Tennessee update: Nashville, the Grand Ole Opry, Graceland—Tennessee may not be the graveyard of culture, but you can see it from there. We don't mean to pick on Tennessee, a state that has given us so much: impeached chief executive Andrew Johnson, presidential two-by-four Al Gore, the Ku Klux Klan and LeAnn—but not Busta—Rimes.
Jacksonville update: As has been mentioned several times, Jacksonville is not so much a place as a state of mind, like vertigo and REM sleep. It's not that there's nothing in Jacksonville; it's that there is no Jacksonville. So let's turn our attention to border neighbor Georgia, where controversy has brewed over the racist, homophobic and xenophobic rants of Atlanta Braves pitcher John Rocker. People, mostly those who get paid to be "shocked" and "stunned" by these sorts of things, have expressed that they are "shocked" and "stunned" by Rocker's comments. This is ridiculous. Here now are the five reasons you should not be "shocked" or "stunned" by the comments of baseball player John Rocker: 1) He's a baseball player. 2) He's a baseball player with a Southern accent. 3) He's a baseball player with a Southern accent he developed while growing up in Macon, Georgia. 4) He's a baseball player with a Southern accent who grew up in MACON, GEORGIA. 5) M-A-C-O-N, G-E-O-R-G-I-A.
Consensus: True, there's nothing to hate about Jacksonville, but, theoretically, Jacksonville is located in Florida, and Florida is poised to become the Texas of the 21st century. We'll cover our ears and root for the Titans.
Tampa Bay update: Tampa Bay's success has been built on a ponderous offense and unrelenting defense, causing some to call the team boring. That's something you could never say about the city of Tampa, which really knows how to party. Why, just last week, they had a big dance party for teens at a local high school to celebrate the birth of peaceful warrior Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Sure, the party was tobacco- and alcohol-free, but these kids more than made up for that by getting into fights and generally causing enough havoc to warrant calling out 50 cops to clean up the mess. Dr. King agitated for the brotherhood of men; these kids went nuts because someone turned off the music a little early. How far we've come. Last week's events have city officials rethinking their Mahatma Gandhi Tractor Truck Pull and Ammo-Ganza! event scheduled for later in the year.
Los Angeles: You know, we kid a lot in this column. But I'd just like to say how genuinely happy I am that the Rams never left Southern California. No, really. I know there were some tough times in the early and mid-'90s, but the fact that the Rams stayed at Anaheim Stadium is a testament to the diligence and good faith of our county leaders as well as the clear-headed, trustworthy team ownership. And, of course, it's only right the Rams stayed. After all, when the team was good in the '70s, it was dreadfully boring. Now we're proud of our Rams, who—LA-LA-LA!—are not only great—LA-LA! I CAN'T HEAR YOU!—but certainly the most exciting—LA-LA-LA-LA!—I'M NOT LISTENING! NO I'M NOT!—team in the NFL as well.
Consensus: How could we—LA-LA-LA-LA!—root against our Rams? OUR RAMS, OUR RAMS, OUR RAMS, OUR RAMS, OUR RAMS, OUR RAMS!