- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 25, 2007

You’ve gotta love the timing of Don King’s “general audience” with Pope Benedict XVI. King probably wanted the pontiff to bless his income tax return.

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According to the Associated Press, Don’s “preferred high hair style [was] primly flattened for the papal event.” Sorry, but when someone says, “primly flattened,” all I can think of is Alfalfa on the “Little Rascals.”

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The real reason King didn’t have his usual shock-haired look, I’m guessing, is that he forgot to bring an electrical adapter. Don’s hairdo, you see, is 120 volts, and in Italy the outlets are 230.

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Found out why Dolphins LB Joey Porter punched Bengals OT Levi Jones in the face last week in Vegas. Seems there was only one ticket left for Barry Manilow’s show.

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At least, that’s what one eyewitness told police. Another said it all started when Porter tried to place a bet at the blackjack table, and Jones chip-blocked him.

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Turns out supermodel Gisele Bundchen isn’t pregnant with Tom Brady’s child. In fact, the Elias Sports Bureau has already changed it to an incomplete pass.

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Glad that’s resolved. For a while there, I thought they might have to bring in Ed Hochuli to review the sonogram.

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The price the Texans paid for Matt Schaub (161 career passes, 69.2 rating) is truly breathtaking. Just asking: If Atlanta had decided to keep Schaub and trade Michael Vick, would anybody have given Vick a six-year, $48 million contract — in addition to swapping first-round picks with the Falcons and sending them two No. 2s?

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I’ve got two words for Houston general manager Rick Smith: Rob Johnson.

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Johnson, you may recall, was about Schaub’s age (25) when the Bills acquired him from the Jaguars in ‘98 for their first- and fourth-rounders. He never did much of anything in Buffalo, and the Jags used the No. 1 to draft Fred Taylor.

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Jim Bowden says the Nationals pitching staff is “a work in progress.” What work would that be, Jim, Venus de Milo?

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Calm down, everybody. This DUI episode of Tony La Russa’s isn’t nearly as bad as it sounds. Granted, he fell asleep at a red light, but on the plus side, he wasn’t wearing a pair of those astronaut diapers.

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By now, I’m sure, you’ve heard about Pakistan’s cricket coach. After an unexpected loss to Ireland in the World Cup, the poor guy was found strangled in his hotel room.

That would never happen in this country, of course. Here, fans would just start a FireBobWoolmer.com Web site.

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I’ve got to admit, I’m a bit upset by the Pakistanis’ presumption — being an Irishman and all. I mean, I know white men are supposed to be lousy jumpers, but I didn’t realize we were congenitally crummy cricket players, too.

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Ironic that Pakistan is looking for a cricket coach at the same time Kentucky has a basketball opening. Unquestionably the two toughest jobs in sports.

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Indeed, it wouldn’t surprise me if the two programs wound up interviewing the same people.

I’m not sure how much Billy Donovan knows about wickets, though.

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The Pakistanis, I’m guessing, will have trouble filling the vacancy unless they provide the new coach with a body double.

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With four straight 50-point games, Kobe Bryant has officially become a Circus Act. In fact, I found myself wondering the other night: How many of his Lakers teammates could fit inside a phone booth?

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GM Mitch Kupchak already has his scouts scouring Europe, sources say, for a sword swallower and a bearded lady.

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News item: David Stern fines Celtics exec Danny Ainge $30,000 for watching a game with Kevin Durant’s mother — and assesses the Bobcats’ Michael Jordan and the Warriors’ Don Nelson $15,000 apiece for talking about the Texas phenom.

Comment: Is the NBA commissioner on a rampage or what? I also hear he might take action against Dennis Rodman, who was spotted at an Academy Awards after-party chatting up Abigail Breslin.

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This Ashley Awkward, the Mississippi guard who killed Maryland in the NCAA tournament — she wouldn’t be related to Mickey Klutts, the former New York Yankee, would she?

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A match made in heaven: Ashley Awkward and PGA touring pro Tripp Isenhour.

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Speaking of names and Maryland, about a week before Gary Williams’ Terps got knocked out by Butler in the NCAAs, the baseball team was beaten by Lafayette, 7-2. The hitting star for the Leopards, with three RBI: third baseman Jeff Butler.

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Turning to hockey, the Capitals took only six shots in first two periods against Carolina last Thursday — but scored on three of them.

If that doesn’t persuade Shaquille O’Neal to spend a little more time practicing his free throws (he’s hitting 43.7 percent), I don’t know what will.

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Number of the Week: 1.017 million.

That’s how many viewers CBC got last weekend for the Canada Cup of Curling (as reported by William Houston of the Globe and Mail). The men’s final drew 582,000 (up 44 percent from last year), while the women’s drew 435,000 (up 34 percent). FYI: The Red Wings-Canucks game on “Hockey Night in Canada” was watched by 1.001 million.

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And to think only 736 households in the New York market watched a Devils-Panthers game a while back.

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Maybe that’s the answer for the NHL. Maybe the players should switch from sticks to brooms.

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And finally …

Of course, this is Canada, remember. You could probably get a half a million folks up there to tune in to a snowball fight.

Especially if Don Cherry was doing the color.


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