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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, July 07, 2006

Yet Another Idiot of the Week Poll 

Am I missing somebody? No shake-your-head, roll-your-eyes newsmaking moments this week. Not that I noticed at the time. OK, New Jersey was dumb to let its budget disputes go into overtime. And blame may fall on an 18-year-old bus driver for an accident that injured more than 50 children, but who let him drive? So I'm putting up a starter poll, hoping one of you sharp readers out there might pass along that perfect "Doh!" suggestion.

A Virginia woman thought the old "There's a dead mouse in my soup" trick could yield some big bucks from Cracker Barrell, but instead she got a year in jail.

Guess then if sentencing counts, gotta include ex-City Councilman Rick Mariano, who got 6-1/2 years yesterday on bribery charges. Or count him just because he said, "Jail will do me good."

How about the streaker who did cartwheels at Wimbledon? It's certainly was a ballsy way to catch the eye of Maria Sharapova (right).

Yikes! Here's a woman who apparently swallowed 119 nails!

Here's a video of a drunk driver chased by the cops who tries to escape by pushing his car! May not be this week, but clearly he qualifies.

How about Russian President Vladimir Putin who smooched a boy's stomach, explaining it was just a spontaneously friendly greeting? Imagine if W. or Bill Clinton had ever done that ...

Man argues with girlfriend, says he's not too drunk to drive, then hops in car and promptly dies when he crashes into a tree.
Who's the Alleged Idiot of the Week?
Free polls from

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

First Look at Terrell Owens' New Book 

"It's one of those nonfiction books that is clearly in many cases fiction," said WIP's Howard Eskin during his rip this afternoon of Terrell Owens' new book, named -- what else? -- T.O. Apparently copies of the book, scheduled for release later this month, have started to hit some local Wal-Marts, where an 'IP producer got one. Details are sketchy, but, according to Eskin, Owens called the Eagles' list of supposed sins a "joke," even though they persuaded an arbiter to uphold a suspension that cost the team's best recent receiver four games and about $800,000. Owens pointed out he committed no crime, and freedom of speech should forgive half of those sins, which included missing meetings and parking in spots reserved for coaches and the handicapped.

In another passage read by Eskin, Owens tells of his rotten relationship with ex-defensive end/ team ambassador Hugh Douglas. Douglas "had it in for me" and was "out to get me," and "called me out, challenged my manhood," by accusing Owens of faking an injury. Owens confirms the two did have a fight, and he got no sympathy afterward from higher-ups over the so-called assault. "Management didn't care that I was attacked like that," the excerpt continued.

In one funny bit, Eskin gets into an imaginary dialogue with Owens' agent, Drew Rosenhaus:
Eskin: "Why is it that this book comes off like it's written by a second grader?"
Infamous audio clip of Rosenhaus: "Next question!"
Eskin: "Why is it that your brother rather than a legitimate writer wrote this for T.O.?"
Rosenhaus clip: "Next question!"
Eskin: "Why is this book so completely one-sided to make T.O. look like the hero and the victim?"
Rosenhaus: "Next question!"

Hmm. Maybe Jason Rosenhaus co-wrote the book to make sure Owens didn't answer WPVI reporter David Henry's memorable question to the agent: "What have you done for your client, other than get him kicked off the team?"

Remember how Eskin did a mock funeral (above), dumping fan-rejected T.O. jerseys into a coffin? (See "Paying Their Last Disrespects.") It's just barely mentioned in the book, and the Burger King's doppelganger's not even named. But that's not why Eskin calls the book "this piece of garbage" that's "scribbled in crayon." No, Eskin has long been knocked "Me-O," once even calling for making the Oct. 8 Dallas game a "painfest."

More "revelations": Owens says coach Andy Reid never warned him he might be suspended for than one game. If he had been, "I would have found a way to make things right ... to work things out with Donovan." ... Owens says coaches asked him to try to cheer McNabb up when the QB got in a funk, and that's why he animately shouted at the QB on the sidelines of a Pittsburgh game. ... As for McNabb's remark about Owens' actions being like "black on black crime," Owens called that depiction "too ridiculous to deserve a response," a WIP newbreak reported. ... Jeremiah Trotter "fought for me," said T.O., calling the linebacker "the undisputed team leader." ... Owens also said way too much was made of saying "I wasn't the one who got tired in the Super Bowl" because he never mentioned anyone by name. As if he had to spell out he was talking about McNabb, Eskin said.

Tomorrow on A poll asking, Will you buy Terrell Owens' new book?

Monday, July 03, 2006

Allen Iverson Rumor Roundup 

OK, my head's spinning. Can't keep all these Iverson rumors straight. Can't tell if any has as much substance as diet soda. Pop. Pop. Fizz. Fizz. Oh what a relief it probably won't be when Billy King makes the move. Anyway, here's a rundown:

Chicago Bulls. With Ben Wallace likely landing in Chicago, the Bulls have some expendable talent, a need for an offensive star, and an option on swapping first-round picks with the Knicks next year. That's the buzz from fans on a lively discussion board, and it sure sounds intriguing. Sam Smith of the Chicago Tribune, however, has pooh-poohed such possibilities. Asked before the draft about the chances of the Bulls dealing Ben Gordon or Luol Deng and the No. 2 pick for Iverson, Smith wrote: "No way, though the 76ers would drive him to John Paxson's house for that. I believe they'll trade him and get much less than you think he's worth. He doesn't fit the Bulls at all because he plays selfishly and doesn't practice. And he's got a huge contract and figures to be breaking down the way he plays the game." Could the Wallace signing have changed some of that?

Boston Celtics. More credence, of course, has been given to Iverson heading for Boston. "The Celtics already dangled Wally Szczerbiak, but league sources confirmed Philly has no interest in him, which means he would only be of value in a three-way transaction," wrote Jackie MacMullan of the Boston Globe. She thinks the Celtics would have to part with 6-10 forward Al Jefferson, and a combination of players such as Gerald Green, Ryan Gomes or St. Joe's star Delonte West. "If you are going to make a deal," the Inquirer's Stephen A. Smith advised King in Monday's column, "try getting someone who can play with his back to the basket like a Carlos Boozer, plus a young, talented guard like Green or the Clippers' young phenom, Shaun Livingston."

Golden State Warriors. "The Sixers dearly covet Warriors forward Troy Murphy, who seems to be on the trading block; a package with a couple of other Warriors might get things done," mentioned Inquirer columnist David Aldridge on Sunday. (By the way, check out Aldridge's Iverson-inspired rewriting of the Declaration of Independence.) But ex-Philly Daily News reporter Tim Kawakami, now with the San Jose Mercury News, thinks Golden State isn't that interested in A.I, though the team could make Murphy part of a three-way deal.

The Denver Nuggets. MacMullan's column again: '"Boston is hardly the only suitor. Denver is in the hunt, and has bargaining chips such as Nene [who just signed to a big new deal despite missing every game but one last season] and Andre Miller and Kenyon Martin."

Atlanta Hawks. One of the earliest rumored destinations. (See "A.I. stands for Available Immediately," a late May Early Word item.) The Hawks "have the desire and the pieces to make a generous offer," says's Steve Kyler, who doubts any A.I. trade will actually happen. Speculation focused on forward Al Harrington coming here, but he's a free agent, available only if the Sixers do a sign and trade, and Indianapolis may be more motivated. Furthermore, the Hawks just signed another small guard, ex-Sixer Speedy Claxton. (Doubt it's to ship him here in an A.I. deal.) Finally, the Hawks ownership has been snarled in litigation, and who knows if the front office there can pull the trigger on any deal?

Memphis Grizzlies. Aldridge mentioned this possibility on NBC10's Sports Final on Sunday night, but suggested that the recent trade of Shane Battier to Houston complicates that picture.

New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets. Another name from Aldridge. Iverson can't find practice in one city ... how could it possibly work with two?

For more Iverson and Sixers talk, see Sixers beat writer Joe Juliano's online Q&A Forum. He's simply says Iverson will go to the team that makes King the best offer. Well, let's hope so.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Alleged Idiot of the Month Poll 

Funny, how these things work out, but this has turned into an Alleged Sports Idiot of the Month poll.

Terrell Owens won the first week, for looking like a traitor to his new town, Dallas, by wearing a Miami uniform courtside in Dallas during the NBA finals.

Then it was Big Ben Roethlisberger, who did kissy-face with a windshield while helmetless on the world's fastest street-legal type of motorcycle.

Next, Brett Myers got the Alleged Idiot of the Week, for allegedly punching his wife and dragging her by the hair.

This week, the voting was light, with a judge with a penis pump ("Here comes the judge!") and President in a ho-hum tie. By executive decision, I'm opting for a late entry instead, Philly's own Eddie Griffin, who got in an accident by allegedly masturbating while watching a porn video as he drove drunk. (That he got off ... ahem ... without even a ticket seems like a travesty that will be remedied thanks to videotape evidence.)

Yeah, it's tempting to also add Charlie Manuel for continuous straining our incredulity, but something tells me that's a name that will come up again. You can, of course, cast any name you want as a write-in comment.
Who's the Alleged Idiot of the Month?
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