After a month at ESPN, I have to say, the question that I've been asked the most -- besides where to find the Britney Spears link from last week -- is what it's like to work with the Sports Guy. Like everything else, it changes from second to second.
Almost all of what I do is contingent upon: 1) what's on the Web; 2) who's reading; and 3) who's writing in. For instance, it could be 3 p.m., and nothing's really going on, and bam! Some idiot gets arrested, drunk, covered in nacho cheese, and I've got a link. Or Carlos Boozer jumps ship to the Jazz and somebody spends 45 minutes writing a Robert the Bruce analogy, and I've got something to read. Or better yet, an unsolicited e-mail from some pseudo-celebrity intended for him comes to me instead, and I've got something to read, then forward to all my friends (I mean, to Simmons).
The highest of highs came last Friday. Our link of the week was to dougchristie.com, the homepage of a poor, enslaved swingman who happens to be married to aspiring fashion baroness Jackie Christie. Thanks to a reader tip, we found that the link to "Contact Doug" from his home page immediately re-directed you to Jackie's site, so we included it. But an hour after the links went up, we started getting a flood of e-mails. The link didn't work. Others said that only the first page sent you to Jackie's, and none of the others did. I had no idea what the hell was going on, but whatever it was, I liked it. I shot Bill an e-mail.
Subj: have you seen this??!
Date: 7/16/2004 3:52 PM Eastern Daylight Time
I think we managed to generate enough traffic to crash Doug Christie's link to his wife's page. Another person wrote in that it didn't used to link to his wife's page, somebody hacked into it. Either way, this is, indeed, a proud day. Somebody's sleeping on the couch tonight.
Subj: Re: have you seen this??!
Date: 7/16/2004 3:58 PM Eastern Daylight Time
It really was. And not five minutes later, the phone rang in the office where I'm temping.
"Good afternoon ..."
(WHEEEEEE, ERRR, WHEEEEEEEE)
A fax blast in the ear and it's back to reality.
In short, that's what it's like. Onto the links ...
CNN (7/22) -- Canned "CSI" actor George Eads now says he missed the first day of the show's shooting not because he was holding out for more money, but because he didn't wake up in time. "It's like I'm the quarterback with the Dallas Cowboys and I overslept the first day of practice," he said. "I'd expect the coach to have me run hills and run wind sprints until the sun goes down, not you know, completely fire me." Or, you know, he might have realized that Rob Lowe is now playing "Dr. Vegas."
CBS News (7/22) -- Reader Matthew Zipf asks, "Now that they have found Bobby Fischer, can they remove that movie from ESPN's Top 25 list?"
NY Times (7/21), registration required -- I can't decide if this William Rhoden column about Carlos Delgado not standing during "God Bless America" is newsworthy or not, but it sure begs one question: What would have happened if Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf's NBA career hadn't ended early in 2001? Other than a lot more twitching?
IMDB.com -- If you thought "Fox Force Five" sounded over-the-top, check out the description of a 1999 pilot directed by Ben Stiller and starring Jack Black, Owen Wilson, Ron Silver and to no one's surprise, Christine Taylor. I think this one needs to be revived, if only because the creepy subway guy from "Ghost" was involved. "GET OFF ... MY ... TALKING MOTORCYCLE! GET OFF! GET OFF! GET OFF!"
The Onion (7/21) -- "Study: Majority of Americans Out of Touch with Mainstream."
Sons of Sam Horn (7/21) -- Red Sox owner John Henry takes time out of his busy schedule to respond to shaky insurance fraud claims on a Red Sox message board. Could somebody please tell him he shouldn't have passed on "Back to the Future II"?
Yahoo! News (7/20) -- A look at the commemoration in Germany of the 60th anniversary of Nazi officers almost killing Hitler. In that case, I'll be expecting the L.A. Clippers "We almost signed Kobe" victory parade down Figueroa in 2064.
ESPN (7/19) -- A hidden gem in the article about Nelly buying into the Charlotte Bobcats: M.L. Carr is also a part owner! Maybe majority owner Robert Johnson was swayed by M.L. being almost lucky enough to win the 1997 draft lottery with twice as many ping-pong balls as anyone else.
AnnaBenson.net -- By popular demand, the homepage of the extraordinarily better half of Pittsburgh starter Kris Benson. After seeing her measurements and favorite hotels listed prominently in her bio, TrophyWife.com would have been a much better name for this site. But as a Red Sox fan, in the spirit of Jeff Suppan and Scott Sauerbeck, I say we need these two (Benson and his wife) in Boston.
BANNED BY PAGE 2 EDITORS (7/18) -- One week after we (don't) publish the most explosive link in Page 2 history, we can't publish the follow-up link as Justin sticks it to Britney yet again -- details in a foreign paper about JT's (alleged) cheating on Cameron Diaz with Angelina Jolie's "Tomb Raider" body double. Check this quick; it'll be "for-pay" by weekend's end, which makes sense considering this tabloid is the New York Times of shady celebrity sex gossip.
(Note from Simmons: "Once Diaz broke her nose in Hawaii, it was only a matter of time. She looks like Scottie Pippen now. Why isn't anyone talking about this? It's the Hollywood tragedy of the year!")
Women's Wall Street -- Because we're just having too good a time here, here's a terrifying account of reporter Annie Jacobsen's brush with suspected terrorists on a flight from Detroit to L.A. at the end of June. It's long, but once you start reading, you're probably going to want to finish, and then you're probably never getting on another airplane again. Bonus reward: After you finish, here's a mug shot of Bill Gates to cheer you up.
The Oregonian (7/18) -- The Blazers' Qyntel Woods cuts his hair and vows to change his ways. This comes from a guy who once gave a trading card to a cop that pulled him over. From a comedic standpoint, I could see this working for NFL rookies Stephen Jackson and J.P. Losman this season. Thanks to reader Jason Roeser for sending these two in. Now just tell me where I can buy wall-sized versions.
Reality TV World -- A few details from Mark Cuban on his new reality show "The Benefactor," including Cuban saying that "it's like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. When you walked into Willy's factory, you had no idea what the game was." Don Nelson, I guess that makes you Slugworth.
Gallagher Smash -- "Why do they call it Final Fantasy when they keep adding new versions?" Well, now we know what Gallagher's been working on the past 15 years. At his official site, you can get his reaction to being named the 100th greatest stand-up comedian of all time by Comedy Central. For my money, he's also the funniest bald guy with a mustache to smash a gallon of yogurt with a huge wooden sledgehammer.
Toronto Sun (7/16) -- "Survivor" producer Mark Burnett says he may film the show in Canada in 2005 ... just about the time Jenna Lewis starts her dancing career in Montreal.
Minor League Baseball (7/16) -- A minor leaguer sets the record for strikeouts in an inning with five, which reminds me, what's the most hits a team can get in a half-inning without scoring a run? (Answer to come; "Baseball Tonight" anchors not eligible).
Houston Chronicle (7/16) -- A group of angry homeless people in Galveston has vowed to wage a "war from hell" on local hoodlums. Yikes. At what point do they call in the National Guard, or better yet, implement the Light Rail?
Yahoo! News (7/14) -- In a somber reminder of the reality of "Man on Fire" (a glaring omission from Tuesday's Vengeance Scale), Manu Ginobili's family is going to have protection in Argentina after officials got wind of a kidnapping plot against them.
(Whew. This seems like a good place to take a break and answer the trivia question. The answer is six. First guy gets a hit, tries to steal, gets thrown out. Next guy gets a hit, tries to steal, gets thrown out. Single. Single. Single. But here's the kicker. If the next batter hits the ball and it hits a baserunner, the runner is out, but the batter is still creditied with a hit. There. This should be enough information to win you a pint somewhere. Now back to the links ...)
ESPN.com -- If you're wondering why Simmons' teeth look so white the next time he's on TV, check out the ESPYs gift bag, the retail value of which is approximately $600,000. Either he gives me the Under Armour fleece or he can find himself another intern.
Florida Today (7/14) -- Cremation Night? Who were the ad wizards ... ? There hasn't been a ballpark promotion so misguided since Derek Lowe tragically blew a save at Derek Lowe Poster Night in 2002. Recounts my friend Mike Pizz, who was at Fenway for it: "It started when some genius up in marketing decided that everyone in attendance should receive a poster of a wide-eyed Derek Lowe reading a book. It ended with thousands of Red Sox fans of all ages, including those not yet in grade school, showering the field with their posters. It was a literacy promotion gone out-of-control, and the legend of D-Lowe: The Starter began soon after." Only in Boston. Or Philadelphia.
MTV News (7/13) -- From the Department of Turnabout Is Fair Play, the rap community has decided to pay Elton John back for the "Stan" duet with Eminem. May a Mercedes crash into the living room of whomever at MTV called Sir Elton "the Piano Man."
BretHart.com (7/12) -- With a scathing retort to accusations Ric Flair makes in his new best-seller, Bret Hart takes the "Link of the Week" championship back to Calgary ... and unfortunately makes me want to buy Flair's book. I mean, seriously, get this! "Ric apologized to me saying he was having problems at home, but today he's telling some bulls*** story about Charles Barkley and the Ultimate Warrior." I think there needs to be a full-fledged Congressional investigation into this sentence alone.
Some Random Web site -- And finally, a little something to pass the time until next week.
If you have a suggestion for "The Links," mail it to SGWeeklyLinks@comcast.net.