Summer of Mailbag revisited
Well, the Summer of Mailbag turned out to be as memorable as the Summer of George. What happened? In the words of Mark McGwire, I'm not here to talk about the past. Especially a past that contains broken promises and erratic writing. Let's just get to the mailbag. As always, these are actual e-mails from actual readers.
Q: What happened to the Summer of Mailbag??? I hate you. Seriously.
-- Mark, Walpole, Mass.
SG: Give me one more chance and 7,000 words. There's still time. We can work this out. By the end of this column, you'll only partially loathe me.
Q: I am a big fan of your idea of "Press Box Hot" in which any remotely attractive woman instantly becomes a supermodel when she walks into the press box. While in summer school this week, I realized this also applies to the awful classrooms in August full of dudes and freaky chicks. It made me think of other places where "Press Box Hot" comes into play like church, sports collector conventions and Star Wars premieres. Any others?
-- Evan, Hope Valley, R.I.
SG: You forgot Seedy Strip Joint Hot; Female Blackjack Dealer Hot; Women's Professional Athlete Hot (Danica Patrick and Jennie Finch are undeniably cute, but stick them in the sports world and they suddenly become Victoria's Secret models); American Gladiators Hot; '80s Movies Hot; Cleaning Lady Hot (we all have at least one friend who talked themselves into an older cleaning lady once and had his way with her, and if you don't have this friend, that means YOU were the friend); Nanny Hot; Sports Bar Waitress Hot (the Carla Tortelli complex); Wedding Hot; Female Musician Hot (which is what makes the bassist for Stellastarr* so hot, because she'd be hot anyway, but as a bassist in an indie band, she's jaw-droppingly, stupefyingly hot); Hip Hop Backup Singer Hot; Beach Around 3 p.m. When You're Overheated & A Little Punchy Hot; Pregnant Hot (you're damned right I went there); Goth Hot; Tattooed Hot; and my personal favorite, '80s Female Pro Wresting Hot.
Explanation for the last one: When I was 14, along with everyone else in my age range, I absolutely believed that (A) Wendi Richter was super-attractive, (B) Miss Elizabeth wasn't just beautiful, but classier than Princess Di or Nancy Reagan, and (C) I would sacrifice 10 solid years off the tail end of my life to see Missy Hyatt naked for 10 seconds. As far as I can tell, that's the widest swing between "actual attractiveness" and "perceived attractiveness," which is why '80s Female Pro Wrestling Hot tops everything else, including Press Box Hot and Sports Collector Convention Hot. I'm glad I'm here.
Q: Is there any way you could provide a larger, higher resolution version of your picture? I'd really like to Photoshop all the film credits around it so it looks even more like Steve Carell's picture on the "The 40 Year Old Virgin" poster. I mean really, the lighting is perfect.
-- Teja, Hyderabad, India
SG: Yup, even people in India are making fun of my new ESPN.com photo.
Q: Thanks for the post-Collector's Convention picture at the airport. You look like a bowl of oatmeal.
-- Greg A., Birmingham, Ala.
SG: And people in Alabama are making fun of my pasty skin. This is great. No wonder I cut the Summer of Mailbag short.
Q: You don't like soccer. You are just bored because the Sox aren't that good, and football hasn't started. Also, you are trying to see if you can be influential enough to make other people like soccer. You can't. Stop. Write a mailbag.
-- Chris, Wilmington, Del.
SG: What do you think I'm doing? By the way, "you're just trying to see if you can be influential enough to make other people like soccer" is my second favorite conspiracy about my summer crush on soccer behind "you're only writing about soccer because ESPN made you because they invested so much money in the World Cup." It's always funny when people think ESPN operates like the Nixon White House. In fact, I e-mailed these theories to John Skipper, the guy in charge of all creative content for ESPN, and here's how he responded:
"Do you still work for us?"
So ... um ... yeah.
Q: Just finished "Cast Away" for the second time. Let's say this actually happened: plane crash, lone survivor etc. I live for 5 years on an island and I finally get rescued ... then what? Book deal ... overnight millionaire. Bidding war between the major studios as to who gets the movie rights. Massive attention from the fairer sex. (Even Luke and Sasha would be fighting for my crumbs. I'm 25 now, in my high school there were about 900 girls. In my university there were about 3,000. Lets add another 300 random acquaintances through work, friends, the gym etc etc. So I would be looking at 4,200 gals right there. Then you can probably triple that number once each girl heard I was alive and tells two of her friends about some random story where I did something funny, cool, dumb ... whatever it doesn't matter. So right away your talking about 12,600 girls and that is not even considering the amount from just having your story on TV. Lets say 10% are hot, I would have 1,260 women who would probably jump in the sack with me without even thinking. I would have enough one-nighters for three years. Perhaps Hollinger could work out a formula called ONWWWTYWDPYOD or "One Nighters With Women Who Though You Were Dead Per Years Of Desertion.") And you know "Survivor" would do their next season on my island, with me being a guest host/analyst. Just me and Probst kicking on my island ... for the record I think it would be only fair that they name it after me. That's really as far as I can get, a testament to me being 25 perhaps. But what else would happen once I got home?
-- Ryan Harris, Kelowna, B.C.
SG: From what you just described, I'd throw this in: syphilis, drug rehab, Oprah and more syphilis. Then you'd replace TJ Lavin as the new host of the "Real World/Road Rules Challenge," and you'd kill it to the point that, yes, you'd get more syphilis. And finally, you'd marry the wrong girl and she'd take half your money, but not before she sued you for giving her syphilis. My advice would be ... wait a second, why am I thinking about this?
Q: I work as a waiter. At work today, a table of a friend of mine ordered an Arnold Palmer (iced tea and lemonade, for those readers who don't know) with a double shot of vodka. Having never heard of this before, three of us on the wait staff deliberated and decided that this drink should forever be known as a John Daly. Any objections? -- Colin, Oshkosh, Wis.
SG: None. I love it. That's the best sports-related drink idea since the LeBomb James (pouring 3 packs of Splenda on your hands, dropping a shot of Crown Royal into a glass of Red Bull, chugging it down, then throwing the Splenda up in the air like baby powder). The bigger question ...
Q: If there was a drink called the "Bill Simmons" what would it be? First off, we can ask girls at the bar, "Hey, Can I buy you a Bill Simmons?" and of course "Hey who wants to buy the next round of Bill Simmons?"
-- John T, Tempe, Ariz.
SG: My personal preference would be a high-quality tequila on the rocks with a lime. So you'd say to the bartender, "I'd like a Bill Simmons" and they'd respond, "What kind of tequila would you like?" and then mention three of their high-end tequilas. I always wanted to be named after a drink that led to a discussion of what high-end options were available in that specific liquor.
Of course, my sarcastic readers would follow that last paragraph up with a joke like, "You should be named after a drink that's rarely available, only there's always a mediocre substitute for it -- it would be like when you do podcasts over columns." And honestly? That hurts. I just hurt my own feelings projecting your fake e-mails. But if that's your mindset, then the Bill Simmons drink should be a spicy Bloody Mary with high-quality vodka, three olives and extra horseradish. Why? Because half the bars in America serve Bloody Marys without horseradish, which single-handedly defeats the purpose of drinking a Bloody Mary, because every Bloody Mary -- and I mean, EVERY Bloody Mary -- should have ridiculous, eye-watering amounts of horseradish in it or there is no conceivable way it can be a good Bloody Mary. I am about 10 more times away from a waiter telling me that they don't have horseradish but offering me Tabasco sauce instead, followed by me flipping over the table, throwing chairs around and ending up on The Smoking Gun ... which is probably how some of you feel when we post four BS Reports in a row without a new column. So maybe that should be my drink. I need to think about this some more.
Q: Saw your idea for a bachelor party from your Collector's Convention column (i.e. opening the sealed box of sports cards with 12 friends). I am getting married next year and sent the idea to my brothers who are planning the party. The response from my younger brother: "Five Better Things to do with $100 at a Bachelor Party then open up old baseball cards: 5) 100 $1 beers at happy hour; 4) Splitting it in two and getting (2) Lap dances; 3) $100 oral sex behind strip club; 2) 1/8 of Cocaine; and 1) 100 tacos."
-- Peter, Wilmington, Del.
SG: Your brother is Corey Haim? Can you ask him when Season 3 of the "Two Coreys" starts?
Q: Seattle has a mayoral candidate named Jan Drago. I am thinking of voting for her just based on her name or the chance that, when debating the city's proposed plastic bag tax/fee (which she is against), she will say "If it dies, it dies." Or should I read the voter pamphlet and make an informed decision?
-- Dave S., Seattle, Wash.
SG: I received this e-mail before Jan Drago failed to make the final three for November's election, which raises the question, how could you not vote for Mayor Drago??? You know how many of us would kill to have a Mayor Drago so we could make "I can't get over the size of this mayoral candidate!' and "What started out as a joke of an election has turned into a disaster" jokes? The only way I wouldn't vote for a Mayor Drago is if her opponent filmed a commercial in which they climbed a 20,000-foot mountain in Russia wearing only a parka and running boots, then reached the top and screamed, "Draaaaa-gooooooooooooo! Draaaaaaaaaa-goooooooooooo!" Actually, I'd still vote for Mayor Drago. And you know why? Because I vote for me. I vote for me!!!!
(By the way, I just obliterated the record for most "Rocky IV" references crammed into a single paragraph. That was like the sports columnist's version of an unassisted triple play.)
Q: Do you think the economy will finally put an end to the travesty known as women's professional sports? Yeah, I said it. Deal with it.
-- Paul, Pasadena, Calif.
SG: (Afraid to say anything.)
Q: Looks like success isn't the only thing Rick Pitino is pro-choice about! Thank you, thank you.
-- Mitch, Hoover, Ala.
SG: (Really super-afraid to say anything.)
Q: Do you think Alex Ovechkin pounds the headboard after sex like he pounds the glass after a goal?
-- Justin, Lancaster, Penn.
SG: There's no question. You just made me think of something, though -- each sport has its own unique celebration to some degree. Here they are:
Baseball: Walk-off hit followed by a circle with dudes jumping up and down in unison.
Football: Guy dances by himself as teammates watch him.
Basketball: Guy struts back up the court after a big shot, makes the Tony Montana "sticking out the lower jaw trying to look like a badass" face, preens for the crowd and eventually gets chest-bumped angrily by other people his size.
Hockey/soccer: Scorer gleefully skates/runs away from the goal and gets mobbed by teammates.
Golf: Awkward fist pump after a putt, followed by an extremely awkward high-five with a caddy.
Tennis: Guy sinks to his knees like he's absolutely incredulous (even if he's not).
Here's my question: Are we happy with these matches of sport and celebration? For instance, I'd love to see baseball players adopt the tennis celebration: hit a homer and just sink to your knees in complete shock for five seconds as everyone angrily stares at you. Wouldn't it be more fun if the winning tennis player sprinted 40 yards like a soccer player and acted like a crazy person? What if a golfer and caddy did a two-man jump-up-and-down celebration like baseball players after a walk-off?
Also, why are we so content with the celebrations we have? I love Ovechkin's self-check into the boards. It's fantastic. Why couldn't someone like Chris Paul make a big shot, wait for the timeout, run over to the scorer's table, then stage-dive into his sea of teammates like they're a giant mosh pit? Why couldn't a golfer hand his putter back to his caddy and his caddy could pretend to be electrocuted by it? Maybe the golfer could pretend that he's also being electrocuted, and they could stand there vibrating for a couple of seconds? We need more clever celebrations heading into this next decade.
That reminds me, my favorite moment of the 2009 Red Sox season happened after Big Papi's walk-off homer at Fenway on Wednesday night -- Papi crossed home plate, everyone celebrated, then they started heading back to the dugout when new teammate and special handshake aficionado Victor Martinez suddenly came roaring in from behind -- seriously, he almost bowled Papi over -- to rope him into what could only be described as a "Our very special walk-off home run handshake that we've been practicing for weeks and I can't believe you forgot about it!" moment. The handshake consisted of a couple of hand slaps, some elbow bumps, then what looked a little like the LeBron James baby powder throw, only they were doing it to each other. Classic. Maybe we should make Victor the Tsar of Celebrations.
Q: [In your last mailbag] you know how you were talking about what would possibly be the worst movie to make a sequel to? You missed the worst case scenario. "Hoosiers II: Norman Dale Gets Married."
-- Matthew, New Orleans, La.
SG: Excellent point. I also missed "Jerry Maguire II: Jerry Becomes a Level 5 Thetan."
Q: If Albert Pujols turned it on and made a run at 62 homers next month, shouldn't we offer him the same excitement and publicity that these cheaters like Bonds, McGwire and Sosa received when they made a similar run at Maris? I recommend a new "chasing history" update, what I need from you is to start it. The number all clean players should be aiming for is 61, not 73. I write this assuming Pujols is clean. Boy I hope he's clean.
--Spartacus, San Antonio, Texas
SG: Me, too. But I think the record is the record. Babe Ruth struck 60 playing in an all-white league without blacks, Latinos or Asians. Bob Gibson put up the 1.12 ERA before they lowered the mound. Denny McLain won 30 games before everyone switched to a five-man starting staff. Stuff happens. Collectively, we have to come to grips with the fact that only 10 individual baseball records matter anymore: Joe D's 56-game hitting streak; Ted Williams being the last guy to hit .400; Orel Hershiser's 59-inning scoreless streak; Pete Rose's 4,256 hits; Rickey Henderson's 130 steals; Nolan Ryan's seven no-hitters and 5,174 strikeouts; Johnny Vander Meer's consecutive no-hitters, Cal Ripken's Whatever He Ended Up At Streak, and Joe Torre's streak of 1,397 consecutive games caught picking his nose by his dugout's camera. That's it.
None of the other records either (A) can be broken, (B) matter in the first place, (C) will ever be looked at objectively because of who broke them (and yes, I'm including your 756th homer, A-Rod). But we still have 10 records that matter. And by the way, if someone even hints at approaching Bonds' 73 by doing it naturally ... how great would that be? Something to root for. Of course, it will probably turn out that the hitter who broke out was drinking hemoglobin from dead baby seals while illegally fighting panda bears ... but still.
Q: Have you ever tried out the carts at Ikea? All four wheels turn, and the floors have practically been buffed with a Zamboni. I feel like Tony freakin Hawk hitting 720s in the pillow aisle. This needs to be an X-Games event.
-- Brian, Eugene, Ore.
SG: You just broached on an idea that's going to be the linchpin of my campaign to take over ESPN6: The Self-Created Olympics. For instance, Brian just created his own event -- the Ikea 200-Meter Aisle Dash -- so we head down to an Ikea and he challenges the other customers to beat him in this event. My event (as I have mentioned many times) would be a little like the Long Ball Golf Challenge, only it would be throwing tennis balls down a narrow sidewalk with those plastic tennis ball throwers that they sell in Petco. Not to sound like Mayor Drago, but I cannot be defeated in this event and I WOULD break you. Everyone has one dumb fake sport that they excel in, right? It's a great idea and I can't wait for Shaq to steal it and make me an executive producer well after the fact.
Q: What current NBA player would best fit in with the NBA drug era of the late-70s? (Picking Ron Artest or the Birdman is prohibited)
--Nick B., Centreville, Va.
SG: I have been working on this mailbag off and on for two weeks. It's a long process that involves sorting through multiple word docs of questions, narrowing them down, printing them out, going to a coffee place, jotting down notes or possible riffs for each question, then proceeding with the process of actually writing the column. On the printed out sheet, I jotted down the following two words next to this question: "Michael Beasley." Two weeks ago. Hmmmmm.
Q: So me and about 15 buddies are taking a train down to Chicago to go watch a WNBA game between the Sky and the Mercury. We need ideas for t-shirts because we plan on creating a scene ... so far a couple ideas are "Score three for feminism" and "0.17" in honor of Diana Taurasi. We hope to make it until at least halftime before getting kicked out. Maybe they'll let us stay longer because they'll set a new record for beer sales in a game because its the first time a group of college aged males ever went to a WNBA game. Please help us out!!
-- Joel, Racine, Wis.
SG: Hasn't the WNBA suffered enough? Come on, Joel. Even I can't condone this behavior.
(Translation: DO IT! DO IT! Two other ideas for T-shirts: "EXPECT LAYUPS" or "We Got Next. .. to Fold After The AFL." Lemme know how it turns out.)
Q: Look I enjoy the soccer commentary and I really want to jump on the bandwagon but I just can't. The reason, every soccer player I've ever met is a total d-bag. How can I like a sport where every person who plays it drinks flavored vodka and attempts to screw every girl who walks by?
-- Ryan, Atlanta
SG: See, I think that's what took me so long to gravitate towards soccer. I haven't been in college since the early-'90s. I haven't been single since the early-'00s. I haven't seen soccer players disgracing themselves socially for such a long time that I now operate under the premise that they're like everyone else. Maybe that should be the new MLS PR strategy: targeting married guys over 35 with a slogan like "Professional Soccer: Because it's been so long that you forgot they were d-bags."
Q: I was recently waiting on line in the grocery store looking at magazine covers when I discovered that apparently Kelly Ripa has A-cups. This brought to mind an intriguing question: Who are the five hottest female celebrities without much up top? I didn't even know where to begin, but I knew you would deliver the goods for me. Also, should we call them The A-Cup All-Stars, or perhaps just The A-Team?
-- Vroom, Waldwick, N.J.
SG: I love "The A-Team." Perfect. Our 2009 A-Team All-Stars: Kelly Ripa, Kate Moss, Keira Knightley and team captain Natalie Portman. This list should be released like the NFL All-Pro team every December. I'd also enjoy the B-Team, the C-Team, the D-Team and the DD-Team. These are the kind of ideas that give me hope for the next decade with the Internet: There are still a ton of great boob-related ideas out there. Wait, am I saying this out loud?
Q: In the spirit of "Athlete Funny," how about a ratings system for "Celebrity Sports Smart." E.g., Affleck appears to be a 10/10 when it comes to baseball, Seth Meyers seems like about an 8, anybody on a Fox show that gets free tickets to the post-season is a -10.
-- Michael K., Spokane, Wash.
SG: You couldn't do a whole scale. It comes down to six categories in descending order: (6) diehard, psychotic, over-the-top fan who flies to games and stuff (Donnie Wahlberg with the Celtics is my favorite example); (5) real fan who doesn't make a huge deal out of it but knows everything that's going on; (4) real fan who incessantly has to make it clear to everyone that they're a real fan and it almost seems like somewhat of a calculating choice to help their career; (3) fake fan who pretends to have a clue but clearly doesn't; (2) no idea whatsoever; and (1) Jimmy Fallon.
Just for fun, I thought I'd ask Red Sox fan Ben Affleck (who vacillates between Category 5 or Category 6 depending on how busy he is) for his take on the whole thing. Here's what he wrote back:
My perspective on the celebrity as sports fan thing is that unless you are really, really into a team it doesn't make sense to do the public "this is my sports identity" thing. And I say this as someone who has gone through it. The notion that people are posing when they display some team loyalty is rooted in the assumption that one has something to GAIN by being perceived as a fan of one team or another. In my experience, that isn't necessarily the case.
People who like the same team you do will not feel any additional sense of solidarity with you. Rather, they are inclined to believe they know more about the team, its history and have been "realer" fans for a longer period of time and thus deserve the great seats they see on television being squandered on the dilettante, celebrity. Obviously, people who support rival teams (Yankees fans, e.g.) now view that celebrity as a legitimate target for hot dogs and urinal cakes.
So what do you profit by showing up in interviews with a jersey and a hat? Are people really all that impressed? No. What's to "pose?" Anyone can buy a hat. It takes courage to stand up for what you believe in. But I don't think it "gets" you anywhere.
Courage is its own reward.
So is patience.
Go Red Sox.
Q: My buddy and I were talking the other day, and we came up upon the subject of women shaving their legs. We decided that whoever started this brilliant tradition should be honored in some way. We decided to start the Smartest People Ever Hall Of Fame. Our first entry is the woman/person who came up with the idea for women to shave their legs. Second entry: us for coming up with this idea. Third: the guy who invented toilet paper. Who do you think should be added to our Hall?
-- Chris F., Boston, Mass.
SG: First, you have to explain why this differs from Bud Light's "Real Men of Genius" campaign. It's basically the same thing. So I'm knocking you out of your own Hall of Fame for not acknowledging this. With that said, maybe there should be a Real Men of Genius Hall of Fame. Our first draft class could include, the guy who came up with the idea for women to shave their legs; Danny Biasone (the guy who invented the 24-second shot clock in basketball); the guys who invented aspirin, Halloween, the snooze button, the remote control, pizza and gambling. That's a killer first class. And my friend Wildes thinks we should throw in the first guy who looked at a cow and said "F this, I'm drinking that milk" in a fit of thirsty bestiality. That's a strong first class.
More importantly ... couldn't you want to walk around a Hall of Fame like this for hours? Why doesn't it exist? Why hasn't Budweiser built a Real Men of Genius Hall of Fame in St. Louis? This wouldn't replace the Arch and Albert Pujols as the No. 1 attraction in that city?
Q: According to Marquis Daniels' Wikipedia page, his tattoos include "a caricature of a man blowing his head with a shotgun on his lower right arm, and Chinese characters on his other arm which were apparently intended to represent his initials, but translate to English as 'healthy woman roof.' Where can I sign up for a "Healthy Woman Roof" C's jersey?
-- Bardo, Lincoln, Maine
SG: And you wonder why I love the NBA so much.
Q: I just finished watching Tiger's chip-in at the 2005 Masters for the 1,649th time, and I've decided that it's unequivocally the best YouTube clip of any sports moment ever. Think about it. First, the announcers set the scene, saying it's the hardest chip on the course. Then, the other announcer reminds us of Davis Love's chip in 1999, perfectly foreshadowing what comes next. Tiger sets up the shot and the announcers doubt him, one of the worst mistakes a golf commentator could ever make. Finally, he executes the shot perfectly. The ball hangs on the lip of the cup, slowly drops in, and the announcers go nuts. Then, in what may be the best part of the entire clip, Tiger and his caddy have one of the most awkward celebrations I have ever seen, totally missing their high five. Perfect inadvertent comedy. In just over two minutes, this clip has everything you could possibly want. I guarantee you can't find a better one than this.
-- Jim R., Milford, Conn.
SG: You make an incredible case. It's right there. It has everything. It's a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Still, it can't top the famous clip of the Edmonton Oilers fans singing "O Canada" before a 2006 playoff game, one game after Ducks fans booed the Canadian national anthem in Anaheim. Name me another sports clip that can give you chills for over a minute straight. You can't.
Q: I was thinking of how the steroid news stories were like the exact opposite of the popular saying "the gift that keeps on giving." I tried to think of what would be an appropriate tag which really covered how dreadfully awful this era has been for sports fans. The fart that keeps on lingering? The annoying relative who keeps on inquiring about why you're on your 5th year of college? The bag of feces that keeps on appearing at your doorstep? Help me out Simmons!
-- Sam H., Glen Ridge, N.J.
SG: The automatic debit that can't be cancelled? The cold sore that keeps coming back? The Brett Favre press conference that keeps happening? Montezuma's never-ending revenge? The dog poop that keeps getting stepped in? I gotta say. .. I think I like Sam's idea of "the fart that keeps on lingering" the most. Perfect description of the steroids era. Like being in a hot car with the windows rolled up and someone who just ate a bad enchilada.
Q: Welcome to the Tainted Sports Memory Club. It's nice to finally have you on board.
-- Steve C., San Francisco, Calif.
SG: Get me out of the car! It stinks like holy hell in here! Get me out!!! ROLL DOWN THE WINDOWS!!!
Q: Can we have a "signs of too much time at work" list? I'd like to inaugurate it with "reading steve blake's wikipedia."
--@sdotsom (via Twitter)
SG: Very good start. I'd include these as well ...
1. You did mock fantasy drafts in ESPN.com's mock draft lobby picking from every position 1 through 12, just to "get a feel for how everyone else is thinking."
2. You send your friends e-mails with subject headings like, "Jeter HGH -- WOW!" and "Have you seen the topless Scarlett Johansson photos?" with tiny URL links that actually direct them to naked photos of dudes and it never stops being funny to you.
3. You spent 20 minutes looking for the most horrifying photo of a naked guy for the above reason.
4. You have a Google alert for your own name even though you're not a celebrity.
5. You change your Facebook/Twitter photos every few days to "mix it up."
6. When your company once banned certain Web sites from being surfed at work, you reacted like a cross between Norma Rae and Karen Silkwood as people wondered, "Wait, why is he/she taking this so personally?"
7. You go outside with co-workers for their cigarette breaks even if you don't smoke.
8. You're running your office's pools for NFL Picks, NFL suicide, March Madness, the Oscars, the Emmys, the Royal Rumble and the AVN Awards.
9. You heard that this mailbag was up, then wrote into your work planner for today, "2:00-2:15: Take a dump while reading new Simmons mailbag."
10. You just read No. 9 on the bowl, laughed and talked yourself into the whole thing being a total coincidence.
Q: I am an engineer at GE Aviation. What this means is that I help design aircraft engines, engines that power many of the aircrafts that you may fly on. This means you are at my mercy. Luckily, the most powerful motivating factor in my job is that I do not want to screw up and have something happen to an airplane that YOU are on. What would I do without Bill Simmons's mailbags? I think this dedication to keeping you safe deserves a shoutout to all engineers in your next mailbag. Thanks. PS: I sent a similar note to John Madden once, and that is the main reason he does not fly to this day ...
-- Mike, Cincinnati, Ohio
SG: OK, that was reason No. 11.
Q: Can we put something in his contract where Tank Johnson would be obligated to play for whatever team is filming Hard Knocks for the season? It's his second time around on the show, and I am still mesmerized watching Tank do normal everyday human things, like talking to his teammates or assembling a bunk bed for his daughters.
--Mark Mayhugh, Fairfax, Va.
SG: I couldn't agree more. I would absolutely watch "Tyler Perry Presents The Tank Johnson Family" on TBS every week. Very funny.
Q: You know what we need from ESPN? We need on-air personalities to say "by the way" and "oh by the way" more. Hearing it a dozen times per segment is just not enough for me. I'VE GOT A FEVER! AND THE ONLY CURE ...IS MORE "BY THE WAY"!-- Jason N., Anchorage, Alaska
SG: And oh by the way, here's why that's a great idea -- it would keep every one of my ESPN comrades from sounding like they drank from the same Kool-Aid keg at some top-secret 2 a.m. brainwash session in Bristol, which, by the way, we have never been able to confirm actually happens or not, because, oh by the way, I've only been to Bristol twice in the past seven years, which, by the way, was not an accident because I am terrified of waking up in some walled room like one of the vacationers in "Hostel," a movie that, oh by the way, has a ton of gratuitous nudity, which, oh by the way, isn't a bad thing. By the way, let's move on.
Q: Please, Please, Please ... for the love of God. Don't talk about, don't even mention (The Quarterback Who Shall Not Be Named) in your next mailbag. I can't take it. You are my one outlet where I can go to escape the things I don't want to face in this world, and this is definitely one of those things.
-- Trevor B., Woodsville
SG: Kind of sad it's gotten to this point, no?
Q: We were discussing this at work, and we couldn't come up a good answer. Now that Michael Jackson is dead, who becomes the creepiest person alive? I voted for Al Davis, but I don't think he is as recognizable to the general public.
-- Bill, Colorado Springs, Colo.
SG: Also, he's not alive. That's another problem. I judge the "creepiest person alive" question by five components: First, are they persistently, ubiquitously, inexplicably, almost unfathomably creepy? Second, does that creepiness triple or quadruple in HD? Third, does their creepiness suck all forms of unintentional comedy out of them because you can't even enjoy their creepiness? Fourth, would you be terrified to leave one of your young kids with them? And fifth, if you were sitting in a steam room by yourself and they walked in, dropped a towel and sat naked five feet away from you, how alternately horrified and frightened would you be? Using this criteria, there's only one answer: Phil Spector.
Q: I recently emailed you about me and buddies going to a game and heckling Diana Taurasi. Well, we did it. The Chicago Daily Herald focused on us for a good part of the article on the game and I thought you'd be interested.
-- Joel, Racine, Wis.
SG: See what happens when you expect great?
Q: In light of John Hughes death (one of my favorites of all time) I ask you this obvious question about "Ferris Bueller's Day Off": How is it possible to fit so much into roughly an eight hour span?
-- Mike, Columbia, Mo.
SG: Glad you brought this up. Four things amazed me after Hughes' untimely passing. First, I couldn't believe how little I knew about him given he was one of the biggest influences of my formative years, and beyond that, I couldn't believe how little thought I had given to him (not only during that time, but after). Second, I was shocked to find out that he wrote "Mr. Mom" and "Vacation." Either I knew this and forgot it, or I never knew it. Third, if you were doing a 10-round fantasy draft in which you could own the entire IMDB.com resume of any writer/director on DVD, John Hughes would go in the first round ... and I didn't realize this until after he died.
Fourth, it's astonishing how completely he owned the '80s compared to anyone else. When I think of a pure '80s movie, there's a specific time range (1982-1987), a specific bent (teenagers are misunderstood and deeper than we think, adults are evil or nonexistent, rich people and school administrators irrevocably suck), a definitive musical feel (can't be fully defined, but you know it when you hear it), a certain rewatchability (good movies that gained steam culturally once they hit cable) and had to resonate with people of that age range (the future Generation X) in a unique way. Well, I was there. I was John Hughes' target audience: born in 1969, weaned on pop culture, geeky and idealistic, loved music, thought way too much about stuff. And really, if you stuck 20 DVDs in a time capsule as a way to explain to future generations, "This is what the '80s were like," you'd have to include these 15 movies: "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," "Risky Business," "Vacation," "Sixteen Candles," "Beverly Hills Cop," "The Breakfast Club," "Karate Kid," "About Last Night," "St. Elmo's Fire," "Ferris Bueller," "Better Off Dead," "Pretty in Pink," "Can't Buy Me Love," "Rocky IV" and "Top Gun." John Hughes was directly involved in five of the 15. This is amazing. And it doesn't even cover "Home Alone," the greatest kids movie of all-time (in my opinion, anyway).
In the last mailbag, I wrote how it's so difficult for anyone to be overrated or underrated in this day and age. But up until the moment he died, you could argue that Hughes was the single most underrated person in Hollywood. I mean, I follow the movie world as diligently as anyone and was still learning things about him after he died. I wish I had written about him before now, but honestly, it never occurred to me to do so. Which is why he was so underrated.
OK, back to Mike's "Ferris" question. So many readers asked me this that I almost felt obligated to figure it out until I remembered something: Realistically, Ferris and Cameron didn't pick up Sloane until somewhere between 9:30 and 10:15. They lived at least 25-30 minutes from downtown Chicago and returned home at about 6. We know this because Sloane looked at her watch right near the end. So that means in the span of slightly less than eight hours ...
They drove to Chicago; dropped off the car; visited the top of the Sears Tower as well the Stock Market; went to the Museum of Art long enough for Cameron to have a life epiphany; cabbed it over to the French restaurant; ate lunch at Abe Froman's table; headed over to Wrigley Field; attended an afternoon Cubs game long enough for the pizza guy to tell Ed Rooney that it was the third inning (and for Ferris to catch a foul ball); headed back to downtown Chicago; took part in a parade in which Ferris sang "Danke Schoen" on a giant float without having rehearsed it; picked up the car; drove home; hung out at Cameron's pool; spent at least 20-25 minutes trying to take the miles off Cameron's car and watched Cameron subsequently destroy his father's car and then tell them he'd take the heat for it (which always bothered me because no father would forgive something that creepy, and besides, unless his father was molesting him, how bad could he have been that you'd destroy a beautiful piece of machinery like that?); left Cameron's house so Ferris could walk Sloane home; then Ferris sprinted back to his house to make it in time for dinner.
Seems improbable, right? No way all of that stuff happens in less than 10 hours unless they basically made a two-inning cameo at the Cubs game and left. (Conceivable, by the way. How can you top catching a foul ball? And if Sloane hated baseball and pushed for them to leave after 2-3 innings, wouldn't the logical next stop for them -- if a girl who hated sports was running the show -- be that art museum?) But there's no way to know, which leads me to the following idea: Shouldn't three Chicago kids re-enact Ferris' entire day and see if they could pull it off in less than eight hours? Bring a couple of Flip cameras, tape everything, see if you can do it and stick the results on YouTube. John Hughes would be proud.
Q: Hey Bill, want to laugh for 20 minutes? Put "Butt" in front of all sports team nicknames. "Pirates", "Chargers", etc. Friggin hilarious ...
--Beau, Miami, Fla.
SG: Oh, boy ...
Q: Wanted to use this as an ultimate frisbee team name but got vetoed (I blame the co-ed aspect of the league). OK, here it is: Deep Throw It. Say it fast and put your mind in the gutter. Note: This could work for various sports.
--Matt N., Halifax, N.S.
SG: Getting closer ...
Q: Last night, I think our babysitter caught me looking down her shirt. She was wearing a cowl neck, so it wasn't that hard to do, and I thought she didn't notice. But then, when my wife and I came back, the babysitter noticably covered up when she bent over to pick up her purse. Given that she's the only relibably babysitter we have, should I refrain from looking in the future?
--Scott, Atlanta, Ga.
SG: Coming in for the landing ...
Q: My freshman year of college, my roomate had this old girlfriend coming to see him. He went on and on for weeks about how hot she was and all the great sex they were gonna have. Then she showed up, had just gotten out of a back brace due to a car accident and had gained an honest no BS 50lbs. Having no real out, he got drunk and slept with her anyway and then spent the rest of the year defending it. The point is, I had forgotten all about this years ago and then suddenly Dumars resigned Ben Wallace, and it all came flooding back.
-- Mark, Seattle, Wash.
SG: Yup, these are my readers.
Bill Simmons is a columnist for ESPN.com. For every Simmons column, as well as podcasts, videos and more, check out Sports Guy's World.
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