Heeee's back. After a long absence, the fabulous Mister Know-It-All is in our studio ready to answer your questions and take your takes. The lines are open . . .
CALLER: I guess I wasn't the only Cougar fan who was happy with the way BYU played against Florida State. I read in the paper that a BYU player said, "Playing that well against that quality of a team is exciting." FSU coach Bobby Bowden himself said, "They played us even as far as I'm concerned." Do you think the Cougs will be a strong team this season?
MISTER K: Wait a minute — what game were you guys watching?
CALLER: Who does Bret Engemann remind you of? Nielsen? Wilson? McMahon?
MISTER K: Osmond — Donny.
CALLER: Is it true that you still receive hate e-mail from marching band members around the country because of an extremely humorous and entertaining column you wrote that poked fun at the tradition of marching bands?
MISTER K: Yes, a few trickle in every week. The e-mail total is somewhere in the neighborhood of 14,000 to 15,000 (I lost count). Here's a composite sample of the recurring themes: "What the *&$#@$#, blah, blah, blah, your mother must be @#$%! . . . Blah, blah, sun don't shine. I listen to marching band CDs in the car, in the tub, blah, blah, under water, blah, blah, and so does my golden retriever, you !#@%&. Blah, blah, blah, you should listen to DCI . . . blah, blah, %#$! blah we work harder than Sherpas, blah, blah, blah playing a tuba and marching at the same time blah, blah, blah is harder than flying a 747."
CALLER: Why do they say "blah, blah, blah?"
MISTER K: It's what happens when you play the trombone too much.
CALLER: Excuse me, but didn't you write that band column almost two years ago?
MISTER K: Yes. Note to the bands: Get over it. I'm not converting to marching band music. I don't even go to parades. So stop sending me CDs.
CALLER: What have you learned from this experience?
MISTER K: I have learned a great, wondrous truth about America's youths. They can't spell.
CALLER: Why is baseball the one major professional sport that doesn't test for steroid use among its players?
MISTER K: The players' union won't allow testing for steroids, even though 'roids ruin people and the sport itself. Ultimately, they'll ruin baseball the same way they're ruining track and field. Baseball is all about statistics, records and history, and steroids are going to wreak havoc on all of the above. It's time for baseball to wake up and smell the Nandrolone. The NCAA, NFL, NBA and IOC all test for steroids, but not Major League Baseball. The Texas Rangers strength coach recently told Sports Illustrated he believes up to 22 percent of major and minor leaguers use 'roids. Have you noticed all those homers? Well, it's not because there's something wrong with the ball.
CALLER: What's your impression of the 14-foot nude statue that was built in honor of Arthur Ashe in Arthur Ashe Stadium?
MISTER K: Eric Fischl, the artist, told the L.A. Times he was "trying to bring to life a spirit in which (Ashe) functioned." Whatever. Last time we checked, Ashe wore clothes and wielded a racket when he functioned. The statue has neither. The public reaction has been one of confusion and disgust. Apparently, the artist anticipated the former — the statue comes complete with a sign that reads: "Arthur Ashe embodies dignity, powerful determination and uncommon grace. While not a likeness, this sculpture was inspired by those qualities."
Next time go for a likeness. Here's a tip for the artist: If he thinks he must explain what he was trying to say, maybe he should have found another way to say it. OK, call me an uneducated, uncultured yokel, but if the artist is the only guy who gets the message, what's the point? The stadium needed a simple tribute to a man, not pretentious, ambiguous art.
By the way, Fischl said that clothing and a racket would date the statue. I guess that explains why so many people complain that the Lincoln monument statue isn't wearing cargo shorts and a T-shirt.