The Pauley Pavilion epic is still a work in progress. As I told my man Lee Perry, I’m trying to get it under 15,000 words so you can actually read it all within one work day.

Outcast’s “Hey Ya” really should have been released last summer. Everything about the song makes me think of being at the pool and hearing it endlessly. Or cruising the city with the windows down on warm summer nights.

What is it about the NBA that makes every team make a run? In every Pacers game I’ve watched this year, they’ve either come back from 10+ down, or had a lead of that much that they’ve blown. In the game I’m watching as I type this (Saturday night), the Pacers have been up 15 early, the Knicks have cut that down to three, and now it’s back up to 15.

As I mentioned before my trip, we saw Elf the night it opened. Definitely a new Christmas classic. Most of the reviews I read talked about how the final third was a bit of a clunker. But perhaps being warned about that made it tolerable for me. A little predictable and pat, perhaps, but I didn’t think it ruined the movie. Especially when you’re talking about a movie for all ages. Will Ferrell is genius for the entire 90 minutes. Hopefully this will be the movie that really sets his career alight. The true sign of a good comedy is not just do the punch lines make you laugh, but do the subtle things make you laugh. There were 3-4 really small pieces, almost background elements that made me laugh as hard as any of the overt jokes.

After suffering through an afternoon of Big Ten football, we got the final moments of regulation and overtime in the Florida State – North Carolina State game Saturday. I’m not sure who the ABC analyst was, but he kept complaining about the college overtime system. He said there’s “nothing good about seven and eight overtime games,” and he worries about the health of the players when games go on. I missed the beginning of his diatribe, but I think he wanted the point each possession began moved farther out than the 25-yard line. I’m not sure how that makes overtimes safer for players. If anything, it means they’ll keep playing without scoring, rather than have 27-27 games turn into 69-62 games. Also, with the TV timeouts and meeting of the captains between each OT period, both teams get up to five minutes to rest if they remain tied. Keeping the ball at the 25 means they are short possessions, in terms of plays, anyway. The system may not work in the NFL, but I think it’s the ideal system for the college game. I say more five-hour games that keep you on the edge of your seat. In fact, let’s scrap the first four quarters and just play overtime.

(The Knicks have just run off 15 straight points, tying the game. I’m telling you, runs….)

The Texas women’s basketball team was on my flight from Dallas to Indy Friday night. They were playing Duke in Lafayette Sunday. I’m sad to report they were all well behaved. I was kind of hoping one of the players sitting back by me, away from the coaches, might get tanked and cause a ruckus or something. I’m generally a little freaked out by tall women to begin with. Take a tall woman, put her in heels, and add the knowledge that she probably benches twice what I can, and I’m positively petrified. I was glad I was sitting close to a point guard who talked about how much she liked eating at KC Masterpiece at the Big 12 tournament in KC two years ago.

(Knicks 70, Pacers 63. The NBA is stupid.)

My brother-in-law who lives in Boston is solid. Sitting on my desk when I returned Friday was a large envelope. I opened it up and found a Boston Celtics calendar, signed by Paul Pierce. Mark had been handing them out somewhere and a friend of his had a few signed by Pierce. Kid isn’t a big sports fan, but he knows what his brother-in-law with the bar likes. I’ll be pouring him a few frosty ones over the holidays.

I’m in the midst of two straight books about Cuba. Purely coincidental. I knocked out Carlos Eire’s Waiting for Snow in Havana, his memoir of growing up in Cuba in the days just before and after the revolution. Today, I started a rather thick biography of Che Guevara, Fidel’s revolutionary partner and hero to insurgents around the world. With that in mind, I’m changing the name game I play with S. Now, rather than offering inner city ethnic names as possible ones for our children (DeShawn, Demetrius, LaDanian) I’m sticking to Latin names. So Ernestito, Carmelita, and Eugenio are going to be mentioned a lot around here in the coming weeks. I’m sure this will again be a game that only one of us enjoys.

The Pacers ended up winning 95-94. Dumb. It was a little cool seeing Reggie Miller get hot in the Garden, including a shot where he was fouled and literally fell into Spike Lee. Brought back warm memories of the two years I actually like Reggie (those being the two years Michael Jordan wasn’t playing in the mid-90s).

Call me Kevin Keitzman, but I smell something fishy in the Chiefs’ loss Sunday. Everyone and their mother called this as an upset. Chad Johnson was shooting off his mouth a week ago. And the Chiefs still can’t win with all that going in their favor? They either threw it to get the undefeated monkey off their backs, or significant numbers of players had money on Cincy. You read it here first!