So I turned on the Miami Heat/Indiana Pacers game to watch the last few minutes. The Pacers had just blown a modest lead, and it looked like Miami was going to pull away for a close, but comfortable win. Then the parade to the line started for both teams and it got ugly. Paul George missed two, D-Wade missed, Hibbert and Granger…no one could hit two free throws. Then, LeBron missed two. It set up a final possession where LeBron and Wade drew enough attention to get Mario Chalmers a clean look. He missed. Pacers win. LeBron haters rejoice. I was thinking, those who say you just need to watch the 4th quarter of an NBA game actually mean you just need to watch the final possession. Also, thank god I don’t have an NBA blog. I’d have to analyze LeBron instead of doing the mailbag. I shudder at the thought…
Q: I’ve noticed that NBA players these days love their glasses. Or more accurately, they love big bulky frames. Russell Westbrook added an interesting shirt the other day and someone called him, “geek chic.” My question is, how horrified are these guys going to be when they’re watching themselves on ESPN Classic in twenty years. S.J. Raphael, Cleveland, OH.
A: I’ve noticed this. What I find interesting is that there is a distinct age cut-off for the look. After the Thunder/Lakers game you saw Durant and Westbrook in the glasses and other accessories, but then Kobe comes to the podium and he’s just wearing that same $10,000 suit he’s been wearing for years. Kobe’s not putting the glasses on. I guarantee you that, and I respect Kobe for that. He’s not subject to a whim like Durant or even LeBron. My question is, are these glasses decorative? How many of them are just clear lenses? It’s not like these guys are out on the court wearing Rambis-specs. My thought is, the players will be embarrassed. If Andre Iguodala does it, IT’S EMBARRASSING. They’ll try to explain it off, like we all do with our transgressions. “I swear, people wore turtlenecks under t-shirts! I don’t know why. They just did!” It’s going to harder for the NBA players to erase the past, though. We can hide and/or destroy old photographs. These guys are famous.
Q: Have you seen the Miller Lite punch-top can or whatever they’re calling it? They’ve finally gone too far, right? This is totally useless. Rip Cord, Bowie, MD.
A: I must be missing something, because apparently there is a population of people who need a better beer pour. Personally, I’ve never in my life poured a beer out of a can and felt like I was being burdened by inferior technology. I’ve drifted away from the can in recent years, but back in my college days I spent ENTIRE NIGHTS filling plastic cups with canned beer. I survived with the simple pop top. I think the beer companies might be trying to recreate that MIRACLE. If you saw Don Draper drink a beer in the early seasons of Mad Men you saw you had to open those beasts up with a real can opener as if it was one of those little cans of Hershey Syrup. That’s a pain in the ass. The pop top solved it. Now, we’ve gone through wide mouth cans, cyclone bottles, can beer chuggers dictate the market this much? In terms of superficial gimmicks to lure in the American Light Beer Drinker, I’m afraid the punch top can is not going to be able to capture the IMAGINATION like its wide mouth and cold-activated predecessors.
Q: I saw recently that some Ted Williams memorabilia was auctioned off. Do you wonder why the family didn’t want it? Do they do it for the money or do they think the fans deserve to have it? Cash Proceeds, Harrisburg, PA.
A: I think at least 90% of the time these sales are motivated by money. I remember maybe a year ago there was a big auction of Dr. J. memorabilia. Of course, Dr. J. is still alive and sold the stuff himself. There was some speculation about whether he was doing it for the money—he claimed he wasn’t. Curt Schilling also recently had a large auction, but he is a collector and possibly had just accumulated too much stuff? I believe charity received a portion of the proceeds in both of these auctions. In terms of selling memorabilia that has been passed down through the family, I’m sure there is a temptation to sell if we’re talking about Ted Williams. If it’s from someone who wasn’t one of the greatest hitters ever, the sentimental value would probably outweigh the monetary value. But, in the case of Ted Williams, maybe they’re thinking the items become less significant to each generation? Maybe they feel like they deserve to get something out of it? If Ted Williams played today, he would have been able to set up generations of his family financially, perhaps this makes them feel entitled to some financial benefit. Or maybe they’re just tired of being associated with Ted Williams. It sounds crazy, but it could be the case.
Q: Say you have something on your hands—food, dog slobber—whatever. What’s the protocol for wiping it off, assuming you can’t get to some type of towel. Is anything fair game? Auntie Bacterial, Provo, UT.
A: I think you’re asking if it’s OK to wipe your hands off on your friend’s couch? Or maybe smear some rogue taco sauce on the underside of the passenger seat in their car? That’s a tough question, because from a very young age the desire to dispose of things INAPPROPRIATELY is impossible to control. Take the underside of your basic school desk, for example. HORROR SHOW. Also, most people are slobs. Left without supervision, even an adjusted adult will wipe their hands off on just about anything. You talk about dog slobber? Well, I’ve seen people wipe the slobber off ON THE DOG. Return it to its natural environment. Some targets are more enticing than others. The halls of my freshman year dorm had carpeted walls. That’s carpet. On the walls. You could have opened up a biological warfare research lab among those fibers. I’ll tell you a move I like: On the jeans. Little honey mustard on my hands? I rub it in as much as I can and then I just hit the backside of my knee on the jeans. It’s a victimless crime. I don’t use napkins that much. I’m concerned about the ENVIRONMENT, OK? As far as protocol goes, there is one simple rule: If you can make it invisible, IT NEVER HAPPENED.
Q: As a self-ordained sandwich connoisseur would you like to comment on your dislike of crusts as a child? Even on food that didn’t have crusts, like pancakes? Do you think kids should be accommodated like that? Cutting off crusts and making separate meals? Monty Cristo, Rolla, MO.
A: I think I mentioned this casually once, but it’s true that I didn’t eat crusts as a child, or more accurately, I didn’t eat the edges of any food including pancakes and pop tarts. I’m sure there were times when my parents thought, “If I have to cut the edges off this clown’s pancakes one more time, I’m going to leave him AT THE DINER.” What was I thinking? Honestly, I believe I was a bit of a prodigy in something called “The Middle Cinnamon Bun Theory.” You know when you make a pan of cinnamon buns and it’s obvious the best one is in the middle? Well, I just carried that over to all foods. I’m going to eat the center out of that SUMBITCH. I eventually outgrew this, probably because I decided actually stuffing my face with the entire pancake was WORTH THE RISK. I have remained a very picky eater, though. Should parents indulge? I guess you have to look your kid in the eye and determine how stubborn they are. Will they break under duress? I’m sure once they crack it’s a dream come true, but I was uncommonly stubborn.
Q: So, Albert Pujols got his hitting coach fired yesterday. Not exactly, but I’m sure Albert’s torrid start didn’t help the matter. You think Pujols should throw the guy a car or something as a parting gift? Break off a little of that 240 million as an apology for hitting .190? S. Calade, Malibu, CA.
A: Well I get your point, the coach, who is making 1% of what the superstar player makes and isn’t the one on the field is the guy who gets canned. Mickey Hatcher also leaves LA now as the guy who had the best hitter of his generation in a historic slump. Would a BMW make him feel better, or would it just be offensive? Probably offensive. Very offensive. I’m sure Albert feels bad about it, but there will be NO GIFTS. From what I understand, Hatcher had been under fire for a while in Anaheim, and this probably has as much to do with the team’s record as it does with Albert’s numbers. The Angels have had some high-priced flops on offense, but a bigger concern is the juggernaut in Texas. The Rangers look like they could runaway with the division if you let them, and in the AL you don’t want to count too much on the wild-cards. The Angels think they have a team that should win THIS YEAR, so this is a wake-up call. Albert’s plight is a real mystery, though. Still stuck on one homer and getting excited about three infield hits last night.
Q: I think I’ve got a pretty good idea here—tear away area rugs. If you’re anything like me, my area rugs take a beating. Spills and Thrills as they say. Granted, these aren’t the most expensive rugs, but wouldn’t it be nice to tear off the top layer and have a brand new surface underneath? I figure you could triple the life of the rug.
A: I know one thing, it’d be incredibly satisfying to tear away that rug and see a pristine surface underneath. I agree that cheap-o throw rugs aren’t the most cost-prohibitive items on the planet, but you still have to summon the courage and energy to go get one. Is today going to be the day I go get the damn rug? That’s not a real fun day, so being able to tear-away would allow you to postpone that mundane affair. I’ve got two concerns. First, how tall would this rug be? I imagine three rugs stacked on top of each other would be quite the OBSTACLE. You’d trip over that thing constantly. Also, I think you’d waste the tear aways, It’d be very easy to make some mess on the rug and just toss that layer instead attempting a clean-up. There’s a very good chance you’d end up using three rugs just as quickly as you would have used one. I don’t like to shoot down ideas here, because after all, I’m an IDEA MAN, but this one sounds particularly terrible. What’s a better idea? Tear away shower curtain liners. Much thinner—equally disgusting. See—IDEA MAN.