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NFL playoff picks; plus hail Gators, "Ask the Blogmaster General" poll, porn bailout & more

     Here comes more stuff for a Friday in cyberspace, all free and just for you...

Aaa1raylewis_3      NFL Elite Eight picks: Well, "elite" may not be quite right since the remaining playoff teams average 5.1 losses and there is not a truly dominant team (sorry, Giants) among them. I seeing Ravens winning in an upset this week and Steelers, Giants and Panthers also advancing. Click on Divisional Playoff Gems for this week's four predix capsules. And click on Where's the Dominance? for a related column by me.

Aaa1bcs      All hail Gators!: Florida thoroughly impressed in its championship-getting 24-14 triumph over Oklahoma last night at The Joe. Anti-BCS, pro-playoff people, cease and desist! One more small indication the right team occupies the throne today if last night didn't convince you: Pregame.com, a sportsbook, tells us today that The Gator would be a 4-point favorite over USC right now, 11 points over Texas and 14 over Utah. By the way, click on Florida Without Doubt to read my bad column off the game. (Yeah I thought it was a bad column, partly because of a Marquis de Sade deadline, and partly on me. Sports columnists, like athletes, sometimes have off games. It's just that most of our egos don't allow admitting it).

     "Ask the Blogmaster General": We used to do a monthly Q&A here in the blog but discontinued it awhile back when we started doing the weekly (Mondays 1-2 p.m.) live online chat. Thinking of starting up the blog-exclusive Q&A but need to gauge the interest. Take a dip in our poll. If there are at least 100 yes votes in the first 24 hours, Ask the Blogmaster General will be resurrected. (Don't you feel powerful!) I'll keep you posted on our march to a hundred.

     [Update Saturday 1:20 p.m: Did not make 100 yays by 24-hour deadline. However deadline being extended through noon Monday due to less traffic on weekends].

     Bernie Madoff's local victims: Miamian Norman Braman reportedly is among financial victims of alleged thief and Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff. I suppose Marlins fans who saw their new stadium impeded by Braman's legal wrangling probably are not among those grieving Norman's losses. (I hear another local sports figure of even greater stature also lost big to Madoff, but I can't say who quite yet).

Aaa1marathoner      Dear marathon runners: Sunday's Walt Disney World Marathon reminds me to ask. Which is more excruciatingly boring? Listening to golfers describe their round? Or listening to runners talk about their marathon preparation? Sorry Mr. & Ms. 26.2, but nobody else gives a crap about what your best time is, what your goal is Sunday or your pre-race ritual. Your-non-running spouses don't even care. They just pretend to.

Aaa1ronjeremy_2      Hard times for porn: Hustler publisher Larry Flynt and "Girls Gone Wild" pimp Joe Francis plan to ask Congress for a $5 billion bailout for the adult entertainment industry. Seriously. I figure they've got  half a chance if they can enlist the support of every politician who's been caught with his pants down.

     Personal note: To all the e-mailers who have asked: Yes, our Random Evidence of a Cluttered Mind notes column (from whence the name of this blog arose), will return to The Miami Herald this Sunday following a hiatus caused by vacation or conflicting schedules. Thanks for the interest!

     Click back. This post will update and/or add more stuff later.