It's the Fourth of July weekend, and as a special holiday bonus, I'm offering a four-columns-in-one deal -- and all for the same low price.
If you can beat that anywhere else, I'll match the offer and throw in a copy of Dan O'Brien's recently released autobiography "15 feet, 9 inches to Glory".
Column 1: The Dream Team Is a Good Thing.
I have heard people whining that there's no joy in watching the USA/NBA Olympic team beat up on the undersized, under-talented basketball teams of neighboring countries.
What's their point?
Come on, America loves a mismatch. Some examples:
Liz Taylor and Larry Fortensky.
Ross Perot and his barber.
Dan Quayle and the Franklin Speller.
Any school and Mike Tyson.
Look, there are worse outcomes than a sure thing. Just ask the former head of Reebok.
The important thing, as Butch said to Sundance as they planned their next bank heist, is that we come out ahead.
Column 2: Who's on First?
The latest poll is in on NFL expansion hopefuls:
St. Louis, 31 percent.
Baltimore, 29 percent.
Clinton, 21 percent.
Charlotte, 19 percent.
As you can see, Baltimore has moved up in the race, and Ross Perot, who said if he wanted a football team he'd buy the whole dad-blame league himself ("Don't you worry, I've got the money"), is out of the running.
Last week, of course, Baltimore was third and Charlotte was first. What does it all mean?
It seems that Charlotte has slipped because of a problem funding a stadium with private money and that Baltimore has risen because there's public funding in place for a new stadium and, of course, there's the fairly lax local policy about paying the rent.
So, is Baltimore a lock?
Well, no. But now you see what I mean about the value of an occasional sure thing.
This is a horse race, and a peculiar one, because there might never be a home stretch -- should the NFL decline in the end to expand at all. The only sure thing is that Herb "Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella" Belgrad will be optimistic.
I called him the other day.
I got his machine. It said: "I am not here now, but if you leave your name and number, I'll get back to you and that's not being optimistic, that's a promise."
Column 3: Why Is This Man Smiling?
I opened the paper the other day to see this ad: "Oriole Manager Johnny Oates and Russel Toyota Present a Spectacular July 4th Sales Event!!!"
A couple of questions came to mind.
First, why only three exclamation points?
Second, since Johnny Oates is going to be in Minneapolis with the Orioles on July 4, is he going to do some kind of remote hook-up deal and, if so, will he take questions -- for instance, why Mark McLemore doesn't get more playing time, or his plan to resolve the health-care crisis in America.
Third, if Johnny Oates did show up -- he's scheduled to be on the lot a week from tomorrow -- would it really make you want to buy a car?
I can see that if you want to be like Mike, you might buy a certain thirst quencher. Or if you're into Ray Charles and/or the Rayettes, you'd gulp down a certain diet soda, uh huh.
But a car?
I'm trying to imagine how this conversation might go.
"Hi, honey, whaddya want to do today?"
"Well, Johnny Oates is going to be at Russel Toyota."
"He is? Hey, let's go buy a new Celica."
"Yeah, and then maybe Cal will be over at Koons Chevrolet . . . "
Column 4: Dave Needs a Friend.
Now that Dan is home practicing his pole vault ("Yeah, I'll try 14-5"), who is Dave going to hang out with in Barcelona? I asked around and came up with a few ideas.
Jerry "Le Genius" Lewis hasn't had a partner since Deano.
Carole King -- when you're down and troubled and you need a helping hand, when nothing, oh nothing is going right -- is always there if you need a friend.
Art Garfunkel is available.
From what I hear, Tom Clancy is still looking for partners.
How about Sam, of the former Sam and Dave? He needs a new Dave.