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Riddle Me This 

The Answer Dude returns.

We'd like to welcome back the Answer Dude from his summer hiatus.

Q. Dear Answer Dude: Did Egomeister Jeff Scurran really have the nerve to create a new name and color scheme for his little part of the Pima College athletic department?

A. Oh, yeah. And nobody seems to be outraged by his hubris. Imagine if they elevated the men's club volleyball team at the University of Arizona to varsity status and those guys decided they wanted to be known as the UA Monsoon and wear black and green. Or if softball coach Mike Candrea said, "Hey, we're a national powerhouse. We're going to create a marketing opportunity for ourselves by switching to purple and white uniforms and going by the name of the Tropical Depression."

Both of those would be absurd, but they pale in comparison to what Scurran pulled off with nary a whimper of dissent. Pima football is simply a new sport being added to the lineup at a school that has been fielding intercollegiate athletic teams for 30 years. It's like an adoptee being rescued from an orphanage and then telling his new parents that he wants to sleep in the master bedroom. Once that tail starts wagging the dog, there's no way of regaining control.

Still, I'm happy with the concept of Pima football. It allows local kids to play juco football without having to relocate to Yuma or Thatcher. Plus, I really like the fact that all the critics were silenced after fund-raising efforts kept Pima from having to spend a penny on the start-up program.

Nevertheless, the unbridled arrogance of this whole Storm business leaves a bad taste. So, while I'll root for them, it'll be the equivalent of one hand clapping.

Wait! What would happen if all the other Pima teams (volleyball, tennis, track, etc.) changed their names to the Storm? Would Scurran's team switch to Aztecs?

Q. Dude, I just couldn't get into all that hype about that Little League team from the Bronx. Does that make me un-American?

A. It might make you un-Latin American. ABC and ESPN made fools of themselves all last week boosting this team from the Bronx consisting of kids born in and/or visiting from the Dominican Republic. The star pitcher was a kid who was anywhere from 12 to 19 years old, his dad is an illegal alien, the kid is also in the country illegally, and the mom can't even get a visa to get out of the Dominican. The TV whores tried to sell the team as a rag-tag collection of inner-city kids fighting against all odds. However, they play on a perfectly manicured field donated by some rich guy, they spent spring break touring the Dominican Republic and playing exhibition games, and they're just sooo busy playing baseball that apparently not one of the kids or coaches has bothered to learn a word of English.

Makes me feel all tingly inside.

Brent Musburger tried to claim that they were bringing baseball to the Mean Streets of New York. Hey, I remember in the 1979 Walter Hill movie The Warriors there was an entire gang that carried baseball bats. Big deal.

Anyway, they hyped that team to death in hopes of a big ratings payoff in Sunday's championship game. Funny thing, though. They got smacked around by Florida in the semis and never made it to the Big Game.

Maybe now they can go to school. Or seek political asylum.

Q. Dude, what's new on the entertainment front?

A. The DVD of Hannibal is being advertised as containing all kinds of extra stuff, including an ALTERNATE ENDING! What director would allow that?

Moviemakers are always trying to pass themselves off as artistes. But can you imagine the Norman Rockwell painting "The Four Freedoms" with the guy carving the turkey, and an alternate print with the same guy carving a ham? Or how about an alternate "Güernica" where there are seagulls flying over the Spanish village instead of fascist bombers?

This is truly perverse. I know that the suits try different endings with preview audiences to see which one will squeeze the most cash out of cattle-like moviegoers, but this is different. We've reached a point where we no longer have any art. All we have is product.

Q Anything else, Dude?

A. Yeah, my favorite movie of this year, Memento, is still packin' em in at the Catalina, after more than four months! All over the country, white-hot word of mouth is helping to make it one of the most successful indie movies of all time.

But some genius decided to release it on video next week! It probably could have continued its run in theaters until the holidays or beyond. And it has a decent shot at grabbing several Oscar nods.

Releasing it on video right now is tantamount to shooting yourself in both feet, the groin, both eyes, the jugular vein, the medula oblongata and the heart, then reloading to get all the other vital organs. Unbelievable.

Q. Dude, what's new on the police beat?

A. True story. A guy bought a car in West Virginia and drove it to Phoenix for his new job. A female Phoenix police officer pulled him over, handcuffed and arrested him, claiming that he was driving "with illegal plates." When he asked what she was talking about, she said, "There's no such place as West Virginia."

She had to have been home-schooled.

Q. OK, Dude, you've been ducking it. What's your prediction on the UA football season?

A. They're getting no love in the media. Every magazine has them finishing last or next-to-last in the Pac-10. But I sincerely think they can go 6-5 or even 7-4 and make a bowl game. The key will be sweeping their non-conference games; tonight's game at San Diego State is huge.

Look at it this way: There's no way new QB Jason Johnson can be as bad as Ortege Jenkins was last year. And that team went 5-6.

Of course, there's always the chance that they'll go 1-2 in non-conference games and finish 2-9 or something and dead last in the Pac-10.

We'll call that my alternate ending.

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