These are 23 (more) facts, tried and true, about the widening world of sports television:
1. The best thing about hockey on OLN? No "SportsCenter" after the game.
2. At his peak, Walter Cronkite was on television 30 minutes a day. I don't think Stephen A. Smith has reached his peak yet and he's already on television 60 minutes a day.
3. We used a sideline reporter at my first wedding, and, frankly, I won't do it again.
4. This is the thing -- in certain cultures, Terry Bradshaw might be the village idiot; in other cultures, he might be head of state.
5. You could put a camera on Charles Barkley opening a jar of peanut butter and there's a good chance it would be pretty darn entertaining.
6. If I were on the 37th floor of a building and Jay Mariotti came into the elevator, I guess I'd take the stairs.
7. An indication I'm watching too much football: You know that computer-generated yellow first-down line on your TV? I now see it in my living room on my way to the kitchen.
8. You know, as it turns out, Sterling and Shannon Sharpe might be the most successful broadcast siblings since Bernard and Marvin Kalb.
(Column Intermission I: Congratulations to best-selling author and sporting bon vivant John Feinstein, who just became the first person in history to utter a profanity on live sports broadcasts in two different centuries. In 1988, Feinstein used an expletive while covering the Summer Olympics for NBC, then recently he uttered an obscenity doing color commentary on the Navy-Duke game for the Navy Football Radio Network.)
9. I ran into Tim McCarver the other day at the carwash and he explained to me how an airbrush works.
10. Inexplicably, I watched live NFL Network coverage from outside the Terrell Owens grievance hearing in Philadelphia.
11. Boomer Esiason has his own talk show on the MSG network. In a bygone era, you could lose your broadcasting license for putting on stuff like that.
12. Memo to Woody Paige: When you go insane sitting across from that other guy, I will open my home to you.
13. If that's the "Best Damn Sports Show Period," then I don't even want to know what the "Second-Best Damn Sports Show Period" might look like.
14. Is it my imagination, or does TNT show "The Shawshank Redemption" on a continuous reel?
15. If I'm grazing about and happen upon ABC's Keith Jackson calling a gerbil race, I put the clicker down.
16. My other secret TV love is Spanish soap operas.
(Column Intermission II: Here's an excerpt from "Next Man Up," Feinstein's new book about the Baltimore Ravens: "There are few places on Earth more tense than the headquarters of an NFL team on the morning after a loss." Not exactly John Steinbeck, but at least there are no bad words!)
17. Against all odds, A Woman Beyond My Wildest Dreams has entered my life. I hope she doesn't mind that the TV's always on.
18. If Applebee's is "eatin' good in the neighborhood," I'm thinking I just might fast.
19. Somewhere along the way, someone told ESPN's Sean Salisbury he should become more opinionated. I want to find that person.
20. If I'm going to heaven -- a one-in-three shot, at best -- I sure hope the basic cable package there includes the History Channel.
20a. In fact, if there is an afterlife, I'll take Greg Gumbel in the studio, Al Michaels on play-by-play and Ernie Johnson with the postgame.
21. Why shouldn't I watch billiards on TV? What, I should TiVo "According to Jim" instead?
22. If it were up to me, bowling would be required viewing for anyone who wanted to register to vote.
23. The next frontier: poker on radio.
Ask The Slouch
Q. Were you sucked in to watching Oprah Winfrey visit David Letterman? (Robert Wells; Columbia, S.C.)
A. Of course. It might've been the biggest moment on TV since Pete Rose visited Jay Mohr.
Q. Suppose you flipped a coin to decide whether or not to get married yet again -- heads you marry, tails you go home. The coin comes up heads. Did the bride-to-be win or lose? (Don Cawley; Shaker Heights, Ohio)
A. If my readers are my de facto support group, I need to find some new readers.
Q. When the referee's assistants check the goal nets before the soccer match begins, what are they looking for? (Jeff Hazle; Woodbridge)
Q. Why do the networks insist on showing us blimp shots of enclosed stadiums? Isn't that like having a cooking show where all the food is in covered pots? (Andrew Hoenig; Rockville)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
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!