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Five Spot / Quick hitters on the light side

1. NOT DOGGING IT

Apparently they have dog days of winter, too -- in the NBA. As the Mavericks' Caron Butler (above), rehabbing a repaired patellar tendon, told the Dallas Morning News: "I'm like a dog on a leash. Every day they give me a little more rope and I get to play a little further out in the yard."

2. SELF-ENDORSEMENT

Forget Robert Redford. The Natural in baseball these days is checkbook-wielding Brian Cashman. "I get it," he told the New York Times. "I have the perfect name for the Yankee GM: cash man."

3. GOAL ORIENTED

Now for the hard part: not flopping on the issues. Former Colombian soccer goalkeeper Rene "El Loco" Higuita is running as an independent for mayor of Guarne, near Medellin. Witnesses say that when his hat landed in the political ring, it was indeed a throw-in.

4. NOTHING BREWING

A home brewer in Iowa has vowed to live on only beer and water for the 46 days from Ash Wednesday leading up to Easter. Judging by the water part, at least we know he's not a Cubs fan.

5. NOT OWNING UP

"In terms of perception, the current NFL labor dispute is the most one-sided fight since good first climbed into the ring with evil," wrote Bill Plaschke of the L.A. Times. "Cheering for the owners is like cheering for the IRS, cable companies and Charlie Sheen."

-- Dwight Perry, Seattle Times

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