Thursday, September 30, 2004
Updated: October 4, 8:50 AM ET
Links of the week
By The Intern
I've stood at a buffet behind Dick Vitale, watched a game with Andy Katz, gawked at Woody Paige's patchwork pants, even seen security pilfering through Mike Wilbon's man purse.
But until Friday, if you can believe this, I'd never met my boss.
To give you an idea of how bizarre this is, I've known Simmons since Princess Diana was alive, Heaven's Gate was around, Holyfield has two ears and the Pitino Celtics had promise. Chauncey Billups and Ron Mercer are what led me to his old "Boston Sports Guy" page on AOL back in May '97, and the Carroll Patriots kept me there. As a 15-year-old, I ended up in a reader picks pool with such luminaries as NFLJen, MASSPIT and EatNPaste. I won, but couldn't collect the grand prize, a Celtics game, because I wasn't old enough to drive and this line didn't fly:
"Hey Mom, can you drive me to Boston to meet this guy from the Internet?"
Still, we kept in touch. Over the years, he's given me advice on some major and minor decisions (where to go to college, where to celebrate my 21st birthday... and I can't think of any minor ones), guest football picks in my college daily, even a cameo in a high school career paper. Check out this beauty, dated June 10, 1998:
"Newspapers can't fire reporters due to union rules, so people can linger for decades." (Bill Simmons)
Heeey ... something to shoot for!
But still, we've never met, though in the past couple years, it hasn't been for lack of trying. The first time was in May 2003 in the lobby of "Jimmy Kimmel Live." My brother's girlfriend went the wrong direction on La Brea, and when we got there, Simmons was editing an Uncle Frank piece. (The more I hear about that "Entourage" episode, the flimsier "editing an Uncle Frank piece" becomes, by the way). The second time, this past May, Simmons' back was acting like fold-up like a measuring stick. I'll give him that. But when he said he was coming back to Boston last week and just under a third of my life had elapsed, I figured it was about time. My mom agreed.
"You should ask him to get together ... even if it's meeting up at a juice bar."
WHOA! Either she's got the wrong impression of me, Simmons or L.A. Let's hope it's L.A. Anyway, I was relieved when I got a call last Friday morning:
"Hey, I'm going to be at the Baseball Tavern tonight with my buddy J-Bug. You should come meet us ... you'll recognize me from my picture."
Um...which one? As much as he rags on Chandler Bing, have you ever seen two similar looking pictures of Simmons? There's the tuxedo picture, the "I swear I wasn't plowed at the Super Bowl" picture, the rooftop-with-Tyson picture, the backwards-hat Fenway picture and the demonic cartoon. You could take 50 pictures of most people and put together a portfolio. You could take 50 pictures of Simmons and put together an Eddie Bauer catalog.
So I got to the Baseball Tavern and saw a guy standing by the door. One on hand, he's wearing a backwards hat (Fenway) and looks slightly pale (Super Bowl). On the other hand, he doesn't look afraid (Tyson) or have red skin and horns (Demon Cartoon). I made eye contact, started walking away, turned around and made eye contact again, then decided to take a quick lap around the place just to see if I can find a closer match. After a lap around the bar, no luck. Here went nothing:
"Excuse me, is your name Bill?"
"I work for you."
"HEY! How's it going?
"Hey, not bad! Sorry about giving you the staredown before!"
"No problem, I just thought you were gay."
So there you go. After seven years, at long last, a first impression.
Within a few minutes, the Bug showed up and introduced me to everyone within 25 feet as The Intern (no ... let me get it right ... "IT'S THE INTERN!"). They supplied me with more free booze than you should drink before sundown. A stranger told me that they read my column in the can. (A links column! How is this even possible?) And sure, they ended up eventually ditching me for the Yankee game, but it was still more fun than hanging out at a juice bar. Maybe seven years from now, we can do it again.
One more note: Starting next Monday, the "Links" will start running daily from Monday to Friday. Instead of getting 20 links all at once, you're getting 4-5 a day, plus an occasional intro or rant whenever warranted. If you would rather read the Links all at once every week, you can still do that - every day's links will be posted on top of the previous day's links, just so the guy from the Baseball Tavern can still read them in the can. We'll also have a "Link of the Day." As always, if you have any suggestions, e-mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Onto the last batch of weekly links ...
Detroit Free Press (9/28) -- Mitch Albom is riled about comments Tony Siragusa made about Joey Harrington's masculinity. Among them: "He's the kind of guy that's on the other side of the club than I am. He's over there with the champagne and the caviar and also the strawberries and chocolate, you know?"
(No, Tony. YOU'RE the guy with all the food. Joey's the guy playing the piano.)
Yahoo! News (9/28) -- Apparently there's been a potential leak of "The Apprentice" winner, but I watch the show sometimes so I won't read it. The longer this internship goes, the more I'm starting to think this is some kind of "Joe Schmoe" thing. I mean, I've been making fun of the people at work all summer and the only guy that seems to have any idea is the truck driver. How is this possible?
Boston Herald (9/28) -- "Being uncomfortable with the language doesn't make you unintelligent. Send me to Germany and I'll sound like an idiot.'' Red Sox fans, this is your vice president of communications.
NY Post (9/27) -- ... and this is your Hall of Fame pitcher's new lucky charm, Jobu.
Playbill.com -- How do you possibly cast a "hip, clever, edgy, silly, gay, raunchy parody" of the "Karate Kid" for Broadway without Miyagi? Simmons already touched on the latent homosexuality in the trilogy, but I'll add another piece of evidence: the lyrics for "You're the Inspiration," the theme for Part III, a movie where the female lead leaves halfway through.
You know our love was meant to be
The kind of love that lasts forever
And I need you here with me
From tonight until the end of time
You should know, everywhere I go
You're always on my mind,
In my heart, In my soul!
(One solid move, though, was replacing the Cobra Kai with the "Bitchkicks." Thinking back on it, Ali's catty blonde friend wanted to ream Daniel-San a new one WAY more than Dutch ever did.)
eBay.com -- A giant vat of Ragu, a framed autographed poster of "Four Weddings and a Funeral," two highly sought after Zulu coconuts, a Chris Kirkpatrick bobblehead, a broken copy of "Joust"? I love the idea, but I think he could have gotten more for "all he owned" if he left some of this off the listing. There's a pail of dog crap outside my house, but sometimes you have to clean up your own backyard, you know?
NY Post (9/28) -- Just so you know, your tolerance has NOT increased by three percent, the alcohol content of Jack Daniel has dropped. I'm sure there will be a corresponding three percent decrease in price, yes? No!?! If we want weaker-tasting Jack and Cokes, we'll put less Jack in there. If we want to be ripped off by you guys, we'll buy the ring.
NY Daily News (9/27) -- Exactly how many ounces of gin do you need to drink to realize it's not water? Even for a big guy, I thought Yao had better reaction time than this.
Washington Post, registration (9/26) -- The Link of The Week: a must-read feature on the comeback of Riddick Bowe, who swears he's not brain-damaged. Really, he's not. "Let me explain something to you. Don't worry about me. Worry about the next man. If you see me in a fight, don't help me. Pour honey on me and then help the bear. Don't worry about me." King Hippo made more sense.
Slam! Sports (9/25) -- Bret Hart on the passing of Ray "Big Bossman" Traylor, who died last week of a massive heart attack at 42. The list of untimely wrestling deaths is staggering, and Hart doesn't even mention Dino Bravo, a forgotten casualty of Canadian cigarette smuggling.
(Cue melancholy Joey Harrington solo. He plays the piano, you know.)
Yahoo! News (9/24) -- Remember back in August when Simmons wrote: "I once drove from my Dad's house (outside of Boston) to my Mom's house (near the Connecticut/New York border) in two hours and four minutes. That's a 175-mile trip from start to finish ... For years and years, I was trying to break the two-hour barrier. Never happened. I eventually decided that it was impossible; even Dale Earnhardt couldn't have done it." Well, a Minnesota motorcyclist could have done it last weekend ... in 51.2 minutes. Or 56.8, depending on if you believe Kevin Smith.
(Questions that need asking: Was he carrying a black club? Was his bike called The Diablo? Was he flanked by Rude Boy and Natasha? Did it just say "Busted!" on his ticket?)
(P.S. Will I now play "Road Rash" for four hours on Saturday? Yes. Of course.)
Wisconsin State Journal -- The mayor of Madison doesn't appreciate S.I. hyping up the riots that have gone down there the last two Halloweens. What are the odds? If you're looking to hang out with 80,000 people Oct.31, I recommend Chapel Hill. One small thing: If you're going to yell "Go back to Durham!" in a crowd, make it clear you're talking to the Duke kids, not the street toughs. This could be life-saving advice.
USA Today (9/23) -- When I first saw this link, I thought the name of this special was "Brady Reunion X." Turns out I wasn't far off. This reminds me of shoveling driveways on snow days back in middle school. Nobody wants to be there, nobody has to be there, nobody can turn the money down and everybody wants to tackle someone.
ChrisRix.com -- Weren't Michael Bolton and Glenn Caranno holding drinks in the smaller picture? Thanks to reader Andrew Thompson for pointing this out. When I saw it, I just assumed Rix had told a killer Bob Dole joke.
(And while we're re-visiting last week's links, two readers said at cutitout.net there's a picture of Dave Coulier with Kevin Nealon at the CBS/Merrill Lynch Celebrity Ski Classic, and he's wearing a sling! What did I tell you? Not only did I remember that correctly, it turns out I was ambitious enough to change the channel from XFL to CBS. I feel vindicated.)
NFL Pudding Strike -- You live in the Virgin Islands, you're married to an ex-Titans cheerleader and you somehow have time to write columns about eating pudding for X straight days. I'll admit have it pretty easy, but I think I hate you. Tagliabue should deny this on principle alone (But still, I'm rooting for you).
The KSBW Channel (9/23) -- Making it possible for Milton Bradley to drop a fly ball ... then get hit by a flying laptop.
Greater Boston Homes -- "I want a one-bedroom ... no, a studio. I want a dishwasher. I want a balcony." Move over Heath Shuler. That's right, Spalding Smails is practicing real estate.
The Diamondback (9/21) -- D.C. United is in a jam. The team can either A) Deny its superstar was drinking underage at Maryland two weekends ago, despite all the evidence; or B) Admit he's 28. Either way, "Get Freddy Adu out of here!" may already be beaten into the ground as a source of comedy when the cops show up ... but not by me ... yet.
Detroit Free Press (9/20) -- If you work as a data manager and MJ invites you over for dinner and you attempt to beg off because your wife is expecting you home, lemme guess your last name ...
Nike Gridiron -- In case you haven't seen it, check out Nike's cool new Michael Vick roller coaster ad by clicking on the picture of Vick at the bottom left of the index page. The kid's high-pitched shrieking was killing us all Sunday afternoon. Can anyone in Arizona confirm that this is what Josh McCown sounds like as he's being chased around?
Busted Tees -- Finally, this one's by popular demand. Remember, I put my basketball shorts on just like the rest of you -- one leg at a time. Except, as I'm lounging around all day, I make fledgling t-shirt printers outrageous amounts of money.
***If you have a suggestion for "The Links," mail it to email@example.com.***