in case you missed it,

the miss universe pageant was held last night, and i covered it here.

now let’s read a letter. by the way, thank you to all the nice people who have left or will leave nice notes in the comments section. your words mean a bunch to me, so muchas gracias!

Dear Tony,

What does it mean when something is described as “ticky-tack“? Is that some kind of athlete’s code for “tacky”?



Dear Puzzled,

excellent question! for some reason i thought this was common terminology.

i would say ticky-tack is typically used when talking about a foul in basketball or a penalty in football when the athlete is being punished for a physical act that isnt really as violent as the foul might suggest.

in the playoffs, especially in a close game near the end of the game, it would be called “ticky-tack” if a player barely hit his opponent. if it is called early in the game the ref is sending a message to both teams that he doesnt want very physical play, but at the end of the game a wussy foul call would be called ticky-tack.

there is generally a given cushion of physicality that each team assumes is okay even though it might technically be a foul — but in the super-fast nature of playoff basketball, of course one man is going to touch another man (which is technially a foul) but no one expects to be called on that.

so when Shaq got a foul charged against him in the last minutes of the game for just swiping his big paw in the general vicinity of lil mike bibby, that would be ticky tack as compared to a man slapping another man’s elbow while the first man was shooting.

since players can only have 6 fouls before they are fouled out of the game, in the playoffs, each foul should be obvious. glancing grazes should not be whistled.

keep rocking!