Rough effort for the Flyers last night. Flyers Kitten locked himself in his room after Sportscenter and I haven’t seen him since. Hockey games often confound me. You always hear about teams coming out flat, about getting outworked and it makes you wonder how this happens in the playoffs? Are the teams really flat? Or do they just look bad because they’re getting beat? For how much of a 7-game series can you actually maintain the highest level of play? I’ve never gotten anywhere close to playing hockey, or even skating, so I guess that will just be something I continue to wonder about. What will not remain a mystery? The answers to these mailbag questions. Dig in.
Q: Amarillo Slim Preston passed away the other day. I’ve often heard him referred to as “The Greatest Proposition Gambler of All-Time.” That title has to feel good, right? Do you think you could ever attain such a level? Joey Knish, Brooklyn, NY.
A: I hadn’t heard that Slim had passed away. That’s a sad day for American Poker, even though Slim’s off the felt issues have pushed him into the background a bit. You know what I think about all the time? Has any profession changed over the years as much as poker player? Take a look at a guy like Phil Hellmuth and compare him to Slim or Doyle Brunson. I can’t exactly picture Hellmuth storming through Texas, risking life and limb to make a living playing cards. The profession was once exclusive simply because of the stones it took to take on such an endeavor. Now, everyone with an internet connection can play millions of hands of poker without stepping foot outside their house. I don’t know that I have such high expectations in life to shoot for “Greatest of All-Time.” I’m reminded of Roy Hobbs in the Natural who was preoccupied with being recognized as “The greatest there ever was, the greatest there ever will be.” That ambition ended up getting Hobbs shot and clipped almost two decades off what would have been a tremendous career. I don’t need anyone to say, “There goes 3-Putt Territory,” when I walk down the street.
Q: I was out to lunch the other day and a young girl (~15-17) sitting near me was obsessed with the idea of raising chickens. She said things like, “I’m so totally into chickens right now.” And, “We’d never have to buy eggs again.” At one point she exclaimed, “Baby chickens!” Was it my responsibility to go over there and say, “No. Just…no.” Frank Perdoo, Buffalo, NY.
A: If nothing else, that sounds wildly entertaining. I think I see your point. Someone who says, “I’m so totally into chickens right now,” probably has little chance of being able to raise chickens. Raising chickens would be my own personal nightmare. I don’t care if I don’t have to buy eggs or not, having chickens running around all over the place is troubling. They’re hideously ugly, move in odd and disturbing bursts, and at the end of the day are TERRIFYING. But delicious. This is why I appreciate the hard work that chicken farmers around the country put in to supply my local grocer and fine dining establishments like Chick-Fil-A. You’re asking me if it is OK if you crush this young lady’s dream? I think you’ve got to let her fail. Or at least hope that someone who isn’t randomly sitting next to her in a restaurant will set her straight. If she really was just a teenager, you’d think once her parents got wind of this they’d shut her down pretty quickly. If my kid wanted chickens, I’d be like, “How about 100 iPads instead?” ANYTHING but the dang chickens. You’ve got to keep your kids in check in terms of wildlife. No reptiles. No rodents. No birds. Those are hard and fast rules to live by.
Q: What happens to magazine that don’t sell? Are they destroyed? Don’t you think unsold Playboys should be donated to underprivileged young boys or something? I mean, if tobacco companies go after the teens, why not Hef? Lee Garner, Jr. Charlotte, NC.
A: Sounds like a tremendous humanitarian undertaking. For the sake of argument, we’ll put all legal issues aside. Are all magazine destroyed? I feel like they probably are for the most part, I have an image in my mind of shredded and tossed magazines. It does seem a little wasteful, but most periodicals become pretty useless after a while, right? I’m sure you can get the occasional back issue, especially if it’s a collector’s item, but there’s no way these companies keep the bulk of their excess. Your point is, a Playboy, distributed in the right channels could actually serve a purpose. It’s not like reading about Oscar fashion six months after the fact. There’s VALUE in a Playboy. I also have vague memories of old-timers yammering on about dumpster diving for thrown out issues of the magazine. If our grandfathers could procure their own pornography, you’d like to think the youth of today could do the same. But, do teenage boys even know what Playboy is anymore? I think the magazine mostly exists at this point for people who were obsessed with it in their youth. And since I imagine far fewer Dads have Playboys around for their sons to find, the whole thing is going to die out–at least in print–fairly soon. I appreciate your recycling spirit and nostalgia, but you should probably focus your energies on another project.
Q: Considering the economy, is it time to retire the phrase, “Doing something like it’s your job?” We should be more sensitive, no? Polly Korrect, Seattle, WA
A: Well this is not a great expression to begin with. You could make an argument that “doing something like it’s your job,” means doing it with a half-assed, detached spirit. Or plodding through something while being miserable. But, that’s not what people mean when they say you are doing something like it’s your job. They mean you working hard and working in a beautiful rhythm. I’m sure I’ve used the expression several times and I can feel a sort of reflective sense of regret–surely there was something more clever to say. Should we stop saying it because people are out there who are unemployed? I don’t think so. If you happened to say this to someone who was “between jobs” I think they would be able to brush it off pretty easily. The only way you’d get in trouble is if you said something like, “You’re doing that like it’s your job…if you had one.” That sounds a little rude and mean-spirited. Also not appropriate? “You’re taking unemployment benefits like it’s your job.”
Q: So Amare Stoudemire tore up his hand punching a fire extinguisher. People can’t stop talking about how stupid it was. I agree, it was stupid, but totally understandable right? Who hasn’t had a meltdown or two? Woody Austen, Plano, TX.
A: The latest from Stoudemire is that he thought he was punching plastic. Of course, that’s stupid in a whole other way, because isn’t breaking glass part of the whole fire alarm process? I’m still not exactly sure what he punched, but I understand the frustration. It was just a poorly timed blow. I used to flip-out playing sports on occasion. Sometimes it was because I was really pissed, other times it was because that is what I thought I was supposed to do. I once got into it with an umpire at a high school game, but it lacked energy and authenticity. I was no Wally Backman. I was just like, I’ve SEEN people do this, I’m going to try it. On the golf course though, that a whole OTHER STORY. I was probably about eight the first time I got in trouble for throwing a club, and much like an NBA player who never commit fouls, I rarely hit a shot that I am totally happy with. I’ve broken three clubs out of anger (all unintentionally by slamming them into the ground). I once broke my beloved “Deuce,” a Callaway 2-wood that I hit 9-miles back in the day of wound balls. I hit a bad drive and slammed it into the ground at fabled Arrowhead. The head snapped off like a toothpick. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t hit the ground THAT hard. I consulted my playing partners. They were horrified, disturbed and concerned about the Earth. So, yeah, I can relate to Amare.
Q: Where does the burnt bottom rank in terms of pizza maladies? It always sneaks up on you, because the top usually still looks normal. Woodrow Stove, Reno, NV.
A: It’s way up there. Because like you said, you might not even realize it and then your tongue hits the bottom of the slice it tastes like you are scouring a grill with yo’ mouth. RAGE. It makes me angry at the pizza maker. If you ruin the cheese on your ride home that’s YOUR fault. But slipping a black-bottomed pie into a box like nothing happened is a decision made with devious intentions. I can see why they do it. If you show up to pick up the pizza and it’s not ready because they say they burnt it, you’re going to be PISSED about waiting. It’s probably lose/lose for the pizza guy. Also, once people eat pizza they become far less interested in pizza. Kind of like interest in something else, if you catch my drift. Once a person eats a pizza, the chances of them calling to complain are right around 0%. THEY’RE FULL. And, by the time they get ready to call again, their eyes will be filled with pizza-craving desire and they won’t remember the last pie which turned out burnt. I feel like this has to be an issue of oven rack placement? Because like you say, the whole pie is rarely burnt. The many mysteries of pizza making.
Q: Would you rather shave with cold water the rest of your life or brush your teeth with hot water? Gil Lette, San Jose, CA.
A: Tough question to answer, because I’ve never actually brushed my teeth with hot water. At least I can’t remember doing that. It sounds terrible to me, but then again I very rarely partake in the hot beverage. Some people just love warming their core with boiling caffeine bombs regardless the outdoor temperature. If it’s sub-26 degrees you can probably interest me in a hot chocolate. Otherwise, ice that bitch. America’s plentiful ice supplies keep us atop the world in my humble opinion. Shaving with cold water? I’ve actually read some dipsh*t article that encourages you to do this. It probably has something to do with your skin or your PORES. I have no idea. It sounds unnecessarily rustic to me. Plus, there’s no way this could work well on anything more than a little stubble. If you’ve got a beard going, you need to coax it into submission with a long process that includes hot water. If you have to choose, though, it’s got to be the cold-water shaving. Hot toothpaste? I vomited. You’d just have to shave about every day, which would be awful, but you’d get used to it.