I have very few rules in life, but here’s one of them: Anytime the Celtics inexplicably extend the contract of a head coach who won 56 games in two seasons, I have to make myself feel better about it by writing a mailbag. The good thing is that we were long overdue for a mailbag. As always, these are actual questions from actual readers:
Q: Would you eat a poop hot dog to guarantee the Celts the top pick in the Oden/Durant sweepstakes?
–Tom, Salt Lake City
SG: I’m already eating a poop hot dog — it’s called “the Doc Rivers extension.”
Q: Is it possible that Darko’s performance against the Pistons in the playoffs rated below a 0.0 on the Vengeance Scale? Think about it, it was technically Darko’s revenge since he was the guy traded, but the Pistons faithful (even the team possibly) have got to have it out for him more since he cost them Melo, Wade, Bosh, Hinrich, etc. Can you rate a negative on the Vengeance Scale? Is this a hypothetical reality (like time travel) that can’t actually exist in reality? Is the universe going to explode?
–Will, Los Angeles
SG: You can’t go lower than 0.1 on the Vengeance Scale. It’s impossible. I’d rank Darko 0.2 on the Scale for his 2007 playoffs performance, but only because it’s impossible for anyone to act less vengeful than O.J. Simpson trying to find “the real killers” (a 0.1 and the lowest we can go). By the way, you know what Vengeance Scale moment has gained more momentum as time passed? Justin Timberlake’s release of “Cry Me A River.”
When I wrote the column three years ago after the Lakers traded Shaq, I pencilled in JT for an 8.9. But when you factor in Britney’s freefall over the past three years and remember that everything started with “Cry me A River,” I mean … doesn’t that surpass “Hit ‘Em Up” as the most destructively vengeful song of all-time? “Hit ‘Em Up” ended with 2Pac and Biggie both getting gunned down; “Cry Me A River” ended with Britney going off the deep end at the exact same time JT released a monster hit album, co-wrote “D**k in a Box,” dumped Cameron Diaz and bagged Jessica Biel and Scarlett Johansson within a three-month span. I have to upgrade him to a 9.5 for the way everything turned out. Sorry, Pac.
Q: I just ran the ESPN mock lottery 10 times and seven out of 10 times the Celtics did not have either the No. 1 or 2 pick. Please get this page off the site before my head explodes. Thanks.
–Michael K. Andover, Md.
SG: We’ll do our best. By the way, I played that game twice — one time, the Celts got first, the other time, they got second. That’s when I stopped. It was like playing two $100 hands of blackjack, getting blackjack both times, then walking away. I feel great. I’ve never felt more confident with 39.8 percent odds in my entire life. On second thought, why am I even excited about this? We’ll probably get the No. 2 pick and trade it to Seattle for Robert Swift and cash. Just shoot me. I’m not kidding. Put a bullet in my head.
Q: They should adopt “The Inferno”‘s “Good Guys vs. Bad Asses” premise for the next NBA All-Star Game. You could have Stephen Jackson, Ron Artest, Rasheed Wallace, Kobe Bryant and Zach Randolph starting for the Bad Asses and Tim Duncan, Steve Nash, Dwyane Wade, Elton Brand and Kevin Garnett for the Good Guys. They could even set up an opening sequence the same as “The Inferno,” from them riding on the Jeeps to the contestants turning into animals. Hilarious.
–Jeremy, Grand Forks, N.D.
SG: You’re a genius. It’s really the only way to save All-Star weekend other than having each All-Star put up $1 million of his own money for a “winner takes all” game. By the way, here’s reason No. 356 why “The Inferno” needs to officially replace hockey as our fourth major team sport: Alton refusing to participate in a grape-squashing challenge in which the men were wearing Speedos because he’s “hung like a horse” and didn’t want to be embarrassed. You simply can’t get these moments in the NHL. I’m sorry.
Q: “With the 2007 offseason, the New England Patriots select … Super Bowl XLII!”
–Brent M., Winston-Salem, N.C.
SG: (Nodding happily.)
Q: During “Shooter,” I managed to stumble across my Hollywood crush, Kate Mara. She is the absolute most gorgeous thing I have ever seen AND she’s the granddaughter of Wellington Mara, which means she’s freaking rich. Is there, like, an official “Sugar Mama” list? If so, she has to be somewhere near the top, right? And if there isn’t, can we start one?
–Sean, Harrisburg, Pa.
SG: You’re right on with the Kate Mara love, but I’m not sure she fits the official definition because it’s inherited wealth down the road. Who knows if she has to split up the pie with siblings and cousins? For instance, if you land George Steinbrenner’s daughter, you get to take over the Yankees in a few years. There’s no guarantee like that with Kate Mara, right? Plus, she’s a young actress with a good film career ahead of her, so you’d have to worry the whole time that she might do a movie with Josh Hartnett or Leo DiCaprio and within 10 days of filming, you’ll be getting the “We need to talk” voice mail.
Besides, under the true definition of a Sugar Mama, she should be older (anywhere from late 30s to late 40s), independently wealthy and somewhere between cute and beautiful, she shouldn’t have any kids and, if possible she should be doing a ton of traveling so you can hang out and do nothing all day and she’d never have a clue. The best movie examples were Mimi Rogers in “Someone to Watch Over Me” (New York socialite with a cool apartment) and Tom Cruise’s rich girlfriend in “Cocktail” — now those were Sugar Mamas. In real life, Katie Couric probably comes the closest to fitting the definition because she’s dating a 33-year-old right now and looking like a mortal lock for the 2007 Sugar Mama ESPY. But the ultimate would be Jennifer Aniston — between her looks, money and relatively young age, plus all the traveling and her lack of self-esteem after the Jolie-Pitt fiasco and her plastic surgeon spilling the beans about her nose job, she’s an ideal Sugar Mama in every sense.
Q: I think Sebastian Telfair may have missed the point when Doc told him that he needed to work on his shooting in the offseason.
–Mike S., Cambridge, Mass.
SG: Congrats to Mike S. for being the 100th reader to mail me this joke. And you know what? I laughed every time. Hold on, I have to whack myself in the head with a replica of Brandon Roy’s Rookie of the Year trophy.
Q: I think you are the man to settle a nationwide dilemma: How much do you tip when you are getting takeout? Can we set a standard on a to-go order please?
–Alex, Bangor, Maine
SG: Like everyone else who ever worked as a waiter and/or bartender, I always over-tip unless the service was terrible. So I’m probably a bad person to ask because I always give 20 percent for any takeout order (at the very least, you should give 15 percent). But here’s a realistic tipping scale for unconventional service people:
— Cab drivers: 20 percent if the ride went well, 12-15 percent if the cab stinks like holy hell and/or they terrorized you with their driving, 10 percent if you felt like your life was in any danger at any time; 5 percent if you were convinced that they were organizing a crime on their cell phone while they were driving you.
— Coffee baristas: Just throw any loose change you get back in the cup. Doesn’t matter if it’s 35 cents or 90 cents. Over time, it evens out. If you’re getting two or more drinks, you have to chuck a dollar in the cup, plus loose change. Or else you’re a cheapskate.
— Parking valets: Just add $5 to whatever they charge. It’s only fair. They were just in your car.
— Hotel room service: There’s usually a service charge, so make sure you add a tip to bring it up to 22-25 percent. Those guys have the suckiest job of anyone — they have to ride in an elevator with your food, set everything up, and if that’s not enough, they’re always terrified when they enter the room that you might have a porn movie on or something. Take care of those guys.
— Curbside baggage handlers: $4-5 for every bag. Don’t stiff these guys or they might send your bags to Europe.
— Sushi chefs: A weird one for bar customers because you also have a waitress who doesn’t do that much (drinks, wipes, that’s about it). I leave 10 percent on the bill, then another 10-15 percent for the sushi chef in cash. It’s the right thing to do. He was handling raw fish and might give you salmonella the next time.
— Deli meat cutters: I’ve been trying to start a movement to tip these guys for five years. Seriously, who does more — the guy who turns around at Starbucks, fills a coffee cup and hands the cup to you, or the guy who’s slicing $30 worth of extra-lean cold cuts? Why don’t we tip these people?
Q: Everyone outside of New York and Boston thinks Yankees and Red Sox fans are the same exact person living in two different cities. I see no difference at all between the two fan bases. You are both loud, obnoxious, have ridiculous accents, put stupid pressure on your players, spend money to the point it makes the game unfair, spend way too much money on Japanese pitchers and think your city is far superior to everywhere else’s. Am I missing something?
–Josh, Tampa, Fla.
SG: Yeah, you’re missing the part where we root for teams that win 95-100 games every year and finish 30 games ahead of the Devil Rays. You left that out.
Q: I’m in L.A. for the week with a friend and we caught the Lakers-Rockets game. After taking her sightseeing to Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Laguna Beach, Malibu and Santa Monica, nothing impressed her more than the size of Jack’s boys. I swear to God she must’ve taken 15 zoomed-in pictures of them from across the court. Kobe puts up 53 points, including a game-tying 3-pointer to send it into OT, and all she can think about is this man’s testicles. Any chance we’ll see him in a celebrity sex tape soon?
–Tegan, Lake Hauto, Pa.
SG: The sad thing is, I just spent the last 25 minutes trying to think of a name for Jack’s first sex tape and couldn’t come up with it. “Two Flew over the Cuckoo’s Next”? “As Droopy As It Gets”? “Something’s Really Gotta Give”? Come on, there has to be an answer for this one. And yes, I’m desperately trying to distract everyone from the revelation that Jack sways like a grandfather clock.
Q: Hey Bill, I am five months pregnant and my husband and I need help picking a baby name. We decided whatever you choose we will go with. We don’t know if we are having a boy or a girl, so please choose a name for both. Thanks!
–Nichola, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
SG: For a boy: Stephen Jackson. That’s a must. Do it for me. For a girl, go with Jennifer and the middle name of somebody in one of your families who recently died so you’ll win points with your parents. There was an overkill on the name “Jennifer” in the ’80s and ’90s and now everyone’s afraid to name their kid “Jennifer” — she’ll be the only girl named Jennifer for a 10-year span. Those are my picks.
Q: What do you do when you’ve reached Jerry West status in your fantasy league and no one will trade with you because they’re afraid you’re ripping them off? I feel like I have to make a horrible trade to get my action back.
–Chad, San Diego
SG: Really good question. To make sure we answered it properly, I reached out to Matthew Berry, who writes the Talented Mr. Roto column for ESPN.com and won a 2001 Best Screenplay Oscar for his “Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles” script. Here’s what Matt had to say:
“Long before I was actually earning a living doing this, I was drawing hate e-mails for shark-like deals myself. Remember, making killer deals is part of the game and anyone who whines about a ripoff trade is just bitter because they didn’t get there first. You don’t need to make a bad trade — you’d need to do a lot of them to change your rep and it goes against everything that is holy and good about fantasy. My suggestions:
“1. Call the prospective trade partner instead of e-mail. Much easier to say no to an e-mail, much easier to be persuasive on the phone.
“2. Have the other guy suggest a trade and make sure he knows ‘Everyone is available.’ You don’t have to trade Jose Reyes, the guy just has to think he’s available to start negotiations. Nothing kills trade talk like ‘Everyone’s available except A-Rod and Halladay.’ What, you think I’m calling about Esteban Loaiza?
“3. Butter the guy up. Say to him on the phone ‘Yeah, I ripped Billy off, but he’s an idiot. You know what you’re doing, so I gotta be fair here.’
“4. When you make the deal, don’t crow about it to your league mates. Defend the trade from the other guy’s perspective. You probably won’t win honesty points, but you’ll live to trade again.
“5. Don’t e-mail the Sports Guy comparing yourself to Jerry West. If you’re that desperate, just find a new league.”
(Note from Simmons: My sixth tip for any sports columnist battling the effects of Jerry West status would be to refuse to answer this question in your mailbag, have Matt Berry do it for you, then make it seem like you needed Berry’s help when the reality was that you didn’t want the saps in your AL-only baseball league to think you were disrespecting them.)
Q: April 18, 2007 … that was the day Maria Bello, from “A History of Violence,” “Coyote Ugly” and “The Cooler” (excellent movie), turned 40. She’s a no-brainer to lead the Diane Lane All-Stars.
–Andre, Gulf Breeze, Fla.
SG: It’s like when Jack Nicklaus joined the Senior Tour when he turned 50 — nobody else has a chance for 3-4 years. And if that makes Diane Lane the ceremonial Arnold Palmer-type figure, so be it.
Q: If you had the privilege of casting the “Kings of Unintentional Comedy Tour,” who would make the cut?
SG: The sad thing about this question is that the cable networks have turned unintentional comedy into a cottage industry, so we’re almost in the era of Intentional Unintentional Comedy. Look at Flavor Flav — VH1 spun off two shows from him. Still, we could probably scrape a tour with the Mayweather brothers (Floyd and Roger), Mike Tyson, Sean Stewart, Brooke from “Real World Denver,” Suzyn Waldman, Julio Lugo (just for the incessant crotch-grabbing), Paulie Walnuts and Larry Merchant as the emcee.
Q: I couldn’t agree more about how contrived the Oscar-Floyd fight was. When I was a kid, some friends and I used to play a game called “What Would You Do If Marvin Was Coming At You”? It was based on how quickly you could think with a homicidal maniac stalking you (like, say, Marvin Hagler in a boxing ring) and all rules of reality were suspended just like in a cartoon, so you could pull out a ball-peen hammer and defend yourself, etc. Invariably it ended with one of us saying that we would simply lay down, crap our pants and play dead — hoping that Marvin would be disgusted and just move on to his next kill. But that was what boxing used to be. And it’s what is missing now.
–Brian M., New York
SG: Couldn’t have said it better myself. More importantly, is it too late to sell the TV rights to called “What Would You Do If Marvin Was Coming At You?” Can’t we just switch Marvin with Mike Tyson, then pull Mike off his antidepressants for three weeks and let him loose?
Q: Be honest, you don’t really think David Stern fixed the 1985 lottery, right?
–Kevin, Queens, New York
SG: As much as I’d love to keep perpetuating the greatest rumor ever … no, I don’t actually believe that Stern fixed the 1985 lottery. More importantly, he’s an honorable guy and wouldn’t do something like that. The thing I loved about the “>YouTube clip, and why I had so much fun with it in my blog a couple weeks ago, was that we’ve been joking about that lottery for 22 years, and then the clip suddenly surfaces and there’s the guy banging an envelope against the side, and there’s Stern juggling a couple of envelopes until he found the creased one, and — boom — the Knicks get the first pick!
But realistically, there’s no way. Not even Stern could have the wherewithal to glance for a split second at a glass case while standing on live TV, somehow locate the right envelope, finagle the envelopes and find the right one … and do this within two seconds. It’s impossible. I’d love to see someone try to reenact this on TV, actually — it could be like when the History Channel tries to have a lone gunman reenact Oswald’s shooting performance in Dallas. I don’t think anyone could pick the right envelope that quickly more than one out of every five times. Well, unless they froze it.
But out of all the urban legends floating around about Stern right now, I believe only three of them:
1. He secretly suspended MJ for 18 months because of his gambling problems.
2. He can two-hand dunk on a 10-foot rim. I don’t know if this is true, but I like to believe it, if that makes sense.
3. He pushed for the NHL to hire Gary Bettman as commissioner because, deep down, he knew Bettman would do an atrocious job and eventually eliminate the NHL as a winter competitor. Which is exactly what happened. That was like Michael Corleone convincing a rival casino to hire Fredo to run everything. No, really, he’ll be great, you guys are lucky to have him! It kills me to let him go, I don’t know what we’ll do without him!
Q: You may be aware that “The Price is Right” is holding auditions for a new host. I suggested Magic Johnson and my brother indicated that Magic’s selection would be the “final straw” in purchasing a DVR. Do you have any other candidates, from either the sports or nonsports world?
–Mark D. Washington
SG: With Magic Johnson already on the table? Hell, no! Why would I want to jeopardize his candidacy with another choice?
Still, I can’t believe they’re replacing Bob Barker — it’s like Jerry Seinfeld retiring from “Seinfeld” and NBC deciding, “You know what, we’re gonna keep the show going with someone else, let’s see if we can get Jay Mohr.” No other game show host could combine the right mix of sarcasm, crustiness, smoothness, smarminess, athleticism (nobody was a better putter, not even Tom Watson in his prime), unintentional comedy and raw, unadulterated, “I might look old, but it wasn’t that long ago when I was involved in a sex scandal with one of the Showcase models” sexuality that made Bob so great and unique. And since that’s the case, they should just cancel the show.
Q: You called Dirk Nowitzki “the big German” (in a recent column). Why don’t you call Carmelo “the big African” or any Mexican player “the big Mexican?” I’m not a politically correct person, in fact, this country and its media is way too judgmental and needs to lighten up. Just want you to be a bit more consistent with your analogies or descriptives. Thank you.
SG: That was this month’s winner of the “Pull the Bug Out of Your Ass” Award.
Q: Looking over your response in the last mailbag to reader backlash with your “two white guys” comments, I’ve determined that your “bug up your ass” comment was unacceptable. Bugs are animals too and we need to respect their rights! Suffocating a bug with fecal matter is one of the most inhumane things I have ever heard of.
SG: You’re right, I’d like to apologize to bugs, as well as everyone who’s ever cared about bugs. Just know that I don’t hate bugs.
Q: You should market a Bill Simmons laptop stand for toilets. I don’t have a printer and the laptop’s battery keeps burning my junk while I’m reading on the toilet.
–Jason, Kailua Kona, Hawaii
SG: Interesting, I can’t believe Carrot Top hasn’t jumped on this yet. Anyway, I had Page 2’s Kurt Snibbe draw something up that could work — it’s a little laptop stand that extends up and then forward (so you don’t have to crouch over to read it) and comes with a roll of toilet paper, a cupholder and a power outlet. We’re calling it the Hemorrhoid Maker 1000.
Q: Any chance that the U.S. pulling out of Iraq could have Ewing Theory implications? You know, we pull out and suddenly and inexplicably democracy flourishes and everyone gets along?
Q: As I was thinking of all the people I’d rather have running the Celtics than Danny Ainge (it’s a long list), I came up with a new idea for a reality show called “The Next Celtics GM.” Twelve Celtics fans would compete in challenges like “contacting Kevin Durant’s mother without getting fined by the NBA,” Boston Rob could host and America could vote off someone each week. The last remaining contestant would become the new Celtics GM and have the pleasure of firing Doc Rivers on the season finale. Think you could pitch that idea to the suits at ESPN?
–Jason Q., Muncie, Ind.
SG: Done and done. Along with your Durant challenge, other challenges would include …
1. Convincing a panel of NBA experts that every Celtics young player, except for Al Jefferson, is not a bench player at best.
2. Looking the other way as Doc cancels yet another much-needed practice during a losing streak so he can fly to Orlando to see his family.
3. Sell reporters on the fact that Kendrick Perkins has shown real progress over the past four years, even though his offense consists of one move that could best be described as “throw a jump hook against the backboard at 200 mph.”
4. Come up with the best possible excuse why we won’t spend the free agent exemption every year that doesn’t include the words “we’re freaking cheap.”
5. Call Portland, offer Theo Ratliff and Bassy Telfair’s $2.5 million cap figure for Brandon Roy, Raef LaFrentz and Dan Dickau, then see how long you can keep them on the phone before they hang up laughing.
6. Execute as many puff piece interviews as possible in two hours with the Boston Globe, Boston Herald and WEEI in which you get away with saying stuff like, “We feel like we already have two franchise players, and that’s before you include Oden or Durant,” and “we may have won 23 games, but I really feel like we’re a playoff team trapped in the body of a lottery team” without anyone calling you on it.
7. Unveil your “projected reaction” after getting Oden or Durant on May 22 and try to out-do the Christmas kid in the famous YouTube clip.
8. Announce with a straight face to a packed room of media people that you just extended the contract of a coach who won 56 games combined in 2006 and 2007.
Q: With a 15-0 lifetime record at WrestleMania, does The Undertaker deserve to be thrown in the “most clutch performer ever” argument? He’s gotta be right up there with Brady and Jeter, no? Not even Tiger or Federer has dominated the way the Undertaker has.
–Chris, Meriden, Conn.
SG: Yeah, but aren’t his accomplishments tainted a little because he’s the Prince of Darkness? I mean, none of those other superstars you mentioned died and came back to life, right?
Q: Is there a bigger twerp in professional sports right now than Bud Selig? This guy’s got the posture of a defrocked Catholic priest. He should start giving press conferences in leg shackles with a jacket pulled over his head. I keep expecting him to stroll into Chris Hansen’s kitchen with a four-pack of wine coolers.
–Frank G., Norfolk, Va.
SG: That was this month’s “Really Evil E-mail That Made Me Laugh Out Loud.”
Q: You incorrectly used the word “untracked” in a sentence. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but train analogies are fairly common in sports terminology, which is why I believe the term “untracked” is a misuse of the phrase “on track.” When a batter is slumping, he is like a train off its tracks (in other words not working properly, going nowhere, that sort of thing). The batter needs to get “on track” so he can go back to operating smoothly and efficiently. He doesn’t need to get “untracked.” Right? You can’t argue that there is some track the batter is on that is taking him away from where he wants to be. No one builds tracks to nowhere. Therefore, being on track has to be a good thing.
–Jeff P, Boulder, Colo.
SG: I have no defense. Thanks for getting me untracked.
Q: I’ve been trying to come up with the words to describe that thing on the back of Drew Gooden’s head/neck. So far I came up with “neck goatee” and “vertebrae toupee.” Suggestions?
–Jim D., Perrysburg, Ohio
SG: I’d go with “lost bet.” There’s no way Gooden grew that thing on his own accord. I think he was playing poker with some teammates on the plane, they soaked him of everything he had, he wanted to keep playing, and then Damon and LeBron told him, “All right, if you lose this next hand, you have to shave your head for the entire 2006-07 season except for one really ugly patch of hair on the back of your neck.” And he stupidly agreed. I don’t care what he says now, that’s what happened.
Q: My friends and I were trying to figure out which celebrity would be the funniest person to find out that they were the banker on Deal or No Deal. The best we could come up with is Fred Savage. Can you do better than that?
SG: I’d have to go with either Robert Conrad, Pete Rose or Coolio.
Q: I was randomly thinking about “Mr. Holland’s Opus” the other day: Where does the scene in which an old white guy teaching a young black guy how to find the beat rank in the most totally improbable movie scenarios of all time?
–Ben L. Shrewsbury, Mass.
SG: Come on, that’s not even one of the top-four most improbable scenes in the movie! I’d rank them like this in reverse order …
• The scene Ben L. mentioned.
• The scene when Mr. Holland comes home from work bummed out because John Lennon just died, then his deaf son asks him “What’s the matter?” in sign language, so Mr. Holland tells him, “John Lennon died … you wouldn’t understand.” Who would say something like that to their deaf son? You wouldn’t understand, dummy! You can’t hear music! Hell, you can’t hear anything! That was awful. I hated Mr. Holland after that.
• Everything that happens with the big play when he has the unspoken sexual tension with the super-cute actress who ended up playing the wife on “Yes, Dear.” First of all, wouldn’t she be dating the star quarterback or star point guard? Really, she goes gaga for her tiny, balding, surly, 50 year-old music teacher? This would happen? Second, Mr. Holland honestly considered leaving his job, his wife and his handicapped son so he could take a bus to New York with Rowena, his new 17-year-old girlfriend? We’re supposed to like him after this?
And third — this is the one that really gets me — Mr. Holland starts writing a song that he titles, “Rowena’s Theme” (apparently the other choice for a title was “That Schoolgirl I Want to Bang”) and as he’s working on it, his wife notices and asks, “Who’s Rowena?” So he gives some stammering explanation about how Rowena was a Greek Godess. And right after it’s over, he asks his wife, “Hey, you comin’ to the play? It’s this weekend?” Hey, Mr. Holland, you know what they have at plays? Programs with everyone’s name from the cast! You didn’t think Mrs. Holland was going to notice that the smoking-hot star of the play was named “Rowena?” What an idiot.
• So Mr. Holland gets fired at the end and he’s packing up his office, when out of nowhere, his son and wife show up to help him move out. And they’re walking out of the school when Mr. Holland says, “What’s that noise?” and heads over to the auditorium … he opens the door and it’s everyone in the school, as well as everyone who ever passed through his life, and they’re all there for a “Goodbye Mr. Holland” party. How could they possibly pull that off? He didn’t notice the cars or hear anyone? Everyone kept it a secret? We’re supposed to believe this? And then … as if this wasn’t improbable enough, his old student (now governor) shows up and gives one of the meanest speeches ever, including the classic comment, “He wants to be rich and famous … but he’s not rich, and he’s definitely not famous” (thanks, honey), before revealing the band made up of everyone Mr. Holland ever taught. And then the band proceeds to play Mr. Holland’s never-finished opus, with a sobbing Mr. Holland conducting, and it sounds great even though most of the people hadn’t picked up an instrument in 10-20 years.
So here’s my question: What are the odds that this party went off without a hitch and these losers from music class could jump right back on the horse like that, read sheet music again and play their old instruments that well? A million-to-1? Ten million-to-1? Infinity-to-1? This movie drives me crazy.
(Note: I’ve been thinking of starting a new feature called “Cable Movies That I’ve Seen Too Many Times And Now Drive Me Crazy Every Time I Watch Them.” Next up: “48 Hours.”)
Q: Does it bother you that Curt Schilling is starting to act like Patrick Dempsey around the hour mark of “Can’t Buy Me Love?”
–Chris C., New York
SG: There’s no bigger Schilling fan than me … and even I’m feeling like he might need to bring it down a notch. So the answer is yes. Let’s concentrate on the important stuff — like how this could be the first Red Sox team to win 100 games in a season since 1946, or how Josh Beckett is on pace to finish 34-0, or how Manny and Big Papi haven’t even really gotten going yet and the team’s still 23-10, or how my Uncle Ricky (a diehard Yankee fan) e-mailed me Thursday crowing because the Yankees had finally reached .500 on May 9. How the mighty have fallen.
Q: I just upgraded to the TNT playoff deluxe package and highly recommend it. It’s essentially the exact coverage offered on basic cable, but for only $900 all “House of Payne” advertisements are blocked out. Best decision I ever made.
–Drew, Lexington, Ky.
SG: For an extra $900, could we get an alternate broadcast with Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery calling every Golden State game on TNT? If so, I’m in for $1,800. Sign me up.
Q: As a woman who loves sports and likes to talk about sports at work, one office chatter that I can NOT stand is when brides-to-be talk about their wedding nonstop for six months prior to the wedding. Then, they continue to talk about it months after. Is there a cutoff point to where you cannot talk about wedding crap at work after the “big day”? My co-workers and I have been trying to think of a sports situation to compare this to. Can you help us out? Also, can you help us out on how to get them to get over it?
–Kari, Kansas City, Mo.
SG: I’m the wrong guy to ask because my team won the World Series in 2004 (that was like planning a wedding), then we continued to talk about it for months and months and everyone else thought we were insufferable. Hell, I even wrote a book about it, which makes me the sports equivalent of the annoying woman in your office who won’t stop talking about her wedding. But you know what really helped? Hundreds and hundreds of e-mails from anonymous readers telling me to shut the hell up. So maybe that’s what you should do — just create 600 different Gmail accounts and start barraging her with angry e-mails. She’ll get the hint. Eventually.
Q: I like your idea of real-time heart rate monitoring at the PGA. Failing that, here’s another concept I’d like to see on the Tour: a “loud round.” At one event, all those in attendance are free to scream at the players as much as they like. The tee box, fairways and on the green — all are fair game. And, of course, once the ball is struck, the gallery falls into a gut-wrenching silence — no applause at all. It’d be interesting to see who’d rise to the occasion.
–Gus H., Milltown, N.J.
SG: Love the idea and think we should be doing it with both tennis and golf — I never understood why everyone has to be silent while guys are hitting golf balls and tennis balls, but it’s okay for everyone to scream while a major league baseball batter is trying to swing at a 100-MPH fastball that might bean him in the head. Anyway, why couldn’t we just turn the PGA Championship and Australian Open into the “Loud Majors” and allow constant cheering/booing/screaming at both events? Both of those events need an identity of their own, right?
Q: Am I the only one that found Jackie Robinson’s widow attractive during the Dodgers game on April 15th. I realize the woman is in her 80s, but when they first showed her in the booth on the Dodgers’ game last night, she appeared eminently dateable. Yes, I was sober, and yes, I realize that psychotherapy may be an option to explore.
–Wade B., Berwick, Pa.
SG: Yup … these are my readers.
Bill Simmons is a columnist for Page 2 and ESPN The Magazine. His book “Now I Can Die In Peace” is available in paperback.