This is a little off-topic for our website, but it's topical, I saw it on TV and it does involve numbers and to an infinitesimally small degree television viewing habits.
This afternoon and I saw a link that said:
Shaq Attacks Kobe: You Ruined My Marriage! - TMZ.com
I had to see that. Wow. It's Shaquille O'Neal in a freestyle rap basically calling Kobe Bryant a punk. OK, that's putting it mildly. In his rap, Shaq repeatedly asks Kobe to "Tell me how my ass tastes." And if having a refrain of "Tell me how my ass tastes" wasn't bad enough, Shaq successfully got the audience to chant "Tell me how my ass tastes."
Yikes. Apparently Shaq is still a little mad at Kobe because during Kobe's rape trial days, Kobe once said: "Should have done what Shaq does ... Shaq would pay his women not to say anything."
The infinitesimally small part of this that relates to television viewing habits is that Bill wasn't aware of Kobe's quote. Like me, Bill watches ESPN's Pardon the Interruption religiously and for what seems like three years they talked about the rift between Shaq and Kobe which was caused by Kobe's quote. They talked about it more than we talk about Moonlight and Jericho. I think the difference is for Bill, PTI is something that goes on in the background while he does other stuff, whereas I'm as focused on it as I would be with the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. We're talking laser-beam focus.
My brother Steve called me right after I'd seen the video of Shaq's freestyle so I told him about it and sent him a link. About five minutes later he e-mails me saying he'd seen the video thought that it would be highly circulated and wondered if I thought "tell me how my ass tastes" would become a catch-phrase that made it into the vernacular.
In PTI style, I wrote back that the chances of that were ONE HUNDRED PERCENT. I'm not saying that's a good thing and I'm not necessarily condoning Shaq's behavior. At best it was unsportsmanlike, and I suppose he did it as Bill Clinton would say, for the most morally indefensible of all possible reasons: because he could.
Whether I'm right or wrong about it remains to be seen. But there's a way to track it. As of this writing there are 89 stories in the Google Index (without the duplicates) and I'm guessing one year from now there will be oh, about 89 million. Curiously if I search the phrase, in quotes via Google in Internet Explorer Google tells me it's providing results 1-10 of about 694 and the exact same search in Firefox says 1-10 out of 1,290. But in both cases if you go all the way to the end of the results, there are currently only 89. Sad as it is, I think 89 million a year from now is a cinch. I hope I'm wrong but if nothing else trends.google.com will give me a way to track it a year from now.