After sitting behind a desk for three weeks, I somehow have won and lost respect for Mike Judge's "Office Space." Admittedly, it nailed the little nuances and interactions between people that, except for financial gain, have no real reason to be around each other. But if you're in one place long enough, it really isn't as dreary as the movie made it seem. Enough quirky stuff will happen. You don't even have to make anything up. Okay, well, you can't make up stuff like the phone call I got yesterday afternoon from a shadowy organization calling itself "ESPN: The Truck." But you get what I mean.
Here are a few personal highlights from the past 21 days as a human schlepper:
1. Delivering the junk mail to the low-level employees
I feel bad for these guys. Getting what I get -- nothing -- is better than getting a daily bombardment of catalogs full of stuff they probably can't afford, and Sky Miles offers for flights they don't take. And yet the phony, smarmy, over-the-top excitement makes it worthwhile, especially when it's coming from 10 people at once.
2. Rotating the juice
Every Friday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. when the on-salary crew is gone, I head to the fridge and rotate our rack of Nantucket Nectars. I do this because each flavor is two bottles wide by five back, and not enough juice is consumed each day, so the stuff in the rear would never get taken if I didn't rotate it. Mind you, nobody asked me to do this, and nobody here knows that I do it. And whether juice goes bad, I really have no idea. But these are the kinds of services you get for $12 an hour.
3. The obscure quests
The owner of the company -- a great guy -- seems to have realized that I need something to do. Me bringing in my laptop and hooking it up to the network must have tipped him off. Lately, all those things around the office that nobody can find, they've been going to me. First it was 261 feet of maroon replacement mini-blind cord. (Check.) Then it was tissue paper big enough to cover a 17 foot by 90 foot plasma screen (Still working on it -- apparently we're helping Shaq move out of L.A.).
Then this week's exchange topped all. My boss comes up to me and asks, "You know that wax-coated trick line they sell? The stuff they use to send things down to the ground from hot-air balloons?"
I stared at him blankly, finally saying, "Ahmmm ... umm ... na'yeah ... I think so."
So he says, "Well, I need 200 feet of it. Look around. See what you can find."
You see what I mean? This is my life. And by the way, if anyone knows what this is and where I can get it, please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll consider it payment for this week's column.
Before we get to the links, here are three answers for questions that kept trickling in this week: For the Smoking Gun report on the alleged "Real World: San Diego" rape, click here. For a possible explanation of why Jamie wasn't as outgoing on the San Diego show as she otherwise might have been, click here. And if you refuse to watch reality TV, but long to understand the Sports Guy's columns, click here.
Onto the rest of the links ...
Miami Herald (7/7) (registration required) -- Huge shocker out of Florida: A judge in Broward Country opted not to revoke the probation of star Miami recruit Willie Williams, whose hilarious Herald journals last fall failed to include the felony criminal mischief and battery. I mean, the alleged felony criminal mischief and battery. "He is a hugger," said Williams' attorney, referring to the charge he embraced a female student in Gainesville against her will. "Nothing malicious was meant." Next stop ... South Beach!
MSNBC (7/6) -- Well, Tori Spelling is finally off the market -- she got married in L.A. over this weekend, and not to Brian Austin Green. Can somebody confirm that Ian Ziering was playing hearts with Bob Newhart and Don Rickles at the reception? Meanwhile, a clairvoyant E! Network released a chart last week showing who on the cast of 90210 slept with whom ... on the show. Somehow Tiffani Amber-Theissen's character slept with 340 people in five years. That's a lot.
MLB.com (7/6) -- Staggeringly, almost 50 percent more people voted for the 2004 All-Stars online than voted in the 2000 presidential election. Of course, if we tossed out all the votes from Houston, Japan and South Boston, that number would be down to a more sensible 212.
The Smoking Gun (7/6) -- Details on the Kerry/NY Post front page fiasco, which broke the record for most people making the same joke (some sort of variation of "This would have damaged the Post's credibility if the Post had credibility to begin with"). Apparently "New York State of Mind" is a two-newspaper song for a reason. See, there's a joke you haven't heard yet.
Amazon.com -- Coming soon to my living room coffee table: "A Beverly Hills trophy wife ... faces danger and finds herself ... while leading a Girl Scout troop!" Hollywood suddenly makes a lot more sense.
Bike.com (7/5) -- On the Tour de France, Australian cyclist Bradley McGee battles back from injuries he sustained while potting plants in Monaco. He'll be wearing the pink jersey from here on out.
eBay -- Money is not an object, and you have to pick one. Do you live in the floating, rotating 747 or the Starship Enterprise? Best responses will run next week. And if I don't get any, I will simply make them up. Like anyone would know.
Washington Post (7/4) (registration required) -- Great tracking-down feature by Mike Wise to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of "Hoop Dreams." Did you know that Arthur and William have a combined eight children already? I'm not saying that Calvin Murphy is scared or anything -- I'm just throwing it out there.
NY Times Magazine (7/4) (registration required) -- Read Brian Wilson's words. See his picture. And don't ever complain to me again about having to register for The Times.
San Francisco Chronicle (7/4) -- Wait a second, a crony of Governor Schwarzenegger's is in hot water for an inappropriate exchange with a woman? You're kidding!
Chicago Tribune (7/2) (registration required) -- A report on the escalating feud between Chicago Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti and White Sox broadcaster Hawk Harrelson, which had the potential to become the most disturbing press room fracas since boxing writers Ron Borges, Michael Katz and Michael Katz's neckbrace crossed paths earlier this year. Barbs you probably won't be hearing on "Around the Horn": "I ought to clock you right now, Paige!" and "You want a lawsuit, Michael Smith? I can make you a poor man!"
The Smoking Gun (7/2) -- So actor Jeffrey Jones (y'know, Principal Rooney from "Ferris Bueller") got picked up last week for failing to re-register as a sex offender in Florida. And somehow, he looks worse in his mug shot than Rooney did when he got karate-kicked by Jennifer Grey, then mauled by a pit bill. I honestly feel awful linking to this.
BBC (7/2) -- To raise money for the Elton John AIDS Foundation, singer Macy Gray says she'll perform in concert naked. Unless we come up with enough money to stop her.
The Slate (7/2) -- Just in time for the holiday (at least, it was), a funny write-up by The Slate on a taste-test of 11 different brands of hot dogs, grilled and boiled. Nathan's Skinless Beef Franks came in tops off the grill. The tofu dogs at Petco Park, though not mentioned in this feature, are the absolute pits. They look like amputated fingers at the gangrene ward.
Detroit News (7/1) -- Look out, Willie Williams! During his first day as an attendant at a Florida beach club, ex-Red Wing Bob Probert managed to wrack up four felony charges. "At the police lockup, Probert punched the cell's walls and window, stripped and plunged his clothes into the cell's toilet. He told one police officer, 'I'm going to get you,' and began chanting 'red and white, red and white.'
(Again, it's Florida. Have you noticed how much strange, shady stuff happens there? I swear they built L.A. in the wrong state.)
CNN.com (7/1) -- Frankly, I think we've all been looking for some definitive proof that the Sports Guy wasn't stalking Tobey Maguire when he wrote his "Seabiscuit" review last year. Now we have it. This is a crazy article.
American Way -- Tom Brady has won two Super Bowls. Be that as it may, Drew Bledsoe never would have done this interview. I'm just saying. Maybe Patriots fans should just skip this one.
Indianapolis Star (7/1) -- "Look at my anger, tell me if my smile looks fake, 'cause when I'm mad, I'm biting off ears like carrot cake."
(Yes, that was a little sampling from Ron Artest's rap song, "Juvenile Delinquent." And if that doesn't get you clicking on that link to read the rest of the story, well, I give up.)
subservientchicken.com -- This is the best site I've ever seen of a guy in a chicken suit carrying out orders via webcam. And for the record, we got him to do the YMCA, then a sorry-looking cartwheel. My roommate was begging me to type "Hump the wall," but I was already pretty disturbed, and there are some things you just can't un-see.
NY Post (7/1) -- Details on the first-ever "Guys Gone Wild" series. Would I take my clothes off for this woman? Well ... am I standing on a bar? Are there six other guys in the room? Is she holding a video camera?
Game Show Network -- From the "truth beats fiction" department, ESPN "Dream Job" favorite Zach Selwyn is now co-hosting "Extreme Dodgeball" with Jerri from "Survivor." I should be half as lucky. If this intern gig doesn't work out, I'll probably end up on a Taiwanese pottery show with Shii-Ann.
Las Vegas Review-Journal (6/22) -- No word yet on whether Carson and Mrs. Palmer made an emergency pit stop at the Hoover Dam on the way back to Cincinnati.
Washington Times (6/22) -- Headline: "Invisible Bra Won't Pass Metal Detector" Seriously, people ... can't we just deal with getting these things installed first?
International Federation of Competitive Eating -- You'll be glad to know that Kobayashi, in addition to owning the hot dog record, once ate 17.7 pounds of cow brains in 15 minutes. But doesn't the mark for pizza seem strangely attainable? I swear 10,000 drunken college kids must beat that mark every Thursday night.
jackiechristie.com -- This swept the voting for "Link of the Week." Sure, Simmons is the only guy who gets to vote on this stuff, but still: It was a unanimous choice. And by the way, if she ever catches Doug nosing around on this site, there's a good chance you'll be able to buy his clothes, too.
If you have a suggestion for "The Links," mail it to SGWeeklyLinks@comcast.net.