Tube Stake

Chickens, Ducks And Dogs, Oh My.

A WEEKEND LOST in front of the tube:

· Boxing fans, I'm prepared to do you a favor. You know how you spent $49.95 the other night for the Pay-Per-View of the Mike Tyson-Andrew Golota fight? Well, the next time you get the urge to do that, give me a call. My friends and I will come to your house, we'll smack your cat around with a golf club, urinate on your furniture, berate your wife and eat whatever's edible in your refrigerator. And we'll do it for only $29.95. That way you'll save 20 bucks and you'll be less frustrated than you were at the end of last week's boxing disaster, the most recent in a seemingly endless stream of pugilistic nightmares.

I've long since stopped trying to figure out boxing fans. They make soccer hooligans look like patrons of the arts. The word "masochism" comes from the ancient Greek for "boxing fan." Year after year, fight after fight, disappointment after disappointment, fans line up to throw their money away on crap. Let's see, what was it last week? Oh yeah, it was a two-time felon, convicted rapist, brainless thug who openly talks about his desire to eat other people's children versus a steroid-fattened Eastern European who has lost more times than Joseph Sweeney.

And what happened? Well, in the first round, the rapist knocked the Commie down, but in the second round, the Commie came back and lasted an entire three minutes without falling down again. Naturally, the buttlickers they have announcing the travesty chimed in with "Oh, we've got a real fight tonight!"

But then the Commie figured that six minutes was long enough to earn his $2 million, so he quit. Oh sure, there was the wonderful spectacle of his trainer chasing him around the ring, trying to shove the mouthpiece in his piehole so he would get back out and fight. But that can only go so far. The trainer made one final attempt with the mouthpiece, but Golota shoved him aside with what turned out to be his most aggressive move of the night.

There's no such thing as heavyweight boxing. It's a freak show. If boxing wanted an official photographer, they'd dig up Diane Arbus. (That's my intellectual reference for the week.)

That mess Friday night certainly wasn't worth the $49.95 they charged for it. Heck, it wasn't worth the 12 cents worth of electricity my buddy used to power the black box with which he stole the fight off the cable. And ain't a court in the world would convict him of theft because it would get all bogged down in the philosophical question of "If you take something that has absolutely no value, is it still considered theft?"

I'm still upset that I used 22 cents worth of gasoline to drive over to his house to pick up a tape of it so I could write this.

Next time one of these spectacles comes along, please think first. That's 50 bucks! That's a third of a pair of new Nikes for your kid. Almost two tankfuls of gas for a Honda. The sum total of what the average middle-class family would reap under George W. Bush's $200 billion tax cut.

Stop the madness.

· By the time I turned on the UA game Saturday, the Cats were already down 14-0. A lot of people thought they were going to get blown out in Eugene and I almost changed the channel rather than suffer through a long night of watching the Cats taking a serious whuppin'. Well, I didn't change the channel, and instead got to suffer through an even longer night of watching them come painfully close to the Rose Bowl yet again.

The Cats cut the margin to 14-7, then blocked a punt. I remember thinking in that moment--in an instant of painful clarity--that if they didn't run it in for a touchdown, the game would be lost. It was one of those moments in life where a thousand vivid memories flash by in a split second.

I saw the 1994 game at Oregon where the Cats had a 6-3 lead and the ball inside the Oregon 10 with less than a minute to go in the first half, but settled for a field goal and a 9-3 lead. Oregon later benefited from a horrible pass interference call, scored a late TD for the ultimate 10-9 victory, and went to the Rose Bowl instead of Arizona.

Sure enough, the Cats settled for a field goal, then watched a brilliant second-half defensive effort go for naught in an ulcer-prompting 14-10 loss.

Cat fans, I have come up with an analogy in which we can all take solace. In 1997, some team called the Florida Marlins won the World Series. I know this because I looked it up. And yet there isn't one living American who would claim to be a Marlins fan. Meanwhile, millions upon millions of Americans are Chicago Cubs fans, even though the Cubs haven't won a World Series since Teddy Roosevelt was president.

Yep, our Cats are lovable losers. Perennial almost-champions. A ragtag bunch of misfits who just try their gosh-darnedest. And in all seriousness, I LOVE this team.

· During the game there was a commercial in which they talked about Diamondback Dogs. Isn't that redundant?

· Finally, during Sunday's rainstorm, Channel 9 News at 10 p.m. had reporter Steve Nunez doing a live remote at the raging Rillito. He says, "Just look at how fast it's flowing." So the cameraman pans the river, but we viewers get nothing but a black screen, BECAUSE IT'S NIGHTTIME!

So they go away from Nunez, then go back to him. This time, he has a piece of legal paper balled up in his hand. He says that he's going to throw it into the water so we can gauge its speed. He throws the paper, but about six inches from his hand, it disappears into the blackness. Again we get a dark screen while he oohs and ahhs over nature's fury.

Steve, you get an "A" for effort, an "F" for execution, and the median time it took viewers to mutter "What an idiot" and then change channels was 3.4 seconds.

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