Welcome to Leap Day. I like when February gets stretched out to 29 days. Twenty-eight days is very symmetrical, but it feels a little disrespectful. It’s like someone designed a great golf course and realized there were only 17 holes, so they knocked the back-end off the driving range and made a 90 yard par-3. That’s crap. Also, if February is uncommonly short, I think we should have a long, luxurious month. Why can’t September be a good 33, 34 days? That’d be heaven. To celebrate this once every four years occasion, a mailbag seems quite appropriate.
Q: What do you think is worse, leaving the house without putting on deodorant at all, or leaving the house with a rogue deodorant streak down the side of your shirt? Armand Hammer, Pottstown, PA.
A: Are we in the Continental United States? Because, I’m assuming in the more “musky” areas of the globe, no deodorant wouldn’t be a problem at all. When I worked at a golf course, I’m not going to say I was afraid, but I was constantly aware that my morning routine relied on not getting anything on my shirt. When you’ve got to open up the cart barn at 6 am, you can’t waste precious seconds. Toothpaste drool, rogue deodorant, these are morning killers. Of course, anyone with any discipline knows that you brush your teeth, then put your shirt on, then put the deodorant on. That’s the answer to the puzzle. No one is perfect, though, and so there are days when you forget to apply or accidentally decorate your shirt with some Speed Stick (no one actually uses Speed Stick, correct?). I think the deodorant on the shirt is worse. It makes you look a bit harried, a bit of a MESS. If you happen to forget, you can probably fake it through the day. I once had a gel deodorant that when combined with fine cotton golf shirts would change their color. True story. I’d have a navy blue shirt with aquamarine pit-highlights. Now that’s embarrassing.
Q: The Phillies play Florida State today and I was surprised to see some regulars in the lineup. I am rational enough to know that this game doesn’t matter, but what about the weekend? And, should we be concerned if the Phillies aren’t winning games this Spring? Chuck Ward, Tallahassee, FL.
A: Oh, didn’t you hear? Today against the Seminoles is MUST WIN. It would actually be a bit embarrassing to lose to a college team, but we’re still a few weeks away from needing to pay attention to wins and losses. The Spring schedule is odd this year. Three straight against the Yankees to open up, and deep down all Philly fans will want to take 2 of 3, but it’ll be all right if that doesn’t happen. I don’t want to say that Spring Training records are meaningless, but for a team like this one the wins and losses aren’t important. If I had a younger team, a team that was supposed to be on the rise (say Washington?), then I’d want to win Spring games. Just to set the tone, to get used to being successful to a certain extent. The Phillies don’t need any of that, they can just remember back to last year when they won 102 times. By late March you want your pitchers to have their velocity and the hitters to be looking comfortable and hitting line drives. Specific numbers are far more important to individual players trying to win a spot than they are to the team as a whole. What I’m saying is, don’t bail on the season if they lose to New York on Saturday.
Q: I feel like there’s a strong chance the first time my kid has alcohol it will be “stolen” from my own house. I’m going to try to use this fact to get my wife to stop drinking Bud Light Lime. Do you really want a kid that goes off into world with a taste for lime-flavored beer? I don’t think so. Willie Corona, White Plains, NY.
A: Interesting stance. I imagine policing a teenager’s drinking or non-drinking has to be a complete nightmare. And, people take wildly different approaches. On one end you’ve got the locked liquor cabinets and then on the other we’ve got people like you who are just concerned their kid drink the RIGHT beer for their time. I remember going to a high school graduation party once and the kids were freely drinking with the adults and it was a mind-blowing scene. I didn’t start drinking until I got to college. One hassle I spared my parents, I suppose. We had beer in the garage and unguarded liquor and wine, but I never touched the stuff, despite being home alone plenty. It’s strange I never tried it, considering I buckled to peer pressure at college in about four seconds. What was your question? Oh, can you ban your wife’s BL Lime? Negative. There’s no correlation to what you drink first and what you become a drinker OF, I can state that with full anecdotal conviction. If a kid really wants to drink, he’ll try anything, and then years later it’ll just be a funny story, “Remember when we did shots of Blue Curacao?” So, nice try, but the Bud Light Lime is there to stay.
Q: Is the toaster not the most disappointing appliance in your kitchen? My whole life is floating around in a “cloud,” but I can’t get a properly toasted piece of bread? Are you bleeping kidding me? Izel Jenkings, Philadelphia, PA.
A: Toast is tough. It makes you work for it. I think your standard 4-slice toaster probably works OK. You’re going to need some trial and error to find the ZONE, but eventually you’ll get the hang of it. The problem with the 4-slice is: it’s not versatile, and it sometimes isn’t conducive to MEGA-BAGELS, or giant artisan loaves. For those reasons and others, I prefer a toaster oven. It’s HANDY. But, toaster ovens do not do a good job of toasting. The bigger the toaster oven (it’s comes with a rotisserie attachment!) the worse it’s going to do with a simple toast job. The best toaster oven I ever had kept the toast and oven functions separate. The toast had the button you press down (best part of a real toaster) and a dial to control everything else. Now, that’s all combined. You have to use the timer for toast, which is a nightmare. And, you never know what function you’re on. WHICH WAY SHOULD MY BAGEL FACE? It’s troubling. The best advice I can give you is to advance to a point in your life where you can afford a lavish kitchen with acres of counter space so you can employ both the toaster oven and the standard 4-slice. That’s living.
Q: What percentage of kids do you think are cute? Brutal honesty. I’m talking like 5-years old and younger. All adolescents are vile creatures. Seena Mirror, Cleveland, OH.
A: I don’t have any kids, but I have this theory that deep down parents know when they don’t have the best-looking baby. I’m not saying they don’t LOVE the kid, but they’re secretly hoping old junior grows out of the ugly phase. Maybe that nose will look distinguished once his head is full-sized? I’m just running with a hypothesis here. I think these parents probably also get a bit annoyed with people patronizing them about their kid’s adorable rating. Say you post a picture of your very average looking kid on Facebook, out of obligation, and then you get the standard, “OMG Stop it, TOOOO Adorable!!!!” comments. That would bother me, just because people are so full of horsebleep. I wouldn’t want my kid overly praised for his/her appearance anyway. Whoa, let’s keep the ego in check. If I had a toddler I’d rather it be praised for having great comedic timing, or something WORTHWHILE. Oh, what percentage? 41%.
Q: I saw in an excerpt from Hank Haney’s book that he’s claiming Tiger seriously considered leaving golf for a military career, specifically the Navy SEALs. If that happened, would it have been the biggest non-scandalous sports story of all-time? Henry Hanie, Plano, TX.
A: This Hank Haney book is going to be something else. It’s going to be terribly painful to read. Haney had “help” from Jaime Diaz, but have you ever heard Haney talk? Probably the most boring storyteller of all-time. You’re going to want to focus on excerpts, believe me. This one is particularly juicy. We all know Tiger is fond of the military and was very proud of his father’s service. I don’t completely dismiss the claim that Tiger was interested in joining the SEALs. You’re talking about a guy who is a competitive freak, so taking the challenge of SEAL training is something that probably appealed to him–at least in theory. It would have been a massive story. You think about the coverage that Pat Tillman got, and at the time he gave up football to join the Army, he probably had 1/100th the profile of Tiger Woods? If that. So, I don’t know how you’d rank potential stories, or what you mean exactly by non-scandalous, but it’d be way up there. Top-3 at least. Up there with Magic’s HIV announcement, things of that magnitude.
Q: I saw that Lil’ Wayne was wearing a pair of million dollar headphones at the NBA All-Star game. That’s a lot of diamonds. If you had the means, what object would you encrust with diamonds? M. Pulsebuy, Beverly Hills, CA.
A: You mean after my headphones? Maybe my toilet brush? Then you’d feel like a real aristocrat when you were servicing your loo. I’m having a hard time brainstorming this one. I think the best answer I can come up with is my putter. I feel like I’d get the most mileage out of it in that case. It’s something I use with some frequency, it doesn’t ever wear out, I’m not expecting a massive improvement in the putter that will make mine obsolete, and it certainly wouldn’t impact performance. It’d be nice to have a little distraction on the green. Did Grossy just 3*-putt again? I think he did, but check out the bling on that flat stick! The only downside would be having to use a putter cover. I hate putter covers. I hate watching people use them, I think they add 10 minutes to every round of golf. AWFUL. But, I could sacrifice that for all the sweet, “His putting stroke looks like a million bucks,” jokes.