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Friday, December 17, 2004
Updated: May 31, 2:27 PM ET
Hunkering down in the mailroom

By Bill Simmons
Page 2

Welcome to Week 15 of the NFL's first annual Free Money Giveaway! For the sixth straight week, the Big Five (N.E., Pitt, Indy, SD and Philly) covered every possible 3-team teaser against the Small 27 (everyone else). If that wasn't enough, the three other big favorites (Denver, Baltimore and Green Bay) also covered every possible 3-teamer. You could have teased those eight teams every possible way and gone 28-for-28. That's pretty good.

You know what? You know what to do at this point: Look at the Seattle and Jacksonville money lines, think about a Colts-Bucs tease, think about throwing the four double-digit favorites (Pittsburgh, New England, San Diego and Philly) into every possible three-teamer, accept the fact that you're going .500 on everything else, and don't forget that the Michael Conrad Memorial "Let's be careful out there" warning sign is still flashing. We're still overdue for a Wacky Week. But maybe a Wacky Week not happening will be wacky in itself. Who knows?

In the mean time, I'm taking the week off and answering my mail. As always, these are actual questions from actual readers.

Onto the mailbag ...

Mister T
The International Court in The Hague recently ruled that no Mr. T reference can be considered without the phrase "jive turkey" being included.
Q: Do you think that Karl Malone went with Clubber Lang's "Hey woman!" line when he made the pass at Mrs. Bryant?
-- Bill M., Atlanta

SG: I don't think he needed it. As much as I liked Clubber Lang, there's nothing he did in "Rocky 3" that topped the "I'm hunting for little Mexican girls" line. Has there ever been a better senior yearbook quote? Imagine flipping through your yearbook 40 years from now and seeing ...

I'm hunting for little Mexican girls.
-- Karl Malone.

Would you have any regrets? Of course not.

Q: How did you not mention the Sox voting Nomar a full World Series share? This isn't a lifetime achievement award. Sulking through 38 games doesn't get a share in my book. I'd vote a share the cadaver that they practiced Schilling ankle surgery on first. Thoughts?
-- Frank T, NYC

SG: Actually, he wound up getting a three-quarters share, not a full share -- but I'm sure that was fair. If Nomar hadn't sulked his way into a trade, there's no way the Sox would have won the World Series. They should have given him two shares, a year's worth of OCD medication and the URL for www.thanksbeautiful.com.

Q: Help me settle a little bet here. Which celebrity would sell the most magazines if she chose to pose for Playboy? I know not much has been left to the imagination, but I say it's Britney Spears. My buddy says Jennifer Aniston. And how much longer will we have to wait for the Jennifer Love Hewitt pictorial? Talk about needing a career boost.
-- Nolan Robinson, Portland, OR

SG: Great question -- sparked a heated debate with me and some friends a few weeks ago. Here was the consensus:

Honorable mention...:
Britney -- Hard to believe she barely cracked the top-five, but we've just seen too many pictures of her smoking cigs with her white trash husband. They always look like they're about 10 minutes away from being busted on "Cops." And has there ever been a bigger freeloader than Kevin Federline? Should we just pencil him in now for the 2010 edition of "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here"?

Jessica Simpson -- Baring it all in the controversial "I'm only trying to get back at my father!" spread. There's something decidely un-sexy about her though. Maybe it's the epilectic seizures during her singing.

Anna Kournikova -- Although she'd be much better off "accidentally" leaking a sex video. That could cause the entire internet to crash.

Lindsay Lohan -- A solid runner-up choice because we could solve the "Implants: Yes or no?" dilemma once and for all. I'd be combing through those pictures like Gil Grissom looking for carpet hairs on a dead hooker.

The winner ...
The Olsen Twins -- For the inevitability. For the morbid curiosity. For the sheer magnitude of the whole thing. I just feel like this would be the "Where were you when JFK died?" moment of magazine issues. Everyone would have to see. Sure, we'd be looking at two girls who weigh a combined 165 pounds, and the results would be invariably depressing and possibly scarring ... but yes, everyone would have to see. Everyone. So there you go.

Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen
Like slowing down for a horrific car accident, you just have to look.
Q: Why did Ron Artest leave the game early?
-- Matt Moore, Philly

SG: Why?

Q: He wanted to beat the crowd.
-- Matt Moore, Philly

SG: (Shaking my head.)

Q: I am currently a junior at THE Ohio State University and I am studying political science in order to go to law school eventually. I have recently grown tired of political science and I couldn't help but become rampantly jealous of Mr. Simmons' job. I was wondering what he studied in college.
-- Ken Buckley, Columbus, Ohio

SG: Bad news: I majored in political science. Or maybe that's good news? I don't know. And just for the record, I took not one, not two, not three but FOUR classes on the Middle East in college, yet I couldn't even point out the Gaza Strip on a map at this point. If you're breaking your butt for final exams right now, just keep this in mind: You will forget everything you learned within 5 years. I promise you.

(How was that for a Post-Exam Week pep talk?)

Q: I hate you and all your teams and still read you every time I take a dump. Hopefully that makes you uncomfortable.
-- JB, New York, New York

SG: In the words of Ed McMahon, "Yes! Very uncomfortable, sir! Ho-ho-ho ... not feeling at ease, yes."

Q: I think Ron Artest has entered rarified air now. He's officially a person who, if a friend said, "Did you hear that (fill in celebrity's name) just (fill in the insane behavior: urinated on a police officer, began breeding unicorns, etc.)?", I would have no problem believing it was true. I think this space is occupied by Mike Tyson, Michael Jackson, Courtney Love, and the late, great ODB. Can you think of any others?
-- Brendan Quinn, Philadelphia, PA

SG: First of all, fantastic theory. I think we should call this "The Tyson Zone." Others who qualify: Dennis Rodman; Omarosa; R. Kelly; Landon from "The Real World"; Najeh Davenport; Suge Knight; Flava Flav; Brigette Nielsen; anyone in G Unit; Billy Joel; Andy Dick; Lindsay Lohan's Dad; Anna Nicole Smith; Margot Kidder; Tara Reid; Lil John; Gary Busey; Ricky Williams; any pregnant female; the late Bison Dele; Liza Minnelli; Paris Hilton; and Henry Winkler.

Q: Adult gorilla costume, yes or no?
-- Joe G., Hingham, MA

SG: No.

Q: Is Amy Poehler hot?
-- Nate S., Lexington, KY

SG: Absolutely. Without all the other stuff, she probably goes down as "cute." But when you throw in her sense of humor, the time she cried when Bono hugged her during U2's last performance last month, the homoerotic comedy dynamic with Tina Fey, and all the clandestine drug references on national TV ... no question, she's a keeper. You should go for it, Nate.

Jane Curtin
Any involvement in the show "3rd Rock from the Sun" calls for an immediate disqualification.
(Here's a better question: Who's the hottest female cast member in the history of SNL? Pretty slim pickings, when you think about it. Jane Curtin was pretty attractive back in the day. Same with Victoria Jackson. Other than that, they always seem to have women who vacillate between "pretty cute" and "not that cute" depending on the camera angle or how many drinks you have in you at the time. At gunpoint, I think I'd go with either Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who didn't really blossom until "Seinfeld," or Nancy Walls, a cast member during Will Ferrell's first season. Never figured out why she didn't make it. The other obvious choice would be Sarah Silverman, but since she dates one of my friends, um ... let's just move on.)

(Wow.)

(This is uncomfortable.)

Q: I'm not a big Survivor fan -- but I did watch the final show last night. Wasn't Chris's victory (after all his male compatriots were eliminated) the reality show equivalent of the Red Sox comeback from 3-0 in the ALCS?
-- Mark M., Pepper Pike, OH

SG: I say no. For three reasons:

1. Any alliance built around loyality between three or more females was doomed to hell. Women can't trust each other in groups. Two of them getting along is hard enough ... but six? Please. You knew the claws would come out -- it was inevitable. Women are bred to stick together and eventually destroy one another. They're like pit bulls.

2. Once he reached the Final Five, Chris became the prohibitive favorite. Only Julie had a chance to beat him with the jury. By the final episode, he was a mortal lock. With the Red Sox, you weren't totally comfortable until the ninth inning of Game 7.

3. There is no reality-TV equivalent to the Red Sox coming back from 3-0 in the ALCS in the same series that involved the New York Yankees giving us The Greatest Choke Job In Sports History. I'm not sure there's even a life equivalent to this.

While we're here, I have one "Survivor" gripe: Every final episode, someone in the Final Two gets creamed by everyone in the jury for being a liar, cheater, double-crosser or whatever. But isn't that the point of the show? You get people to trust you, then you double-cross them. When they keep referring to "The Game," I mean ... isn't that the game? If you conduct your business out in the open, you end up getting whammed in the back like Ami. It's inevitable. And when people say stuff like "I hope that million dollars is worth your self-respect" and "I wanted to win, but not that bad," how could anyone say something like that? YOU'RE ON A REALITY-TV SHOW! YOU JUST WERE ROLLING IN PIG SLOP TRYING TO PICK UP PIGS! Just once I want someone to say, "Well done, you're a better scumbag than me, congratulations" and that's that.

Q: So where do Jeff Probst's "Carrying the votes to the final tribal council" cheesy montages rank on the Unintentional Comedy Scale. Prior to last night, the best was from Amazon where he goes on a Jet Ski and we were supposed to believe he Jet Ski's from the Amazon to New York. This year's blew that one out of the water. Between the machete, the parachute jump and the motorcycle, I thought I was going to die.
-- Mike

SG: I'm going with a 97 out of 100. My favorite part was when Probst was chopping through the heavy brush with the machete, and then the sun came out like he had been doing it all night. Just a phenomenal performance. Even Joey Greco wouldn't have attempted that one. Is there anyone who isn't enjoying the Jeff Probst Era? Why hasn't ABC hired him as a sideline reporter for NBA telecasts yet? Imagine him breaking down Kobe before the Christmas game with his "Now, Kobe, you and Shaq have had your problems, no question about it ..." routine?

Q: I had a dream the other night. You were in it, and you were walking out of my local 7-11, and I ran up to say hi to you. You had weird, saggy eys, and extremely puffy, purple lips, and you hated me. Jerk.
-- Phil, Toronto

SG: Are you sure it wasn't A-Rod?

Alex Rodriguez
A-Rod hurries past first base on his way to the 163rd St. 7-11.
Q: If you have a moment I need your take on the Renteria deal. Why not just keep Cabrera for a few million less?
-- Mike Joubert, Los Angeles

SG: I'm with you. OC was an A-plus defensively and came through time and time again ... plus, he was the Unintentional Comedy champ in the World Series DVD's. I'm a big believer in "Keep as much of a championship nucleus together as possible" -- you always want to avoid Kevin McReynoldsitis after a championship season if you can. Whatever; we won. I think I'm going to miss OC's at-bat music more than anything else. Every other guy on the team always picked one song at Fenway -- OC picked four songs for different points of the game. That always killed me.

No, man, I can't decide ... can I pick more than one?

Q: Bill, consider this an intervention. Stop with the wrestling comments. Wrestling is third-rate psudo-entertainment for white-trash morons (like bowling and NASCAR). Put down the can of Schlitz and step away from the trailor. Save your dignity; save your credibility. Please. For us, the fans ...if not for yourself.
-- Greg Ippolito, Philly, PA

SG: Wow, this guy managed to antagonize three fan bases with one e-mail: Wrestling, bowling and NASCAR. That might be an SG Mailbag record. But here's my question: Are the Monster Truck fans outraged that they weren't included, or relieved that they weren't included? I'm leaning towards relieved. But I'm willing to discuss it.

Q: Just rented The Bourne Supremacy last night, and the highlight of the DVD was of course the trailer for Miami Vice on DVD. Here's my question -- why wasn't there a bigger deal made of this? I just heard about it! This should have been front-page news! I should have received a call from Edward James Olmos himself.
-- Jason Oberheu, Westminster, CO

SG: Believe me, there isn't a person on the planet more excited for February 8th. Not even Philip Michael Thomas. On the Mundane Scale, you thought I couldn't top myself with these 3,500-word columns about the Clippers? Just wait until my 5,000-word episode-by-episode guide to the "Miami Vice" DVD in two months. It will be my crowning achievement of irrelevance. And you think I'm kidding.

Q: You recently wrote a column skewering any media members who dared claim that after the Sox won the World Series, you would have an "identity crisis" -- you said you were perfectly happy not being a perennial loser anymore -- yet one month later, announced that you are now a Clippers season ticket holder. Have you talked to a professional about why, a month after the World Series, you felt it was necessary to back the worst franchise in sports? Paging Dr. Melfi ... -- Dennis, Phoenix, AZ

SG: Very good theory ... except I bought the Clippers tickets in mid-July, about three weeks before the Nomar trade, when the Sox looked like they were headed for 90 wins and another winter of hell. As I explained many times, I bought the tickets because I've been attending NBA games all my life and I missed going. That was the only reason.

Top-six underrated things about Clippers games:

1. Those random NBA moments that you can't get on TV
For instance, during one game this season, a veteran on the visiting team was playing eye tag with a girl sitting courtside near the basket. She was pretty cute but looked like she had some miles on her -- she wasn't quite "Get My Own Scene" hot. (In other words, she looked like someone who could definitely crack a Skinemax movie, but not as the only girl in a sex scene, and definitely not as the lead detective or anything.) Anyway, they were mouthing words to one another, then he grabbed a pen and paper from the ballboy, wrote down his number and the ballboy ran it over during a timeout. And this happened in the final minutes of a tight game. Swear to God.

2. Guys watching the Jumbotron during a timeout as their coach diagrams a play.
I'm sorry, this never gets old. It just doesn't. Can you put a price on seeing a glazed Michael Olowokandi watching people kiss on the Jumbotron as Flip Saunders frantically draws up a play in front of him?

3. The food
Every arena always has one go-to item. The Fleet Center has the Bill Simmons Special (the chicken fingers and fries); the StaplesCenter has the Barbecued Beef sandwich at the 11th Street Deli. I'd give it a 15 out of 10. They also have something called "Cornucoppia," which is like caramel Cracker Jack, only if you removed all the peanuts. And it's in the shape of a megaphone. Fantastic stuff. Although I think I could have diabetes by March at this pace.

Violet Palmer
Somewhere Dee Kantner is agreeing with everything Simmons says.
4. The referees
You really can't believe how bad NBA referees are. It's astounding. Every season for the last ten, one good referee has left ... now we're down to Danny Crawford. That's the list. During last week's Celtics game, the legendary Violet Palmer was involved, who deserves her own "SportsCentury" at some point. Nobody has ever been worse at their job, in any vocation -- not even the people who work at Home Depot selling Christmas trees.

(Note: When Violet started officiating a few years ago, she was so incompetent, players and coaches actually avoided arguing with her -- whenever she screwed up, they would always glance around helplessly, the same way you would if your puppy dropped a deuce on the living room carpet. But now she's been around for a few years and people are fed up. On Monday night, Doc Rivers was one bad Violet call away from ending up in a white Bronco with Al Cowlings. I love this stuff.)

5. The cheerleaders
See, the Celtics won't hire cheerleaders because they're afraid Red Auerbach will have a heart attack. My feeling is this: If Red can deal with players punching fans, cornrows and tattooes, crotch-grabbing, power forwards wearing pigtails and everything else, I'm sure he can handle a few cheerleaders. But since no Celtics owner wants to be the guy who gave Red a heart attack by okaying cheerleaders, the Celtics can't have them.

The Clippers? They have cheerleaders. And there's really no downside. If I'm with the Sports Gal, she gets angry when I'm staring at them for too long, which is always funny for some reason. (What am I supposed to do when they come out, turn around?) If I'm there with a friend, I get to make "Coming up on Stage No. 5, the lovely Crystal!" jokes, or we play games like "Which of these girls has probably seen Corey Maggette naked?" and "Which girl probably has a sordid porn appearance in her past?" Again, no downside.

And then there's No. 6 ...

Q: Just wanted to let you know that what appears to be a major porn star is a season ticket holder to the Clips. During the Celtics game I shared a row with Racquel Darrian, who is apparently a rather accomplished professional in the adult industry. I was noticing the hot chick with the smoking body and the Clippers jersey on, but the jersey had a URL in place of the name on the back. A few people asked her what it was, and she said "it's my website, you should check it out."

When I got home from our rousing double-OT win -- innocently, out of curiosity mind you -- I remembered her advice and typed in the URL frozen in my head. I got an eyeful to say the least. I then searched on her name and all sorts of things came up. In hindsight, her boyfriend's paranoid glances make total sense. Every time they'd get up, he'd leer at everyone as if he was trying to catch us checking out his girlfriend. Now I realize he was looking for the "I've seen her %^#%" looks on our faces! Classic stuff. Laker games give you Selma and Tyra, Clippers games give you porn! I love this game.
--Joe Sanders, La Quinta, CA

SG: See, this stuff never happened at a Celtics game. We were lucky to get one of the Wahlberg brothers.

WEEK 15 PICKS
Home teams in caps

Steelers (-10) over GIANTS
Redskins (-3.5) over NINERS
FALCONS (-3.5) over Panthers
Seahawks (+6) over JETS
Cowboys (+12.5) over EAGLES
LIONS (+3) over Vikings
Chargers (-10) over BROWNS
BENGALS (PK) over Bills
Jaguars (+3.5) over PACKERS
BEARS (-1) over Texans
BUCS (-7.5) over Saints
CARDS (+1.5) over Rams
CHIEFS (-1) over Broncos
RAIDERS (+2) over Titans
COLTS (-7.5) over Ravens
Dolphins (+9.5) over PATRIOTS

Last Week: 8-8
Season: 103-99-6

Q: hi
--Ryan, Philly, PA

SG: hey there

Q: Another Alonzo Mourning comeback? What's the over/under on how many kidneys 'Zo will go through in his lifetime? 8? 10? I mean honestly, how many sick kids out there need a kidney and this guy is going through them like Nelly goes through Cristal.
--Dan B., Chicopee, M
A

SG: I know, I know ... tasteless e-mail. But the punchline was fantastic. Can we really discriminate against Dan B. for being funny just because he's headed to hell? That wouldn't be fair.

Q: I agree with you that John Navarre should not be starting in the NFL. However, he is FAR from obscure. Very important question for you, Bill: Do you even watch college football?
--John T., Chicago

SG: Sorry, I refuse to watch any sport where Pete Carroll can be considered a genius. One of my rules in life.

Q: I just turned 18, and I'm curious as to whether or not there is a list of rules I should abide by when making my first porn purchase. Do I make eye contact with the guy ringing me up? Is there a discreet manner in which people are supposed to pay? I'm struggling here, this is unchartered territory for me. Any suggestions?
--Danny S., Danbury, CT

SG: Rent a regular movie as well, so you don't seem like a pervert. Wait until there's nobody at the counter. Move as quickly as possible. Don't make eye contact. Don't speak unless spoken to. Try to have exact change. Don't wear a raincoat. And if there's a female behind the counter, abort the mission.

(Note: I subscribe to Adam Carolla's theory on this one -- namely, that men need the same luxury for porn rentals as women get for Brazilian bikini waxes. Notice how women invariably get waxed by someone who doesn't speak any English? Even though it's a potentially humilating event, it's almost like it doesn't count as a human interaction, right? Can you have an interaction when two people can't understand one another? Probably not. The same should go for strip club bouncers and people working behind the counter at a video store. They shouldn't speak a word of English. Don't worry, this is on Carolla's Presidential platform for 2008.)

Q: You wrote that Carlos Boozer stabbed Gordon Gund in the back. If a blind person is hoodwinked, since he can't see it coming, shouldn't it just be he "stabbed" him? Obviously, if you want to deceive a blind person, you can do it right in front of him. No need to sneak around. Am I wrong?
--James M.; Playa del Rey, CA

My Two Dads
A mullet, a dysfunctional family and comedy -- welcome to an 80's sitcom.
SG: I think you're right. And while we're here, does it make me a bad person that the Sports Gal and I were watching that commercial with Gordon Gund and LeBron last week, and I tried to convince her that it was an old SNL skit with Will Ferrell playing Gordon Gund?

(Wait ... don't answer that ... )

Q: Can you think of a better sitcom idea than "My Two Dads"? Your mom's dead and she was such a slut, we don't know who your real father is.
--Charlie Triemert, St. Paul, MN

SG: You're right, that was pretty good. If that show came around 15 years later, there's absolutely no question that both of those Dads would have been gay. In fact, there's still time. But I don't think it cracks the top-five sitcom ideas. I always thought the best possible sitcom could be summed up in one sentence, followed by the subsequent sentence, "Comedy ensues." If it sounds funny in two sentences, it's probably a winner. The premise behind "My Two Dads" was flawed because, in real life, they would have gotten a blood test to figure it out. But look at something like "Diff'rent Strokes," which could be described in ten words:

"Rich white guy adopts two poor black orphans. Comedy ensues."

(Now that, my friends, is a great sitcom premise.)

Q: Joe Torre: "You Red Sox are good, real good."

Curt Schilling: "The best."
--Greg B., Orange County

SG: I've been waiting my whole career to end a mailbag like that.

Bill Simmons is a columnist for Page 2 and ESPN The Magazine. His Sports Guy's World site is updated every day Monday through Friday.