Monday, June 30, 2008

A Graceful Conclusion to GITNC

First, business...I declare both Marni and Deborah winners of the horrifying "Dress Your Caddy" Contest. Fat Witches will be on their way as soon as I get the horrible, haunting vision of Marni's entry out of my mind's eye.

Second, I realized the other day that WRITING about playing golf was actually eating into my time playing golf, in that mornings and afternoons are times when I can often practice, but instead I've been using them to write this crazy stream of stuff.

And for that reason, we're drawing the curtain on Golf is the New Chili's. Although I still believe that it is the new Chili's, I think we've reached the point where it can go on without me...

I will occasionally post video, pictures, etc. if the mood strikes me. You never know.

So unlike most blogs, which just fade out like the end of Hey Jude, I'm going to bring it to a dignified end, like My Sharona.

My, my, my, my, my


Friday, June 27, 2008

Down to the wire...

The 'dress your caddy' contest is coming down to the wire, and it seems that the 'chippendale's' theme is pretty much the dominant idea.

And I'm in the perplexing situation of possibly awarding two prizes...are they both brownie-worthy?

And yes, there will be golf on sunday, location tbd. Let's see if HT can keep it under 100 again!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Barely Caddy-I Don't Even Know What to Say...

Ok, so the "Dress Your Caddy" Contest rocks on, and we've had an entry from Chai Chai Rodrigweeze, which was good, and one from Barely Legal. (Also sometimes known as Deborah.)

Which I will share with you now. Brace yourself. Possibly NSFW. Possibly NSFDC (Not Safe for Drinking Coffee, because you might blow some out of your nose or mouth.

With no further ado, Barely Caddy:

I want to point out that not only is he forced to wear a giant sundae like a sandwich board in front of him AND make your golf bag levitate, he also has ice cream on his head.

Ice cream on his head. I'm still trying to figure out what the deep, dark (or not so dark) Freudian meaning of that is. It could be an inner desire for ice cream.

On the plus side for him, he does get to wear pants, so the degradation that comes from having ice cream on his head is offset a little by the pants.

Then again, I could be wrong. Maybe he's happy with his station in life: caddy (and ice cream serving receptacle) by day; stripper by night. How does he have time to finish that degree in astrophysics?

Anyway, I just want to say that this entry is going to be difficult to beat. Yet I said I'd keep the contest open til Friday, and keep it open I will.

If anyone can beat Barely Caddy, I might have to award two prizes...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Short Posting Today, which I Try to Cover Up with a Contest

So action is picking up on the new poll. So far "Chippendale" is the leading new feature that readers would like to see. I guess my question for you who answered it that way is whether you envision them wearing their bowties and g-strings while caddying you or something else.

And are they allowed shoes?

And do they have to serve you the cake, mouthful by mouthful at the end? (And Barely Legal, don't get started on that "they'll chew the food for you" thing. It's just gross.)

So here's the contest: either in comments or by email (which I will put in the comments), tell me how you'd dress your caddy. The answer that entertains me most will get a box of Fat Witch brownies delivered to your door, but only if I get some good answers, people.

So there you go. Have at it.

(And for those Chippendale's fans among you, here's a Chippendale's Dance Off, which I'm sure you'll enjoy, although there's a short commercial at the beginning.)

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Human Torch is, um, on Fire!

If you're not familiar with the geography of the Pasadena area, it's at the edge of a valley and about 20 miles in from the coast. This occasionally produces a weather phenomenon known as getting hotter than five blue hells.

To be fair, yesterday was more of a 'four blue hells' kind of day, with the temps barely cracking 105. Every few years, we get a flare up that goes even a little higher than that, and let me tell you, Poppin' Fresh stays out of town for fear of crisping.

You know what else was hot yesterday? Human Torch. We played the truly beautiful Brookside Golf Course in the even more beautiful Rose Bowl.

Why don't we pause a moment and orient ourselves to the setting? Yes, I think we should. There's the stadium in the foreground, and all the green space behind it. If you look, there's a channel running through the valley, and the golf courses are all around it. If you look even closer, you'll see me at the edge of the channel, fishing my ball out and waving at the camera.

Anyway, Human Torch, responding to the heat the way a Radiation-themed Superhero would respond to a giant radioactive meteor or the way an undersea, Aqua-Man like Superhero would react to being through in the ocean, had a great game.

You'll recall that he and I typically go toe-to-toe and shoot within a shot or two of each other. Not so much yesterday. He shot an 18 hole 99, which is 22 strokes less than he shot at Shadow Ridge (and a few strokes better than me.) He was just consistent all day...few if any flubs, good targeting, even decent putting. In celebration of this tremendous achievement, the following Tiger Beat-y salute to Human Torch:

Human Torch is Dreamy!

(Dang, where are the Junior High School Girl fun fonts when you need them, Blogger?)

Anyway, nice round, HT! Mercuryboy played gamely, even though there are no true junior tees at Brookside, so he was hitting farther back than he usually does. It'd be like a grown up shooting at a 500 yard par 4. Like Barry Bonds having to hit 800 home runs without the benefit of enough steroids to float a donkey. Like Nelson Muntz having to pass a test without previously whaling on a nerd or stealing the key from the teacher's desk to get the answers. (BTW, I am willing to go on record as saying that I still think Edna Krabappel is hot stuff, despite everything that's happened between us. Don't ask.)

I had precisely two highlights: first, I birdied a 300 yard par 4. The recipe is this: 280 yard, dead-straight drive, chip shot onto the green, 1 putt. That's the first time any of our little gang has done that on a par 4 or higher. Woo hoo! I also hit my ongoing goal of 2 putts per hole. Small victories, people.

Ok, so tomorrow, we'll move on to the subject of The Slowest Golfers In Northwest LA County (and perhaps beyond). No, it wasn't us.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Brookside-A Day of Firsts

We had a great round at Brookside, with Human Torch going under 100 for the first time. (I've gone 50 for nine holes a couple times, but never on 18.)

I shot a birdie on a par 4. Another first for our little group.

Mercuryboy shot very well, but the forward tees were just a few yards ahead of us, so it was a challenge for him. He was the only kid out there.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about the four slowest golfers in LA. Yep, we played behind 'em.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

105 in Pasadena! That's golf weather...

Actually Mercuryboy and I are playing at Brookside (in the spectacular Rose Bowl) tomorrow. I'll grab some pictures at least.

Today, the swimming pool.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Reality Intrudes. How Rude of It

I'm not going to get much writing time today because, you know, running a company and all that...

On the plus side, we're working on some very, very exciting things that our members will love, so if you haven't already signed up, what the heck are you waiting for?

Human Torch and I did play 9 last night and, despite a 5-putt debacle on one hole (pin was set high at the back of a very large green, and I failed, putt-putt style, to get the ball up the hill three times before then two putting. Let us never speak of it again.), I did better than in recent days. In fact, on the other eight holes, I averaged a two-putt, with 2 one-putts, 4 two-putts, and two three-putts. Lost a lot of strokes on chipping and pitching within about 30 yards of the green, so that's an issue for me. An issue for me like Jeremiah Wright is for Obama; like being 90 is for John McCain.

Geez, am I talking about the election? I suppose you can't fault me, now that we're actually in the same calendar year as the actual election is happening and we actually know who's in it. I feel like we should have been able to elect 3 or 4 presidents in the time it's taken. Didn't this used to be shorter? Ah for the innocent days of...every election ever before this one.

Before I go, here's a gratuitous picture of Mercuryboy, super close up:

Also, don't forget to vote in that poll! So far, no one has voted for 'winner gets cake at the end,' which surprised me. Maybe the winner has to share the cake with everyone. Does that change the appeal?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Poll: 'Chili' Readers Feeling Pain at the Pump

Looking back, we didn't ask about gas prices. Human Torch does have this little wire sticking out of the driver's seat of his car, which pokes him before he gets out at the gas station, so technically, at least he's feeling pain at the pump.

But on to the real result of the poll...

The question was, um, actually not a question:

"Here's how I feel about golf..."

33% of respondents chose "Kill me now" as their response. Hopefully, none of them have been killed. If so, I'm sorry I unleashed this evil curse on the world. Like a low-budget "The Ring" (via Coolchaser) or something. Anyway, my condolences to the families and I accept no responsibility. I can't control my awesome powers.

14% of you said, "That's the One with the Little White Balls, Right?" (Insert Butthead Quote here.) This answer really shows a combination of ignorance and apathy. (ME -Q: What's the difference between ignorance and apathy? People Who Chose This Answer-A: I don't know, and I don't care.)

Fine, be that way.

22% of you chose the answer "I'm Try-Curious." Now, first I'm going to assume you're talking about golf. (If not, maybe I should start another entirely different kind of blog...) If in fact you meant golf, come join me for a round one of these days, and it's on me.

18% of you said "I'm a playa, baby." And since I'm assuming all my readers are hip enough to know that "playa" means "player" and not "a dry lakebed," then I'm assuming there's no confusion. If, however, I've offended any geographical features who happen to read this blog, please accept my apologies, right behind all those people I accidentally killed with a curse because they said "Kill me now."

Finally, 11% of you said "I'm wasting time not golfing right now." I love the enthusiasm, but really, a little more balance in life wouldn't hurt.

Ok, so all together, that puts 52% of you in the 'basically pro golf' category and 48% of you in the 'basically anti-golf' category. Since part of my goal here is to encourage more golfing, I'm creating a new poll that launches today to find out what it would take to encourage you to golf more.

And I'm looking for a contest idea if you've got one!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

And He Hits Dirt...

From the other day, here's a clip of Mercuryboy giving color commentary on Human Torch's swing.

At least at this stage in history, kids don't immediately and instinctively go into Howard Cosell-mode when they do pretend sports commentating. When I was Mercuryboy's age, by default, you'd imitate Cosell, without even really knowing why. Were you mocking him? Were you paying tribute to him because he was the standard? Was he using mind control to force you to talk like him, or worse yet, was he perhaps speaking through you, like a puppet. A big meaty puppet.

Thank God the young generation has broken this vicious cycle of oppression...

(BTW, CELTIC PRIDE! Which I will express with this slightly racist cartoon figure. I mean, all that little Irishman needs is a whiskey bottle in his hand instead of a basketball and he'd qualify for the Stereotypes Hall of Fame.)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Battle at the Bellagio

Forget about Tiger and Rocco at the Open on Monday ("Tiger and Who at the what now?"-Most of You and fair enough).

The battle of the weekend happened last Friday night on the 9th and final hole.

In order to better document the dramatic finish (and because I had lost already), I didn't finish the hole, but instead pulled out the video camera.

The situation was this. Mercuryboy had a one-stroke lead going into the last hole, but Human Torch got off the tee very, very strong. It's a long par 4 (about 440 yards, but about 350 for Mercuryboy), so a few strokes later, Mercuryboy was at the edge of the green laying 6, with Human Torch on the green with just 5 strokes.

That's dramatic enough, since anyone could win. Except me. But I already said that.

But then, all watery hell broke loose. (Watery hell?) It was late in the day, but the sprinkler system obviously got out of sequence, and the ninth hole came to life with more prancing fluids than you'll find this side of David Letterman avoiding a lawsuit.

I was going to edit this Cloverfield-like video, but I decided to preserve the documentary integrity of the moment, and also I need to get started on work. One big difference between this and Cloverfield, though, is as Human Torch says at the end, we survive. Oh, dear, should I have said Spoiler Alert? Yeah, like you care.


Monday, June 16, 2008

A thought about tomorrowland...

When they designed tomorrowland back in the 60s, they pictured the future being very pointy...

No blown chip shots in two days...

Because, like I said, no golf at Disney...

They should make a golf-themed ride. 
Some suggestions:

The Haunted Driver

Bogey Mountain

Indiana Jones and the Wedge of Mediocrity

Pirates of the Water Hazard

And finally,

Mulligan Mansion.

Your suggestions welcome.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

What? There's no golf course at disneyland?

Hmm. How did I get suckered into this?

I'll be at D-Land today and tomorrow, and I'm hoping that there's a secret, tucked away corner of the park called Linkland or Greenland or maybe just golfland...

I'll let you know.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

No video yet

Just no chance to download, edit and devise wisecracks yet.

Trust me though. The Battle at the Bellagio will be worth the wait...

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Flood of Video On Its Way...

Tonight, Human Torch, Mercuryboy and I played a quick nine holes, but we brought along an official photographer, who took pictures and tons and tons of video.

I haven't downloaded any of it, but it should be hilarious.

I will tell you that you won't want to miss the final green dramatics, where Human Torch and Mercuryboy decided the game on what I call the Showdown at the Bellagio Hole...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Attack of the Clones

I think we'd all agree that Yoda is pretty high on the Universal Coolometer. It's true that he has the same voice as Grover, but the Fuzzy Blue One's killing powers didn't include stuff like this:

(On the other hand, who knows what SuperGrover was capable of?)

So the fight scene above is from the movie, Star Wars 2: Attack of the Clones, which was known in some markets as Star Wars 2: 52% Fewer Muppets than Star Wars 1.

So on that very thin connection, I want to ask for some advice on a thing that I'm thinking about now.

Clone Clubs.

I know we've talked a lot about clubs this week. We'll move on once I actually go and play some more golf, which will be after work on Friday. (I'm thinking of going to the Forum and buying a sacrifice weasel.)

Ok, so clone clubs are copies of more expensive clubs, without the brand name. For example, Pinemeadow Golf has this set of clubs, which they suggest you compare to this set, from Taylormade.

I suppose they could have suggested I compare it to a room full of trunks full of cartoon gold coins and jewels, Uncle $crooge McDuck-style. I would have rejected that suggestion.

But the suggestion that these clubs might be basically the same as a set that are hundreds and hundreds of dollars more expensive and that the only reason everyone's not buying from them is that everyone's either too superficial or lazy to know better, that's a suggestion I am susceptible to. (Not that I think people are generally superficial and lazy, but I'm trying to justify something without a rational basis for it, so I'm being generous.)

This is not like those Chinese counterfeiters that try to sell you Birkin Sticks. Pinemeadow and their ilk and not trying to pretend to be Taylormade. They're just saying they can use the same technology and make clubs that are just as good, without all the overhead of the big companies. Things like TV commercials, elaborate displays at golf shops, and the exorbitant protection money anybody in the golf equipment racquet has to pay to Nick "Nicky Nails" Faldo. (That's a little fact the Golf Institute people don't want you to know about him.)

Thoughts? Could these clubs be comparable in quality or is it just wishful thinking? Even if they turn out to be good, would it just be the placebo effect of thinking they're good?

I await your thoughts.

And you can await real-time postings, results and film from the course tomorrow night!

I want my JimTV

Or maybe you don't...anyway, here's what aired on CBS Affiliate WUSA in Washington DC last night. I'm the guy squinting at the camera in the first segment:

UPDATE: If you can't see the video, you can see it here.

Hey, while you're thinking about it, if you haven't signed up, you should definitely go to You'll be supporting my golf habit too, so not only is it a good idea, it's for a good cause.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Jen Wins! And Gets a Tour of the Island of Misfit Toys

Just a couple short hours after the contest was launched, Jen came through with the name of one of the Misfit Toys from "Rudolph."

Charlie in the Box. This guy:

(By the way, if you want a Time Zero for the beginning of the movement to permit gay marriage, it's 1964, the first year "Rudolph" was broadcast and Charlie made his debut. )

Other acceptable answers would have been King Moonracer, Cowboy Riding Ostrich, Birdfish, Train With Square Wheels, Doll With No Discernible Defect Yet Is Somehow Inexplicably On The Island, and of course, any member of Hanson.

Anyway, Jen wins the contest, and since she's hundreds of miles away, she (and you too, I guess) get a video tour of the Island so she can pick out her prize club:

So, Jen, get a look at your many (ok, several) wonderful (ok, decent) options, and let me know what you want. Plus, there will be a pastry. Any preference?

If you have suggestions for Jen, leave them in the comments.

BTW, just a few days left to participate in the extraordinarily unexciting poll. That's not something you want to miss!

Island of Misfit Toys

Human Torch, Mercuryboy and I are all pretty avid golfers. And we're all pretty new to the game. This leads to a couple things: plenty of mediocre golfing (as you've heard) and a lot of club buying.

In Roman and Greek times, they made sacrifices to the gods for all kinds of things: good weather on a journey; good favor in the new franchise of 3-Day Toga Broker they were planning to open up; or just another day of good health, hard work, healthy food, and a hearty barf session to top it all off. It looked something like this:

Now, the Romans in particular got wise and made a pretty good business out of this. If you stood outside the Fabulous Forum in ancient Rome (later renamed the Great Western Empire Forum), sacrifice bait could be bought from hundreds of chicken, pigeon, pig and weasel vendors. It was like a farmer's market, but way, way bloodier.

Anyway, if they had had golf, surely there would have been an entire section of the market devoted to golf sacrifices. What would you have to kill for par on a single hole? A cricket? Or would you need to go up to mouse for that? Sadly, that knowledge is lost in the mists of time.

For us, though we don't kill animals (except that time with HT and the squirrel), the sacrifice is money. Buying new clubs, in hopes of replacing old ones and getting favor from the golf gods, is about as useful as taking a pile of money and burning it outside the Forum, or even the Staples Center.

So there's a lot of club buying, which means a lot of club dumping. Where do these abandoned clubs go?

To the Island of Misfit Toys.

This is the forlorn collection of clubs that the three of us have "retired."

Which leads me to today's contest.

The first person (other than Human Torch) who can name one of the misfit toys from "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" gets his or her pick of any club (some of them are pretty good) from the Island of Misfit Toys. Plus a pastry to be named later.

If you're not local, I'll send you a picture, and you can pick one that I'll ship to you.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Day of 100 Chips

Here's something that I've learned about golf. Write this down (or ctrl-c it, then ctrl-v, then print. either way.)

You'll do pretty well if you just hit the ball straight and reasonably far every time.

You're not going to win any money this way, but you'll impress the retirees hanging out at the golf club all day, watching people post their scores. They won't say anything, but at least they won't look at you like you're a scummy long hair who probably wants to give the country to the commies. Actually, they probably wouldn't say that to you anyway, except that one guy. He looks mean.

Anyway, hitting the ball straight and farther than a little girl can kick a kickball is harder than you think. There are probably 400 ways to mess up a golf shot: hooking it into the fairway on the right of you; slicing it onto the green of the hole to the left of you; grazing the ball with the top of your club only, sending it flying feebly ahead with the direction and speed of Britney Spears' career; digging a hole so large you should have called the electric company before you did it to make sure you weren't interfering with powerlines, and many, many others.

Here, for example, Human Torch and Yak Herder are very likely watching me execute Variant 268: The Cartoon.

This happens when you're at the foot of a green. For those of you less familiar with the game, the green is where the hole is, and usually it's on a raised grassy hill. If you're at the foot of the green, you have to hit it far enough and soft enough that it lands on the green, so you can putt it in.

Here's how it's supposed to look:

If you don't do it that way, you end up looking like a cartoon character, probably Scratchy, hitting the ball clear over the green, running across, hitting it back to the other side of the green, again and again until you turn into butter. Or a mouse replaces the golf ball with an old-timey bomb, like this. Either way, it's an area in need of improvement if you're doing it.

Being an analytical golder, I identified this issue and developed the Day of 100 Chips. I did it for the first time yesterday in the practice area at Altadena golf course. It seemed to help.

If I don't turn into butter or get blown up after my next round, I'll give you a report!

Monday, June 9, 2008

First There is a Mountain, Then There is No Mountain...Then I throw a club

Ok, ok, I really have to keep my head about my progress at golf at this point because if I don't, I'm going to do something drastic like linking to an old Donovan song...

Seriously, these days I feel like that old hippie song is ruling my golf life:

"First, there is a mountain,
Then there is no mountain,
Then there is..."

Ok, listen for yourself.

And why not get a load of Donovan while you're at it?

Sunshine Superman. That's not an album title Young Jeezy's likely to use anytime soon. Some things age well, and other things, well, they just age.

(On the other hand, John Cusack held up the radio and played "In Your Eyes" for Donovan's daughter, Ione Skye, in 'Say Anything.')

Anyway, what does Sunshine Superman have to do with anything?

We already discussed the stages of golf greatness, and after struggling with complete and total incompetence, I made some progress, even going so far as to make it to Golf School, as some of you probably recall.

And that's when it all went wrong. Since Golf School, I've probably gotten 10 to 12 strokes worse.

So first there was a mountain (improvement and the possibility of actually not being a terrible golfer), then there is no mountain (experience, practice and golf school makes you almost as bad as when I started), but I haven't yet reached the 'then there is' stage.

This mostly gratuitous pictures shows a happier, more innocent time...a time before being The Deceiver (Nick Faldo) lured me into his evil web of sound golf advice.

Back in the mists of those ancient times of a month or so ago, I regularly threatened 100 (for 18 holes, though to be honest not on the trip in question, which was terrible.) More typically, I'd shoot about 105 (or 52 or so on 9 holes).

Now, I'm right down at about 115, which isn't good. For all the non-golfing women who read my blog, it's like going from being Carrie to being Miranda. Ok, it's like going from being Charlotte to being Miranda. Seriously, it's like going from being Miranda to being that Polish nanny of hers.

I'm hanging on optimistically because of two things: everything I've ever learned seems to go like this. I remember when I was learning Japanese (in Japan, mostly in bars), I would go from feeling like I could handle tea with the Emperor or maybe even go on a game show where they made me sit naked in a bathtub of ice to win a giant stuffed bear one day to complete blithering idiot-hood the next. After a period of blithering, I would emerge realizing that when I thought I was being smooth and fluent before, I was actually making a jackass of myself and telling people to 'bite the wax tadpole' when I had meant to say they looked fetching in that Hello, Kitty sweater and could I buy them dinner sometime. It's a wonder that ever worked.

The second reason for optimism is that I've noticed something...more and more of my shots are going where I meant them to. Imagine that. I was about 35 yards behind the 7th green on Altadena yesterday with a 50 foot tree blocking my path. I got out my Cleveland wedge and envisioned a shot popping up into the air, clearing the tree and dropping cleanly onto the green. It was a very, very strange sensation when in fact it happened almost exactly as I had imagined it.

Maybe there's something to this "Hope" thing after all.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Five Stages to Golf Greatness

I have to admit that I'm starting to get concerned about my upcoming World Championship of One-on-One Golf that pits me against the big dog, Tiger Woods. I'm no longer confident that I will win.

Do you remember the plot of the original Rocky? The basic idea was that Apollo Creed, World Heavyweight Champion and all-American badass, was so good that he couldn't find anybody worth fighting, except one guy who was out of town or something. Anyway, the problem was that he still wanted to make a whole bunch of money by winning a fight against some loser. Hmmm. That is a pickle.

So despite his room full of advisers telling him that there was simply no way he could make a whole bunch of money under these particular circumstances, he stood his ground. He believed in America (you could tell by his boxing shorts), and in himself, and his ability to manufacture a hyped-up media event that people would pay for purely because of his track record and would inevitably be disappointed by once they saw it. Kinda like all the Pirates of the Carribean sequels or the Hillary Clinton candidacy. (On the other hand, Bill and Hill look pretty cool in that picture. Not Wilson Pickett cool, but still.)

Anyway, Apollo Creed comes up with the idea of giving some local Philadelphia boy a chance at the title on July 4, 1976 (the Bicentennial, which was cool, for those of you not old enough to have been there.) In other words, get some good looking doofus who didn't stand a chance and make everybody want to see if he could somehow magically beat the champ.

I'm pretty sure that's what Tiger's got in mind. I'm the good-looking palooka with no chance. Or so he thinks.

And maybe he's right. As I understand it, there are five steps to golf greatness, and I just have to work through them in time for our match. Here's a short summary of them.

Step 1: Shame and Disarray. When you first start golfing, it's an unholy sight that no person should have to see. Like those Pirates sequels I mentioned before. Every time you pick up a club to take a swing, your ancestors lose face in the afterlife, if you believe in that kind of thing. Holes are dug; balls are chased; boundaries are violated, and if you're not lucky, property is damaged and local obscenity ordinances are violated. Estimated time: six months.

Step 2: Disgust and Disappointment. The problem with this phase is that you're better enough to expect a little more, but not better enough to do it with anywhere near the consistency that enables you to look like you're participating in an athletic activity instead of an Easter Egg Hunt. Even Nick Faldo only mocks you with his golfing skills and suave good looks. (That makes me think of this Simpson's moment. You can thank me later for introducing the phrase "Stupid Sexy Flanders!" into your vocabulary.) Estimated time: hmmm...not sure. Haven't left it yet.

As a matter of fact, I seem to be short of info on the rest of the other steps, too. Wait, let me rifle through my notes...

Oh, here's something...let's see.

Ok, here we go.

Step 5: Be Tiger Woods.


(If you know what the other steps are, comment them, and I'll be sure and write about them. Also, I'll put out a new contest tomorrow.)

Altadena Wrap Up

Once again, Human Torch and I played Altadena last night. (I know, I know, we play there a lot.)

Although I "won" by one stroke, we both played with the skill of a surgeon wearing mittens. A bad surgeon. Perhaps a graduate of Hollywood Upstairs Medical College.

I'll have more to say about how Golf School seems to have made us worse later in the day. Til then, you should get outside and play. Fresh air is good for you.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Day of 100 Putts

It sounds like either the title of a melodramatic old-time science fiction movie (e.g., The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Day of the Triffids ) or possibly a follow-up to Wilson Pickett's still-supercool-40-years-later Land of 1000 Dances, but it is neither of those things. (By the way,while I'm thinking about it, regular people can only wish they were ever as cool as Wilson Pickett on their best day here in 2048, forget it. You'll be lucky to be as cool as this guy.)

Anyway, The Day of 100 Putts is my new putting practice routine. Simply put, my whole concept is that I will hit 100 putts every day. How can I do such a thing? Allow this picture that I am about to take to explain it:
With this humble collection of putter, balls, and practice cup, I have a plan to become the greatest putter in the world. Or at least in this part of the Goldstar office.

Mike Ellis, of Shadow Ridge and Faldo Golf Institute fame, pointed out that 43% of golf shots are putts, yet most people avoid practicing putts like they avoid Baked Potato Chips when Double-Dipped-in-Grease Chips are available. The way they avoid ordering fruit when fries are available. The way they avoid paying down the balance on their credit cards when a low minimum interest-only option is available.

You get the idea. They don't do it.

The problem though is that I don't exactly have a lot of time in my work day. In fact, if I don't wrap this post up in a couple minutes, I'm going to have to let it drop mid-sentence. You wouldn't have closure and that would probably ruin your day.

So you can see the problem.

The solution of course is to integrate it all into my work day. As CEO of Goldstar, a big part of my duties involve me staring thoughtfully at the ceiling and devising ways to make our customers happy and make anyone who dares to oppose us unhappy. Frequently, that process looks like this:

So since I want to beat Tiger in that upcoming one-on-one world championship match and since everything Fox News ever says is true, I came up with a plan: putting and thinking.

Since it's not exactly hard on the noodle to hit a ball across a carpet, I have changed from Thinking While Slumping to Thinking While Putting (both are illegal in Mississippi, but hey.)

That process looks more like this:

(BTW, no critique on my form. Clearly, I'm posing for a staged picture.)

10 balls at a go. 10 times a day. In 27.4 short years, that's a million putts, which puts us right up to 2035.

I bet Wilson Pickett, God rest him, never did that!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Even Copper Can't Fix Sucking, but Let's Give it a Try...

Yesterday, I was taking a mid-afternoon walk during work to get some air, and I stumbled into the golf shop that's a couple blocks from the office. (Yeah, right, and Homer takes a walk and just stumbles into Moe's Tavern.) Anyway, there I was taking a walk and what should catch my eye but a sign saying 20% off all iron sets.

After a few minutes of pointless wandering, something unusual caught my eye. A set of these. My first thought of course was, "oooh, shiny." How often in life are the words "oooh, shiny" the first step on the path to buying something? Often enough that someone should open a store called "ooh, shiny" and give people a five dollar coupon if they're willing to say it. Even if they don't buy, you get to crack up at people saying 'ooh, shiny' all day. (That reminds me of the things McDonald's did ages ago with the 'two all beef patties..." slogan. You better believe I tried to win a burger. Had to settle for the Big Mac sticker though.)

The proprietor of the place told me that these clubs were the last of an ancient line and that legend has it, that they were first handed to Nick Faldo by the Lady of the Water Hazard, and that by receiving the Golden (ok, copper) Clubs of Destiny, he would be, uh, destined to golf immortality and also a pretty nice job endorsing products and golf schools for Marriott.

Of course, I'm no fool, so I looked online, where everything is true. (Wait, you read that last paragraph online, therefore making it true. Dang! I wasted my time verifying it!)

Seriously, though, the story is that the Beryllium Copper Ping 2 clubs are some of the most storied clubs in the history of golf and despite being of an 80s and early 90s vintage, have actually appreciated in value. If you don't believe me, ask Ebay.

So my logic was this: I had really like test swinging these clubs, they were 20% off, had a history of appreciating in value, and my starter set has begun hinting a little too frequently how it would like to "maybe just get a little piece of land somewhere and raise some cows and pigs and get out of the rat race." (Yeah, right, straight to the garage, you'll go, starter clubs.) Plus, they were shiny copper metal. How could I argue with that?

Naturally, I bought them. Worst case scenario, I put on a Bozo wig and a Ricky Ricardo mustache and go back in there and trade them in. Best case scenario, I beat Tiger Woods in the one on one match for the world championship that he and I have coming up.

So this morning, I had to visit the driving range to test them out. Donning my Mr. Rogers-like golf sweater (to avoid bespoiling the shirt I'll be wearing all day), out I went. For visual reference, here is in the sweater:

And the clubs? They hit well. That is, they didn't hit any better or worse than usual, though I liked them. The real test of them will be the next time we hit the course and whether they can magically overcome my lack of experience in the game of golf. I've heard copper has magical healing powers, after all. And hey, if it's good enough for the New Age Time4me Club at, it's good enough for me.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Human Torch Attempts to Trick Mercuryboy-The Conclusion

You be the judge of the success of the trick:

By the way, still no contest suggestions. How about Free Toaster for Every Person Who Leaves a Comment that Makes me Laugh? Maybe a year's supply of Turtle Wax for anyone who knows what I named the 16th hole at Shadow Ridge. Or perhaps it should be free cupcakes for a year (delivery extra) for the person who gets Marni to swear aloud.

Just thoughts. I welcome yours.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Bad Lies, Videotape, and the Mask of Beer

So, we didn't have a great evening at Altadena. (Actually, it was a lot of fun, but that wasn't reflected in the scores.) As promised, I sorted through some pictures and video that Mercuryboy mostly took.

And as a general rule, if the question is "Are You Filming, Jake?", you can count on the answer being yes.

I do like how MB went all NYPD Blue at the beginning of the clip though. It adds that gritty realism that lets you know it's, uh, real.

Here's another remarkable shot by Human Torch on the 8th hole, resulting in a bad lie (this kind, not this kind):

Yes, his ball was almost completely buried. Believe it or not, we actually covered this at Golf School the previous weekend.

Like most things one learns in a school setting, this one was less helpful in real life than you'd hope. Sometime later that day, HT emerged from the sand bunker, badly in need of a shampooing. And possibly a blow drying.

Ok, last thing for now. There was quite a bit of absent-minded equipment leavage on this outing. Clubs get left behind as you move from hole to hole from time to time, but somehow we were on a real streak. Human Torch, in particular, had left a couple of valuable clubs behind and had to go scramble to get them, causing panic to ensue.

As a result, he decided to play a trick on Mercuryboy and here's the setup, plus a discussion of "The Mask of Beer":

For the resolution of the prank, you'll have to come back later in the week!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Yak and Mercuryboy Beat Human Torch and Me

I didn't have time to write about it yesterday, but when the four of us hit Altadena Golf Course last night, we decided to team up. It was Yakherder and Mercury Boy against the Human Torch and me.

I gave MB control of the camera and he proceeded to film most of the entire day. I haven't even looked at it yet, but here are a few things you can expect:

-Full frontal shanking

-Quite a bit of gratuitous belching on the part of Yak

-As usual, more cursing than you'd see in an episode of Deadwood. (Fair Warning: This clip contains more cursing than you'd see in a typical round on the Altadena Golf Course.) UPDATE: I had to disable the Deadwood link. Upon further review, it was just too foul to subject normal people to. If, however, you really want to see it, just search 'Deadwood swearing' on Youtube and it will be available to you in all its foul-mouthed glory.

-And a number of riveting images of us looking thoughtfully down the fairway as we prepare to put the ball into a tree.

Here's a noteworthy occurrence: Human Torch actually hit a ball into a tree that never came out. If we have video on that, I'll share. If not, you'll have to trust me when I say it was quite an achievement if only the goal of the game were embedding golf balls in trees. Which as far as my understanding goes, it is not.

The match ended in a five-stroke win for the Tag Team combination of Yak Herder and Mercury Boy. To be fair though, they only won on a technicality, that technicality being that we took many, many more strokes than they did to sink the ball. Seriously, you'd have thought that rather than going to Faldo Golf Institute last weekend that HT and I had done an intensive remedial session at Feed and Bathe Yourself State (Go Wildcats!).

On the bright side, we settled down after 5 holes of pure putridity and starting playing decent golf, but it was too little, too late to catch MB and YH. They were like Superfly Jimmy Snuka and Paul Orndorff (by the way, get a load of Snuka's face) and we were like the no-name tomato cans they send in against the champs when they've got to pad out the lineup because Del Taco loaded up on extra commercial spots that week.

Finally, a new contest is upcoming this week, and I'm up for suggestions...

Friday, May 30, 2008

Ok. Hole 1 is a warmup...

Sure it is...

The Cake Eagle Has Landed

As promised, cake was delivered to contest winner, Barely Legal, earlier today...

I was going to say she was happier to get this cake than she looked in the picture, but on a second glance, she looks pretty happy about it.

The writing says "Deborah, Queen of Golf." I couldn't bring myself to tell the bakery to make it say "Barely Legal, Queen of Golf." They'd have done it and immediately called the Special Victims Unit on me.

Here's another, slightly more embarrassing picture:

And still more:

If I'd kept going, I might have been able to make one of those flip books that ends up with Barely Lega's head in the bowl. That would have been cool, but alas.

New contest coming next week! TBD.

Plus, Human Torch, Mercuryboy, Yakherder and I are heading to the Altadena Golf Course in another hour or so. More footage and comedy is certain to ensue.

Judging Tommy Optimistically!

In this clip, Human Torch gets positive reinforcement about his swing. In fact, unrealistically positive reinforcement to the point where its benefits are questionable. Will he do better? You'll have to take a look for yourself:

Also, The Cake is likely to be delivered today. More on that later.

Finally, Mercuryboy, Human Torch and I are playing Altadena Golf Course today at about 5:30. First one to comment on this post that they'd like to join us (and actually does) gets the round on me.

Nick be with us as we play for the first time since Golf School.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Judging Tommy Overly Critically

Bear witness to my psychological experiment where I'm sitting on my lazy keester taping Human Torch hacking away during our filming session.

The experiment is to see how he does when I judge him overly critically:

Tomorrow, I'll upload the sequel, "Judging Tommy Optimistically" and we'll see if it makes a difference.

Deborah Takes the Cake!

Deborah correctly identified "deli aisle at Ghetto Ralph's" as the answer most like what I was looking for (plus I disqualified Human Torch on general principles of not wanting to have to get him that elaborate cake he wanted.)

Congratulations to Deborah, known hereafter on this blog as Barely Legal. That's because she told me that the last time she held a golf club, she was barely legal. Funny, I didn't know there was a minimum age to golf in California. Or maybe she meant something else. Oh, I get it now...............sorry, I got distracted there for a minute. Moving right on.

So Barely Legal takes the cake. Please put cake requirements (frosting, decoration, etc.) and desired delivery date in the comments, and it's all yours.

By the way, somebody asked me off line if I had in fact enjoyed Golf School because with all the talk of whippings, arthritis and winos, it wasn't clear. It was terrific, and I give a hearty endorsement to Faldo Golf Institute worldwide. Mike Ellis, one of the trainers at Palm Desert is not only an excellent golfer, but a supremely patient coach with a literal and figurative bag of tricks to improve your game in a short time. They can put that in their press materials if they want, but they probably won't with all the 'barely legal' talk on here.

This picture is a good illustration of how the training works. In the area behind me is the filming tee. You take a few whacks while being filmed from a few different angles. What Mike and I are doing is looking at the laptop, which is connected to the cameras and which is showing me my swing as compared to golf legend, Nick Faldo. The first and most obvious lesson you get from this is that you are terrible and Nick is great at golf. Once you recover from the shame, the trainer points out some really great, useful and specific ways to improve and that's what we're looking at.

He also records his commentary in real-time and clicks a button to email the whole thing to me for later humiliation.

Seriously though, it's pretty awesome. Never trust the yo-yos at the golf course who glance at your swing and tell you that you need to take a wider stance or tilt your head toward Venus or put right hand on red. A swing takes about one second, and the human eye just can't record much info. That's why you need Faldovision.

In fact, tomorrow, I might post some Faldovision video. You'll have to wait and see.

Later today, I'm planning to post a video entitled "Judging Tommy (Human Torch) Overly-Critically On the Driving Range." I"m sure you'll enjoy it.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

God Takes Care of Winos and Children-They're on Hole 16 at Shadow Ridge!

My biggest regret of the weekend is that I didn't take a picture of the guy slumped against a tree at the 16th hole of Shadow Ridge on Sunday.

As I, HT, Yak Herder and Father of Yak came barreling out of the tunnel from hole 15 (which I dubbed '101 Damnations' in real-time right here via my blackberry) and pulled up to the tee, I thought we'd been transported into the world of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? It appeared that an actual cartoon wino was practically passed out in the tee box. (On a side note, just now when I was looking for an image to go with 'cartoon wino,' about half the search results mentioned Amy Winehouse. Just saying.)

My first thought was, "Couldn't we have been transported to the world of a BETTER movie?"

My second thought was that as cartoony as this guy might be, he was in fact real and nothing more than a hotel guest who had sauced up and decided to hit the links. With his face.

By the time we got there, he was leaning against a tree, but listing to starboard quite a bit, with a mostly finished glass of red wine in his hand.

"I guess I'll have to move now," he said, as he made a truly token gesture to try to get up.

"No, no, just stay where you are," Father of Yak said. If he had tried to stand up and failed, we figured he'd be our responsibility, legally speaking and so we just wanted him to stay down.

"Ok, then, I'll take some notes from you guys then," he said. No notebook was in evidence of course.

This was the second day in a row shenanigans had been afoot on the 16th hole. The previous day an organized band of 9 year old ruffians had decided to form a human chain in the middle of the 16th hole. My pleas of "Hey, you guys, it's dangerous. You have to get off the course," were completely ignored on the grounds that I was so far away they couldn't hear me and on the grounds of being a gang of kids on the giantest green lawn in the world with awesome sandboxes and who cares what this crazy group of old men waving sticks at them was saying anyway.

This all changed when Father of Yak fired a ball down the fairway (at a safe distance from the children, naturally) and one of the kids proceeded to pick it up and run with.

This triggered the natural affection a son has for his father (and his father's pretty decent tee shot), so Yak Herder shouts "Put down that frakkin' ball!" Except he didn't say 'frakkin'.' In fact, I don't think he used any Battlestar Galactica lingo at all.

That earned us the scorn of concerned citizens in other rooms of the hotel who were standing on their balconies staring out at the course and judging both our golf and our manners.

After absorbing their derision for a few minutes, we quietly hit our tee shots and motored on. We promised to never speak of it again, but that turns out to have been a lie, at least where I'm concerned.

Anyway, back to the wino. He graciously accepted our invitation to remain seated, but he didn't stop talking.

"You're on video camera! You're on video camera!" he kept saying. No video camera was in evidence either. Perhaps he meant the video camera of his mind, or maybe he was warning us more generally about the slow encroachment of the Police State on our precious privacy. Good point, Drunky. Eternal vigilance being the price of freedom and all that.

Shockingly, he kept his mouth shut as we teed off and no children spirited away our (undoubtedly awesome) tee shots once they hit the ground. We bid him farewell and tried to get the hell off the 16th tee as quickly as possible. As we rounded the corner, his balance finally gave way and he fell over on the ground like an overstuffed tall sack of flour.

And here is a gratuitous picture of me driving a golf cart with no hands, followed by a contest:

And now the the first person to tell me the name of a restaurant on or adjacent to the street where the entrance to the Altadena Golf Course is (not including the grill at the course itself) and I will personally deliver (or send) you a birthday cake even though it's not your birthday.

Ready, set, go!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Faldo Golf School-Come for the Golf, Stay for the Early Understanding of What Arthritis is Like

We're back and almost fully recovered from 24 hours of golfing in a 50 hour period. If, instead of galley slaves, the Romans for some reason had needed Golfing slaves, our experience would have been a lot like that. Except that the food was good. And there weren't any beatings.

On the other hand, who needs to give your Golfing Slave a beating when he's doing this to himself?:

That is Human Torch's sunburn. He apparently took his nickname a little too seriously and lightly grilled his tragically-Irish skin in the desert sun all day Saturday.

While it's true that the redness of HT's calves is shocking, I still can't decide which is more awful: the redness of his calves or the whiteness of what's above 'em. Either way, he looks like 2/3rds of a Bomb Pop.

Here's an improvement on that view. It gives you a basic idea of the salt mine we were slaving away in all weekend:

And here's another picture, which is the whole Faldo School May 24, Session 2, known and feared across the Coachella Valley as the Window Breakers:

Working from right to left, it's Human Torch, Adam aka Yak Herder (I have no idea why, but I like it), Ian (Father of Yak) and Mike Ellis, golf pro and A-list trainer. He's got the 1000-yard stare of a guy who's just spent two days watching four grown men totally fail at something.

But speaking of arthritis, as mentioned by Yak Herder in a comment yesterday, I did notice that as I slept on Sunday night, my right hand slowly formed into a kind of claw-like tool. Still useful for digging in shallow, soft dirt or perhaps picking berries, it was no longer so good for the higher order functions such as typing, using a fork or making the "A-OK" sign.

I estimated (just now, while I'm actually typing this) that I probably hit 1000 golf balls over the course of the weekend. That's the equivalent of hitting one golf ball a day for 1000 days! Just imagine.

Lots more to come on Faldo, including video, equipment shenanigans, encounters with drunken and youthful locals on the 16th hole (or as we called it "the Riff-Raff hole") and more. But for now, I'll leave you with a shot of Mike putting us through one of the more stringent drills of the weekend. I think those are 5 irons we're holding down there. That thing in Mike's hand is one of those golf training gadgets. I can't remember what he called it:

Monday, May 26, 2008

No Golf Today...

Human Torch and I golfed for about 24 hours between Friday evening and last night (Sunday), so we'll take a break today.

Lots of pictures, video, and tales of lost balls later in the week, as I wrap up Faldo Golf School.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

New hole name idea...

Inspired by Shadow Ridge...(for the backstory, read this)

101 Damnations.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Faldo Day 1 Complete...

10 hours of golf later...

Human Torch's leg's are a reddish color (sunburn) that's best described as 'medium rare'.

I have been instructed to change everything I know about golf and instead channel Woods, Nicklaus, Sondheim and Elvis...but keep it all inside.

Between the two of us HT and I lost about 30 balls on the course today, necessitating a visit to Balls-r-Us tonight, which I've been assured is not a gay bar. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

We've been videotaped by our teacher Mike.  I look like The Thing's less clobberin' little brother. HT looks like the lobster that ate Manhattan...

Day 2 holds more of the same. 4 hours of being corrected, then another tangle with the Shadow Ridge course.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Human Torch and I in Palm Desert

Faldo Golf School starts tomorrow bright and early but we braved some hellish rain to get here a little early.

Played a course called Cimarron this afternoon and Human Torch flamed on to his best 9 hole score ever on a pretty tough course. 51. Awesome.

My biggest accomplishment was that I only lost 2 balls...I blame the wind.

I could go full Milli Vanilli and blame it on the rain it's not that bad...

June is Women's Golf Month--Hide Your Shoes

Having (sorta) talked about this the other day, I just learned (via Armchair Golf Blog) that June is Women's Golf Month.

June is also probably Kumquat Month and Remember-to-Floss Month and National Masking Tape Month, but Women's Golf Month is something I can really get behind. (And, hey, would it kill you to floss more?)

In fact, I think it's absolutely essential to the coolification of golf that more women get out there. We've already discussed the impact it would have on the shoes alone. Then again, this is a bit of chicken-and-egg problem: do the ugly shoes keep women away or does the absence of women lead to the ugly shoes?

As an avid fan of both golf and women, I would love to see more women take up the sport. It's a great game, with health and fitness benefits, and a fantastic social outlet. Not only that, but if I occasionally have to be in 'foursomes' with strangers, does it always have to be with a Criminal Court Judge known as "Hammer" and a plumber with the week off because he's got a mysterious fungus on his hand and customers started complaining?

So in the spirit of doing my part, I have dragged Little Red (Wendi, our spectacularly awesome Venue Relations Director here at Goldstar) to a couple of golf courses. Last fall, we had a few hours to kill between meetings in Las Vegas, and she very gamely agreed to golf with me, so we went to Callaway's "Divine Nine" short course. It was the first time she ever swung a club, and we had a blast. Since then, she's slowly but surely getting into the game, with encouragement from me, of course.

Yesterday, I took a bunch of plastic practice balls to her office and gave her a club to hit them with. Here's approximately what that looks like:

It's a little cramped there next to her desk, so I suggested she get a wedge instead of that 3 wood. There's a little golf shop a block from our office, so I said, "Go down to that golf shop and say, 'I'd like to trade this 3 wood for a cheap wedge to practice chipping in my office.'"

"Ooh, I like that," Little Red said, "I think I could have used that line to get a date before I got married. I should tell my single friends." (She just hit her first anniversary the other day.)

Naturally, I agree.

Gentlemen, are you with me in support of Women's Golf Month yet?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Arroyo Seco Wrap Up: Par 3, the Putt-Putt of People Who are Scared of Clowns

If this kind of image haunts your thoughts when you close your eyes:

But you still like the idea of an easy way to play a little golf, Par 3 courses are really for you.

Ok, let me back up a bit. A Par 3 course is one where a 'good' golfer is supposed to get the ball in the hole in 3 strokes on every hole ('Phone call for Jim from the Department of Self-Explanatory'-Experienced Golfer). The holes are short enough that Grimace could wind sprint from tee to green without a break. Possibly even Dom Deluise.

My favorite par 3 of all is the Arroyo Seco Par 3 in South Pasadena. Most par 3 courses are about the size of an open suitcase and about as interesting. Usually, they are crammed into some residential neighborhood as tight as a tent when you're folding it up and putting it back in the bag it came in. (Seriously, couldn't they just make that bag a little bigger?) So as you concentrate on how to play your tee shot on hole 6, you're within 12 feet of a little girl in her backyard trying to feed butterscotch pudding to her Webkin.

Not at Arroyo Seco though. Nicely secluded in a beautiful natural setting, it feels like a real golf course, but a lot smaller.

And let me say this to anyone interested in starting golf: there is no way you can make a fool of yourself on a course like this. First, lots of people on a par 3 are really, really bad. I mean like Ace of Bass bad. Sucking as they do, they won't mind or even probably notice when you shank a ball three holes over at them in the direction of their left temple.

So here's my invitation: anybody wanting to get a start at golf with absolutely no golf experience, no experience in any athletic pursuit, and the occasional tendency to fall down flights of stairs in an uncoordinated heap, just let me know. I'll go to Arroyo Seco with you.

Now and then, after you've graduated from Par 3s, it's not a bad idea to go to a Par 3 and work on your 'short game.' That's exactly what Human Torch and I did last night...

Here's Human Torch looking better than he did last week in the picture I took:

Note that for once, he is wearing proper golf attire. Ironically, most people on Par 3s dress for yard work. It's that elegant. Anyway.

As you might have seen, I parred the first hole. That's the good news. I pretty much bogeyed out the rest of the day and ended with 38 strokes on 9 holes. Human Torch, despite an early streak of 3 pars in a row, starting leaking raspberry filling on the sixth hole and finished with a 40.

Other bright spots for me were that I 2 putted on seven holes, 1 putted on another and 3 putted only once. Naturally, that's the one putt Human Torch put on camera:

So that's the way it was.

Oh yeah and now just 1 day to Faldo!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ht can't get a cig lit...

Another victim of the wind.

Par! On hole 1

Playing arroyo seco, awesome little par 3.

High wind; excellent fodder for the excuse mill.

The Unbearable Ugliness of Golf Shoes

Ugly in a good way.

Roll that phrase around in your head for a few seconds, and I think you'll agree with me that there exists a rare but fascinating class of things that are indeed ugly in a good way. (Referred to hereafter as "UIAGWs".)

Some examples of UIAGWs include the Volkswagen Thing, Picasso's Guernica and Sarah Jessica Parker. To wit, these things don't trip our normal beauty sensors and yet for some undeniable reason we find them attractive. In a way, it makes them even more wonderful than their traditionally beautiful counterparts. I said, "in a way."

So despite the clearly documented existence of UIAGWs (an acronym whose usefulness I am now calling into question), it shouldn't confuse the fact that some things are just unaccountably, needlessly and obnoxiously ugly.

Here's where the golf shoes enter the discussion.

For non-golfers, I do want to point out that golf shoes are important and not just another pointless golf accessory. Just a week or so ago, Human Torch forgot his and wore more ordinary shoes to play. After about two swings on the first hole, in which he accidentally bent himself into the Revolved Half Moon Pose, he said, "I guess I should have worn my golf shoes." True, though on the upside, it normally it takes a diligent yoga student 3 to 5 years to learn the Revolved Half Moon.

So before we go any further, get a gander at my shoes:

Now the last thing I'll ever admit to is some kind of shoe obsession (wow, it's like the spirit of UIAGW Sarah Jessica Parker is all over this post), but still, I know how much a nice pair of shoes does for you in creating a good impression. This is particularly true if you're a man trying to impress a woman. (Sadly, women, this doesn't really work in reverse because we didn't notice you were wearing shoes. Sorry.)

So to complete this crazy tangent, my advice to you guys is buy 1 pair of $200 shoes instead of 3 pairs of $66.67 shoes. I know it sounds crazy, but you'll be glad you did. End tangent.

Why then are golf shoes so aggressively ugly? Not ugly in a good way, not even in a 'so bad it's good' way, or even a 'painfully, tragically bad and therefore ironic' way. Nope, just good old fashioned ugly.

I know, I know, some are better. I've looked, and while some are less obnoxious than the traditional white and brown, it's a narrow range. If you rated golf shoes on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being "most golf shoes, probably including the ones you own" to 10 being "still a shoe unappealing enough to drive away any straight woman within 50 feet," you're still doing pretty bad.

I just don't see why it has to be this way. Could the goal be to keep women off the course? If so, I'm obviously against that. Could it be that in an industry primarily catering to straight men, nobody's noticed or gives a rip? If that were true, couldn't the shoes just be plain? Or wouldn't they have dinosaurs biting each other on them or flaming skulls or electric guitars?

Let's face it: golf is cool-challenged enough; there's no need for extra degrees of difficulty. Basketball players might not dress to impress on the court, but their shoes don't make them look like a bunch of dorks either. In fact, they look cool, and that's a problem.

Nothing in the golf world is quite as impressive athletically as a huge windmill dunk, so I'm not suggesting that you'll ever look THAT cool. On the other hand, you are swinging a big metal stick and hitting an object a long, long way. Back in the days of primitive humans, I think that would trigger a strong desire impulse on the part of an eligible female. Just imagine the hunting prowess of such a caveman, she'd think. She's be almost certain to want to produce his offspring and propogate the species with his DNA.

Until she got a look at his shoes. Dealbreaker, cave dude.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Three days til Faldo!

Human Torch and I are going to Faldo Golf School in Palm Desert this weekend...we're like kids waiting for Christmas but with golf shirts on.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Travelling to DC

Til tomorrow, don't expect much. The closest I'll be coming to golf is not golfing at all, which really isn't close at all.

See you Wednesday.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Scholl Canyon Wrap Up- What Canyon? Scholl What? What What?

They say that being able to forget your bad shots is one of the keys to being a good golfer, so you don't dwell on them.

I try to live by that, which probably explains why I have a giant black hole in my memory where the last 2 and a half hours should be.

Seriously, it was a horrorshow. Sometimes it happens, I suppose, where you just can't stay focused on golf. Actually Mercuryboy did pretty well.

At least we got some pictures, including this one of Mercuryboy.

And this one taken by MB, making my shot look better than it actually was:

And finally, an amusing snippet of video.

To paraphrase Marge Simpson, "Yes, you're right. This was the best round of golf ever. Now let us never speak of it again."

3 putt?

Wow, I think the altitude is screwing with me...

4 putt on first hole!

I never 4 putt! I blame it on not knowing the greens.

Scholl Canyon Later Today

Mercuryboy and I have a 2:20 tee-time at this course. It's the first time we've played it, so I'm expecting to lose a few balls as we go.

Expect a few mobile posts as comedy ensues.

BTW, the Burner is back! (For the backstory on that, read this.)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Name That Hole

Not to be confused with, which is an entirely different kind of site if you know what I mean, this post is in response to my good friend, former work colleague and devoted 'GITNC' fan, Phil, who I will refer to as The Joker. Don't worry. He wasn't horribly disfigured in a chemical spill or anything. He just likes a good joke, and everybody on this blog deserves a SuperHero-y name, I feel. (Also, I invite you to amuse yourself with a battle between Batman and the Joker in the worst stop-motion animation ever completed by anyone not trying to be ironic.)

Anyway, the Joker read the post about my catastrophic play on Hole 5 the other day, and the whole riff about naming the fifth hole at the Altadena Golf Course. Frankly, he was disappointed. To quote him:

"Sure 'Suck Zone' does the job, but it leaves me wanting more."

Well, I can't rename Suck Zone, because a Suck Zone by any other name would suck just as completely.

But I can spend some time generating other potential hole names. First, though, I think it's important for us all to get a sense of some existing hole names. Ok, so in Purgatory (which you won't at all be shocked to find out is in Indiana), here are a few of the hole names:

-Pride (ehh)

-Stains of the Inferno (Somebody should have laid off that last Hobbit movie. And stains? Seriously.)

-Impenetrable Fortress (maybe this is like that Iceland/Greenland thing, and this is actually the easiest hole on the course)

-Sweet Misery (Ok, that sounds like it DOES belong on, don't go to; you're bound to be disappointed)

Ok, these are boring me. Let's go to Scotland, where they have less to do and therefore more time and energy to devote to naming holes:

-Dyke (Cue Butthead chuckling.)

-Hole O' Cross (Cool sounding, kinda mysterious. I like it.)



-Heathery (My best friend in high school dated her, I think)

Ok, these are better, but not as imaginative as they could be. Here are a few of my suggestions:

-C&C Cursing Factory. (Everybody golf now.)

-Jack Tripper's Revenge.

-Forest of Syringes (world's first syringe hazard...maybe they could build this hole right along the beach in New Jersey.)

-Moderate Difficulty. (I'm not crazy about that one.)

-The 8th hole, presented by Tostitos. (A couple years later, they'd just rename it the Tostitos Hole, of course.)

-Fight the Bear. (For obvious reasons.)

-The Belly of Elvis

-Cracker Barrel Location #189 (like they need any more.)

-Jacob's Cabin. (Sorry if you're a non-Lostie. You've got to admit, this sounds cool.)


and finally

-Shark Sandwich.

Ok, those are my ideas. I welcome yours in the comments!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Photographic Evidence...

First, there's me, about to tee off at the now legendary disaster that was the fifth know, in England, they give names to each hole on the golf courses. Names like Gleneagle, Purgatory, and crazy Britishy-sounding ones like Killecrankie.

I'd like to name the fifth hole at Altadena Golf Course Suck Zone. Not as elegant, I realize, but fitting to the 10 I hit there yesterday. Yes, that's right. 10 of my 50 strokes for the day were on this one hole. Don't tease me. I've suffered enough.

On the other hand, I'm sure Human Torch would have a few choices words for Hole 1, where he did this:

You'll notice that although he is fully extended on his swing, there is STILL a small, white object in the picture.

That would be the ball he just hit.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Altadena Golf Course Wrap-Up

Shot 50 for 9 holes, including disastrous fifth hole. Should have been more like 46.

Beat Human Torch by six strokes, but he didn't use his secret power, which is smoking while swinging.

For some reason, that makes me think of the Austin Powers scene where Elizabeth Hurley's character asks him if he smokes after sex.

"I've never looked, baby!"

While we're on the subject, here's a flashback to sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads.

Human torch just killed a squirrel

Just kidding. Probably.

Hole 5

Cue the Benny Hill music...

UPDATE: I'm just going to pretend that hole didn't happen.

Playing Altadena Golf Course Now...

Doing ok. Human torch, so so.

Golf: Not Just for Fat Guys Anymore

So Tatyana just came into my office to blow off some steam by putting a few times. I don't think I helped her stress relief efforts when I started saying (in my best whispery golf announcer voice), "It all comes down to this one putt...she can win the championship if she sinks it. A lot of people have been skeptical of a 33 year old woman who's never really golfed before suddenly making a run at the title, but here she is."

Anyway, she made every putt when I said that, and missed every putt when I didn't, so my conclusion is that Tatyana is good under pressure. Somebody should pressure her more.

As they say in Cleveland, You Are All Witnesses:

Ok, so what I noticed a few months back is that despite the existence of guys like this, most of the really great golfers are in excellent shape.

In fact, when Mercuryboy and I went to the gym this morning, I did a series of exercises designed to improve my golf game. I got them from the book Get Yourself in Golf Shape. Oddly enough, cardiovascular fitness, good core muscle strength and general muscular endurance are seen more and more as the key to really competing at the top level.

Which I will never do. Getting myself in Golf Shape is one thing, and I'll concede Tiger the win on that. On the other hand, I am trying to avoid certain other unflattering shapes (like pomegranate), and I figure since it helps with golf too, why not build it into the routine?

Believe it or not, after a full round of golfing, being a cream puff starts to wear you out. Along about the 14th hole, untrained muscles start to waver like Mayor Quimby in the face of a public opinion poll calling for repeal of the Bear Patrol tax. And all I can say about that is, "We're here; we're queer; we don't want any more bears!"

UPDATE: Isn't 10:15 a little early for steam-blow-offage? Maybe Tatyana really IS training for the tour.