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DAN SHAUGHNESSY

Passing thoughts abound

Picked-up pieces while wondering if the Fenway clubhouse guys will have to nail everything down when Doug Mientkiewicz comes back here with the Yankees in April . . .

Suppose Barry Bonds gets hot early. Suppose he's closing in on Hank Aaron when the Giants come to Fenway June 15. Highly unlikely, but just suppose . . .

Should be a good conversation when AFC Pro Bowl coach Bill Belichick greets Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson. Wonder if it'll be too hot for the hoodie in Honolulu.

Just who are the loyal 16,199 who went to the Celtics' game against the Hawks Wednesday night? And why? Among other distinctions, the Celtics have the worst home record (4-16) in the NBA. Hard to believe they went 40-1 at home in 1985-86. That would be 50-1 including the postseason. The loss? It was a curious 121-103 pummeling at the hands of Clyde Drexler, Jerome Kersey, and the Portland Trail Blazers Dec. 6, 1985.

Gotta love actress Kate Mara. She plays a cheerleader/girlfriend in "We Are Marshall," and will soon appear with Mark Wahlberg in "Shooter." Great football bloodlines. She is the granddaughter of Wellington Mara and the great-granddaughter of Art Rooney. A lot of Canton in her blood. Not sure whom she roots for when the Giants play the Steelers.

Speaking of the Celtics' golden days, did you catch the Wall Street Journal's "Private Properties" listing in late December? "Former Boston Celtics star Larry Bird . . . and his wife, Dinah, are asking $4.8 million for a home in Naples's Park Shore subdivision. The four-bedroom waterfront house has a nine-seat home theater, a bar with a 500-gallon saltwater aquarium, and multiple balconies . . . There's also a waterfront pool with a spa, private dock, and a tiki hut . . . The Birds bought the property for $875,000 in 1998 . . ."

Cornerback Johnathan Joseph Monday became the ninth Bengal to be arrested since Jan. 1, 2006, when he was charged with possession of marijuana. Wonder if Joseph is a nickel back or plays in the dime package.

Serena Williams might weigh more than Karl Malone, but she's upholding the honor of American women. There wasn't a single Yank in the 32 female seeds in Australia. Ranked No. 81 in the world, Serena will play the ever-cheatin' Maria Sharapova (dad coaches her via satellite from the stands during matches) in tomorrow's Aussie final.

"Friday Night Lights" is pretty good television.

Good to be out of that Foxborough press room, where a Big Brother camera monitors reporters asking the questions. Not expecting the Patriots to install one-way glass anywhere so we can watch practice.

Wish I'd known Boston College was playing at Notre Dame (Oct. 13) when I saw Charlie Weis in the press box at the RCA Dome Sunday night. The Eagles say hello to old friend Tom "Chuck Fairbanks" O'Brien when he brings North Carolina State here Sept. 8.

Not to diminish the contributions of Trot Nixon since 1998, but Greater Boston charities are really going to miss his better half, the indefatigable and ever-cheerful Kathryn Nixon. She ran the marathon for the Jimmy Fund and took up just about every other worthy cause during her husband's eight full seasons with the Sox.

College hoop junkies know the Pac-10 is ridiculously good this year.

With Rex Grossman on deck, a popular parlor game is listing the worst Super Bowl quarterbacks in history. The staff of the New York Daily News came up with David Woodley, Trent Dilfer, Joe Kapp, Vince Ferragamo, and our own Tony Eason.

Vignette from Christmas Eve in Jacksonville: A multiple-car accident tied up traffic on the highway en route to the airport after the Patriots beat the Jaguars. Standing in the middle of the wreckage was a man on a cellphone wearing a Tom Brady jersey.

Did you know that Dave McCarty worked a night as Wally the Green Monster when he was on the disabled list in 2004? McCarty makes the admission in "Diamond Days," a spectacular Red Sox alumni publication produced by longtime team vice president Dick Bresciani and the ever-capable Debbie Matson.

Vern Ruhle died in Cincinnati last week at the age of 55. If you don't know Ruhle's place in Red Sox history, you're definitely new to the Nation. Ruhle was the hurler who hit rookie Jim Rice with a pitch, breaking the slugger's hand Sept. 21, 1975. It was a pitch that probably cost the Red Sox the '75 World Series.

Folks in Southern California can set their alarm clocks to 7:05 a.m. if they want to put on the television to watch the Angels play the Red Sox in Fenway Park April 16.

Nice timing for the NHL. It plays its All-Star Game in Dallas the same week Bill Parcells decides to retire. I'm still trying to find the Versus network on my cable. It was much easier back in the 1970s when we just had to put aluminum foil on the antenna to bring in snowy Channel 38.

Speaking of the NHL, does anyone else think commissioner Gary Bettman looks like actor Kevin Spacey? And does anyone still remember that Bettman made his bones as the right-hand man of NBA boss David Stern?

Wonder if Marlin Jackson was thinking about Marlon McCree when he picked off Tom Brady's pass in the closing seconds Sunday. Unlike McCree, Jackson knew what his job was. He ran a few steps, then hit the turf -- preventing a Troy Brown type from stripping the football.

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. His e-mail address is dshaughnessy@globe.com.

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