OK, so Day 1 didn't go exactly as I hoped. No major pileups on the information highway, but I'm told that Viagra jokes are strictly prohibited. There goes 80 percent of my material. Next, I'll be told that nuns and orphans also are off limits.

I was trying to bond with our NASCAR readers by making reference to Mark Martin, the runner-up in Sunday's Ford 400. He was driving the Viagra car. It practically writes itself, which is a good thing, since I'm not allowed to do it.

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The winner, Greg Biffle, celebrated by doing burnouts and filling the track with white smoke, an apparent turn-on for NASCAR fans. Tony Stewart celebrated his Nextel Cup championship by punching out everyone in press row.

Special thanks to Kevin Muniz, the first person to e-mail me since I started this blog. And he was kind enough to refrain from commenting on the silly grin that accompanies my photo. Finally, the Sun is smart enough to run my handsome mug in the paper, and I ruin it. Maybe I should have placed my hand underneath my chin or on the side of my face. Better yet, I should have used both hands to hide it altogether.

The morning crew at 98 Rock, which includes Kirk McEwen, a fellow Old Mill High School graduate, has requested that I try my hand at football prognostication each Sunday. Already, big things are happening for me. And they were kind enough to provide a forum for my Viagra joke.

I'm back on the Vikings bandwagon after their third straight victory, which included an offensive awakening in the second half of Monday night's win over the Packers. The team is finally starting to score on dry land, too.

Speaking of Old Mill, how many more hints do I have to drop before they add a writers wing to their sports Hall of Fame? Don't make me beg. It's undignified.

So the Boston Red Sox don't have a general manager yet, but they're about to trade for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell. The Orioles had two GMs last year and got Eric Byrnes. Go figure.

I still like the decision to make Mike Flanagan the lead dog and bring in Jim Duquette, who apparently is taking a very active role in free agent discussions. Lets see what happens at the winter meetings before going into full panic mode over the Red Sox's dealings.

The list of guests at Washington Post sportswriter Dave Sheinin's wedding on Nov. 12 included former Orioles center fielder Brady Anderson, who grabbed a cross-country flight to Baltimore the previous night and was a huge hit at the reception. And when's the last time "Brady Anderson" and "huge hit" appeared in the same sentence?

Anderson didn't rule out a comeback in 2006, though a recent arm injury has held him back a bit. He twice ran a 4.4 40 for the Texas Rangers last spring, but turned down their offer to report to their minor league camp. I just wonder if anyone is timing his bat speed.

I'll always appreciate Anderson's friendship during my early days on the beat. You had to crack
his inner circle, but it was a fun place to be once you got there. Nobody was faster with a quip. I once relayed a story to him about how former Sun columnist Laura Vecsey quoted Jim Palmer as saying that one-time Orioles pitcher Mike Cuellar was deceased. "The Sun wrote that Cuellar's dead," I told him. "Meanwhile, we found out that he operates a small golf course in central Florida."

"Oh," Anderson replied. "Then he IS dead."

Anderson also offered up perhaps the most valuable piece of advice I've ever received, after I had my hair cut short for the first time since kindergarten. Spotting me across the clubhouse, he summoned me to his locker and said, "Dude, you need some gel for that moss."

Somehow, I can't imagine Barry Bonds being that helpful.

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