As part of its ongoing 25th-anniversary celebration, ESPN is tracking down kids named after the network. Since 2000, at least three children have that distinction -- Espen Blondeel in Michigan and Espn Curiel and ESPN Malachi McCall in Texas.
Why would anyone name a child after a cable sports network?
What, they should name 'em after a home shopping network?
The answer, of course, is money. ESPN makes a lot of it; most anything ESPN touches makes a lot of it. So, in theory, a two-legged ESPN has a head start against other two-legged mortals. Who do you think stands a better chance of landing that dream job, ESPN Classic Jr. or John Q. Public?
(By the way, the full name of my first-born is Fox Sports Net Rocky Mountain Chad. Around the house, though, we just call him FX.)
Speaking of money, this is the time of year folks can use an extra 10 bits for vacation needs, so as a public service, we present an expanded $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway!
Q. The Tour de France is so awesome, do you think it would ever be held in the United States? (Jim Shehan; Hayden Lake, Idaho)
A. That's a wonderful idea, but the problem would be that the United States, technically, is not part of France. I mean, you wouldn't run the Indianapolis 500 in Baghdad, would you?
Q. I know you're a degenerate and have a built-in bias here, but can you explain to me how poker is on television more than Katie Couric? (Doug Todd; Albany, N.Y.)
A. We are a nation of gamblers. I have always contended if you left the proverbial "little old lady from Pasadena" in an isolation tank with a vending machine and a slot machine -- even if she hadn't eaten for a week -- she would pull the slot machine lever first.
Q. I just discovered something disturbing -- my Sparkletts water bottle has an expiration date. Does water go bad? (Michael B. Ingoldsby; Dorchester, Mass.)
A. My goodness, when did bottled water become the eternal elixir? I see women everywhere carrying around jugs of Dasani like they're expecting a drought between here and Starbucks. Geez. Doesn't anyone use a water fountain anymore? I half expect to walk into a bar and hear someone ordering a Scotch-and-Aquafina.
Q. What are you wearing to the ESPY Awards this year? (Kelly Morgan; Greenwood, S.C.)
A. Actually, the valet parking company provides us with uniforms.
Q. I understand that one of John Kerry's initiatives, if elected, would be to reform divorce laws related to women's rights -- he believes women should be allowed to revisit the divorce agreement via the courts for increased payments. Is this a swing issue for you? (Kevin Kiely; Newburyport, Mass.)
A. Thanks for the heads up. Divorcees For Bush will hold its first meeting Friday, 7:30 p.m., at that Coco's just off the interstate.
Q. Should you start the Indoor Life Network, what would your choice be for the most popular indoor activity? (Les Tolt; North Olmstead, Ohio)
A. Opening child-resistant prescription caps without dropping your remote.
Q. Will you be able to pay me although I'm an Italian citizen living in Italy? (Luca Cattini; Correggio, Italy)
A. I trust the Italian mail system like I trust CIA intelligence. The next time Tony Soprano visits, he'll be holding for you.
Q. Donald Trump had "The Apprentice," Mark Cuban is going to have "The Benefactor" and Sylvester Stallone is planning "The Boxer." What would your reality TV show be called? (Steve Rondeau; Billerica, Mass.)
A. "If I Had to Do It Over Again, I Would've Paid More Attention in Class So I Could've Gone to a Real College and Maybe Even Podiatry School and -- Who Knows? -- Then I Wouldn't Be the Only Person on My Block Without an SUV, HDTV and ADT."
Q. Do you have any skills other than writing poorly about a variety of sports topics? (Michael Demers; West Mifflin, Pa.)
A. I also specialize in pig Latin limericks.
Q. Would you still pay-per-view for Mike Tyson? (Al Brener; Reno)
A. If he were boxing in my back yard and cut the lawn, I'd give him a nickel.
Q. Why do you think it is that outstanding women's tennis players like Svetlana Kuznetsova, Daniela Hantuchova, Klara Koukalova and Lina Krasnoroutskaya are still not household names in the U.S.? (Richard Swearingen; Milwaukee)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
Q. As an intellectual exercise, could you just provide an answer -- you know, "Jeopardy"-style -- and let readers figure out the question? (Chris Farina; Spokane, Wash.)
A. McLean Stevenson, Shelley Long, David Caruso, Max Kellerman.
Q. A few months ago, you devoted 75 percent of a column to questions from readers. If you upped that to 100 percent, you could have your entire column written by others for only $15 or so a week. As a true Slouch, have you considered doing this? (M.S. Winston; Berwyn Heights, Md.)
You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!