Party of Five gets all Zen

Originally Published: May 10, 2011
Page 2

Party of FiveKurt Snibbe/ 

Welcome to another edition of Page 2's Party of Five, where five writers tackle five questions that the world needs answered right now.

(Or later, depending on how much time you have to kill.)

Today, we cover Phil Jackson's last-last-last-last goodbye, Ohio State's no-cash for non-clunkers program, Rashard Mendenhall's upcoming appointment to the Council on Foreign Relations, the Apple of sports, the appropriateness of shirtless running and the bodice-ripping inappropriateness of Navy SEALs and the romance writers who love them:

1. What will you remember most about Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who reportedly will retire?

Patrick Hruby: That if you work in sports and show any sort of interest in books, people will instantly assume you're some kind of inscrutably wise real-life Jedi master. As will referees. Talk about the soft bigotry of low expectations.

Jim Caple: I wonder how the class-action suit charging him with false advertising -- for the title of his 2004 book, "The Last Season" -- turned out.

Hruby: I think you're confusing that with the class-action suit over "Three Cups of Tea."

Caple: Which sounds like a book Phil Jackson would write!

Thomas Neumann: I'll remember how he carefully cultivated the Ted Kaczynski look in Chicago, then seamlessly adopted the appearance of Colonel Sanders in Los Angeles.

Mike Philbrick: I'll remember that it takes a big man to stick with a soul patch, but it takes a bigger man to mess around with the boss's daughter and to build your entire career off someone else's idea.

DJ Gallo: Ha! The old "What will you remember most about retiring Lakers coach Phil Jackson?" question. Sorry, but I'm not falling for that one again.

Hruby: Speaking of falling, who showed more fight: Shane Mosley or the Lakers? I say the latter. They tried to hurt the other guy at least twice.

Gallo: I agree. The Lakers. If only the two had been switched, we would have had a better sports weekend. The Lakers could have traded punches with Pacquiao, while Mosley running for 12 rounds suggests he might have been able to keep up with Jason Terry on defense.

Philbrick: Who has the more promising side career: Andrew Bynum, as an MMA dabbler, or Manny Pacquiao as a karaoke cover god?

Hruby: Pacquiao. He's way better than William Hung. Also, there's no way to tell from the video if Bynum has a ground game.

2. Apple reportedly has overtaken Google to become the world's most valuable brand, with an estimated value of $153 billion. What are the most and least valuable brands in sports?

Neumann: Most valuable: Manchester United? Dallas Cowboys? New York Yankees? Formula One? No. Tim Tebow. Least valuable: the Original Whizzinator. With the abrupt retirement of Manny Ramirez last month, there are no longer any active athletes using this product.

Hruby: We can put a web browser, "Angry Birds" and an HD video camera in a cell phone … but we can't come up with better drug-evading technology than the Whizzinator? I've said this before and I'll say it again: No wonder America isn't winning the future.

Caple: Most valuable? Whoever owns the copyright, Pat Riley-like, on the phrase "BLANK sucks!" Least valuable? The guy who holds the license to make Milton Bradley replica jerseys.

Hruby: Jim, it's a good thing no one owns the copyright to "Milton Bradley sucks!" Half your paycheck would be eaten up.

Caple: Only half?

Philbrick: Most valuable: Elin Nordegren's checking account. Least valuable: Antoine Walker's checking account.

Hruby: Most valuable? Coach K, which probably saves America -- and this is just an estimate -- at least $1 billion annually in office man-hours that otherwise would be spent wrangling with spellcheckers. Least valuable? "Bill Laimbeer's Combat Basketball."

Gallo: Most valuable: Yankees. Least valuable: Elton.

3. Ohio State reportedly is investigating at least 50 used-car purchases made by Buckeyes football players and their relatives at two Columbus-area dealerships, including a Chrysler 300 with a purchase price of $0. Thoughts?

Hruby: A purchase price of zero? I think maybe the auto bailout worked too well.

Neumann: Woody Hayes must be spinning like a turbine. Not because of alleged improprieties -- because Ohio State might be hooking up its players with vehicles manufactured in the state of Michigan.

Gallo: Used cars? USED? How adorable. Now we know why this program struggles to beat the SEC.

Caple: I just hope they got Tru-Coat sealant on them. You don't get it and you'll get oxidation problems. (There really is no occasion where a line from a Coen brothers movie is not appropriate).

Philbrick: Careful … that could lead to Kevlar vests and getting your Goose on.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall claimed he was misunderstood after reacting to the death of Osama bin Laden by tweeting:

(A) "What kind of person celebrates death? It's amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We've only heard one side."

(B) "We'll never know what really happened [with 9/11]. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style."

What was Mendenhall actually trying to say?

Gallo: "Sometimes my thoughts don't come out right when I'm not wearing my tinfoil football helmet."

Caple: "And how do we know he's really dead? Where's his long-form death certificate?"

Philbrick: "Help! My Twitter account was hacked by the dumbest person in America! Crap … that's still me."

Neumann: "I majored in sport management at Illinois and once willingly appeared on 'The Best Damn Sports Show Period.' You really shouldn't be looking to me for political insight in the first place."

Hruby: "When I wrote that it's amazing that people can hate a man they have never even heard speak, I was referring to Steely McBeam."

5. A Boston-area high school track coach was fired for allowing male members of his team to run shirtless in practice. Fair or foul?

Neumann: Fair. This might seem innocent enough, but it's a slippery slope. Nobody wants to admit it, but shirtless sprinting is the gateway drug to naked distance running. Yep, it's all fun and games … until someone gets Tased while running the Flying Pig Marathon in the buff.

Gallo: Wait … is this the same Boston area that produced these guys? The old days were much more funky.

Hruby: DJ, that picture needs more Vince Young.

Philbrick: And more former New York Mets executives.

Caple: Most foul. Though at least he was able to get a job as the coach of the Hooters' cross country team.

Hruby: Hooters has a cross country team?

Caple: That was a joke.

Hruby: Pity.

Philbrick: Fair. Most kids in New England want to be Tom Brady, and no one wants to see this on a nice spring day.

Hruby: Foul. The only person who should be fired for allowing shirtless sprinting is whoever signed off on former Alabama tackle Andre Davis' 2009 pro day.

Extra credit: According to The Washington Post, there is a thriving market for Navy SEAL-themed romantic fiction, with prose such as "it wasn't right for any man to be so dangerous and so sexy at the same time. Her adrenal glands and her ovaries were locked in a shouting match, the former insisting she needed to run away fast, the latter wishing he'd kiss her again."

With the above as inspiration, use any current sports event and give us your best -- worst? -- literary howler:

Hruby: "It wasn't right for any system to be so worthless and so lucrative at the same time. His sense of basic fairness and his wallet were locked in a shouting match, the former insisting he file an anti-trust lawsuit against the BCS, the former wishing John Junker would invite him to a strip club business meeting again."

Gallo: "It wasn't right for any man to be so dangerous and so sexy at the same time. Her adrenal glands and her ovaries were locked in a shouting match, the former insisting she needed to run away fast, the latter wishing he'd kiss her again. In the end, her ovaries won out and she went with Antonio Cromartie."

Neumann: "It wasn't right for any man to be so opportunistic and so unfulfilled at the same time. His 5-15 record as head coach of the Raiders and his bachelor's degree in leisure service management from Fresno State were in a shouting match, the former insisting that he vindicate himself from stinging accusations once leveled at him via overhead projector, the latter wishing he had chosen a less stressful career path -- perhaps as a bellhop at the luxurious Raisin Kingdom Inn and Suites in Visalia."

Philbrick: "It wasn't right for any man to be so valued and so overrated at the same time. His pride and his wallet were locked in a shouting match, the former insisting that he get paid A-Rod money, the latter, well, hoping for the same thing because of the house he just built in Tampa. Anyway, now the Yankees are stuck with Derek Jeter until he's 40-something."

Caple: Hold on. Are we mixing up SEAL-themed romantic fiction with Rick Pitino's next book?

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