Eleven appropriately disconnected thoughts on April 20

By and

1. Lance Armstrong said on Monday that spending a month away from his children at the Tour is “much more difficult now,” adding, “They are at a stage now where they change daily, if not hourly.”

His children are changing faster all of a sudden? Lance, we know the doping worked out for you, but leave off with the little ones, eh? I picture Sheryl Crow playing guitar while Lance rides the stationary and screams above the obnoxious roaring hum of his wife-I mean, bike:

“Hey, look honey, the kids are having trouble breathing again!”

“Awww, that’s so sweet, just like their daddy… hey, listen to this awesome song I just wrote-‘I’m surfing on a wave of sunshine…'”

2. Shaq’s sitting out the final two games of the regular season with a deep thigh bruise, which may as well be a gunshot wound if you’re a Heat fan. It’s the Shaq Factor-a hangnail on a 350-lbs. 7-footer inexplicably has the same effect that a broken arm would have on a 3-year-old girl.

3. Maria Sharapova turned 18 Tuesday, as tennis geeks around the nation rejoiced in the knowledge that they will now be masturbating to a slightly more plausible fantasy. Why is this stupid milestone such a huge deal in America? “Oh, look, the Olsen twins are legal now!” So what? Do you know anybody who’s had sex with them since that happened?

4. ESPN announced on Monday that they will be the new hosts of “Mormon Night Football” in 2005. That’s right, if you don’t have cable, you’ll never know again just how fast Peyton Manning’s passes would be going if they were baseballs and not footballs.

5. NBA experts seem to have collective amnesia, almost unanimously picking the Suns or the Nuggets to win the NBA championship. Imagine if meteorologists predicted a snowy summer because we’ve just had a snowy winter. All-offense regular-season juggernauts don’t win titles. It’s a proven historical fact that the Suns and Nuggets will suck. In the future…

6. Speaking of NBA experts, why is Shaq the “obvious” MVP to so many? Is it because his teammates say such nice things about him? Reporters ask them questions like, “How do you like playing with Shaq?” and they say, “It’s great.” That means he’s the most valuable player in history? Without Shaq, the Heat still win 45-50 games, without Nash, the Suns might take 35, but without LeBron, the Cavs would win 10.

The Most Valuable Player award sparks controversy every season, as we redefine what “value” we’re using to measure players. In terms of sheer mass, O’Neal is clearly the MVP. Allen Iverson might stake a claim, though, with the most valuable bling in the league.

7. Real Salt Lake may be the only major soccer franchise in the Western world that doesn’t sell beer at games. Are they trying to encourage drunk driving?

“It’s a dry campus?” What? “Soccer can be enjoyed even when you’re not plastered?” Shut it, you dodge wanker. I’m from England, and I’ll stab you.

8. My editor, Joe, had the best take I’ve heard on the Gary Sheffield incident: “It would have been better if Sheffield had grabbed the security guard’s gun and shot random people in the crowd, before pulling out a grappling hook and scaling the Monster, never to be seen again.”

9. The 49ers FINALLY appear to be shopping the first pick in the draft, after they appeared close to deciding on Alex Smith and his $40 million price tag. If Phillip Rivers was rated so much higher last year, why wouldn’t you give up less to have him instead? Because Smith is only 20? Not likely. I think Smith’s better than Rivers, but I don’t know whether I’d want to take a guy with the number one pick that would surprise my most die-hard fans if he did well.

10. Why aren’t the Dolphins looking for a quarterback with the number two pick in the draft again? Oh, that’s right, A.J. Feeley. Sorry, I forgot. They just don’t make third stringers like him anymore.

11. Well, this was supposed to be “20 thoughts on 4/20,” but I got distracted and lost track of space, imagine that. Anyway, I’d like to take a moment to recognize athletes such as Damon Stoudamire, Carmelo Anthony, Randy Moss and Ricky Williams for their willingness to adhere to a strict, harsh drug policy: They strictly rip the harsh stuff.

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