Time to pick an intern. Our seven-person voting commitee for this round:
Jimmy Kimmel -- Host of "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on ABC, as well as the man who invented the "Taking my laptop into the bathroom and dropping a deuce while surfing the internet" craze.
Mike Philbrick -- Page 2 editor, Holy Cross grad and author of the upcoming book, "Happiness is Seeing Bristol In Your Rearview Mirror."
My buddy House -- Doesn't have any credentials other than the fact that he asked, "Hey, when you pick the intern, can I be on the voting committee?"
My buddy Camp -- Probably my most candid friend, totally unafraid to hurt someone's feelings. Also, he looks like Billy Zabka.
My buddy JackO -- Diehard Republican and Yankee fan, belligerent Irish-Catholic, will absolutely be my Robin Quivers if someone is ever dumb enough to give me my own radio show.
Jamie Agin -- The original intern and author of the upcoming autobiography, "Here Are The Keys to Romey's Lexus, Will You Get It Washed For Him?"
Me -- Guy who will actually have to work with the intern.
The task for the finals: Our three remaining candidates had six days (from April 8th to April 14th) to surf the Internet and find me funny/entertaining/relevant links, with some energetic commentary for each one. I sent them a few websites to peruse but mainly left them up to their own devices. The judges were told to vote for one winner, using the guidelines of "Who did the best job in the final round?" and "Who did the best job throughout the competition?" As always, since it's my contest, my vote counted as two.
Here were the judge's comments:
JIMMY KIMMEL -- This was a tough one. It's pretty clear that Bill came up with this assignment somewhere between the letters "G" and "A" while programming his TiVo to tape "Gastineau Girls". We've come so far, left so many bodies in our wake and this is the final? "Find funny stories on the Internet and write a half a sentence about each one"? Shame on you Simmons. This is the intern contest equivalent of making North Carolina and Illinois play Pop-A-Shot to decide the national title.
The truth though is -- of all the assignments -- this one probably best represents what Bill's intern will actually do every day. (This and repeatedly agreeing that his dog is indeed wonderful) Most of the sites picked were similar in quality -- a somewhat predictable mix of funny and unintentionally funny. I was disappointed that Matt (my previous favorite) used the phrase "jumping the shark" (a phrase that, ironically, has jumped the shark). I also think that both Matt and Kevin erred by choosing sports comedy sites. Not only are these sites useless from a practical standpoint, would you point David Letterman to Jay Leno's website? Then why in the name of God would you do that to poor Bill? To me, this indicates a lack of good judgment. Though I would have eliminated her in the last round, I think Theresa did a slightly better job than either of the fellas this time around -- primarily thanks to this gem ...
"Up to 100 sports and movie fans will play golf with black celebrities and white celebrities at The Terrell Buckley Celebrity Golf Weekend in Jamaica April 16"
This is the sort of thing Bill Simmons can build a world around. I love it. And as a white celebrity, I'm sorry I missed it. Sorry Sports Gal, but my vote goes to Theresa.
MIKE PHILBRICK -- Any chance Matt Bank had was lost in his desperate attempt to bring up Terry Tate -- Office Linebacker. Now, I'm not sure if it's because I agree with him and the memories of a long-gone Terry are just too painful or that it's painfully obvious that he was grasping at anything. He probably chose this over the link to the Superfriends with the dubbed in "Whassup!" Bud ad. Welcome back to the future, Marty.Theresa, sure ... I still laugh at the cheeseburger pizza joke from last week but to quote Janet (Miss Jackson if you're nasty) "what have you done for me lately?" Sorry, T-Mac but we're going to have to say farewell (and trade you to Houston). But now I will say I did like most of it and I think Theresa would even win over Simon Cowell. And I say this because there is about a 75% chance that I will be working for her in about five years. That leaves us with my pick: Mr. Kevin Cott. Esq. Billy Zabka? Shameless? Shame on you for even thinking that. Add that to realizing the question of the McHale sweater needs to be answered and you have a winner.
CAMPER -- Ugh. The intern contest drags on. There is a reason I don't watch reality shows: they take too friggin' long and I ultimately lose interest by the end of the second episode. Who cares!?! Like the whole contest matters, anyway. Who even spends three seconds with the interns except my brother in law, who enjoys the Sports Guy a little too much for my taste. Actually, everybody who enjoys the Sports Guy enjoys him a little too much for my taste. I stopped crying when my teams lose after the Eagles lost to the Bengals decades ago (man, where has that Bengals team gone?). How can you possibly take these juiced up, overpaid, overlaid, primadonnas seriously anymore? To me, the last real sports event was the '80 USA hockey team. Since then, it's been one long shoe commercial.
Anyway, I'm voting off Bank because Flav o Flav is not funny. Troubling that people think so. (Also, I am a soccer player, but I don't understand why the MLS uses Euro names for their soccer teams. Don't they realize that, in America, when you say "I'm going to a FC Columbus game" the listener immediately punches you in the face?) And Cott is out because, like any reference to Caddyshack, "black people love us" is about nine years old. Theresa was my personal favorite, let's see how she does as the Intern. Poop jokes always work with me. I thoroughly look forward to the uncomfortable silences between Bill and Mrs. Sports Guy after he comes home late after "spending some time developing the new intern" while the Mrs. has spent the entire day cleaning up baby puke and poop and taking care of one of their seven dogs.
JACK-O -- Matt Bank seemed like he mailed it in for the second week in a row. Not much commentary, just kind of threw in the links. I mean c'mon this is the chance to be Bill Simmons' intern. THE Bill Simmons! Make an effort. Kevin Cott is my first runner-up which I guess means that he'll have to become the Page 2 intern if Theresa is unable to fulfill her duties, for instance if some compromising photos from her college days should appear. It was a good effort by him (although his link about "Arrested Development" possibly being cancelled bummed me out), just not up to Theresa's quality job.
Theresa MacDonald is far and away the best one. Her writing is clever and funny. Great work by her. I was even willing to overlook the fact that she is obviously a Red Sox fan, so she must be good. (I was so glowing in my praise right there that I was verging on Walter Monheit territory from our Spy magazine days, "Who's eating at this MacDonald's??? It's Oscar!!!! and he's Supersizing It!!!). Congratulations and best of luck in working for Bill. As someone who has known him for 17 years, I can comfortably say it's going to be an intersting experience: kind of like spending a night at the Neverland Ranch or doing time in Abu Ghraib Prison.
JOE HOUSE -- Hey, it's time to pick a winner!!! At least we didn't have to lock ourselves into a room together and do a conclave -- no one would have ever been able to tell what we were thinking, because the smoke would have always been black from JackO's smelly feet. Anyhow, my criteria for picking the new Intern were based on our run with the previous Intern -- do I get at least one-third of the jokes even though I'm old and white? is there at least a twenty-five percent chance that at least one of the sites listed during a week will lead me to a site containing ... ahem ... questionable content? And, most importantly, is the "writing" good enough to make me forget that I'm reading this on Simmons' site (what do I mean by that?? Draw your own conclusions).
Having spent yet another hour-and-a-half of my life that I can never get back on this, I'm voting for Kevin Cott. Matt Bank made me laugh at least once with every one of his entries in this contest, but the sites organized by category in this final round led me to believe he might be a closeted Type-A. I work with Type-As and don't like them. Theresa MacDonald came on super-strong in the later rounds of this, and as a fellow resident of Chocolate City (that's D.C. for the uninitiated), I was feeling her -- to me, she was the Denver Nuggets of this competition. Unfortunately for my round-the-way girl, she was up against Cott, who conducted himself in Duncan/the Spurs-like fashion -- handled his business from beginning to end. So he's my guy. May I please be excused from the table now?
JAMIE AGIN -- After exactly ONE (like the Metallica song) person wrote in to say he agreed with my vote against Kevin and Theresa last round, I decided to be a little more scientific. For each link, I awarded a point if I liked the description and another if I liked the link itself. It wasn't necessarily whether the description made me want to click on the link, because if there are only five links a day, I'm going to click on all of them, anyway. But if the description added something in terms of a unique point of view or a punch line, I gave it a point. Pretty calculating ... so much so that I ran this test twice and came up with six different scores. Brilliant. In the end, it honestly didn't matter. Kevin won both times in a landslide.
A lack of punch lines, a few crashed sites and a few old ones really killed Banks, my favorite to this point. You might as well have gone for the Lincoln-Kennedy connection if you were going for old weird info. Theresa, I thought, was funny but too mainstream. A good example: she linked to the Mike Vick story; Kevin linked to the parody. Kevin had the right blend of humor and information, which should only get better once I fork over the mythical SGDailylinks gmail box and Simmons' list of links to check for links. That'll do for him what the older brother's magical book did for Tara Reid in American Pie. And now that I've scarred you all for life, I think my work here is finished. Godspeed.
BILL SIMMONS -- All right, since Theresa and Kevin are tied 3-3, I have the deciding vote. As Manny Ramirez would say, it was destination. But first, best of luck to Matt Bank, who did a good job throughout the contest and went a long way towards breaking the stereotype that Ivy Leaguers are uptight, humorless jerks. I'm sure he'll be upset for about two days, until he realizes that he can probably make six figures right away from his Dartmouth degree.
This final round was actually much closer than I thought it would be: By the end of Round 4, I this was Kevin's contest to lose. I agree with House's Spurs analogy -- Kevin took care of business every week. In fact, I kept a Lederman-esque scorecard throughout and ranked everyone's entries from 1-to-10 after every round. Here's what Kevin's scorecard looked like compared to Theresa's:
Cott: 9, 9, 8, 8, 8, 8, 9 = 61
MacDonald: 7, 5, 9, 9, 7, 9, 9 = 55
If this were a boxing match, Theresa definitely came on strong as the contest dragged along, but she needed to win the last two rounds decisively and couldn't do it. Still, I was genuinely impressed -- impressed enough that Philbrick and I are going to figure out a way to keep her writing either on the SGW Page or Page 2. Stay tuned. As for Kevin Cott, here's what he wins: An internship through December, 2005, a weekly paycheck that's way, way, WAY too small, two g-mail accounts passed down from Jamie, the chance to write the Daily Links column, the opportunity to sift through hundreds of e-mails over these next six months from anonymous people telling him that he sucks, and the honor of winning Atlanta's first sports title since the Braves won that tainted World Series in the post-strike season that nobody cared about when it happened.
He's the worthy winner of a contest that dragged on waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too long. Thanks again to everyone who applied, thanks to the judges and thanks to the 25 contestants.