The mother load


Dear Ace: I saw Howie Long on the Downtown Mall the other day and he was looking kind of small. Think you could take him?—B. Igshot

B: When Ace was but a wee boy, a poolside confrontation with the neighborhood thug (during which Ace was left pantsless and crying) taught him that he’s a lover, not a fighter. And also, that he should never accept a dare that challenges him to try and do an underwater handstand.

But most importantly, it taught Ace that if he can’t take the neighborhood badass, he certainly cannot take Howie Long, who, according to, weighs just shy of 270 pounds (which is, needless to say, slightly more than what Ace’s scale tells him each morn), even if you did think he looked “small.” Of course, it’s hard for Ace to admit all this—he doesn’t like to debase himself in front of his readers, as he fancies himself someone who’s ready for anything and anyone. So, you’ll understand when Ace tells you that he was, at first, somewhat hesitant to (pun alert!) tackle this question.

But then, as luck would have it, just as Ace was ready to kick off (he’s on a roll!) another investigative adventure, fate (and Howie’s wife, Diane Long) stepped into the very store in which Ace was doing a little shopping on a rainy Monday afternoon. It was a sign! Ace pressed on. He knew he was definitely unable to take the former pro footballer, but he wondered, would Diane be able to tell him who could?

Never one to shy away from a challenge, Ace decided to seize the moment and he walked over to ask her. After an understandably nervous laugh, she stood thinking. Maybe her boys, Chris, Kyle and Howie junior, she said.

“He always tells [our sons], ‘If you want to take me, be sure you’re ready. I don’t have a lot in me, but I’ll give it all I’ve got!’” she informed Ace. Fair enough, he thought, and then asked her if there was anyone else.
“Yeah,” she said. “Me.”


You can ask Ace yourself. Intrepid investigative reporter Ace Atkins has been chasing readers’ leads for 18 years. If you have a question for Ace, e-mail it to