IT’S ALL HAPPEN-SPRING!!! Vernal Equinox Edition, 3/20

We give you the words of Ian McCulloch, lead singer of Echo and the Bunnymen, who sang, “Everybody’s got their own good reason/Why their favorite season is their favorite season/Winter winners and those summer sons/Are good for everyone, good for everyone/Spring has sprung/And autumns so well done

Starting Five

1. Opening night of the NCAA tournament (like many curmudgeons, we refuse to refer to it as the first round). While Marv Albert and Steve Kerr don’t regularly call college hoops, give credit where it’s duo (yes, I meant that). They called the game for TruTV, which as Marc Isenberg points out, was once CourtTV, so there’s a basketball connection after all. Solid job, and Marv, as long as you’re going to wear a rug, why not wear a blond one? Bully for you, even if it does remind me a little too much of Javier Bardem in Skyfall

First album I ever owned? “Holzman’s Heroes.” Marv narrates Knicks’ superb 1972-73 championship season.

I make a joke on Twitter about North Carolina A&T being a favorite of dyslexics, and naturally Steve Rushin devises a superior joke: “There’s no ‘can’t’ in “NCA&T’ (I’m now being told there is)”…. Matthew Dellevadova –who is not a Russian female tennis player, despite that surname –shot 5 of 7 from beyond the arc and scored 22 points to lead the St. Mary’s Gaels past MTSU (“There is no ‘MUST’ in MTSU?); Dellevadova shot 1 of 18 outside the arc in the WCC tourney, but he appears to have rediscovered his long-range accuracy. If the NBA doesn’t draft him, Kim Jong Un will.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Nuggets stun Thunder in OKC, but even farther out west –and you probably did not hear about it — the Kings shocked the Clippers. Denver had a nice litte 12-game win streak going, but after an overtime win at Chicago the night before, this scribe gave them no chance of extending it against the league’s second-best team with the best home fans. Wrong. Denver, which has now outscored opponents in the paint for 50 consecutive games, silenced the Thunder, 114-104. Meanwhile at Arco Sleep Train Arena, (checking to see if “Sleep Train” is the title of a Counting Crows song), the Sacramento Kings outscored the Clips by 23 points in the final 11:17 to win 116-101. LOL City had an eight-point lead early in the final period and then suddenly the became the Robot when Dr. Smith would pull the power battery from his back side on Lost In Space. Bad loss, Vinny. Bad loss.

Scientists remain at a loss to explain why crushed velour is a smart look in other galaxies

 

3. Explaining North Korea’s sabre-rattling via a YouTube video from the recently completed SXSW Conference (which, like the Bigfoot Conference, is better than anything Jim Delany has come up with…you may have noticed by now that I have little respect for Jim Delany). Anyway, I could get all Fareed Zakaria on you and attempt to explain the tensions between Pyongyang and Seoul, the Dennis Rodman factor, the imagined attack by the North Koreans on Washington, D.C. (soon to become a Jerry Bruckheimer flick), the dynamics that led Major Houlihan to have an affair with Frank Burns when it was obvious she had the Hot Lips for Hawkeye (because she didn’t have enough self-confidence, that’s why), but really, this is what’s going on and this is what will happen if Kim Jong Un pushes it too far.

Alda Young Dudes, by Mott the Hoople

4. So Notre Dame begins spring practice this morning and head coach Brian Kelly informs the media that the team’s best player, Stephon Tuitt, will miss much of spring practice to nurse a “sports hernia.” Have you noticed how much more manly an injury/illness sounds if you just use “sports” as a prefix? For instance, “Last night I had a magnficent bout of sports diarrhea?” See?

Notre Dame’s next first team All-American

5. President Obama speaks to ESPN’s Andy Katz –apparently Andy told POTUS what questions he would ask before they went on-air and then did NOT pull a switcheroo (Jim Boeheim may have contributed reporting to this item) — to provide his annual tournament bracket. I like this tradition and let’s face it, having Mitt Romney break down the National Collegiate Equestrian Association national championship that takes place later in April (I’m not even making that up) does not quite pack the same punch.

Fans yell themselves hoarse at the NCEA championships (yes, too easy)

Obama’s Final Four? Louisville, Indiana, Ohio State and Florida, with Pitino’s crew cutting down the nets. Shouldn’t someone be dispatched to obtain Marco Rubio’s response to these picks?

Reserves

Belatedly, my John Stockton story. This, too, comes from my infamous trek across America with Adam Duerson and Jamie Lowe in March of 2004. Our mission: to witness — as fans as many NCAA games as possible. I know. Tough gig. So it’s an off day –we had just watched a women’s tournament game from the lovely haven that is Missoula, Mont., the night before — and we decide to visit Gonzaga. The Zags had just been bounced from the tournament two days earlier.

It was Jamie’s day to write, and so she set off in search of Blake Stepp. Adam and I decided to find Jack & Dan’s Tavern, the saloon that John Stockton’s father owns. It’s a sunny, quiet Tuesday afternoon. An inconspicuous day.

So there we are, nursing our expense-report beers, when who should stroll in wearing sneakers, jeans and an Izod Lacoste collared shirt, but the NBA’s all-time assists and steals leader. He’s got a pair of keys in his hand and he hands them off to his dad. As if he’s just any other man visiting his pop at his place of business.

Jack & Dan’s, not Jack & Diane’s

Adam agitates. “I’m going to go ask for his autograph!”

“No! No! No!” I beg. “You CANNOT do that. John Stockton is notoriously private. He’d never even do an interview with SI. He ducked Steve Rushin for an entire bonus piece, inspiring Rushin to go all ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ on him in print about how he was unable to be interviewed (He would not, could not, in the bar; he would not, could not, in his car/He would not, could not, at the gym/We would not, could not, speak to him). You will blow our cover, man!”

This story is about to improve.

About then, a bartender (not Mr. Stockton) approaches us all folksy like. “So, you guys visiting from out of town?”

“Um…yes,” I reply.

“Cool. So what do you do?”

“We’re accountants,” I say. “Traveling across the country on a road trip.”

“Accountants,” he replies. “That’s interesting. You guys are able to take a road trip in the middle of tax season?”

This may have been my all-time Costanza-est moment.

Yeah, he dressed pretty much exactly like this.

“Yes,” I say.

At this point he knows I am lying. I know that he knows I am lying. He knows that I know that he knows I am lying. It’s the O.K. Corral, with duplicity. We just stare one another down, and finally he leaves.

Adam never got the autograph. We drank up and left.

Jamie phones to tell us that she is having absolutely no luck finding Blake Stepp. Adam and I walk down the street to a very cool, intimate 50s style diner to grab some lunch. Who is in there, eating all by himself and looking as if someone just shot his dog? Blake Stepp.

It was that kind of odyssey.

Remote Patrol

KKK: Beneath the Hood

Discovery Channel, 8 p.m.

Let’s face it: You don’t know the name of a single player on any of the four schools playing tonight in Dayton (or at least I don’t). And so to watch basketball tonight is akin to having a turkey sandwich on the eve of Thanksgiving. So why not trade hoops for hoods and learn a little somethin’ about one of the darker (irony intended) organizations in the history of the U.S.A.? No idea whether they will explore the eye hole question that was broached in Django: Unchained.

 

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING! 3/19

Starting Five

1. Heat Wave

As owners of the NBA’s second-longest win streak, the Heat can’t ignore the obvious,” reads the subhed on the home page of ESPN.com.  Hey, Bristol, have you been paying attention? Miami doesn’t want to ignore it. This team, these players, are fully aware of their shot at history and the only real downside is that now they’re going to have Mark Schwartz pulling a Pedro Gomez, riding shotgun on this magnificent quest, until they lose again.

Green Day? Jeff attempted to bid good riddance to the Heat’s streak, but fell short

 

If you’re a Heat fan, you breathe easy knowing that the next true test does not come until Miami visits San Antonio on March 31. If you’re a Celtics fan, you say, “Well, welcome to the NBA — finally — Jeff Green (the former Georgetown stud scored a career-high 43 in what is his fifth season).

Two more items: 1) the Denver Nuggets have their own little 12-game win streak going (much obliged, Joakim Noah), but that ends this evening on the second night of a road back-to-back in Oklahoma City. 2) If the Heat keep winning, they’ll go for record-breaking 34 on Tuesday, April 9 — one night after March Madness ends, how convenient — at home versus Milwaukee.

2. Tiger Woods, meet Alfred Hitchcock.

The world’s best golfer and film’s master of suspense had/have a type. And it’s the same type.

TIGER

(Elin, Lindsey)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SIR ALFRED

(Grace Kelly, Eva Marie Saint)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Flori-Duh: Deer head heist!

4. Boston Phoenix. It’s not just the 1976 NBA Finals (Gar Heard!), but it’s also one of the the country’s oldest alternative newspapers. Except that now, after nearly 50 years in print, the Phoenix is $1.2 million in debt and must stop printing. Ironically, and tellingly, the newspaper informed its readers of this sad news via tweet. Some 40 employees will begin looking for steakateria gigs be unemployed.

5. In case you STILL haven’t heard, Twitter is a public forum. It appears that the son of the FDNY (Fire Dept. New York) commissioner, Salvatore Cassano, never learned that lesson or even cared. Joe Cassano, an EMT, recently resigned in the wake of his pro-Hitler, pro-boob job, anti-Obama tweets (kudos to young Mr. Cassano for upholding the public’s — and Denis Leary’s — stereotypes of NYC firemen, by the way). Stick around for the last two grafs on the second page, by the way.

Reserves

Jere Longman of the New York Times with a take-out piece on the long, slow and tragic descent of Tim Danielson, the second American high school boy ever to break the four-minute mile.

Stephen Douglas of The Big Lead with an inspired account of a long, fast and not-so-tragic descent involving Katherine “World Wide” Webb.

The Triple Lindy? Sure, why not.

 

We should note, by the way, that “Splash” originated in Holland under the title “Sterren Springen“, or “Celebrities Jump”.

I guess it’s time for Medium Happy to move its home offices out of Nicosia. That’s the capital of Cyprus, which is where lots and lots of corporations –particularly Russian ones — based themselves to avoid paying standard tax rates. But now Cyprus banks are being compelled to up their tax rates if they hope to receive Eurozone bailout money.

Ken Pomeroy, alias “KenPom”, outs my former SI colleague Seth Davis on Twitter, noting that Seth chose Kansas to win it all over at SI.com and Louisville to cut down the nets at CBSSports.com. This is what our mutual ex-colleague Chad Millman might call “hedging your bets.” Between this and Josh Elliott’s deleted “black smoke” tweet from last week, these are sad days for former members of the SI bullpen.

You win $10,000 for making a halfcourt shot at halftime of the Atlantic 10 tournament final, so how do you celebrate? By speding about 11% of it –before taxes — at your favorite steakateria.

Defiance, Ohio, is not just a town but its T.J. Lane’s theme. While being sentenced to life in prison for a school shooting that left three classmates dead, the Chadron, Ohio, teen wore a T-shirt that read “killer” and flipped the bird to people in the courtroom, including family members and victims’ families. At least he correctly spelled “KILLER”.

Remote Patrol

Middle Tennessee State vs. St. Mary’s

NCAA Tournament Play-In Game First Round

ESPN 9:10 p.m.

We are desperately lobbying Mayor Bloomberg to call for the eradication of the “First Four” in Dayton (64 is a nice, round number that is both eight squared, four cubed, and two to the sixth; why would you mess with that???), but he is just so busy these days ruining everyone else’s vices fun. The Blue Raiders went 28-5 and 16-0 at home, which seems deserving of an NCAA bid. The Gaels went 19-3 in their final 22 games, with all three losses at the hands of No. 1 Gonzaga. As you know, they also boast Aussome Aussie Matthew Dellevadova, the most onions scorer in the tournament.

It ain’t ova til it’s Dellevadova

xxxxx

 

 

Day of Yore, March 18

Twitter might have had to just shut down for a couple of hours tonight in 1975.

“M.A.S.H” became the first show in the history of television to have one of it’s lead characters die a tragic death on the show’s third season finale, “Abyssinia, Henry.” 

MashEpisode72 Unknown

Lt. Colonel Henry Blake got word at the start of the episode that he had accumulated enough points to be rotated home and honorably discharged. The rest of the show had Blake saying his goodbyes to the rest of the staff at the 4077 MASH unit. The last scene of the episode had Radar entering the O.R. and delivering the shocking news.

In news that might have been just as shocking to those who were around for it, Caligula became emperor of Rome today in 37.

Even his bust had herpes.

Even his bust had herpes. 

It was today in 1992 that South Africa voted to end Apartheid. 

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Today in 1902, Enrico Caruso recorded 10 arias for the Gramophone Co, becoming the first artist to make a record. Tomorrow, 111 years and a day later, Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience” comes out. That seems about right.

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The Paper” came out today in 1994. Directed by Ron Howard and starring Michael Keaton, Robert Duvall, Glenn Close and Marisa Tomei, it got middling reviews. I remember liking it, but I’ve never seen it since. What the hell cable?

Unknown

Happy 34th birthday to Adam Levine, who expertly used television to superstardom. I’m not going to rank Maroon 5 songs, but I’ll admit to liking this one.

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— Bill Hubbell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in: 365 |

IT’S ALL HAPPENING! The “Bracket List” Edition, 3/18

Starting Five

1. Unofficially, by my count, 32 states and the District of Columbia are represented in the NCAA tournament. Uninvolved: Texas, which is No. 1 in the Lower 48 in terms of geographical size and No. 2 in terms of population. No school from the Lone Star State has won the tourney since 1966 (Texas Western, now UTEP) and none has appeared in the final since the Phi Slamma Jamma gang from Houston lost to Georgetown in 1984… California and Pennsylvania have the most representatives — five schools apiece — while New York and North Carolina each have four.

Texas’s lone star in the NCAA tourney exists in the WOMEN’S bracket.

2. Quick tourney items: Gonzaga point guard David Stockton will play in the same arena for the Zags’ opening/second round game (Lord, do I hate the tyranny of the minority on this one) in Energy Solutions Arena, formerly the Delta Center, where his dad, John, played his entire NBA career. All John Stockton (tomorrow, my John Stockton story) did was become the NBA’s all-time leader in both assists and steals and how often do you hear announcers mention his name?… Indiana spent the most weeks at No. 1 this season, but the Hoosiers self-intercoursed at the Big Ten tournament, and so instead of a Midwest Regional Sweet 16 contest just 40 minutes north of campus in Indianoplace, they’ll be in D.C. at the Verizon Center for the East Regional… Duke is the lowest-seeded No. 2? Really? The tournament committee did No. 1 overall seed Louisville no favors here….(highly personal and subjective) sportswriter rankings of best opening weekend tourney sites at which to be deployed:

1. Austin: Miami (Shane Larkin) and Florida (Mike Rosario), UCLA and Shabazz Muhammad, and the country’s best college town. Is SXSW still going on? No? Oh, well.

2. Salt Lake City: Gonzaga and Belmont, plus you can go skiing on your off day.

3. Lexington: These folks know hoops, even if the hometown defending national champs are NIT-bound (and gagged) (honestly, the best thing that could happen to John Calipari would be to lose the NIT opener; the longer you remain in, the longer your friends notice that you’re on a blind date with the fat girl). The noisy neighbors from Louisville will take over Rupp Arena, while you will be enchanted by Bucknell’s Mike Muscala.

4. Philadelphia: Of course the committee placed Duke in Philadelphia, site of Christian Laettner’s historic shot. Doug McDermott of Creighton is the tourney’s most prolific scorer, Florida Gulf Coast is the smart scribe’s sleeper pick, and there’s a fantastic running path along the Schuylkill River.

5. Kansas City: Terrific BBQ, you get to hang with local Dennis Dodd, you get both Kansas and Kansas State, as well as the loaded weapon that is Mississippi’s Marshall Henderson. Wisconsin, too.

6. San Jose: Climate is sublime, but there is no school ranked higher than No. 4 Syracuse. My guess is Stewart Mandel will be courtside. He’s good people.

7. Auburn Hills: The locals will go bonkers over the Wolverines and Spartans. Nate Wolters of South Dakota State is a fun watch, but UM should silence him. Spend the off day visiting famous sites from the HBO series “Hung.”

8. Dayton: Have you visited Dayton in March? We have. Have you visited UD Arena? We have. Solid teams here –Indiana and Ohio State, plus No. 10 Iowa State will beat No. 7 Notre Dame by at least six — but we’d rank this site 9th if we could.

3. The Miami Heat go for their 23rd consecutive win, at Boston, on the fifth anniversary of the Houston Rockets’ streak of 22 consecutive wins being stopped. Who ended it? The Celtics (cue eerie music).

4. One of the reasons that I love Rob Sheffield and Rolling Stone is lists such as this. “The 30 Greatest Rock & Roll Movie Moments.” You can quibble with some of the omissions (no “Moving in Stereo”, the Phoebe Cates’ red bikini moment in Fast Times at Ridgemont High? No “Don’t You Forget About Me” in the closing scene of The Breakfast Club? What about “Stuck in the Middle With You” from Reservoir Dogs or the “Sister Christian/Jessie’s Girl” twinbill during the drug deal scene in Boogie Nights, which is Thomas Jane’s career apex?), but it’s a tight list and extra credit to RS (you realize the initials cover both entities?) for remembering that “Tiny Dancer” played a crucial part in a very poignant — no seriously– moment from the sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati.

You may be a “single, successful guy”, Judge Reinhold, but I’m going to marry the gay high school teacher from ‘Dave’ someday.

 

5. Two teens found guilty in the Steubenville rape case.

Reserves

The Lakers win without Kobe Bryant. Okay, sure, it was a home game againts the Sacrificial Lambs Sacramento Kings. Steve Nash goes for 12 assists while six Lakers score in double figures. That sounds like a Nash-ian team. When Kobe returns, that all disappears. The Lakers cannot win for any extended stretch without Kobe. But as long as Kobe is on the court, Steve Nash’s ability to help a team offensively is severely compromised.

The world’s top-ranked comedian at present, Louis C.K., masterfully handles a “heckler” who was actually trying to compliment him. Thank you for this, Louis. This is the wisest rant you’ve had since “Everything’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy”. CK: “You’re not welcome to speak… it is not appropriate to yell shit at me right now… it is less appropriate to yell at me than almost anybody within several square miles… if you yell at a guy on the street you are not ruining a show for 2,500 (bleepin’) people.”

At some point in 2013 this man will make the cover of the Rolling Stone

ESPN suspended Bill Simmons for three days — but just from Twitter; Ha! — for his take on First Take. Some scribes agreed with Bristol’s punitive measure, saying it is never permissible for an employee to publicly trash his employer. Generally, I agree, but ESPN is about sports and opinions. And when an entity is as large as ESPN is, it’s difficult to be candid about sports and gain the trust of your audience while ignoring the influence that ESPN has on sports in general. For instance, I loved Bill Walton’s quips last week about Ray Lewis (a recent ESPN hire) emerging from a limousine and about Simmons’ suspension.

Is this the part where Magic says something that is so painfully obvious that I must avert my gaze to keep from laughing?

The beauty of Walton is that he could give a crap about ESPN suspending him or even firing him. He’s his own man. So, too, to an extent, is Simmons. Let that be a lesson to you kiddies: When you got nothin’, you got nothin’ left to lose. And that’s a terrific and liberating thing. See, Walton really does listen to Bob Dylan.  Meanwhile, there’s Dave Pasch playing the loyal soldier role and saying “We’re just going to dismiss that.” You know who each of these characters would be in “Dead Poets’ Society”, don’t you?

Anyway, if it’s up to me, ESPN maintains the right to mete out these suspensions while voices of integrity such as Simmons, Bilas, etc., maintain the right to speak their minds. As long as it’s not bigoted (Rob Parker) or neanderthal (Tony Kornheiser, Ron Franklin), speak your mind. If Big Brother disapproves, he censures you for a spell, but there’s no lasting effect in terms of job security.

Yes, South By Southwest took place in Austin last week (and the week before), but up north in Fort Worth they were staging the 12th annual Bigfoot Conference. I hope they served Slim Jims. And I am certain that Neal Sampat was there.

 

Currently dating Manti Te’o (cheap shot, I know)

I do believe I’ve found the real-life inspiration for Spinal Tap. Please tell me I’m wrong. And even if I am, if you are over the age of 40 (45?), this tune will revive some terrific memories. Sweet! Do yourself a huge favor and stick around until the :59 mark, at least.

One-hit wonders? Hell, no. Sweet also gave us “Love Is Like Oxygen”

Remote Patrol

Miami Heat at Boston Celtics

ESPN 8 p.m.

With a victory the Heat will own the second-longest win streak in NBA history. The Celtics have won 11 straight at Whatever-You-Call-Our-Arena-It-Is-A-Sacrilege-That-You-Don’t-Call-It-Boston-Garden-Anymore, a streak that began with a defeat of the Heat. Boston is not about to catch Miami napping, but they are catching them on the second night of a road back-to-back.

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING! “What the Hell is an ‘Ide’, Anyway?” Edition, 3/15

Starting Five

1. “Beware the Ides of March.” Act I, Scene II from William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (The Romans, by the way, pronounced it “KAI-CZAR”, not unlike the way Verbil pronounced his shadowy boss in “The Usual Suspects”. Anyhoot, the year is 44 B.C. and a soothsayer warns Julius Caesar, the Roman emperor, to beware of this date.

“At least…at least…name a salad after me…and hold the anchovies.”

In the Roman calendar, March was the first month of the year (it was actually “Mars”, named for the Roman god of war; whereas in the USA we name our first month after Don Draper’s ex-wife. Same difference). But the Romans did not count their days of the month sequentially. To avoid further digression, they counted back from three fixed points of the month: the Nones (5th or 7th, depending on the length of the month), the Ides (13th or 15th), and the Santa Maria Kalends (1st of the following month).

So that’s an Ide.

2. Charlotte-ans (the referees, that is)

 

Abominable finish in the Atlantic 10 as Pierria Henry of the 49ers shoots 11 free throws (making eight) in the final five seconds to send Charlotte to a come-from-behind 68-63 victory. Charlotte benefited from the referees giving them three FTs twice on “shots” from near or beyond half court, a dead ball foul, and two technicals on its coach, Chris Mooney. The first foul was a solid call, but the dead ball foul under the basket on the Spiders’ Derrick Williams was at best a double foul on two players. At worst, it appeared that the 49er was baiting this call (he grabbed Willliams, who shoved him to the floor, by the head first to induce this incident).

The only thing left to add: As any fan of children’s literature wonders, how can a school named Charlotte not be the one whose mascot is the Spiders?

3. No Lime or Reason

We understand that Adidas understands that the worst type of publicity is no publicity, but Notre Dame’s glow-stick lime Zubaz-inspired unis were the Freekbass of sartorial statements. They were that horrid. Still, the Fighting Irish, who have never won the Big East tournament, were the lone school to elude the chalk of the third day of this year’s tourney. Georgetown, Syracuse and Louisville all advanced, but the Irish recovered from an early 17-4 deficit versus No. 11 Marquette to win, 73-65. Notre Dame actually led by four at halftime.

Sherbet they won

As far as Catholics vs. Comebacks went, Boston College was even more impressive. The Eagles began their ACC tourney contest versus Georgia Tech in a 15-0 hole, but won by 20. Like the Irish, they were up (by 5) at halftime after their anemic start.

Back to the Irish: in two games thus far Pat Connaughton (is it just me or does he look a little like Dayne Crist) is 12 of 18 from behind the arc (66.6%, of course….Hey, those are Devil numbers!) and one-for-two from inside it. So we know where he lives.

4. Carnival’s Grade? Sea-Minus

Carnival Cruise Lines, a.k.a. “Ships Ahoy Polloi”, (thank you, Judge Smails) is not about to make anyone forget the Spanish Armada. Or McHale’s Navy. If you’re keeping score, Carnival’s Triumph, Dream, Elation and now Legend have all experienced serious difficulties in the past month. The Legend, the latest ship to hit the fan, reportedly is having trouble with its cruise control system (isn’t that the speed a cruise ship should be going?). We picture the next Carnival mishap being that the vessel’s left-hand turn blinker won’t stop blinking.

Carnival’s skipper assures public that there’s nothing to worry about

5. NFL to abolish Tuck Rule, which in the future will prohibit Notre Dame’s top defensive end from leaving school one year early when the Irish have No. 1 USC on the schedule the following season and Reggie Bush will run all over that vacated position to allow the Trojans to escape South Bend with a 34-31 victory. Wait… that’s NOT the Tuck Rule?

This Just in: The Tuck Rule has always been a sham.

Seriously, we remember watching that Raiders-Patriots game as the play happened and we still cannot believe that rule exists(ed). It felt as if the referees had conjured it on the spot. Anyone who has ever played football in their backyard or at the park as a boy knows that’s a fumble. It was always a travesty. However, if you believe in karma, go back to my 12th birthday (Sept. 10, 1978) and you’ll see that the Raiders benefited from one of the all-time great fumble calls (at least in the regular season) in NFL history, the “Holy Roller” play.

Still. Kenny Stabler. Dave Casper. John Madden. Now THAT was the NFL. Listen to the announcer: “There’s nothing real in the world anymore!” Kind of the way most of us felt when the Tuck Rule was announced 23 years later.

Remote Patrol

Big Ten Tournament

No. 3 Indiana vs Illinois

ESPN, Noon

No. 6 Michigan vs No. 22 Wisconsin

ESPN, 2 p.m.

Don’t ask me why, but I like the Illini to pull off the upset in Chicago today versus the Oladipos. The Wolverines and Badgers played a wild one in Madison last month (Dan Dakich is likely still asking Bo Ryan how come he didn’t foul the shooter on the previous play) and this one will be tight as well. Is the B1G the best hoops conference in the country this season? Yeah. Tune in this afternoon and discover why.

B1G POY Trey Burke, who tops out at 6’0″

–JW

 

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING! 3/14

Starting Five

1. “Let’s get ready to hummmmmmbblllllllle!”

Lots of chatter already about how New Pope, Pope Francis (I had $40 on him choosing “Sheldon”, so I lose), can outhumble anyone in the sacristy. We’ll see about that.

A few tweets of mine from yesterday, in case you missed ’em:

“Anyone out there remember me? Hellloooo? Son of God here. I’m kind of the reason behind the hullabaloo.”

“It takes one day to elect a new pope, but all weekend to select the NCAA tournament.”

“I guess you could call this a ‘mass’ gathering?”

“Have there ever been this many people assembled outdoors, not in an arena, who did not witness a live performance by Taylor Swift?”

“The new pope ran a 4.82.”

“In 1 year: ‘Couple that met in St. Peter’s Square awaiting papal announcement to wed’ #WeFoundLoveInAPopelessPlace

One final item: My former SI colleague, Josh Elliott, was there live for “Good Morning America” and erroneously tweeted “black smoke” when the white smoke escaped from the smokestack. It’s okay to be wrong. Josh deleted that tweet. I’m sure the Ministry of Information supported that move.

2. The answer? Four. The question? “How many conference men’s hoops tournaments are being staged in Las Vegas this month? The West Coast Conference champ, Gonzaga, was crowned last Sunday at Orleans Arena. The WAC is staging its tournament there right now. The Mountain West Conference is holding its tourney at the Thomas & Mack Center while the Pac-12 is staging its tournament at the MGM Grand.

“The Thomas & Mack Center strictly prohibits masturbating during halftime. Thanks, Osama.”

A few thoughts: I’d REALLY love to be in Vegas this week….Wouldn’t it have been cool to sit by yourself, cheering on Nevada, and declare yourself a “One-Man Wolf Pack?”… So college hoops can not only double down but, yes, quadruple down on college hoops in Sin City but the NBA, NFL and MLB won’t stage a regular-season game there? And when is the last time Las Vegas hosted an NCAA tournament game? Much less the Final Four?… Who was Kelly Lundy cheering for?

3. The Miami Heat win their 20th in a row, 98-94 at Philly. It was on the second night of a back-to-back, so you knew it wasn’t going to be a walk. So, let’s turn our attention to the longest win streak in NBA history, the Los Angeles Lakers’ 33-game streak in 1971-72.

Who’s the genius that thought it would be a good idea to have Wilt sitting down?

A) Miami’s next four games are on the road, including a Toronto-Boston back-to-back on Sunday and Monday. If the Celtics were actually comprised of Irish or Irish-American players, I’d have no fear for the Heat playing one day after St. Patrick’s Day. However, this could pose a challenge.

B) If Miami eludes that gauntlet, look for the March 27 contest at Chicago to be a battle. And what if Derrick Rose has returned?

C) If the LeBrons pass that test, then the ultimate challenge, with the victory streak at 29, comes on the final day of this month. At San Antonio. Win that game, get to 30, and then it’s just the Knicks at home, a visit to Charlotte, the Sixers in Miami to tie and Milwaukee in Miami for the record.

D) Let’s be clear. It’s the NBA. You can lose on any night (the Spurs lost to the T-Wolves on Tuesday). Miami has lost to Detroit and Washington this season. However, as they approach history — NBA history — I think you will see a more focused team. I think that they want this.

E) One question: Do the former, surviving Lakers pop open a bottle of Dom if Miami loses before they get to 33?

4. So apparently the woman with the world’s longest legs lives not far, in northern Virginia, from the woman with the world’s largest natural breasts. Somewhere inside the Beltway there’s a dude cruising in a red Ferrari hoping to complete a menage a trois for the ages (thanks to E.L.K.)

Wondering if Svetlana owns any ZZ Top albums

5. Yahoo! Sports Dan Wetzel can flat-out write, baby. He’s now become the unofficial bard of sexual miscreantism related to football in the Appalachian region, what with his coverage of the Sandusky trial last year and now this piece on the Steubenville rape trial. Wetzel did not find this story — credit here to the New York Times for blowing it up big a few months ago — but he is taking control of it.

Remote Patrol

You’re on your own tonight. I’m working a double at the steakateria, where we are debuting our newest dish, the Steak Shapiro.

 

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING! 3/13 “

Starting Five

1. Pope-ourri

(The judges would also accept “Popin’ and Prayin'”, “Rome is Smoking”, “Papal Cliff”, and “What the Hell is Josh Elliott Doing in Vatican City?”)

Latest from the papal election: No, it is not true that the cardinals use first edition copies of “The Da Vinci Code” to create the black smoke… there was a moment of silence for the reposed of the soul of Stan Musial… a few of the cardinals have been teasing New York’s Timothy Dolan that if he gets elected, they’ll be calling him “The Pope of Greenwich Village”…. a small fracas broke out yesterday when two cardinals fought over the single electrical outlet inside the Sistine Chapel in order to charge their smartphones.

Sistene Candles

2. Last night in the NBA, in free throws:

Boston Celtics…………………….. 16 of 25

Charlotte Bobcats………………. 24 of 30

San Antonio Spurs……………..   16 of 18

Minnesota Timberwolves……      7 of 18

Washington Wizards………….     23 of 28

Cleveland Cavaliers……………     19 of 25

Dallas Mavericks………………      22 of 27

Milwaukee Bucks……………….    14 of 17

Atlanta Hawks ………………….     10 of 14

Miami Heat……………………….    22 of 30

New Orleans Not-Yet-Pelicans…. 13 of 15

Brooklyn Nets……………………….. 23 of 31

Memphis Grizzlies………………… 21 of 31

Portland Trail Blazers……………  28 of 29

Orlando Magic………………………  13 of 17

Dwight Howard…………………….  25 of 39

Kobe is hungry

 

That’s correct. The Laker center attempted eight more free throws, versus his former team, than any NBA team last night. That figure ties Howard’s own NBA record for free throws attempted in a game. Kudos to him for shooting 80% from the line (16 of 20) in the second half when the Magic employed the Hack-A-Howard strategy. And, yo, Blazers, we noticed that 96.6 % shooting from the stripe.

Which reminds us: Why not a free-throw shooting contest at the All-Star Game? Simple rules: Ten players enter. You shoot two at a time. If you miss, you’re out. Last player to miss wins. I’d watch.

3. Notre Dame 61, Connecticut 59. It was a thriller from Hartford, as the Huskies came back from a six-point deficit in the final 2:55 and had the ball for the final possession, only to toss an errant pass to Skylar Diggins. The Fighting Irish studette dribbled through from one free throw line to the other, through a gauntlet of Huskies, before finally finding a wide-open Natalie Achonwa (wumba) for the game-winning lay up.

The greatest college Skylar to not fall for Will Hunting. How do you like them apples, Geno?

Notes: This marks the first time in 19 seasons in which UConn failed to win at least a share of either the Big East regular season title or the Big East tournament… UConn shot 0-5 from beyond the arc, the first time in 403 games the Huskies failed to sink a three-pointer…. Notre Dame finishes its final season in the Big East 16-0 and wins its first Big East tourney, men or women… the listed attendance at the XL Center was 9,085, or slightly over half-capacity. That is mildly concerning for a UConn women’s hoops game… for those with good memories, the final few moments were somewhat reminiscent of the 2001 Big East championship, when Sue Bird dribbled the length of the court and pulled up for a sweet game-winning J as time expired.

4. The USA Today’s top-ranked high school boys basketball team in the nation is Findlay Prep. This would be awesome if, you know, Findlay Prep were an actual high school. I trod this ground last March for The Daily. It bothers me that USA Today and ESPN recognize a tail-wags-dog arrangement such as this. Findlay Prep is an AAU team that just happens to be quasi-home-schooled together.

Goss

To be fair, though, Findlay’s top player, point guard Nigel Williams-Goss, is quite the accomplished youth. The 6-3 guard, who is headed to Washington, has never received a grade lower than an A and had learned to speak Mandarin by the time he was in the fifth grade.

5. First, Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing) passes away. Then, Bonnie Franklin (Ms. Romano). Now Valerie Harper is terminally ill with brain cancer. It’s been a bad year for CBS stars from the ’70s. We note that Edith Bunker, a.k.a. Jean Stapleton, is still going strong at age 90. As are Sue Ann Nivens, a.k.a. Betty White (91) and Phyllis, or Cloris Leachman (86).

The scarves, looking back, were an ominous harbinger

 

Reserves

I gotta be honest. I wouldn’t mind if this happened to more golfers. Particularly those who constantly tell you how they shot yesterday and how they would’ve broken 80 if it weren’t for those two putts that lipped out.

The most dominant athlete in the world over the past year is not over six feet tall and does not play for the Miami Heat. The world’s most dominant athlete is a five-foot-seven Argentinian with a slight paunch. Lionel Messi scored two goals yesterday for FC Barcelona in a 4-0 defeat of AC Milan in the Round of 16 of the Champions League (Milan had won the opener, 2-0, which meant that Barca needed to win by at least three goals to win the two-leg round outright). In just the past two years alone Messi has scored a staggering total of 126 goals for Barca in La Liga and at the Cup and Champions League levels. No one else is even close. Cristiano Ronaldo, by comparison, has scored 102 goals in the same span.

The world’s most dominant athlete belongs on the cover of SI

Steve Nash’s line last night in 32 minutes of play: two assists, three turnovers, four fouls. I don’t even know you anymore.

Pamela Anderson: “I got tired of talking boyfriends and boobs.” Now she’s an activist. Last week she spoke at the University of Cambridge in England. You know who also addressed that famed institution once? Sir Winston Churchill (I should tell you that Winston is my all-time hero of the 20th century…. I mean, right after Roger Staubach).

From Baywatch to Britain

Just realizing that the last two figures I mentioned are both from British Columbia. Wondering if Steve Nash has ever met Pamela Anderson…

Remote Patrol

Honestly, there’s nothing on. Go bowling. Better yet, here’s three books I’d recommend to anyone:

1. The Unoriginal Sinner and the Ice Cream God, by John Powers

I still don’t understand how this has never been turned into a movie

 

2. The Tender Bar, by JR Moehringer

3. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller (Lately I’ve come to realize that Wall Street is basically Milo Minderbinder)

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING! 3/12

Starting Five

1. Go Routes to the West Coast

Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks, Anquan Boldin to 49ers. (It’s March. Must we really talk about the NFL right now?). Yes, Adrian Peterson — the league MVP –called his now former teammate Harvin “the best all-around player I ever seen”, but it’s about being paid, brow. There were a dozen Vikings earning more than Harvin’s $2,043,800 salary, including AD, who was earning more than five times as much. Harvin actually earns less than Christian Steele-Ponder. We were most surprised to learn that former ND offensive lineman John Sullivan makes $4,000,000 per year. That’s more than Joe Montana ever earned.

Trading snow boots for an umbrella: Harvin heads to the Emerald City

 

2. Brent Musburger Files

Now this is what’s known as a bad, bad beat. Iona was a minus-4 favorite, had an 8-point lead over Manhattan in the MAAC championship game with less than five seconds remaining, and still failed to cover. Why? The Jaspers hit a three with :01 left and then the Gaels rushed the court to celebrate their automatic NCAA tournament bid before the clock expired. The refs T’d up Iona, resulting in two Jasper free throws. From 60-52 to 60-57 in literally one second of play.  Expect ESPN editor-in-chief/gambling expert Chad Millman to devote an entire issue to this game.

3. Raise your hand if you’ve ever been a teenager and driven irresponsibly (five teens in the 1980s who had a 45-minute one-way commute to our Phoenix high school probably endured created six to seven near-death experiences that our parents are still blissfully unaware of). So, yes, it’s a tragedy that six teens died in Warren, Ohio, over the weekend when their (reportedly stolen) SUV flipped and landed upside down in a shallow swamp. The driver had been speeding and “driving crazy”, says one of two survivors from the wreck. Was the car stolen and what were eight adolescents doing out on a joy ride at 6 a.m. on a Sunday morning are responsible questions to ask.

But teenagers and cars will always be a toxic mix. Ask any actuary. Also, this unconscious young man in Iowa was pulled from his burning vehicle by a police officer, saving his life. How did the teen get into this trouble in the first place? He was doing doughnuts in the snow when he crashed into a wall.

4. Naked men assemble in Vienna to attend an art exhibit, while men in robes assemble at the Vatican to select a new pope. Meanwhile, the word out of Castel Gandolfo is that recently retired Pope Benedict XVI has already gone through seasons 1-3 of Breaking Bad on Netflix. Meanwhile, the New York Times is reporting that American cardinals Seamus O’Malley and Timothy Dolan (who is not the GM of the New York Knicks) both have an outside shot of being elected pope. How cool would that be: If the pope were American and the president were not?

Tim Dolan: God, Ireland and the NEW YORK YANKEES! (not in that order)

5. For what it’s worth, the nation’s scoring leader (Erick Green of  13-18 Virginia Tech, 25.4 ppg), the nation’s rebounding leader (Andre Roberson of 20-10 bubblicious Colorado, 11.5 per game), the nation’s assists leader (Jason Brickman of 19-13 LIU Brooklyn), the nation’s steals leader (Anthony Hickey of 18-11 LSU, 3.07 per game),

Bader and his sweet long-range jumper will be one of the many superlative aspects of college hoops missing from this year’s tourney.

the nation’s three-pointers per game leader (Travis Bader of 16-16 Oakland, 4.19 per game) and the nation’s blocked shots leader (Nerlens Noel of 21-10 Kentucky, who is recovering from an ACL tear, 4.42 per game), will all likely be absent from this month’s NCAA tournament. That’s madness. Roberson, whose Buffs most likely need to win at least two games at this week’s Pac-12 tourney, has the best chance of having at least one shiny moment.

Reserves

Without a doubt the most joyous aspect of this story is the idea of anyone shouting “anti-Spokane rhetoric.” As in, “You’re no Tacoma!” or “Couer D’Alene has it all over you punks!” So if you couple the idea of USC (14-17) basketball players getting into a fight hours after losing by 25 points at Wazzu (!) with the postgame locker room fracas at the Sun Bowl after the Trojans lost to Georgia Tech (!!), all we can say is that USC is sorely in need of an athletic director with the wisdom and virtue of a guy like alumnus Pat Haden. If only he were working inside Heritage Hall.

The story noted that a USC seven-footer or two was involved in the fracas and perhaps not coincidentally, the Trojans have suspended both of their seven-foot centers, Dewayne Dedmon and James Blasczyk. This reminds me of the former Detroit-area hoops star (name currently escapes me) who descended into drugs and booze and decided to rob a convenience store. When the clerk recognized him, our bungling basketball burglar replied, “It isn’t me.” (Maybe he was just trying to quote Bob Dylan).

Where were Roger and Rerun to keep Dewayne out of trouble?

 

Also out west,  Gonzaga dominates St. Mary’s. After clinching the WCC championship and in all likelihood the No. 1 seed in the West (as predicted here a week ago), the Bulldogs and their fans could be heard shouting pro-Spokane rhetoric.

 

Remote Patrol

Summit League Championship Game

North Dakota State vs South Dakota State

ESPN2, 9 p.m.

You’ll want to watch SDSU’s Nate Wolters. Earlier this season the 6-4 senior scored 53 points against IPFW (Indiana-Purdue at Fort Wayne), the highest total of anyone this year. Wolters leads the 24-9 Jackrabbits in both scoring and assists and is second in rebounding. Also, how often do y0u get to see a Dakota on TV without having to sit through “I Am Sam?”

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING! 3/11

Starting Five

1. “There are no second acts in American lives” — F. Scott Fitzgerald

Zelda’s husband never met Tiger Woods, who cruised to victory at  the WGC Cadillac Championship, his second PGA Tour win of 2013. Woods, who had dropped to as low as 58th in world rankings in the aftermath of his skank-shank debacle, has now risen to No. 2. He has five PGA Tour victories in the past year, more than anyone. And with 32 days before the world’s best golfers tee off at Augusta, there seems to be less drama concerning whether Tiger (who now has 76 career PGA Tour victories in 18 years, second only to Sam Snead’s 82, which took him 12 more years to accrue) will don another green jacket as to whether the first female to greet him will be ex-wife Elin Nordegren or current flame Lindsey Vonn.

Tiger Woods, located at the intersection of Boo Weekley and US Weekly

2. Indiana and Michigan, both 25-5, engage in a classic. The B1G has owned the drama in college basketball this winter — the ACC is an afterthought, while the Big East is a couple headed for divorce — and yesterday’s contest in Ann Arbor was just the latest example. The No. 2 Hoosiers overcame a five-point deficit in the final minute to prevail 72-71 after seven-footer Cody Zeller scored the game-winning lay up with 13 seconds remaining. Zeller finished with 25 points and ten rebounds as IU earned its first outright B1G regular-season title in two decades.

Zeller may be the B1G/National Player of the Year, but we love Victor Oladipo, the Michael Kidd-Gilchrist of the 2012-2013 season.

It’s CZ

 

3. Another era, another Jordan, another iconic dunk… DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers drinks Brandon Knight’s milkshake.

Scare Jordan

Knight mare

 

4. Don’t Laugh Over Spilled Milk

It’s called “Gallon Smashing“, and it’s the most fun any college or high school student has had in a supermarket since the boys from Delta House went shopping for their party. Or at least since the turkey bowling rage of the 1990s. It’s definitely cutting into the Harlem Shake’s 15 minutes of viral fame. But, not everyone is amused.

5. Over at 30 Rockefeller Center Justin Bieber Timberlake joins the “Five-Timers Club” at Saturday Night Live. As the only five-time host of SNL under the age of 50, Timberlake, 32, is lapping the field in his era of stardom. Even if he doesn’t play the banjo. He did, however, apparently get a subtle dig in on Kanye West during a song (joining Taylor Swift among SNL hosts who have done this) (editor’s note: Jay-Z enjoyed a pre-performance meal at your favorite steakateria).

Tofu manchu

The most Timberlakian skit –and consider how much time had to be put into just this singular effort (you can’t do this by reading cue cards) — had to be “Bring It On Down To Veganville.” Anyone who can rhyme “adult ingredients” with “bowels expedient” deserves a hand.

And if you can only see one romcom starring a member of the Timberlake family, wouldn’t you rather see “She’s Got a D!&k” than “Playing for Keeps”? (alright, I’ll go see ’em both. Shhhh!)

 Reserves

Remember when Kramer taught the Dominicans how to roll as if they were Cubans? Now Costanza’s former employer, the New York Yankees, have a Cuban whom they hope will roll like their Dominican. Cuban defector Ronnier Mustelier is the talk of training camp in Tampa and he could just open at third base. The Yankee brass (“brass” is sportswriter speak for “guys who pay the salaries”) refer to Mustelier of a “natural-born hitter”, which is funny because their All-Star second baseman, Robinson Cano of the Dominican Republic, is exactly that.

Mustelier, 28, could be the answer to “Who replaces A-Rod at third?”

We came across this photo of Gibraltar Airport (thanks to Richard Deitsch of SI for the inspiration). That’s pretty intense. Look closely and you’ll see that there’s a road that crosses the runway. You can taxi from your taxi.

Over at ESPNW.com Sarah Spain pens a column about how men are jerks the many excuses males make when dismissing the idea of women as sports analysts. Her list is solid, but for me her opening graf, in which she describes what would seem like a stereotypical dreamy male suitor, contradicts her argument. Exchanging one stereotype for another. Obviously, Sarah (whom I do not know) disagrees and did so on Twitter. You can be the judge. As one of our favorite readers quipped, “The strain of Spain falls mainly on the vain.”

The Heat win their 18th in a row; the Blackhawks lose their second straight.

Mariano Rivera will retire at the end of the 2013 season. In NYC the talk is about how, if Derek Jeter and Mo are not unanimous first-ballot Hall of Famers (no one has ever entered Cooperstown on a unanimous first ballot), then the Baseball Writers Association of America are the hoary trolls that we have always suspected them to be.

So now Oscar Pistorius’ attorneys, while arguing that he is not a flight risk, are appealing the bail condtion that mandates he be prohibited from taking flights. Also, they are appealing the alcohol ban while arguing that he has no intention of imbibing spirits. And remember, he shot someone four times because he thought they might be an intruder… who was hiding in the toilet…who apparently never identified themselves and so why wouldn’t you shoot them first?

Remote Patrol

Once again, a protest post. Saint Mary’s and our favorite scruffy mutt, Matthew Dellavedova, meets top-ranked Gonzaga in the WCC Championship game from Las Vegas at 9 p.m, but it will not be televised (ESPN3 does not equal television). Also, the second- and third-best teams in the NBA, Oklahoma City and San Antonio, meet deep in the heart of Texas but you’ll only see it if you have NBA TV.

“No, you’re a genius because you can’t make a lamp.”

Given all that, I’m recommending “The Breakfast Club”, the best of John Hughes’ films, on AMC at 8 p.m. Eminently quotable (as our friend at ESPN Josh Krulewitz loves to say, “Demented and sad…but social.”) , and I’m serious when I say that Judd Nelson deserved at least a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination.

 

Playing For Keeps

By Katie

This is not a picture of me, but I do like it.

Unknown

I just finished watching Playing for Keeps. Yep, that’s how bored I was this evening. It was so good I immediately logged on here so I could tell you all about it. Oh, I also looked at the last post I wrote to see if by chance there were any new comments (there was! Joy!) and noticed I wrote “new” instead of “knew” in a sentence where it definitely should’ve been “knew”, not “new”.

I love when stuff like that happens. I like to feel like a dipshit at least once a day. Actually that’s not right; if I can get through a day only feeling like one once, it’s a victory.  I average about 4 times…this morning I was driving around trying to find a particular coffee place and I was so lost I had to pull over and call the person I was supposed to be meeting for help. They patiently talked me through my directionally challenged haze, as they watched me through the window of the coffee shop, which I was parked directly in front of. That’s not the worst “I’m lost” story I have, either– the worst was the time I called Batteries Plus to ask directions…from their parking lot. I was so embarrassed when I realized what I’d done, I went right in and bought some batteries. You thought I was going to say something else, didn’t you? I needed the batteries, and  I’m too old to care anymore. That’s what freedom feels like.

Back to the movie. Look, I knew it was going to be horrible. We all did, didn’t we, back when Gerard Butler was making radio ads to promote it? “Hi, I’m Gerard Butler and you should see my new movie, Playing for Keeps!” Remember those? What? You can remember all the way back to two months ago? You. You stop with the false modesty, you’re not fooling anyone. But the star of the movie begging people to go see it on local FM is a sure sign of a winner.

Gerard Butler has made exactly one good movie, and that is Phantom of the Opera.* YES IT WAS GOOD, OTHERWISE WHY WOULD I HAVE SEEN IT IN THE THEATER NINE TIMES?

Playing for Keeps. Gerard is an old ex-professional soccer player who used to be all fancy and rich, and now is basically an unemployed bum (there’s lots of funny* stuff about how he has to ditch his landlord all the time because he is dead-ass broke).  He’s got a nine-year-old son and an ex-wife with whom he is naturally still in love, played by the lovely Ms. Jessica Biel (sporting some weird sister wife hairdo*). Gerard has done the still-in-love-with-the-ex-wife thing before, only Jennifer Aniston played the hair last time. I mean the wife.

Anyoots, G. decides to coach his son’s soccer team in an effort to be a better dad (we never know why his wife dumped him or why he was a bad dad to begin with, we just know that’s the case because Jessica Biel has a real sour look on her face and her arms crossed every time she talks to him) so naturally, every kid’s mom starts throwing themselves at him because soccer moms are a horny and dissatisfied bunch! Hilarity ensues as one after the other, Uma Thurman, Judy Greer and Catherine Zeta Jones try to get some of that. That, m’friends, is good comedy. I almost forgot about Dennis Quaid…he plays the douchey guy who bribes G into letting his loppy kid play goalie and  his tone-deaf daughter sing the National Anthem before the games. Is that a thing that happens before 4th grade soccer games? No matter.  Gerard decides he wants to be a sportscaster (isn’t that what he did in that movie with Katherine Heigle?) so he makes a seriously terrible demo tape that Catherine Zeta Jones helps him market in exchange for somethin’ somethin’. Nice to see the woman sexually exploit the man, for once. Am I right, ladies? In the meantime, he starts bonding with his kid and Jessica Biel finally tucks her hair behind her ears and looks a little bit less like that kid from The Ring.

ESPN hires him, he proclaims his undying love to Jessica Biel while she’s trying on a wedding dress to marry someone else, he gets in a fist fight with Dennis Quaid and Judy Greer ends up with his landlord, who finally gets paid. I’m pretty sure it took me longer to write this post than it took to write the script. And yet, I don’t regret watching it. Go figure.

 

*If you are Gerard Butler, my apologies. Please know that I continue to see your movies and that you are very rich, and those two things should offer some level of comfort. 

Not funny

*My apologies also to any sister-wives reading this. I think it’s neat that you have 18 kids and only 1/10th of a husband.