Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Hefty Coaches, Literary Writers & Serial Killers

By Paul (Pigskin) Levine

I love Mark Mangino.

I love him because he doesn't look like a football coach.
Actually, the Kansas coach looks like Clemenza from "The Godfather."

Mangino could chew up Charlie Weis and spit out Lou Holtz.

Kansas students proudly wear t-shirts proclaiming, "Our coach can eat your coach."

If Howard Cossell were alive, he would call Mangino "the rotund one."

Mangino didn't have it easy. A college drop-out from New Castle, PA, he worked 13 years on the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. His duties included cleaning rest rooms and clearing deer carcasses from the road. (He later earned a degree at Youngstown State).

Mangino drew national attention this year for leading the Jayhawks to a number two ranking and an 11-0 record before losing last Saturday to Missouri. (Yes, yes, I know the Kansas schedule was as soft as Mangino's belly, but 11-0 is still 11-0. Until it becomes 11-1).

He also drew attention for berating punt returner Raimond Pendleton in colorful language after Pendleton SCORED! The goofball was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after a showy swan dive into the end zone. Just as spectacular as the punt return was Coach Mangino's diatribe: "You fucking hot dog! Look what the fuck you did!"

(My high school basketball coach, Frank Casale, who doubled as a tavern owner, used to yell at me after a turnover: "Levine! Gosh darn it! Do we have to put handles on the ball for you?")

For the uninitiated, diving into the end zone is considered taunting in college football if it's done to celebrate the play, rather than as a necessity of scoring. That may seem like a dumb rule. But think of it this way. If Agent Jim Born arrests someone, he doesn't shoot his gun in the air to celebrate. Or does he? Little known fact. In South Florida, it is permissible to shoot automatic weapons into the sky to celebrate any report of Fidel Castro's death, no matter how premature.

Anyway, here's what happens if you play for Mangino and draw the penalty.

All of this is prelude to my observation that it's a shame Kansas lost to Missouri in a 36-28 shootout. Neither team played pass defense particularly well, and the tackling was atrocious. But it was exciting, even if Mangino neither called a player a hot dog nor ate one on the sidelines.

I was rooting for Mangino to add some heft, if not gravitas, to the BCS Championship Game. And now, sadly, there's no chance of that.

The New York Times is out with its "100 Notable Books of the Year".

One of the anointed novels is "On Chesil Beach," by literary favorite (and possible D.D.S) Ian McEwan,which chronicles a couple's sexual misadventures on their wedding night. Here's an excerpt:
"With his lips clamped firmly onto hers, he probed the fleshy floor of her mouth, then moved around inside the teeth of her lower jaw to the empty place where three years ago a wisdom tooth had crookedly grown until removed under general anesthesia. This cavity was where her own tongue usually strayed when she was lost in thought. By association, it was more like an idea than a location, a private imaginary place rather than a hollow in her gum, and it seemed peculiar to her that another tongue should be able to go there too. ... He wanted to engage her tongue in some activity of its own, coax it into a hideous mute duet. ... She understood perfectly that this business with tongues, this penetration, was a small-scale enactment, a ritual tableau vivant, of what was still to come, like a prologue before an old play that tells you everything that must happen."

Want more? You'll have to read the book. Me, I'd prefer root canal.

That's mi esposa Renee with Michael C. Hall, expert serial killer on Showtime's "Dexter." Photographer Craig Mathew caught them discussing the pros and cons of manual strangulation versus garroting at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

In unrelated news, Renee has recently purchased several yards of cat gut. She claims she needs to re-string one of her several dozen tennis rackets.

HA! I have it on good authority that tennis strings are now made of plastic...while cat gut remains an excellent tool of STRANGULATION!


1 comment:

  1. Due to an unfortunate glitch, all of the comments from today's post were lost. A thousand apologizes.