My apologies for yesterday's links -- I had to find and write those in roughly 45 seconds. Fortunately, with lowered expectations, you should be that much more wowed by Friday's blowout extravaganza.
youtube.com (Evan L.; SOUND) -- Video flashback of Jets draft day blunders. Watching one of these is no different than embarrassing late-night drinking moments -- it's all fun and games when your pants-less friend is proposing to the frightened bartender, but not so much when your time comes.
msn.com (Michael V.) -- Three 6 Mafia is collaborating with Paris Hilton, and, sadly, not in the biblical sense.
yahoo.com -- Rickey continuing to be Rickey, including: (a) calling out rival 47-year-old Julio Franco; (b) refusing an autograph for completely insane reasons; and (c) running around in a diamond-encrusted watch. In 2009, they ought to literally enshrine Rickey in Cooperstown. Give him a room in the southwest corner and designate him as a permanent tour guide. Attendance would quadruple.
m90.org (Daniel A.) -- Long-lost footage of Ron Burgundy's failed "SportsCenter" audition.
startribune.com -- Says Simmons, "I told you so."
steelers.com (David P.) -- Two things we can all learn from former Steeler Bam Morris' fall from grace: (1) When Neil O'Donnell offers you his home, you should probably take it; and (2) Federal prison is a cinch, sort of "like a Cadillac where the only thing [missing] is your freedom."
yahoo.com (Sean M.) -- Speaking of falls from grace
"The life-size pop princess is naked and pregnant, crouching face-down on a bare-toothed bear rug as the baby's head appears on the opposite end." That would be an actual description for a disturbing Britney Spears sculpture meant as a pro-life tribute to childbirth. I'm actually at a loss for words.
abc.com (Seth in San Francisco) -- Regulars at a West Side Chicago pub scored Final Four tickets for two years by creating a fictional college. At the very least, these men should have major highways named after them.
sptimes.com -- Turns out Julian Tavarez is one lucky coward.
detnews.com (Nick in Lansing, Mich.) -- I remember watching Lions head coach Rod Marinelli's introductory press conference and thinking, this man is either frighteningly insane or has some serious first-day jitters. Sorry Lions fans, but there's no longer any doubt -- your football team is being led by a hopped-up caveman.
An e-mail I received Tuesday morning from a friend of mine, Chris Quin:
Did you see "The Gauntlet" last night? It was disappointing that we didn't get the chance to see Alton run the world's first sub-2-second 40, but I was downright crushed to hear that Mark is retiring from the RWRR scene. You ought to pay tribute to the greatest of all reality TV heroes in the Links.
P.S. I don't believe for a second that Mark is done for good. Even if he doesn't compete, I would love to see him become the permanent host in an "Instructor Top Gun" moment."
I actually missed Monday night's episode, but am equally crushed to hear that the man I once referred to as MTV's Julio Franco is hanging up his bathing suit and hair gel for good. To anyone who once marveled at a near-40-year-old man building human pyramids as if his life depended on it, I ask you to join me in giving him a rising, nationwide slow clap at 3:00 this afternoon. After a 10+ year reign as our once-in-a-generation alpha male, I think the man has earned as much.
nydailynews.com -- Things Randy Johnson hates: crowding the plate, birds, cameramen, good haircuts, and now day care.
panandscan.com (SOUND) -- If you've never seen "Heat Vision and Jack," the failed '90s pilot produced by Ben Stiller that featured Jack Black as a genius astronaut and Owen Wilson as his talking motorcycle, today's your lucky day. Prepare to feast your eyes on 30 minutes of awesome.
losanjealous.com (Todd S. in Atlanta) -- Adam Morrison's Five Stages of Grief -- because grown men awkwardly crying is always funny.
variety.com -- "Arrested Development" creator Mitch Hurwitz delivered the show's likely death blow by officially discontinuing his involvement with it. The more I think about it, the more I'm actually kind of relieved, for the same reason I prefer Barry Sanders' career to Emmitt Smith's -- I'd rather see a great athlete or television show leave immediately after its run of genius than hang on until the wheels start falling off. But that's just personal preference, like boxers or briefs.
slate.com -- Josh Levin, Slate writer and fourth place overall entrant in ESPN's Tournament Challenge, perfectly articulates one of the few rules I live by: "Only indecisive losers fill out multiple brackets." Absolutely. Hedging your bracket picks should be no less punishable than polygamy.
Some would say that hosting your own farewell tour is kinda sad, if not altogether pathetic. Not me, though; I like to think of it as the mark of a self-made man.
That's why I'm throwing myself one of those "Kareem in '89" type sendoffs only more illegal. Whether it's Kiper's draft board, the "PTI" mailbox, or even just old-fashioned looting of the Bristol offices, there's nothing I'm above stealing on my way out. The only real question is whether I can make it to Friday without getting arrested.
But amid the massive celebration, I've got to get serious for a moment and briefly thank the following people at the Worldwide Leader:
Simmons: I was at a job interview last week and had to try to explain why a second-year law student would suddenly masquerade as a wannabe sports columnist for a year. I said something like, "Basically, I got the chance to attend a once-in-a-lifetime fantasy camp." That's true, but the better answer is that I stumbled into something I plan on doing for the rest of my life, paid or unpaid, in one form or another, all because of this opportunity. I'm not sure how you even begin to thank someone for that.
Philbrick (SGW editor): No matter what -- whether it was the first few months when I would obsess over every word and bombard you with updated versions, mornings when I would write nonsense intros only to pull them a second later, or even that one time I got all uppity about the editing process (which still makes me cringe), you rolled with it like a wise sensei. Plus, having my Page 2 existence closely monitored by someone whose face I've never even seen was sort of "Truman Show"-esque, like having the voice of God come in via e-mail. So in addition to all the normal stuff, thanks for that.
Finally, I've got to give a quick thanks to Kieran Darcy for closing this past month, and to Bomani Jones for offering some sound advice and introducing me to "Eats."
All right, I think that covers that front. Onto the links
yahoo.com (Kevin C.) -- Keyon Dooling breaks out of his glass case of emotion.
youtube.com (Alvi S.) -- Why do I link to Matt Bonner winning a high school dunk contest? Because it exists.
worstpreviews.com (SOUND) -- Trailer for "Snakes on a Plane," the brilliantly entitled upcoming film starring Samuel L. Jackson. Most likely the funniest thing you'll see all day.
boston.com -- Red Sox ace Josh Beckett accuses Phillies slugger Ryan Howard of pimping a fly ball. Howard takes exception, explaining that if he was going to "pimp it or whatever, [Beckett] would have known." Chest-thumping standoff ensues.
nydailynews.com -- Stephon wants to reunite with KG, but only in the Big Apple. KG is game, but insists he'll always "be 'Sota." Sadly, neither realizes he's putting up imaginary walls out of fear of long-term commitment.