December 31, 2003 - The Year In ... Postponement
   • The rest of the quotes will be posted on New Year's Day.

   If you've ever tried to drink Madeira wine, you completely understand.

   Happy New Year, everyone.

December 30, 2003 - The Year In ... Quotes I
   • It was basically a way to fill space without having to work that hard -- listing some of my quotes of the year to finish off December. So, as this is "Cooch in 2003: When Creativity Dies", let's fire it up again!

   Sadly, there's no trip to California that's going to follow this. There is, however, New Years. Small consolation, but it'll do.

   Suffice to say after reliving the past six months through my own words, I need about a case of Prozac and several pails of beer.

Called "Dago Salad" by many racist Americans, pasta is both the staple of the "can't cook" diet and the fancy meal men make when hoping to get sex. But which to choose? Each of the products below has advantages and disadvantages, more if your really have a problem hitting a colander from less than a yard.
-- The great pasta pot discussion, complete with a consumer comment. (1/4)

This is one of those losses that, if only to him, will motivate Shockey to be that much better in 2003. He will learn to catch, he will become a legitimate superstar and he will lead the Giants to better things. I also continue to maintain he will kill another human being before his time on Earth is finished.
-- 49ers 39, Giants 38, Incorrect Assumptions 1. (1/5)

At some point this year, I'm either going to get a roommate/living partner, or move to a place where I have roommates. This could mean any number of different things, so please jump to whatever conclusion your personal morality and personality finds the most fatal. I've just reached the point where the convenience of living alone has been exceeded by my worries about spending a majority
of my week bereft of human contact.
-- Well, that was a lie. At least I bought the computer desk. (1/6)

This is not the first time I've ever had to break into my own residence, but it is the first time I've had to do it fifty yards from a busy intersection at rush hour. I'd like to thank the New Bedford Police Department for, if they did drive by during the whole process, assuming that such a clearly moronic escapade being done in clear sight and at a reasonable hour was being done for a very valid reason.
-- That or they're an incompetent police force. (1/14)

Since it's dastardly face has been brought back into my apartment, I can't stop playing friggin' Dance Dance Revolution. Just to say it, to read myself saying it about myself, I want to douse my eyes in gasoline, fill my ears with cotton and break my legs so that I might stop. The leg-breaking alone would stop it, because the game cannot be played properly with a controller. How do I know this? I tried to. I was tired. I wanted to rest, but couldn't until the update was done. I needed my distraction. My distraction has become DANCE DANCE REVOLUTION.
-- I believe I have played DDR on PS2 exactly one time since this. (1/16)

The man who voices the commercials for Papa John's new 'Cinnapie' is also the narrator for the 'Icons' program on the only-available-on-digital-cable G4 channel.
-- Who else would admit to knowing something this useless? (1/18)

"It's not a perfect job of washing. There was lard in the bottom of these glasses, and I couldn't reach to get it out."
-- Cleaning Vito's kitchen. Yes, the hand rash went away. (1/19)

I never did get the man's name, but I'm not defacing his whole argument. His suggestion of lowering the numbers of tickets an individual could buy that first day is valid in discouraging some scalping. But to refuse an appeasement gesture he apparently got from the team -- allowing him to go buy tickets -- because "I didn't complain to get special treatment" is absurd. If one fucks themselves, the highest priority should immediately become swift and direct unfucking.
-- Communing with the Red Sox masses. (2/2)

-- Valentine's Day rocks. (2/13)

Rich Garces, the Red Sox reliever who rose to prominence for being very good and very fat, and then fell from grace for being very bad and very fat, has decided to retire rather than report to Colorado Rockies camp in Arizona. Though he played for Minnesota, the White Sox and Florida over his storied 10-year career, he will be remembered for his time in Boston, which peaked on a magical night in Montreal when he laid down a sacrifice and became the first 300-pound pitcher to attempt to run the first base line.
-- Life Rule No. 8: Never mock those bigger than you. (2/17)

"Worst Tournament Director: Jon Couture, and his weird-ass tournament formats, and his silly-ass prizes. BU, here's a hint for future academic tournaments that you run: full or bracketed round robins, proper playoffs, and books or films for prizes."
-- One quizbowler's way of thanking me for my hard work. (2/19)

"I like doing other things," Tyson said in a rambling post-fight press conference. "I like getting high, hanging out with my kids, I like drinking. I like doing other things."
-- Some things just need to be quoted again. (2/22)

Avril Lavigne: She had something non-CBS inside her tuxedo jacket, but I do commend her dressing up for the performance ... right down to the frilly tuxedo shirt. But why exactly are the Grammys trucking in rows of jumping teens to the stage? If they want to be the MTV Video Music Award so badly, why don't they just play host to an Axl Rose comeback every five years?
-- Ah, Avril. Not quite April, and not quite good. (2/23)

If they are truly planning on modeling themselves after that publication, San Francisco residents can look forward to increesed knumbers of misspellinghs, inch-long stories and apron-donning streetside pushers, promising the best daily coverage of cows caught drinking whiskey and lions who can't get off sexually.
-- The Boston Metro. Ten "WTF?"s a day or your pizza is free. (2/24)

I'm very excited that the Giants have signed Brian Mitchell, perhaps the greatest kickoff returner in NFL history. Even better than video game legends Mel Gray and Vai Sikahema. After 13 years of despising him as a divisional rival, it'll be nice to cheer him as he wantonly slashes for touchdowns.
-- Brian Mitchell's longest kick return in 2003 was 29 yards. (3/3)

I will never be comfortable shopping in a Wal-Mart because I will never be comfortable with the idea that there's a store where people can buy underwear, guns and ice cream at one time.
-- And the fact I'm shopping with people who need
underwear, guns and ice cream. (3/8)

COOCH'S WORLD -- Jon Couture, webmaster of the slightly popular "Cooch's World" Web site, has announced a sudden end to his "Fuck Canada" policy, saying he will instead channel his hate toward the state universities of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
-- Cooch had trouble letting go after Vermont beat the BU men's basketball team for the America East title by one point. (3/16)

"Our reduced press run, however, will have no impact on the quality of journalism the Boston U. community has come to expect from the Free Press. The Daily Free Press is always available at, and is available in an email addition for non-paying subscribers."
-- This sealed inclusion here the day it was written. (3/17)

Vermont's Taylor Coppenrath offers his ass to Arizona's Hassan Adams for a "Maple Handshake" during the Ca(n')tamounts' 80-51 whipping.
-- Cooch continued to have trouble letting go after Vermont beat the BU men's basketball team for the America East title by one point. (3/20)

My father, working up in Holyoke as those who work for Holyoke Gas & Electric do, was driving round town in his bright yellow truck today, only to see a tiny kitten following some men around on one of the busier streets in town. Not more than a foot long, he was rightly concerned such a small animal wouldn't make it through the night. And now it's in our bathroom.
-- Everyone, say hello to Ginger. (3/25)

"Dolphins are very intelligent, highly emotional and expressive creatures. They enjoy the company of humans, and if a relationship develops between a human and a dolphin, as has happened with [the writer], they will, on occasion, wish to express their trust and affection for you in the most direct way
-- through mating, or sex-play."
-- At this point, I don't care if it's real. (3/28)

Have a decent regular season, most likely peaking with a Beanpot victory, but struggle at the end with losses to either the Rival or the Evil Pair. Lose to either Providence in the first round and miss the NCAAs, or one of the Evil Pair beyond that in the Hockey East playoffs, with that loss sufficiently sapping any momentum into the NCAAs. Given the new format of the NCAA Tournament, there's had to be an amendment. Yet rest assured, there'll be no Frozen Four. Be it because the first round was a struggle against a team who had a bye in that round, the tournament anomaly of being the bye team but facing someone with the momentum of a Heartwrenching Story, or just facing a team that's better than they are, three straight losses means I'm officially dubbing the Second Round of the NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Tournament a Mental Block.
-- It was a tough month for Cooch to deal with BU athletics.
Let's just leave it at that. (3/29)

We watched them throw forks at each other in jealousy, watched them threaten to go home and watched them vomit during orientation at their new job -- to throw parties. We saw what happens when people call each other "black bitches of the house" -- they get mad for the playing of the race card -- But I think what we'll remember most, without a doubt, was the sex. Oh, the sex. But as I say that, it wasn't just about the sex. It was the threesome in the hot tub when Trishelle started making out with Brynn, followed by the extended sex-based relationship of Trishelle and Steven. It was Steven nuzzling up with three of the four girls by the fourth episode. It was Alton determining that his wood had gotten so long that he could no longer wear pants, Alton the homophobe getting his crotch grabbed in the club, and Alton and Irulan forming the official "Castmates That Make A Real Couple" for 2003. And I completely forgot to mention the pregnancy scares.
-- The Real World: Las Vegas. It seems like so long ago. (4/1)

I don't know what it is, I know I'm a late-comer to it, but I'm sold. I've now watched the Welcome Speech clip 4 additional times in the writing of this sentence.
-- Mounting the Homestar Runner bandwagon. (4/2)

Phone Booth was good without it, as was dinner and seeing someone I hadn't for more than a year. About A Boy was good on its own merits, but had to have been enhanced because of this substance. And for some reason, I had my first over 200 score in a game of Scrabble (with three players) in quite a long time while entranced by it. For ten points, what is this substance often used by Towelie that I first partook in tonight, which caused me a burning throat that was soothed by all the Ben & Jerry's and Fritos Flavor Twists?
-- Whomever this loser is, he writes very weird quiz questions. (4/7)

The New England AP each year hands out awards for the best in New England newspapers, and as The Standard-Times meets both those requirements, our paper is aggressively attempting to win every award in our category -- "Papers Better Than The Fall River Herald News." Each staffer is being required to pick out the best of their work, be it design, writing or photography. Given I dance on both sides of the line, I'm requesting the help of the people who theoretically read the column on a weekly basis to help me choose which of my 37 are the best.
-- You did very well, everyone. Pats on the back all around (4/16)

"If you don't like your culture or your cultural history, make something up. I am not telling you to lie, but I am telling you that you can become anything you desire."
-- The Real World San Francisco's Mohammed Bilal, who had earlier told kids at the New Bedford Youth Summit that he had a friend who'd once willed himself to grow 11 inches in a year. (4/17)

So my editor said, "Why don't you write something like you do on your Web site?" I said, "Thank goodness I sat near stupid people."
-- This is not typically a good way to spur prose. (4/21)

And on this the eve of the NFL Draft, is there any greater insurance that Carson Palmer will be a bust than that the Cincinnati Bengals made him the No. 1 pick? Who else would you expect to go big with a quarterback who had three lackluster seasons in college? And what else can you expect from a team with no surrounding system short of a good running back?
-- Lest you forget, I said in the 2001 preseason that the Patriots
couldn't beat Agawam High School. (4/26)

Oops! City's Civic Pride Newspaper Ad Features Child Molester
-- So, did YOUR employer make it onto The Smoking Gun this year? (4/29)

Soon, you realize that all the things you did in college were working toward where you are now, and even if real life can be more boring at times, you'll find that in a lot of ways, it's a lot easier and more fun. As time goes by, you'll see things like how a real newspaper runs, and just why your experience at a place like The Daily Free Press really didn't count for much. And you'll still go back on occasion, to visit people and dabble in what used to seem like the only way you wanted to live your life. But then someone will mention something about a 15-page paper and 200 pages of reading. And you'll laugh ... laugh like the son of a bitch you are.
-- My advice to soon-to-be college graduates. (5/1)

Not that this will surprise anyone, but my enjoyment of the Kentucky Derby was greatly increased not just by betting on the race, but by being in the room with other people who had bet on the race. Course they'd only bet on the race because I'd encouraged them to, and the room was my workplace, but we're all friends there. And it's not like we won anything.
-- Up until rereading this, I'd forgotten I spurred a Derby
betting ring. Maybe I am sick. (5/3)

The Flair Bartenders Association would like you to believe bartending is sport.
-- It's just stupid enough to be true. The next day's World RPS Society?
Little more gray there. (5/6)

Everyone should start every day with a good haircut, then take a walk in the sunshine with someone they love. Be treated to a nice lunch, buy a couple of CDs, then get lightly dragged clothes browsing while receiveing a cheese grater and some kitchen shears.
-- I'm not sure exactly how I should file this. (5/10)

In a lot of ways, I feel as if I'm at a dead end with the column. Not to the point where I'm going to stop writing it anytime soon, but just that I feel like I need to take it a little more seriously. Maybe start investigating the chance of me going to games as press, interviewing players sometimes, or maybe going a whole new direction and writing more sports features. I just feel like I'm at a point where, if I was going to interview somewhere for a new job, my best-chance would be to go as a copy editor, and I really don't feel like that's what I want to do with myself. ... To be honest, I think a lot of what happens to me in the next year is going to be contingent on how my one-year review goes. I know what I think my worth to the paper is, especially in comparison to the things I was hired to do versus the things I actually do. It'll be very interesting to see how they view those very same things, and how it all unfolds.
-- Easily the quote of the year. (5/13)

I love your articles! Keep writing them. Please.
-- A 13-year-old from Whale City thinks I rock. You should too. (5/20)

Grandpa gets off to motor oil.
-- Ads really need to be critiqued more. (5/23)

"We are still going to win this," Steinbrenner told The Post when asked about the Yankees falling behind Boston. "I'm confident. Don't bet against us. I believe our manager, Joe Torre, will get these things right. Mark down this date and remember I told you this. We are going to win. I believe in this team."
-- Fuck you, George, and fuck your fucking ass. We're coming. (5/26)

U.S. singer Whitney Houston smiles next to her husband Bobby Brown during her meeting with Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon at the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem on Tuesday.
-- Among the photos of the year. (5/27)

EXTRA! Gerbil eats Greenfield
-- The actual Greenfield newspaper discovers the fake one. (5/29)

Twenty-two girls between the ages of 17-23 are competing for Miss Massachusetts 2003 at Bristol Community College in Fall River, presumably a cross-section of the most talented and most perky from all around the state. Presumably.
-- The shocking expose that SE Mass. has a lot of beauty pageants. (6/6)

You can say what you want about whether the girls of t.A.T.u. really are living an alternative lifestyle, but they do deserve a heaping scoop of "props." Performing at the MTV Movie Awards before a backdrop of fake tabloid healines, they brought out about 300 girls who, at the end of their gyrating performance, stripped down to white T-shirts and underpants and started making out with each other. Relative to a band's musical talent, this entire phenomenon is the music industry's greatest marketing achievement since they had moderate success making calypso music into American popular culture.
-- I applied knowledge from my "American Popular Culture" class! And talked about lesbians! (6/8)

-- Beckham to Real Madrid, me to Photoshop school. (6/17)

The song St. Anger, off St. Anger, would make a great Track #7 or something ... good enough for an album, but the kind of song that a small ercentage of the fan base would build a cult following around. By making it the first single, you're essentially saying, "Here. This is the best we've got." And if that's the case ... well, let's just say Metallica won't have to worry about a lot of people trading their music online anymore.
-- Lars Ulrich is an ugly, ugly man. (6/18)

My problem was with the pants. When Bruce Banner hulks up, all of his clothes shred ... the kind of thing you'd expect when a person more than triples in size. Yet we're supposed to believe his boxer shorts wouldn't shred too. I guess Todd could be right in figuring they were made from a sweatpant-like material, and thus able to stretch considerably. But the whole thing just seems as thinly-veiled and unbelieveable as accusations that our Hooters waitress signed our bill with hearts and "XOXO" because she wanted a bigger tip, and not for the real reason ... because she was in love with us.
-- It wasn't as bad a film as some would have you think. (6/22)

I lost two members of my family today. Yes, I do define family as to include pets.
-- Goodbye, Mittens and Skye. (6/23)

2-5-3-5-3-0-3-2? 14-2-1-2-1-0-1-4.
-- 25-7 over the world champs. Course I was there the next night. (6/27)

The Five Worst Red Sox Games I Have Ever Witnessed Live
1) Oct. 18, 1999 (AL Championship Series Game Five) - NYY 6, BOS 1
-- Yeah, that's fallen to No. 2. (6/28)

   How can it get any worse than that?

   We didn't even get to the breakup yet.

December 29, 2003 - (Not) The Year In ... Love
   The Jinx Is In: The season is officially over.

-- No good can come of this at all.

As if taking motivation from this photo, it's column "72" of "2003."

Fourteen And Counting
-- Cherish what New England has already accomplished, he writes.
Because they're essentially begging to be screwed over, he implies.

   • Today was going to be the yang to yesterday's start of "Cooch in 2003: When Creativity Dies", but really, there's nothing I could say on that portion of the year that:

I haven't already


wouldn't get me mocked incessantly

   Instead, I will merely expound upon it in short terms and give a warning to the multitude of people reading this who seem obsessed with finding a special someone in 2004.

   Don't fall in love with love. Let actual people disappoint you instead.

December 28, 2003 - The Year In ... Work
   Editor's Note: It's the first new addition to the Posse in months, as April finally caves to the pressure. Eric also sent in a new picture, but I'd hardly call that earth-shattering given he looks exactly the same.

Then.          Now.
-- Still overexposed. Though he has stopped shaving
his neck and grown a grotesque second head.

   • We begin "Cooch in 2003: When Creativity Dies" with what is easily the happiest portion to recap, as I may have had, without hyperbole, the greatest career advancement year in the history of time and/or Whale City.

   Probably or.

   When the year draws to a close, I will have written 72 bylined pieces for the S-T -- technically 71, but I'm fudging one piece for a better narrative. The first was rush written on Meg's couch in the morning hours before a trip to Disneyland and it showed, as I apparently retitled T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land" as "The Hollow Men." History has since proven I was right, but that's the just the kind of thing I would do.

   The last one will be written in the wake of a 14-2 Patriots season, done before I go into the office and work as a full-fledged member of the sports desk, where I always belonged but only actually got to about midway through the year.

   That in and of itself would have made this a year for the black half of the ledger, but the whole "getting sent to New York for the ALCS" and "being among the ten best sports columnists in New England according to the N.E. AP News Execs" locked it up.

   I'd say more, but I really don't need Julie threatening murder during the holiday season.

   What's best of the 72? That's surely a subjective science, but here's my top ten. If nothing else, they're the stories of mine that I wish I could have gotten everyone to read.

   Taking A Stand Is Something To Be Admired (Mar. 14) -- Given the mood and the fanaticism about the war at that point, I'm not surprised a lot of people took what I wrote as more political than it was intended. Looking back on it though, I think I kept a clear enough head to get out what I wanted to say without spinning it too heavily one way or the other. Of course, nine months have passed, and you don't remember Toni Smith or Manhattanville College anyway.

   • Greatness Is Great, But Exciting Sells (June 17) -- It didn't really end the way I had intended it to, but what ended up getting into the paper was a far better compare-contrast involving David Robinson's retirement than I had initially envisioned.

   • Unwritten Rules Cloud Playing Field (July 1) -- I got my facts a little crossed regarding the NASCAR Gordon passing issues, but it connects two current issues and undresses both just as they should be. Plus Jack McKeon ended up winning the World Series, so he got over it.

   • More Than A Game (Aug. 1) -- It was an excellent inroad into just what makes New Bedford tick and, while I feel like I may have had some trouble connecting what it was really all about, I think I said what I needed to say and what I felt very well.

   • Riding The Shock Wave (Aug. 12) -- Let's talk to the token Giants fan in the office and ask him about everyone's favorite gay basher. Well, I think my best columns are the ones where I'm able to connect with a given theme, and I really found a solid one here.

   • Looking For A Break-Through (Aug. 16) -- I love doing a nice, solid feature, but I have to look back on this sadly given the whole league folded up shop less than two months after this was written. I think if there had been more pieces like this written when the league was going, maybe they're still be women's pro soccer in America.

   Maybe not, but hey, I can be moral cop.

   • Rocket Soared Back Into Fenway Fans Memories (Sep. 1) -- If Roger Clemens does come back to pitch in 2004, I will deny that I ever wrote this, was ever at this game or even know what is going on around me. But if not, I stand by every last punctuation mark.

   • Youth Served At Foxboro, World Cup (Oct. 3) -- All the mocking of the youth of the infamous Michelle Wie column, but with a quality message at the end. Plus I got to eat three free box lunches and attend a World Cup!

   • Sox Hopes Crushed In 11th Inning (Oct. 17) -- The pinnacle of my week's work for the baseball playoffs and at the ALCS, which saw me write 12 articles in 13 days. It's probably not as good when you look back at it, but when you consider it was written between the 8th and 10th innings (and while I was dying inside), it's downright remarkable. Kind of like its brother, the next day's There's No Defense For Grady's Decision.

   • Formidable Five: Consistent O-Line Has Pats Thinking Big (Dec. 7) -- The story wasn't originally my idea, but what I wrote about it ended up being better than what all the other papers produced on the offensive line in the following weeks. I don't like to toot my own horn, but I'll hold this up against what any of the other papers around here produced after my story had been printed.

   It really is quite remarkable about what's happened for me professionally in the past 12 months, but I don't believe for a minute everything happened because of me alone. The paper has an excellent staff of editors who are always willing to give people who show promise a chance to do other things, and it just so happened that this one worked out for both of us.

   I've long told people, both regarding journalism and just generally, that talent doesn't go unnoticed. I'd like to think that my year in writing has been proof of that.

   That was not meant to sound as smug as it comes off ... it was supposed to be motivational. Says the man who has his own self-delusional Web site.

   A site you're reading, buddy!

December 27, 2003 - My Big, Fat, Obnoxious Fiance
   Patriots 31, Bills 0: Ignore the parallels to the first game, because those alone wouldn't be enough to be believed.

   The New England Patriots have won 12 football games in a row, and have not allowed a touchdown in seven of their sixteen games this season. Twelve. And seven.

   • These things, quite simply, just do not happen. New England has played 20 football games in the fall of 2003 if you include their four preseason tilts. They've won 18 of them.

   The Giants, by the by, have won exactly 18 games over the past two seasons. The Lions have won 12 total since the preseason three years ago. This is more along the lines of what is considered "normal."

   Meanwhile, the Bills beat New England 31-0, beat Jacksonville on the road by 21, then went 4-10. Having suffered no major injuries since that point, I'd go so far as to say this also should probably not happen.

   Course, it's been a year of weird stuff happening. Three teams went unbeaten at home -- four if Kansas City can beat Chicago tomorrow -- and four will be winless on the road if Oakland and Jacksonville lose in San Diego and Atlanta, respectively. Course, one of the 8-0 home teams barely went 2-6 on the road. And New England has won as many games in a row as any team in the NFC has one period.

   There's probably a better way to put this season in perspective, and I may try to flesh it out in the pre-work hours. But for now, let's leave it this way.

   The New England Patriots going 14-2, winning their last 12 regular season games, is less likely than this ad (which Brian linked a long time ago and took 606 takes to make) happening in real life.

   Course this is New England, so I still don't think they'll win the Super Bowl. This would have "St. Louis's revenge" scrawled all over it if Mike Martz wasn't an idiot.

December 26, 2003 - The Mall Was At Its Worst
   If you owned a dictionary that had a definition of "fluff piece" in it, there's a good chance you'd find a sample of this column listed:

Many Happy Returns
-- First I was going to write this, then I was going to not do it, then I rushed home to do it and it came out OK. If nothing else, it's the first time I've hit a pre-set word count since the Red Sox were in the playoffs.

   • For the sake of public record, the results of tonight's "Posse Bowling Extravaganza," contested at the famous Shaker Bowl in East Longmeadow, Mass.

   Today's Random Fact: A 1962 Massachusetts law made it illegal to drink alcoholic beverages while bowling. The only Mass. bowling alleys with bars are those that have been open since before the law was passed.

1st) Eric R. -- 139.3 avg (High Game: 154)
2nd) Chuckie D. -- 137.8 avg (146)
3rd) Cooch -- 136.3 avg (146)
4th) Alison L. -- 131.4 avg (158)
5th) E. Sunny -- 105.6 avg (117)
6th) M. Cooch -- 88.3 avg (99)
7th) Todd L. -- 77.6* avg (129)

* - Todd spent much of final two games trying to learn how to spin the ball like a pro, thus his final two scores of 43 and 53. We didn't count them at first, giving him an average of 97.3, but that just seemed unfair.

   For more on bowling, buy novelty T-shirts from

December 25, 2003
   As I have no desire to either recount the schwag or attempt to explain why a Couture family party is among the most entertaining spectacles one can ever witness, all I'm going to do here is link to the latest Bill Simmons column.

"You have to love Tom Hicks, the Texas Rangers owner who was dumb enough to outbid himself for A-Rod by $70 million, then brazen enough to demand money from the Red Sox when they were bailing him out of that same franchise-killing contract. He's a piece of work.

It's like somebody heading into a Mercedes dealership, offering $80,000 for a $45,000 car, then trying to decide the terms when someone's doing them a favor by buying out the lease. How do some of these owners get rich in the first place? Have you ever wondered about that?"

-- Eh, it's almost quotable.

Money Can't Buy A-Rod Love
-- I wrote this for the original 72-hour deadline way way back, but it's only running now. I think it needs more anger, but it's hard to muster a lot of vitriol during the holidays.

   • It's not exactly a heartwarming holiday tale, but when a brawl breaks out at Nassau Coliseum because two fan Santas reveal New York Rangers jerseys they're wearing, we're officially putting too much stock in sports.


   It's the holidays, everyone. And both your teams stink anyhow.

December 24, 2003 - Jaded Like The Rain
   Retail Redux: Having been to the mall on both the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve -- it was more of a sociological experiment than a shopping trip today -- I can definitely say today is much calmer and laid back. Crowds were much more limited, inventories didn't look to be that hammered, parking wasn't a major issue and no one came to blows over a Chicken Dance Elmo.

   Though I did almost trip a woman who came ripping out of the CVS cussing loudly because, well, she looked like she needed to be tripped.

   I just hope she got her family all those prescription drugs and control-top panty hose they were asking for.

   • One could safely say that I definitely do not feel the holiday spirit as much this year. There's no particular reason for this, as it's a mix of many things, but I think I'm just to the point where the point of Christmas has been so lost, there's no real reason to keep on buying into the hype.

   Plus it absolutely poured all day today. Staind really does need to reconnect with their Western Mass. roots and write the timeless holiday classic, "Gray Christmas."

   There are many things I have and will enjoy about the holiday. Seeing the family is excellent. Giving people gifts they will presumably enjoy has already been excellent, and hopefully will continue to be tomorrow. After having to have been a tightwad for most of my life, it's nice to be able to throw a little money around every now and then.

   There's just no magic left for me now, because we've reached the point where the guise of Santa and the "magic of the season" just isn't a real selling point anymore.

   I suppose this could have something to do with me being so tired I almost walked into a display case today, or the fact that it took me a month to formulate a list of things I want that weren't "a car" or "A house somewhere where the weather doesn't suck four months of the year." But mostly, I'll just be glad to see people on the holiday and let the other parts be over as quick as possible.

   This officially makes me old, doesn't it.

December 23, 2003 - A Reflection Of The Times
   Coming Soon: At some point during the next few days, I will start the site's Year In Review, tentatively titled "Cooch in 2003: When Creativity Dies." As many as seven days of laughs, tears, anger, outrage and colored type that you've already seen, but hopefully have forgotten about so it can be funny again.

   If I had any skill, I would have already done them, thus giving myself a week off. But I think we know the odds of that having happened, considering nearly all the Posse pictures are from high school and I've still got glasses in everything you see.

   • This may only be of interest only to the Agawamers out there. Though those who enjoy a good dressing down may also find something they enjoy.

The AHS Mirror, Circa 2003
-- This is what the AHS Mirror looks like today.
Photo courtesy of Bryan Roy's Mob.

   The Mirror, not surprisingly, is where I got my start in journalism. It was advised by Mr. O'Brien, who pretty much ran every single club I was in ... to call him my mentor would likely be an understatement. He was a newsman himself, and thus he had the eye and the desire to see an excellent product churned out six times a year. I was actually on the staff for two years, never rising to be a staff editor or anything, but pretty much achieving the responsibilities of one by doing so many of the little things.

   At one point or another, I was responsible for upkeep on the staff computers, the paper's finances and making sure the staff secured advertising, writing two columns an issue plus a feature story, building and maintaining the paper's Web site and at least tangentially helping with the layout. And that's not een counting the column I wrote from college.

   Even in high school, all I wanted was to be disgustingly busy.

   Understandably, I took a great deal of pride in the end product, as did most of us there. While not a very high percentage of the Mirror people I worked with actually ended up getting jobs in journalism, it was clear that most of those there wanted the paper to be as well produced as it could be, and strived for that fact.

   And it was, as awards and accolades pretty much poured in. It could be debated that for the 1997-1999 stretch, we were the best high school newspaper in all of Western Mass and Northern Connecticut. Heady stuff, I know. Stop snickering.

   Well, Mr. O'Brien has since retired -- he now an adjunct in the Western New England College English Dept., taking his experience and leadership with him. I have no idea who runs the paper now, but I do have a message for them.

   Please stop vomiting on the legacy.

   A friend and fellow Mirror alum who now subs at AHS just tonight alerted me of the latest issue, which has a story of Hanukkah in which the words 'Chanukah' and 'yarmulke' are misspelled throughout the entire story. And now I can see he wasn't kidding about the "new" masthead.

   Memo To Crack AHS Design Team: Typically, when you have an all black-and-white publication, you should not design a masthead that looks good only in color. Also, you should at least take on the look of an actual newspaper, with headlines that fill the space where headlines go.

   I am legitimately disgusted ... not so much because the clips these kids are producing are essentially worthless -- they would be anyway, it's high school journalism -- but because what was once a source of pride has turned into just another bad high school newspaper. What was amazing is now exactly what everyone's else is -- a gaudy, worthless piece of fluff that looks produced by, well, high schoolers. I would love to know why they felt a whole redesign was needed ... maybe the town newspaper isn't doing their printing anymore, in which case they get a bit of a pass.

   But not on the spelling, fact-checking and editing stuff. That's inexcusable.

   It brings me back to my thoughts coming out of college, when I was all but sure I wouldn't find a job and that I'd end up back in Agawam again. I had plans to go to the school, where I still know a good deal of the administrators and they still know me, and propose to help out on the Mirror. Kid with a journalism degree gives a little back ... that kind of story.

   Least now I know what I'll do should a firing be in order.

December 22, 2003 - Winning Lines
   A Poker Happy Ending: In a story of interest to exactly one of you, I won a poker hand tonight with a spade flush against three aces. Suffice to say, my opponent took it much worse than I did.

   Course, we were playing for slightly more than a shiny dollar. Slightly.

   Earth Shaker: The fact that there was another earthquake in California -- 6.5, epicenter near San Simeon -- and that I know two people who felt it from a distance has made me decide I'd like to feel an earthquake from hundreds of miles away just so I can pretend to sound cool. Kinda like why Little Jimmy started smoking seven packs a day.

   According to this history and this database, the largest quake within 250 km of me in my lifetime was on Oct. 17, 1983 -- a 5.2 magnitude centered about here. Supposedly there was a whopping 3.6 shock roughly here on July 22, but I must have missed it in the haze and heavy drinking that was most of that week.

   This concludes today's edition of "I'm A Geography Dork."

   • As The Bruce said, this story is incredibly inspiring.

-- This photo regarding it? Not so much.

Green Bay Packers fan Paul Arnold of Sacramento, Calif., holds up a condolence sign for Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre before the Packers game against the Oakland Raiders on Monday in Oakland. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

   So, anyone want to tell me why the "#1 Packer Backer" is wearing an Atlanta Falcons Favre jersey?

   Regardless, it is good to see the kids from Kris Kross grew up alright.

December 21, 2003 - Debauchery Breaks Out
   The Mistletoe Christmas Party: There had been some concerns among Posse members that the overwhelming presence of mistletoe at the annual Christmas party could cause more trouble than it was worth.

   The only thing that caused any problems were the deck of cards and stack of chips that led to two poker games breaking out. Because of them, I am now out a wrinkled old dollar.

   I, you see, decided to win the tournament where nobody put any money up first. And in the money game, decided to go big in with three aces when Todd was going to catch a straight on the river.

   If any of this poker terminology is lost on you, merely ask. Apparently the only valid teaching skill I possess is in No Limit Texas Hold 'Em.

   • Added without comment.

'Barbie Lobster' Spared From Steam Pot
by The Associated Press

   MOUNT DESERT ISLAND, Maine -- Practical jokers Jim Bright and Chris Costello never imagined that their idea of dressing a female lobster in a Barbie outfit -- accessorized with pink high heels -- would save her from the steam pot.

   But it did -- at least 10 times.

   As a gag, the fishermen clad the crustacean and placed her in a friend's trap last September.

   "It's a monotony hauling traps day after day," said Costello, "and we just wanted to break it up a little bit. It totally worked."

   Barbie Lobster, as she has come to be known, has been hauled up -- and thrown back -- at least 10 times. The radios used by lobstermen buzzed with chatter and laughter each time a new sighting of Barbie was reported.

   Costello made a special trip to Wal-Mart to buy the blue blouse, red- and white-checkered skirt and shoes.

   The men had wanted to dress up a jumbo lobster, but it was too fat to fit into a Barbie ensemble. Instead, they chose a svelte 1.5-pound model.

   "They slipped right on, just like Cinderella," Bright said of the footwear.

   Costello disagreed, saying it was a challenge to put the high heels on the little lobster legs. There are four legs on each side so the men attached them to the two in the center.

   "You try squeezing Barbie shoes on a lobster," he said. "That was the most time-consuming thing."

   Barbie hasn't been seen since early December and apparently was unkempt and nearly naked, except for her shoes.

   If she survives a few more months, she may be home free for another season, Costello said.

   "We have our spring fashions all ready to go," he said.

December 20, 2003 - Drowning With Three Tens
   A Note For Scott Boras, Agent To Alex Rodriguez:

"We worked very hard on this deal. Alex has done everything he can to show his good faith by committing $13 million. The two sides were $20 million apart. You would think mutual concessions by both teams would allow this deal to happen."
-- Hey look. The sports agent who negotiated a $252 million contract is angry two other entities are quibblng about a couple million bucks.

   Scott, I understand that negotiating that contract was your job. I understand that you were acting in your client's best interests, and were securing him exactly what he wanted -- the most money he could get.

   That said, don't ever speak near me again. If this trade somehow does not go through, I will take far too much pleasure watching the greatest shortstop in the game today wasting away his prime playing for a team that will never clear .500 as long as he is on it. Wasting away at least partially because of you, and partially because he thought money was the only important thing.

   Thank you.

   • As you know, we don't like to resort to hyperbole here. Thus, I'll be brief.

Garfield: The Movie -- June 18, 2004
-- It's Garfield: The Movie, starring Breckin Meyer as Jon, a CGI cat, no Odie and Jennifer Love Hewitt as Liz, who will undoubtedly fall in love with Jon thanks to the CGI cat and some crazy and/or madcap hijinks.

   This is proof God has forsaken our species.

December 19, 2003 - Shoes Get Soaked
   Spam Of The Week: It's been a very emotional week for those who have been clamoring for the arrival of Return Of The King in theaters, so undoubtably, many need a way to wind down and relax a little.

   I suspect that's the point of today's "Spam Of The Week" -- I just can't figure out how I got on the mailing list.

Subject: Re: Gollum
Date: Fri, 19 Dec 2003
From: Sharon []
To: cooch at joncouture dot com

   Hi Gollum, its Sharon.

   I was shocked, when I found out that it wasn't you but your twin brother, that's amazing, you're as like as two peas. No one in bed is better than you Gollum. I remember, I remember everything very well, that promised you to tell how it was, I'll give you a call today after 9. He took my skirt off, then my panties, then my bra, he sucked my tits with the same fury you do it.

   He was writing alphabet on my pussy for 20 minutes, then suddenly stopped, put me in doggy style position and stuck his dagger. But Gollum, why didn't you warn me that his dick is 15 inches long? I was struck, we fucked whole night. I'm so thankful to you, for acquainted me to your brother. I think we can do it on the next Saturday all three together? What do you think? O yes, as you wanted I've made a few pictures check them out in archive, I hope they will excite you, and you will dream of our new meeting ...
-- The e-mail also came with a nice little "text.exe" file that I'll glady forward to anyone who doesn't like their computer in its current operational state.

   As you probably noticed, I've taken the liberty of turning some words white, making them readable only if you highlight the text. Think of it as childproofing, or a brand-new Mad Libs for you and your friends to enjoy.

   Boy, did that story ever make me smelly!

   • Late Friday night, the nation's malls and strip malls swelled with a clamor rarely seen in front of the Footaction as the new LeBron James Air Zoom Generation sneaker went on sale.

LeBron and His Clothes
-- As a note, never put "Foot Action" into Google
and click anything after the second link. Dangerous.

Cleveland Cavaliers rookie LeBron James models his new line of Nike clothing at an apparel store in Philadelphia on Thursday. (AP Photo/Mike Mergen)

   The shoes will cost $110 a pair, and the fact that there were masses of people across the country lining up outside shoe stores to get them this evening frightens me.

   Not so much that I've forgotten two key personal points.

   -- I once owned a pair of Reebok Pumps -- not these, but you get the drift.
   -- I once waited outside a store to get Super Soakers, that one and this one.

   It's nice to see they made a Super Soaker so powerful, it had to be taken off the market. Also, apparently the 100 I own is now the 50, which means the 50 we own is a collector's item and shouldn't be frozen outside in the pool cabana.

   People, it's called a hose and/or a bucket. Works just as well, and is not likely to invoke a lawsuit.

   So yeah, the shoes. They say they designed them after LeBron's Hummer.

   Whatever. I can't get over the fact that I found a Super Soaker history site. This Internet thing is awesome.

December 18, 2003 - Shake Your Filibuster
   And The Answer Was: It was songs No. 7, No. 9 and No. 1, in that order. Note I am not writing down the song names, because in the bronze medal case, I am actually ashamed of myself.

   The fact that none of you guessed the song by an L.A. band and whose chorus is "Shut up, just shut up, shut up, shut up, just shut up, shut it up" floors me. Maybe you don't think so little of me after all, which is nice.

   Scooped: A great story here by Chris Price of the Boston Metro on the Patriots' offensive line and their consistent success. Nice to see the big play the BSMW gave it.

   Especially since I wrote the same story two weeks ago, but did it even better, including additional quotes from the coach and the quarterback. And I didn't even get a link nine paragraphs down in the day's BSMW update -- the casualty of it running in a lesser paper on a Saturday.

   I think I'd be more much more peeved about this if this was the first time this had happened, but the fact that Lonnie is now essentially demanding I drop her picture in Brady's locker since she found out I talked to him makes it all worthwhile.

'Automatic Otto' Dead
-- From Thursday's paper, it's pretty self-explanatory considering it was written and researched in just more than an hour. Plus, he is in fact dead.

   • It is never a good idea to mix politics and sports if possible. People can (and do) like both, but there are just too many cases where people overstate the relative value of these things in their minds.

   It also creates scenarios where things like this (JonCoochBU/JonCoochBU works as a Login) happen.

-- A politician is co-opting the name 'Patriots.' Shocking.

At the intersection of football and politics, Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark knows where his allegiance lies -- with the New England Patriots, whose fan base extends into first-in-the-nation primary state New Hampshire. In a new 30-second television commercial created specifically for Saturday's game between the Patriots and the New York Jets, Clark wears a Patriots sweat shirt and flips a football as he likens running the country to playing sports.

"As Americans we know what it takes to be great. Leadership, teamwork, spirit, sacrifice, commitment. When you're down, you have to be able to turn things around and you never give up. Let's face it. You have to be strong on defense and you also have to be strong on offense. And, having a heck of a quarterback doesn't hurt either," Clark says with a grin in the ad.

   There's about 406 things wrongs with this, but I'm not looking to be at the computer for the next seven hours. Let's just hit the big ones.

   -- It is likely not in one's best interests to place their support behind a football team, period. Gen. Clark has now lost the state of Florida and most of metro-NYC, where the Pats are hated. Or should I say, given himself a weak excuse as to why he will not win the state of Florida or most of metro-NYC.

   An addendum to that would be that it is likely not in one's best interests to place their support behind a football team that most of the country wrongly assumes is little more than very, very lucky.

   -- Not even the people of New Hampshire, who recently decided to name their baseball team after an underdeveloped wolverine, are stupid enough to believe that Wesley Clark actually likes the Patriots. Even if they did, I'd like to believe franchise loyalty is not at the top of the list of why people vote as they do for president. Then again, I went to BU because it was next to Fenway Park.

   Unrelated Shopping Note: As though they followed the link here and assumed I have more readers than I actually do, the Fisher Cats are selling Uncle Sam caps.

-- I already ordered mine, so go nuts.

   Back to the mockery.

   -- There is going to be the impression that, by showing allegiance to Massachusetts' football team, Gen. Clark is piling onto the already stumbling John Kerry campaign.

   Kerry, who many of you know for having a humongous chin, looking like he's 134 years old, walking a motorcycle out onto The Tonight Show stage and telling Rolling Stone that he didn't expect our president to "fuck it up as badly as he did."

   This, however, would be the stupidest part of all. Considering yesterday it was announced Kerry lended his own campaign $850,000 and is borrowing against his house for more, it would be like running 30-second ads saying that I would make a really crappy president.

December 17, 2003 - Fire And Death-Stone
   Simpson Story: Turns out this is why Jessica Simpson was in Fairhaven yesterday -- to do a meet-and-greet at our local ghetto-pop radio station Fun 107.

   Of the current Fun 107 Top 20, there's exactly three songs I would listen to and/or attempt to steal off of KaZaA were I that kind of guy. Ten points for one, twenty for two ...

   Otto Graham: "Automatic Otto" died on Wednesday at 82. SouthCoast's highest high school football honor is actually called the "Otto Graham Achievement Award," so I ended up doing a deadline "obit" on just why that is, talking to the originators of the award and, unfortunately, getting to be the one to tell them their football hero was dead.

   The story didn't make it online, so you'll just have to take me word for it.

   • This is how a man takes a firing.

In the end, Jim Fassel reached the same conclusion that the Giants ownership and management had come to over the last several weeks: both the organization and Fassel would be best served if they severed ties and the Giants brought in a new head coach. So on Tuesday morning, Fassel walked do the hallway to the offices of executive vice president and chief operating officer John Mara, told him of his decision, and requested a meeting with co-owners Wellington Mara and Robert Tisch.

"They need a change, I need a change, and I think it is the right thing to do."

Asked whether Fassel was fired or he resigned, John Mara said, "I'm still trying to figure that out myself. I think it was an acknowledgement of that fact that we're all adults here, we know what's going to happen, why not just communicate honestly with everybody right now and get it over with."

   When you have a very talented team, you're in your 7th season and are 4-10, it's not difficult to figure out that you're probably getting canned. It was surreal enough to see Suzy Kolber asking Fassel about his job security on Sunday night even before Big Blue got, well, what Michael Barrow said. Everyone knew he was getting canned.

   Fassel just sucked it up and faced it.

   Regardless of how the team did this year, I'm very sad to see him go. Having coached New York for seven years, it's to the point where it's hard to remember just who ran things before him -- it was Dan Reeves, but that's not the point.

   He's barely over-.500 at 60-54-1, but he did win the division twice and the conference once. In my generation, that's about as successful a run as anyone other than Bill Parcells.

   And there was that speech you made have read about.

I'm raising the stakes right now. If this is a poker game, I'm shoving my chips to the middle of the table. I'm raising the ante. Anybody that wants in, get in. Anybody that wants out can get out.

This team is going to the playoffs.

This team is going to the playoffs.

-- From 7-4 to a Super Bowl ... thrashing.

   So what if he was responsible for my greatest gambling foible of all time. I'd like to believe that Fassel's poker analogy was a sign on things to come, and that he will soon be coaching some other team that I don't hate.

   That would be read as "not the Dolphins," Jim. Please don't make me have to discuss this again.

December 16, 2003 - Being The Sports Bitch
   Editor's Note: This evening, I turned down an offer to cover a local public appearance being made by one Jessica Simpson. I don't know exactly where she was going to be or what she was going to do, but given it's not even listed on her Web site, I'm sure it somehow would have involved a mall and/or screaming teenagers.

   Honestly, I had no idea what I could ask her other than:

"So, are you really as stupid as you appear on the show?"
-- And that's so been done before, I'm sure.

   All this said, I would like to apologize to all of you readers out there who now won't get to read what undoubtably would have been the greatest update ever, "CW's Day With Jessica Simpson".

   Now back to our regularly scheduled waste of all our time.

   (No) Debate: ESPN has an article up about the worst jobs in sports, with their suggestions including:

   -- Brian Cashman, GM of the Yankees
   -- Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner
   -- A junior publicist.
   -- A locker room attendant.
   -- A stadium cleanup worker.
   -- A NASCAR pit crew member.
   -- Sprint block holders.
   -- A Major League Baseball clubhouse manager.
   -- Season ticket salesperson for the Milwaukee Brewers.
   -- A mascot.

   One of these is so far inferior to the others that I wonder if the people who made these suggestions were really trying. Raise your hand if you have to work outside; likely having to wrangle garbage, puke and other bodily fluids; in weather that likely does little to help you accomplish these tasks.

   There's exactly one of these that would go to a person without a high school degree. I'm pretty sure that'd be the runaway winner.

   • In South Korea, professional video game players can make up to $100,000 a year. They get corporate sponsors, and play in front of a live audience as matches are broadcast on cable television.

   Ben Affleck claimed a 6,000 pound reward from Howard Stern that the jock was offering to anyone who could set up an interview with ... Ben Affleck. He gave it to charity, but still.

   Denis Leavy has been offered a pro hockey contract. Granted it's only for one minor-league game, and the $300 salary would go to his Leary Firefighters Foundation, but Denis Leary has still been offered a pro hockey contract.

   All of these people were overpaid for something. So see, A-Rod isn't alone.

   This trade of A-Rod to Boston and Manny to Texas will happen by Thursday. If you care about this, odds are I didn't really need to tell you that, but there are just too many sources saying too many things for it to fall apart now. The commissioner's office wants this deal to happen, and if he can haphazardly do whatever he wants everywhere else, a little union issue sure isn't going to stop him.

   At least I may end up with another reason to be a Dodger fan.

December 15, 2003 - Saying Nothing ... Like The Sox
   ManRam, Nomar, Manny And The Boys: There is a column in the can should all of this happen, and within the next 72 hours, it almost certainly will. Boston Dirt Dogs says it's done, but I genuinely believe he's a yahoo who's going all in with an A-8 unsuited. Especially given the involvement of the Dodgers, White Sox and who knows who else.

   The whole idea of it is honestly still pretty hard to stomach -- not so much from the "A-Rod in Boston" perspective as the "Nomar NOT in Boston" one. Garciaparra was going to be one of those players who played his whole career here, for better or for worse, probably never winning a World Series but being endeared to us all the same. Seriously ... a crowd screaming "A-RAAAWWWDDDD" just won't have the same ring. They'll be not Saturday Night Live sketch based around that.

   And yet, the deal that will eventually lead to Nomar's departure is just crazy enough to seem plausible.

   What's perhaps scariest of all though is that if this happens, and the Sox still don't win the World Series ... I'm taking up knitting.

   • To temper any delusions you may be having about the Sox, please read this. Seriously. We need to stay grounded.

   They're going to trade Nomar and Manny (probably). There's no reason to doubt that it's a good idea, and yet, we have to. It's in the bloodline.

   Then go watch Michael Vick Takes A Crap again to pick yourself back up. Or read the tales of a Barnes & Noble employee. The potential is almost enough to make me quit my job and becaome a retail clerk.


December 14, 2003 - My Kingdom For A Razor
   • This image kept getting shown on SportsCenter today, one of many fans who were celebrating the capture of Saddam Hussein while at a football game.

Congrat's To You Too

"Tennessee Titans fans Jeanie Dinenna, left, and Tracey Dawson, right, celebrate the capture of Saddam Hussein while at the Titans game against the Buffalo Bills in Nashville on Sunday. Dawson is from Clarksville, Tenn., and her husband is serving in the military in Iraq. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

   Something about this just strikes me as extremely sad, and really, it has little to do with my deep-seeded love for megalomaniacal, murderour dictators.

   Apparently, it would be unpatriotic to point out what needs pointing out here. That or the SC staff was too busy watching the Coors Light Nightcap to notice, in which case I may need to change my long-term career aspirations.

   Unlike Matt, the story of Saddam's capture broke while I was asleep -- 6 a.m.-ish. I'm very glad I was in F.H. for it, since it allowed me to have the following exchange with my mother at about 7 a.m.

"Jon, wake up. They captured Saddam Hussein!"

"Great, he'll still be captured in an hour when I wake up."

   Never one to be fazed in the face of history, that Couture.

   I'm just glad the story didn't break during SNL on Saturday night. Not only would I have then stayed up all night watching coverage, thus crashing when I tried to drive back for work in a snowstorm, I would have lost all my momentum to research the careers of the Good Burger cast.

   Kenan Thompson, by the way, makes far too convincing a Carol Moseley Braun. And as SNL has no real convincing Howard Dean, I think that disqualifies him from the race as well.

December 13, 2003 - Foulke!
   Brett Makes Me Sweat: It's rare a Flash animation can so perfectly capture the sport of football. Michael Vick Takes A Crap does that.

   Well, at least a part of it.

   • Saturday Night Live was pretty good tonight. That's always going to be a relative statement now, but even a jerk like me could appreciate the 'LOtR' heavy Elijah Wood monologue.

   The short: Chris Kattan came back to be Gollum, and he'd written a sitcom pilot where he and Frodo moved into a Denver apartment. Title wittily included 'Hobbit.'

   The actual cast isn't so much weak as it is a list of people you haven't heard of yet. Though notable among that group is Kenan Thompson.

   Or as I call him, "The Guy From Good Burger."

   By the by, his co-star Kel Mitchell? He's doing just fine, as you can see.

   Though he may call you for a couple bucks every now and again.

December 12, 2003 - Nerd Question
   Mass. News Of The Day: The Mass. Turnpike Authority has cancelled the Boston Pops concert they were planning to hold next weekend commemorating the opening of the southbound I-93 tunnel under Boston of the Big Dig.

   I can't imagine why there'd be a backlash to having a quarter million dollar, invitation-only celebration for the partial opening of a $14.6 billion project that's already pushing a decade behind schedule.

"The opening of the southbound side is the last major milestone in the project, following openings for I-93 north in March and the Massachusetts Turnpike connection to the Ted Williams Tunnel in January. Amorello has held concerts, public walks, and antique car parades to mark progress on the project over the last two years."
-- On the plus side, that does mean it's almost done ... sort of.

   • Blacklights aren't exactly new technology, but when they make:

   -- your watch hands glow bright green;
   -- your license glow with two strips of "MA MA MA" across it;
   -- your $20 bills glow with security strips on the left side and;
   -- your sweater fuzz glow and make you look like a hobo

   You are allowed to get excited, right?

December 11, 2003 - Celebrating Other's Failure
   It Made No Sense In Real-Time: It makes almost as little in reflection.

Portis And His Belt
-- Clinton Portis and the World Heavyweight Championship

Denver running back Clinton Portis wears a World Heavyweight Wrestling Championship belt following the Broncos' 45-27 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs at Invesco Field at Mile High on Sunday. Portis brought the belt to the game. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

   The explanation?

"Clinton Portis strutted down the sideline, turned and flexed his muscles for the crowd and flashed a large gold belt that declared him the 'Heavyweight Running Back of the World.'"

"I always admired Priest Holmes. I thought he was the best back in the NFL," Portis said. "I felt like if I go out and outperform Priest Holmes in head-to-head competition, well I can't help but feel like I am the best back in the NFL."

   There was logic used here, people. There was a moment where Clinton Portis carried the belt outside and put it in his car ... maybe he even forgot it, and thought "Oh wait, I forgot the belt" as he rushed back inside to get it. There was bringing it into the stadium, taking it to the field, all these things.

   As Niedziela would put it, "Eep."

   • It was a good day in the baseball world.

Steinbrenner in the Daily News
-- NY Daily News Front Page Graphic

Post Andy ...
-- Post-Andy, in more ways than one.

"Steinbrenner forced Reggie Jackson away from the Yankees after 1981, thinking he could win without him. The Yankees didn't play another World Series for 15 years. They didn't begin the road back to the World Series until Steinbrenner was suspended from baseball for a second time -- an all-time world's record for sports owners -- and Gene Michael and Buck Showalter began to shape the talent on the team, and the character. Now talent and character walk right out the door. It feels like a Yankee era walks out with Andy Pettitte."
-- Mike Lupica

   Andy Pettitte was huge in the ALCS against Boston, and now we'll only have to worry about him in a World Series scenario.

   I'm not saying this is the death of the Yankees ... we could be so lucky. But I'm not exactly thinking George Steinbrenner learned from a decade where he pinned hopes on the likes of Jesse Barfield, Danny Tartabull and Dan Pasqua.

   Oh yeah, and the Patriots might be winning another Super Bowl soon.

December 10, 2003 - Finally Geeked Out
   More Macho Man: He's included in The Onion's fine list of Least Essential Albums of 2003, putting him in the pantheon of such fine work as David Lee Roth's Diamond Dave and The Essential Stabbing Westward.

   I owned all the essential Stabbing Westward once. It was called "their first two albums" and I think it netted about $5 at CD Spins.

   • In no less than seven days, the nation's theater-goers will flock to see The Return of The King, a first viewing in what will undoubtable be several trips to the movies and multiple purchases of the various DVD releases that will spawn from it.

   Many of these are the same people who clamored for the new Star Wars films (before people realized they weren't very good) or the latest Harry Potter release. That's fine. I'm not mocking anyone ... to each his own. I suspect none of these films and books would do a whole lot for me, and thus why I can't be bothered.

   There are rumors flying around that I think I'm too cool for these things, and that's why I don't go. While that may have been true years ago -- I had enough reasons to be called a nerd that I certainly didn't need any more -- the basis now is that I can see myself literally heckling anything involving either Middle Earth or Tatooine.

   Up until tonight, I had assumed I had no such film crutch. No franchise that I could hang my hat on. Granted, I hadn't thought much about it, but it didn't really seem like a hole that neede filling.

   Then The World Is Not Enough came on and even poker was getting ignored for the next three hours.

   Really, I should have figured this out before now. Bond has a pretty solid three-pronged attack -- lots of gadgets, beautiful women and British people. There's not many things that are going to top that, especially if you can get past the fact that Bond villians and henchmen have to be the worst shots/assassins in the universe.

   Therefore, the new imminent goal of Cooch's World is to actually see all 20 Bond films before the 21st comes out in 2005. We're currently at 3.5, given I've never actually seen all of GoldenEye, but I'm sure the BlockBuster people will be happy to rent me something other than video games I'm terrible at.

   Should any of you wish to purchase a slightly used copy of Madden 2004 for a Christmas gift, I'm far more serious about selling it to you than you might believe. I'm bad enough at it now that I don't really think I need to look at it ever again.

December 9, 2003 - It's Funny When White People Rap
   He's Everywhere: And it's not even who you think.

   TAMPA, Fla. -- George Steinbrenner is doing more than just working on his team's offseason plans.

   The New York Yankees’ owner hosted about 1,500 schoolchildren Tuesday at the team's holiday concert at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center.

   "You see their enthusiasm. That's what the world is about," Steinbrenner said. "You better never forget the young kids because that's tomorrow."

   The Florida Orchestra played seasonal music and pro wrestler Randy Savage recited 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.'

   "I have fun every year," Steinbrenner said. "When you look at the kids, you see the smiles on their faces."

   Macho Man Randy Savage and the Florida Orchestra ... proof that George Steinbrenner's money really can make anything happen.

   If you go to no other Web site today, please go to the Macho Man site and listen to "Be A Man." It's just 2:57 of your life, and really, you've wasted three minutes of things that are far less worthy.

   • And a one and a two!

Hulk Hogan, Hollywood Hulkster, whatever they call you
I'm coming after you coward

Hot diggity damn Hulk you set it off
Used to be hard, Hulk
Now you done turned soft
Doin' telephone commercials I seen ya
Dancin' in tights as a ballerina
I knew all along you had those tendencies
Cause you been runnin' from Macho like I got a disease
Dude, please, your PPV event was a joke
You're avoiding Randy Savage cause ya know you'll get smoked
Come on, you'll phony fight The Rock .. (spank you, bitch)
But when they tell us we'll do a real fight you passed
I called him out, thought the punk was here and to go
It was a charity event but The Hulk didn't show
Hollywood Hulkster, you're at the end of your rope
And I'm gonna kick you in the butt and wash your mouth out with soap
Cause, like Rodney Dangerfield he gets no respect
Come on Hulk, let's wreck, so I can put you in check

Be A Man, Hulk
Come on, don't be scared (scurred)
You're running from Macho, that's what I heard

Be A Man, Hogan
Come on, don't be a chump
I never thought Hulk would go white like a punk

Be A Man, Hulk
Come on, don't be scared (scurred)
You're running from Macho, that's what I heard

Be A Man, Hogan
Boy, you's a chump
Cuz Hulk Hogan is a real big punk

   Should any of you feel compelled to give Cooch a gift because this site keeps on giving, you can go this way or you can go the "Strong Bad Sings" way. Or you can go the "I'll continue to take and take and take for free" way.

   I know what I'd choose.

December 8, 2003 - No One Ever Punk Rocks Your Dad
   Thanks, Suns: There goes selling that opening night Magic victory stub for a million dollars.

   Redskins 20, Giants 7: It's come to this.

-- Even the snow people think Fassel has to go.

Fans get creative with the snow by making snow sculptures in the upper deck at the New York Giants game against the Washington Redskins Sunday at Giants Stadium. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

   Consolidation Station: The net result of my work today is a spreadsheet with various college loan consolidation payment plans, lengths of payment and total paid in the end. If nothing else, I now know what "amortization" means and could use it in a sentence.

"Amortization tables are easy ways to display that
I'll be paying off loans well past how long I'll have hair."

   The pivotal question seems to be am I OK paying more money in the long run if it means I can pay less now. The most intriguing consolidation plans -- and yes, I am going over this because some of you probably care -- are the graduated plans, where I pay almost nothing now and slightly more a month every two years for 15. My current $200/month would drop by at least half, but slowly creep back to like 75% by the end.

   As sick as it is, I love "Do All Your Fancy Financial Crap" month and everything else. Humans aren't supposed to enjoy doing their taxes as much as I do.

   No, I won't do yours.

   • I've generally made it a point to steer clear of Kobe Bryant coverage, both here and in the workplace, because there may not be a major news story I care less about. That and anyone who thinks Kobe Bryant will be convicted of anything involving jail time clearly doesn't understand how the judicial system works in America.

   That said, something caught my eye today.

"Suggesting racism may be behind Kobe Bryant's prosecution on a sexual
assault charge, defense attorneys asked a judge Monday to help them find out
whether sheriff's deputies and prosecution employees ordered T-shirts
depicting the NBA star being hanged."

   You can say what you will about hicks, hillbillies, mountain people and just the general stupidity of those who don't live in America's major coastal metroplexes. I'm pretty sure despite that, no prosecution of a rape case is going to order T-shirts with the defendant being hanged on them.

   Again, I don't know this ... maybe they were just trying to stem the Internet T-shirt tide going the other way. But I think it's a pretty safe bet that if your defense is trying to prove things like this, that there are some things that you're hoping don't get out for public consumption.

   I may even care more about the presidential election that Kobe at this point, and that's even considering we're powering toward a Dean v. Bush November faceoff.

   I know I can't wait.

Yet Another Reason Not To Like College Football
-- Catchy title, isn't it? Never mind that I don't even think it fits the point of the piece, it just feels like "Blah Blah Don't Read This" was already taken.

December 7, 2003 - Consolidation Breakdown
   The Final Insult: The last count in Whale City is 18 inches of wet, heavy and now frozen anthrax flakes.

   Looked at in the context of the 35 INCHES they got in Peabody, things really aren't that bad. I got to shovel the walk for my building -- I'm the youngest one who lives here but for the grad students next door, who are in college and thus useless -- and I'm now in that "I can't move my car because someone will take the space I painstakingly shoveled out" phase that makes winter the hate-filled cookie that everyone loves.

Snow Car
-- You're right. We are suckers.
Bent Tree
-- Least it's a built-in obesity excuse.

   I'm just glad I left the "Well, why clean out until Wednesday?" phase, since there's a good chance a car as mighty as a Saturn SL1 may have just imploded if completely surrounded by ice.

   Patriots 12, Dolphins 0: If you would, indulge me for a moment.

"How 'bout that O-Line, baby!
Matty, Joe, Damien, Dan and Tommy, just Gettin'. It. DONE.
Dem's my boys!"

   Thank you. It was or a gush about how awesome it looked on TV to have the fans throwing snow skyward after Tedy Bruschi's touchdown, and really, I didn't want to put up more damn snow pictures.

   • The talk show circuit is not something that we've long looked at the paramount of broadcasting anyway, given we've already reached the point where Sharon Osbourne is powering along the fame train essentially because her husband is an unstable celebrity that we all like to gawk at.

   I'm not saying there's anything wrong with wanting more money -- especially during CW's annual "Do All Your Fancy Financial Crap" month -- but really, doesn't The Osbournes really boil down to the Mrs. exploiting her husband's residual drugged state so her ugly children and she can become famous?

   Maybe it's a little harsh to phrase that way, but have you looked at pictures and sound of Kelly Osbourne? The big pic on that page is about as good as you're going to do, and we're still talking about only of a whisper-like resemblance to Cher.

   And we're not talking 'If I Could Turn Back Time' Cher on the boat with the Navy guys. We're talking 'Believe' Cher with the synthesizers and the ... you get the point.

   Anyway, Tony Danza has now gotten a talk show. That Tony Danza. It doesn't have a Web site, which I think is a sign of things to come, but Ellen was at the first taping.

"His guests were Ray Romano, Jennifer Love Hewitt, some old Italian lady who made meatballs and a 10 year old hip hop dancer (he was really cute)"
-- Of course he had on an old Italian lady who made meatballs. I can only hope Jennifer Love sang, because we'd then be approaching 'Greatest Show Ever' status considering his lead guest is among the most hit-or-miss comedians this world has ever known.

   In conclusion, the fact that their making a new Tony Danza Show makes slightly less sense than the whole BCS college football debacle, is far less angering, but both are surely driven by money.

   Though only one will make any. The end.

December 6, 2003 - It May Never End
   Awesome: If you care even slightly about the Red Sox, or just enjoy good writing, you need to read this piece on Terry Francona done by John Tomase of the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune.

   I can only hope someday I crank something out half as good. Speaking of ...

Formidable Five: Consistent O-Line
Has Pats Thinking Big

-- My editor said he thought I played it a little too straight. And here I thought I was writing it just like a news story because there were quotes involved.

   So No What 50 Cent Means: There is talk of creating a BU alumni club in downtown Boston, akin to the BC and Harvard clubs of the same purpose. The $750 to $1,000 dues would of course keep me from actually joining, but until I'm actually looking at my checkbook and realizing this, I think it's an awesome idea.

   Where else could I hobnob with old people with which I have only one incidental thing in common?

   • It has not stopped precipitating here since about 4 p.m. on Friday. Snow, then rain, then back to snow for nearly all of today, with the word being it will continue snowing here until about 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Enlarged To Show Hate.
-- It only appears not to be 10 inches.

   And yet, with the family in town to Christmasfy the apartment and just generally say hello, I really don't seem to mind.

The Sports Tree
-- What you can't see are the ornaments,
all of which are glass and sports equipment.

   If only that feeling could last until, say, June.

December 5, 2003 - Anthrax Everywhere
   Ranking The Slums: There are rankings out listing the nation's most dangerous cities, and it warms my heart in a twisted way to know Springfield, Mass., is in 20th place. It sits behind the lofty legends of Detroit (1st), D.C. (5th), Compton (6th) and Gary, Ind. (10th), yet somehow worse than Miami (23rd).

   Also, if you knew that the worst metropolitan area in the country was ... PINE BLUFF, ARKANSAS ... feel free to help yourself to a couple thousand bucks. I mean their Web site kinda sucks, but it doesn't seem deadly.
   • At least we knew it was coming.

   Driving back from Foxboro today, I knew there was more out there to fret than the proliferation of 'Greatest Hits' albums for bands that certainly do not need 'Greatest Hits' albums.

Tears For Fears? Scorpions?
-- Kajagoogoo must have been on the other side of the rack.

   I looked around me at the landscape, though it barren, and I said my goodbyes. It was about noon, and I knew we were just mere hours away from that dark day, those miserable flakes.

   The first real snow of the season.

   I thought about whether I should go golf, just to get a few more holes in. Maybe go to the grocery store and bone up on supplies, as the news was giving the impression than a frigid Satan and his minions were coming in those storm clouds. My ultimate decision though probably wasn't the best one, but I felt it better matched my mood and persona.

Just The Beginning ...

   Staying in and playing online poker while watching people spin their tires.

   Hey, it was that or drinking.

December 4, 2003 - Toilet Humor
   Mail Call: Not really much like the show at all.

Subject: (none)
Date: Tue, 2 Dec 2003
From: Dan _____ <______@FMR.COM>
To: jcouture at s-t dot com

   Just wanted to make sure you knew that Schilling's injuries last year were from a broken hand that was hit by a line drive, and then a burst appendix. His team scored two runs or less in seven of his starts. His arm is as sound as ever.

   Dan _______
-- All true. Probably should have clarified this a little better with myself before writing. But that would be considered 'preparation' and I'm not a fan of that.

Let The Terry Francona Era Begin
-- When he ever said that he had no problem with second-guessing, do you think Grady Little just started screaming at the North Carolina sky for no apparent reason?

   • Now friends, this is art.

'Don't Miss A Sec'
-- The marriage of art and waste,
but not in a flinging feces kind of sense.

   The artist is the Italian Monica Bonvicini, and the 'sculpture' is a toilet with one-way mirrors posted all-around it. 'Don't Miss A Sec' is set up right across the street from Tate Modern / Britain, their national art gallery.

   As she puts it,

"She conceived of the piece a decade ago while watching guests at art show openings: not so much that they couldn't bear to miss a second of the art as that they couldn't bear to miss networking, gossip, free drinks and flashing their jewellery at one another. 'So I thought I could make this piece where they could do their business and still not miss a second of the event,' she said."

   If you're going to be in the London area and find yourself needing a visit, public use hours are in the article. If you hurry, maybe you can be the first person to have exhibitionist sex in it.

December 3, 2003 - They're All Gonna Laugh With You
   Incidental Patriot Fact You Did Not Know: Tom Brady's laptop has a screensaver of a burning fireplace. Propped up inside his locker while the media horde waits for him to appear, it's as though we were all standing around a festive Christmas scene waiting for Santa to come down the chimney.

   Not really, but it was more insightful than if I were to stand facing perpendicular to Ted Washington, he is legitimately three of me. And that's with the holiday weight gain!

   • After nearly a month of voting, study and recollection, the New Hampshire minor league baseball team will be called ...

A Fisher Cat
The New Hamsphire Fisher Cats!

   Quoting from they themselves:

"The name 'fisher cat' is a mythical misrepresentation of an animal indigenous to the Granite State. Fisher cats are actually fishers, a shy and secretive member of the weasel family. They are closely related to martens, minks and others -- but the term 'fisher cat' is a nickname perpetuated by fables of vicious attacks by the animals in the woods of New Hampshire.

The member of the weasel family is a shy and mild-mannered animal with sharp claws and teeth that becomes fierce and aggressive when engaged in battle. Could there be a more perfect name to instill fear in our opponents?"
-- The people in Nashua are quaking, I'm sure.

   As Chris put it, this is proof that democracy just doesn't work.

   The New Hamshire Granite, my choice for a name and thus obviously the best, finished fourth, 272 votes behind the Fisher Cats. The also-serviceable Manchester Millers was second, 16 votes back.

   Really, the tragedy in this is New Hamshire's choice is so poor, I'm actually wistfully looking at the Primaries alternate logo and thinking,

-- I'd wear that on a hat!

   You can't go wrong with an ass-kicking Uncle Sam, I always say.

December 2, 2003 - Throaty
   Random Pointless Aside: If the Whale City Post Office just got with the program and had an automated stamp machine like a normal post office, maybe that angry clerk that I keep running into wouldn't be so angry.

   And maybe I wouldn't hate them so much.

   Bring Out Your Meatballs: Finally, Boggie and Meg will have a reason to come back ... Massachusetts is getting an Ikea.

   It just reminds me of the time when, flying to Tenerife for Spring Break, the first thing I saw out of the window of the plane ... that warm, purplish glow.

   Viva Espana.

   • Be excited.

   I made The Onion again.

December 1, 2003 - Depressing Also Starts With 'D'
   New York Ain't Got Nothing On Us: The entire Cape and the SouthCoast plunged into darkness tonight, as a fire in a power station and a dumpy old power grid made for one of the coolest phenomena I've ever seen -- being the only building with lights for as far as the eye can see.

   Of course, as far as the eye can see was about twenty-five feet because it was pitch black outside. And when our generator ran out of gas about five minutes before the power actually came back on, we were no better than anyone else.

   Though it was good not to be the one who made the terrorism/Arab joke.

Schilling Already Has His First Win
-- This whole 'bear vs. shark' argument Schilling got in, viewable here, means I will now have to put a new No. 38 jersey on the Christmas list. I just hope they let me wear it in the press box.

   • When you're a nerd, computer health are among the things to be considered when the power surges and blows out the lights for a 100-mile radius. This is why our mothers always told us to use surge protectors, if our mothers didn't look at computers solely as a way to book vacations and hold copious amounts of dust.

   While trying to install a new CD burner earlier today, I'm pretty sure I inhaled enough dust to extend my sickness at least another three days. You would think for someone who cleans others apartments just so he doesn't have to look at them messy, the inside of my PC wouldn't look like ... what's underneath my bed.

   Hey, the vacuum doesn't fit under there, and if you think I'm going to actually move the bed to clean under it ... well, you just don't know me at all.

   Anyway, after work last night, I came home to find my computer in a bad place, despite the utilized surge strip produced the people at Ace, the helpful hardware folks. The comp would boot up into Windows in safe mode, yet trying to get it to boot up regularly would cause it to just shut off.

   Understand just because I have my own Web site doesn't mean I can get any more techie than this. My attempts at trying to fix this included opening the case to see if there was some sort of "PC circuit breaker" inside.

   After going to bed hoping things would "fix themselves," not being surprised they didn't, and spending the next three hours continuing to try and tweak various settings I didn't understand, I went to the phone book hoping to locate a PC repair place that would save Charlie from finding me on his doorstep crying at some point Tuesday evening.

   Of course, after taking down the phone book and having found a place, the computer then worked on the next attempt, thus this update being written. There's no actual reason the computer should have worked on the last attempt, as nothing had changed from the previous 20 reboots ... but then again, when most PC service calls include the phrase "Turn it off and on again," I suppose there's really no reason to be surprised at all.

   They can't pay you geeks enough.

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