Thursday, June 30, 2005

Diamonds - The Rich get Richer

Before anyone decides to spend an exorbinant amount of money on any sort of diamond ring/necklace/etc. consider the following:

- Gem quality diamonds cost $50 a carat to manufacture

- 3 billion carats of diamonds are mined annually

So why doesn't every woman on earth get a one carat diamond every year? The marketing/hording tactics of diamond manufacturers. Debeers was only granted direct access to US markets in the last few years because of their monopoly on the market. They have warehouses stockpiled with diamonds they won't release to keep the market diamond-starved. Their "Diamond is Forever" slogan is a marketing ploy to sap the industry of any liquidity. In addition to their questinable labor practices, the diamond industry is an over-valued joke.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

HealthSouth and the NBA Draft

Former HealthSouth executive Richard M. Scrushy was acquitted today on three dozen various counts, mostly relating to fraud and money-laundering. If anyone has been following the indictment and case, this guy is the biggest sleaze/shrewdest criminal I can remember, surpassing Jacko.

The joker, in an effort to poison the jury pool, which he correctly guessed to be the entire state of Alabama, began lavish humanitarian spending once he was under investigation. Additionally, he regualry participated in an African American Gospel hour to convince the entire state of his "honesty" and candor. Turns out the blatant scheme worked and he got off.

I am starting to question the validity/accuracy of trial by jury. I don't think judges should be giving total court control, but potential jurors should be subject to an IQ test and tested for common sense. This case wasn't just a no-brainer, it was a brain-dead no-brainer, and the jury botched it.


With tonight being the Miss-Miss-Miss-Miss-Hit-Miss NBA Draft, would it be possible for a team to simply forefit their picks? What sense is it for a non-lottery team to pick a guy who will not crack an already-solid rotation and eat cap space? If I was an above .500 team, I would try to package/trade my picks up every year, or simply pass on the pick and use the accumulated money to offer a restricted contact to a proven NBA commodity after two/three years, aka Gilbert Arenas.

I am convinced Elgin Baylor was on the
Richard M. Scrushy jury.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Brick House

As the majority of my non-golf-related entries seem to be wedding-related, I have been cursed and been booked to attend weddings for the rest of the summer. This weekend's event took place in Red Bank, NJ.

The ceremony was performed by the brother of the groom, who somehow maintained a respectable amount of decorum during the proceedings. Either the brother/groom must be the most uninteresting brothers of all time, or he was paid handsomely not to divulge past antics or embarassing moments.

The brinde/groom, who I didn't know, felt obligated to invite their entire college class, from a small college in PA, who felt obligated to attend, as they were able to get a group rate from the Harrisburg Geryhound station. The majority of the attendees being college connections, five years removed from school, was an omen.

It was embarassing that 1/2 of the guests, obviously college friends, couldn't dress appropriately. Granted, being PA schooled they did surpass the jhorts/flannels of my Pittsburgh bred cousins' wardrobe, but it is embarassing not to have a suit and be relegated to khaki cargo shorts and scuffed slip-on Vans. If the site of the wedding/reception had bouncers, they wouldn't have gotten through the door, as they were not deserving of the lavish spread, or even spending time in such a nice establishment.

The best/worst example of the miserable lot were at our table for the reception. Guy #1 was obviously a hanger-on of the cooler clique at small-PA-college, as he said nothing original, but was overly impressed with his new diamond outline patterned shirt and cross directional patterned tie he picked out for the occasion. Maybe I shouldn't be so critical, as he must be smarter than me to have the ability to build a time machine to Structure 1994.

Guy #2, affectionately known an Fat Boy, had a grand view of himself, after his year abroad deejaying in Japan, which made him "rich beyond belief" to the point he had the cash for the downpayment on a Cadillac lease. He looks forward to being the most popular guy in Talahassee, and generally Tom Cruise'd (overt gestures of emotion leading to awkwardness) the entire night by tearing up during the toast of the best man, and forcing eye-contact with his boy, the groom, and nodding between 150-200 times during the night.

Shockingly, #1/#2 were at the event without dates, staying at the Holiday Inn Select down the street, and looking to prey on the ugliest girls at the event without dates, or those with dates, when their dates excused themselves to the restroom. Unfortunately, their efforts were likely unrequited, as the dent they put on the Captain Morgan's stymied their libido.

Ultimately, I would feel for the family of the bride who had to foot the bill for the 76 Stooges, but since the mother of the bride makes her living as a psychic, she had appropriate forewarning and could have halted the goon parade.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Oxymorons for 2005

When I was in 9th grade (I was slow) and was taught the definition of oxymoron, I thought it was the coolest thing. Unfortunately, 'baked Alaska' and the majority of oxymorons are outdated and rarely used. I would like to update the list of accepted oxymorons to be more contemporary. My submissions:

- best tattoo contest
- great wedding website
- status meeting
- long-awaited Britney Spears album

Thursday, June 23, 2005


As debatable a topic as music is, I was just wondering what acts/bands people think are great. My current favorites:

Rock (current): Drive By Truckers. Original southern sound whose songs succeed being both hard and melodious, depending on the song.

2nd: Jesse Malin. Personal, self-depricating lyrics

Rock (old): Rolling Stones. 'Some Girls' is outstanding.

Rap: The Roots. Lyrics with a message augment solid beats.

Quick Hiatus

After a quick break to golf the past two days (yesterday was legitimate 18, today was a Scramble) I have happily returned to jot a few nonlinear thoughts.

For the enjoyment of F&J, yesterday I played 18 at Augustine in Stafford with Leland, JAF (to be here forward spelled phonetically), and a good friend from UVA, Whitey (YT). On the 11th hole, a left-bending 500 yd. par 5, I am left with a second shot from 135 that must Tony Zendejas two trees on without much height, resulting in a slightly strong eight-iron that skips over the green, barely into the woods, but was difficult to locate.

Luckily, YT found the ball and being only partially visible, laid his visor around the ball. I grabbed a club to punch, approached the ball to construct a stance, and saw the ball was in the coil of a rather large snake. Not taking well to reptiles, I did my best Ben Johnson impression to vacate, YT retreived his hat with a 4-iron, and Leland retreived the ball with a wedge, upsetting the coiled snake and causing it depart.

After describing the incident to an univolved party, it was determined the snake was a copperhead and the coiled position is indicative of the snake's interest to strike.

Lessons learned:
- Leland is not smart.
- Visors are stupid.
- The worst case scenario would have made for decades of one liners regarding Leland's wife's bastard child.


It is nice to record a few words after 36 hours where I didn't think, makes the transition to work tomorrow easier.

Unfortunately I had unfinished work that needed completion yesterday evening. After emailing @ 8:00pm, it was sad I actually had prompt responses. The responses were solely to stuff the inbox of higher-ups with the "look how dedicated I am to my job, even if my emails are meaningless" email, which are not the pinnacle, but contribute to any work ire I possess.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Spin 100

Spin released their list of the 'Best 100 albums of the Past 25 Years' and I am, surprisingly, in agreement with much of the list. The compilation is a good mesh of rap/rock, the only shortcoming is a lack of inclusion of the country (note I didn't say alt country) genre.

#1 is OK Computer (Radiohead), that I haven't ever heard, as I am not struck by either RadioHead/Wilco/Coldplay, who have taken niche genres of music and delivered to the mainstream. Sadly, they are probably really good bands, but mass approval labels a band as 'mainstream', regardless the innovation a band brings to music. I prefer the more reclusive act, possessing the ability to experiment musically without alienating its fans (i.e. Jay Farrar to Jeff Tweedy).

Any best --> worst list is inherently subjective, while I think 'Aquemini' is much better than 'Stankonia', it is being argumentative at a granular level. Including both albums on the list is a sign of the ability of Outkast, vis a vis other acts who are accurately captured by their single groundbreaking album, not always the most popular. Spin absolutely nailed Weezer with Pinkerton, while I would have included the Blue Album, everything else has been garbage, and thus is not included.

I have included the full list as a comment, so as not to waste space on the main page.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Good Stories

From the BAH and the US Open, where I had friends in attendance:

I had a friend who volunteers for the BAH, and was assigned the off-course task of picking up the golfers from Dulles and delivering them to their destination of choice. Had the opportunity to drop off Furyk, and Lee Westwood, who arrived in the States with a number of his cronies, and spoke barely intelligible english. Also picked up Len Mattaice, who asked to be dropped off at his hotel in Gaithersburg, north of Bethesda. When asked where he was staying, Mattaice was at the Holiday Inn Select.

On Saturday, while at Dulles killing time at the new Air and Space Museum, ran into none other than Nick Price, waiting for his flight to Pinehurst after missing the cut by one. Price said he missed the cut because some SOB birdied 18 on Friday, and knocked 15 guys off the cut-line, and he was going to catch hell at the Open. Price engaged my friend in conversation for 10-15 minutes, then brought his wife over under the introduction, " my good friend (name), who I haven't seen in years...". Sounds like a truly great guy.

At the Open, the cameras didn't do the rough or greens justice. The craziest thing my friend saw was a skulled bunker shot at 13 on Thursday that flew 25 rows into the stands, to be bare-handed by a patron like he was snagging a homerun. Despite crowd chants of "throw it back", the guy got a golf ball, and the pro got a double bogey.

Not the Second Coming

Admittedly, like the rest of the Ameican golf-watching public, I was rooting for Jason Gore on Sunday, and was swept-up in the moment after his birdie at 18 on Saturday. In retrospect it was probably for the better he didn't win, because Jason Gore won a major once before, at Hazeltine; his name was Rich Beem.

At the time, the Beemer winning the 2002 PGA was a victory for every journeyman pro, a golfer who appeared to have been plucked from a barstool and thrust into fame. His pseudo-dance on 18 had everyone in stitches, and was a great conclusion to an exciting tournament, highlighted by his bomb for birdie on 16.

However, post PGA the Beemer was everywhere and abused his 15 minutes of fame. From gatherings at his local Texas clubhouse on the Golf Channel, where he personally took the time to euphorically "interview" everyone who had supported him, who often couldn't muster more than a 'soieeeeee', to the Hawaiian event where he wore Hawaiian shirts and some miserable excuse for a golf shoe, the Beemer had overstayed his welcome. Today, the positive output of the Beemer's victory are the Beem/Curtis/Micheel "even a blind squirrel..." pairings at PGA Tour events.

Awesome win by Michael Campbell, who displayed the best golf of the week, and exhibited the shotmaking on Sunday I have seen at a major (save David Toms at this years Accenture Match Play) in years.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Neck and Neck with Chris Berman

US Open coverage for Saturday just came on the air on NBC. Two things I have noticed"

Jason Gore, while getting out of his vehicle and removing his 8-month-old son from the child seat, already had his golf glove in his back pocket! Did he sleep in his Saturday outfit? Regardless of his score, he came to play, which I respect.

Johnny Miller, "when you come to Pinehurst, and are a Hall of Fame golfer, like myself, you get mobbed." Let's just hope an overzealous fan, awe-struck by their encounter with a "Hall of Fame golfer" wanted a memento and stole your microphone.

The heat at Pinehurst was temporarily subdued when Phil Mickelson made an 8 on the third hole.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Oh S*%#

Phil Mickelson, still under the influence of the Ponderosa dinner he consumed after his Thursday round, staggered to a 41 on his first nine holes on Friday. Eyewittnesses claimed he had a "Pig Out" bib affixed loosely around his neck and a barbeque-sauce laden wet nap dragging from his heel.

As much as I love Mickelson, I knew this was going to happen (deep within the recesses of my head). Yesterday, whle prognosticating his first round with a friend, we came to the conclusion he was going to either:

- start off hot, cool mid-round with a string of bogeys, and catch a spark at the end, or
- stumble from the gates, find his swing in the middle of the round, and end with a big number, negating his efforts to escape from the brink

For most golfers, such a forecast would cover the span of an entire tournament, not one round, but Phil is subject to swing/game bipolarity that is not suited to the US Open.

I was looking forward to a relaxing weekend, but if he keeps this up I may stretch out the rotator cuff and head down to Pinehurst for some monkeythrows to get him into contention.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Nick "Buy a Prostitute at Any" Price

Combining my dislike for Chris Berman's nicknames and cheap t-shirts, and in an effort to get a cheap laugh, can you think of any good Berman'esque nicknames that would not clear FCC censorship?

US Open - Thursday

Had 20 minutes to catch the US Open from Pinehurst, NC during lunch, my thoughts.

Course appears to be in superb condition, the Pinehurst layout is going to determine the best golfer, who is patient and accepting of pars and willing to let the course setup and conditions dictate score, instead of trying to force a number.

Any golf commentator that claims distance to be a tournament factor is wrong. PGA Professionals are all capable of hitting the ball 300 yards if the situation dictates. On the longest par 4, their drives leave 190-210 yard approaches, normally a 5/6/7 iron, taking into account professionals play tailored, delofted clubs. Pros who hit longer drives and have shorter approaches to greens (rough or fairway) are given more room for error, but accurate iron play makes course distance a non-factor.

Chris Berman should not be an ESPN golf analyst. His onomatopoeia
should be restricted to football converage and the occasional highlights show. His requirement to have the last word and force jokes doesn't adapt to golf, and he draws attention to himself, not as one who exceeds, but as someone wearing a barrel for clothing.

Go Phil!


Having just arrived to work after a 25 minute drive to go 6 miles, I consider myself fortunate as I didn't have to ride the Metro.

The Metro is awful. I live one block from a station and the train lets out one block from my office, and I staunchly refuse to ride. There is nothing more horrible than having to deal with other people in a close-packed area, before even arriving to work. I cannot begin to fathom the germs/odors/language that infest the cars. Combine the putrid atmosphere and the chance of delays or breakdowns, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Driving to work in DC has become almost impossible, but my vehicle affords me choices that don't exist on a Metro ride. I can adjust my temperature, radio station, lane, etc. It is easily worth the price of gas to exist in my own personal space on the commute. Also, I feel a good deal safer in my car. While driving is hazardous, entering and exiting a Metro station leaves a person vulnerable to the homeless, and a good number of homeless-lunatics.

But I heartily condone the Metro for everyone else.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


In what can only be described as a "small-town triumph" my good friend from Stafford and UVA, Ben Nuckols, will be appearing on Jeopardy tonight (6/14). Tune in to support, but mainly to have a background for my critique tomorrow.

Monday, June 13, 2005

What Happened?

To the Washington Post?

Does Snoop Dog have an 'Organic Horticulturist', in addition to a 'Spiritual Adviser'?

I had no idea the WP was a stepping-stone to US Weekly.

My Standing Ovation of the Day - II

Ben Crane.

Competitive golf affords the opportunity to interact with other golfers during a round, which 99 times out of 100 is a non-factor to the round. Unless you get paired with a prick, as Ben Crane was on Sunday at the BAH.

Rory Sabbatini's behavior was reprehensible and is deserving of a PGA Tour fine and/or suspension. In the largest sense, a golf professional is earning his/her living, and should be afforded every right to compete to the best of their ability, and is allowed whatever warm-up, preshot routine they desire. If it proves to be an indirect distraction to their playing partner, there is nothing that can be done but to block it out, which is the status quo.

By finishing out of turn, bikering to Crane, and having a wife chirping at Judy Rankin, Sabbatini acheived lifetime prick status, deservedly so.

Lost in the shuffle was the completely magnanimous manner in which Crane acted during and after the incident. Not only did he make no effort to show-up Sabbatini (who directly showed-up Crane), but Crane was fully accessible to the media and took responsibility for actions that were not worthy of apology. Additionally, Crane was sincere in his sentiments (there was no implicit veneer to the press, to be followed by fuming in the locker room) and his assertion to make a consciencious effort to improve his pace of play in the future. Mr. Crane does not need to change anything, he is a professional.

The closest thing I have ever experienced was a tournament where an opponent would walk off every yardage from 150 yds. from stick to ball. Since he wasn't interferring with my preshot routine, I had no problem firing at the pin if he was on the green or not.

Please Make it Stop

Having spent the weekend in the classless mecca Dewey Beach, I deliver an impassioned plea to those who lack class. Please remove the skin-stretched t-shirt with a slightly offensive double entendre and burn it, lest throwing it away leaves the possibility it still may be claimed.

These shirts are not funny, nor should a store like Urban Outfitters ever turn a profit. By wearing aforementioned garbage, you acknowledge while you lack the originality to concoct a contemporary quip, the value of displaying your belief in a dated saying is worth the $19.99 you worked for three hours to garner.

Normally I would be able to specifically list the order of the shirts I find most --> least offensive, but the entire lot is so heinous, I refuse to waste my time and mental capacity doling out any coherent thought towards the subject. Be it "Welcome to the Gun Show", "Idaho, No Udaho", or anything featuring a Gary Coleman's picture, it is wretched.

Miserable t-shirt wearers should have stuck with Trucker Caps, which were $7 cheaper. Unfortunately, I fully expect release in the fall of 2005 of a new, slightly tackier ensemble accessory, that will retail for $26. Being low class carries a high rate of inflation.

Friday, June 10, 2005

MTV Movie Awards

I had the (dis)pleasure of cathing the final 20 minutes of the 2005 MTV Movie Awards, my thoughts:

I was shocked that MTV Film "Napoleon Dynamite" was selected as the Best Movie at the 2005 MTV Movie Awards. ND caught a break when "Dead Man on Campus" was not nominated.

The 'Warm Up the Bus' face on Hillary Swank after losing the Best Female award to Lindsay Lohan was fantastic.

Tom Cruise accomplished his goal of sizing up Dakota Fanning for 2011.

I don't think Rob Schneider is returning Jimmy Fallon's phone calls anymore.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Solicitation of Opinion....

Thoughts on all white golf shoes?
I may start going out of my way to tie my ties at either obnoxiously long or short (with the longer end behind) lengths. When I sit down at meetings, I may roll up my obnoxiously long tie, and allow it to unravel, snaking down my stomach, and not stoping until it trickles off my knee, in the grandiose fashion of a red carpet.

On days when I tie a long tie, I may occasionally tuck it into my belt and/or pants. I need to keep it out of harm's way when eating lunch, or using the restroom.

On my short tie days I will most likely go with ties of great width, to acheive the napkin-tucked-in-shirt effect. I may even combine the look with a misbuttoned shirt.

For very special events, I may pull out the triple threat of bad tie length, misbuttoned shirt, and my navy suit jacket with a pair of black pants.

The Booz Allen Classic

The 2005 BAC is to be held at Congressional CC, as the TPC at Avenel is undergoing renovations. Short of blowing up the course, the surrounding condos and houses, and every sign on River Road directing people to the course, there is nothing that can be done to not make the TPC look pitiful in comparision to its hallowed neighbor. Ironically, the TPC is being utilized this week for the duty for which it is most deserving, parking.

Having had the opportunity to play the courses, CCC is a fantastic, classic design kept in impeccable condition. The TPC resembles a course in anytown USA, built to turn a profit, but never intended to host a PGA event. The holes on the TPC are uninspiring and the prevailing thought upon depature is "did I get my mortgage payment in on time this month", as the course is suffocated by condos of varying size and distasteful color. If the TPC wasn't private, it would barely survive as an $80 course.

Congressional puts the TPC to shame, and the professionals are proof. The BAC has the best field it has ever had contend, who are raving about both the course conditions and the course. Not once has a professional, in reference to the TPC quoted saying the course was wonderful. Credit is given to the greens or the conditioning, but the course architecture and layout are terrible. No impending changes are going to improve the course into the category of Congressional, so enjoy the 2005 BAC before the anticlimatic return to Avenel.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Enjoyable Golf Story #1 - 1995

To change gears from my normal rantings and complaints, I figured I would delve into my mental encyclopedia of golf tales.

1995 - Jr. year in high school, on a good team, that contended (but never captured) the VSHL Championship. In preparation for the bigger events (Districts, Regionals, States) we had many smaller tournaments, or single matches against another schools, which essentially were an opportunity to catch up with friends who played elsewhere, check out different courses, and get out of school early.

One afternoon match pitted Stafford against Woodbridge at Montclair Country Club in Woodbridge, VA. MCC epitomizes a tight golf course, cropped by forest, and condominiums dangerously close to playability (think Road Hole over the hotel, but the hotel is a 3Br with a jacuzzi and a trampoline and the road hole is an overpriced, uninspiring layout).

The format of the matches was three foursomes, pairing the #1&2, #3&4, and #5&6 of each team. Teeing off in reverse order, I was stuck in a 9 hole match taking nearly 3 hours as the higher handicaps hacked it around ahead. Having already required a spontaneous ruling on the 2nd green, when a dog had darted out from the forest and run off with out #2's ball, which was 15 feet from the pin, I wanted to get the hell off the course.

The 9th hole at Montclair is a par-5 where the green lies at the bottom of an ampitheatre, with the clubhouse perched above for an optimal view. As I was preparing to putt, my concentration was broken by the alarming shrill of a garbage truck backing up to lift and empty a dumpster adjacent to the clubhouse. Somewhat insulted, my ire soon turned to incredulous wonder as the truck was unable to flip and empty the dumpster, but lost its grip and dropped the object off the back of the truck, and bounding down the hill for the green. End-over-end, five majestic sumersaults later and the dumpster had come to rest in the middle of the green, crushing an opponents bag in tow. While in tears, I collected myself to finish the round and follow the victim to the clubhouse, as he demanded a new set of clubs, considering "some moron dropped a dumpster" on his. The rolled dumpster was quite the impediment, which should have been become a permanent addition to the green, signifying the fact Montclair was garbage.


World Sports Exchange has augmented their "Live Betting" features; in addition to interactive futures betting, the site has replicated the classic "Pass the Cup", allowing (almost) real-time betting on individual MLB at-bats, at odds.

A monumental acheivement.

12:15 AM TV Musings

Late night TV doesn't offer a whole lot, last night's random thoughts.

Cheers, the best sitcom of all time, while being reknowned for its fast moving humor and repartee', has long imparted a subliminal insecurity in my psyche. I have the identical hairline as Woody Boyd. While of no concern to recession in the late 1980's, Woody Harrelson's bridge climbing antics and the like led to rapid hair loss and the ultimate surrender of a full shaving. For years I have given Mr. Boyd's dome intricate inspection, looking for any deviation from my coif, to the extent of paused TiVo and rising from the couch for a better view. Nothing. Until last night.

Towards the conclusion of the Rebecca years, while his front appearance is still in step with my own, in the back I was able to notice the beginning of thinning. The two-headed monster front & back approach to hair loss has nothing in common with my frontal retreat. I was able to sleep easy knowing my personal appearance won't lead to being Munsoned.

The proliferation of various card games on television (devotion of networks, etc.) has me yearning for televised coverage of games/events that are familiar to all and evoke a nostalgic feeling for one's scool days. Specifically pencilfighting.

How amazing would it be to have acheived "professional pencilfighter" status? I have no doubt the best pencilfighters would be able to perform feats which I cannot fathom (200 breaks in a row?). In a sport/game, that hinges on every posession, the drama beckons for TV coverage. I would much prefer watching the World Pencilfighting Championships to any of the low rent games/sports currently being televised on Channel 248 and covered by Dream Job rejects.

Monday, June 06, 2005

My Standing Ovation of the Day

Jack Nicklaus, in his final tournament on US soil, at the Memorial. While reserving the right to return (deserved), Jack called it quits in the states, in advance of his final PGA Tour event at the British Open at St. Andrew's in July. While Jack's departure is not to be confused with his final round in the PGA (Valhalla), or his final Masters (this April), I credit Mr. Nicklaus for what he has brought to the game of golf and his display of the manner in which a public figure should act. Tiger Woods' attempt to catch and surpass Jack's 18 majors (20 if you could all USGA events) proves the difficulty of the feat, and the workingman's effort Jack exhibited over the course of his five decades playing the sport.

His success affords the opportunity for shameless self promotion and aggrandizement, but Jack has, despite early 1990s setbacks, chosen specific ventures to promote, and hasn't forced himself into every broadcast booth, or presented every golf-related ESPY, as many would choose to do (Strange, Curtis). His value of family over chasing the dollar has brought him what is most deserved, personal sense of accomplishment.

In my mind, your free to shoot 78,75 any day of the week.

While on the Subject...

...of worthless golf course employees, no individual is a bigger waste that the marshal. In an effort to keep play at a reasonable speed, the octagenerian will circle the course, in the search of the most shady spot for relaxation, while the third tee has a three group backup and the guy in jean shorts with a towel hanging from his back pocket is on his third mulligan.

In an ideal setting, which should exist, the role of marshal would be rendered obsolete. Groups would advance at a reasonable pace of play, and if they were being pressed, they would let the faster group play through, preferrably on a par-3. A simple premise.

The most ridiculous/brazen example of a marshal's stupidity was a round in the summer of 2004 at Cannon Ridge in Fredericksburg, VA. Our group had reached the 15th tee (195 yd. par-3) when the marshal cart approached from its low moan in the distance, delaying our tee shots.

"Gentlemen, your group is ten minutes behind the pace, please speed up your play."

"Sir, there isn't a group within four holes of us."

(pulls away)

In my shock I was rendered incapable of any further response, which was most likely to my benefit, as I would have been asked to leave the property. The resulting shot was a pulled/fuming 7 iron to 25 feet (miraculous). In retrospect, instead of struggling to project an incensed tee ball, I should have been asking for an autograph from the stupidest man alive.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Leave Me Alone.

This afternoon I made the trip to Augustine in Stafford for an afternoon round. Augustine is a course I really enjoy, the perfect mix of shotmaking and strategy, and save a few homes leaning over the layout, an excellent track.

The one glaring abnormality to an otherwise enjoyable day was the scene between my approach on 18 and slinging my clubs into my trunk. On the way to put out and conclude the round, from around the corner slinks a truly good-for-nothing (and I speak from experience) cart boy intent on cleaning my clubs, and cleaning out the singles from my wallet. The joker put on a great act, I thought his forearm was going to splinter under the pressure of the elbow grease he was applying to my irons. Poor kid is libel to wake up with a fungus on his hands from the rag he was using to clean my clubs. But I do appreciate how he took five minutes from using the same rag to detail the tires on his Prelude to Turtle-Wax my MP-33s.

Wedding Addendum

In my wedding piece, I completely passed over any mention of the toast. A wedding toast should not be given by someone under the age of 21, and under no circumstances under the age of 19. The result is either a crying/blabbering sibling who carries on for 15 minutes and barely gets out one inaudible sentence, or a college buddy who uses his captive audience to fire off 15 inside jokes or lament about how he is going to miss "getting stoned like we used to".

Thoughts of wedding toasts come to mind as a peer is going to be responsible for one in just over a year's time and the only request from the bridal party (God I wish I was making this up), is that "it has to rhyme".

I plan on spending every waking moment over the upcoming 2-3 days brainstorming a rhyming toast for a groom and/or bride. Suggestions are appreciated, limericks and Journey lyrics will be ignored.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Complete the Sentence:

If I was filming a rap video, I would choose the following three people to cameo....

Wedding Do Nots

I am not married, and many will make the joke "for good reason", but I have had the opportunity to attend my share of weddings, enough to compile a list of ideas that should never see the light of day.

1.) Don't plan your wedding over an extended holiday weekend. Weddings are meant to be an extra holilday, as people are planning on taking off from work to travel regardless. By having your wedding on a holiday, you are taking away a normal holiday weekend, and subjecting your guests to travelling with the other 90% of the country. Do you think anyone wants to be stuck in the airport on July 4th weekend to see little cousin Suzie marry the guy who knocked her up, for the second time? In the event you ignore, expect some bad drunks at your wedding. Note I didn't say reception.

2.) Don't have a Sunday brunch. Guests are hungover and sick of (insert shitty city name), which happens to be your hometown. No one wants to choke on a scone at 1pm. Let everyone get the hell out of town.

-- Possible alternative: Saturday brunch. No one is doing anything the morning of the wedding, an event where the bride/groom split time is an acceptable get together.

3.) Weddings are a time for personal pride and exuberance, but don't go heavy on the cheese. Napkins/matchbooks with the name of the couple and the date of the wedding are acceptable, but don't provide bottles of water with the frickin' picture of the bride and groom on the label.

4.) Don't put the table of college friends/drunks as far away from the bar as possible. I've been to weddings that had a buffer table between the rest of the party and myself. The band ate at the buffer table. That just makes me/us ornery and will lead us to steal the waitress tray to bring back 17 drinks for a table of 8 for every time someone goes to the bar. We graduated college for a reason, and 8 (plastered) heads is better than one.

5.) If your bridesmaids have shoulder tattoos of their Confirmation Saint, it is sacreligious to have off-the-shoulder dresses that display the ink to grandmothers and the elderly.

6.) Finally, don't allow the bartenders to serve shots at the wedding. When a former roommate got married, I asked his Mother if shots were going to be served at the reception,

"What exactly is a "shot"?"

"Well, it is when someone chugs straight liquor without any mixer."

"Wow, why would anyone ever want to do that?"


Start the countdown...

...until we see Joan Felt boxing Robin Givens on FOX.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Underrated Albums - Shout at the Devil

Motley Crue's 'Shout at the Devil' found the band a crossroad between the earlier glam-LA 'Too Fast for Love' and the collosal 'we've arrived' Theatre of Pain. However, the effort is by no means pained or overly refined, and constitutes MCs best work, Vince Neil's piercing vocals barely holding together the hard-charging Mick Mars guitars that pervade the majority of the songs, as a lap-bar holds a roller-coaster rider in their seat, while simultaneously providing a great jostle.

'Shout at the Devil' and 'Looks that Kill' are MC standards that press forward sparing no expense to catchy riffs or hooks that deserve repetition. I cannot imagine two songs that more perfectly match the time and environment than which they were written (LA mid-1980s). The banal undercurrent of Mars sets a challenge to the percussion of Tommy Lee, that leaves VN and the lyrics in their wake, struggling to keep pace. Any MC song that survives on VNs lyrical ability is in serious trouble, and the band sacrifices any effort at harmonization in favor of instrumental chaos.

While skipping over the only anomaly (cover) on the album, the 2nd side produces music more dark and sinister than SATD and LTC. The album could have been a complete flop, as its distincitve style had little comparison when the album was released. By taking a chance and staying true to their strengths, MC gained a following parallel to their lifestyle, depicted in their music.

Two back half songs most worth mentioning are 'Too Young to Fall In Love' and 'Knock 'Em Dead Kid'. TYTFIL, held together by the repeated chorus, excels by pitting the chorus versus VNs semi-incoherent, yet extremely wistful ramblings. KEDK is a testament to the scare-the-hell out of the world Mick Mars attack on his guitar. All other song elements are subordinate, and rise from the rubble of his destruction.

SATD captures the full MC essence of in-your-face and reckless/careless music and results in one hell of an album.

What is Wrong with Dale Jr.?

After a race which dropped Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the NEXTEL Cup standings from 11th to 15th, and he wrecked both his and his teammate Michael Waltrip's cars, DEJ fired his Crew Chief and took a parting shot at his critics, who also happen to be his relatives...

Earnhardt maintained the wreck was not intentional and bristled at the criticism from his family members.

"I know some of the guys on Michael's team are probably upset, but don't really know," he said. "If you're not in the race car, you don't know what the hell is going on out there. I can't expect anybody to understand exactly what was going on at that moment at that time."

I have no doubt that DEJ is a fantastic driver, but his actions both on and off the track scream the disposition of a petulant teenager. In the face of mounting adversity, instead of an optimistic approach, or simply offering pert answers to media questions, DEJ has engaged in a verbal joust of "I know you are but what am I?" with all criticisms.

Everyone is familiar with DEJs background, and while it often becomes a burden to bear, that same background has afforded him the opportunity to do whatever he pleases in racing. He needs to take responsibility for his irrational actions on the track and create a long-term plan (with milestones and race goals) for qualifiying for the 10 person "playoff".

To equate the situation to with what I am familiar, if a project was initiated with no coherent long-term plan, no change management, and wholly subordinate to the whims of a few ironclad stakeholders (which performing poorly), it would not advance past concept phase. DEJ needs to stabilize the DEI enterprise, for which he is the heart, before any improvement in his racing occur. Failure to rectify in the short-term will simply magnify gaps between DEI and other (Rousch, Joe Gibbs) racing teams. To win races, you must incorporate technology and skill, infighting will screw you.

I feel for Michael Waltrip. He's on the shortest leash imaginable at DEI, but must balance sponsorship/racing with the ever-growing urge to call DEJ out for being a whiny brat. I am impressed.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Westfields Golf Club 5/22

If attempts to concentrate and develop/concoct a feel for one's putting stroke are ever interrupted by "Friend's in Low Places", you may want to vacate the course which you are preparing to play. While Westfields Golf Club does not abide all the characteristics that equate to a good golf course (PA system, installed sound system on the putting green, I was ready for Al Czervik to come strutting out of the clubhouse) don't let the minor drawbacks detract too heavily from what is a fine test of golf.

I enjoy WGC because it is difficult. The rough is thick, margin for error is miniscule, and the holes are long.

WGC is enjoyable because it is not unfair. Fairways (in impeccable shape, matching the conditions of the entire course) provide generous landing areas, and difficult holes that require accurate shots offer encompassing views of the options and consequences. Some holes require perfect shots to tucked pins, but offer the option of playing to the center of the green at a lower risk.

The front nine at WGC offers what I consider to be one of the finest tests of golf in the DC area, which can be summed as "par is a reward". At over 3500 yards (par 35), it is 200 yards longer than the back (3300 - 36). The opening hole requires dual shots of promise (418) to reach an ample green perched at the end of a gently rising fairway. Woods frame the hole on both sides, but come into play only on shots deserving of penalty.

After a right-bending par-4, the 3rd (223 yds.) is an epic par-3. Fronted on the left by a rock-framed pond, the hole offers a large bunker running along the right edge of the green as a safe area to avoid the hazard. From the bunker, the green is expansive and allows for a shot to be played with a full swing, or pitched on the green to maximize roll.

Consider the 3rd at WGC a preparatory course for holes 5-8, three par-4s measuring 440-460 yds, intertwined with an 180 yd. par-3.

The 5th hole, while stretching to 458 yds. is downhill and offers a large landing area and a clear view of the green and the woods outlining the hole. Hole length is soothed by a green receptive to longer approach shots with collection areas that make for sensible pin placements.

The 6th hole (464) again required a distanced tee shot to an open fairway, but pinces @ 130 yards from the green, approach shots from the right require a fade to access the right 40% of the green, which is placed atop a perch of deep bunkers that are critical to carry.


Whiskey Creek - 5/29

Whiskey Creek, located in Maryland, is one of numerous upscale courses to have been birthed in a rural setting and employed a minimalist approach to architecture, allowing the holes to follow the contours of the land, and bolstering the layout with supreme conditions. Unfortulately, while the premise succeeds at other courses in the area, particularly Worthington Manor, Whiskey runs dry (I couldn't resist).

A links style topography succeeds by following the elevation changes to some extent, but allowing for playability by providing sightlines that frame the nuances of a hole and avoid excessive blind shots or forced carries. WC employs elevation changes on every hole, taking a concept vital to the layout and making it redundant.

Holes #1, #2, #6, #10, #17 all were uphill par-4s which required semi-blind approaches with an abbreviated swing. Being my first time at WC, I was disappointed I had approaces with no knowledge of the countours of the greens or hidden hazards/traps that could be easily reached or served as collection areas.

Additionally, while the course conditions were excellent, the greens were slow, which I reason was due to an attempt to keep decent playability while under the duress of 150-200 daily rounds. Had the greens been cut shorter, more unfixed ball marks would have been exposed. Unfortunately, in addition to being slow, the greens were inconsistent, as shaded areas led to slower putts.

As heralded as the 18th is at WC, holes of greater shot value were #8 and #12. #8 is a shortish par-4 that sweeps downhill to the left and has a landing area that shrinks as the distance increases. From the landing area the player receives a view of the green in its entirety, and must avoid a fronting bunker and mounding long to reach the putting surface. #12 is another dogleg left, but differs in that the drive cannot be hit with a Driver, as a creek juts across the fairway from right-to-left at a 45' angle 300 yards out, and the tee shot is downhill. A long iron leaves an apprach to a somewhat elevated green, separated from the fairway by a hollow, and two tiered, requiring an exacting shot from 180-150 yards for a makeable attempt at birdie.

WC has a good premise, but fails in the execution.