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The Inside Track | T.J. Simers

Attempt at a Joke Turns Into Look Who's Laughing Now

September 25, 2003|T.J. Simers

I have this dilemma. I have John Jenkins, the creator of firekarldorrell.com, who paid $125 to get the Web site up and running, now asking for mercy.

Jenkins, a USC grad, put the site up Friday as a joke, a playful poke at his brother-in-law, he said, who is a UCLA guy.

In the last few days, though, he has gotten pounded by tons of nasty e-mail from the Bruin faithful, including one promise from someone to really mess him up.

"It's gotten completely out of hand -- everybody is so unbelievably mad," he said. "I've been just getting hammered by people."

And now this, he groaned, a call from Page 2.

"The last guy I need all over me is you," he said. "Please, go easy on me.... In fact, I'm going to take the Web site down today and just eliminate it. How's that?"

I think that's a wise choice, and saving Coach Karl Dorrell's job at UCLA, of course, is all in a day's work here, although I don't imagine this will be the last time it comes up.

*

I SUPPOSE I could've left it at that, but then I also have Jonathan Dennis. Dennis is Jenkins' brother-in-law, and he e-mailed begging that his brother-in-law get no mercy. Won't Thanksgiving dinner be fun this year.

"I'm enjoying watching John deal with all the angry Bruin fans," Dennis wrote. "It's been gratifying to watch my brother-in-law's transition from when he was trying to rub my face in his 'brilliant' idea for firekarldorrell.com to when he declared in a state of complete defeat, 'I have to take the site down.' I'll be laughing all the way to the newsstand. Please do not let me down."

I'd imagine most of us have a bozo for a brother-in-law. As you know, I have three: Bubba I, Bubba II and Bubba III, the wife's kin. You probably saw them on a recent episode of Jerry Springer. I also have two brothers-in-law from my side of the family, but because they're living with my sisters, I don't think I could make them any more miserable by writing about them.

In this case I'm dealing with a UCLA brother-in-law, which means he could be out of work for all I know, or driving a limo for someone from USC. At the very least, it can't be much fun being a UCLA brother-in-law most Saturdays this fall, so I'm feeling sorry for the Bruin.

In fact, I took a closer look at the Web site to see what had irritated so many Bruin fans (in case I could learn something). I also wanted to make sure everyone knew what Jenkins had done, because that's what his UCLA brother-in-law wanted.

At the top of the home page, it read: "Karl Dorrell: Off and Running ... A choice in line with a tradition of mediocrity." So much for originality -- I think I saw the same thing on a Pete Carroll Web site two years ago when he got off and running at 1-4.

Page 1 was named, "Name," just like Pages 2, 3 and 4. I guess it was supposed to remind you of the UCLA offense. Page 1 read: "Brilliant quotes from our resident media whiz, Coach Dorrell, that would make any Bruin proud." Below that, there was nothing but blank space.

I thought that was Trojan humor, but when I asked Jenkins, he said he was just too computer-illiterate to post the brilliant quotes. Makes you wonder what got all those Bruin fans so angry to e-mail if there wasn't anything there.

Now initially, Jenkins offered to sell the domain name to Bruin fans, knowing they'd need it sooner or later, but then he read his e-mail, opted for safety, and decided to close down the site as a joke gone bad.

I already checked. The $125 gives him firekarldorrell.com for a year.

So that takes us deep into next September before it's available again, which should be just about right -- the way things are going.

*

ACCEPTED AN invite Wednesday to speak to the Pasadena Rotary Club. I was told there would be metal detectors at the door. They put me at a table between USC bookends, Alan Barry and Byrd Christian, and expected me to talk to those two jokers. They pointed out that John Cabot, the local mortician, was on call. Friendly group. Ann-Marie Villicana, another former Trojan, delivered the invocation, and called on the Lord to help those in attendance not to throw lemons at the guest speaker. Good thing I didn't bow my head when instructed.

Cathy Brooke seemed in a hurry to introduce me, and I understood after I watched her eat my dessert. I yelled, "Fight On!" when I got up, and got complete silence in return. If it works, I'll try it with the wife. When I asked Cmdr. Marilyn Diaz of the Pasadena Police Department if she'd protect me, she said, "I'm a USC grad." Never saw her again. Matthew Owen gave me a Trojan golf ball. A Spalding instead of a Pro V1, which told me these people really don't consider me one of them yet. Or Owen is just cheap.

I was told there were also a lot of Bruin fans in attendance. But for some reason, you just don't hear a lot from those people these days.

The engagement ended without an incident or a bite of dessert. In the future, if you're looking for someone to speak to your group, I'd invite Sports Editor Bill Dwyre. He can afford to go without dessert.

*

TODAY'S LAST word comes in a pair of e-mails from Damien Chiodo:

"You never cease to disgust me. What you did to Drew Brees the other day was a total lack of class. You're a coward and a disgrace to your profession. It must be pretty hard to find someone who can stand being around you for more than five minutes at a time. Do you think your mother and father are proud of you?"

I could never get them to stand still for five minutes to tell me.

T.J. Simers can be reached at t.j.simers@latimes.com.

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