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THE WRITING ON (AND OFF) THE WALL WHEN SANTA MEETS SATAN.

Byline: TOM HOFFARTH

Seein' as how it's Christmas and everything, our first inclination would be to tone down all the cynicism, sarcasm, hedonism, transcendental-meditationism - and all other mean-spirited isms - just for one day. Give everyone a break. Us included.

No one can be that Grinchy all year around.

So then we're flipping through the paper and there's an ad for that new rival to the NFL. It's a pitch to sell season tickets. And they're asking everyone to ``Make this a very happy X(FL)-Mas.''

Ex-cuuuuuse me?

That's when we lost it.

This, friends, goes beyond blasting the blasphemous Vince McMahon and his steroid freaks of nature. This is worse than elf-tossing, leaving cyanide out for Santa and serving reindeer burgers at the next WWF pay- per-view event party.

Where's the spirit of the season, Vinny?

This got us thinking real hard again. Tears welled up in our eyes. Steam came out of our ears.

It wasn't pretty.

In the process, we came up with some gifts - we got 'em right here for ya - to all the boys and girls still looking under the tree for that BB gun so they can shoot their little sister's eye out when no one's looking and them blame it on the family dog.

Try sending 'em back; we'll just re-gift you, pal.

If we could just get some Yuletide sentiment through these egg-shelled noggins, we'd feel better about the rest of our holiday season.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and pass the vinegar sherry.

--To Rae Carruth: A gift certificate to Johnnie Cochran's House of Sorcery. Guaranteed, if he puts someone up on the witness stand who starts screwing up the defense's case, they'll disappear within seconds.

--To Darryl Strawberry: Copyright ownership of the phrase, ``My bad.''

--To Mark Chmura: A Lambeau dive into a pack of high school cheerleaders - with your wife and a rolling pin waiting for you on the other side.

--To Bill Romanowski: A tattoo across your forehead that reads: ``Spit happens,'' and a contract to become the new spokesman for Exercise in a Bottle, compliments of Steve Garvey. Those are the diet pills you were looking for, right?

--To Sebastian Janikowski: The ecstasy of a playoff victory taken away by a missed field goal from the 12-yard line with two seconds left.

--To Marty McSorley: Stick-to-it-tivity.

--To Oscar De La Hoya: A video of ``Raging Bull.'' Pay particular attention to the last hour of the movie. This will be your life.

--To Kobe Bryant: A copy of ``Passing the Ball for Dummies.'' And a promise never to be included on this list again, OK, kid?

--To Dennis Rodman: Yesterday's newspaper.

--To O.J. Simpson: Nothing, really. Living day to day at this point must be hellish enough.

--To Mike Garrett: John Robinson is your coach. Jason Thomas is your quarterback. (What kind of odds could you get in Vegas of that happening again?)

--To Earl Woods and Richard Williams: More track, so your gravy train can keep going full speed ahead into that dark tunnel.

--To Bob Knight: A T-shirt that reads, ``Hoosier Let the Dog Out.''

--And, finally, to V. McMahon: Extreme eternal damnation, translated into exceptionally horrible TV ratings for the XFL.

Peace on Earth. And justice for all.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 25, 2000
Words:543
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