Big sports television night. Roy Halladay takes the mound for start #2 against Josh Johnson and the Flyers open their series in Pittsburgh against the Penguins. Halladay and Johnson have had some epic clashes, including Roy’s perfect game, but most eyes will be on the offense to see if they can show some life against one of the league’s most dynamic starters. Odds are, Johnson will keep you down, but that’s not going to slow the rush to judgment. Just as a Flyers loss in game one against Pittsburgh will set off a city-wide panic. So my advice for tonight is to try to enjoy the games without a damning sense of finality. And in the meantime, here’s the mailbag.
Q: So I saw a commercial for Duncan Hines “frosting creations,” where you pour some type of flavor powder into a can of icing to create new and wild flavors. There’s bubble gum! Since I know you’re strongly anti-canned icing, was curious about your thoughts. T. X. Sugar, Radnor, PA.
A: This reminds me of Crystal Light. Oh, is that lemonade? No, it’s flavored water. For me, this is a really shocking and disturbing development. Canned icing, or “frosting,” as they like to call it, is really a wholly different food stuff. You know how the budget cheese can’t even be called “cheese” it has to be called cheese product? Or cheese food? Something like that? The same rules should apply to icing. This garbage should be called “icing product.” And, hey if you’re in a pinch, you’re in a pinch, but let’s not dress this up and pretend like it’s homemade just because you had to STIR something. And where did they get these flavors? Bubble gum? Is it the really crappy bubble gum flavor that the dentists had for fluoride in 1988? Because that’d be GREAT on a cupcake. Cotton candy? Cotton candy isn’t a flavor. No one likes the TASTE of cotton candy it’s just a fun thing to play around with at a game or carnival. Needless to say, I won’t be getting anywhere near this stuff.
Q: Do you think you’ll ever watch anything on VHS again? I can’t remember the last “tape” I watched. Kind of bums me out, should have made an event out of it. Beatrice K. Rewind
A: I think I probably will, although the chances have been drastically reduced. I used to watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation on VHS just about every year. I got the movie in the heyday of the “tape” and just stuck with it–you don’t need video quality to enjoy Clark W. Griswold. But this year when I popped the tape in, it was NOT HAPPY. Maybe because I left it in the VCR for an entire calendar year? This is what happens when you only watch one tape. So, the XMAS Vacation cassette had to be retired. That doesn’t leave me in possession of many VHS tapes, but I do have one that I will probably watch again at some point. It’s a video presentation I made with some friends in High School for our project on Fried Green Tomatoes. I haven’t watched it in a long time, because when we made it, we thought it was the funniest thing OF ALL TIME. I don’t want to put it in and find it to be terribly unfunny all these years later. But eventually, I’ll buckle. I know what you mean about the missed opportunity, though. It should be a celebration. I remember when I watched Silence of the Lambs on Laser Disc at my neighbor’s house. If I only knew that was going to be the first and last Laser Disc I ever watched.
Q: Is it a violation to watch Modern Family tonight during the Flyers and/or Phillies game? It might be a needed break in the action. Ruben Amarrow, Philadelphia, PA.
A: If you were sending this question from Peru, I’d say go ahead and watch your stories. But that isn’t the case. My thoughts on questions like these is, if you have to ask…you probably know the answer. You have to watch sports live. That’s the only way it works. A sit-com? You can catch that almost any time, though Modern Family does not allow their shows to be viewed On Demand, which is another topic entirely and complete HORSEBLEEP. I don’t believe that you have to watch every second of every game, sometimes you need a breath–especially during playoff hockey. I’m known to turn the channel during the game and then flip back. I’m WISHING that the Flyers scored while I was on another channel. This NEVER works, but it’s something I do. That’s no way to watch Modern Family, though, in little 2-minute bursts. I don’t think you need to be tuned into the Phillies game tonight unless one of the pitchers has a no-no going. But, playoff hockey and this series in particular is appointment television. Set your DVR, or tell your friend with a DVR to set their DVR, or stumble into the 21st century and learn how to watch shows online.
Q: What if there was a media ban on sports when they were in the off-season? Like the moment after the Super Bowl ended, you aren’t allowed to talk, write, or broadcast anything about the NFL. The teams go about their business in secret and then the day before training camp is like News Christmas. You find out about free agents, you find out about the draft, the schedule for the year. How insane would that day be? Melvin Kyper Sr.
A: Are you still allowed to speculate? Because speculation is the WORST and all those months of it without any facts sprinkled in would be INTOLERABLE. I think you are presenting this as a totally impractical idea, though, something we know could never happen. That one day would be crazy, think of the record-setting page view numbers and TV ratings for Sportscenter. You know what the craziest thing would be, though? People would realize they don’t really need all the 0ff-season BS. It sounds a bit ridiculous, but you could easily catch up with the NFL in a day or two. And, then you’d realize how much time you’ve wasted in the preceding months. Sometimes when I’m away from an internet connection for like 48 hours I dive back in online and think, I’LL NEVER CATCH BACK UP. Then I start clicking around and I’ve seen everything in 10 minutes. Something doesn’t add up there.
Q: Why do people insist on wearing uncomfortable golf shoes? It makes no sense to me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve finished a round with someone and they take their shoes off and it looks like they shoved their heel in a garbage disposal.
A: It’s an issue of vanity. Nothing looks worse with a pair of pants than sneakers. People wear them, but there’s something extremely childish and clown-like about that look. It’s like you took all this time to put your little outfit together and then it all screeches to a halt at your feet. The pros are partially to blame too, because for years they always rocked the leather-soled wingtip style golf shoes. If the pros don’t wear sneaker-cleats, I don’t wear sneaker-cleats. If guys in the NFL wore cleated wingtips you can bet your ass that every high school football player would be wearing them too. More comfortable shoes are slowly creeping their way into the game, though. The “street shoe” revolution has replaced the straight sneaker-cleat and they look A LOT better. Even the high-end shoes are trending a bit more toward the athletic look. I’m hesitant to get in on the craze, because my golf sensibilities tend to lag well behind the times. I dress like Tom Watson circa 1997. Only a slight exaggeration. I also got an epic blister the last time I played golf thanks to my allegedly comfortable Eccos. The pain washes out some of the extraneous swing thoughts.
Q: Which book are you more likely to read, The Big Miss or Calico Joe? B. Dalton, Salt Lake City, UT
A: For those not in the know, The Big Miss is Hank Haney’s Tiger Woods book and Calico Joe is a new baseball novel (novella?) by John Grisham. Both of these books annoy me to a certain extent. I’ve touched on my feelings about Haney’s book. I think the guy is a total scumbag, not that Tiger is necessarily any better, but I have no interest in hearing his snarky Woods stories. Add that to the fact that it’s probably poorly ghost written and I don’t think I’ll ever turn a page. I’m far more likely to read Calico Joe, but I’m not in any rush. We all know that Grisham is a baseball fanatic, but this seems like a quick play to take advantage of the public’s rekindled interest in the baseball phenom–something that was on display with the success of The Art of Fielding. I feel like Grisham has gotten less popular? He sees a baseball book come out to mostly rave reviews and thinks–I CAN WRITE ABOUT BASEBALL TOO. Step aside, Harbach. For all I know, Grisham has had this manuscript done for years, but that’s how I have it played out in my head. Throw in that it’s very short, set in the era of Grisham’s youth and focuses on a phenom and it seems a bit formulaic. I do love reading about baseball, though, so I can’t rule out that I won’t snag the paperback at some point in the future.
Q: Would you take a job if one of the requirements was wearing a Merril Hoge tie every day? Assume that people will be allowed and more than willing to harass you about it on a daily basis. Jumbo Windsor, Mobile, AL.
A: For those who aren’t addicted to ESPN, there’s Merril and his enormous knot. Sometimes I watch the ESPN football coverage and wonder if the guys are just trolling, trying to see who can look more ridiculous. If only that was the case. Hoge is well aware of his ties and likes the attention (all negative) that gets for wearing them. He has a theory that as long as people are talking about him, regardless if it’s good, bad or about his tie, he’ll have a place in the media. The sad part is, he’s probably right. Ripping on Hoge for his tie is as good a reason to watch an NFL pregame as anything else. Could I pull off a “Hoge” every day? UNLIKELY. I’m not real keen on ever wearing a tie and when I do I like it to be an occasion–not just monotony. I’m also a lot taller than Hoge, so think about how ridiculous he looks when he takes off his jacket and multiply that by two, or ten. My tie would come down to the 2nd button, or else it would have to be yards and yards of fabric. That could get EXPENSIVE. Throw in the ridicule, and I couldn’t take it. I respectfully decline the job offer.
Q: Someone who practices law is called a lawyer. Someone who wields a saw is called a sawyer. Shouldn’t dentists be called “jawyers?” Tim Whatley, NY, NY.