The Couch Slouch

Hey Mike Gundy: You're a man. You can find something else to do

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Nobody wants a pandemic, certainly not one that kills hundreds of thousands and delays the college football season.

That was certainly the mindset last week of Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, who indicated that May 1 would be a good time to get back to football and who wants his players on campus even if it's deserted because "continuing the economy in this state" requires his team playing games.

"We've got to have a plan," Gundy said, "…so let's just stay on schedule."

Uh, let's update the scoreboard here:

Covid-19, OSU 0.

Go Cowboys!!!

Coach, I understand that we must get back to the business of living. But – follow me on this – we can't do that if we are all dead. So we must stay at home – pause life to preserve life – until the experts say otherwise in regard to this once-in-a-century sacrifice that we hopefully will never see the likes of again.

It stinks this way, it sure does.

Suddenly, we know why our dogs want to take so many walks.

So, yes, we need sports again. But we also need almost every other taken-for-granted detail of our routine, from schools to restaurants to shopping to libraries to concerts to Costco grand openings.

And, frankly, we need back things that have been missing most or all of our lives: compassion, decency, humanity, sense of community.

But we can start by accentuating the positive and eliminating the negative at home. We can start by appreciating what's around us and by revisiting the simple delights that surround us.

Play Rack-O with your kids.

Watch any season of "The Larry Sanders Show" on HBO on Demand.

Talk to long-distance friends. In the old days, these were known as "phone calls."

Send your aunt or uncle a long note. In the old days, this was known as "writing a letter."

Make your own pizza, and when that fails, order one for delivery.

Dig out your old baseball card box, and if you can't find a Nolan Ryan rookie card, give all of them to the 10-year-old next door.

Tell your spouse, "We've got to talk," to let 'em know what it feels like to be on the other end of that baby.

Sing the theme song from "Gilligan's Island" three times nightly.

Board-game doubleheader: Monopoly and Candy Land!

Try to write the Great American Novel, or, at a minimum, at least a limerick.

"Casablanca" and "The Princess Bride," back-to-back, to experience full black-and-white and Technicolor joy.

"His Girl Friday" and "Broadcast News," back-to-back, in black-and-white and Technicolor, to experience full print and electronic joy.

S'mores!

Re-enact scenes from the Old Testament; I adore Leviticus Chapter 19, Verse 33.

A foosball table ($104.99-ish) or air hockey (also $104.99-ish) is the best quarantined C-note investment in the land.

Good betting game: Sit on your front porch with a family member and wager on which direction – left or right – 10 people will walk by your house first.*

(* If you don't have a front porch, just look out the damn window.)

Remind your teenagers about safe sex, in case they ever have sex.

When's the last time you played Charades?

For 16 and under: Hit your brother for no reason. When he hits you back, roll onto the living-room carpet in full brawling mode.

For 75 and over: Hit your brother for no reason. If he falls to the ground in agony, call 911.

Wii bowling!!!

Tell everybody in your home how much you love 'em, twice. Do it now.

Ask The Slouch

Q. I assume you have the entire "Dogs Playing Poker" collection of paintings. And aren't dogs the best? (Eddie Vidmar; Cleveland)

A. Yes, I have the entire collection and, yes, dogs are the best. We just lost our beloved poker-playing pit mix: R.I.P. Daisy.

Q. Is it true that the first recorded reference of the six feet "social distancing" term was in a NCAA basketball referees manual on what constituted a foul when a Duke player drives to the basket? (Stewart Verdery; Washington, D.C.)

A. Boy, I miss rooting against Duke.

Q. Distraught over the pandemic, IOC and NCAA officials walk into a bar and order a bottle of Screaming Eagle Cabernet 1992. How much should the athletes tip the server? (Bobby Weaver; Smyrna, Ga.)

A. You have an uncanny grasp of global sporting economics.

Q. Since you have been "working" from home for years, does it bother you that your employer deemed you non-essential well before the coronavirus showed up? (Dan Cantwell; Albany, N.Y.)

A. Listen, pal, my family also has deemed me non-essential and questions why I even need to be home.

Q. Since the NFL draft will not have a live audience, should a booing track be added every time Roger Goodell steps up to the microphone? (Arthur Polton; Fairfax, Va.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

To enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway, just email asktheslouch@aol.com. The Couch Slouch podcast is available on your favorite podcasting app.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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