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A Profile Of A Columnist Mailing It In: Norman Chad And The Blogging Iditarod Dog

It happens all too frequently, a journalist, with an impending deadline staring them in the face, suddenly realizes that even though they realize that despite having no motivation or a topic worth writing about, they have to crank out something, however benign or ridiculous, simply to satisfy their vocational obligations (note: for Rick Reilly, this is every column, by the way). From time to time, the Sportress will profile examples of when a columnist (and sports journalism as a whole) would have been better served if they had instead taken a sick day instead of lazily mailing it in.

Today, Norman Chad and Tuffy the Snow Prince’s blog journal. Because when I want to read something from a well-compensated journalist, I want their inspiration to be something like, “You know, I wonder what a dog would write if they could.” That’s a Pulitzer-worthy concept, to say the least.

Now, I like Norman Chad –  kind of in the way a person can enjoy engaging in a conversation with a great aunt who suffers from dementia – it’s interesting and enlightening in a twisted way, yet one cannot help but feel a bit guilty due to how much enjoyment is derived from listening to their nonsensical ramblings.

I have previously even referred to Norman Chad as the “Poor Man’s Rick Reilly” – and if there is a better example of a backhanded compliment, I’d like to hear it – and the guy earns that moniker in spades with his “blogging dog” column, which can be found in its entirety after the jump.

The Iditarod Sled Trail Dog Race – often called “The Last Great Race on Earth,” with 71 man-and-man’s-best-friend groups trekking across Alaska – is near its conclusion. Tuffy the Snow Prince, the outspoken 55-pound Siberian husky on musher Spoons Grabilovitch’s sled team, again agreed to keep a daily log for us.

Here are excerpts of Tuffy’s Iditarod journal:

Day 1: I always skip the “ceremonial start” in Anchorage – it’s just a dog-and-pony show and we’ve got no ponies. . . . Prize money’s down this year, but you won’t see even crocodile tears coming out of my eyes, because we still get nothing. . . . Last time I went to the vet, I complained of lower back pain. His advice? “Walk it off.” . . .

If Sarah Palin’s right, we should be in Russia by Thursday.

Sarah Palin jokes. That’s “Jay Leno” funny right there.

Day 2: They’ve got some Jamaican musher up here for the first time. Now that’s what I call an underdog . . . There’s also a Scottish entrant this year and he’s wearing a kilt. Kilts are fine – if you’re in Applebee’s.

Huh? Applebee’s? People wear kilts in Applebee’s?

WE’RE IN SUBFREEZING TEMPS out here . . . How do they think I’m going to have time to Tweet during this thing? . . . Last year was my worst Iditarod ever – I had IBS and forgot my iPod . . .

Nothing worse than an angry moose predawn.

At this point, Chad should have just given up and went with something else. This is spiraling out of control quickly.

Day 3: Three-time defending champion Lance Mackey’s brother Rick also won an Iditarod, as did their father Dick. Archie Manning never won a Super Bowl, did he? . . . I’m a little concerned – I heard they’re adding a halfpipe to the trail . . . My favorite cough drops? Ricola! . . . I heard the Japanese sled had trouble with unexpected acceleration . . .

If you had “Toyota Joke” on your DINGO card, mark it.

Crap! I forgot to fill out my brackets before I left.

Timely.

Day 4: You know what kills me? Some frat boy plays Iditarod on Wii and thinks he can hack it out here . . . We had no visibility today – I couldn’t even see Yukon Pete’s butt in front of me . . . It’s about time they tested the mushers for drugs – we’re not the ones with Walgreen cards . . . I’m suffering from dehydration, diarrhea and exhaustion, but – as we like to say – at least I’ve got my health . . .

Would it have killed them to put one stinkin’ husky in “Avatar”?

Oh my, this is terrible. No turning back now, I guess.

Day 5: It’s tough sledding out here for all of us, but I’ll still take the Iditarod Trail over I-95 any day of the week . . . I hate it when they have us run at night – let’s see how much Bode Miller likes skiing downhill after dark. . . . Midway through the ’85 race, my Uncle Dmitri ran away and joined the circus. Who could blame him? . . .

Like an idiot, I didn’t bring a nail clipper.

Day 6: I want to soak my poor, aching paws every evening, but in these parts, a bucket of hot water turns into a bucket of ice in a Wasilla minute . . . I love the windswept coast. There’s a little Samoyed with whom I’ve shacked up for years in Unalakleet . . . Man, I’m famished here. What is this, Yom Kippur for dogs? . . .

You can have the Pacific Ocean, I’m a Bering Sea boy.

Day 7: I can’t prove it, but I think one of the dogs on Jeff King’s team is wearing a wire for the ASPCA. . . . Every musher has some heart-rending story; heaven forbid they ever interview a dog. . . . Where’s that global warming? I’m dyin’ to go for a swim . . . I hope my lawyer gets me a cut of the Iditarod-on-PlayStation revenue . . . I hate it when we stop in Rohn. Absolutely nothing to do here . . .

They never enforce the no-barking-after-midnight rule.

Another “Iditarod on some gaming system” reference? If he busts out a ColecoVision joke, I swear to God…

Day 8: I’ll tell you what easy living is – being one of those Dalmatians working with a fire engine company . . . I hate to admit my mom was right, but now I know the value of a high school diploma . . . No TV coverage this year? We’re tailor-made for tape delay on NBC . . . When morale lags, Spoons always has us watch “Snow Dogs” on DVD before turning in . . .

I’m so tired, I can’t even lift my leg to pee.

And there you have it. To wrap up this edition of “A Profile Of A Columnist Mailing It In,” Chad goes with a pee joke. Wow.

On second thought, I wonder if Chad would be interested in writing a weekly piece for the Sportress. He’d fit right in here as long as he stuck with bodily function humor.

Dog dishes out inside scoop on the Iditarod [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
(previously at the Sportress: Syndicated Columnist Norman Chad Has Had Just About Enough Of These Dang Olympics)