Friday, April 29, 2005

Neighbors...a parable (and a true story)

Yeah, gather round the water and let the kid start passing out the loaves and fishes (not that I have a God complex or anything).

I have a neighbor who is an ass. He lives directly across the street from me and he's the sort who will be bothered by something and instead of telling you, or asking that you not do it again, he finds some method of retaliation.

We have a dog (a little pomeranian, but that doesn't matter much in the story). When the dog was a puppy, his wife was playing with it on their porch and the dog pee'd. She cleaned it up and said "no big deal" but apparently it bothered him, because the next morning, there was a huge pile of dog shit (yes, they have a much larger dog than ours) in my front yard. He, of course, never said a word, and it had never happened before or since, so I assume he led his dog to my yard and didn't clean up afterwards.

The people who live next to him had a party one night. We walked across a corner of his property to get to the party. I'm not sure why it bothered him. It might be that we walked across the corner of his property on his grass, or it might be that he wasn't invited, but for whatever reason, he was upset. I don't know this because he said "John, please stay off my grass" or anything like that. In fact, the few times he has addressed me it's been with non-descript names like "Hey bud, what's up?" or just 'Hi". He never uses my name. The only time he would ever even acknowlege me was when he and I are the only ones around and I force the issue by going up to him and saying "Hi Rob, how are you?", but back to the point. The next morning (a Saturday) I was sitting on the back porch reading the paper and having coffee. We have a nice view of a pond behind our house and woods behind that Egrets fly around back there. We get an occasional deer. Ducks swim in the pond despite the rumor that an alligator shares the pond with them. The ass was pacing back and forth across the back of my yard talking on his cell phone. I didn't know why. I was (in one of the last of many efforts to make friends) ready to ask him if he wanted coffee, but he kept talking on his phone, ignored me and walked back to his house, still talking after a while. Later I walked out to the street where he and a few other neighbors were talking and he made comments like, "Nice view you have back there. I think I'll get my chair and a big smelly cigar and go back there and rest." I didn't know what to make of it, but I found out afterward, from his wife, that he had nobody on the phone. He was pretending to talk to someone while walking across the back of my yard. He did all that just to show me what it's like to have one of my neighbors in my yard without my permission, and to see how I liked it. I didn't much care, but whatever. If that gets his rocks off, he can pace the back of my yard pretending like he has a friend on his cell phone any time. Of course, he never said anything to me. He just sends his sneaky regards in his own stupid way, and we're all supposed to figure it out.

It wasn't long after that I stopped trying, because nothing I did was going to appease him, so now I ignore him. I don't antagonize, I don't talk to him. I just pretend he doesn't exist. He talks to some people that live on our street, and complains about his neighbors (us and a few others) but I don't care. I assume everyone else takes him with a grain of salt, and if they don't, that's their problem, not mine. His opinions and his life are his and they don't really affect me...and so we co-exist. We don't like each other. We'll never sit down for a beer and have a few laughs, but he does his thing and I do mine, and we just stay out of each other's way....and I keep my sanity.

End of parable.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

John on a whinepage

OK here's the deal.

There is a very good medical center in town where my wife works and all of our family gets its medical treatment, including my mother-in law. She lives about an hour north of us and drives down and stays when she has to visit the establishment, which is not a big deal. I get along fine with her and she's welcome anytime.

Every day for lunch I bring a container of yogurt, some kind of fruit (lately an apple because that's what has looked best at the grocery store) and a low-carb bar of some sort, trying to keep my girlish figure. I don't always eat what I bring. There is a great restaurant in walking distance from my desk that does excellent fish, and sometimes the fresh catch special is irresistible. Still, it's healthy.

So she came down Monday for tests Tuesday, for which she had to fast, and she did. After the tests she couldn't keep down anything but bland food, so she found my yogurt, which has fruit on the bottom. Since the fruit is on the bottom, she could eat all the plain yogurt off the top and throw away the fruit.

Now, I don't mean to whine too much, but...if she's not going to eat the fruit anyway, don't you think she could leave me a variety instead of eating all the different ones and leaving me with 2 raspberry and 2 peach ones? I mean, she ate the mango, and the banana, and the tropical fruit and the blackberry and left me all the duplicates, and I try to aim for variety so I can keep eating that stuff without getting tired of it.

I know...if that's all I have to complain about, life ain't too bad, but still...I was looking forward to mango. Yes I know. I can and will buy more.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Meet the Fockers (Sideways revisited)

Last night's feature in our house for movie night was Meet the Fockers.

For my couple of dollars, a far more entertaining movie than Sideways. True, it's a different kind of comedy, and comparing them is like comparing apples and oranges, but this much I can say.

I laughed....a lot.
I wasn't ever tempted to grab the remote and wonder whether or not CSI was a rerun.

Both of these things are normally requirements when I'm watching a movie that's supposed to be funny for me to think it's good, and both of these requirements were sorely lacking with Sideways.

Meet the Fockers was a very cleverly written movie that is flat out funny. Dustin Hoffman as the groom's father does an amazing job, but then, everybody in this movie does.

Yes, some of the premises in this movie are just as inconceivable as those in Sideways, but instead of handcuffing the comedic value, they enhance it. Nobody insists on bringing their dog into someone's RV, especially once told there is a cat inside, but when it happens here, it's funny. Nobody's RV houses a CIA style command and control center, but when it happens here, it's funny. Nobody injects Sodium Pentathol into their future son-in-law (though many girlfriend's dads/future bride's dads would probably like to) but when it happens get the picture...and if you're anything like me, you'll get this one.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Draft Grades

Just for the record:

Pete Prisco of CBS Sportsline gave the Jaguars a B
Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports gave the Jaguars a C+ (mostly because of the gamble on Matt Jones)
ESPN believes their columnist/analyst's opinion is worth money, and wants you to pay to read it. Frankly, an arbitrary grade the day after the draft ain't worth a dime to me. It's fun to look at, but it's not worth much.
Joe next door's a homer, so he went with an A

Monday, April 25, 2005

the gazinta talk

There is a moment most parents dread from the day their child takes his or her first breath. Some will say they don't, and for some of those it might actually be true, but still, once you let it be known that you got past it, they're all asking how you approached it. Everybody's looking for pointers.

I'm talking about the sex talk (or, the 'gazinta' talk), where you tell them this gazinta this and that's where babies come from. I had been putting it off like most parents, knowing I had to get there but not quite knowing how...or when, when the day was more or less forced upon me. A girl in my son's school class had her first period, and it did not go unnoticed. She was crying and it was a big production, and he came to me asking what was going on. Frankly, I'm glad he did. I'd rather he ask me than believe whatever his friends might tell him, and I'm glad he feels comfortable doing that.

It went surprisingly well. After it was over I found myself wondering what I was dreading. We talked about the physical differences between boys and girls, and all the things that are happening to him, and the girl in his class, and the issues of privacy and respect and yes, what gazinta what and the consequences of that, and what he needs to think about before he ever goes there. I left it all open so if he has more questions, or wants to talk about anything, and not necessarily sex, I hope he'll come to me to ask.

And ya know, I think he will.

(...and for the curious, no, I didn't tell him how to make her thighs twitch when you take your tongue and....there are things you really shouldn't learn from your dad.)

Matt Jones?

As usual, the only thing right about my prediction is that I'd get it wrong, and so did just about everyone else. The Jaguars picked Matt Jones, quarterback, University of Arkansas. He's super fast and can catch the ball so they plan to turn him into a receiver. The only thing is, we have receivers, and quarterbacks, and need players at other positions. The positive side is, he could well be the best receiver we have if it all works out and his potential turns into reality. He's tall and very fast and can outjump people, so that part could work out very well. Time will tell.

Call me cautiously optimistic.

Friday, April 22, 2005

and with the 21st pick in the draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars select...

Who knows. Every year I follow this thing called the NFL Draft, because it is one of the biggest ways my favorite team gets new players. Every year I look at who's available, and have my dream list of who the Jaguars should take, and I can count on two fingers how often I've been right in the first round. After the first round it's more or less a crapshoot. Sure, there are people who spend a lot more time on it than I do and consequently guess right more often, but in the end, even the analysts on TV are often confounded by what teams actually do when their turn comes up to pick players. Teams are equally confounded when thay take certain players to fill needs, only to find out the person they picked isn't up to the task.

Once it's over, the following Monday teams are given grades by analysts from ESPN, Sports Illustrated, the press in major cities, the press in minor cities, and Joe my next door neighbor, on how well they did picking players when, in reality, nobody knows. The earliest you have any clue is in September when they actually line up and play. Some guys who end up being superstars don't even play their rookie year. It's not until two or three years later that you find out your pick was or wasn't what you thought it would be.

All this really doesn't have a point except, as little as it means, I hope next Monday everybody, including Joe, gives the Jaguars a grade of A, and I hope in September and three years from now, I still believe in that assessment.

For the record, I think they'll trade David Garrard and their 21st pick in the draft to another team who needs a quarterback of Garrard's talent level, for a pick higher in the draft so they can select cornerback Antrel Rolle.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

New Pope Tries to Allay Fears of Rigid Papacy

That's the headline today in Yahoo news. I thought that's why they elected a new one...because the old one was getting a bit...well....

the morality myth

One of the many mantras of the liberal cause when talking about the christian conservatives in this country goes something like, "Don't force your morality on the country." That's a load of crap, and here's why.

The concept sounds pretty self righteous, even reasonable on the surface, but think about what it says for a minute. Is not just about every law we have doing just that? Well gee. Personally I think rape is wrong but I'd hate to be pushing my morality on anyone else. Murder. Yeah, I have a problem with it, but no, we shouldn't have a law because I don't feel right forcing my morality on anyone. Sounds absolutely stupid, doesn't it? That is the argument though - just not taken to that extreme. Morality is your sense of right and wrong, and is not the exclusive property of christians, muslims, jews, straights, gays, tree huggers, psychopaths or anybody else. Liberals are big on punishing people for hate crimes, but in the next breath will tell you we shouldn't force our morality on anyone. They'll tell you we should save the spotted owl, and stop logging companies from stripping trees from mountains, but let's not force out morality on anyone else. Can you see the hypocrasy? Personally, I agree that we need to save our natural resources, and we don't need to be leaving barren land where forests once stood. In doing so though, I realize if my viewpoint becomes legislation and I helped get it there, I most certainly am forcing my morality on someone else.

We kill babies every day in abortion clinics in the name of reproductive rights, but no, let's not push anybody's morality on anyone else. Have you ever looked at a sonogram? Can you, in good conscience, say that's not a life squirming around in there sucking his or her thumb? Most people I know of a liberal persuasion, when discussing abortion, will use the feel good rationalization that goes, "I could never have an abortion, but I don't want to force my morailty on anybody else." Murder is still murder, isn't it?

Again, I think people, no matter the opinion, tend to think it's OK to push our morality on others, because we think our morality is right. We just don't want other people forcing theirs on us when we don't agree with it. It's just that the liberal left likes to make it look like they're being victimized by the process, and they're doing the same thing. They just don't like to admit it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


A review...sort-of.

We rented the movie Sideways last night and watched...some of it. It has a reputation of being a pretty good romantic comedy, and my mother-in-law was in town, so we figured, why not. I can't write a proper review because I didn't watch the whole movie. We watched, waiting for it to get "good". We watched some more, again, waiting to see what all the fuss was about. We gave it a little longer, thinking it has to pick up soon. For those who have seen it, we got to the scene where the two main character guys have dinner with two women in hopes of getting laid. One gets drunk and call his ex-wife, who he recently found out got remarried. That was all we could take.

Here's my biggest issue with the movie. The premise is you have these two guys who are off to have a wild time in the week before one of them gets married. So these two guys, leave Los Angeles, to have a big time 'guy' week, and they go to..........California wine country???? What the hell is that all about? Nobody really does that, do they? More to the point, people don't really watch these two guys doing it and somehow consider it good film, do they? Maybe it was listening to one of them pompously discuss the wine he tasted and all the exciting flavors swirling around in his mouth when he said, 'and yes, just a hint of asparagus' that made me want to reach for the remote early in the movie, and I like asparagus. For the record, I like wine too, but I don't know that I want either of those dropping hints in the other. I could easily be wrong, and I'd try anything once, but the combination doesn't sound all that good comming out of the blocks. For a while I thought, maybe it's supposed to be a chic flick, and the infamous Y chromosome is inhibiting my enjoyment, but mom-in-law was the first to pipe up with, "so how much more time are we going to give it?"

If you're going to do that...if you're going to plan a week of male bonding and doing a last gasp before getting married, aren't there much better choices?

Analogy time

wild 'guy' weekend of debauchery is to California wine county as fun is to......
a) watching paint dry
b) a nap
c) watching grass grow
d) riding down the highway pointing out things that start with 'D'
e) taking the elevator for the tunes
f) all or any of the above

If you start in L.A. and insist on driving, isn't Las Vegas (as much as I may have vilified the place, it says decadence far better than a glass of Pinot) a better choice. Mexico, maybe? If you're willing to fly inside the country, how about New Orleans or Miami? Internationally (and this is a Hollywood movie we're talking about, so why not)? Maybe Berlin, Amsterdam or Bankok, or even Ibiza, but not California wine country. Talk about a serious yawn....which is what I did before turning off the DVD player.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Would you like some cheese with that?

At work, we have a temp who is leaving. She's been here three years, but the company, while keeping her on, has never felt she was so valuable that we ought to hire her full time. I know there have been some issues, but I don't need to get into them here, the point is she's leaving for a permanent job elsewhere. Personally, I'm happy for her. I know that wasn't going to happen here, so for her to get something better elsewhere, well, good for her.

Tomorrow is her last day, and the company is having cake and a little farewell get together. What do I get to listen to from the whiney crowd?

"Cake? Is that all? They should bring in pizzas or cater lunch or something? All we get is cake??"

If you feel all that strongly, you have a wallet. Go around and get everyone to pitch in and maybe we'd have pizza or something, but no, I understand whining is easier. The worst part is, the loudest voice looking for lunch is also one of this girl's loudest critics. He's happy to see her go, but thinks he should be fed for her departure. Whatever.....

the papal conclave begins

Did I really see someone out in front of the Sistine Chapel with a "Vote for Pedro!" sign?

15 minutes of fame

Andy Warhol once said everyone will eventually get 15 minutes of fame. That's no direct quote, but it is the idea of what he is generally credited with.

Well, my son got his, in the little microcosm that is his world. My son is fairly active. He plays baseball on a little league team, he rides his bike everywhere and skateboards and runs and is pretty much high energy until he is forced to go to bed, and two minutes later he's out like a light, until it all starts the next morning. (A sidenote - his baseball coach makes the kids run laps around the baseball field when they make mental errors. He had to find an alternate punishment for my son, because he'd screw up on purpose just so he'd get to run for a while, so his punishment is pushups, until he can't do them anymore.) Well, about 2 weeks ago he went to a skateboard park and fell trying to do tricks, and broke his wrist. Arm in a cast for 6 weeks and a sling for 2 to 4 more, for a total of 8 to 10 weeks of immobility and not being able to play like he normally does. At the time, he thought this was soooo cool, because he got a cast. In the week that followed, he had people carrying his books, taking notes for him at school, helping him with almost everything. The cute litle girl he likes signed his cast, and he was in his glory. He was getting more attention than he ever had before. Now it's been two weeks, and reality is setting in. He, and his cast, are old news, and the fact that his baseball season is over, his skateboard, roller blades and scooter are off limits and just about everything he wants to do has been taken from him are starting to take their toll. He can bike ride, but only as a mode of transport. No tricks, no jumping off curbs, no fun stuff. All of a sudden, the 15 minutes of fame is wearing off, and the next 6 weeks (at least) are starting to look like hell - for all concerned.

Friday, April 15, 2005


I was listening to the radio - sports talk stuff, and one of the talking heads was discussing his trip to Las Vegas. The guy he was talking to admitted he'd never been, at which time they discussed that, as a guy, you just have to go. The premise was, if you have to admit you've never been to Vegas, you should just turn in your 'guy' card.

I have been to Vegas, but I was 13 at the time traveling cross country with my family in a Chevy Impala towing a boat as we moved to California. That I think I can safely assume, is adhering to the letter of the law, but not the spirit. Therefore, I might get to grudgingly keep my 'guy' card.

Now to the point though. I am not a gambler, and I'm assuming that's what the whole 'guy' card thing is about. I dislike gambling with my money because I inevitably walk away from the process with less than I had when I started. Sure, I'll occasionally buy a Lotto ticket at the grocery store when I'm feeling lucky, but even then I find out a day or two later that the feeling must've been gas, an oncoming headache or something else, but it certainly wasn't luck. I don't even like gambling at golf, even with people I know I can beat. I don't want their money any more than I want to give them mine. (OK, that's probably a lie. Given a choice I'd probably rather take theirs than give them mine, but in any case, I don't want to do either.) Vegas, though, is a story unto itself. All you need to do is look at the place in all it's glitzy glory. It is bigger than big and as close to your wildest dreams as money can take you. It's chrome taken to some exponential level - a bizarre mix of opulence and cheese (cheesily opulent?). Then realize, all of that was built on the backs of people coming to Vegas hoping to leave with more than they came with, and not. It isn't by accident that the place also goes by the moniker 'Lost Wages'. It's a monument to losers. Why the hell would you want to join that club? I can think of way too many things I would rather do with my hard earned money than hand it to someone as my personal contribution to the glitz that is Vegas. Apparently though, as guys go, that is just me.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Monday Night Football

OK, I realize it's April and football season doesn't start till September, but bits of it become relevant throughout the year. I live, for all intents and purposes, in Jacksonville, home of the Jaguars of the National Football League. It's a small market team in a large market league where the glamor names are more like the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers, although about now, both of those teams are struggling and face it, about the best thing the Cowboys have going for them is their cheerleaders. I'm also a pretty big Jaguars fan, having had season tickets since the team began playing in 1995.

Monday Night Football is the crown jewel of the NFL. It's the marquee game of the week. ABC, who televises it, gets to pick which game they want to show, looking for the best matchups and storylines (like a coach who changed teams playing against his old team, and things like that). Very often they pick wrong, and the teams they thought were going to be good when they made the schedule end up floundering and the games aren't all that great, but they also get a lot of them right. The point behind it though is, when they made the schedule, these were the games seen as most desirable of all the ones played that week. Teams want to play that game too. It's on national television instead of something more regional, so the whole country is watching your game.

Now to the point. The schedule for this fall just came out, and the Jaguars have no Monday night games. People are crying foul and whining about how, despite being one of the better teams in the league and improving, the Jaguars are being overlooked because they aren't one of the big name teams. The Cowboys are still playing Monday Night Football, and they flat out suck. Everyone wants to be on Monday Night Football, because it's the place to be.

Personally, I couldn't be happier. Monday Night Football is a made for television event. Before Jacksonville had a team, I loved Monday Night Football. It was a Monday night out with the guys in a sports bar somewhere. The game started at 9:00 and you'd watch while conversing about this and that. Rarely did you stay for the end, because you didn't care that much who won and besides, Tuesday morning came soon enough.

Now we have a team, and the reality of going to a game on a Monday night isn't all that glamourous. First there's work on Monday, which you have to rush home from to get to the game before you get stuck in traffic. Then there's the fact that my son and occasionally my wife accompany me to these games. Monday night, that time of year, is a definite school night, so the youngster can't go. The game doesn't end 'till after midnight and whenever it does end, you're downtown and need to get home in post game traffic. You aren't home before 1:00 (more like 1:30), and usually not in bed before 2:00 in the morning. Then there's the hell of Tuesday morning on no sleep at work, at which time any 'glamour' associated with attending a Monday Night Footbal game has definitely worn off. None of this is something I look forward to. A nice 1:00 Sunday afternoon start, over by 4:00 or 4:30 is a huge improvement where I'm concerned. If I lived on the west coast, where the same game starts at 5:00 and is over by 9:30, I'd be more inclined to be happy about going to a Monday night game, but I don't. So San Francisco, you can have those Monday night games. I'll take the 1:00 Sunday starts in September, when those teams from up north come down in their dark jerseys and sweat in the Florida sun, anytime.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

being a dad

I was reading something and it pretty much got me thinking about this topic. Dad-hood. I've been one of those for almost 12 years now and I think I'm pretty typical. I only have one child (because in the words of Clint Eastwood, a man's got to know his limitations) and he's a handful. He has ADD, so school is a real challenge. Focusing on anything for a real long time, especially if it's something he's not very interested in to start with, is a battle and a half. Again, I'm off on a tangent. Time to get back (and I wonder why my son has a hard time focusing).

I think guys are genetically inclined toward good dad-hood. Most guys, me included, never grew up, and really have no desire to. We are all Peter Pan, cloned. I'm 47 years old and I have and use a skateboard, and roller blades. I do, because these are things I do with my son, and because they're fun. When he opens presents on his birthday, I'm just as excited as he is. When movies like The Incredibles come out on DVD, I'm just as anxious shoving it in the DVD player on day 1 of the release as he is. Harry Potter - I've read them all. When the Super Bowl came here, I was at the NFL Experience, racing him in the 40 yard dash. I should have let him win, but he was talking such trash I had to show him who's dad. Being honest, if the race were a mile or more, he probably would have taken me, but he doesn't know that - yet. So my first point is it's true, the only difference between men and boys is the size and price of their toys, but at the same time, a man can enjoy some of the same toys as his son. Madden 2005 for the X-Box is a shining example. So is silly putty.

Then there's the counter-point. You still have to be dad, and sometimes this part isn't easy. If you just get through that first part, you and your kid are great buddies, but he, or she needs a whole lot more than a buddy. Kids need guidance. They need to know what the boundaries of behavior are and what happens when they cross them....and they will cross them, if for no other reason than to see what happens when they do. Something has to happen. Something vile has to happen, so they know the boundaries are real and shouldn't be crossed. If, when they're 3, you tell them not to walk out in the street, and they watch you while they make a bee line for the road, not even hesitating before their little feet hit the pavement with that 'na na na na naaaaa' smile on their face, you can't be lazy and ignore it. Nor can you just go get them and put them in the grass somewhere. Some version of holy hell needs to rain down on them so they know what they did isn't acceptable. And if you theaten some vile-ness if something isn't done, or if it is, and they cross you just to see what happens, be prepared to carry out the threat, even if you don't like it. I can think of plenty of times I've said things like, "Clean your room by 7:00, or we won't be watching Star Wars tonight." Then when 7:00 comes and goes and the room is still a pile of filth, I'm sitting there thinking, damn...I don't get to watch Star Wars tonight, but so it goes. I'm being punished because my son didn't clean up his room. That's the big kid thing kicking in.

Don't ask me where all this is going except, being a dad can be a blast, but it takes discipline.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

woooooo hooooo...time to celebrate!

Had my first comment from somebody I don't know!!! I didn't know if anyone would ever find this place just by chance, but apparently, it's possible. OK, by now you realize it doesn't take much, but still, let's party like it's my birthday. (I'm as much a sucker for a party excuse as those people upset that their NHL draft party plans died when the NHL cancelled the premise.)

Monday, April 11, 2005

driving range honkers

As you might have guessed, I play golf...badly. To the end of trying to play golf better, I spend an occasional afternoon at the driving range. OK, pretty much once a weekend. I don't have enough time in my current life to play a round of golf every weekend (more like once a month if I'm lucky), and I'm trying to get better at it in spite of that. Therefore the range is my best option. It only requires about an hour's investment where a round takes more like 4 or 5, and if there are after golf beers, the time requirement can extend indefinitely, but I digress.

Every time I go to the driving range, at least one person honks their horn as they drive by. They do this because they are non-golfers and someone at some point told them noise bothers golfers, so they honk. To be honest, a honking horn from the highway doesn't bother anyone's swing. It just becomes part of the road noise and you tune it out. Think about it. A car alarm behind Tiger Woods - OK, maybe that's an issue. The talent level at your local driving range - a honking horn driving by is the least of our worries. We have at least 50 things past and present instructors, professional and otherwise, have told us about how to correct our swing going through our tiny little heads. If we were to the point where we even heard your honking horn, we wouldn't be on that driving range, so you and your horn aren't an issue. What bothers me more than the honking itself is the mentality behind it. Why does anyone feel the need to do that? I understand that some people think golf is stupid. I think NASCAR's stupid, but I don't stand out by I-95 giving people the finger as they head to Daytona for the 500. Whatever floats their boat is fine with me and the more of them there are out there, the more tee times are available for me. The fact that we all don't like or do the same things is not a bad thing. So what is it about golf that really pisses some people off? I have had people I didn't know ride by a golf course while I was playing and scream 'fuck you' at us. Why is that? Now, if they did know me, I'd understand. At least then I could attribute it to someone who knows my game and knows how much business I have being on a real golf course, but that wasn't the case. I don't care if they dislike golf. Nobody is making them play. I just don't get the hatred to the point where people feel it necessary to disrupt someone else while they do something they enjoy.

the Masters

Overall, the Masters is one of my least favorite golf tournaments for one big reason. The membership of Augusta National is way too full of themselves. It's stuffy old men being stuffy old men because they can. They can be. I understand that, but I don't like that they are and that they shove it in your face. I don't like that they had the power to stop CBS from using Gary McCord as an announcer because he joked on air that they bikini waxed the greens. I don't like that Hootie Johnson can do a 10 minute monologue of boredom on network TV after the tournament, just to show he can. That being said, it's still a beautiful golf course and this year's finish was the sort of thing legends are made of. Tiger Woods' chip on 16 that did a dramatic pause at the edge of the cup before dropping will be replayed for years to come. I was so hoping Chris DiMarco would pull it out at the end, just for the story of it. Well, that and the fact that Woods was an asshole during the practice rounds at the Players Championship, ignoring hundreds of kids (including mine) who were within 10 feet of him, begging for an autograph. The fact that he was ignoring them was emphasized by the fact that he was playing with Retief Goosen, who was signing everything put in front of him. I used to pull for the guy, but that kind of tainted my view. Still, it was an amazing battle on a very tough course, and DiMarco had his chances and couldn't pull through where Tiger did. Woods showed once again what he can do under pressure, and it's amazing to watch.

Friday, April 08, 2005

share the road

I enjoy riding my bike. I like riding it a lot, and I like riding with my son. When we do it, we ride single file on the side of the road, trying to be as little a pain to cars as possible. We try to share the road. Every now and then we get an obnoxious driver who gets a little close, but for the most part it's not a big problem. I have a problem though, and it comes from the other side of the fence, so to speak.

I live in an area that isn't quite suburbia. It's more country-ish, though the suburbs are closing in quickly. There are lots of long straight two lane country roads, the kind favored by groups of cyclists out on a Saturday morning for their workouts. When I see them, I slow down and pass the line giving them plenty of space, but what bugs the hell out of me is the obnoxious ones. Those are the ones who can't seem to grasp the concept of a single file line, who don't want to share the road. They want to command it. They want traffic to come to a standstill, because they deem it necessary to ride 3 and 4 abreast. They don't care that cars half a mile back are slamming on breaks to stop from rear ending the line of vehicles crawling at a bike's pace when the speed limit is 55 mph. They don't care that people have places to be. They're on their bike and hogging up the road, dammit, and if you don't like it, you can find another road for your car. They are also the ones screaming at cars when you get what they consider 'too close' when if anyone is fueling the animosity thrown their way from the motoring public, it's the very same people.

Stay in your bike lane (if there is one) or close to the shoulder, single file, asshole, and nobody gets hurt! I have no problem sharing the road. I just want some of it too.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

John Daly and Hooters

John Daly just signed an endorsement deal with Hooters restaurants. I never thought that titties and beer, in and of themselves, needed much of an endorsement. I mean, don't they pretty much sell themselves? If you're going to have someone do it though, and he's going to be a golfer, John's probably your man. The only issue I have is, suddenly a tied off shirt and orange short shorts just don't seem so appealing. Finding out that way whether or not the nickname 'Big John' really too much information being force fed to me in an oh so wrong way. The fact that they don't fit in the PGA Tour's dress code is a very good thing.

Oh by the way, I've been reminded that it really is just a restaurant with an owl theme.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

John Paul II

Over the years I've found I have a warped view of death, no matter whose. I say that because I react to it differently than anyone else I know. My reaction isn't indifference, but I don't become overwhelmed with sadness.

Pope John Paul II was an amazing man. He flew in the face of communism at a time when the U.S.S.R. could have squashed him like a bug, if they so desired and were that stupid. He held his ground and his conscience in the face of many who wanted to liberalize the church he lead. He spoke out against anti-semitism, and especially Christian anti-semitism, unaftraid to look in his own backyard and find the fault there. He didn't make me proud to be a Catholic, but he made my existing pride stronger and influenced many of my views.

Having said that, I have no overwhelming desire to pack myself up and make a pilgrimage to Rome. Don't get me wrong. I'm up for a little European Vacation, hang with the throngs in St. Pete's square for a day to say goodbye to the the man who really was 'da man', and maybe follow that up with a trip to one of those Roman golf courses and whack the little white ball in between the vinyards, cap it all off with a few days in Mallorcia, scarfing down paella and enjoying some scandinavian breasts, sunny side up, but don't these people have jobs? I want to stand and be counted as one who will miss him and his leadership, and as such would attend a service honoring the man if one is offered, but once there, I won't shed a tear. I will celebrate the man who was, and take comfort in where he is now, but I won't be saddened by the inevitable. The man lived a full and joyous life, and I am happy for him. He now rests in heaven, and I am happy for him. I can't see much to cry over.

Monday, April 04, 2005

the irony

The irony hasn't been lost on me. Here I am talking about the whiners and so far, this place hasn't been much more than my forum to whine.


I have a problem with whiney people, and I work with a few, hence this post.

Where I work, we are 'subsidized', for lack of a better word, by the Coke company. We have a fountain, just like your average McDonalds that has Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, etc. and in places where there is no fountain, cans are delivered. One thing we aren't given is bottled water. There is a filter on the tap though in the kitchen, so there is filtered water.

I should back up and say...this is not the first time the whiners have struck. I've listened to it on a number of subjects and bit my tongue. My favorite lately was that the mandatory quarterly employee meetings aren't interesting enough. The whine went "Management should do a better job of entertaining us and more people would want to go." Yes, and maybe then it'd be so entertaining the word would get out, and they'd be turning people away at the door, and you'd have to pay to get in, instead of being paid to be there, and we'd all have to finds something else to do for work. What about this is a job. You're paid to be here don't you understand?

This time though it was the lack of bottled water in the products that are given to us (because Disani water is a Coke product). The first line was something like, "They want us to be healthy but they give us soda to drink." and then, "I'm being forced to drink this sugar water." Finally I had enough. I walked over and told the offender, "It's freakin' free! Nobody is forcing you to drink anything. I don't like Coke so I don't drink it, but if you want it, it's there. If you insist on bottled water, there's a grocery store down the street and you can buy whatever your whiney heart desires."

What I got back was, "I don't really think it's whining." and "I think they should give us bottled water." This was followed by a few other comments like, "I'd say something but I don't want anyone to think I'm whining."

Some folks don't know how good they have it, and if something is being given to you and you don't want it, how hard is it to just leave it alone?