CHECK YOUR CRYSTAL BALL AND MAKE A PREDICTION FOR 2004?
Hey, what can we say? As Picasso once put, "A genius can steal anything he needs." So the Writers' Bloc stole this lame gimmick. Enjoy.
Happy New Year.
The no-brainers | From David Schoenfield
We're all going to be big, big stars | From Shaun Assael
In February, a reality show is spun off that follows Sarge as he tries the same thing with people who actually know what they're talking about. Alas, ABC's fortunes tumble when ABC programming chief Susan Lyne discovers that people who know what they're talking about aren't nearly as wacky or loveable as the original crew.
"WB: The Show" is renewed for the 2004-05 season, but without The Lip, whose demand for a seat cushion is seen as dangerously militant. He's replaced by George Lopez, with no obvious negative effect.
The Big Dance ... in February! | From Alan Grant
Love the Drake | From Robert Lipsyte
While the Drakes didn't look as though they could short a circuit, much less black out an arena, they were quickly rounded up and taken into custody. Actually, as Luke Cyphers and Shaun Assael subsequently revealed in ESPN: The Printed Thing, the officials pulled the plug themselves to buy more time in their negotiations with the captains of the two title teams. The "student-athletes" had demanded $25,000 per starter and $15,000 for the other members of their college teams as appearance money. No cash, no title game.
While less than a half-million dollars for such an event seems paltry, NCAA President Myles Brand was afraid it would set a precedent that could change the course of western civilization, not to mention the many fine Division I teams that field universities. In five minutes, he had the NCAA pass a retroactive regulation in which "scholar-ballers" could be given "loans" that only needed to be paid back from multi-million dollar pro contracts, and then only if they wanted to. The lights came back on and, as you remember, the game was bookmarked for ESPN Classic. If it wasn't for the Luke and Shaun piece, the Drakes would still be in jail.
Order up the straitjacket | From Melanie Jackson
And that's why, after living in Connecticut less than five years, I will be forced to add a room with padded walls to our house in 2004 when all the teams he loves to hate in our "new home" win this season -- the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl and the UConn men's and women's NCAA basketball double.
The amazing (thing about) race | From Ralph Wiley
We predict, furthermore, that Gene Hackman will remain a more famous hoop coach than the recently deceased Ray Crowe, even though Ray Crowe actually did coach the winners of two Indiana state high school basketball championships, in '55 and '56, having had the luck, privilege and responsibility of coaching the Big O in the years right after Brown v. The Board of Education.
We predict that right now, at this very moment, somebody is thinking, "So? Why does everything have to be about race?"
We predict the same somebody owns a DVD of "Hoosiers."
Some things are inevitable | From Steve Wulf
The French will still be rude | From Chuck Hirshberg
First: Henceforth, "French-fried" potatoes could not be served at official state functions unless they were called "Freedom Fries"; and
Second, Congressmen and their interns would be prohibited from enjoying a certain sex act involving the lips and tongue, unless they referred to it as a "Freedom Kiss."
Incredibly, Ney thought he could discredit France by reminding Americans that the French invented both fried spuds and tongue kissing. That's Washington, D.C. for you -- completely out of touch with average citizens. But Ney, a true Machiavellian, had chosen his deep-freeze well -- he'd snagged the one in which the Congressional supply of chocolate eclairs and Canadian bacon is kept. So his demands were met.
I was reluctant to jump on this anti-France bandwagon ... until I read Lance Armstrong's most recent book, "Every Second Counts." It describes, among other things, a relentless campaign by French authorities to discredit him. For 21 months, Lance's every conceivable bodily fluid was sampled, tested, retested and, probably, tasted. Innuendoes and outright insults were dangled constantly. French cycling fans rejoiced briefly when rumors circulated that Armstrong had finally tested positive for something. But, sadly for them, it was a false positive, wrought by a perfectly legal cortisone treatment which Lance uses to relieve the painful butt-chapping that torments cyclists the world over.
How much does France hate Lance? Jean-Marie Leblanc can barely bring himself to utter Armstrong's name. Go the official Tour de France website if you don't believe me. Leblanc writes: "Sera-t-'il' le premier a six victoires?" ("Will 'he' be the first to get six victories?") That's what they call Armstrong: "il." Les dirty bastards.
Well, to answer your question, Leblanc: Moi sure de hell hope so. Lance Armstrong is as American as le Big Mac, and nothing would make me happier than to see him spread his golden arches and humiliate France one more time. Will he do it? Well, "il" beat cancer; France can't be much worse than that.
Bracing for Athens | From Eric Neel
It is my sad suspicion that Mark Prior and Kerry Wood will come up lame some time in June and the Chicago Cubs will sink like a stone.
And it is my deep, dark fear that, despite all my efforts to avoid them, Athens up-close-and-personal features will find me where I live, work and play, and drive me, day by day, into a cold, unforgiving contempt for all things Olympic.
Mark the calendar | From Dan Shanoff
January: Michigan wins AP half of college football's national title.
March: Maurice Clarett wins lawsuit against NFL
April: Tiger Woods wins Masters, goes on to win Slam
May: Michelle Wie becomes first female golfer to make cut at a PGA event.
June: Kobe Bryant named NBA Finals MVP as Lakers win title.
July: Kobe Bryant found innocent of all charges
August: Swimmer Michael Phelps wins six Olympic gold medals.
September: Post-Olympics steroids scandal rocks all of sports.
October: Cubs-Red Sox play in World Series.
November: Montreal Expos relocated to D.C.
December: A-Rod still on trading block.
It's a Jacko world | From Jim Caple
The stupidity will keep on comin' From Patrick Hruby
I'd love to see Pat Riley trademark the phrase "Bennifer," if only because the residuals from "threepeat" likely are drying up.
And I'd gladly exchange a bodily appendage -- something small, like an ear -- to ensure that Ryan and Trista just go away, considering that even my absent-minded professor father has heard of them.
As for what I think will transpire in 2004? Easy: more of the same ridiculous stuff. The Namaths, the 'Sheeds, the Nicole Richies of the world always find a way -- which is good, since it gives me something to write about.