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On Shaq, Federer, Tiger, ING, Barbaro etc.

     [Updated: Monday afternoon, 1-29: Kentucky Derby-winner Barbaro has been put to sleep. Which makes the final item below even more tasteless than it otherwise might have been. Oops.]

     A little Monday smorgasbord of the non-Super Bowl variety...Aaashaq

     Heat star and reserve police officer Shaquille O'Neal, who has missed almost the entire NBA season and whose knee evidently still isn't right, helped police apprehend a driver who'd sideswiped his car and then fled. One small request. Dear Shaq: Less arresting. More playing. 

     Roger Federer's Australian Open win was his 10th major and the first major in men's tennis since 1980 won in straight sets. Same weekend, buddy Tiger Woods wins his 7th PGA Tour event in a row. My question: Is their dominance good for their sports? I say yes; people love a dynasty. But I know plenty of folks who find their seemingly unchallenged supremacy sort of boring.

Aaaparis      That ING Marathon & Half-Marathon in Miami started so early in the morning that South Beach partyers were just leaving clubs as runners swarmed past. That explains the weird mixup: the women's marathon accidentally being won by Paris Hilton, pictured here nearing the finish line.

     Reminder that college football's national signing day is Feb. 7. Only nine days left to spend hours on the Internet trying to fathom the destination of Al Pimpleneck, the nation's 74th-ranked long snapper.

Aaatest      The NHL All-Star Game drew a 0.7 national Nielsen rating. It would have been 0.8, but at the last minute I switched to the channel that has that continuous piercing beep and a test-pattern.

Aaaelton      Beloved racehorse Barbaro has undergone risky surgery and had two steel pins put in his right hind leg. Trying to stay optimistic, but the news doesn't look good. They've put Elton John on call to rewrite "Candle in the Wind" again.