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Couch Slouch: This is the end

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I have never written end-of-year columns. This year I figured, “What the heck? Why not?” But just my luck — I finally decide to weigh in with an end-of-the-year treatise, and I find out the end of the world is coming first.

No worries, dear readers; I am a professional. What, I’m going to let an impending apocalypse disrupt my weekly journalistic rounds? All we’re talking about here is moving up my deadline, say, 10 days to beat the Mayan calendar.

So here are a few somewhat rushed end-of-year thoughts:

●I’m going to miss the Bowl Championship Series when it’s gone. First of all, something that greed-driven, unfair and rigged spoke clearly to the darker impulses of our great nation. Second of all, do you know how many sports-talk radio hosts are going to be out of work? The annual BCS boondoggle provided these fellas with nearly 100 hours of over-the-top, public anger and angst. What are they going to prattle on about now, Cy Young Award voting?

●To be perfectly honest, I prefer the NHL in canceled seasons. Actually, Gary Bettman might be onto something here. Imagine if Honda or Nissan followed the NHL’s business practice, and, every several years, just didn’t produce a new line of cars. Wouldn’t Honda lovers be aching for the new Hondas the following year? Cha-ching!!!

●To also be perfectly honest, I preferred the NBA in its shortened, turbo season of a year ago. A Christmas Day start was perfect. Sure, I have NBA League Pass, but how many early-December Raptors-at-Pistons games can one watch? I liked fewer games and fewer off-nights — I say, “Yes sir, I’ll have another!” to a microwaved NBA schedule. And I don’t want to hear how the truncated, compressed season created more injuries — these are professional athletes in their prime. For goodness sakes, I’m writing this column with a paper cut and you don’t hear me complaining.

●Just say no to “Thursday Night Football.” Here’s the thing: The NFL has its claws so deep into our psyche, it probably could expand to a 51-game season — taking Easter week off — playing Sundays through Fridays, and we’d still watch it all. But in a sea of sporting excess, there was something quaint and majestic about the NFL limiting itself to a Sunday afternoon-to-Monday night weekly feast. We’d get a burst of our favorite sport, then wait all week for the next one. So, yeah, I’m watching these Thursday night games, but I don’t have to like it.

●Jason Gay is a very talented writer, but he’s got to stop crawling up my backside. First, I was apprised a few years back that this crumb bum had started a sports column in the Wall Street Journal called The Couch (sound familiar?). Now, I’ve been apprised that last week this crumb bum wrote a piece entitled, “23 Rules of the Office Holiday Party.” I’ve been writing “23 facts about sports TV” for like, uh, 23 years now. He couldn’t have picked another number? What’s next, this crumb bum’s gonna get married three times?

●Instead of elevator music — known as Muzak — what if they started playing daily audio from ESPN’s “First Take”? Something tells me a lot more people would start taking the stairs. This would mean a more fit America, and combined with Michelle Obama’s eat-right initiative, a more trim America.

●In off-the-field news, I am never paying anther highway toll again. I’m just not. I’ll get out of my car and walk through the tollbooth, if I have to. I hate slowing down, I hate waiting in line, I hate digging into my pockets for cash or change. EZ Pass, my butt. From here on in, it’s EZ No Pay.

●Let’s briefly reconsider the controversial Stephen Strasburg shutdown. I’ve done just that: It seemed dumb then and it seems dumb now. I hate to upset my D.C. friends and Nationals fans, but after terming it the dumbest decision in contemporary times since Decca Records passed on the Beatles in 1962, I am now upgrading it to the worst decision in the history of Western civilization. Why? The Nationals said they were doing it to preserve Strasburg’s arm for next year and beyond. Hello? THERE’S NOT EVEN GOING TO BE A NEXT YEAR.

●See you all on the other side! I hope it’s wired for cable.

Ask The Slouch

Q. You’re an L.A. guy — where does all the money come from for Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, Jered Weaver, Zack Greinke, Matt Kemp, Josh Beckett, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, et al? (Eric Atkins; Oakland, Calif.)

A. This a city of dreamers, with valet parking — there is no salary cap.

Q. Is the bowl season officially now more commercially crass than the holiday season? (Josh Markowitz; Albany, N.Y.)

A. Only in America: There is a Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, a Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, a Chick-fil-A Bowl and a Fight Hunger Bowl.

Q. Does hearing Dan Marino and Shannon Sharpe refer to Bill Cowher as “Coach” remind you of the “Seinfield” episode with the “Maestro”? (John Swope; Irwin, Pa.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just e-mail asktheslouch@aol.com and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!

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