I retired my BEV KEY the other day. If you don’t know what a BEV KEY is, I weep for you, but here’s a link. Much like the distinguished gentlemen of a bygone era didn’t go anywhere without a lighter, I don’t like to go anywhere without a bottle opener. I’m not some animal that uses the corner of a table to open my beers. The BEV KEY, which may be Canada’s finest export, is essentially indestructible but through the years the logo wore off and it started to show its age. But since I’ve had the thing since college I was sentimentally attached. I planned to carry the thing until the key turned obsolete, but then during a random internet perusal the other night I stumbled upon a Sierra Nevada key chain bottle opener for $.99. A deal too good to pass up and the BEV KEY gets shuffled to the bullpen. So, this mailbag, loaded with actual reader questions is dedicated to my BEV KEY…
Q: I don’t think anything makes me more angry than when after a traffic incident the other car thinks YOU were in the wrong and you imagine him/her going home and telling their version of the story without you being able to say what really went down. Does this happen to you? Stew Dentdriver, Devon, PA.
A: When I got this question I couldn’t believe my eyes, because this is something that JUST happened to me and probably would have ended up in the mailbag this week even if I was making up the questions. I was driving the other day and approached a 3-way T-intersection. Apparently they don’t do this everywhere, but in PA these aren’t 3-way stops. The bottom part of the T doesn’t stop, and if you are making a right turn into the base of the T you don’t have to stop either. I suppose this can be a bit confusing, but if it was different the stop sign would say 3-way or ALL-WAY. So, I’m about to make my right (no stop) and some guy across from me bangs a left in front of me. He has to slow down a bit when he sees me coming which almost makes a car from the third direction (who also doesn’t have a stop) run into him. The guy lays on his horn at me and I TOTALLY LOST IT for a second, and it was because of what you describe. The guy thought he was right when he was so WRONG. If I make a mistake I don’t shift into road rage so quickly, but in this case I really wanted the other guy to know he was at fault. We pulled up to a light and I actually thought about getting out of the car and saying to the guy, “Hey just so YOU KNOW….not a 3-way stop.” I stayed buckled up, though and lived with the knowledge this guy was going home to talk about the crazy person who almost caused an accident. BURNS ME UP.
Q: If you look in the back of the “city papers,” there are ads that are 100% blatantly for prostitution. I saw one that said, “full-service massage Open Late,” how do they get away with this? Hap E. Ending, Ambler, PA.
A: Not sure what you are talking about. These are just honest businessmen trying to start-up a wholesome massage parlor. Give them a break. Do you know how competitive that market is? I have a feeling you PROBABLY do. But, seriously, I think it’s all in the wording. As long as you don’t come out and SAY IT, you’re free to dance in the shadows. My knowledge of this comes mostly from watching movies and television, but if you are busting someone for prostitution it’s got to be spelled out. I remember in The Wire when McNulty “accidentally” had some adult time with a prostitute during a bust. Dicey scenario. Why don’t the police make more of an effort to shut these places down? I imagine it’s just a matter of man power and priorities. You know, if you make ELEVEN GRAND a year and cheat the IRS out of a few hundred bucks, chances are you are going to get away with that. It’d cost them 50 times that just to audit you, and I think that’s the case with these “full-service” salons and parlors. It’s not a winnable battle for the police. They probably focus on the ones that have other issues going on as well. Drugs. Illegal immigrants. You can use your imagination. Just like in the ads.
Q: In anticipation of the 2013 Phillies: What’s your least favorite team (individual year) that you ever rooted for? Tony Massenburg, College Park, MD.
A: You’re really testing my loyalty here. I’ve dumped some teams in the past and chalked it up to general loss of interest. For the last several years the Sixers have driven me crazy and I don’t like the majority of the team, but I hardly would say that I really ROOTED for them. I don’t think being aware of their general record counts. I’ll start with an honorable mention. This year’s Eagles team was easily one of my least favorites. With the recent LeSean McCoy Twitter incident, you’re left wondering if there is one guy on the 55-man roster who is easy to like. But since I am an adult now, and you can’t be quite as invested and take things as personally as when you were a kid, I’m going to go with the 1995-96 Sixers–back when I really did care. I remained a Charles Barkley fan during this time, but I was also still heavily involved with the Sixers. I actually liked Clarence Weatherspoon. SPOON! I can vividly remember watching the Sharone Wright draft. A GLIMMER OF HOPE. But, by 1995-96 the Sixers had totally imploded. It was clear Sean Bradley was a total bust. They had Derrick Coleman at his most unlikable. They had leftover parts from terrible trades (Jeff Malone, Tim Perry). I also was not a fan of John Lucas as a coach–the 18-64 record didn’t help there. So, this team was not only terrible, there was only one guy on the roster who didn’t make me want to throw up. Thankfully, this was rock bottom and Allen Iverson arrived the next season.
Q: Why is this whole fake mustache thing considered funny? Tom Sellick, Miami, FL.
A: Is there a fake mustache thing? Hold on one second. Oh God…
I guess I was vaguely aware of the holding a finger under your nose thing, but I didn’t know that it had evolved into people actually wearing fake mustaches. Four seconds of research leads me to this passage, prepare to be sick:
Something happened to the mustache in the 00s. It became so ironic to sport one, that the irony morphed into acceptability and cliché, which in turn morphed back into irony and then back into a kind of post-ironic neo-cliché. Surely this must have something to do with Portland, Brooklyn, and other hipster meccas. We don’t pretend to understand it, but we can document it to help you do your part to eradicate this pretentious scourge. Because as we know, a mustache is just a mustache, be it ironic or not.
You know who I feel bad for? The guy who has been rocking the mustache straight through since the 80s. This poor guy is just trying to be CONSISTENT with his look and people are making all kinds of judgments about him. Doesn’t seem right.
Q: Any thoughts on the rule change regarding the fake throw to 3rd, throw to 1st pick off move? Finally we’ll get some more balks. Nuke Laloosh, Durham, NC.
A: There is something oddly comforting about an entire stadium screaming, “BALK,” when a pitcher fakes to 3rd and then tosses it over to first base. Of course, the fake to third and then another fake to 1st is met with even more vitriol from the fans. I think everyone KNOWS at this point that it wasn’t a balk, but it was just their way of protesting the move. It’s seen as a waste of time, as BUSH, so baseball is probably making the right call in getting rid of this old standby. It’s funny to listen to some pitchers voice their displeasure for the change. They’ll be like, “I got John Olerud with that back in Minnesota in ’94.” In their mind that makes the millions of failed attempts worthwhile. And, it was hilarious when it would work. I’ll give them that. Anytime a guy gets picked off–it’s classic. I was picked off once in my life. So embarrassing. Mostly because I didn’t really take much of a lead. But once, a left-hander just froze me and I didn’t even try to get back. No one in the sparse crowd yelled, “BALK,” not sure why. In the end, I think it’s a good move, because at its core the move is meant to be deceptive. For me, it falls outside of regular gamesmanship and qualifies as pure bush league garbage.
Q: I have a mailbag question about Jenna Bush and her NBC correspondent job–or whatever it is. I saw her interviewing these families whose children are very sick and Disney has a program where the kids can go to the park, etc. The question is, if you’re the parent do you really want Jenna Bush’s sympathy? I think she would annoy the hell out of me. Ann Curry or Brian Williams would both be fine choices. Knotta Republican, Tempe, AZ.
A: I’m going to paraphrase this question: Do you also have a personal problem with Jenna Bush? Is that it? No, I think I know what you mean. If you are being interviewed about something serious, something deeply personal then you want an interviewer who is qualified, capable and will give the interview the correct tone. I’ve got to say I’m not terribly familiar with Jenna Bush’s “career.” The last I heard she was torching through Austin with her fake I.D. According to the website of record, Wikipedia, she did some teaching, authored a book and now has this NBC job where she pops up once a month? Sounds rigorous. Also editor-at-large for Southern Living which sounds a bit like having an honorary doctorate. I can’t imagine what it must be like to have a sick child. There’s probably a constant fear of having them exploited, a reluctance to rely on the charity of others, and countless other things I wouldn’t want to think about. Does Jenna Bush doing the interview make it feel more like a stunt? I’m not sure. There are probably some people who would want to meet Jenna–you are obviously not in that category. I’m going to take the easy route out here and say case by case basis. These real questions are tough.
Q: Which actress is most likely to break Meryl’s Oscar nomination record? Joe D. Foster, Oaks, PA.
A: Meryl has 17 Oscar nominations. That’s lofty. That’s over the course of 34 years. Interestingly enough, her percentage isn’t that great. Just three wins. Can I say JUST there? She’s hitting a Michael Martinez-esque .176. Not Hall of Fame worthy. Just for fun, some other stats: The record for acting Oscars belongs to Katherine Hepburn who won four times. So, Meryl is right there with the likes of Jack Nicholson (12 noms). In the category of nominations, Meryl is crushing the competition. Possible contenders:
Kate Winslet (6 nominations)–Kate has 26 years on Meryl. She was the youngest to six nominations, but hasn’t had one since 2008.
Cate Blanchett (5 nominations)–She had a great run through the mid 2000s, but hasn’t been nominated since 2007. Twenty years younger than Meryl.
Michelle Williams (3 nominations)–She’s 31 years younger than Meryl, so there’s plenty of time and she seems to gravitate toward Oscar friendly films.
Bottom line: I’m going out on a limb here: Meryl’s record will never be equaled. I wouldn’t be surprised if she adds another couple to her total before she’s done and there’s just too much competition these days. You never know when someone is going to throw a Charlize Theron in Monster at you. One moment she’s starring the epic The Devil’s Advocate alongside Keanu and the next thing you know–OSCAR. Or, remember when Tom Hanks won two straight Oscars? You probably thought, this guy is going to win EVERY YEAR. That was a long time ago. He’s still stuck on two. And has had only two nominations since. So, Meryl is making it look easier than it actually is–I think she’s safe.
Ok, that’s your mailbag. You can decide how you like the actual questions vs. fabricated questions. I know it took a lot less time to write, which was appreciated. Keep ‘em coming…