Morning Briefing |

Morning Briefing

Robyn Norwood
Los Angeles Times

While we wait for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to chime in on Stanford’s upset of USC, here’s word from Palo Alto, Calif., on the campus celebration after last weekend’s game.

Some 2,000 fans gathered near Maples Pavilion to greet the team when the buses pulled up after midnight Sunday, and Coach Jim Harbaugh addressed the crowd.

Earlier, students lit a bonfire stoked by copies of the Stanford Daily, with a story headlined, “Towering Troy Looms.”

And bless ’em, but this is classic Stanford geekdom: When Palo Alto Fire Department officials forced the students to let the fire burn out and tried to identify the instigators, the student paper reported, the only answer they received from the students was the chorus of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”

Trivia time

Where did Harbaugh, who went on to play at Michigan, graduate from high school?

Watered down

Carey Pinkowski, race director for the Chicago Marathon, was photographed at a news conference Monday … sipping from a bottle of water.

Many runners complained there was not enough water available on the course Sunday during a race that was ultimately halted because of the heat and was marred by hundreds of heat-related illnesses and a death attributed to a heart condition.

Safety first

Maybe you should think twice before you finger a college football player for a crime.

The owner of the Gainesville, Fla., towing company involved in Florida safety Tony Joiner’s burglary case told Florida Today he received more than 200 threatening phone calls about the incident — more than a dozen of them death threats.

“I’m just glad it wasn’t Tim Tebow, that’s all I can say,” Watson’s Towing owner Stan Forron told the newspaper, referring to the Gators quarterback.

“I think I would be covered in 10 feet of concrete right now if it had been Tebow.”

State prosecutors dropped a felony burglary charge against Joiner for trying to take his girlfriend’s car out of an impound lot after the towing company owner said last week the situation arose from a misunderstanding.

Prickly situation

Mike Milbury, the former New York Islanders general manager who is a television analyst for Canada’s TSN, is enjoying the verbal fireworks between Ducks General Manager Brian Burke and Edmonton GM Kevin Lowe over the Oilers’ signing of Dustin Penner.

“I am absolutely two thumbs up on this one, and I don’t care if Dustin Penner ever scores another goal,” Milbury said. “I just love it that Brian Burke is apoplectic out there in Anaheim and has a Kevin Lowe voodoo doll in his office and a lifetime supply of pins. This is war and it will not go away.”

Transcending borders

You don’t really expect anybody but a hockey announcer to get this honor, but when Ted Wyman, a columnist for Canada’s Sun newspapers, picked his top 10 play-by-play announcers, the winner was an American: Vin Scully.

Trivia answer

Harbaugh graduated from Palo Alto High School in 1982. His father, Jack, was Stanford’s defensive coordinator during the 1980 and ’81 seasons.

And finally

Our Notre Dame joke feature has temporarily been discontinued.