Stupor Bowl

Here are some dark alleys for your mind to wander into during the big game.

Things to ponder while you're watching the Super Bowl:

· The ultra-patriotic Super Bowl halftime show honoring America will feature performances from U2 (Ireland), Paul McCartney (England), BareNaked Ladies (Canada), Mariah Carey (Mars), and Marc Anthony (Puerto Rico).

Yes, I know that the territory of Puerto Rico is technically part of the United States, but I'm not sure they want to be. A recent survey in Puerto Rico showed that one-third of the people want Puerto Rico to achieve statehood, another one-third want the island to become a separate nation, while the other third likes the status quo. At the same time, 98 percent of those surveyed say that they're really embarrassed that Ricky Martin is one of theirs.

· It's unlikely that this year's show will outdo last year's extravaganza, which was the only halftime show in history to have a higher rating than the game itself. The teaming of Aerosmith, 'NSync, Mary J. Blige, Nelly and Britney Spears to do "Walk This Way" was an instant classic. No matter how you feel about any or all of those acts, it rocked.

· KVOA-TV's Frank Field, who does an early-morning news gig on Channel 4, was supposed to read some wire copy stating that 'NSync will have a part in the new Star Wars movie, but he read it as "N-Suck." When his on-air partner protested, Field said, "Well, I don't care. They do suck."

What, Frank, they don't match the frat-rock stuff you've apparently listened to all your well-scrubbed, white-bread life? Dude, you're dialed in. You've got the look, you can talk without stuttering, and you've already broken into a mid-level market. Don't blow it by trying to have a personality. Just read what's written and make sure your hair is combed.

· I was somewhat surprised that the review board didn't reinstate former Tucson Police Department officer Thomas Schenek, who was fired after shooting a drugged-out suspect who turned out not to be armed. However, I was outraged to learn that the City of Tucson paid the druggie $1 million for catching a bullet.

Schenek and his partner responded to a trespassing call and came upon the cocaine guy, who ran into an alley. When Schenek got into the alley, Cocaine Guy was crouched down, with his hands in his pocket, making guttural noises. Schenek told him to show his hands, but Cocaine Guy instead advanced on the cops in "a fighting stance." The cop first used pepper spray, but when the guy continued to advance and then pulled out the cellphone, the cop shot him.

I've been on the wrong end of unjustified police gunfire and I would say that I have a healthy skepticism toward police procedures and personnel. The city's Civil Service Commission voted 2-1 last week to uphold the officer's firing and I won't question that.

But how in the world do you pay some brain-addled creep a million bucks for acting like an idiot? Cocaine Guy's lawyer says that the guy didn't show his hands because he doesn't speak English. Who's fault is that?! I'm sorry, but even if you're high on cocaine and you don't speak the language of the country you're in, you still ought to have enough sense not to charge at a cop who is pointing a gun at you. And if you do charge and then get shot, you ought to at least have the common decency to thank him for not shooting you twice.

Besides, when I become King of Things, a guy walking around with a cell phone will be a shootable offense all by itself, even without all that cocaine, growling and lunging stuff.

· Sportswriters and TV people are always touting running back Marshall Faulk as "the smartest man on the St. Louis Rams roster." But just the other day, one paper reported that Faulk is "among a growing number of people who now believe that the 1969 Apollo 11 Moon landing was a hoax."

The "growing number" part is right. There used to be three; now Faulk makes four. Faulk, who probably has trouble figuring out which end of the football to tuck into his elbow, says that "the flag (purportedly planted on the Moon's surface) sticks straight out, and everybody knows there's no wind on the Moon."

How do you know that, Marshall? Did Jules Verne tell you?

Those of us who were fortunate to have lived through that time remember that there was a slim rod in the flag that would allow it to stand out straight, and that the flag was even designed to look like it was flapping in the breeze.

I think Marshall stayed up late one night and watched Capricorn One, a movie about a government hoax of a manned landing on Mars. That movie starred (among others) James Brolin, Elliott Gould and O.J. Simpson. That's two guys who have been married to Barbra Streisand and one who would "kill the b**ch if she made me mad."

· Whaddya say we do this Enron thing right? I know that a lot of my fellow Dems are itching to go after George W. Bush as payback for the GOP's persecution of Bill Clinton, but let's not. Instead, we should go after all the suits who bought political favor, drove their company into the ground, affixed golden parachutes worth millions and bailed out mere hours before Enron went belly-up, and left the workers without jobs and suddenly bereft of their entire life savings.

Send some of these guys to prison, and not some Air Force base with tennis courts. Send them to real prison with guys named Bubba, like Albert Brooks in Out of Sight. Only don't give them a Ving Rhames or George Clooney to watch their backs.

Send a few of these arrogant bastards away and perhaps the next bunch might keep a closer eye on the accounting.

· Finally, this headline from USA Today: "Afghanistan Looks For a Tourism Boost." Haven't those people suffered enough?