Is chocolate a drug? I’m just looking at some of its properties. A bit addictive. Stimulating. But, its most psychedelic feature? It makes you dream crazy. If you want to blow your mind–legally–stuff your gullet with some chocolate before you call it for the night. The later the better. I had a dessert last night that was laced with chocolate. A bit rich, and I had some weird dreams. I usually don’t remember my dreams and I don’t really remember these either, but I know I rolled over a few times and was all, “wow, that was not normal.” The only detail I remember is at one point I was tending bar with Emma Watson. It was like Cocktail 2. To wind down my brain, a mailbag…
Q: About once a week I hear someone, or see someone complaining about people posting pictures of their dinner on some social media site. I agree the photos are an annoyance, especially when you get before AND AFTER shots, but my question is, did people have an impulse to share their dinner before a camera existed in everyone’s pocket? Cesar Salidd, Houston, TX.
A: Interesting question. I also don’t understand the dinner picture phenomenon. I consider myself a person with a decent amount of free time and yet I don’t feel like I have the time to take pictures of my food. Maybe if it was a real special occasion, or if you had to settle a bet? Otherwise if you try to take a picture of my food the only thing you are going to see is the blur of the fork. There is something in play here though, and that’s the desire to share one’s photos. This is something that predates social media. Forty years ago it was all, “Hey come over for a drink, I’ve got 500 slides from Yosemite.” Then you had to sit there for three hours looking at pictures of very similar looking trees and a shot of a bear that was 30 miles away. People don’t realize some pictures are more appealing than others. Some audiences are more receptive. Does a grandparent want a copy of Timmy’s T-Ball card? I guess so. Does everyone you went to high school with need to see 56 shots of him standing in right field with his glove on the wrong hand? PROBABLY NOT.
Q: I hear that Mike Piazza put out a book. Among the tidbits is that he took karate classes in preparation for a confrontation with Roger Clemens that never happened. Does it surprise you that someone of Piazza’s dimensions felt the need to learn a martial art before fighting Clemens? Daniel LaRussa, Fresno, CA.
A: First, let’s go to the tale of the tape. Does anyone miss seeing the “Tale of the Tape,” in sports sections by the way? I remember being a young kid and the day before a big fight you’d see these stats that had no meaning. An inch and a half NECK ADVANTAGE? Good luck getting out of that hole. But I loved those stats, I really did. Anyway, these two guys are very similar in size. Clemens has an inch, but Piazza is six years his junior. At first glance, it looks like it would be a fair fight. Maybe that’s what Piazza was worried about? Or maybe he hated Clemens so much that he wanted to make sure he kicked his ass. He didn’t want to leave anything to chance. I’m pretty sure I can take him, but just in case, TEACH ME THE CRANE KICK. The other thing to think about–Clemens is possibly a deranged lunatic. Whenever there is a fight between two people with no actual fighting skills, the crazier person will win. That’s just common knowledge. And, Clemens is clearly the crazier one in this duo. You just have to look at the original incident. Clemens throws a bat shard at Piazza and then offers the worst explanation in the history of sports. Piazza was right to get Sensei Kreese on the phone.
Q: The other night, not sure you saw it, but Blake Griffin embarrassed Spencer Hawes (of your 76ers) on a vicious dunk. There was a bit of an uproar afterwards about Evan Turner’s reaction. Apparently he was “smirking.” Is there any leeway at all here? Sometimes you can’t help your reaction, right? Ricardo, Upper Merion, PA.
This would be the dunk. Griffin went up with his right hand and then dunked with his left. Hawes fouled the wrong elbow. The dunk brought down the house–IN PHILLY. Were people there to see the Sixers or see Griffin dunk? I DON’T KNOW. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this several times here, but I once shot off the bench in response to one of my teammates’ shots getting volleyball spiked off the backboard in Middle School. ”Oh, sh*t.” That’s what I think I said. How many minutes did I play the rest of the game? 0.00. To this day I will tell you it was an involuntary reaction. I felt a little bad about it, but it wasn’t mean-spirited. It came from a genuine place. And, basketball breeds this type of reaction. Even at the highest level. My issue is we’re talking about a “smirk.” I did not see Turner’s reaction, but I did hear about it. If he reacted immediately I’m inclined to give him a pass, even though he should be in more control of his reactions as a professional. If they were already on their way back up the court and Turner was shaking his head, or suppressing a laugh–that’s not OK. I understand, white guys getting dunked on will ALWAYS be funny, but when that guy is on your team, you’ve got to save your true reaction until you are watching the highlight in the privacy of your own home.
Q: Any thoughts on the Pope resigning his position? Any chance he’s getting out before a scandal is revealed, college football coach style? John Paul III, Ardmore, PA.
A: I’ve got to be pretty honest here, my areas of expertise are quite vast, but anything regarding the Pope, or the papacy (?) in general is miles off my radar. I can say I learned some things about Pope Benedict this week. He’s German! He’s also 5’7″ without his hat. And, of course, he’s 85. I’m not sure what the scandal could be. I’m going to guess the Pope doesn’t have any Lane Kiffin type secrets pushing him out the door. What does it look like to someone who is a complete outsider when a Pope resigns for the first time in several hundred years? Makes me think Pope Benedict wants to mix things up. Maybe he thinks maintaining the position until you pass away does not best serve the church? If the duties of being Pope have begun to overwhelm him, why not allow someone more capable to take over? Pontification ain’t easy. Especially once you hit your mid-eighties. I say good for Pope Benedict for hanging them up. Takes a real Pope to know when’s the right time to leave. He just became the John Elway of Popes. Plus, we can now speculate on who will be the next Pope. Will they be American? Turns out Francis Arinze of Nigeria is the chalk at 2:1.
Q: Phil Jackson’s memoir is called “11 Rings.” On the cover is a picture of his 11 NBA Championship rings. Is this the most arrogant book title/cover photo combination in history? Otto Biography, Lake Placid, NY
A: Did you expect anything less out of Jackson? I’m surprised it’s not called MY 11 Rings, or YOU’RE WELCOME, MICHAEL & KOBE. Giving Jackson credit of any kind still pains me a bit. I understand 11 championships. I don’t have the balls to sit here and say Jackson wasn’t a good coach. I’m TEMPTED. But, I won’t. I understand perfectly well that no coach can win without players. It’s just Jackson was unusually blessed in this regard. And, Phil was an opportunist. I’ll give him that. He didn’t waste anything. It wasn’t like Charlie Manuel fumbling his way to 1 World Series in five years with the Phillies. So, OK, decent job there Phil and if we can peel back a few hundred layers of ego there is a chance Jackson’s memoir could be a good read. It should be, anyway. His position should come with countless worthy stories. Will he share them? Or will he spend the entire time trying to enlighten us? I guess we’ll have to wait and find out. Is it the most arrogant title of all-time (I’m sure it’s the most arrogant photo)? There is a book called A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, by David Eggers. On the surface, that wins. But, I’m fairly sure that title is meant a bit tongue in cheek, a little hyperbole to catch your eye. Phil Jackson doesn’t do hyperbole. So, go ahead and give him a 12th ring.
Q: Say you go to a public golf course 0n like a Thursday afternoon, so the place is crowded but not crazy packed like a weekend. If you were trying to do it, how many people do you think you could hit? Not on putts and not in your own group. That’s the only qualification. Fhore Everywhere, Reading, PA.
A: That’d be a hell of an experiment. Are you even trying to play the holes, or are you just ripping 4-irons at people? I’m going to give you 36 chances to hit AT PEOPLE. One chance on the par threes, two on the par fours, and three on the par fives. After that, time to chip it back onto your own hole and keep the pace of play moving. So, if there were 36 opportunities, I’m going to say that at most, there will be 20 instances of people within your range. On the vast majority of those it would take a hell of a shot to actually hit someone. Hitting a human at 150 yards is easier than hitting the flag stick, but not that much easier. You also have to overcome the instinct of not wanting to INJURE anyone. I remember one time I was playing especially awful and had no idea where the ball was going. There was a woman walking down the road adjacent to a par-3. She was NOT in play. I had a 6-iron maybe? But I was playing so bad I thought, what if I hit a rope hook into her forehead? It’s possible the way things are going. So, I hit it a mile right instead. The point being, even if you had someone in range, you might flinch. I’m going to say one hit person would be pretty much the norm, two would be a good day and anything more than that would be extraordinary.