Option A: Burgers and Wiffle Ball, followed by a grisly night at a dive bar in Worcester.
Option B: Just another run-of-the-mill weekend in Boston.
If you're still deciding, you've obviously never met people like J-Rod. That's why I sacrificed a weekend in the city to watch my buddies play the second day of a Wiffle tourney in the 'burbs. Thought maybe I'd write about sports for once. Little did I know that like Anna Kournikova, they peaked two summers ago (and they weren't even that great back then). After finishing fourth of 40 teams in '02, it was game over on Day One. Those 16-ounce, mid-round beers at the Wiffle Tavern couldn't have helped.
With no reason to get up early on Sunday morning, we tossed around our options. We were already at a friend's college graduation party (the only thing later than my thank-you cards). What better way to carry on, we thought, than go out ... in Worcester!
In case you didn't know, the city of Worcester is located about 45 minutes outside of Boston and is the home of such luminaries as the Ice Cats, Mr. Tux and Rotman's Furniture. You know how Australia was started as haven for English prisoners? I think Worcester used to be a psychiatric ward where there was a mass escape and nobody bothered to send a search party. People, in general, just seem inherently crazed. Not to mention every bar in town looks like a room in the Haunted Mansion, which makes perfect sense considering the amount of creepy characters you'll find. Tollbooth Willy is only slight hyperbole. My family lives 15 minutes away, but I never go downtown unless there's a medical emergency.
Quick Worcester tangent: One morning during my junior year in college, I was stranded at someone's place waiting for a ride to class. 'Dawson's Creek' was on. I wasn't watching it. It was just on. Please believe me. Katie Holmes was talking to some loser she was dating about how he needed to clean up his act. I don't know why he was a loser, but the fact he was addicted to anything besides making out with Joey was reason enough.
Here were his choices:
Option A: Get his act together.
Option B: Continue his path of being a drunk, drug addict, door-to-door steak knife salesman or whatever he was. But get her kicker.
"... in Worcester!"
That's what she said. I almost died. I never saw another episode, but if the writers did their homework, I have no doubt where he ended up.
This brings us to Worcester's own J-Rod. He approached me in a crowded bar because I was wearing a Red Sox hat. Keep in mind, we were still in Massachusetts. It's not like we were in Ghana. He bought me two shots of Jager, one of which he spilled all over my pants. There are several reasons why a guy would be so generous -- not that there's anything wrong with the one you're thinking of -- but J-Rod had his own:
"Man, I've got so much money. I make more money than God!"
Uh-huh. Sure you do.
As if this wasn't grounds for a catcher's mitt to the face, it got worse. He told me he could me get a job at his software firm and asked how much cash I wanted to make.
"How's seven figures sound?"
And so it went. Within five minutes, I'd been invited to party at his house and been given his phone number, which I still have because I assume the F.B.I. will be interested in meeting him at some point. So take this as a warning. These are the kinds of goofy randoms you come across ...
All the time ...
Onto the links ...
Daily Texan (8/11) -- Check out the picture from the University of Texas student paper of a football recruit moving his shoe collection into his dorm. The sad thing: bet there's not even an ounce of booze stashed in there. The most hilarious dorm lot image since I watched 7-foot-6 Neil Fingleton take pictures of his new VW station wagon.
eBay -- "Please note that the winning bidder does not need to be able to speak English. And also note that bidders of any age, size, gender or ethnicity are welcome." So this is how they cast "Harold and Kumar," eh?
Philadelphia Inquirer (8/11) -- Terrell Owens backs off the "If it looks like a rat ..." comment about Jeff Garcia's sexuality in next month's Playboy. Probably a smart move considering Garcia's dating the Playmate of the Year. The Ravens-Eagles game can't come fast enough. Neither can Peter King's first "average hands" comment of the season.
Comics.com (8/11) -- Baklava for everyone ... Bill Simmons travels to Athens for his cartoon debut! This may be the first punchline ever to come at the start of a comic.
The (Australia) Herald-Sun -- Kirsten Dunst gives the intimate details of her relationship with her ex, Jake Gyllenhaal, including a sex romp in a London dressing room. I didn't know who this guy was at first. When I found out on IMDB.com that he was the little kid from 'City Slickers,' there was a new thing to research: embolism versus aneurism.
CNN (8/10) -- Story of a Manila family that killed and ate someone for tripping on a girl at a dance. A bit harsh, don't you think? If this kind of stuff happened here, nobody would make it past middle school, let alone to a wedding.
IGN.com -- If you can't play the game right now, enjoy the complete Madden Player Ratings! Funny story: I was looking for Randy Moss' overall and an anti-drug ad with links to various banned substances popped up. I thought it was part of the ratings and clicked it. The most confused I've been since I thought I read "Trump to Set Himself on Fire" Tuesday on CNN.com.
Boston Globe (8/10) -- Here's how my list of things to do in NYC later this month is shaping up: No. 1: Get out of Chinatown. No. 618: Attend taping of "The View." No. 717: Film the Stock Exchange. No. 116,538: Infiltrate cuddle party. Our first ever Anti-Link of the Week.
Cindy-Morgan.com -- Since we haven't crashed ... errr ... publicized a worthy cause in a few weeks, here's a link to Lacey Underall's Caddyshack reunion golf tournament. If he has any sense of humor, the guy that paid $5336 for Billy Baroo on eBay will head to Tennessee for this one. If you have any sense of humor, the picture of Scott Colomby will be your wallpaper at some point.
(For the record, her counter read '9884' as of Wednesday afternoon.)
Modesto Bee (8/9) -- "With craps, you have a 50-50 chance of coming away with money, like robbing a bank," said former Nevada football player Rodney Landingham, arrested on felony charges last week. This is reminiscent of the Van Halen video where the guy's holding a "Will Wrestle You for Food" sign. Right now ... somebody's got the wrong idea.
KGBT4 Houston (8/9) -- "A Streetcar Named Disaster?" Whew. Looks like I'm off the hook for a Light Rail joke this week. A sidenote: Click2Houston reports that a terror suspect arrested in North Carolina had photos of the rail. Any tips they can get, I guess.
IMDB.com -- Imagine this pitch: "It'll be a dark comedy about a character actor whose wish to be a leading man comes true when he magically begins to photograph as John Stamos, provoking the unholy wrath of Stamos!" If this is another one of those Mike Piazza/Teen Wolf hoaxes, I'm killing everyone involved.
Providence Journal (8/9) registration -- Story about Red Sox pitcher B.H. Kim freaking out during a minor-league autograph session. Fun for the whole family ... especially if your last name ends with a vowel and you're still bitter about the 2001 World Series.
eBay -- At what point does an adult decide to throw down a $95,000 bid for a Disney Monorail Car? Especially when the last thing bought as of Wednesday by the high bidder (which unfortunately wasn't city_of_LA) was a CD/DVD storage case that costs $4.99. Can anyone at MIT cross-reference this woman with the Powerball results?
Washington Post (8/8), registration -- Story of a James Madison football player trying to recover after two separate devastating car accidents. After you read this, proceed directly to whitehousewest.com to cheer yourself up.
Detroit Free Press (8/6) -- Mitch Albom sits down with Barry Sanders in Oklahoma before the Hall of Fame Induction. With all the laughs in there, I couldn't help picturing the Original Coors ranch. And with Albom involved, I find it very hard to believe Sanders didn't cry at any point.
The Smoking Gun (8/6) -- Talk about biding your time. After Tom Brokaw gets over 3500 emails from some lunatic, New York files a criminal complaint. My favorite part was that only 13 of the emails were threatening. What'd the rest of them say? "Hey Tom, I just saw you on the Joe Louis Sports Century. And you know what? You suck, brah!"
Sports Illustrated (8/6) -- SI's 10 Most Embarrassing Interview Moments, including a complete transcript of the Jim Rome/Chris Everett fiasco. One glaring omission: John Chaney busting into a press conference threatening to kill John Calipari in 1994. The more I reflect on the last decade of UMass hoops, the more I wish he'd broken though.
BravoTV -- Cool concept from Bravo: a contest to find the next great sitcom. Unfortunately, the only guaranteed television from what I can tell is a documentary that sounds pretty close to reality TV. I guess we should feel grateful if the "TV execs" at the pitch meetings aren't Sunoco attendants.
StephenKing.com -- Stuff you couldn't make up: The Master of Horror is writing a fact-based account of the '04 Red Sox. At least he won't have to make up a new title. Sleepwalkers? The Lawnmower Men? The Dead Zone? Nah, Misery sounds about right.
(But I'm still holding out for The Stand. Anytime now, fellas.)
Yahoo! News (8/5) -- The Seinfeld DVDs are coming out this Christmas ... yadda yadda yadda ... J-Bug may be writing the links for awhile.
Indianapolis Star (8/6) -- The NCAA would have you believe Colorado was responsible for its recent recruiting rule changes, but the list sure looks like equal parts Buffaloes and Willie Williams. He better pick Frank Gore's brain for knee rehab tips.
Fox Sports (8/5) -- Boston Rob on Boston Sports. Slipped in there is the fact that Boone's ALCS homerun was the night before he left for Panama, which makes his run on "Survivor: All-Stars" even more mind-blowing. I poked at half an enchilada the day after Game 7. He'd already won 17 challenges and formed a permanent alliance with Amber.
(Note from Simmons: This gets my vote for "Link of the Month," especially if you read the column out loud in the Boston Rob voice.)
Getty Images (8/5) -- Nice to know that the guy who took my high school pictures has moved on to Getty. This is probably the first time that the WNBA isn't to blame for a failed marketing campaign. That said, I'm half expecting a stiletto bomb in the mail.
Eastbay.com -- From the inventor of the combination yacht/punching bag, Latrell Sprewell, it's sneakers with spinning rims! Apparently these have been out for a bit. Sadly, I wouldn't know. I bought my last pair of high-tops in '97.
And besides ... these days, I can only afford the hubcaps.
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