Everyone coming down off their chocolate high? Are you gazing at a dozen roses sitting on your desk? Perhaps you’re going old school and you’re still opening Charlie Brown Valentines from everyone in your office. Does Snoopy love Woodstock? I don’t know. The good thing about Valentine’s Day being over is that we can stop listening to people be philosophical about it, and it’s time for a mailbag. Let’s go…
Q: I’m watching a commercial for Dunkin Donuts the other day and the promotion is a half-dozen donuts for $3.99. Am I supposed to be impressed by that? When did donuts get sneaky expensive? I feel like some food prices should be stuck in time. Donuts should be 50 cents. Can’t we subsidize this? Certain foods should be immune to inflation. Tommy Munchkin, Newtown Square, PA.
A: I remember a while back I bought a dozen donuts and there was some serious sticker shock. HOW MUCH? I am prone to the donut’s siren song, but I usually can keep myself to buying one or two. So, it doesn’t seem that bad, but I think you might be onto something here. Four dollars for a half-dozen feels pretty outrageous to me. We’re talking no nutritional value and everyone knows that Dunkin Donuts are like eating AIR. They don’t fill you up at all. Fifty-cents seems very fair, because then you can just walk, slap your dollar on the counter and leave with a couple of creme-filled sweeties. I think we can make this happen as a country. As far as other foods go, I think all hot dogs should be a dollar. There’s nothing worse than paying $3.50 for a dog at the halfway house of a golf course. That’s robbery. I also would like to go back to being able to buy the mini Swedish fish for $.01 a-fish. Is there anywhere you can still do that? That’s just fair pricing. I remember my Mom would occasionally have to work the concession stand at Little League games and some snot-nosed punk (or me) would always walk up with like 53 cents and demand 53 fish. Then she had to count them out while the kid stood there in his ACE Hardware Expos jersey. I bet she would have rather just shoved a bag in his grubby little hands and gotten it over with.
Q: What do you think would happen if someone made a prototypical “mob” movie with only comedic actors. I’m talking about, what if Goodfellas was recast with Will Ferrell as Henry Hill, Seth Rogan as Jimmy the Gem, Jonah Hill as Tommy, and hell, we can even give Paul Rudd a part as Frankie Carbone. Would that be a great movie or the worst movie ever made? I don’t think there’s any middle ground. Marty S., Hollywood, CA.
A: But who’s going to play Anthony Stabile? I have a feeling that particular Goodfellas remake would make people uncomfortable. I’m not sure it would be terrible, it’d just be a shock to the system. There would also be credibility problems. I don’t think Jonah Hill could pull off Tommy. He’d just go along with the joke and go get his shine box. The real question is, are comedians and comedic actors really gifted actors or are they just funny? You can often find a serious actor who does well in comedic roles. Jon Hamm being funny on SNL, or even Matt Damon going against his typical grain to play that hilarious part on 30 Rock, for example. Everyone always gets a huge kick out of that, but this is the opposite. Will Ferrell has been OK in some dramatic roles, and I’d love to see him try to pull off Henry Hill, but I think it’d be a miss. In fact, a HUGE MISS. You’re right. There’s no common ground. This movie would be awful.
Q: Can you please explain the phrase, “you can’t have your cake and eat it too” I mean, what the hell does that mean?? Ed S. Langston, Zurich, Switzerland.
A: I see you are a foreigner so my first question is, “Do you speaky ingy?” English? Do you speak it? Do they speak English in What? I’ll just assume you are learning. English is loaded up with all these phrases that don’t make a whole lot of sense if you look at them literally. They are called idioms. To play off your dessert theme, “Easy as pie,” is an example of an idiom. Now, if you were learning English and someone said that to you, it would DRIVE YOU CRAZY, because it makes no sense. You know what pie is, you know what easy means, but there’s no obvious connection. We English speakers are TRICKY like that. The phrase, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too,” is part idiom, part proverb. It has a special place. The confusion probably comes from the word, “have.” If someone says, “Are you having cake?,” they are asking if you are going to eat cake. So, that would translate to you can’t eat cake and eat it too. But, originally the phrase was meant to mean you cannot eat a piece of cake and still have it in your possession. If you eat it, it becomes property of your gut. A French version of the same saying translates literally to, “You can’t have butter and the money for butter.” Is that easier to follow? It’s just an old proverb that got mucked up into a quasi-idiom. Pretty straightforward.
Q: Is there anything more frustrating than waiting a minute or two or more to eat something out of the oven? Fresh out of the oven sounds great, but most things need a while to cool, right? I can’t stand the wait. Patience O’Malley, Tampa, FL.
A: This is true. If you’re at a pizzeria and they take the pizza out of the oven and sit it right in front of you it’s not a good idea to take a bite. At best, you’ll singe the BEJESUS out of the roof of your mouth and then the whole meal is ruined. That’s worst case scenario. But, even if you don’t burn yourself that pizza is going to be a sloppy mess for a minute. Same goes for a cookie. A cookie out of the oven sounds amazing, but for that first minute or two it’s just a molten ball of dough and it actually WON’T taste as good as it will if you can wait a bit. Waiting for cookies is the WORST, though. Especially if you didn’t make them yourself (meaning you couldn’t gorge on the dough). You’re just sitting there in the other room, you can smell the cookies, you know they’re out of the oven, but you have to wait. Life is hard. Bread might be the lone exception here? A nice piping hot loaf sounds good, plus bread cools at ungodly speeds. It is very hard to wait, but I can usually pull it off for baked goods. Now, resting meat? Forget that. The 2nd half of my steak will be rested. Or the second serving of whatever, I’m not going to take a piece of meat off the grill and look at it on a plate for 5 minutes. This isn’t Top Chef.
Q: Do you think it’s harder to write rap lyrics or a different kind? Pop, country? When I listen to hip-hop (or country) I usually feel like I at least know what they’re talking about. Sometimes these rock songs or other genres I’m like, WTF? Does that mean they’re easier to write because they don’t make any sense? Sailor Twift, Nashville, TN.
A: Tough question. I think it’s easy to dismiss hip-hop lyrics at times because you’ll hear something like Nicky Minaj rhyming Michael Kors with…Michael Kors. Or Weezy can rhyme just about any two words if he wants it badly enough. That has to take some of the art out of it, and it appears a bit lazy, but I don’t want to give the impression that I can sit here this afternoon and write a hip-hop album. I think taking liberties with your rhymes is a bit universal anyway. This is a cop-out, but I think writing a song is probably equally difficult regardless of genre. The real test might be writing the music, or making the beats. That’s the key. Lyrics are afterthoughts for most people. They just want to know if the song is CATCHY or not. If it is, people will listen to it, doesn’t matter if it’s about the love of your life or a bag of Fritos you developed a strong emotional attachment to.
Q: I see the Phillies have started sending out their season tickets. You think you could ever do 81 games in a season? What’s the ideal number of baseball games to attend during a season? Abner Pastime, Cooperstown, NY.
A: Eighty-one baseball games is a lot of baseball games. Assuming I wasn’t a coach, GM, or something else that required me to be there for every game, I don’t think I could do 81 in a year. I once did about 10-15 straight Minor League games and while I certainly wasn’t bored, I’m not sure I could keep it up for the whole year. I wonder what percentage of full-season ticket holders actually go to all their games? The only way I could even get in the neighborhood is if I lived very close to the park. If I lived in downtown Denver right down the street from Coors Field, maybe that would change my impression since I now have to drive in to the stadium, etc. Assuming money is no object, I don’t know, I’d peg the ideal number of games somewhere around a dozen. Or, the Phillies have 14 home stands this year so maybe that’s the best number–one per home stand. You want to go to enough that you see a variety of starting pitchers, give yourself a chance to a good game. I always feel for the people who get tickets for one game a year and they go down and it turns into a total stink-fest. I also feel responsible for inviting people to boring games. If you’d like I’ll keep a running tally of how many Phillies games I attend this season.
Q: I feel like you are riding a decent streak of golf picks right now. I know Tiger didn’t win last week, but I appreciated the stance. It’s better than saying maybe he’ll win, maybe he won’t. I don’t know that I’d ever bet Tiger–the odds are always short–but there’s a great field lining up in LA this week, have any hot selections? F. Fourfingers, London, England.
A: Well, I did have Robert Rock, but that’s about it. I have been CIRCLING winners, though, so thanks for noticing. This two-week stretch might be the easiest to project on the PGA Tour, because these two courses (Pebble Beach and Riviera) produce repeat champions and the same “type” of winners all the time. For years, you could count on Shigeki or Mike Weir to make a season’s worth of money during Riviera week regardless of form. Before them it was Fred and Corey Pavin. Now, Phil has won twice recently and the loathsome Rory Sabbitini has a fine record. Riviera is known as a great ball-striker’s course with the best short par-4 in the world, the 10th. That said, it never hurts to putt–Aaron Baddeley won last year with a great performance on the greens. It is a very fine field, so picking a winner out of the lot will be tough, but here’s a quick top-5 for you. Throw down on these gents and maybe you make a little bonus coin. Who knows. By the way, two amateur sensations, Patrick Cantlay and Jordan Spieth are also in the field this week.
- Phil Mickelson–9/1
- Aaron Baddeley–25/1
- Nick Watney–40/1
- Spencer Levin–50/1
- Ryan Moore–66/1