Did you hear the one where Rick Neuheisel tries to recruit Greg Palmer?

When the phone rang this afternoon and this fulsome, cheery, pre-recorded male voice started talking at me, I thought it was another solicitation from some unctuous politician seeking my cash. But in the split second before I could hang up, the caller identified himself as Rick Neuheisel, which was just enough to make me curious. Why is this glib, grinning, integrity-challenged hustler calling me? Has some insane candidate got Rick out there endorsing him? Is Rick an (erstwhile) Huskie For Hillary? A Coach for Cain? A Smuck for Huck? A Bettor for Biden?
When the phone rang this afternoon and this fulsome, cheery, pre-recorded male voice started talking at me, I thought it was another solicitation from some unctuous politician seeking my cash. But in the split second before I could hang up, the caller identified himself as Rick Neuheisel, which was just enough to make me curious. Why is this glib, grinning, integrity-challenged hustler calling me? Has some insane candidate got Rick out there endorsing him? Is Rick an (erstwhile) Huskie For Hillary? A Coach for Cain? A Smuck for Huck? A Bettor for Biden?

When the phone rang this afternoon and this fulsome, cheery, pre-recorded male voice started talking at me, I thought it was another solicitation from some unctuous politician seeking my cash. But in the split second before I could hang up, the caller identified himself as Rick Neuheisel, which was just enough to make me curious. Why is this glib, grinning, integrity-challenged hustler calling me? Has some insane candidate got Rick out there endorsing him? Is Rick an (erstwhile) Huskie For Hillary? A Coach for Cain? A Smuck for Huck? A Bettor for Biden? Nope; he's a shill for his new employer. Rick told me how proud and excited he was to be the new UCLA head football coach, and he knew I'd be proud and excited about it too. He was just calling all us "Bruin families" to get behind the team. We play in America's best city, Rick opined, in the nation's best known stadium, the legendary Rose Bowl. The team across town had just proved it was the best in the nation, Rick continued, and it was time for the Bruins to take back that honor. And by God, he promised me, under his inspired leadership and with my support, they would. Then some other guy got on the line to tell me about season ticket opportunities, but I didn't stay around for that, because I wouldn't pay a dime to see the Bruins play in the vacant lot across the street from my house, much less go to Pasadena six or seven times a year to see them. I spent the next few minutes trying to figure out why Rick was under the impression that mine is a Bruin family deserving of his attention, and especially how he got my number. And then I remembered that our only contact with UCLA (in a lifetime of Bruin-avoidance) was this past summer, when my wife bought tickets for Ian McKellen's King Lear at UCLA. And she bought them on-line, so she had to give them a phone number. [Editor's note: the spelling of Sir Ian's surname has been corrected from McKellan to McKellen; hence the comment below, which we did not want to remove] Which leads to the conclusion that: A. UCLA saves phone numbers–even those it acquires for events that are just using its facilities and not UCLA productions–and uses those phone numbers as it wishes; B. Somebody in the athletic marketing department at UCLA thinks that a desire to see one of the finest actors of our time performing the most challenging role in the entire Shakespeare canon also wants to see strapping young behemoths in blue suits and gold hats smash into each other for a few hours. If Ian McKellen had called to encourage me to support Bruin football, I'd have taken it a lot more seriously. But as it is, my only response is to quote good old Lear himself: Never. Never. Never. Never. Never.

  

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