How early do you get up to watch the Open Championship on a day like today? My body rejects early wake-up calls. I go to bed too late. But I hauled myself out of bed in the predawn light this morning to check in on the 1st round of a golf tournament. There’s no way I’ll get up early tomorrow, and by the weekend the leaders will tee off at a more reasonable time, but for the opening round, I found myself wanting to get a taste of how the event was going before 10 am. Tiger was off early and was already under par when I flicked on tube. The weather was calm–disappointing. After watching for a few holes, it became obvious Tiger was going to shoot a solid round. I made an executive decision. Back to bed. I needed to rest up for the mailbag.
Q: I think Wheels is a nice guy–that said, any opportunity to deep six him from broadcasting? Can he take McCarthy with him? What are the chances? Press Mute, Palermos, PA.
A: Wheels is a very nice guy. He’s also a great sport. This may be a slight bit of hyperbole, but I’m not sure anyone takes as much sh*t as Wheels. For most of his adult life he’s been getting picked on like the manager of your high school basketball team. Pretty much everyone associated with the Phillies rides Wheels pretty hard and he takes it all in stride. Hell, I once came across Wheels in my youth and I was encouraged by surrounding adults to question him about his hair situation. No one is really sure what’s GOING ON UP THERE, but I was about eight years old at the time and Wheels was already fair game. But, none of that has anything to do with his broadcasting. Wheels is an odd man in the booth, because he’s more of a color analyst, but he never played the game at a high level. He doesn’t have Harry’s great voice, and he doesn’t have Richie’s credibility and war stories–so a lot of people think, what does this guy know? What does he bring? Most times Wheels knows what he’s talking about, but you get the sense that he only knows because he’s been doing it for so long. Which brings us to the second problem–broadcaster fatigue. Listen to anyone do a few thousand games and you’ll eventually get sick of them. Wheels is especially bad at repeating the same things over and over. No-doubles defense. Great running counts. ENOUGH ALREADY! In terms of getting rid of him? I’ve got some bad news. The Phillies don’t really fire broadcasters. It’s not going to happen. You’d have better luck ousting a tenured professor. I’d boot McCarthy first, anyway. Then Sarge.
Q: I had a dream the other night and I was cleaning up after a party. Massive clean up. I had this giant trash can full of empties. Should I feel bad that I didn’t dream about the actual party? Floater McGavin, Trenton, NJ.
A: I very rarely remember my dreams. Sometimes I have a dream and I think…that was SOMETHING. But then when I wake up for good–it’s gone. Wiped clean. When I do remember my dreams, they are incredibly boring. I have a tendency to dream only about things that I do in my actual life. Kind of blows the definition of a dream–doesn’t it? In my dreams maybe one thing will be out of whack, but I’ll be working at a job that I had in the past. Oh, you wouldn’t believe this dream I had! I was working in a golf shop. So, so freaky. Sometimes I wonder if my REM sessions aren’t creative enough. I’ve never dreamed of sharing a gourmet picnic basket with January Jones, for example. But, getting back to your clean-up dream….I do think you should feel bad about missing the party. It was obviously epic. Beers were chugged, bad decisions were made, and WHERE WERE YOU? But seriously, I happen to be an amateur dream analyst. I’m afraid this probably wasn’t a dream about a party. It was a dream about cleaning. Do you live in a rat trap? You do, don’t you? Your subconscious isn’t telling you that you missed the party, it’s telling you to grab a mop and stand a post.
Q: Do you think people will ever actually live on the Moon? George Jetsin, Altoona, PA.
A: I’m not so sure. It’s hard for me to imagine things that aren’t going to happen in my lifetime. Like someone walks up to me and says, “The sun is going to go dark in 10,000 years–thoughts?” I have no idea what to say. I can’t imagine something like that. It’s too abstract. As far as living on the moon goes, I sometimes think we get a little bit carried away with the whole futuristic thing. What I mean is, we don’t predict the future correctly. We didn’t see the internet coming–we thought we’d have flying cars. Living on the moon seems like a last-ditch type of thing. Who would want to go to the Moon? They’d first have to relocate an NFL team just to get some people interested. But really, the Moon doesn’t have SH*T. It’d have to be a situation where we bungled up the Earth so badly that we were desperate for new areas to sully. If that was the case, would we be in a position to colonize? Would it be too late? Would we have used all our resources sucking the last bits of oil from the Earth? I’m sure how we live will change drastically, but lunar condos? That’s too far out for me to even fathom.
Q: Is two small pizzas the dumbest pizza order ever? What’s a small run? 7, 8 bucks? Ever hear of splitting a large? First time eating pizza? Come on now.
A: On the surface it seems like a dumb order. Can you imagine if they were the same toppings? How angry would that make you? SO ANGRY. My guess is, the person had two bratty, spoiled kids. They probably both demand their own personal cheese pizza or else they throw a temper tantrum. That’s the picture I have in my mind. The amazing thing about pizza is that people eat so much of it and very few people can order it correctly. Several things can go wrong ordering pizza. You can under-order. More troubling is ordering the wrong amounts of the wrong toppings. The worst person to get pizza with is someone who says, “Oh, I’ll eat anything. Olives? Sure!” Then you get a few of these people together and they end up ordering some topping travesty. “Let’s get one pepperoni and one olive, mushroom and avocado.” This is the point where I start to get really nervous. Because what inevitably happens is the pizza gets there and the morons have their one slice of clusterf*ck and then they see that glorious pepperoni. They know what they did. They screwed up their order. So, they dive in to the normal pizza because they think their original, “I’ll eat anything,” gives them free rein. NO. No, it doesn’t. Long story short, you’re starving and there are four pieces of olive sitting in the box. If you are one of the people who does this–hang your head in shame. To be properly enjoyed, pizza has to be ordered in the right company. It’s nice to have a friend who has a weak spot for ordering a safety large, or an emergency ‘boli.
Q: What do you think will be around longer, the USA Today or the SI Swimsuit issue? Joe Sudoku, Paoli, PA.
A: Interesting question. Unlike lunar habitation, a world without printed, tangible media doesn’t seem that far-fetched. I know you mention the swimsuit issue in particular, but I don’t see SI staying in print simply to circulate the annual bikini-fest. So, we’re basically talking about SI vs. the USA Today. From the numbers I could find, in a very abbreviated search, it seems that Sports Illustrated has fared relatively well in recent years in terms of circulation. We’re not anywhere close to seeing the last issue of SI, it has millions of subscribers. It also isn’t forced to cover news in the strictest sense. Sports Illustrated doesn’t have to report on who won the World Series, it provides the context, the background, the human interest. There’s a much less strict demand on the news cycle for those types of stories. What newspapers face is that by the time they get a paper in your hands every morning, it’s likely you already know the headlines. Unless you particularly like the Jumble, I’m not sure there is a reason to buy a paper, unless you “just like your DAMN MORNING PAPER.” And, believe me, I understand that argument. I don’t think it’s going to be enough to sustain papers for much longer, though. If you were guessing, perhaps the USA is one of the last five papers to die? NY Times, WSJ, anything else? It’s going to end, though, and I think sooner than Sports Illustrated stops their presses. And it won’t hurt to have that swimsuit issue, because if one thing is certain, even if you’ve seen a million pictures of women in bikinis, that doesn’t mean you don’t want to see one more.
Q: Considering its prominence in Hollywood, do you think anyone would ever make a movie, say a psychological thriller, about escaping the tyranny of a Scientologist? Considering what gets made these days, this seems like a layup of an idea? Kate Cruz, Capeside, MA.
A: Was Jack Nicholson’s character in The Shining a scientologist? I think a movie like this would do very well, because there is so much mystery surrounding Scientology, and what you do hear about it only adds to the level of intrigue. There are levels and thetans–it sounds an awful lot like science fiction. I remember seeing the Dianetics commercial when I was a kid and to think that has somehow become the chosen religion of many stars is hard to believe. What struck me about the commercial is that I had absolutely no idea what it was about. That has not changed. So, if someone made a movie about Scientology, I would probably watch just out of simple curiosity. It’d be like unlocking the secrets of the Freemasons. I think Tom Cruise really holds all the cards here. If someone is going to make a movie about Scientology, it’ll be Tom. And if he did there would have to be a reasonable chance that his “vision” got lost in translation. The big reveal might be–Tom Cruise is out of his flippin’ mind.