That’s not the normal kid stuff

Times Staff Writer

These are tough days for the University of North Carolina football team.

Thunderstorms postponed the Tar Heels’ spring game this month and those dark clouds have lingered.

Rameses XVII, their blue-horned ram mascot, died Thursday from an infection, the Charlotte News & Observer reported this week . . . on its front page.

This, though, seemed newsworthy, as the 8-year-old Rameses was done in by (cue sinister music) his son.


The Oedipus moment came two weeks ago in the field they shared, when they butted heads -- what father hasn’t with his son? -- and the collision snapped off one of Rameses’ horns and an infection set in.

“On Thursday, I got up before daybreak and went out to check on him and he was doing worse,” said Rob Hogan, keeper of the mascot. “It was obvious he wasn’t going to make it.”

His son, Rameses XVIII, will assume the throne.

“The mascot is dead. Long live the mascot,” the News & Observer wrote.


Yup, it was a slow news day along Tobacco Road.

Trivia time

How did the Tar Heels come to choose a ram as mascot?

Hanging curve

More for the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants faithful to argue about, a tradition that dates to the “Giants is dead” days: Willie Mays or Duke Snider, who was baseball’s best center fielder?

Now comes a similarly poignant debate: Which team signed the worst free-agent pitcher?

Dodgers fans can offer up injured Jason Schmidt, whose three-year, $47-million contract has worked out to exactly $47 million per victory so far.

Giants fans can counter with Barry Zito, who, in the second year of a seven-year, $126-million contract, has been banished to the bullpen after an 0-6 start.


Zito told reporters Monday, “I know it’s fun to run with stories, ‘Oh, is Zito done?’ Whatever you guys have got to say, go say it. But from my standpoint, this is a bump in the road.”

OK, we’ll say it: So is road kill.

Puckish behavior

Nathan Smith, captain of the American Hockey League’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, didn’t just drop the gloves Sunday. He dropped everything.

Smith was arrested for streaking through downtown, something he claimed was done on a bet.

This all sounds familiar. Didn’t Ned Braden pull a similar stunt to give the Charlestown Chiefs the Federal League title in “Slap Shot?”

Smith wasn’t so lucky. He was charged with indecent exposure, open lewdness and disorderly conduct.

That’s a Hanson brothers hat trick.


Brown states

Larry Brown has a whistle again, as coach of the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats, extending a coast-to-coast career that spans 10 states.

In the political arena, those states would give Brown 214 electoral votes, only 56 shy of the presidency.

Of course, could you really count on Brown to stay on the job for four years?

Trivia answer

The idea came in 1922 from fullback Jack “Battering Ram” Merritt, according to

And finally

Golfer Ted Kemp knocked in a hole in one on the third hole at the Muscatine Municipal Golf course in Iowa on Monday.

He then did it again on the fourth hole, beating the 67-million-to-one odds on getting two aces in the same round, more or less the chances of the Kings winning the Stanley Cup in 2009.

Kemp told the Associated Press it was “unreal.”

Uh, he meant the aces, not the Kings.