Well, someone actually left a mailbag question in the comments section, so you know what that means–the mailbag is back. If you want to get in on the hilarity, or have me take a load off your mind, you can write in yourself…
Q: I’m driving the other day when I see a ~1987 Cadillac Deville coming the other direction and it’s got 4-6 giant antennas coming off the trunk. My question is, quite simply, WTF? Jimmy McDougall, Harrisburg, PA.
A: Perhaps he had a couple bag phones in there, Jimmy? I DON’T KNOW. I’m not sure what you need an antenna for on a car aside from a nice CB radio. I imagine the confused old-timer you saw (he was a confused old-timer, right?) had himself a bit of a CB radio addiction. Perhaps he was a trucker in his day? What I’m thinking, is that since the car was a solid 20-plus years old that our friend has probably gone through multiple models of radio and instead of getting rid of his old antennas, he keeps them because they have sentimental value. So, it’s kind of like that old scenario where you got a new TV and just set it on top of the old one. Either that or CB multiple personality disorder. Those are probably equally likely.
Q: Paraphrasing…Are Biggest Loser contests biased toward the heavier participants even if they are based on percentage of weight loss? Isn’t it easier for a 300 lb person to lose 10 pounds than it is for a 130 lb person to lose 4 lbs? Q and Co., Exton, PA.
A: Well, Biggest Loser contests are designed for people who need to lose weight, so they cater to that and not someone who is 130 lbs. It’s a little bit like if you walked into a restroom and found only urinals. Sure, they’re designed for doing your business, but it’s a very specific type of business–and same with the contests. The weight percentage levels the playing field a bit between women and men and people who are at various stages of being overweight, but someone who is in shape, or just a few pounds overweight will always be screwed–in terms of having a chance to win. If you are wagering on these things, the person with the highest starting weight will always be the Yankees, of course, they’re the person who is also most likely to have gained the weight back six months after the contest. I’d just be happy that you don’t have ten “easy” pounds to lose.
Q: So, I’d guess at least 3 or 4 times a day I encounter a stranger and some type of greeting is exchanged. A popular choice is, how are you doing? What is up with the people who say, “I’m doing…well,” and then they pause like they want you to absorb the fact that they used the proper grammar and be awed by their intellect and superiority. Dutch Coleman, Dover, DE.
A: I know exactly the kind of person you are talking about. I’d say they’re mostly A-holes. A good 85% of them. Of course, there are people who say they are doing well in a perfectly normal tone of voice and it flows with the conversation and we all get on with our lives, but I know the pause of which you speak. Sometimes it’s accompanied by a little self-satisfied grin like they just used the word that they read on their page-a-day vocab calendar. And, that’s the thing with this people. It’s all they have. It’s their lone whiff of intellectualism. I say “well,” instead of “good.” Well, CONGRATULATIONS. If you watched Jeopardy with these people they wouldn’t know ANY answers, but they sure as hell are never doing “good.” They’ve got that going for them. I say, “I’m good,” sometimes, “Pretty good,” but my favorite is, “Ah, I’m doing all right.” TOTAL CHANGE UP.
Q: I’m hearing a lot of talk about the Phillies changing their lineup for next year, people breaking out spray charts and advanced metrics to tell me that Chase Utley should lead off and turn himself into 37-year old Wade Boggs or something. What’s the story with the Phils new “approach.” H. Polloi, Ambler, PA.
A: Yeah, well the problem with becoming 37-year old Wade Boggs is that you first would have needed to be 24-year old Wade Boggs, and that’s the major problem with the Phillies’ approach theory. Very few veterans can reinvent themselves, and the chances a whole lineup does it are pretty slim. That’s not to say that Utley couldn’t become a somewhat effective lead off hitter, but I’m more concerned about his health. Can he do the work needed to make him an effective hitter at any spot in the order? You want to know the thumbnail of what happened to the Phils? Their offense was probably good enough to win a World Series starting in ’03-’04 or thereabouts (Seriously, go look at the lineup and compare it to this year’s team). By the time they realized they couldn’t have Amaury Telemaco and Bradon Duckworth making starts (and collected enough money from the new stadium), it was 2008 and they’d already wasted some of the prime MVP-type years of their offensive core. In 2009 they lose to a better team in their last year of peak offense. Since then, they’ve focused solely on adding pitching. The Pence move is a lateral one when compared to Jayson Werth’s previous production. Everywhere else in the lineup the guys are just getting older and they wonder why they aren’t hitting? It’s not approach. This isn’t meant to be pessimistic. It’s my opinion the Phillies, given their choices and pitching staff, hit enough to win this year–but their shortcomings make them far from a lock. The same will be true of next season. And, they certainly can get a little better in some areas, but if you think the whole lineup will suddenly be seeing 4+ pitches an at-bat, you’re crazy.
Q: Why do media websites insist on putting writers on camera? If I go to Philly.com one more time and click on an interesting headline only to see a video pop-up and find a mumbling sports writer spitting fragments into a microphone–I may lose my mind. Claire Bear, Bear, DE.
A: Welcome to the dumbing down of America, Claire. People can’t be bothered to read words. They want the picture stories. It’s amazing to me how many people who are paid to write can’t speak well on camera. I suppose nerves play a big role, but you think if someone writes for a living, they’d have some grasp of the spoken word. Not always the case. Some of these reporters I wouldn’t trust with the task of verbalizing my order at the Chick-Fil-A drive-thru, but there they are stumbling away on camera. Also, when I go to these websites, I’m going to read an article. Often times, I’m not in a position to listen to audio. It’s incredible that we can’t just let people do what they are good at doing. I don’t want to read a book by Sam Elliot. I want to listen to him narrate the Big Lebowski and truck commercials. The opposite is true of most writers.
Q: Proud owner of a Mike Richards jersey here. The Flyers sign a guy to a billion year contract and you’d think getting a jersey would be safe. Not so much. I actually like Richards too, but now I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing the thing. Since I am like all the other blind Flyers fans I’m planning to get another jersey, which way should I go?
A: Well, I guess don’t buy the speculative Winter Classic jersey like I think someone here might have done? But, this is always a tough question for me, because my gut reaction is…adults don’t need to be wearing jerseys. If you are a fan, you’re a fan, you don’t need to prove anything to me. But, I understand that people have a deep connection to their jerseys so we’ll proceed. The Flyers are never afraid to move a player, so you’re always in danger. The safest bet right now has to be Giroux, but that’s a little bit like buying a Ford Taurus in 1994. I like Simmonds, but there’s a guy the Flyers could trade in a blink. I think Pronger is a safe bet to finish his career here, but I’m probably going JVR. If you’re going to walk around in a giant orange and black sweater, it might as well say, VAN RIEMSDYK on the back.
Q: Take the basic elements of a bacon cheeseburger. Bun, burger, cheese, bacon and ketchup. In what order would you give up those foods for the rest of your life? T.J. Booker, Yuma, AZ.
A: So, you’re saying I’m in some type of hell then? This is a bit of a mean-spirited question, but I’m going to answer it anyway. Ketchup is a no-brainer at #1. And, I LOVE ketchup. Sometimes I’ll make something and realize I don’t have ketchup and I will be FURIOUS. But, I get over it and the food is still pretty good. It just could be BETTER. Next, bacon takes a hike. Bacon is a luxury. It’s a luxury that makes us free Americans, but it’s still a luxury. Beef is gone in the 3-hole. I’m probably actively sobbing at this point, but there are other forms of protein out there. Hooray for turkey burgers. Then, the death blow. I assume you mean bread vs. cheese here and not actual hamburger buns vs. slices of whatever. Cheese is in everything good, but I’d lose cheese first, because the ultimate tie-breaker is pizza. You need both to have a pizza and contrary to the popular belief, the cheese cannot stand alone. At least with the bread I could have a tomato pie.
Q: Any good Halloween Costume ideas for this year? Schawean Combs, Gilbertsville, PA.