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Dec. 31, 2007 - Navel-Gaze Six, Coming Soon
   Hey! You Know That Guy!: Regarding the usual hubbub about how stupid they/we are, the BBWAA published a membership list.

   Class of '06!!! WOOOOOOOOOO!

   I Love People I Know: Easy as it would be when taking note of the Jets, I will not focus on the cutting off of beer sales in hopes of slowing the topic of this year's greatest New York Times football story:

Denisse Rivera, a 23-year-old from the Bronx, was on a first date Sunday. When she arrived at the crowd at Gate D, several men pointed at her, signaling men at all levels to chant in her direction. After a brief moment of hesitation, she flashed them. Then she took a bow.

"I don't care," Rivera said when told that video clips of previous incidents, taken on cellphones, ended up online. "I love my body and I like what I have, so let everybody share it."

   I will instead turn to Leon Washington, an unexpectedly helpful member of my shockingly competent fantasy football team.

The previous 48 hours had knocked the Jets' special teams for an emotional loop. They found out their coach, the coordinator Mike Westhoff, would not be back next season.

And there they found themselves Sunday, in overtime, lined up for a fitting send-off. It took two timeouts and two attempts -- the first was nullified by a holding penalty -- for the Jets to outlast the Chiefs, 13-10, in overtime at Giants Stadium.

The first game ball? It went to Westhoff.

"How fitting for him," kick returner Leon Washington said. "Who knows? He might be the best special-teams coach ever to coach this game."

   Yes. He very well might be.

   However, your team is awful. Odds are pretty good no one on your team is the best at anything that doesn't have "suck" in the description.

All The Success Hasn't Made It Less Sweet
-- Last story of the year, wraps the year.

   • I worked until 10:30, which precluded even getting outside to view the Whale City fireworks display. For the Fourth 2002, there was a barge and a spectacular show out over the Harbor.

   This New Year's, a couple hundred people apparently pooled in a downtown square for a 10 p.m. show.

   There was no rush to Boston this year to celebrate on Long Wharf in the cold, then get covered in silly string, then close out a bar by the water. There was instead a return home with a couple of Julie's friends -- who were with us in Boston last Dec. 31, come to think of it -- a little Grinch Who Stole Christmas and a lot of Ryan Seacrest jokes.

   OK, they were all by me, but that's how Dick Clark would've wanted it.

New Year's, 1937!
-- It was no New Year's 1937, but we managed.

Love?
-- Editor's Note: Managing does not necessarily mean managing well.

Dec. 30, 2007 - Who Can Hate New Electronics?!
   Whale City's Other White Whale: Meet the soon-to-be second desktop responsible for this mess.

   Eight years ago to the month -- after I brought the new PC back with me to Rich Hall after the holiday break -- I spent $1,500 for a Pentium 600 with 128 MB of RAM and a massive 12 GB hard drive, I spent $400 on a box with a processor roughly four times faster, 15-odd times more RAM and a hard drive pushing 30 times bigger.

   Less than $200 a year is pretty damn good for what this one's done over the years, and especially compared to its laptop brother that's a whim away from being ripped apart solely because I can.

   May this site live on with it in its new home ... sitting in my kitchen, taking up space.

   (Shockingly, HP doesn't believe it has any trade-in value. And that's before they saw the dust I'd suck out of it when I felt ambitious and pried the case open.


   • The first family computer we bought -- this doesn't count the AT&T box I grew up playing the keyboard pounder Microsoft Decathlon on in the downstairs bathroom -- was $2,000 at a downtown Springfield show. The first two computers I bought, a desktop and laptop from Dell, were roughly $1,500 each.

   The current HP laptop, probably half the weight of the blue beast who continues to linger in semi-brick, was sub-$500.

   There's a lesson here, but I think it's less about Moore's Law and more about a slow realization that I am not a "power user." Not to mention that every time I watch a show in HD, I just kind of sit back and go, "Really? That's it?"

   OK, explaining Decathlon in the bathroom. Our original PC was set up on the dryer in the bathroom, with two rickety barstools to sit on. Easily a set-up that would not be recommended by anyone on the Geek Squad.

   Given the slickness of the floor, I'm amazed I can only remember one time anybody slipped and cracked their head on something.

   Decathlon. Mean 18. The original Hardball! Man, talk about formative years.

Dec. 29, 2007 - Unsafe Harbor(ing)
   Meh Story Follow-Up: Not going to Hannah Montana show after all. Mother's idea. Whatever.

   It makes me wonder, though, how elaborate would the story had to have been for the store to go beforehand, "Wait. This is bullshit, isn't it?"

   I mean, could I have gone fake country song and written about horse death by girlfriend's corpse flying out a house due to stove explosion that ruined the Christmas roast and set the money collected for the orphanage on fire?

   Fads of the moment just interest me, is all. And plus, think of what I could have sold the tickets for!


   • Sixteen.

S-T, 12/30/07

   Having watched Eli Manning all season, I didn't really think twice when I wore my famed corduroy Patriots jersey to work -- the jersey that became legendary when I ran outside and played hours of snow football in it after the Tuck Rule Game. Plus, hey, I'm on record.

   Then, Peyton's li'l bro decided to do what our Sunday editor -- a Giants fan with Western Mass. ties in his history, no less -- oddly hoped for: step up to the plate.

   This really would have been the perfect game for the Phil Simms throwback jersey, much to Julie's chagrin deemed a "jinx" because Big Blue has sucked hardcore both times I've worn it. Giants gear, and assures the Patriots stay on the 19-0 road.

   After years of playing both sides and picking the Giants when forced, I felt oddly guilty about the whole thing. Not that anyone other than me gives a shit, thankfully.

   Please also note I wrote this copy block that went in the front page package. Aforementioned editor gave it high compliment, which is nice, since my actual editor apparently doesn't feel it benefits the paper to have me write about football.

   No, not bitter at all! Why do you ask?

Dec. 28, 2007 - Honor Among Pop Music
   This Was Inevitable: So much so, there's no way this sort of thing hasn't happened 10,000 times before.

A 6-year-old Garland girl won a Hannah Montana makeover and concert tickets Friday with an essay that started, "My daddy died this year in Iraq ..."

But the girl's mother now admits that the essay, along with information she supplied about the supposedly deceased soldier, is false, said Robyn Caulfield, a spokeswoman for Club Libby Lu.

   I should think this is funny, but I don't. Not that I find it offensive ... I just don't care. This bothers me more.

Club Libby Lu still plans to honor the girl's prize -- airfare for four to Albany, N.Y., and four tickets to the sold-out Jan. 9 Hannah Montana concert there.

"We told a 6-year-old today that she was going to see Hannah Montana, and we're not going to renege on that," Ms. Caulfield said.

   Um, she did lie about her father being killed in a war. Though given her mother probably did tell her to do it, I have no doubt they're ducking a lawsuit.


   • It's extremely rare when I come up with an idea in my head, then immediately find the Wire photos that allow me to execute it exactly as I want to. Better even.

S-T, 12/29/07

   Now, whether it was a good idea ... that's a whole other issue.
Dec. 27, 2007 - Compensated Expert
   • While working on the stories of the year project, I found a lot of headlines and stories enjoyable through the eyes of history. Take, for example, the small wire lede to a baseball notebook that had New York's Chase Wright ready to make his first career road appearance at Fenway Park.

   Yeah, that didn't go so well.

   However, I also found this:

2007 MLB Picks

   Please note the following:

   -- Last-place Texas picked to win the AL West, followed by third-place Oakland.

   -- Cleveland, one game from the World Series, finishing third.

   -- The NL pennant winners picked last in the NL West, though really, they were in fourth in September. I don't feel real bad.


   But hey, who damn near swept the NL Central and drilled the Diamondbacks!

   Actual standings are here.
Dec. 26, 2007 - Ahhhhhhhht
   The Beauty of an Indian Lunch Buffet: Accepting that you have no idea what you're eating, and just kind of hoping you don't come across anything that you're allergic to.

   I didn't, though I did find out that the bowl of lumpy white stuff next to the greens wasn't salad dressing, it was rice pudding.

   No wonder it didn't have any damn tang.


   • Resisted the urge to break out the 360 in Feeding Hills. Instead, shot a foam missile into my mother's hair.

   In lieu of more words, a collection of photos from the past week or so to encapsulate the December experience.

Tastier!
-- Wendy's Ultimate Chicken Grill: NOW TASTIER!
That's not their call to make, is it?


Riccardi's Tex Mex Pizza
-- Me? I find this tastier: chicken strips, BBQ sauce, banana peppers and who knows what else. No wonder I get chest pains!

Winnipeg!
-- Carelessly neglected in the gift category, a new T-shirt from Julie.
She doesn't ask why. She merely accepts, and supports the odd habits.


Sierra and her ears.
-- Speaking of neglect, ta-dah!

   And now, back to work.
Dec. 25, 2007 - JonCoochBU, To Your Friends Lists!
   • I remember the moment, but not the year. Let's call it 1991.

   We used to have two Christmas trees in the house: the upstairs nice, occasionally real, strictly for display, and the downstairs one. It was an artificial that had to be 40-plus years old, because it was my father's family tree when he was growing it. It got all the gaudy lights, the macaroni ornaments and the gifts on Christmas morning.

   We've always had big Christmases, even despite logic. My mother's the main culprit, because she savors every current Christmas morning the way she couldn't when she was a kid. There's a closet in the cellar that had innumerable numbers of those gifts: lots of board games, "figurines," cars, cards, etc. One gift that never ended up there, though, was 1991's prize.

   A brand new Sega Genesis.

   It was one of those things I'd asked for, but had no real thought I'd actually get. Seemed like too much money. But then, I tore that paper and saw that box ... you've probably seen the Nintendo Sixty-FOOOOOOOOOOUR kid. It wasn't that bad, but it was pretty damn close.

   My parents also shook it up, directing me to the big present midway through the gift opening. I have no doubt today that it was an accident, but a damn good one.

   Through all the years and all the gifts, two stand out: the 13-inch TV I got for an early teenage birthday -- my parents hid the TV in the closet, and wrapped only the remote -- and the Genesis. Both were just that joyful genuine shock that Sears built a whole ad campaign around.

   Fast forward to today, where my final gift was a three-box deal from my brother. I opened the first, odd-shaped that it was, and it was a controller.

   For a game system I didn't have ...

XBox 3600000000000000!
-- Plus the globe's best-loved soccer game!

   At 27, I didn't run around the room screaming. I really didn't say anything, because I was genuinely surprised. Considering I never really ask for anything much, it's extremely rare (and completely fine).

   Then, I sat back and watched my brother open a kayak paddle. My parents, once again trying to "tone down" the holiday, bought my brother a KAYAK.

   Matty Cooch and I, a couple years ago, gave each other rather exobitant gifts. I think I got him a CD burner, which he answered with ... eh, details aren't important. Suffice to say, we both get a little stupid around the holidays.

   Especially me, since I totally could have swtiched out the new dual-tuner TiVo for my old one. Now, I've given my parents technology that's at least 14 times more than they'll be able to handle. If only I had the technology to record and post the phone calls that can't be more than a week away.

Dec. 22-24, 2007 - Engorged With Local Knowledge
   • Even when you pretend to run a post-a-day Web site -- old me hates current me for a lot of reasons, and that's solidly in the middle of the list -- there's no excuse for not posting every day. Not when sifting through the 2,000-plus post logs reveals crap like Springfield Republican copy editor ads and scintillating reports of me being mad at the Daily Free Press for something.

   Over Christmas, a friend told me the young, drunk college nephew of the old gray lady is moving to Kenmore Square. I can find no evidence of it online, though it makes perfect sense ... now that Kenmore's been completely gussied up for tourists, logically, an institution that pioneered the "Blue Mattress Race Down The Staircase" ought to move right in.

   Fellow alumni, do you think they'll move the stained carpeting from the old place, or just have a party to ruin a new roll or eight?


   Anyway, I haven't been posting the last three days because I've been working. Honest to God working, too. Twelve-hour days when I'm on, and Saturday's classic: seven hours on my day off.

   All for this.

S-T, Dec. 25, 2007

   For the second straight year, I was tasked with compiling the top 10 local sports stories and assembling the package commemorating them. Why do I get chosen? Because I work stupid hard, and say things like, "Well, the 10 is fine, but we should include some extra ones too."

   How else is "stupid hard" defined? Last year, I read every section we put out in 2006 online. This year, since a Web site redesign has made that possible, I read every print section by hand, only needing to wash my hands approximately 18 times.

   Of course, while writing up all the copy you see above, I discovered it is actually possible to view our sections day-by-day. Really, though, I found a lot more of the smaller stuff in the print editions.

   Or so I tell myself to keep me from the hurricane barrier.


   I'd be lying if I said I wasn't insanely proud of myself. I'm blessed to have ended up at a paper, almost completely by accident, that continues to just say, "Hey, stupid. Here's the keys. Please don't embarrass us."

   I'd like to think I even make 'em proud every once in a while. Even if my new Uncle Rupert won't return my calls.

   I did get to spend a little time on Monday with friends, having lunch at the always delicious (and amazingly poorly staffed) Red Robin. It was there I learned my friend who got engaged a little after I did has set a wedding date ... in October of 2009.

   Apparently, we're rushing a little more than I'd thought.

   And that's even before considering we'll be broke soon. Julie, in remembering a conversation from months prior, bought me a USB rocket launcher for Christmas.

USB Rocket Launcher
-- Computer controlled! Shoots like six meters or something!

   Yeah, because that's not getting me fired.

Dec. 21, 2007 - Cue The 24 Clock!
   Papelbon Follow-Up: Lost in everything from yesterday is the greatest headline/throhed I'll ever write. Ever.

Papelbon's Dog

   That it got on the same page where I used "baloney" in a headline ... man, people are going to think I love my job.


   • Speaking of love:

Julie's Save The Date Card
-- Exactly six months from today, I'm getting married.

   Please bear in mind, that is Julie's Save The Date card design.

Cooch's Save The Date Card
-- Mine is better, but apparently only "for friends."
Yeah, friends and people who like the awesomely unique.

   Seriously, that took me multiple hours. Best part? Both cell phone photos: hers from her sister's wedding, mine from the World Series, part of the reason I missed said wedding.

   I just wish I'd had room for "This time, it's matrimonial" like I'd planned.


   Obviously, I have no exact base of comparison for how I should feel half a year from the biggest day of my life, so I can only think to substitutes. I remember when I told Julie I thought it'd be OK if she moved to Whale City when her lease was up.

   It was February, and we went out for a nice dinner here. (Amazing how far I've regressed ... that was less than two years ago!) She had been pushing to move here for a while because, well, she loves me and I'm awesome. I was wary, but not for the normal reasons guys are. Her whole life was in Western Mass., and I didn't really want her to rip away from that.

   There's obvious retorts to that whole last sentence. I'm not going to write them. By now, my obliviousness isn't even worth mocking.

   When I told her she could move to Whale City on the condition that she line up a job before she do it, it completely made up for any future bad Christmas presents or foot-dragging on jewelry purchases. I won't know what it's like to see my child experience his first Christmas morning for some time, but for now, I have her reaction. Just pure joy.

   Scared the ever-loving shit out of me, though I'd like to think I held together well.

   After a couple weeks, I kind of forgot about it. February, March, April, it was forever away. Then in the last month, the week's counted down.

   Then, it was here. And as I've mentioned here before, one of those first nights, we went shopping at the grocery store together and I just about had a meltdown as she asked me which pickles she should buy.

   That moment feels a million miles away. To say the move was something I'd do over again doesn't do it justice ... I can't even fathom my life without her, here.

   Much as I try, I can't pull myself into the wedding planning, given man's long history of being decorative throughout the whole ritual. Given we're kind of speeding the process a little faster than I think it's supposed to go, I'll have to do some things, and that's fine.

   So long as people understand I only work quickly when playoff baseball is involved. I'm not going to go run crazy for some out-of-shape guy's I dos, for crying out loud!

   There was a time, long before Julie even had a name in my world, that I planned to meticulously keep a separate Web site detailing the whole wedding process. To me, it was all a mystery, and the kind of thing deserving of the spotlight.

   Like most plans, it's way out the window. But if you think my wedding isn't going to get a God damned minute-by-minute dissection after it's over, and quite possible while it's going on, then you clearly haven't been here long enough.

Dec. 20, 2007 - Twelve Hours. This Was Our Best.
   • Jonathan Papelbon's dog ate the 2007 World Series baseball.

"He plays with baseballs like they are his toys. His name is Boss. He jumped up one day on the counter and snatched it. He likes rawhide. He tore that thing to pieces. Nobody knows that. I'll keep what's left of it."

   Five points:

   1) If Google News worked perfectly, I would have known about this three days ago. Not that it would have mattered, I just like that I pore through the links it fires off every day and rarely find anything of substance.

   2) That picture is something.

Jonathan Papelbon, Chilling

   He's wearing a Red Sox button-up jersey, reading a Sports Illustrated he's on the cover of, sitting at a Red Sox table with a giant Papelbon bobblehead that doesn't actually look like him.

   I'd really like to believe he sits around the house like that. That or the reporter/photographer showed up at the house with a box, and were like, "Would you mind?" Of course he wouldn't mind. He's Jonathan Papelbon and his dog ate the World Series ball.

   3) Doug Mientkiewicz will be perpetually booed in Boston because of his attempts to keep the final out from the 2004 World Series. Meanwhile, Papelbon could have set the 2007 ball on fire on the Coors infield and pissed it out ... people would have loved it.

   I understand why this is. I'm merely noting it.

   4) This, I'd imagine, is the high point of Hattiesburg writer Alan Hinton's career, even if it took a couple days for anyone to notice what he wrote.

   Sadly, for stereotype's sake, none of his last five articles before this involve fishing or varmints: He mainly covers the University of Southern Mississippi as his paper's assistant sports editor.

   I'll have to congratulate him at the next national conference.

   5) I'm really, really hoping that sometime in the next five days, a talking head on either Around The Horn or First & 10 advocates for the dog to be put down because he ate baseball history.

   You and I both know Skip Bayless would do it for $500. Let's get a collection together, though there's at least a chance he might just start screaming one day and do it for free.

   Here's hoping.
Dec. 19, 2007 - Noted Downer Alzheimer's
   Note For Next Winter: During one of the first big storms of last winter, Julie voluntarily went outside to shovel the walkway and around our cars while I stayed inside doing something of some level of importance. (I think I was running, but I might have been writing a column.) One of our neighbors made note of it, asking her why the hell I was making her do hard labor while I hid indoors.

   With that in mind, I pass along Police: Man attacks wife who did not finish shoveling.

Silverman's wife, whom police did not identify, said her husband had "pushed, punched and choked her," following an argument, Shastany said.

"He was apparently mad because she didn't finish shoveling, and he said she ruined his Sunday," the lieutenant said. "He grabbed her around the throat and squeezed with both hands. She couldn't breathe."

   That Patriots game isn't going to watch itself!

1972 Dolphins Perfectly Phull of It
-- I am such a wicked fanboi, dood.

   • When I was trying to find a picture of Fort Myers on Tuesday, I couldn't find one that really captured the City of Palms I know. The one that makes you think, "Wow. Should I really leave my wallet in the glove compartment while I go play basketball?"

   In the Fort's defense, I did leave my wallet in the car. And statistically, my doing it in Whale City probably isn't all that much smarter.

   I was, however, able to find a good depiction of the suburbs around Fort Myers, which are a wonderland of suburban flight. The new Lansdowne Street pub.

From the brick and dark woods to the copper-lined bar to the green steel girders overhead, it appears no expense was spared. Lining the walls are Red Sox pennants, framed photos of Ted Williams, the 1999 All-Star Game and images of Fenway Park in 1917, 1946 and 1950.

There's also a moose head hanging over the front door, a giant stained-glass mural from the 1800s that was brought from a church in Cambridge, a ladies restroom with sinks from the late 1800s, and a miniature Green Monster lining the back wall.

. . .

The layout with the classic L-shaped bar -- and booths surrounding it -- is modeled after a Beacon Hill pub, The Sevens. The bar's focal point is a huge photo of Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez getting his face mashed by Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek.

   It's at a moment like this when I find these words from Michael J. Fox apropos.

I see Us magazine and People magazine and all these tabloids -- they have the same story over and over again. It's the same every week, and I get all kind of smug about it, and I think, Come on, really? You care about this shit? But then cut to me going, "Get outta the corner! Get the fuckin' puck up! What the fuck are ya doing?"

It's tough to stay off the subject of the fact that we're all gonna die.

   Happy holidays, everybody!
Dec. 18, 2007 - Three For Three
   Today's Purely Superficial Personal Attack: Tony Romo's father is named Ramiro. Ramiro Romo -- according to this, so was his grandfather.

   It's good to see Dad just couldn't see fit to continue that line beyond middle name status.


   • In February 2004, I was originally told that the paper wouldn't be sending two people to the Super Bowl, only to have a co-worker volunteer to go on his own dime. The company eventually paid his way when he got back.

   In February 2005, after covering the AFC Championship and bobbling one of my early-in-the-weekend stories because a massive blizzard shoved deadlines way up, I was yanked from going to the Super Bowl as "punishment."

   And now, well before February 2008, I've been told by my boss that he not only wants to go to the Super Bowl himself (provided the Patriots reach it), but that marshaling things from the desk "will be a good project for (me), and (I) need that."

   The issue here, believe it or not, is largely missing the chance to cover the one sporting event bigger than the ones I've already covered. It's the fact that people keep seeing fit to tell me I'm probably going before deciding, "Oh, never mind."

   Also, when this is cited in the telling me, that makes it much better.

Fort Myers, FL
-- But hey, on the plus side ... there's still lovely Fort Myers!

   I've got another good 1,000 words in the can right now, steaming with all the ferocity of a freshly laid horse nugget. However, in the interests of maintaining my job at an acceptable level, I will save them for another time.

   Like, say, the note I leave when I scale the company's lighthouse and fling myself into the parking lot below.
Dec. 14-17, 2007 - Feeding Hillsing The Monster
   • It wouldn't be a week off without me disappearing to the wilds of Western Mass. for a long stretch for no apparent reason.

   My one goal this week was to get my Christmas shopping all done. Guess how well that went.

   On the plus side, I was very glad to stop my 61-year-old father from attempting to shovel roughly a foot of snow, plus the 2-3 feet of plow-packed goodness dumped at the end of our driveway. For good measure, I disassembled a computer desk ... thankfully, I long ago learned that praise for such work is assumed, replaced largely with bitching while it's being done.

   As noted in the comments, that last sentence originally appeared as: "For good measure, I disassembled a computer desk, getting the usual mix of bitching during, thanks after that comes with every project my mother asks get done, but doesn't really want to deal with the doing of."

   Don't forget ... I'm a published, decently paid writer.


   In one of the first Giants games we've gotten to watch together in a while, this happened. In Dad's words, "of all the guys on the team who I'd miss, I won't miss (Jeremy) Shockey one fucking bit."

   In a heartwarming turn I discovered while up in the kitchen getting something to drink, he even swears at the television when he's watching the game by himself.

Eli Manning
-- Not that I blame him.

Dec. 13, 2007 - Uncle Rupert!
   • It has been months coming, but it's now official.

Rupert Murdoch
-- No, you the man, my new boss!

   Today, it went all 4 reals. The Whale City Fishwrap Picayune is still a part of Ottaway Newspapers, who are still owned by Dow Jones, but who are now owned by the beloved News Corp. Of course, Uncle Rupert could only make it to "a crowded Wall Street Journal newsroom" to stand on a bunch of paper boxes and speak today, but I'm sure he'll get to New Bed ...

   Oh, that's right, we've been on the block for weeks. I bet he doesn't even care we have the best God damned linguica and cheese rolls around.

   Julie keeps telling me how great a one she had the other day. I like that in my head, I can eat half a bag of Doritos in an afternoon, but a sausage roll injected with cheese ... that's bad for you!

   The fun is only beginning, but from what I'm told, no one should really panic yet because we're not even sure why we should be panicking. Also, there will be plenty of time to panic.

   I think I'd feel better about the whole thing if I wasn't starting to feel like I've ascended to the point that leaving is going to be a chore. My standards for a new job are high enough that it's starting to get into the "you have to know someone" stratosphere, and as I've discussed here before, I don't know anybody. Well, scratch that ... the people I know have jobs that for the life of me I could never figure out how to do.

   But, what are you gonna do?

Selig's Legacy Hinges on Cleaning Up Game
-- Spend all day watching old white people and reading PDFs, apparently.

   As someone who doesn't watch a lot of talking heads on ESPN, having to do it for four-plus hours today ... seriously. How is that stuff popular? Between Steve Phillips talking out his ass and John Kruk falling all over himself to be pissed off, how can anyone not watch that and go, "Man! These guys know what they're talking about!"

Why do you gotta name the names? What is the purpose of naming the names of these people? Is it to satisfy the public? Is it to satisfy themselves? Why drag 'em all through the mud? Let them go. You got 'em, you call 'em in separately, privately, and you say, "Here's what we got on you, now you talk." If they don't want to talk, then you can do something as far as suspension. But you -- you don't have to get out in the public with this.

   Pretty much everyone named in the report declined an opportunity to speak with Mitchell's investigation.

   That that's among the least objectionable things One Nut said is a tribute to the English language.
Dec. 12, 2007 - The One With Celeb Bitching
   • Today at the checkout counter -- I'm reasonably certain that's among the first times I've ever started a sentence that way -- one of the celebrity whack rags had a screaming headline, "Nick Finds True Love!" I'm presuming it has something to do with this supposed secret marriage.

   Two points:

   1) Was it really four years ago when this bullshit made both he and Jessica Simpson famous based on her "waiting until marriage" and their joint super duper love?

   2) Wikipedia:

According to interviews with Nick and Jessica, the largest of these was the inability to be intimate with each other at certain times, or to have private conversations when they wanted to. It is also said that the reality show was partly responsible for the later divorce of the couple.

   You mean having cameras following you around 24 hours a day isn't the best formula for having a normal life? No!

   I ended up here when I was posting links the other day, and honestly ...

I have added normal quality photos of Lindsay Lohan stops at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf for some refreshment Los Angeles California and J.R. Rotem speaks to Lindsay Lohan outside of a recording studio Los Angeles, California on December 11, 2007

I have 9 normal quality pictures of Lindsay Lohan arriving at a friendís house with her assistant in West Hollywood, California on December 10, 2007.

Candids from December 10, 2007

Candids from December 9, 2007

I have added 15 new candids to the gallery of Lindsay Lohan heads out for some coffee in Beverly Hills Los Angeles, California on December 9, 2007.

   Last five posts. How can everyone involved not sleep sucking on a malfunctioning handgun? Is that why they all drug themselves stupid? Just to forget how the hell they spend their days?

   At least by shoveling down junk food, I'm helping the American economy.

Dec. 11, 2007 - Lots of Need To Fear
   Cute Issues: On the flip side of my aimless days, Julie's not only teaching young children, but harkening back to her days at the TV station.

Light Show
-- This is the way we change the lights,
change the lights, for the Christmas show!

   The actual show is tomorrow afternoon. I met the music teacher today while I was there ... she was exactly like I remember my elementary school music teacher was, which warmed my heart a little.

   It's good to know that no matter how times change, Christmas sweaters will always have a home in a place where I don't have to live.

   MLB Power Pros Update: This evening, the Red Sox finished a sweep of the Giants in the World Series. Manny Ramirez, true to form, hit five homers in the playoffs and won World Series MVP honors.

   As good as the game was, it was woefully low on "celebrating goofy characters after winning World Series." Now, on to free agency, where I try to convince Tim Wakefield he really doesn't need a raise to $8 million.


   • This afternoon, I got a haircut from the woman who likes to have friendly conversations while cutting hair. It's the price of going in the afternoon when it's not busy, and really, the chats are generally affable and about topical things.

   This afternoon, I got to hear all about how she thinks the Alvin and The Chipmunks movie looks tremendous. She seemed genuinely shocked that I wasn't exactly eager about seeing it.

   Jason Lee, really. Chipmunks and Underdog? Banking and savings are important parts of a total financial plan. Go talk to your friends at the local credit union, who can help set you up for a secure retirement that includes movies not loosely based on cartoons from our childhoods.

   Unless ... (from the IMDb page)

The best thing about Earl is the steady income. I can do films if and when I want, as opposed to doing a film I don't really believe in because I have to pay the bills. I've never been at a Vince Vaughn or Ben Stiller level, so I don't get offered a lot of starring roles in comedy blockbusters. I've done some independent films that I'm proud of, but it's seven weeks of work for not much money. So then you have to find as many acting jobs as you can, just to keep up financially. Earl came along at the right time for me.

   Dear God. He's permanently drunk.

Dec. 10, 2007 - Three Hours of 15 Years of Crap
   Cute Issues: This, by the way, is how you decorate a Christmas tree at a whaling museum.

Whaling Museum Christmas Tree

   Just think, you could take it to a whole other place by using actual whale parts!


   • Today was the first day of my "take vacation or you lose it" vacation.

   I didn't get out of bed until about 2 p.m.

   My life is a rich tapestry of crap.
Dec. 9, 2007 - Fever Dreams
   Find Yourself Being Too Productive?: Enjoy the television tunes database. Even if their Monday Night Football catalogue is somewhat out of order.

   • I am a man. I enjoy manly things, like fart jokes.

   So why, for the second straight Christmas, did I make Julie buy me a stuffed bird from the Whaling Museum shop?

Pengin the Penguin
-- His name is Pengin. He lives on the television.
If pressed, I will say I named him either Mario or Sidney.

   It's been an odd day. After months and months of disdain, I for some reason had a dream involving the oft-mentioned Hollywood Starlet.

   Given the timing, I can only assume her paranormal incantation is attracted to mucus.

Dec. 8, 2007 - Vegas. This Summer. Who's In?
   Society Wins Again: I've been sitting on a link for about a week, debating how best to weave it into something, but there's really no good way.

   Know that story about the 13-year-old girl who hung herself over MySpace messages apparently sent from an account created by a neighboring mother who was screwing with her? Well, apparently the neighbor has a blog.

   One she started pretending she was a fellow student, and entitled "Megan Had It Coming."

   You can say what you will about the whole affair, who's at fault, whatever. But if your mind, after creating a fake teenager to screw with another teenager, thinks the best thing to do after her death is create another fake teenager to talk shit about the dead teenager, you should probably just go lie down on some train tracks and let nature take its course.

   That can't possibly be real, can it?


   • This is a New York Times multimedia presentation regarding "The 53 Places to Go in 2008." I'm sort of an lower-intermediate world traveler, having technically been to three continents, and I've been to five of the 53.

   Among the 48 I have not visited:

-- Laos
-- Mauritius
-- Hvar (I'll admit it ... where?)
-- Sylt (again, WTF?)
-- Kuwait City
-- The Northwest Passage
-- Vietnam

   I can not help but really enjoy that on the same list as those exotic, exotic locales is ... Detroit.

   My father, during one of his previous jobs in the telecommunications industry, traveled to Kuwait City. I'm sure he has some tremendous stories that he's just never shared, but the one I remember most involves him smuggling a foot locker full of booze past some armed guards whose job it was to prevent the smuggling of booze.

   This is not his best story. His best story involves a government error during his time in the Army that shipped him to the wrong Texas base, and the subsequent gladhanding that allowed him to stay at said base, which saved him from being front-line artillery fodder in Vietnam.

   I like that story, because it means the human stupidity that I rail against so often actually allowed me to be conceived.

Dec. 7, 2007 - Lunacy Is Back
   • It's been too long since there's been just a good level of crazy at a public event, especially one where it doesn't belong. Like a brief court proceeding.

   Come on down, Barry Bonds court appearance!

Misspelled Sign Man!
-- Misspelled Sign Man!

Crappy T-Shirt Hawker!
-- Crappy T-Shirt Hawker!

PeTA Attention Whores!
-- PeTA Attention Whores!

   Their stories are all in here, complete with ludicrous quotes. And I thank them for their time.
Dec. 6, 2007 - Hey! A Psych Christmas Ad!
   Good For Him: There's one guy currently studying at Wellesley, as part of an exchange program from Dartmouth.

WELLESLEY - To many women, he is simply "the boy." They know who he is, even if they do not know his name. They know his story, even if they have never spoken to him. In the small, all-female world of Wellesley College, Mohammad Usman is famous in this way.

. . .

"A lot of people don't know his name, really," said Johanna Peace, a Wellesley junior and the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, the Wellesley News. "They're aware that there's a boy on campus. And if they see him, they'll say, 'Oh - there's the boy.'"

   And why is he doing it?

Under an agreement among 11 New England institutions, students can apply to spend a semester at another school. A classmate of Usman's mentioned this about a year ago, and the pair decided to apply to spend a term at Wellesley - a decision that surprised one Dartmouth staffer so much that she informed Usman that it was not possible.

As it turns out, though, it is. Men have attended Wellesley via the exchange program in the past, although not recently, said Jennifer Thomas-Starck, who oversees the program at Wellesley. Usman and his friend were accepted. But then Usman's friend backed out, leaving Usman to go at it alone.

"I was committed," he said.

   Your friend friggin' 0wn3d you, pal. I'm just disappointed I couldn't find the MySpace or Facebook or thing describing the level of 0wnag3.


   • Wake up in the 9 o'clock hour.

   Stop watching USA's Law and Order: SVU marathon in the 3 o'clock hour.

   Go to work, and work in a mucus-stuffed fog, until the 12 o'clock hour.

   Among the most screwed up days I've had since I got out of college.

   Speaking of, I'd like to thank four members of the BU hockey team for violating team rules. The money I'd planned on spending to go the game on the 13th against Dartmouth can now still be used for something that's not a complete waste. Nice of them to wait until after BC whipped their ass in a home-and-home to get suspended, too.

"I'm disappointed that these four chose to break one of our team rules," said Parker.

   Was it sucking? Because they've been breaking that rule for months.

   As have you, Mr. Parker, sir.

Dec. 5, 2007 - Fire Sale 3: This Time, It's Not Depressing
   Foolish Humans: I love a good article that talks down the species.

"Within five years, it's totally feasible to build an autonomous car that will work reliably in several limited domains," says Sebastian Thrun, a computer scientist at Stanford and head of its racing team, which won the 2005 Darpa competition and finished second in last month's. In five years he expects a car that could take over simple chores like breezing along an expressway, inching along in stop-and-go traffic, or parking in the lot at a mall or airport after dropping off the driver. In 20 years, Dr. Thrun figures half of new cars sold will offer drivers the option of turning over these chores to a computer, but he acknowledges that's just an educated guess. While he doesn't doubt cars will be able to drive themselves, he's not sure how many humans will let them.

Some people won't ever want to yield control; others will worry that the first smart cars will be like the early versions of Windows. There will be many, many car-computer jokes involving the word "crash."

   Of course, they'll be easy enough to miss, since 75 percent of them will be on late-night TV.


   • This was definitely the unexpected e-mail of the day. Not because of the news, either.

Subject: The Joys of Being A Marlins Fan
Date: Tue, 4 Dec 2007
To: cooch at joncouture dot com

   From ESPN's Winter Meetings Blog:

12:30 p.m., from Peter Gammons
• The Tigers and Marlins have had preliminary talks about a blockbuster trade -- Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to Detroit for a package of young players that reportedly could include outfielder Cameron Maybin and left-hander Andrew Miller -- but Florida GM Larry Beinfest needs a lot more and doesn't think it's serious.

6:20 p.m., from Peter Gammons
• The Tigers have won the Miguel Cabrera sweepstakes. Detroit will get Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis from Florida for six players -- Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller, catcher Mike Rabelo and three minor league prospects.

I... I don't even know how to to respond to this. This is absurd. Dear God.

Thank God for the Red Sox. Although if they trade away Jacoby... (it doesn't look like they will, but...)

- Matt

   I always forget how seriously he takes his Marlins fandom. I'm glad, but it's still a consistent surprise.

   Kind of in the same way the Tigers now being an offensive juggernaut again is.
Dec. 4, 2007 - Can't Be Wrong If You Don't Write
   What A Glorious Age: Tonight, I successfully ordered Domino's Pizza ... online.

   That this was done without a hitch in Whale City, not some trendy college town with tech-savvy people, shocks me. I got exactly what I ordered in the time they said it would take.

   The downside, of course, being that tonight's dinner was Domino's Pizza. That's what happens when I'm nursing a wicked sore throat and Julie got one of those headaches where she falls asleep for three hours and doesn't feel any better when she wakes up.

   Seriously, though ... I'm that much closer to never needing to speak to a human again!

   Twenty-Four Hours is Too Much: I'm not the first person to question whether CNN has dumbed down over the years, but even understanding the changing market, "Why Bad Kissers Don't Get To Second Base" seems a little low for them.

   My favorite part is the "Story Highlights" up top, a CNN-pioneered method of ensuring no one reads any of the actual story.

• Study finds that bad kissing can doom relationship
• Research: Men kiss to get sexual access
• Research: Women kiss as mate-assessment technique
• Kisser: Accidental kiss better than planned kiss

   Dear God, please tell me that's an intern's job ... story highlights on wire copy. Given the number of people I know who work in the CNN empire, there's an outside chance I might find out.


   • Given how sedentary my life has become in a general sense, it's amazing how much more sedentary I feel like it is when I'm sick. It's oddly reassuring and depressing at the same time -- see the Domino's discussion from above.

   I have to assume I'm among a small group of people who've ever been reminded by Fark to get copies/review their credit report. (This being the trigger.)

   Out of idle curiosity, I paid $8 to find out my credit score from one of the bureaus. Without saying what it is, I'm a little disappointed I'm only in like the 60th percentile nationally, though I know exactly why: Still having college loans in excess of what I'll make in three years at the paper.

   Since I consolidated, I've got 101 payments to go until I can truly claim that diploma on my wall. Making the first 78 in a little more than three years is a nice start, but knowing that I've still got eight-something years to go (hypothetically) is almost as depressing as ...

   Another Domino's regret metaphor would be one too many.

Dec. 3, 2007 - Twelve
   • Patriots 27, Ravens 24.

   Made infinitely more enjoyable by being off, sitting in my apartment watching it over sitting in the office watching it.

   Made generally more enjoyable because Ray Lewis lost. I think that's something we can all agree on.

   I like to pretend I'm not actually that big a Patriots fan, and that them losing would not be the end of the world. Yet as they were on their final drive, I couldn't help but notice my heart rate was through the roof.

   I am definitely eager to see history made. Especially since Don Shula, to his credit, was making no secret of his feelings during his stopover in the booth. I can't believe they didn't have him stay.

Dec. 1-2, 2007 - Slowly Killing Me
   The Indoor League: Sly's a biggen Anglophile than I am, but I'd like to think we all can enjoy televised bar games, especially ones you've never heard of hosted by a '70s guy drinking beer.

   "So, cut a bunch of lines on a table, then you've got to shoot coins in 'em. Then, build a mini pool table, dunk a bunch of holes in it, and stick some mushroomy things on it." It's so British!

Plenty of Big Names Could Be On The Move
-- The start of the Winter Meetings gets an Inside Baseball.

   • I've never much been one for high school athletics. But this was tremendous -- our local team trades touchdowns with nationally ranked opponent throughout regulation, finally falling in overtime.

   Beat the hell out of watching Eli Manning, even if they won.

Eli Manning

Giants quarterback Eli Manning walks back to the sideline after throwing an interception against the Chicago Bears during the first quarter on Sunday. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

   I grew up watching Phil Simms. Eli Manning is largely not an enjoyable alternative.

   Even if he does beat the crap out of the Dave Brown-Ray Handley era.
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