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Just Off-Camera

"They respect you if you write. The dumber the world gets, the more the words matter." -Dan Jenkins


Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Hair To The Chief

Last night (actually, very early this morning), I was walking out of Building 2, which is where I work on the ESPN campus. Ahead of me, I saw a group of four people walking to a car. I could see that one of them was Steve Lavin, which is no big deal, since he works at ESPN this season. But I also recognized one of the other people he was with: Gene Keady.

How long has Keady been the coach at Purdue? Let's just say that if one of his first teams there had won a national championship, Martin Van Buren would probably have extended a White House invitation to Keady. I assume his visit to ESPN had something to do with the fact that Lavin was once an assistant coach for him with the Boilermakers (What the hell is a Boilermaker, anyway?). But other than that, I had no idea why he was visiting Bristol. Purdue played last weekend in Minnesota. They play next weekend in Wisconsin. So Keady's going way out of his way to come to Connecticut.

There were two things that occurred to me when I saw Keady. First, I realized that I was witnessing the two most recognizable heads of hair in all of college basketball (Dick Vitale doesn't count, since he has no hair). Lavin is of the Pat Riley school of hair care, that is to say, he uses two bottles of Elmer's Glue on his dome each day. A fellow researcher who once was granted the privilege of touching Lavin's slicked-back 'do reported that it was essentially a helmet.

Keady, on the other hand, has something on his head that looks like a cross between what Lavin's hair would look like if it was lighter and slicked sideways instead of back and roadkill. The sight of these two coiffures together was quite impressive. I would bet that if you showed pictures of both men from the foreheads up to a college hoops fan, they could identify the coaches.

The other thing that I realized when I saw Keady was that when you work at ESPN, you never know who's going to drop in. Could be Keady. Could be Buck O'Neil. John Kruk was in the house last week. So was Rick Reilly.

What this made me wonder was whether it's like this at MTV. Do the production assistants there run into Chingy in the hallway? Do they sit down next to Mandy Moore in the MTV cafeteria inadvertently? Would it really be inadvertent? Do they find themselves in elevators with R. Kelly? Are they glad they're in their 20s and too old for him if they do? Sorry, couldn't resist.

***

Speaking of music, I highly recommend checking out DJ Danger Mouse's Grey Album. It's created using only vocals from Jay-Z's Black Album and samples from the Beatles' White Album. And it's terrific. "99 Problems," in particular, is great - it takes Jigga's rhymes and sets them over guitar riffs from "Helter Skelter." Of course, Danger Mouse didn't get permission to use any of his sounds, so the record companies have ordered him to stop distributing the album. Since he's not selling it, though, it should be interesting to see whether or not he complies. Regardless, the Grey Album has entered the realm of file-sharing, so it will live on no matter what Danger Mouse or the record companies end up doing.

Another musical work worth checking out is Pat McGee Band's EP Drive-By Romance, released yesterday. It's only available digitally, which means to get it, you'll have to go to Napster or iTunes, or one of those sites (or maybe it's already made its way into KaZaA). It features "Beautiful Ways," the first single from their upcoming album. It's an excellent song, and I hope it gets some airplay. Also, the EP has four live tracks from a show in Boston I went to in October. The four live cuts are all good, but "Shine," in particular, is a solid rendition.

***

A little while ago, I concluded one of my columns with my all-hockey name team. Well, it's time to make a transaction. I'm going to drop Dan LaCouture and add Oilers left winger Jason Chimera in his place. Chimera scored the Oilers' lone goal a couple nights ago, which provided the following Greek mythology lesson on-air on ESPNEWS:

A chimera is "a fire-breathing she-monster usually represented as a composite of a lion, goat, and serpent." So says the American Heritage Dictionary, and so said Steve Bunin and J.W. Stewart after the highlight of Chimera's goal. The only thing missing was an over-the-shoulder picture of the mythological beast to lead into the highlight.

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