Mid-Week Mailbag.

Do You Sell, or POWER Sell?

There’s nothing worse than having a great idea only to find out that it’s not original.  I was eating the other day sans napkin, as is my custom, and I wiped my hands on my jeans.  That’s what jeans are for, correct?  It got me thinking, if people love wiping their hands on their jeans so much, why not denim napkins?  Think of the endless possibilities.  Right there on the spot I started counting my millions.  Then I checked out the internet and saw that denim napkins are everywhere.  Foiled again.  The mailbag…

Q:  I just bought five identical pairs of jeans off eBay because I can’t find them in stores and they are the only ones that fit.  Now I am bombarded by emails from the sellers wanting me to give them positive feedback and I don’t want to.  I just want to buy them and be done.  Is positive feedback on eBay important?  Taylor Denim, Richmond, VA.

A:  I feel for people who can’t just go out and buy a pair of pants.  Feels like something you should be able to do IN AMERICA.  But, not everyone fits in that size window or sometimes the pants are just not CUT RIGHT.  Sometimes I try on a pair of flat-front pants and they fit around my waist, the length is fine, but the pockets are stretched and taxed to the point of exhaustion.  As in, I couldn’t slide one thin dime into those sumbitches.  It makes me feel like I have a thigh circumference issue and wonder why all the skinny people forced us to get rid of our pleats.  But, anyway, getting back to eBay…the feedback is very important to the people who use eBay.  Is it important to you?  Is it important in the grand scheme of things?  Absolutely not.  The positive feedback is how sellers distinguish themselves.  Are you a POWER SELLER?  Or are you  just some clown that pulled a pair of pants out of their closet and threw them up for auction?  I think some people still fear eBay.  What if they don’t send my stuff?  So, those hundreds, or thousands of positive comments are reassuring to the novice buyer.  Did you check out the feedback before you bought?  If you did, you may be obligated to perpetuate the chain.  If you went in with blind faith, then you can probably go ahead and the stiff the guy.

Q:  Now that Lance Armstrong has been stripped of his Tour de France titles and had his name removed a building at Nike, etc…what do you think will be his lasting legacy?  Greg T. World, Paris, France.

A:  Nike is having a hell of a time keeping people’s names on their buildings.  Maybe it’s just time to start lettering or numbering them?  The Michael Jordan Center for Shoelace Development….how about Building K?  Safer.  The Tour de France is the most fraudulent sporting event in the world.  I didn’t even check to see what happened, did they award the titles retroactively to the guy who finished 2nd?  Because there’s probably a pretty good shot that guy was pumping himself full of super blood as well.  Are they acting like they never happened?  Can we all just agree that Lance was the best of the doped cyclists during that era?  I think it’s the cover up and all the lies that really haunt Lance at this point.  The athletes who have done the best with steroid fallout are the ones who admitted it right away.  But Lance probably thought his image was too crucial to his Livestrong brand and fund-raising efforts to come clean.  He pulled a bit of a Pete Rose.  What you can’t deny is all the money and awareness Armstrong helped raise regarding cancer research.  Those Livestrong bracelets were a pretty revolutionary idea.  You could argue that the NFL’s pink cleats and MLB’s pink bats have roots in Armstrong’s bracelets.  In the end, he’s kind of like a benevolent gangster.  The guy who runs an organized crime syndicate, but is throwing turkeys out of the back of a truck at Thanksgiving.  The cancer fundraising should be more important than anything else, but Lance’s image will never be fully restored.  The Livestrong brand will probably continue on, he’ll just be scrubbed from the records and eventually forgotten.  

Q:  How do you get out of a writerish funk? Like, say you used to bang out 10 pages in 10 minutes and now (like Q), you get to paragraph 3 and you’re like…I have no direction where this is going? It’s all of a sudden. Like a virus. Advice. Maybe it’s the topic. It’s not the caffeine. That variable is constant.  Bea Lankscreen, Ludwigs Corner, PA.

A:  Well, I never banged out ten pages in ten minutes.  In the best of grooves, we’re probably talking about a few thousand words a day when it comes to non-blog writing.  I’ve never had too much trouble coming up with blog content.  It did get a bit harder after the first couple of years, but what helps about the blog is that you start and finish a post at the same time.  That end is always in sight.  This will be my 1,855th post (according to the stats, I don’t count).  At a conservative estimate of about 600 words a post, that’s well over a million words.  The point is, if I set out to write a million words, I’d never get there.  When I get into a funk with writing it’s usually because I can’t see the finish line.  Why write a few pages when there are a couple hundred that have to follow?   I think the best way to persevere is to set aside a lot of time.  If I have a full day to write something, or to hit a goal, it’s a lot easier because I know I can waste some time, I can stare at the blank screen for a while.  If I only have two hours, as soon as I don’t jump right in it, the time pressure starts and I think…now I’ve only got an hour-45.  I think the bottom line is, it’s very hard to be a part-time writer.  In any capacity.  And if you aren’t a full-time writer you’ve got to be easier on yourself during periods of “block.”  

 

Q:  Do you think women who run on the streets are ever flattered by catcalls or is it always a nightmare of an experience?  Do you think they spend their whole run hoping not to hear a car horn or some meat head hollerin’?  Wandy “Eyes” Rodriguez, Houston, TX.

A:  Well, I can say with some conviction that men often intend their actions to be flattering, but some things get lost in translation.  You know all those rules you hear about not hitting on a girl at the gym?  I’m pretty sure that yelling out your car window takes all the worst parts of that and MAGNIFIES them.  If the roles were reversed, the guy would be totally flattered.  He might even blush.  His stride would pick up, he’d CRUSH his personal best 5K time.  It’d be all positive.  But I bet half the time a woman is thinking, my god, I hope this neanderthal doesn’t stop and get out of the car.  Guys will never be able to stop doing this though, so I think if you do it, you have to be as harmless as possible.  Bring some humor to the situation.  Or reveal your intentions to be playful and nothing else.  Nothing says casual like the old car horn “double-tap.”  That should be OK, right?  RIGHT?  Or possibly yelling, “HEYYYYY,” out the window?  Pushing it.  Just try not to be like, “Hey (expletive), nice (expletive).”

Q: There are numerous ways to shoot a certain score on a golf course.  Could you go through some of the ways you could shoot, oh I don’t know, 82 and rank which one might be better than the other? Vanity Handicap, New Haven, CT.

A:  There are dozens of ways to shoot 82.  That could be an entire blog, not just an entire post.  I’ll do five real quick, in increasing order of satisfaction:

5. The 2 Greens in Regulation, 28 putt, 82.  Nothing is worse.  Why?  Because you obviously hit the ball like BUTT.  That impresses no one in your group and they also are bitter because you got up and down all day and probably made some crucial putts.  Also, no one wants this guy as their partner–even though they should.  

4.  The Didn’t Shoot 82, “82.”  I feel like 82 is a real popular score to throw out there when you are lying about your score.  This is something a real good player might do.  Oh, god, I played terrible.  What did I shoot?  I don’t even know–82?  Felt like a billion.  

3.  The Miracle Reversal, 45-37, or 46-36, “82.”  The opposite of this is probably one of the worst things that can happen.  I was once 1-under par through 11 holes at Galloway from the tips and anyone who knows me and has played that course knows it was the finest stretch of 11 holes of MY LIFE.  I don’t know for sure if I broke 80.  I think I did, but I totally derailed.  Might have been an “82.”  When you go the other way you feel pretty good.  Hey, I didn’t waste the entire day.  Maybe I shouldn’t QUIT FOR LIFE.  

2.  The 10 fairway, 12 green, 38-putt 82.  This is in many ways frustrating.  You hit the ball really well.  Your score, though?  Bleh.  That’s because putting is stupid and you are horrible at it.  Why is this the same sport?  I DON’T KNOW.  Anyway, at least you are hitting it good.  It could be a lot worse.  

1.  The played a real golf course, careered it for 82.  Unless you are a real fancy gentlemen, you probably spend the majority of your time playing average golf courses.  Maybe you turn yourself into a decent player, but it’s hard to say, because you never really get tested.  Then you get invited to Merion, or your new girlfriend says something like, “My dad’s a member at Winged Foot, ever hear of it?”  At this point, you overcome the nerves, the greens, the dipsh*t caddy you can’t get comfortable with and scrape out a real, live 82.  Great score. 

Q:  Do you think it’s ever OK to abduct a pet?  I have a friend with an elaborate plan to kidnap a dog.  It involves a van, a fake sweepstakes check and various other diversions.  They claim that once the dog goes missing and the people make no effort to find it, we will be vindicated.  I’m kind of stuck on the whole illegality issue.  The dog doesn’t look sick, or mistreated necessarily, it just spends 24/7 in this tiny yard.  Patty Larceny, Jupiter, FL.

A:  That’s a tough one.  I don’t think you can steal the dog.  Or, abet in the dog thieving.  I’d really like to see this plan play out, though, possibly in some type of viral video.  Are you the fake check man?  That’s a big responsibility.  If the dog wasn’t healthy, or was being mistreated in some way then I think you have some room to work there.  Perhaps not a straight abduction, but you can report such behavior to certain authorities or organizations.  I get that some people think they are the best kind of pet owners and everyone should own a pet the exact same way that they own it.  Doesn’t always work out that way.  Does the dog get returned if they do look for it, by the way?  Or is that an empty promise?  Has your friend already named the dog?  So much is troubling me about this question.  For now I’m sticking with: Don’t rent that van.  

Q:  I’ve always heard people talk, sharps if you will, about not betting on bad Quarterbacks.  What do you do then when Josh Freeman plays Christian Ponder–like tonight?  Am I to believe that no sharp is betting this game?  Kenny Parlay, Nashville, TN.

A:  Oh, I think the game will get plenty of action.  It’s the only NFL option mid-week.  That’s huge.  I think all gambling rules are to be looked at as general guidelines and not hard & fast.  Minnesota was a decent bet last week with a terrible QB who played a terrible game.  I don’t think any sharp acts on one bit of information (assuming the game isn’t fixed).  It’s all cumulative.  You just feed it into the machine and see what comes out.  Speaking of which…

Big Dub, Record:  18-15-2

Tampa Bay (+6.5) @ Minnesota: The Vikings are seen as a good team and I don’t fully understand it. They beat Jacksonville, Detroit, Tennessee, and Arizona. Ugh. Yes, they beat San Fran, but that was catching the 49ers in a bad spot. And who honestly trusts Christian Ponder? It’s Thursday Night, which means a stinkfest. Take the points.

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7 thoughts on “Mid-Week Mailbag.

  1. pretty funny re: the jeans. it is hard to find that magical pair. personally, i am cheap and unsophisticated. will. wear. same. pair. all the time. not same style, diff pair. props to 5. um. about ebay, wow. so over my head, it all intimidates me. i don’t think i ever bought something there, prob never will. now, i did get something on groupon. yoga sess amazing deal. now i have TONS of spam and can’t figure out how to stop it. grrr. opportunity cost.

    thanks for the writing tips. i agree, i think feeling like i have a day ahead of me, helps – blogging is pretty easy for me. short. quick. i do think one can be a part time writer, just focus needed. not ideal, but possible. it’s when i want to write a chapter or a longer thing, i’ve been looking at the screen and thinking, this is horse manure. even stinkier. starbucks can’t even save this…

    and pets, i’d never steal one. i prefer to pretend that the pets of others are my own. and i also like to name virtual pets, like the ones on youtube or when i google image “cutest puppy.” i have a million puppies, actually, that way.

    Q

  2. Writers block at work usually means I haven’t done enough research. Easy enough. I haven’t the foggiest idea about writing outside of work and don’t know whether “research” translates there.

    82. 82. I’m personally an aficianado (sp?) of the 12 indifferent bogies 38-44-82. Good drive . . . mediocre iron . . . some form of three-putting/failed chipping/lag putting from six feet blech-festival on the green . . . boom. Does that sound boring? YOU BET.

  3. Regarding the pet maybe they should just knock on the door and ask if they’d be willing to give them their dog. Or maybe even pay a small fee for it. If that doesn’t work then you go ahead and engage the sweepstakes plan.
    My favorite part of this Bag was trying to fill in the blanks on Hey (expletive), Nice (expletive). The options are endless and all very entertaining.

  4. The worst form of an 82 is when you hit one good shot and one bad shot per hole, kind of like what DC was saying. But in this case it would go like this:
    Great drive, horrible iron shot, no shot at getting up and down…bogey.
    Next hole, horrible drive, no shot of getting it near the green in regualtion…bogey
    Third hole, decent drive, green in reg, three putt…bogey.

    At that point you know something is going to go wrong on every hole. I think you witnessed something like this when I shot 86 at Concord in the PA Open qualifier.

  5. Yeah, I mean when I have it going bad like that I really am just hoping for a par-5 where I can either hit a bad drive or bone my layup and still have a chance at par, or a par-3 short enough to hit SW. Only real way to break the cycle.

  6. Yeah. It’s the “I Have No Faith In My Own Consistency” 82. Also in this kind of round you’re only a few sprinkled doubles and an eff-it triple away from an 87.

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