These are the rules for the 1999 Football Pool (as they appeared in the first email)...

Ladies and gentlemen,

Last night the once-mighty Dallas Cowboys took on the reborn Cleveland Browns in a pre-season "AFC-NFC Hall of Fame Game." It was just a hint of the coming madness. Can you smell the pigskin in the air? Can you hear the crowd cheering you on? Can you feel the slap on your butt?

If it's Monday Night Football, that only means one thing: It's Monday night. But it also suggests a few things, one of those being that the beginning of a brand new football season is right around the corner. And with football comes gambling. Hard earned money invested in frivolous pursuits of wealth won the easy way, the American way, the often illegal way. And that's where I come in.

And that's also where you come in. The Suicide Pool has returned. It's a very simple way to bet on football, our true national pastime (betting, not football). We want YOU.

All you have to do is pick a winning team every Sunday. You look down the list of games being played on Sunday (and Monday) and then decide on one winner. That's it. You only have to identify ONE winner per week. If you can do that for more weeks than anyone else, you win ALL THE MONEY.

Could it be any simpler? No.

Could it be any more complicated? Well, yes. You can't pick a team more than once. If you pick Minnesota or Denver in week 2, you cannot pick them again for the rest of the season. So it may behoove you to look ahead a few weeks. Then again, half of the teams playing are going to win each week. Your chances of picking correctly are always a whopping FIFTY PERCENT (50%)!!

Pick a losing team and you are eliminated, right? Wrong. You get three lives. Pick a losing team three times and you are eliminated. That's a lot of lives. There is no way you can be eliminated by Week 2. It is, as they say in the business, mathematically impossible. Your investment will last you AT LEAST to Week 3, most likely even longer.

The investment being referred to is a mere $10. It is a one-time payment, paid before the whistle is blown to start the first game. Then you are in for duration. Whoever lasts the longest without being eliminated will collect the pot. The prize money last year was a full $360. APY: 8600%. Try finding a mutual fund with that rate of return.

The date of the first game is September 12, 1999. That gives you a month to collect enough spare change to enter the contest, find an envelope and send it all West. Remember you are guaranteed at least three weekends for that money, barely more than $3.33 per week. This is the greatest financial opportunity of the millennium. Send your money today.

Send to: Big Johnny Ducey, PO Box 1411, Studio City, CA 91604. Tips accepted.

Any questions? Please feel free to ask. Answers not guaranteed.

As last year's champ, Kessler, once said, "This thing is easy. Everyone else must be an idiot."

It's time for all the idiots to be heard.


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