Friday, July 24, 2009

Hero of the Week - Rick Reilly from on Tiger Woods

I think Tiger is amazing, and have certainly blogged about it. But lately, many have noticed his on course antics, and are quite frankly, growing tired of it. It's been well known that TV doesn't always cover everything during an event, and people have been quietly posting about Tiger's behavior when the camera isn't on, etc. So I will first defend Tiger somewhat, but frame this defense in the context of a hope that he might start to show a bit more on the course.

Tiger is one of the most recognized people on the planet, and a figure that transcends sports in the sense that you may not follow golf, but you know who he is. So with that said, he can't go anywhere, and people by and large are dopes, so with that in mind, it's a wonder he can tolerate these folks. But that is the price to be paid for fame. There are no free lunches. A simple example, Tiger gets paired with [insert any name here] and they are standing in the fairway waiting to hit their approach shots to the green. It's Friday, not even Sunday, no charge up the leaderboard, nothing. And so player "x" hits his approach to 15 feet and the crowd shows its appreciation by clapping. Tiger hits his approach to 15 feet, and the crowd goes berserk. Tiger's ball is no closer to the hole, yet the spectators, both on the course and in their living rooms, are screaming wildly like a bunch of dopes. These are the people that, like the tourists in NYC, have not a clue.

But even with the enormous pressure of being in the public, I do believe that Tiger owes the game a bit more that has given him so much. We've all played with the dude that throws his clubs, or yells when he makes a birdie like it was the first one ever made, but playing with these people can be one of the longest rounds of your life when you find yourself with this person. I have had the misfortune of playing with a fair number of people like this, because I often travel or get to the golf course as a "single" and get paired up. Thinking about who I might be paired up with on these rounds is a lot like gambling. On my best days, I personally have found these people somewhat fascinating, because it piques my intellectual curiosity, but even that wears off quickly. (I'll save you the suspense, the person is always a narcissist.) The game is hard, and it's the pursuit of trying to perfect the game, knowing you only borrow the game, that makes the game great to those of us who play rather than tell you the score they shot or the birdie they apparently made that no one else can.

My final point is this. I'd choose Phil every time over Tiger to drink a beer with in a bar. If you watch Phil, he gets it in the sense that he's almost as big as Tiger to their sport, and all the guy does is win majors, and give high fives to the spectators as he walks to each tee. And the fact that he does these things despite all that he has going on is remarkable, at least to me.

Links to Mickleson's Recent Off-Course Trevails

Link 1

Link 2

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

This was one of my favorite books when I was a kid. I just saw the promo that Sony is putting the movie out as an animated feature. Very cool.

Morton Gets Win Against San Fran

Charlie got the 2-0 win this past Saturday against San Fran and showed Bucs fans what we've known for some time. Some video of his game, and the write-up is here.

The kid's got great stuff. Saturday night, he had great movement and kept the ball down. What was also good was that he kept hitters off balance when got second and third looks at him.

Some stats from Saturday's game:

7 innings pitched
3 hits
2 walks
6 K's

Charlie faced 25 batters, and had 10 ground outs with 2 fly outs. Mr. Morton also threw 90 pitches, 58 were strikes for a ratio of approximately 2:1. The best part about the game was that he felt good and wanted to stay out there past 7 innings.

Great win Charlie. Remember the name folks. It's fun to watch people go after their dream.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Whoops...Nobody sent Watson the Memo

Two rounds of the 2009 Open Championship are in the books, and Tiger has missed the cut. The conditions were apparently brutal at Turnberry, as Open golf is supposed to be. Sometimes the weather is the only defense a course has at the end of the day.

Woods was a 13-5 favorite to win his 15th Major, but failed in his bid. You could hear him protecting his ego earlier last week when he stated that Turnberry is "harder than folks let on." Well, the bookies certainly thank you, as I'm sure they cleaned up this time around.

But the bigger story is Tom Watson. The 59 year old major Open championship winner has turned the clock back and is within range of doing something historic. While no one will doubt Tiger is the best of our generation, and will go on to break Jack's record to be the greatest until someone else comes along. But why is golf so much more exciting when guys like David Duval, Kenny Perry, and Phil are in contention versus one guy running away with it?

This man is 59...look at that release.

Just my humble opinion, but it's fun to watch the underdogs go after it. At least for me.

Enjoy your weekend Tiger. 15 will just have to wait.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Recession, Divorce...And Americans Living Beyond Their Means

There was an interesting article in the WSJ the other day that got picked up by Yahoo Finance. It's an interesting development in the context of the current recession and what couples are doing who apparently have decided that they can't stand each other anymore, and want to file for divorce. The recession is apparently causing some of these folks to put off divorce and continue to live together ("co-exist") since they can't sell their house in a down market to settle the financial claims of the assets that will be divided up and/or are afraid to go it alone in a down economy. Truly fascinating stuff from a behavioral science perspective. But perhaps it's not that surprising that a couple might find themselves forgetting why they went down the aisle, because they've been living beyond their means, spending every last buck on stuff, and now the financial stress has become bigger than them.

If you think it can't happen to you, think again. People do it all the time. If it can happen to Ed McMahon, MC Hammer, or any other celebrity who you later find out is now broke, why can't it happen to the average joe? It apparently happened to the King of Pop, and all he was was one of the biggest selling recording stars ever.

Link to WSJ Article is here

Link to Famous People who filed Chapter 11

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Forgiveness, Introspection and Connie Culp, my Inspirational Person of the Week

I neglected to publish this for whatever reason back when the story was first gaining national attention. Here is the re-post from back in May of this year. JW

There's a lot of bad stuff out there in the news, etc., and most times it feels like we aren't connected to it. But every once in a while, there's a story that seems innocuous at first, but reminds us all of our common bond as "higher functioning" organisms.

If you haven't heard by now, Jon and Kate are experiencing some issues (more on this later, I will no doubt surprise you), there's a swine flu out there determined to kill us all (yet the story reminds me more of the dopes who run out and buy 3 months worth of milk and bread when a small snowstorm is coming), etc. But to me, I'm always searching beyond the drama that sells ad revenue for the truly inspirational stories that give me hope for all of us. This week, I think I found that story.

Connie Culp, in my humble opinion, is one of the most courageous people you'll probably ever hear about. She is the woman who has received a face transplant after being shot by her husband in 2004. It's a horrible story, but one that reminds us all that there is more to life than just how much we own, or what score we shot in golf. Connie's story initially received attention due to the questions surrounding the "ethics" of this controversial procedure. I won't go into the arguments surrounding this part of the story, because quite frankly, I think it completely misses the point.

Ms. Culp received her new face from the Cleveland Clinic. If you listen to what she says in recent interviews, her statements are incredibly inspirational. Yes, she looks quite different, and yes, people will and do make fun of her. But all the cliches are appropriate; beauty isn't always what you can visibly see. At one point, Connie states (paraphrase) "this time a year ago, I didn't have a face. I used to be worried about my weight, my hair. It's so foolish."

So up till this point in my post, all the usual things apply. But the thing about this story that is so remarkable to me is her capacity to forgive her assailant. It's a true life lesson that we all should take with us. Connie showed me that you cannot truly live, cannot truly be happy, or truly appreciate your life until you learn how to forgive. And the life you have is the one you make.

As a side note, organized religion preaches this "forgiveness" message, but the validity of the argument is often lost since the messenger or congregation preaches "love everyone" and in the same breath, says something racists, homophobic, or otherwise, because God's loophole is that he supposedly forgives all of us for our crap. It's a joke, and the folks that seek this guidance are the even bigger joke. Said differently, if you think you could go through something comparable to what Ms. Culp has, and handle the situation with the same dignity and class that she has shown, you probably don't need to go somewhere with the herd on Sunday morning. For the rest of you, keep searching.

All you really need is someone like Connie Culp to remind you of what true forgiveness looks and sounds like. It's such a refreshing story, I'm very thankful for Ms. Culp.

Links to Connie Culp's Story are here and here .

Celebrity Soundboards

This is a funny website that has various sound bytes of celebrities saying different things. Tremendous resource with lots of good clips.


Celebrity Soundbytes Webpage

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Elmo's World and Kevin Clash

As a new parent, I must say that I have been fully immersed in Elmo's world. In a lot of ways, it's Elmo's world, and I just live in it. Allison loves Elmo, for whatever reason, perhaps it's the voice or just the eyes, but he is a cute character.

I grew up on Sesame Street. I was surfing around on YouTube, and found tons of clips of Elmo. One that is quite popular on YouTube is Elmo's guest appearances on a talk show down in Australia. One clip that stuck out was the clip of Kevin Clash, Elmo's puppeteer. It's amazing to watch how these folks bring these pieces of material to life.

Enjoy...just a "FYI" post. It's pretty amazing how these guys do this. I am convinced that Jim Henson did a lot of drugs. Sometimes, the results aren't always bad.

Elmos and Kevin Clash

Elmo on Rove Live

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Dave Matthews Covers

As an aspiring, self-taught guitarist, the internet has made learning guitar even easier. During college, my absolute favorite all-time band was DMB. Prior to DMB, I loved the usual Stones, Led Zeppelin, and Bob Dylan. But there was something about Dave's music that was so new and different, much like when I felt when I first heard Nirvana and Pearl Jam. It's interesting to think about how interwoven music is within our society, and where we are at the time. I have always thought that the music of the 60's was so good because good music starts from your soul. Since the 60's were characterized by chaos, you could see this get channeled through the lyrics of great song writers like CCR, Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, Neil Young, and CSNY. I digress, but you get the picture. The final word on this is today's music sucks. But I guess that's indicative of where we are in the cycle.

Well I remember buying DMB's Remember Two Things at the Bucknell bookstore my sophomore year, and it was the precursor to an amazing body of music. Agreed, I am an old school fan, liking DMB's early music much more than its current form. But as a guitarist, you have to love his playing. It's amazing. I was driving around the other day and Pandora chose "The Best of What's Around" and it just made me smile. The song is like scotch, no worries, just chillin'.

So I am posting a couple of YouTube videos of Dave's early days in Virgina before he went nuclear. And I also want to post a video of this guy on YouTube as well who does covers of DMB on acoustic guitar. He's one of the best I've seen in the sense that he plays identical to Dave all over the fret. The guy's amazing.

Dave's Early Days

Akangell on YouTube (DMB Covers)

So Much to Say - Cover

Internet Sites to Learn Acoustic Covers (This guy dumbs it down in a major way):
Guitar Sage

Guitar Tabs

Michael Jackson's Ghost?

Creepy video on the web that was supposedly seen on CNN live with Larry King.

Who knows, in these days of hype and ratings, the skeptic in me says it was planned or manufactured. Who knows...