Couch Slouch

Couch Slouch: A Round Ball Ruminator With a Prolix Penchant

By Norman Chad
Monday, March 23, 2009

In the midst of March Madness looms Clark Kellogg. Replacing Billy Packer as CBS's No. 1 college basketball voice, Kellogg is one part Dick Vitale, one part Bill Raftery and two parts toxic spill.

Like many of his analytical ancestors, Kellogg speaks an alternate language. The lane is "the paint," the basket is "the rack," the foul line is "the charity stripe." Players don't just rebound, they either are "banging the glass" or "cleaning up a missed shot."

For Kellogg, the shortest distance between two points is a circumlocutious statement. He favors multisyllabic words, like "perimeter" and "interior" and "circumlocutious"; heck, he's got to love "multisyllabic" because, well, it's multisyllabic.

In short, Kellogg butchers English, obfuscates the obvious and makes simple points seem elaborate -- all for our entertainment value! Frankly, he might call himself a "mangled linguistic savant."

Here now are excerpts from, as Kellogg would say, his "body of work." All of the words between quotations are Kellogg's, unexpurgated; all the words after are mine, unenthralled:

"Duke has done a masterful job of controlling pace and tempo." "Pace and tempo" always go together, you know, like "Tango & Cash."

"Basketball is meant to be played with rhythm and flow." Of course, without rhythm and flow, you can't control pace and tempo.

"The speed and length of LSU has really caught Butler off-guard." LSU is faster and taller than Butler.

"He gets a little pseudo-penetration." It's the illusion of penetration.

"They've got to turn that turnover funnel off." In my house, that's next to the circuit breakers.

"Both teams so hungry to win this game that they are just a tad off offensively in terms of the shot-making here." Uh, neither team is shooting well.

(Column Intermission: I figured President Obama was too busy when he didn't respond to my bowling-and-poker memo. But then I saw he spent, like, 4 1/2 hours on ESPN filling out a tournament bracket and realized he's returning Andy Katz's phone calls and ignoring mine. I wish I'd voted for Ron Paul.)

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