Chris Cooley, Defying the Short Shorts No-No

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Sunday, June 24, 2007

When Chris Cooley showed up at Redskins offseason practice last week wearing snug, hipbone-skimming shorts, it was a sartorial scandal. " Richard Simmons called, he wants his shorts back," snarked one blogger, while others guffawed over "tight end" jokes.

But is it so hard to remember? Not too long ago all men wore shorts that short -- presidents, Olympians, Sean Connery in "Thunderball," maybe even your dad -- and no one thought anything of it. It wasn't until the late '80s that Michael Jordan and his fellow NBA alpha males brought in the oxymoron of long shorts, as baggy as pajamas. Soon even men whose professional duties mandate the cling of spandex (track and field competitors, bike messengers, some Olympic swimmers) made sure the cloth modestly covered their entire thighs.

So is Cooley transgressing -- or merely steering the pendulum of fashion back to a previous position? Get used to this look, fellas: Next summer, you'll probably all be wearing it.

Congress Plans to Play Ball! At RFK, but Still . . .

The November '06 elections transformed the balance of power in Congress -- but what does it mean for the annual Congressional Baseball Game?

Democrats are hoping an influx of talent -- five freshmen reps who have joined the team -- will end their mortifying six-year losing streak in the annual charity game sponsored by Roll Call, scheduled for tomorrow night at RFK.

Team manager Rep. Mike Doyle (Penn.) said he's impressed by what he's seen in practice from Chris Carney (Penn.), Chris Murphy (Conn.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.) and Bruce Braley (Iowa). "All had played organized baseball at some level and were good at it."

But clearly the party's great hope is former Redskin Heath Shuler, newly elected from North Carolina's 11th District. "He's hit about three or four out of the ballpark in practice. It's hard to believe he was just a quarterback, he looks like a linebacker. The problem is he can't run" -- owing to a career-ending foot injury. "He's either going to hit a home run or a single, then we have to get him a pinch runner," said Doyle.

As for the Republicans, "their team is the same team they've had for years," Doyle said. "They're good players. We're just hoping they have more arthritis."

GOP team manager Rep. Joe Barton (Tex.) replied: "To hear the Democrats talk, you'd think we're trying to gather up enough courage just to show up. Truth is, we have a good chance as long as they don't change the rules on us."

The Doctor as Patient Is a Show-Stopper

The show doesn't always go on. For only the second time in Kennedy Center's history, a play was stopped when an actor fell ill.

Dennis Parlato, who stars as Dr. McFarland in "Mrs. Packard," finished a scene in the second act of Tuesday night's performance, walked offstage, and told the stage manager that something was wrong. A tingly hand, perhaps a blood-pressure spike? The manager shouted, "Hold!" -- loud enough for the audience to hear-- and the two actors on the Terrace Theater stage froze. EMTs were summoned (the KenCen always has medical staff on site), an ambulance was called, and the audience was informed that the performance was canceled.

No understudy? Unlike most productions, "Mrs. Packard" has no subs because of its short nine-day run. The KenCen's other mid-show cancellation came during 2004's "Forbidden Christmas" when dancer Gregory Mitchell collapsed onstage; he died a week later. This time, a happier ending: Parlato, 60, was transported to the hospital, where he was examined and declared fit to return to the stage Wednesday to complete the run, ending tonight. Theater patrons got refunds or tickets for a later show -- and a story to tell.

Readers Tell Us

U-Md. physics professor writes: You called Ed Begley Jr. "tall guy, small carbon footprint"[6/13]because he drove his hybrid here from California rather than fly. It is questionable that he reduced his carbon footprint by driving rather than flying. According to EPA estimates, the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight use 4.9 and 3.4 L of fuel per 100 km on the highway. The average fuel economy of air transportation was 4.8 L per 100 passenger-km in 1998, and many carriers achieve 3 L per 100 km. Longer flights, fuller flights, larger aircraft, and more modern aircraft achieve better fuel economy. Also, driving requires more miles traveled to reach the same destination. Assuming Begley drove alone from California, it is likely that he could have found a flight that was more efficient.

Uhhh, no one said there was going to be math on this test! Send your questions, story tips and fuel-efficiency recommendations to

© 2007 The Washington Post Company