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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, June 30, 2006

Who's Idiot of the Week, Part 4 

Gonna be tough to beat Roger "Rat Man" Dier, who likes scruffy rodents so much he kept one he found, bought a few more, and LET THEM BREED, until there were 1,300 rats found in his Petaluma, Calif., home. Just one of those hobbies that slowly got out of control, he said.

But let's try.

If you haven't seen it, check out the ESPN video, of Asheville Tourists manager Joe Mikulik, who goes nuts over an ump's call, chucks second base and bats, and builds mudpies on home plate.

Then there's Allen Park, a Michigan man whose bright idea was to write "BULL[*BLEEP*] MONEY GRAB" on the $10 parking ticket he paid. Now he could get 30 days in jail for contempt of court.

Wait a sec. Here's a live one. A judge is Oklahoma is convicted of using "a penis pump" in his courtroom during trials! It was Donald Thompson's word against witnesses' -- nobody caught him red-handed.

And gotta have somebody local. So how about Mayor Street, for not being part of the city's pitch last Friday to bring the Olympics here?

Nationally, how about President Bush, whose human-rights-be-damned approach to prisoners (jailed for defiling human rights) earned a slapdown from the Supreme Court this week?

Or maybe you'd rather go Supreme Court, for the war-on-terrorism-handicapping ruling.

Don't have the stomach to include Star Jones Reynolds, but how about Rush Limbaugh? What, it's tough to get a prescription for Viagra? (His jokes. Better jokes.)
Who's the Latest Idiot of the Week?
Free polls from

Come back in a couple of days for the Idiot of the Month poll. We'll include the winners from Week One, Week Two and Week Three.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Pee Wee's Great Adventure! 

Who says Philly never wins anything? Let's hear a round of applause for our new champ: Pee Wee Martini, Ugliest Mutt 2006! Yes, the tongue-dragging mohawked mongrel from Fishtown, an eye-popping mix of Chinese crested and Japanese Chin, yipped all the way to Petaluma, Calif., and brought home a coveted ribbon from the Sonoma-Marin Fair! Talk about Pee-Wee's Great Adventure. He met up with his sort-of-sibling rival in extreme need of makeover, Elwood, from Washington Township, South Jersey, who finished second. (That's him in the picture below with owner Karen Quigley.) Fans stopped to ooh and ah and photograph Pee Wee's famous mug in Petaluma. "Journalists" from as far as Germany and Japan (really mad scientists studying old Axis genetic experiments?) interviewed his owner, Kristin Maszkiewicz (center, below), who told how she couldn't help bringing Pee Wee home from a pet store in Langhorne, because he was so "adorable." Then, ah romance! With a celebrity no less! Yes, Pee Wee fell in love with Lucille Bald, the Florida floozie who finished third. She's shown below with owner Andrea Potts, and in another pic in bed with Pee Wee!

OK, OK, one fact's been left out. Pee Wee did not win the title of World's Ugliest Dog. Alas. That went to Archie, winner of Ugliest Purebred 2006. But foul! The judges admitted Pee Wee's face is uglier, Maszkiewicz sez. Perhaps Archie outscored in the final showdown because his chubby bod was more repulsive than Pee Wee's. "Maybe because he has a really nice butt, they didn't think he was ugly enough," she says. Whatever. As we all know, mutts are better than purebreds, so Pee Wee's a winner. Masziewicz vows to try again next year, even though she and boyfriend Sam had to pay for their own airfare to the fair. (That's him behind her in photo below.) Kristin, an accountant's assistant who sports a martini tattoo for her Pee Wee Martini, explains that his tongue hangs out because teeth never grew in on that side. No wonder Lucille Bald found him irresistible. To contact Pee Wee, drop him an email at He's still working on his website,

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Wife-Beater T-Shirts!? Talk About Bad Taste! 

Unbelievable. Sure, the idea seems to be to ridicule Phillies slugger, er, pitcher Brett Myers, who's No. 39. But don't people usually wear a label to express their pride? You wear a McNabb jersey because you like the guy ... the name of your town or a city you visited because you approve. So isn't wearing "Wife Beater" going to suggest, "Yeah, I pop the old lady. Ain't I cool?" Well, no, you're not and neither are these. Besides, is this a subject calling for wit? And yet is selling all sorts of so-labeled apparel, including thongs, camisoles, boxer shorts and trucker hats. Gotta agree with the guy who posted this comment: "Absolutely pathetic. I hope the scumbag that came up with this idea at least has the decency to donate any earnings to an agency that supports battered women." OK, maybe scumbag's a bit strong. How about "misguided prankster"?

Who actually created this stuff isn't clear, since the phone number is manned by, a site that customizes and sells clothing for anybody with a "bright" idea. We'll try to track down and let you know the identity of this "misguided prankster."

What do you think?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Philly Sports Hall of Shame, Part 2 

Unlike alleged wife-abuser (and Phillies pitcher) Brett Myers, some other athletes came here with rap sheets, while others got booked and fingerprinted after leaving town. Again, we could use some help in beefing up this list.

Arrested Before Playing Here
Winston Justice,
Eagles offensive tackle. Justice, a second-round draft pick this year, pleaded no contest in 2004 to a misdemeanor charge after threatening a student with a pellet gun.
Glenn Robinson, Sixers forward. In 2003, "Big Dog" had to miss his first three Sixers games because of a conviction on domestic assault and battery charges.
Billy Tibbetts, Flyers forward. He served 40 months in prison for rape, assaulting a police officer, and other charges. Flyers picked him up in spring 2002. Dumped him 9 games later after public furor.
Allen Iverson, Sixers guard. As explained in Part 1, his conviction was overturned, after Virginia's governor cut Iverson's five-year sentence to his four-months served. The charges stemmed from a 1993 bowling alley melee.
Vernon Maxwell, Sixers guard. In the summer of 1995, he was sentenced him to jail time in Texas for possessing marijuana. He'd had other run-ins with police, fans and the NBA, as well. The next season he joined the Sixers.
Bruce Walker, Eagles defensive tackle. In 1994, Rich Kotite traded up to grab a guy who'd been suspended for a year by UCLA after pleading no contest to charges of receiving stolen property.

Arrested After Playing Here
Rick Tocchet, ex-Flyers forward. Charged in February by New Jersey authorities for allegedly promoting gambling, money laundering and conspiracy.
Ugeth Urbina, ex-Phillies pitcher. Facing trial in Venezuela on charges of attempted murder. (See Part 1 below.)
Jayson Williams, ex-Sixers forward. A limo driver died from a blast from a shotgun apparently held by Williams during a party at Williams' house in 2002. A jury, believing the tragedy was accidental, acquitted of aggravated manslaughter in 2004, but convicted him of tampering with evidence.
Pete Rose, ex-Phillies first baseman. In 1990-91, spent five months in federal prison for filing false tax returns. Seems he didn't report all of his income.
Sean Burke, ex-Flyers goalie. Played here in spring 1998. Charged with assaulting his wife the following November.
Chris Buckhalter, ex-Eagles fullback (practice squadder). In 1999, running back Correll's brother was sentenced to 20 years in prison for manslaughter. He'd been accused of taking part with three other men in the throat-slashing death of one man and the shooting of another, according to Daily News story.
Darren Daulton. Arrested in July 2003 for violating a Florida judge's order to have no contact with estranged wife, stemming from May 27 domestic battery charge.
Kevin Allen, ex-Eagles offensive tackle. Convicted of rape in 1986. (See Part 1 below.)

Monday, June 26, 2006

Philly Sports Hall of Shame, Part 1 

Brett Myers has the dastardly distinction of joining a thankfully small club: Athletes arrested while playing for a Philadelphia team. Compiling a complete list is daunting, but here's a start. If you think of another name that belongs, post a comment and I'll check it out.

Arrested While Playing Here
Jason Michaels, Phillies outfielder. Last July, he was charged with assaulting a police officer. In December, he was given six months' probation and ordered to do community service. He was traded to Cleveland in January.
Lee Nailon, Sixers forward. He was charged in January with having assaulted his wife at their Wynnewood home. Allegedly, he threw a picture fame, hitting her elbow, and grabbed her by the neck. Next month, he was also traded, also to Cleveland.
Terrence Carroll, Eagles defensive back. In November 2002, he got caught smoking marijuana in a car on South Street. Two teammates, including running back Correll Buckhalter, were also in the car. Carroll was charged with misdemeanor possession ... and cut from the team.
Allen Iverson, Sixers guard. In August 1997, a couple of joints and a gun were found in his car, after it was pulled over for speeding. (Couldn't resist quipping at the time: Know what proves Iverson couldn't have been driving? He doesn't know how to pass!) He was charged with misdemeanor drug possession. He was also arrested after a bowling alley brawl in 1993, and served four months of a five-year sentence when a governor's clemency ruling set him free. That conviction was tossed on appeal.
Mike Mamula, Eagles defensive end. (Who could forget? Me, apparently.) In July 1997, this picked-on ex-first-round pick was charged with indecent exposure and lewdness for allegedly exposing something they don't measure at the NFL combine. (We hope.) Charges were dropped (so to speak) in December. For insufficient evidence?
Lenny Dykstra, Phillies centerfielder. In May 1991, his Mercedes crashed into two Radnor trees, following a bachelor party for teammate John Kruk. Dykstra broke ribs, a collarbone and a bone in his face. Teammate Darren Daulton, a passenger, also broke a facial bone and injured his eye. Charges against Dykstra: DUI, reckless driving and speeding.
Charles Barkley, Sixers forward. In April 1991, Milwaukee police charged him wth disorderly conduct, after tossed cups of Gatorade on fans, and he had to pay a fine of $109. In August 1988, he was arrested on gun charges, when a trooper on the A.C. Expressway pulled Sir Charles over for speeding and found a gun on the floor. Charges were later dismissed.

Dishonorable Mentions
Dhani Jones, Eagles linebacker. Yes, he was arrested in February. But the guy doesn't deserve to join a gallery of rogues for refusing to stop dancing outside a Miami club. Misdemeanor: Blocking traffic. Bigger felony: Those bowties.
Ugueth Urbina. The ex-Phillie pitcher awaits trial in Venezuela on attempted murder charges, after some workers at his ranch were brutally attacked. But since the incident occurred on Oct. 15, after the season was over, Urbina, a free agent, technically was no longer a Phillie. (If he had been, think he would have missed a turn in the bullpen?)
Jerome Brown. The defensive guard died in a car accident in 1992 that also claimed the life of
a 12-year-old nephew. Published reports said Brown's Corvette was speeding on a wet road. A jury in 1999 exonerated General Motors, which claimed Brown didn't wear a seatbelt and hit the brakes only moments before hitting a palm tree.
Kevin Allen. The tackle was offensive in more ways than one, but he wasn't actually an Eagle when he raped a woman in Margate in 1986. The first-round bust was cut by the team the previous week. He was convicted and imprisoned.
Pelle Lindbergh. The Flyers goalie was legally intoxicated at the time of his fatal 1985 crash, tests showed. The bar that served Lindbergh was fined for serving him. The passenger who survived, Edward Parvin, suffered a broken nose and other injuries, and was in a coma for nine days.

Who am I overlooking? Post a comment below.

Tomorrow, I'll list more players who got in trouble with the law before or after playing here. Bound to be included: Billly Tibbetts, Glenn "Big Dog" Robinson, Jayson Williams, Pete Rose, Sean Burke and Rick Tocchet.

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