No time for some fancy patter before the mailbag today. Gotta get finished in time to keep track of Tiger in the World Match Play. Tiger’s opponent, Gonzalo Fernandez Casta, proclaimed Woods to be “beatable.” Five years ago this would have meant a 9&8 thrashing. This time around, Tiger just said he feels that “Gonzo,” is beatable as well. Maturity or lowered confidence? We’ll find out, starting around noon. Tiger’s tee time fits nicely with the TV coverage. How odd.
Q: Do you ever get tired of hearing about athletes and their mustaches? Every time someone grows facial hair it’s this celebratory occasion. Bring on the porn-stache jokes! I’d like to go back to the time when some guy could sport a mustache and everyone else just went on with their lives. Thom Seleck, Miami, FL.
A: Dang, when you put it that way, all scolding and whatnot, I kind of feel like an idiot for ever bringing up mustaches. I am guilty of ‘stache talk. I don’t think I overdo it, but maybe I can censor myself in the future to appease your wishes. I agree that on the surface it seems ridiculous, but what you’re really witnessing is total fascination. People can’t believe there was a time when men strolled around with power mustaches and it was viewed as the norm. I certainly can’t imagine that happening. And, did guys in the 70s and 80s have magic mustache growing powers? Most guys I know couldn’t cultivate a mustache if you gave them a month, but every guy who played baseball back then was two days away from a full lip-broom? I just don’t understand it. I wonder if there is something that we don’t notice now that will create a similar uproar in 2040. Maybe wearing glasses, I imagine by then, everyone will have their eyes laser-beamed.
Q: Do you think mailmen steal the occasional magazine? I’m sure there are the few mailmen out there committing serious identity theft crimes and the like, but I’m talking about the occasional, “Oh, that Cosmo looks super-tempting this month,” kind of thing. And, how much attention do you think they pay to what you are getting delivered? Do they judge? W. Knight, NY, NY.
A: Getting things in the mail is a tiny little miracle. You put your trust in a lot of people and they almost always come through. It’s a testament to the human work ethic. I have a feeling that doing the job of a mail carrier (I think that’s what they are called these days) is about finding a way to get through the monotony, the repetition. I can’t imagine you have the time to really peruse someone’s mail. It’s all about getting it in a little bundle and keeping the momentum going. If I was a mail carrier I know for a fact that I would always be trying to complete my route in the shortest amount of time possible. This wouldn’t leave much time for me to rifle through your mail and steal your magazine and birthday money. I’d probably judge, though. There’s no way around that. To judge is human. I’m going to say that a very small percentage of mail carriers pilfer mail. That’s a serious crime. No need to risk your government job for that. Now, do some mail carriers maybe crack open your Golf Digest while they’re taking their relaxing lunch? MAYBE.
Q: Is there any way to know for sure if someone likes something you’ve cooked? You have to know someone pretty well to tell them that a meal is awful, right? How often do people say something was delicious and then end up tearing your chef game to shreds at a later date? Bobby Filet, Mesa, AZ.
A: Well, you know if something is good, right? If you are enjoying it, there’s a reasonable chance that someone else may like it as well. I guess you don’t trust your own palate. Maybe you like everything. It’s definitely something people lie about all the time. People get very sensitive about their cooking. It’s PERSONAL, and when you make someone a meal there is pressure to perform. Like you said, if you are among friends I think everyone is pretty honest. I think back to my Hibachi disaster of 2010, and that was a classic case of just being honest. We all wanted the food to be good, but at the same time it tasted a lot like LIGHTER FLUID. So, we just admitted it was awful and got on with our lives. If you are in a crowd that isn’t so comfortable with each other, though? I think the only real way to know is if someone takes a second serving. You can force down about anything, but no one would willingly take a 2nd plate of something they don’t like. Fallback plan would be the clean plate test, I suppose.
Q: What do you think of people who decorate a room in their house in honor of their favorite team? Seems a little hokey. I see it all the time in the paper, or on the local news and it never gets any better. M. Peckabletaste, Marshfield, MO.
A: I think the easiest thing to do would be to put an age-limit on themed rooms. Maybe a qualification for getting a driver’s license should be that you don’t have a room dedicated to your favorite team. It does seem a bit childish, but sports have that effect on people. I think the main reason ADULTS do this is to show-off their level of fandom. People derive self-esteem from their teams and from how hard they root for them, so nothing says that better than a “Phillies Cave,” or something. In general, I think rooms that are designed for a such a specific purpose end up being a waste. I suppose if you do this to your living room you don’t have any choice but to use it all the time, but I wonder how many “man caves,” and things of that nature actually get used. If I had a special “movie room,” in my basement would I take the time to go down there? Or would I just watch the movie on the regular TV?
Q: Is match-play really the truest form of golf, or is this some BS line that they come up with once a year for this tournament? I’ll take a stroke play event any day of the week. All the brackets and crap sound good in theory, but come this weekend, it’s likely to a total snooze-fest. Wally Hagen, Yonkers, NY.
A: I have mixed feelings about the Match Play. It’s very dependent on the results. A regular Tour event can summon an exciting finish with a wide range of participants, but match play relies a bit on names and close matches. If the final turns into a blowout, it’s terribly anti-climatic. They have shortened the final to 18 holes, which lessens the chance that the match will get away from someone. I remember tuning in one year for the final match and Chris DiMarco was already about 6-down and you’re like, OK THEN. I think when people say it’s the truest form of golf they mean that it’s head-to-head. Your opponent is right there in front of you. It’s real competition–you aren’t playing the course, or the field. A 72-hole stroke play event is a better representation of who is playing the best golf, there’s no question about that. So, if you consider golf a sport played against the course, the conditions and the field then stroke play is definitely the truer form. If you believe more in head-to-head competition, then I guess match play is for you.
Q: Is it OK to put outfits on your pets? How about haircuts? Katherine Lady, Aston, PA.
A: Haircuts? You mean like a perm? There’s nothing wrong with giving your pet a trim, but I think you have to draw the line at EXPERIMENTATION. I don’t want to come over and see racing stripes shaved into the side of your cat. That’s NOT COOL. On the other hand, dressing up your pet feels a little bit like dressing up your younger sibling. The younger kid and the dog/cat doesn’t have much say. It’s almost part of the deal. The dog sits there in a t-shirt and sunglasses, or whatever, and it’s TOLERATING it, but it clearly isn’t having a good time. You’ve got a great picture out of the deal, and something to put on Facebook. Score. I had a golden retriever that we were always putting hats on, or sunglasses..we drew the line at pants, I guess. She was always a good sport, and we’d say stupid pet owner things like, “SHE LIKES IT!” She was OK with it, and you’ve got to know your dog. Some little dogs like wearing jackets. Some dogs are spastic and if you tried to put them in a T-shirt they would never recover. Start small, hats or something, don’t expect to be able to jump right into matching Easter dresses.
Q: I haven’t yet received my prize for D.A. Fantasy Football. I feel slightly…short-changed. To borrow from a great movie, “When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall. And, it has fallen here; it has fallen.” In summation, where’s my damn prize? Harry Havemeyer, Stowe, VT.
A: Wow, this is slightly embarrassing for me. Do you want the honest answer or do you want me to dance around it? Because TECHNICALLY, there was never any timeline set for delivery. It’s an IOU. The payment/reward process for all fantasy games is very tricky. When will you get paid? Hard to say. I once won a fantasy football league and was never paid. I then played the following year and did not pay the winner. There was some nice symmetry in that. Of course, all reasonable fantasy leagues collect the prize beforehand and then there is no issue. Who wants to be REASONABLE, though? I held back my fantasy football payment on principle this year and paid after the season. It’s not a defensible position, but it happened. So, deal with it. Now, as far as the D.A. thing goes, that’s laziness. That’s good old-fashioned American PROCRASTINATION. All I can say is, the awards are coming. Think of it as a great surprise, like Ed McMahon showing up at your doorstep.
Q: Can we ban puns? In light of the Jeremy Lin headline saga and everything else attached to Jeremy Lin isn’t it time to evolve as a species? Is there another form of wordplay out there that people can become obsessed with? Nothing has a higher failure rate than the pun. Chester Drawers, Pittsburgh, PA.
A: You nasty, Pun. A noble pursuit, but a fruitless one, I’m afraid. I agree that Jeremy Lin has shown off the dark and ugly side of puns. His name is just so dang LIN-DUCIVE to wordplay that people cannot help themselves. Puns are the classic “when I do it, it’s funny,” thing. Everyone is quick to jump on a bad pun, but then they come up with one and want to be lavished with praise and fits of hysterical laughter. Well, you can’t have it both ways. You’ve got to slog through a lot of bad puns to get to the occasional good one. Is it worth it? I DON’T KNOW. There’s one blog I read and for every post some person chimes in with a pun in the comments. Without fail. It is perhaps the most annoying thing I’ve ever encountered on the internet. But, I’m like 50:50 to use a pun in a post title in the next 36 hours, so what are you gonna do?