When I take a column vacation each summer – which often coincides with a reality vacation in Las Vegas – I am soothed by the extended break from the noxious nuttiness that usually provides my wakeup call every weekday afternoon the rest of the year.
(Yes, I said “my wakeup call every weekday afternoon.” That’s right – I sleep in. Why wouldn’t I? They can’t do as much damage to you when you’re not awake, and if there’s a lot of bad swirling around out there, well, ignorance is bliss; I’ll take my nightmares over their nastiness.)
Alas, when I wandered back into Sports Nation the other day, I immediately got a cold splash of verisimilitude.
Let’s go to the videotape to review three of these transgressions:
* Maryland will cancel afternoon classes on Sept. 27 because the football team is playing Penn State that evening. My beleaguered, misguided alma mater continues to make decisions that compel sober-minded people to scratch their heads and go, “Really?”
Maryland Provost Mary Ann Rankin said that canceling classes in advance of the 8 p.m. game was to “ensure that visitors, students, faculty and staff are not inordinately inconvenienced by the inevitable traffic issues.”
For starters, “inevitable traffic issues” are such a constant in the Washington, D.C., area that the federal government should shut down daily at 10:30 a.m. Plus if I were the university, I might consider nixing all classes during football season because nothing athletic should ever be “inordinately inconvenienced” by anything academic.
Then again, I remain an outlier proponent of folding the school’s athletic department; to replace the revenue loss, simply ticket every seventh car on campus on a daily basis.
Heck, when I matriculated at College Park, I was not allowed to graduate until I settled all my parking-violation fees, which, in those simpler days, exceeded my annual tuition costs.
* Carnegie Mellon and Facebook A.I. have developed a poker bot called Pluribus that solves six-player no limit Texas hold ‘em. Big deal. Show me some type of A.I. device that can beat keno and sidestep casino resort fees, and then I’ll be impressed.
I am tired of these computer science research mavens spending untold hours sipping Coke Zeroes while devising useless algorithms to topple games of skill that mean little in our complex, ever-darkening cosmos.
And I’ll still take Doyle Brunson over a Dell desktop anytime, particularly in a Laredo roadhouse.
Besides, if computers solve EVERYTHING, the only thing left for humankind will be Rubik’s cubes, the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle and figuring out how to open a jar of kosher pickles in under 45 seconds.
* A Louisiana judge ruled that a state lawsuit can continue against the NFL over the Rams-Saints non-call in January. Nicole Sheppard also ruled that attorney Antonio LeMon can request documents and ask questions of three NFL game officials in depositions over the lack of a pass-interference penalty against Rams cornerback Nickell Roby-Coleman when he hit the Saints’ Tommylee Lewis near the end of the NFC championship.
The suit alleges fraud by NFL officials.
I don’t know if we have lost our minds, but something tells me they won’t be found anytime soon.
“The purpose of the lawsuit is not to get some miniscule amount of money,” LeMon said. “It’s to get at the truth.”
Uh, you want the truth?
The officials made a bad call. End of story.
Yes, it likely changed the winner of the game. But there was no corruption or conspiracy to uncover, no toxins were discovered on the premises and no animals were harmed in the making of this result.
Hey, I didn’t like the call either. What did I do? I waved my hand dismissively at the TV screen, then took Daisy out for a walk. We both took a nap when we got back and slept in the following morning.
Sometimes, there’s nothing better than a dog’s life.
Ask The Slouch
Q. Your summer hiatus keeps getting lengthier. Frankly, it’s more of a leave of absence, no? (Alex Talbot; Spokane)
A. The plan is to increase vacation by one week annually so that, by age 95, I will be down to four columns per year.
Q. Your vacations come earlier every year, and last longer. Are you sneaking into retirement? (Don Pollins; Hyattsville, Md.)
A. Johnny Carson – one of my heroes – was working a three-day week on “The Tonight Show” over his last decade hosting it.
Q. Who waters your Chia Pet when you vacate the premises for several fortnights? (Bill Hayes; Carmel, Ind.)
A. Why is everyone obsessed with the amount of time I take off? Just follow the lead of my wife Toni – when I leave the house, she never asks when I am coming back.
Q. What exactly are you taking vacation from? (Chris McCormick; Houston)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!
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