Mike Nadel's column for Thursday, May 29.
What do incarcerated former Illinois Gov. George Ryan, porn star Jesse Jane, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Mars Exploration Program manager Fuk Li and yours truly have in common?
We appear to be among the extreme minority of Americans who didn't make John Paxson's "short list" of candidates for the Chicago Bulls' coaching job.
And as a guy who once led my team at Rob Judson's basketball camp to a 4-11 record, I'm a bit insulted by the snub.
Go ahead, accuse Paxson of falling too much in love with the guys he drafted ... of overpaying role players with limited skills and questionable character ... of failing to acquire Dwyane Wade, Pau Gasol or Kobe Bryant, each of whom could have been had ... of letting the inmates run the asylum ... of worrying too little about actual disciplinary matters and too much about the organization's silly headband prohibition (because, really, who'd want a bum like LeBron James?) ... and of presiding over the NBA's most disappointing team in 2007-08.
Just don't accuse the general manager of failing to do his due diligence as his search for the next coach enters month No. 6 since Scott Skiles was shown the door (and replaced on a very interim basis by the since-departed Jim Boylan).
You know the saying "leave no stone unturned"? Well, those aren't just words to Paxson. He actually is looking under rocks -- which helps explain his interest in Dennis Rodman, Eliot Spitzer, Bobby Knight, Mike Tyson, Kelvin Sampson, Latrell Sprewell, Bruce Pearl, Jerry Springer, Donald Rumsfeld and the dude responsible for "The Hottie and the Nottie."
Word is, Pax offered the job to Digger Phelps, but his old Notre Dame mentor insisted upon wearing a green carnation on his lapel instead of the red one mandated by Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.
Seriously, among those in whom Paxson has (or had) interest: Rick Carlisle, Dwane Casey, Tyrone Corbin and Michael Curry ... and those are only the C's.
Also: former NBA head coaches Jeff Bzdelik, Avery Johnson, John Lucas and Kurt Rambis.
In addition: ex-players Jeff Hornacek, Mark Jackson, Chuck Person, Brian Shaw, Eric Snow and Elston Turner.
Don't forget lead Boston Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau, who might not be available to interview for another three weeks.
Before making a several-month commitment to Michael Jordan's Charlotte Bobcats, Larry Brown said Chicago could have been his kind of town. Scottie Pippen expressed interest, too, if for no other reason than to call the final shot for himself with 1.8 seconds left in a tied playoff game.
And that leaves dozens -- millions? -- of candidates we haven't heard about yet.
Not that there's any hurry, of course. The draft is four weeks away, training camp doesn't start until October and there's a good five months before the next coach will have to bench Tyrus Thomas for repeatedly being out of position.
But really, why is this process taking so long? Well, to be fair, there have been a few distractions.
Ex-Suns coach Mike D'Antoni strung along the Bulls before taking big money to lose 50 games a year with the Knicks.
An outraged Reinsdorf called D'Antoni a liar, a scoundrel and a guy who can't fry an egg without breaking the yolk.
Then there's Tokin' Joakim.
Coming off a rookie season in which he got into altercations with coaches, was regularly tardy and had to be disciplined by his own teammates, Joakim Noah was arrested over the weekend for walking the streets of Gainesville, Fla., with an open container of alcohol (a plastic cup filled with cognac) and possessing marijuana with the intent to consume several bags of Funyuns.
After getting Noah on the phone, a furious Paxson said: "I have two questions for you, Joakim. Do you want to play in this league? And really ... cognac in a plastic cup?"
Finally, there's the happy distraction of the Bulls overcoming ridiculous odds to win the NBA draft lottery, giving Paxson the pleasantly difficult choice between Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley.
John Calipari, who coached Rose at Memphis, says Paxson would be a fool to pass on the former Chicago prep point guard sensation. Grateful for the advice, Pax put Calipari on his coaching list.
"There's always room for one more!" Paxson said. "By the way, what's Mrs. Calipari's philosophy on defending the screen-roll?"
Mike Nadel (email@example.com) is GateHouse News Service's Chicago sports columnist. Read his blog, The Baldest Truth, at www.thebaldesttruth.com.