a long period broke up would have been sadder if he hadn't spent much of that long period leaving us expecting a break-up.

   Also, I love narrative-killing asides.


   So instead of trundling into traffic wondering why I'd spent three hours in the car, I took off walking across my former city. I visited the BU Bookstore, almost bought a hat I don't need and discovered the replica hockey third jerseys they're selling are made out of the most substandard material I've ever touched. They should have just gone the whole nine yards and used burlap.

   I walked to Newbury Street, where I discovered Virgin Megastore Boston is closing. I celebrated the city collectively figuring out overpaying for CDs with a Newbury Comics 300 feet away by buying $96 of import CDs for $25, though really, who the hell would ever pay $31 for the 19-song soundtrack to the 2004 European (Football) Championship?

   I went to the Boston Public Library for the second time ever, following my visit where I read Ron Popeil's autobiography in its entirety with one where I read the first three chapters of the commenter-approved You Gotta Have Wa. Enjoyable, and well worth me taking that first walk the fraction of a mile down the road to the Whale City Library nearly five years after I moved here.

   I went the Public Library bathroom, where I shockingly encountered a homeless man washing himself in the sink.

   And then I walked back to BU, where I saw the best arena show I've ever seen. Flat out, and it's not close.

   Given BNL makes up a third of the concerts I've attended -- never in the same place, either -- it goes without saying that they're an awesome live band. I've been lucky to never really stumble across a bad live band -- thanks, Oasis cab accident that cancelled their Boston show that time! -- but BNL just makes it so fun and organic.

   Fitting, as they now hand out environment/social issues materials at the door, including this and this. Quite frightening when you've just found out they have a "different" new album they're promoting.

   For having a 2-disc album of new stuff out, the show was 90% classics. And by classics, I mean the real old stuff. Oodles of stuff that, even if I'd listened to everything since "The Old Apartment" in 1997, I wouldn't have found unless I'd done like I did, buying all the back albums and listening to them more or less non-stop the summer I worked at Agawam Municipal Golf Course.

   The show wasn't even in the vicinity of a sell out, which I will say disappointed me a little. It did feel a little short, given we were out the door in a shade over three hours with an opening act and two encores. To complain, though, would be stupid.

   Not only did the venue remind me why I need just buy BU season tickets with someone already, not only did it lead to Charlie and I ending up at T's Pub on Karaoke Night (where a not-drunk woman serenaded our table twice), not only did it remind me that uberprogrammer Geoff's fiancee Jayde is awesome, but it reminded me that not every band I like goes off the deep end and sucks after a period.

Naked People!
-- I'm even willing to forgive this.
And honestly, how many reasons would I have not to?

   The postscript to all of this is, of course, my coming across a copy of "Don't Believe The Truth" by Oasis in the clusterfuck left at Virgin. Three years in the making, supposedly the album that reestablishes them as something other than a running joke.

   Even for $5, I put it down. It's not for the same reasons you don't have anonymous sex with an ex-girlfriend in a consequence-free environment, but it's similar in a music-buying sense.

   Because there is such a thing, obviously.


2006: [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2005: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2004: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2003: [12] - [11] - [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]