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!