When my roommate suggested that I should cover the Democratic Convention for ESPN.com, I thought he was joking. We were riding the Green Line over to the Loews Theater near Boston Common, headed to see "The Bourne Supremacy" on Tuesday night. These are the things you do when you don't have a real job.
"Yeah, so long as I can get it done without actually going to the Fleet Center," I told him.
Waaait a second ...
And three days later, consider this the first and final post of The Intern's Guide to the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Hey, everyone else in this city has a blog going, so why can't I? Besides, I'm as involved with the convention as the next schmoe. Remember my comment about needing paper to cover a 17-foot-by-90-foot video screen? Where'd you think that was going, the Edgemere Drive-In?
Granted, I haven't been downtown at all this week, but it's been similar to the work conditions down there: sloooow. Most of the locals decided to skip town for New Hampshire or Cape Cod. They won't look so smart when the line to play mini-golf is 450 people long. For me, nearly all my co-workers are at the convention, so nobody's calling for them. If nobody's calling for them, you can guess what I'm doing: reading the Globe and wondering if I'm going to run into Stephanie Tanner at Waterworks tonight. Yes, the highlight for me has been the celebrities. And from the press, it just didn't get better than Ben Affleck.
Here's a sampling:
At a bizarre press conference at Jillian's, behind Fenway Park, the Cambridge-bred actor held forth Wednesday on issues ranging from international monetary policy to middle-class tax cuts. ("People can use that money to buy dishwashers.") Of his own considerable tax cut, Affleck said, "I don't think I deserve it." He did not rule out a run for public office, but he acknowledged that sitting poolside in Hollywood is preferable to "eating stale danish in a VFW hall hustling people for money." (Boston Globe, 7/28)
"I couldn't connect those images with my own sense of self," Affleck says. "I became depressed about the Faustian nature of my life, that I've chosen a life where I'm exposed to criticism and invasiveness, that I've made the legal segue from private to public so people can write anything about me. I craved a segue into a different kind of life. Something I can get excited about. Something I think is more worthwhile." (Washington Post 7/27)
He's almost making up for "Pearl Harbor."
As for the most enjoyable visit from someone who was never actually here, the award definitely goes to my boss, Bill Simmons. On Boston.com, they have a place where you can submit completely unsubstantiated celebrity sightings from around town. Great idea, right? Well on Tuesday, sandwiched between James Carville and Steven Seagal, there was Bill, who was "spotted" coming out of a beauty salon on upscale, fashionable Newbury Street, an allegation that would tick even Tom Brady off. After about 30 people forwarded it to me, I sent it to Bill hoping he'd get a laugh out of it. His official position?
"Too bad I'm in L.A."
Tough crowd. So once and for all, hear me: He was NOT ... GETTING ... FROSTED TIPS ... IN THE BACK BAY. As for the kind of relations he had with Monica Lewinsky when she co-hosted "Jimmy Kimmel Live" back in May '03, I really couldn't tell you. I'm guessing they were of the non-sexual variety.
Before we finally hit the links, a couple things from last week.
1. I haven't been this anxious for a Friday to come since high school. Last week, we posted a link to a Women's Wall Street story by Annie Jacobsen called "Terror in the Skies." It seemed like an article about terrorists preparing an airline attack. Little did I know it was actually about a Syrian band, and that Jacobsen is the type of woman who, after you break up with her, would buy you a gun rack when you don't even own a gun, never mind many guns, which would necessitate an entire rack. You'd think the Ann Coulter reference would have tipped me off. Click here or here or here to hear the other side of the story. Now that I've apologized, could we please stop with the political insults that start with neo, quasi and pseudo? I'm starting to feel like a sci-fi character.
2. For the Justin Timberlake fans that tried to find the article about his alleged cheating on Cameron Diaz, it turns out the London model in question was the original Lara Croft in the "Tomb Raider" video game, not Angelina Jolie's body double from the film. I can see how traumatic that would be considering a prominent Google listing reports the double was a man imbedded with fake breasts (sadly, not true). Meanwhile, if anyone still cares, Timberlake could do a lot worse than Jolie's actual stunt double.
And one other thing: George Eads is back on "CSI." Our long national nightmare is over.
Onto the links ...
Miami Herald (7/29) (registration required) -- Dan Le Batard tackles the huge gray area of being a close friend to an athlete whose team you're covering. Having just worked as a student journalist at UNC, I've seen this a bit. It boils down to making a decision (assuming you're even inner-circle-worthy to begin with) to breaking big stories and getting better locker room quotes, but also giving up your ability to be critical, and worst-case scenario, objective. Picture Ahmad Rashad interviewing MJ. Fortunately, Rashad McCants wouldn't return my text messages, so I was all set in this department. Seems like an easy call when you're sitting in Introduction to Media Ethics, but remember, friendship is the booze they feed you. (Yes, I'm still 22.)
ExtraTV (7/29) -- After an alarming run of terrible movies, comedian Anthony Anderson was picked up on aggravated rape charges on Tuesday in Tennessee. I originally wrote "aggravated weight charges" by mistake, but that's about as funny it's going to get for this one, OK?
San Diego Union-Tribune (7/28) -- "Man, what the (expletive)? How'd you get my number? If The San Diego Union-Tribune calls me again ... Man, you fools are stupid."
(That's Ryan Leaf, somehow not in response to being No. 1 on ESPN's list of top 25 flops.)
Houston Chronicle (7/28) -- MTV announced that at this year's Video Music Awards in Miami, stars will approach the red carpet in luxury yachts. There hasn't been this high a chance of a VMA fatality since Anthony Kiedis leaped down a flight of stairs in 1992.
(Question from Simmons: "What's the over-under for the number of rappers who exit these yachts wearing lifejackets? Can we wager on this?)
Medline Plus -- A big thanks to a future doctor studying at Columbia for giving me a clearer picture of amebiasis, the intestinal parasite reportedly plaguing Jason Giambi. Yankee fans, take a look at the fourth predisposition and e-mail me in the morning.
Detroit Free Press (7/27) -- "Just a second, Robitaille ... you were playing blackjack with The Sports Guy ... AND YOU DIDN'T CALL ME OVER!?!?"
eBay -- A woman identified as 'xhusbandstuff' is selling her ex's belongings, which she received as part of a divorce settlement. For cheap, too. Included among the items is an autographed Larry Bird Sports Illustrated, which I saw late Thursday night and vowed to buy back for the guy, because, well ... how bad could he be? I was too late. I guess all I can do now is push getting married back another decade.
NY Daily News (7/27) -- A gunman in NYC asks: "Do you want to die for Subway?" After four semesters of maddeningly inconsistent meatballs, I know exactly how he feels. Although I never would have played the "Do you have any leftover sandwiches?" card afterward.
BarryBonds.com -- Yet another reason to dislike Barry: a picture of him with Michael Bolton at a bowling alley on his 40th birthday. Let's hope Bolton was working the snack bar.
MSN (7/27) -- So there's a Playboy video game coming out where you run the magazine and throw bashes at the mansion. And one of the celebrity guests: Mr. Jose Canseco! If Cyber Jose 1) has a nervous tick, 2) is wearing an ankle bracelet, or 3) shamelessly promotes his book, then I'm buying this. And if he has the ability to coordinate a parking-lot attack on Digital Tom Arnold with Cyber Ozzie Canseco, I'm buying five.
Yahoo! News (7/27) -- A mustached Pierce Brosnan, looking like a high school art teacher, calls it quits on the Bond franchise. I never thought I'd see the day where Divine Brown could be a true-life Bond Girl.
(Simmons' theory: "I think Brosnan is stepping down so he can devote more time to stopping his wife from eating.")
Cleveland Plain-Dealer (7/27) -- "America is built on the foundation that with hard work, anything can be accomplished, and players like Carlos Boozer represent that to the fullest. I think your comments were distasteful and could be considered traitorous." America, meet CeCe Boozer. Finally a woman who may be more domineering than Jackie Christie. As this photo indicates, poor Doug had a migraine just thinking about it.
ESPN.com (7/27) -- You could wind up getting hugged ... if you live in southern Florida, because Willie Williams was admitted to the University of Miami on Tuesday. Seriously, ESPN's Bruce Feldman made a good case that the Hurricanes aren't what you think they are, but wasn't there a third charge that Willie punched somebody repeatedly outside a nightclub in Gainesville? Forget setting off a fire extinguisher in a hotel. Where did that one go?
The (U.K.) Guardian (7/26) -- According to Bahktiar Amin, Iraq's human rights minster, Saddam Hussein has been passing his time lately writing poetry, gardening and snacking on muffins. One of the poems was about Dubya, but Amin said he didn't have time to read it. Didn't have time? For things like that, I know you're rebuilding a country, but you make time.
eBay -- Good God! The K.I.T.T. car from "Knight Rider" is up for sale! Bidding starts at $40,000. If it included a cassette of David Hasselhoff griping about not getting the credit he deserves for helping to end the Cold War, I think bidding would start at $50,000.
CNN (7/26) -- To commemorate the release of the special edition DVD of "Showgirls," I went to IMDB and tried to pick the worst quote from the movie. It took about half an hour. Here's what I came up with:
"She's no butterfly, Tony. She's all pelvic thrust. I mean, she prowls. She's got it!"
Sports Illustrated -- Peter King is back from vacation just in time to provide details on Ricky Williams' vicious locker room B.O. -- and a whole host of other things -- in his weekly Monday Morning Quarterback column. It's something you'd think Le Batard would have mentioned, although he's probably spent so much time around Ricky that he doesn't even notice it anymore, kind of like my gradual immunity to the backpackers I shared sleeping cars with in Italy. And speaking of college, while it's great to have King back, I'm bracing myself for the inaugural Colgate Club Field Hockey Note of the Week this fall.
NY Daily News (7/25) -- Not that it really means anything, but it's always fun to see stuff like 12 GMs getting polled on who the best coach in the NFL is. I'm guessing that Marvin Lewis' four points out of a possible 120 means they didn't call anyone in Cincy.
CNN (7/25) -- You know how a lot of "Simpsons" episodes start off at some goofy convention? Well, there was actually one for "superheroes" last week in San Diego, and both Matt Groening and George Lucas were there. Groening let it slip that a character -- not Smithers -- will come out of the closet (my money's on the Sea Captain); Lucas revealed the title of the next "Star Wars." Sadly it wasn't "The Search for More Money."
Washington Post (7/24) (registration required) -- Another nice Post feature. This one's on Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennings, who hit 38 before the show went on its summer hiatus. I forgot to mention this last week: He also ripped ESPN: The Mag over on the Jeopardy! message board with the quote: "I think [it's] a pretty terrible sports magazine, so I almost feel flattered to be called 'smarmy' and 'punchable' in its oversized, over-designed pages." I'll take "ingrate" for $1000, Alex.
The Smoking Gun -- If Bret Hart really wants to discredit Ric Flair's new book, all he needs to do is link to this civil suit filed by two flight attendants against him in March. No human should be subjected to Flair in a "jeweled cape ... naked underneath ... flashing his nakedness." I know it's just a civil suit, but The Nature Boy needs to do some hard time, and I don't mean with The Big Boss Man ...
The Ledger (7/24) ... or maybe be sentenced to team back up with Tully Blanchard at UCW. That's Ultimate Christian Wrestling.
Yahoo! News (7/23) -- If you count cleaning up the remains of Jayson Williams' dead rottweiler at gunpoint, Dwayne Schintzius' career NBA assists total is now at 94.
StevenSeagal.com -- Thanks to what Simmons called the link of the century (but you'll see, it isn't even the link of the week), I had a great exchange with the GM at my temp job.
Me: Listen, this song's off Steven Seagal's new album, "Songs from the Crystal Cave."
Tom: Oh. (10 seconds pass) Who's singing?
Now that, my friends, is true range.
ESPN.com (7/23) -- A marketing director for the WNBA's L.A. Sparks is Playboy's "Employee of the Month" for August. Sorry, I'm still not watching.
NY Daily News (7/23) -- Listen, I love "The Sopranos" as much as anyone, but if you gave me two years, I could come up with the 1992 season of "Seinfeld." In the meantime, Joseph Gannascoli (Vito) is using the hiatus to prove he's not gay, and we can only hope Dominic Chianese (Junior) is spending a fair amount of his time regretting "Crimes of Fashion."
San Diego Union-Tribune -- It's official: No charges were filed in the "Real World: San Diego" rape case. I don't watch the show, so this doesn't mean anything to me, but for the 10,000 of you that can quote Jacquese by heart, my condolences on several levels.
Philadelphia Daily News (7/20) (registration required) -- "If I work this right, my 15 minutes are going to last for the rest of my life." What if I told you that Rupert said this, not Jenna?
eBay -- And finally, in The Link of the Week, reader Matthew Leake writes, "Can you imagine coming in the door at a Halloween party wearing this baby and then telling your friends, 'I just crawled to freedom through 500 yards of s--- smelling foulness you can't even imagine.'Maybe it's because you don't want to."
No, to be honest, it's completely unfathomable.
(That is, unless someone has three grand I can borrow.)
If you have a suggestion for "The Links," mail it to SGWeeklyLinks@comcast.net.