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What Is Early Word?
The Philadelphia Inquirer's experimental online "morning show", which began in Sept. 2005, went on hiatus in the summer of 2006, after a gradual shift to putting more of its content directly on

About the Host
Peter Mucha, husband and father of two, grew up in Cherry Hill and is a lifelong Philly sports fan. He's been writing and editing for The Inquirer for 18 years. His motto (at least for today): "If I'm not brief, give me grief."

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Friday, May 26, 2006

Jimmy Hoffa Cupcakes 

"A.I. Stands for Available Immediately" 

This week, while South Beach was speculating about Allen Iverson partying, Philly was abuzz about Sixers GM Billy King talking of "rebuilding," and Atlanta was debating acquiring the Sixers frenetic all-too guard. One Coketown columnist is gung-ho (that's his quote in the headline), another rather dubious. The rumor has been floating awhile, in various versions. Swap A.I. in a sign-and-trade for 6-9 forward Al Harrington (19 points, 7 rebounds a game). Maybe add forward Marvin Williams (same height, lesser stats) or another young forward. In Tuesday's draft lottery, the Hawks wound up with the pick No. 5, so that's in the mix as well. King has pooh-poohed the rumors, and so does the Inquirer's Joe Juliano in his online Q&A. But the Sixers need a star with more size, and that's not Webber, writes columnist Stephen A. Smith. Another rumor: Iverson to Minnesota for the sixth pick, says the Chicago Tribune's Stan Smith. The draft is June 28. Free agents can't be signed until July 12, but teams can talk with players starting July 1. Sounds like six more weeks of rumors, followed by surprise at what actually transpires ... or doesn't.

Me, I'm ambivalent about trading A.I. Yes, it makes sense to build around taller, younger players, and he is the team's most valuable bait. But it's unlikely to land a true star in return, and the NBA is all about stars. Besides, King has made poor moves in the past, enabled by Ed Snider's open-wallet policies, so it's easy to worry about the outcome.

In a recent Early Word poll, fans said King, not Iverson, was the Sixer who most should go.

Ultimately, though, does it even really matter? This could be a no-win situation, with championship hopes far-off in every scenario. I'm wondering how you feel.

By the way, I recently asked a former club official what he thought the Sixers needed to do. His response: "Sell the team."
How soon could the Sixers be contenders again?
Free polls from

Thursday, May 25, 2006

So You Think You Know the Eagles? A Quiz 

The Eagles have done more shuffling than a casino with card-counter paranoia. Only the most die-hard Eagles fans will ace this roster test. Consider yourself sharp if you get 8 or more right.
First-round draft pick Brodrick Bunkley, who looks a bit like Shrek, plays (a) defensive tackle (b) offensive tackle.
Matt Nordgren is (a) drafted return man and Olympian (b) newly signed QB, who backed up Vince Young at Texas.
Matt Schobel is (a) free agent tight end from Cincy (b) undrafted fullback from Rutgers.
Hank Baskett is (a) undrafted cornerback signee (b) wideout acquired from Vikings for Billy McMullen.
Sean Considine is (a) '05 pick penciled in as starting outside LB (b) '05 safety draftee returning from injury.
William Thomas is (a) team's new radio broadcaster (b) what veteran offensive tackle Tra wants to be called.
J.J. Outlaw is (a) undrafted receiver from Villanova (b) '05 draftee who might start at guard.
Chris Gocong is (a) receiver draftee from Michigan (b) college DE sackmeister who could play LB.
Jamal Jackson could be the starter at (a) center (b) fullback.
Timmy Chang is (a) QB signed out of NFL Europe (b) cornerback picked up off Oakland's practice squad.
Max Jean-Gilles is (a) French soccer player and kicker wannabe (b) massive offensive-guard draftee.
Darren Howard is (a) free-agent ex-Saints sackmeister (b) offensive tackle draftee who got in toy-gun legal trouble.

Your Score

Check the Eagles' official roster for more details on these and other players.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Fishtown Dog Up for 'World's Ugliest' Title 

Vote for "Pee-Wee, Son of Sam"! This Chinese Crested / Japanese Chin mix has its nose out of joint, as well as some kind of world's ugliest pedigree. More pictures, details.

'Idol' Prediction: Vote Will Prove Meaningless 

Sure, the world's abuzz about whether hokey-smokes "Soul Patroller" Taylor Hicks will outpoll kneel-deal sweetie Katharine McPhee and win tonight's American Idol title. But I can't help thinking: The voting process is a sham! Once again, expect the vote to be so close that introducer/anti-traducer Ryan Seacrest will get all suspensefully amazed. Don't be surprised at all. I'm confident that millions of obsessed voters can out speed-dial whatever counters Fox utilized. Say it takes 10 secs to speed-dial in a vote. That's 1,440 votes for every relative, crazed fan and hired speed-dialer. (Hey, millions of bucks are stake. Wouldn't you recruit a huge crew?) That mean it would take only 700 people to rack up 1 million votes! What, you object: But it's impossible to get through! Precisely my point! If the lines are jammed to capacity, isn't each candidate bound to get the max? One million McPhee fans could rack up as many tallies as 100 million Hicksters. So the winner will be decided by ... whoever lucked into the most glitch-free phone lines. (Just as Jeopardy! must occasionally hinge on balky buzzers.) Last week's Idol results proved the point, as all three finished in a virtual dead heat, all with 33 percent and some fraction. And perhaps so did the week before, when favorite Chris Daughtry got the boot.

If electronic voting machines raise doubts, should phone voting be taken seriously?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Sixers Addition-By-Subtraction Poll 

The future looks scary for the Sixers, missing the playoffs despite productive seasons from aging stars Allen Iverson and Chris Webber. So what's the solution? What's the shortest route to restoring title dreams? Patience, keeping the roster intact? Or are changes needed? Here's a poll. Of course, saying a player should go assumes that happens in a smart trade.
Free polls from
To fix the Sixers, who needs to go?
Click here for a head count. Then make pick or picks below. Ed Snyder as team chairman Billy King as general manager Maurice Cheeks as head coach Allen Iverson Chris Webber Andre Iguodala Kyle Korver Samuel Dalembert John Salmons Other player (please name in a comment) Other coach or exec (please name in a comment) Somebody should go, I'm just not sure who. I can live anybody staying, or anybody leaving. I think they all should stay.   

Phils Rookies in Zoot Suits 

Oh, That Wacky Web 

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