- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 9, 2005

So I’m reading about this cold remedy commercial featuring Mickey Rooney’s bare backside, the ad that’s been deemed inappropriate for Super Bowl Sunday, and I’m thinking: How did we go, in the space of just a year, from Janet Jackson’s left breast to Mickey Rooney’s wrinkled behind?

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Mickey Rooney flashing his 84-year-old buns in a Super Bowl ad. That’s gotta be the worst case of casting since, well, since Mickey played a Japanese guy in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

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You know, the man is getting along in years. Maybe he was just disoriented. Maybe he thought he was filming a new movie — “Andy Hardy Bares His Buttocks.”

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Or a sequel to his 1965 classic, “How to Stuff a Wild Bikini.”

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I mean, who does he think he is, Warren Moon?

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If the company doing the ad — which takes place in a sauna — really wanted to get a laugh, it would have had Rooney’s towel pulled off by Justin Timberlake.

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The Steelers issued a press release saying: “Mickey Rooney is no relation to Art Rooney, Dan Rooney or any of the other Rooneys around here. At least, we hope not.”

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OK, I made that last item up.

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Sean Taylor’s DUI trial last week was almost surreal. Three details not reported in the local papers (but duly noted in Associated Press coverage):

1. Taylor’s problems reciting the alphabet — part of his roadside sobriety test — brought this remark from his lawyer, Warren McLain: “The alphabet test, to me, is kind of confusing. I don’t think anybody’s asked Mr. Taylor to say the alphabet since fourth grade.”

2. Laveranues Coles said on the witness stand that he didn’t see Taylor drink and that he was watching him fairly closely because “I kind of had the idea that the woman I was dating, he was dating.”

3. Taylor told the court he still doesn’t know his home address in Ashburn. “I’m glad he gets himself home every day,” Judge Mitchell Mutnick replied.

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Who can’t remember the alphabet — in any condition? I mean, come on — A, B, C, D, E, S, P, N …

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I’m reminded of a similar case in the ‘50s involving Bobby Layne, the Lions’ Hall of Fame quarterback. Layne’s attorney argued — successfully — that the arresting officer simply misunderstood his client. Bobby wasn’t slurring his words that night, he said, he was just speaking in a Texas drawl.

This gave rise to the line, which gained much popularity in Detroit: “I’m not drunk, I’m just from Texas.”

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Layne always claimed he was a worse driver when he was sober because “I don’t have that much practice at it.”

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Why do I think Fred Smoot will wind up in San Diego? (Probably because Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer drafted him when he was with the Redskins in 2001 … and also because Marty could use a good corner.)

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Meanwhile, in Baltimore, the Ravens might hire Rick Neuheisel, the former University of Washington coach. Neuheisel would bring a lot to the organization. He could coordinate both the offense and the NCAA tournament pool.

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Considering how close the NFL rushing race was — Curtis Martin edged Shaun Alexander by a single yard — I’m surprised somebody hasn’t asked for a recount. After all, had there been one back in 1943, when the Giants’ Bill Paschal beat out the Eagles’ Jack Hinkle, 572-571, we might have had a different winner.

As a friend of Hinkle’s once explained to me, “It was a Saturday night game, and the guy who was charting the plays gave [Philly’s Johnny] Butler credit for a 45-yard run that should have been Jack’s. [Years later,] I went to the libraries, went through [newspaper] microfilm, and presented the case to the league. And they said, ‘You’re 100 percent correct, but what can we do about it now?’”

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Overstatement of the Week: “When you combine Pete [Carroll] with what Norm Chow does as USC’s offensive coordinator, it forms the heart of the best coaching staff in college football — and probably the best in all of football.”

— Bill Walsh in the Los Angeles Times

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Great column by Bob Sansevere of the St. Paul Pioneer Press the other day on the Vikings’ “embarrassing” inability to win in cold weather. (Since ‘82, when they got comfy in the Metrodome, the Vikings are 10-24 in road games when the temperature is 45 or below.)

“Bud Grant never let his players give in to the cold when he coached the Vikings,” Sansevere wrote. “After winter set in, his players practiced outdoors to get used to the conditions they would face in games. And during games, there were no heaters on the sideline. No gloves either.

“‘In cold weather, I told them to clap on the sidelines,’ Grant said. ‘It would keep their hands warm and build enthusiasm.’”

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Last week was NFL Players Week on “Wheel of Fortune.” Also in the works, I’m told, is an NBA Players Week on “Who’s Your Daddy?”

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Dept. of Corrections: I keep reading that the AFC’s 44-20 edge over the NFC this year is a “record.” It ain’t. Not really. If you’re talking about domination — and I think we are here — you’re talking about winning percentage, not sheer number of victories. When the AFC went 36-16 against the NFC in ‘79, it had a .692 winning percentage, which is better than the AFC’s .688 this year.

It remains to be seen whether the AFC can become as dominant as it was from 1977 to ‘80. In those four seasons, it compiled a .647 winning percentage against the NFC (119-65). Its winning percentage the last four seasons is .565 (142-109-1).

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Dept. of Corrections, Part 2: According to a recent news story, “Churchill Downs has increased the purse for the Kentucky Derby to $2million, with the winner getting a minimum of $1.24million.”

The Sunday Column would just like to point out that it’s the winner’s owner who’ll get the $1.24million. The winner will still get a bucket of oats.

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Get the impression Boston College is gearing up to join the ACC? The Eagles finished 21st in the final AP football poll and should be in the top 15 in the men’s hoops rankings this week after upsetting UConn — at Storrs — to improve to 12-0.

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With BC, by the way, the ACC would have had five ranked teams in football this season (No.10 Virginia Tech, No.11 Miami, No.15 Florida State and No.23 Virginia being the others). That’s more than the SEC (4), the Big Ten (4) or anybody else. (Thanks to a Hokies message-boarder for providing that information.)

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Attention, car windshields: Ian Baker-Finch is reportedly considering returning to competitive golf.

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Something I didn’t know until I read Dan Shaughnessy’s column in Friday’s Boston Globe: “[Major league baseball] has authenticators from the consulting firm of Deloitte & Touche on site for every game of the baseball season. If a team needs something authenticated [such as a home run ball, bat or lineup card], the Deloitte rep is there to slap on a hologram sticker, attach a number and register the item with MLB. … MLB’s authentication program started in 2001, and more than 650,000 items have been authenticated.”

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Including all five of Melvin Mora’s quintuplets.

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Instead of authenticating baseball gear and other artifacts, those Deloitte reps should have been authenticating biceps.

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News item: Orioles pitcher Sidney Ponson faces a possible 4 years in prison if convicted of terrorizing fellow Arubans with his Jet Ski.

Comment: Who knew Jet Skis could handle that kind of tonnage?

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Brad Wilkerson signing a one-year deal with the Nationals doesn’t exactly strike me as a ringing endorsement.

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And finally …

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, huh? What’s next, the Montreal Expos of Washington?

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