Friday, February 26, 2010

Don't Drive Through Standing Water

But if you're gonna drive through standing water, drive a train.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tiger Woods Talks

And in 13 minutes doesn't say anything. I hope this didn't surprise you if you watched Tiger Woods read his prepared statement this morning at PGA headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

Tiger is notorious for his articulately expressed nonsense in interviews. Stay safe. Avoid controversy or even anything interesting. Can you remember anything Tiger has ever said?

That's why I thought it was so funny that every major TV network would broadcast his monologue live. OK, so I also thought it was funny that networks would broadcast any reading aloud from a piece of paper by a guy who hits a little white ball for a living.

Tiger apologized. He praised his notably absent wife. He said he had been in rehab. Rehab for what, he didn't say. And he played the religion card, though instead of Jesus, it was Buddha he found, in homage to his Thai mother, for whom he also famously wears some shade of red in every final round of golf he plays.

He played every note written for his orchestrated appearance, pausing dramatically, if obviously, more than once before looking directly into the camera to say how sorry he was. It looked like he had directions written on his script. Whatever he's been doing since since his Thanksgiving incident that began as a minor car accident and turned into a career crash, it hasn't been taking acting lessons.

This event was theater, all right. Bad community theater. Unless the role was that of a guy saying what he thought he should say to save his bacon.

He did look sincerely, sincerely sorry — that he got caught. We still don't know a whole lot about Tiger, which may be good because what little we do know is almost disturbingly creepy, but we know enough to see that image and appearance matters almost as much to him as winning major championships.

That's why Woods mentioned his "friends at Accenture," the company that was the first to drop its endorsement deal with him, as he took time to explain the timing of his public statement. Fellow PGA pro Ernie Els was among those who criticized Tiger for selfishly upstaging this week's PGA event, sponsored by Accenture, by staging his show while the tournament was happening.

Woods was well-aware of this and other things that have been reported. That was evident in the things he addressed in his speech. By the way, one of the biggest lies pro athletes repeat is that the don't read or listen to stories about them. Baloney! Woods seems especially sensitive to it judging by the lengths he goes to shield himself from answering questions.

And, lately, the plentiful supply of writers wanting to give him advice.

"Tiger Woods is the first person in history to run his car into a hydrant and set himself on fire," Rick Reilly wrote in a column for ESPN.com as he became the 2,187,243rd person to throw his cents into the Tiger well.

Reilly then listed the things Tiger needs to do to get back into fans' and — more important — sponsors' good graces. Do an interview with Oprah. Take a break from golf. Stop throwing clubs and swearing on the golf course. Sign some autographs for fans. And the self-serving call for transparency: "Let us into your life a little. Do the 'A week on the road with Tiger' story. Give a home interview once in a while."

Conspicuously absent from Reilly's suggestions was the one most obvious to me: He needs to stop having sex with women who aren't his wife.

That would be my start. Tiger gave at least lip service to the idea, promising that the behavior that caused this tawdry mess would never happen again.

Tiger Woods does not need to hit the talk show circuit or sit for an in-depth interview for Sports Illustrated or 60 Minutes. He doesn't owe me an explanation or an apology for anything. I didn't watch today looking for one. He didn't take money from me. He probably broke the law when trying to drive while zonked on Ambien, but if the police didn't pursue it, my problem is with the police, not with Woods.

I watched for the entertainment value. Just how phony was he going to look? Now that the facade has been torn away, he's not going to be able to control his image the way he once did — hugely successfully. But it was fun to watch him try.

Much less successfully.

And I'm sure the TMZs and National Enquirers of the world are going to heed his call to leave his wife and kids alone. Good luck with that! Add that to all the other things he should have considered when he treated his marriage as nothing more than another photo-op designed to burnish his public persona.

The only outright lie I think he told today was the one in which he held his wife Elin blameless in the car crash. If not the fury of the 6-iron wielding woman scorned, what made him jump in his SUV for a getaway while sacked out on sleeping pills?

He said that he was not going to provide such details to the public about his private matter. He didn't even say when — or definitively if — he was returning to the pro tour this year, which surprised me. Golf is the only thing real about this guy. Plus, this fiasco begins to fade as soon as Woods wins another major championship.

The only thing Tiger Woods wanted to say was that he was sorry and it didn't even look like he really meant that.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Forgot to Mention



I've been taking a lot of pictures. See more on my photo blog.

Here's What's Up

I recently got a smart phone. And, yes, I've already made the jokes myself about how my telephone has more intelligence than I do so you can save yourself the effort.

Said phone is currently my only access to the Internet unless I venture either to the nearby public library or farther north to my parents' house. Yes, there are also numerous cafes with WiFi but if I wanted to pay $5 every day to log on, I'd just go ahead and get Verizon FiOS. And I need to spend less time online, not more.

I mention this to explain my lack of regular updates here on the blog. Well, that and not having a lot to report. Especially now that I've shared the smart phone news.

Yes, I could thumb-type little missives on my phone but I don't get a sense that anyone is holding his breath waiting for my next entry. If I did, I'd send that person an e-mail directly advising better use of his lung capacity.

I will brag about completing my annual mission to avoid junk food and to work out every day in January. This marks five years in a row I've accomplished this. Granted, some (OK more than some) of the workouts lasted less than ten minutes but at some point I pulled out the weights and did some work with them. Every day. All month.

With hit-or-miss freelance work now tilting more to the miss side, I added two more aspects to the New Year's challenge. I also played at least some guitar and piano each day of the month. Again, we're not talking hours of practice, here. Even I can stand to listen to myself play for only so long before nausea sets in.

This would explain why my high school friend Jamie doesn't e-mail me any more. Through alignments of planets and stars that would baffle Stephen Hawking, she may be the only person who has subjected herself to hearing me perform music in person twice. She is probably doing all she can to ensure that she has heard the last of me. Literally.

That doesn't count Mrs. Schneider, the teacher of the four piano lessons I had when I was 17. She was paid the princely sum of $4 per lesson and, by golly, she earned all of it. It also doesn't count my brother Jim, who listens to anything I post here but that's recorded and — through a generous amount of computer enhancement — sounds almost like music.

I did have a story I wrote about the Venice Gondoliers Barbershop Chorus air on WEDU last week. The station doesn't have video online that I can embed here but you can click here to watch the episode. My story comes about 14 minutes in.

Don't worry, that's not a request. I just put the link there to prove I wasn't making that up. You can watch the show's end credits if you don't believe me. Or you can just continue not believing me. That might be easier.

Last Friday, I did interviews for another WEDU story. Riverview High School in Sarasota (not to be confused with Riverview High School in Riverview) has a marine biology program. It even got a license from the state to operate a fish farm right in the classroom. Grants funded construction of the tanks, adapted from concrete burial crypts!

That reminds me. I should be transcribing the interviews instead of writing on a blog.