|Sunday, January 13, 2002|
Bundini Brown, Annie Hall and Hammer Time
By Locke Peterseim
Special to ABC Sports Online
Reunited like Peaches & Herb ...
The set-up: As they entered this week's game, the Vikings had gone through some dramatic personnel changes at the top.
The quip: "[Vikings owner] Red 'Puffy' McCombs whacked Dennis Green in midweek, replaced him with Mike Tyson in an effort to stabilize the franchise."
The read: Rap impresario, record mogul, clothing magnate, restaurateur, Hamptons inhabitant, de facto Cristal spokesman, failed sports agent, sometime actor, fulltime Notorious B.I.G. eulogizer, Frank Sinatra to J.Lo's Ava Gardner (by his reckoning), sometime legal lightning rod and not guilty bystander of violent events Sean Combs supposedly got his nickname "Puffy" because of his habit as a prep school football player of puffing up his chest to make himself appear bigger.
When the football thing didn't pan out, he went on to make himself appear bigger by using other people's songs as melody lines for his pop hits. And when the pop hits stopped coming, Sean "Puffy" Combs changed his rap name from Puff Daddy to P. Diddy.
And just to bring it all back around to football, our little puffed-out-chested one was in fact supposed to play the quarterback in "Any Given Sunday" until those "creative differences" with director Oliver Stone got in the way. Jamie Foxx instead got the career-turning dramatic part, which led Foxx to the role of Bundini Brown in the epic "Ali." Which means that in some alternate universe somewhere there is a film credit that reads "Bundini … Diddy."
|Keepin' it real.|
The set-up: The camera showed a Ravens fan wearing a black wool cap.
The quip: "Did you see how the Ravens all wear that -- they're like tough guys in Annie Hall hats."
The read: Back in the mid-'70s, when Woody Allen still made great, funny movies and dated women born in the same half-century, he put his girlfriend and later just friend Diane Keaton in several of his best films, including "Sleeper," "Love and Death" and "Annie Hall." Keaton was born Diane Hall and nicknamed "Annie." "Annie Hall" is one of Allen's masterpieces, the point where he crossed over from making episodic gag films and moved into making episodic mature relationship films. It won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Actress for Keaton.
But more importantly, it succeeded where Gertrude Stein had failed, sending women off to rummage through vintage stores to emulate Annie's signature look: men's pants and suspenders, a tie, and a big, black men's hat. (It was designer Ralph Lauren who had put Keaton in the clothes.)
Several of the other Oscar nominated films in 1977 inspired similar crazes: "Saturday Night Fever" sold a million white polyester suits, "Star Wars" caused fully grown women to wear their hair up like cinnamon buns, and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" inspired thousands of middle-aged men to make mashed-potato replicas of national monuments and leave their families for outer space.
The set-up: Dan Fouts presciently pointed out that Ravens punter Kyle Richardson already had two bad snaps from center Dale Hellestrae just moments before Hellestrae completely bungled yet another snap.
The quip: "Foutsy -- you're like Kreskin but in a better suit!"
The read: Following on the heels of '40s nightclub mind reader Joseph Dunninger, New Jersey-born George Kresge, Jr., made a name for himself by taking his "mentalist" routine out of the nightclubs and onto the small screen. From 1971 to 1975, he hosted "The Amazing World of Kreskin" TV show, inspiring, according to Kresge, Johnny Carson's "Carnac" routine on "The Tonight Show."
The Amazing Kreskin insists he uses "the power of positive thinking" to perform his Amazing Feats and make his annual predictions, but most skeptics agree he's just another magician in an amazingly cheap suit.
The official Amazing Kreskin website (where you'll be driven stark raving mad by a never-ending, unstoppable midi version of The Alan Parsons Project's "Eye in the Sky") reminds us that Kreskin has offered to use his amazing powers to help O.J. Simpson find the real killer, even if it turns out to be O.J.
When Mr. Simpson did not respond to his amazing offer, Kreskin contacted Marcia Clark to see if she wanted some amazing legal assistance and Kato Kaelin to see if he just wanted to hang out with an amazing dude.
The set-up: Unable to mount any sort of formidable offense in the first half, the Ravens decided to go for their third field goal, resigning themselves to chipping away at the Vikings through a war of attrition.
The quip: "In mob lingo, the Ravens have hit the mattresses."
The read: In "The Godfather," after the Turk, Virgil Sollozzo, orders a hit on Don Vito Corleone, Vito's eldest boy Sonny won't hear any talk of talking with the Turk. Sonny insists the Corleones "go to the mattresses" -- that is, go into a "war-time" mentality and hole up in secret hideouts, sleeping on old mattresses on the floors and cooking their own pasta.
The potential for Lysol and Glade product placement in the scene was sorely wasted.
The set-up: Al Michaels noted that Miller had tossed off a series of obscure baseball references, including mentions of Cardinals Hall of Fame outfielder Joe "Ducky" Medwick's glove and World War II Pirates pitcher Rip Sewell's "eephus" blooper pitch.
The quip: "I'm feeling very Boswell-ish tonight."
The read: This one can actually go two ways. One possibility is that Miller was comparing his obsessive detailing of baseball's past figures with famed 18th-century diarist James Boswell.
Before he made his grand literary achievements, Boswell led quite the colorful life -- born into an "important" family, 20-year-old Boswell set off to London to study law and ended up with gonorrhea. From then on it was 20-some years of myriad ups and downs with both the bench and the ladies. However, what saved Boswell from being an utterly hopeless cad was his great fondness and aptitude for keeping a journal.
When Boswell was 22, he met the great essayist and dictionary writer Samuel Johnson. Johnson's was a much more melancholy life than Boswell's -- he suffered numerous (non-venereal) physical aliments. But by the time Boswell met him, Johnson, 53, was a renowned literary figure, having compiled, over eight years in the mid-1700s, the first thorough English dictionary.
Following Johnson's death in 1784, Boswell, mining his journal entries about time spent with Johnson, went to work on a biography. The result, 1791's "The Life of Samuel Johnson," has long been considered one of the greatest examples of the form.
So did Miller mean to say his baseball-trivia comments mirrored Boswell's steel-trap memory for details? Or did he really mean that his name dropping was comparable to Johnson's, in his ground-breaking lexicon?
Or, maybe he just meant Thomas Boswell, the Washington Post baseball writer, and we're really over-thinking this one.
The set-up: The commentators discussed where Cris Carter might play next season if he leaves the Vikings, as expected. Miller suggested he finish his career at Philadelphia, where he began it, butting heads with the Eagles' head coach in the late '80s.
The quip: "Bring Buddy Ryan back! Reunite 'em! Peaches & Herb!"
The read: Here's one to help you clean up on the big bucks no whammies office trivia game: Herb Fame (originally Herb Feemster), the mover and shaker behind the soul-pop duo Peaches & Herb, has gone through quite a few "Peaches" in the nearly 40 years he's been at the music game.
The first was Francine Hurd Barker, whose nickname really was "Peaches" for reasons we'll just have to leave to our imaginations. The duo got hot in the late '60s with singles like "Let's Fall in Love," but Francine tired of hauling her peaches all over the country on tour and retired in 1967.
But it turns out there are plenty of peaches in the tree, and Herb quickly rounded up Marlene Mack, the new "Peaches." A few years later it was Herb who quit, leaving the biz to become a D.C. cop. But in the mid-'70s he was back, this time with Linda "Peaches" Greene. It was this "Peaches" who sang on 1979's "Shake Your Groove Thing" as well as the No. 1 pop and R&B hit "Reunited."
Herb is still at it today, working the law enforcement day job, but keeping Patrice Hawthorne, the latest "Peaches" on hand for that inevitable retro comeback.
And so we learn an important lesson: guys, when your Peaches gets a little old and worn down, just get yourself a new Peaches and keep on keepin' on!
The set-up: The Vikings, down by nine with minutes remaining in the game, punted the ball away from midfield on fourth-and-nine instead of going for it in a "nothing to lose" situation.
The quip: "Have we fallen into some sort of cosmic decision-making wormhole here?"
The read: As with most things physics-y and theory-y, the idea of a "wormhole" was first presented by Albert Einstein, along with Nathan Rosen. In 1935 the two scientists suggested that two black holes in space could theoretically "connect up" across the time-space continuum. The result would be microscopically narrow "wormholes" between the two black holes, conceivably reaching across any stretch of space or even time. These wormholes would only exist for a moment and would be so narrow not even Calista Flockhart could slide through them, but that hasn't stopped numerous science fiction writers from pouncing on the idea of wormholes as conduits for exploring the universe.
Later theoretical physicists determined that even if you could travel across space through wormholes, you're still going to end up just sitting in them for hours on a Friday afternoon, trying to get out of the galaxy for the weekend.
The set-up: Once again, with only minutes remaining, Al Michaels hinted around the fact that the Ravens' final touchdown beat the 12.5-point spread.
The quip: "All right, Amarillo Slim."
The read: Thomas Austin Preston, Jr., figuring no one would really be intimidated or intrigued by a poker-playing wild man of that name, adopted the nom de Hoyle of "Amarillo Slim" -- which made him the geographic and ectomorphic opposite of pool shark Minnesota Fats, whom Slim once defeated in pool using a broomstick, on a bet, of course.
After winning the World Series of Poker in 1972, Amarillo Slim bucked the poker champions' tradition of laying low and proceeded to promote himself on the talk show circuit, where he spun wild tales of imaginative bets while sporting his trademark ostrich-skin boots.
Mr. Slim became one of the great names in card-playing history, and has found his rightful place in the Poker Hall of Fame; the Legends of Nevada Hall and the Hall of Slims, along with Messrs. Pickins, Whitman, Jim, Fatboy, Harpo, Dunlap and the newest inductee, Shady.
The set-up: As the game, and the MNF season, wound down, Al gave Miller some investing advice, pointing out how low most of the stocks have fallen for dot-com companies that bought naming rights for sports stadiums and arenas.
The quip: "Well, I have all my money with my money manager MC Hammer and we just bought a moped factory in South Yemen, so I think I'm covered."
The read: How to get your very own VH1 "Behind the Music": Get out of poverty-ridden environment by becoming a major league baseball team ball boy. Dazzle bored stadium crowds with sideline dancing. Buddy up to Reggie Jackson -- get him to give you nickname of home run king. Create massive-selling chart-topping pop record by liberally sampling Rick James (avoid sampling Rick James' life until you are absolutely ready for tragic ending to "True Hollywood Story"). Make $30 million a year. Get entourage. (Again, avoid including Rick James until last possible moment.) Buy racehorses -- everyone loves the ponies. Get Saturday morning superhero cartoon based on you. Become too legit to quit. Spend $40 million a year. Become too broke to continue. File for bankruptcy. Call glue factory, negotiate for best deal. When entourage leaves, clean up house for realtors. Find God, lose Rick James' number. Vow to devote powers both musical and superhero to God. Keep money in coffee cans buried in back yard. Repeat as necessary until VH1 producers call.
|Hammer, time marches on.|
ADVERTISER INFO |
CONTACT US |