How's this for openers? Arthur Bühl, a private detective from Germany, defeated an all-star field of lock-pickers to capture the aptly...

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How’s this for openers?

Arthur Bühl, a private detective from Germany, defeated an all-star field of lock-pickers to capture the aptly named Dutch Open in the aptly named town of Sneek, Wired magazine reported.

Bühl clinched the victory in the third annual event by cracking a Lips 8362C in just 20 seconds.

And not only that, he’s a lock to be the No. 1 pick in the next lock-pickers fantasy-league draft.

Excuses, excuses

From CBS’s David Letterman, a few of the Eagles’ top 10 excuses for losing the Super Bowl:

• “Spent two weeks practicing the coin toss.

• “Discouraged by halftime show’s lack of nudity.

• “Oh, suddenly referees are too good to take bribes?

• “Who really wants to get Gatorade dumped on them?

• “When Tom Brady looked at us with those gorgeous eyes, we just melted.”

Moron this later

The NHL lockout is not only mothballing the 2004-05 season, it’s starting to mess with hockey fans’ self-esteem.

Such as that of Vaughn Derderian, who owns the Anchor Bar just blocks from Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena.

“The distressing thing is, my heroes are morons,” Derderian told the Detroit Free Press. “And that’s kind of a reflection on me.

“They’re absolute morons. They’re accused of being a second-tier sport, and their actions are proving it.”

A minor consideration

With twin brother Jose Canseco causing such a stir with his upcoming book, wonders Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “will Ozzie Canseco produce his own tell-all that blows the lid off life in the minor leagues?”

Talking the talk

• Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, to the Boston Herald, on the New England Patriots winning three of the past four Super Bowls: “They’re the Yankees of the NFL, but without being greedy bastards.”

• Lock-picking expert Marc Weber Tobias, to Wired magazine, on Dutch Open contestants having to compete against the clock: “This isn’t pressure. Try real-world covert entry. Either you pick the lock fast or you get shot or arrested. End of story.”

• Bob Hille of The Sporting News, on how you could tell the citizens from the visitors in Jacksonville on Super Bowl weekend: “The natives kept referring to the game as ‘the Daytona 500 of the NFL.’ “

• NBC commentator Pat Haden, during an Arena Football League telecast, on huge sports salaries: “I signed a multimillion-dollar contract with the Rams. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get them to sign it.”

Sail of the century

Ellen MacArthur returned home to a hero’s welcome in Falmouth, England, yesterday after sailing solo around the world in a record 71½ days.

No truth to the rumor that a male competitor blew his chance at breaking the mark when he refused to stop and ask for directions.

Dwight Perry: 206-464-8250 or