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Thursday, December 5, 2002
Updated: May 31, 2:16 PM ET
Ramblings from the Left Coast

By Bill Simmons
Page 2 columnist

Thoughts while wondering if a sex scene between Carmela and Furio would be the most horrifying moment in TV history ...

Before heading out on Thanksgiving morning, I made a few NFL bets on the Internet ... and I think the Pilgrims would have wanted it that way.

There isn't an hour that goes by where I'm not thinking, "Good God, I'm a four-hour car ride from Vegas."

Those damn TV writers! Oh, wait.
I'm not ready to fully discuss Mr. Belding's performance on "Saved By The Bell: The E! True Hollywood Story," but I will say this: Once Mr. B mentioned that (a) he grew a mustache so he could "distance himself" from the Mr. Belding character to pursue other roles, and (b) he was still upset about the last two seasons of the show because the writers "took too many liberties" with the characters of Screech and Mr. Belding ... I mean, I had to be carried out of the living room.

After the NFL owners solve this overtime possession crisis over the summer, can they pass a rule that Koy Detmer has to keep his helmet on at all times?

Put it this way: When the Supreme Court finally hears arguments to decide whether or not women are completely insane, the prosecting attorney should force the Court to watch every episode of "The Bachelor."

As one of the 20 diehard NBA fans left on the planet, I don't think I've ever been happier to be dead-wrong about anything than this whole "Yao Ming in Houston" thing. How do you say "Good times" in Chinese?

Speaking of Yao, I love when Yao gets quoted in the newspaper through his translator, but they're always ridiculously stiff quotes like, "I talked with Steve Francis after the game, and I told my diminutive 6-foot-1 friend to be more forthcoming with the ball, and that good things would happen, that we would eventually bathe in our own success."

Pete Carroll
When Pete wins, everyone else has no excuse.
The fact that Pete Carroll is a runaway success as a college football coach ... I mean, that certainly isn't helping Steve Spurrier's case right now.

My favorite random LA moment of the past two weeks: While preparing for Thanksgiving dinner at a friend's house, their next-door neighbor came over to borrow some cheddar cheese ... and it was none other then Mandy from "Temptation Island 1". These things just don't happen in Boston.

Nothing beats watching golf highlights and hoping that somebody clicked a photo during Tiger Woods's swing. "Oh, jeez, not during my swing! Come on! God dang it! Really!"

Hey, how long before MTV spins Jack Osbourne off into his own show, gives him a million dollars to start his own record label, then just starts the cameras rolling? I'm telling you, I should be running a network.

Before I die, I hope I attend an NBA game when a disgruntled team employee loads the famous clip from "The Shining" -- when Jack Nicholson swings the ax into Scatman Crothers's chest -- then plays it during a fourth-quarter timeout when the crowd is expecting one of Bluto's speeches from "Animal House." People would be absolutely stunned. And speechless. This needs to happen.

I never got the memo ... when did it become okay for Kermit the Frog to make a comeback? Why didn't they make the new Muppets movie just of Kermit urinating on Jim Henson's grave for 90 straight minutes?

Ruben Patterson
"Everybody Loves Ruben!" ... Tuesdays on FOX!
Note to my editors: Let's re-run my "High School Yearbook Quotes" column, just so we can include Ruben Patterson's masterpiece from his 2001 press conference in Portland: "I'm not no bad guy. I'm not no rapist. I'm a great guy.'' Thank you, Ruben.

My random disappointing moment of 2002: Getting the three-DVD "Beavis and Butthead" series from Time-Life, popping one in, then realizing that they yanked every "Cracking on the music videos" sequence and kept just the sketches. Unbelievable. That was like accidentally buying an "edited for content" rap album, but 25 times worse.

Speaking of rap, I'll summarize Missy Elliott's new song "Work It" for you, just in case you haven't heard it: I'm looking for a man with significant locker room prowess, and when I find him, I will definitely take care of him, so if you feel like you might qualify in this regard, please let me know, but just be warned, I'm probably going to check your equipment just to make sure that you're not lying, because in case I didn't make this perfectly clear, I'm really looking for a man who's, um, healthy, so please, let's not waste your time and mine, if that's cool with you ..."

I can't wait for the NBA playoffs to start, just in case somebody convinces one of the teams to pull a "2002 San Francisco Giants" and have all the player's kids on the bench. And I mean, all the player's kids.

Frankly, I still can't believe I ate Thanksgiving dinner with someone who uttered the words, "I hate Will Ferrell."

Courtney Thorne-Smith
Next up, "Sideout II."
Just think, only 10 years ago, Courtney Thorne-Smith was sitting in her trailer on the "Melrose Place" set and thinking to herself, "You know, even if the show doesn't stay hot forever, at least my career will still be in good shape ... I mean, it's not like I'll have to play Jim Belushi's wife on an ABC sitcom or something."

I keep waiting for the SportsCenter show when Linda Cohn says, "Later on in the fourth, watch Jason Williams throw this no-look pass into the stands, and then watch this -- a vein comes flying out of Hubie Brown's neck!"

To answer your questions, "Yes" (I'm excited about the Theo Epstein Era) ... "No" (I'm not bummed out that the new Red Sox GM is younger than me) ... "Absolutely" (I would much rather see them roll the dice with a young prodigy than a retread who failed somewhere else) ... and "Yes, I've heard that one before" (the joke about Theo's Mom writing a letter to Larry Lucchino explaining that Theo will be late for his first day, then signing it, "Signed, Epstein's mother"). And just for the record, I will defend Theo to the death. It was the right move. So there.

If the guy who directed "Lord of the Rings" ever meets Jerry Krause, I just hope it happens under a bridge.

Hey, can Corey Dillon just defect from Cincinnati, like a Cuban baseball player or something? What if they were playing in Houston one weekend and Corey refused to leave the visiting locker room? Would that work? What if he refused to get on the team plane? Or he drove to Cleveland, made a makeshift raft and had one of those terrifying water journeys across Lake Erie to Buffalo? Something clearly needs to happen here.

Slap me down for a $5,000 bid, if Jerry Buss ever puts his toupee on eBay.

When you're holding a drink at a dinner party and two waiters come around, the sudden choice between "Pigs in a blanket" and "Scallops wrapped in bacon" -- knowing that you only have one free hand -- has to be one of the all-time out-of-nowhere conundrums in the history of mankind.

You knew it was coming, but I'm giving it to you, anyway ... where do I cash in my "Rasheed Wallace and Damon Stoudamire will get arrested for marijuana possession" stock?

Nuthin' but class at 'Sheed's crib.
By the way, it was tough choosing a favorite part from the "MTV Cribs" episode at Rasheed's house. But as much as I enjoyed the state-of-the-art movie theater, the full-length basketball court, the rose garden and the requisite "Scarface" poster, the fact that Sheed built a urinal in his master bathroom really can't be topped. That was the funniest random house feature since Big Boi's stripper pole. Excuse me 'Sheed, can you pause "Scarface" and load the bong? I have to use the urinal again.

I'd have to rank my favorite TV interventions like this: 3) Christopher on "The Sopranos"; 2) Dylan on "90210"; 1) Bailey on "Party of Five."

If there's a more exciting Internet moment then when your new baseball team finally becomes official and you can check your Triple-A guys for the first time ... please, let me know.

Does Billy Corgan sit around thinking, "If I blew my brains out right when Kurt Cobain did, we'd be considered the Magic and Larry of the Grunge Era"?

When it comes right down to it, if I could pick one athlete to watch in any sport, I'd pick Michael Vick. Kobe would be second. And Vin Baker would definitely be last.

Other than the fact that it's 75 degrees every day, nothing gives me a bigger rush in California than going into Starbucks every morning and asking for a "large coffee." It's like a personal affront to everyone behind the counter, just because you didn't say "venti" or "grande" or whatever the heck it is. I can't recommend it highly enough. It's legitimately the highlight of my day.

Speaking of coffee, here's a leftover question from my last days in Boston: When you recognize the new teller at your local bank as the guy who used to serve coffee at your local Dunkin Donuts, is it okay to congratulate him on his new job? I'm still trying to figure this out.

There's comedy, there's high comedy, there's transcendant comedy ... and then there's

For the 10 who got the Lakers joke ...
Washington reader Matt Kepniss points out that the Lakers strength and conditioning coach is named Jim Cotta. Jim Cotta! That absolutely slayed me. Does Jim Cotta have Kobe and Shaq performing karate moves on a concrete pommel horse? Do the Lakers train during the offseason in Parmistan? And are there 10 people on the planet who understand these jokes?

When Brett Favre retires, I'm rooting for the Packers to sign Marc Bulger and revolve the offense around Bulger, Donald Driver and Bubba Franks. They could even bring in Vince Voyeur and Dale DaBone as offensive coordinators.

Here's my barometer for a drunken night: The next morning, you open your contact lens case and have absolutely no idea whether your contacs will be in there.

Wouldn't you have loved to have been in the room after HBO pulled the plug on "Arli$$," when Robert Wuhl casually mentioned to his former bosses on the way out, "Guys, now that the show's done, maybe we could take advantage of this DVD craze and put out a few DVDs," and all the HBO higher-ups were hemming and hawing and saying, "Yeah, Bob, excellent idea, we'll definitely look into it ... we'll let you know ..."

Frankly, I have no idea how I left off "Steven Seagal when he's running" off the Unintentional Comedy Scale.

When ESPN unveils its "SportsCentury and Beyond: The Inexplicable Disappointments" series, Ronald Curry better get his own two-hour special.

Real World
I'm done with your girl, so how 'bout some 8-ball?
My favorite "Real World" tradition is the "Female roommate's boyfriend visits for the weekend, then plays an awkward game of pool with a male roommate who's secretly hooking up with the guy's girlfriend" tradition. That's right up there with the Rockefeller Christmas tree getting lit, or the Dolphins falling apart in December.

Burning questions: What do they call a Brazilian bikini wax in Brazil? Has any show been ripped off more shamefully and relentlessly than "Pardon The Interruption"? Is there a more dated '90s movie than "The Net"? Does ESPN dub Suzy Kolber's voice with Barry White's voice during the Sunday night telecasts? Does it get any better than seeing the Knicks and Heat at the bottom of the standings? Is anyone else excited that the Bush Twins are 21? Does anyone else think that the AFC East is a four-way tie at 9-7 waiting to happen? Could somebody please explain the difference to me between soccer hooligans and college football fans? And shouldn't the NFL make a rule that Tim Dwight plays one year for every team, just to spread the wealth?

Honestly, I'm just glad that Jerry Rice is getting a long-overdue happy ending in Oakland.

My buddy Gus is the kind of guy who plays multiple seasons of "Madden 2003" in the franchise mode, then calls me at 12:30 a.m. just because he's stunned that Matt Hasselbeck won the 2010 League MVP.

All right, I'll ask: How does Dusty Baker chew on the toothpick for that long? I can't even get 20 minutes out of a toothpick ... somehow Dusty goes 11 straight innings. Has Bob Ley investigated this yet?

When Clark Kent gave up his superpowers to marry Lois Lane in "Superman 2," he made Doug Christie look like Ike Turner.

Finally, don't you love when a random baseball team loses their grip on reality every winter, like the Phillies this month? They're like the token drunk guy with a new credit card on eBay right now. Did you ever wonder if all 30 teams draw straws at the GM Meetings, and the team that draws the short straw has to make as many short-sighted, ridiculous signings as possible, just so the Player's Union doesn't suspect collusion because nobody else is signing anyone? Think about it. Everyone else cuts payroll, salaries go down, and the Phillies take the heat for one year. Next year, they draw straws again and somebody else is playing the drunken eBay guy. It almost makes too much sense, doesn't it?

(Hmmmmmm ...)

Bill Simmons is a columnist for Page 2 and ESPN The Magazine, as well one of the writers for ABC's upcoming late night show, "Jimmy Kimmel Live."