There’s a beer in my fridge that’s been there for approximately two years. Maybe three. It’s the product of a failed trip to Total Wine where I got a selection of odd and extravagant beers. The majority of them turned out to be terrible. I bought them before I knew that I had an alcohol content limit for beers. I’m just not a guy who enjoys 20 proof beer. Double, triple whatever? No thank you. But for some reason I can’t get around to tossing this beer. There are always a few things in my fridge just taking up space. Am I self-conscious about having an empty fridge? Am I too lazy to throw something away? I’m not sure. But if you ever come over to have a drink, beware the 23 proof Double Dog Double Pale Ale. To sober you up–A mailbag.
Q: Back in college there was this pizza place that served spaghetti pizza. Tasty. Filling. Since then I’ve seen the spaghetti pizza pop up at a few other places and we all know that bread mixes well with pasta. My question is, how come the “pasta sub” doesn’t exist? Just your favorite pasta dish served on a hoagie roll. Seems like a billion dollar idea to me. Alfredo Sandwich, Lansing, MI
A: I’ve never really gotten into spaghetti pizza. I’ve got to be careful about how filling my pizza is, because I like to eat a lot of pizza. I was at this place once that had these huge, stuffed slices. Every slice was like eating an entire cheesesteak. But there I was, thinking, two slices? You’ve GONE SOFT, man. Long story short I had to lay very still and digest for a long time after that dinner while my body calibrated itself. But, anyway, pasta sandwiches. So, we’re talking fetticuine hoagie, baked ziti panini–things of that nature. I started out a little skeptical, but as I type that out, it sounds PRETTY GOOD. The question is, does the pasta add anything? A chicken parm sub already exists, would it be better with some spaghetti thrown in? I DON’T KNOW. When I heap some pasta onto a piece of bread at dinner it just all melds together. I can’t distinguish the carbs. Maybe my palate isn’t sophisticated enough, but I think what you really like is the sauce and bread in combination. The pasta is just another delivery system for the sauce. So, maybe the Italian sandwich market can be expanded, but I don’t see Wawa introducing the lasagna shortie any time soon.
Q: Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson have a new movie coming out. It’s called The Internship and basically they go intern for Google. Actual Google, not something like Google. So, along with it being a comedy, it’ll be a 2-hr ad placement for Google. Anyway, while I’m sure many people are thrilled for this development (GOOGLE CRASHERS!), I have to say I don’t really like Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. I didn’t like Wedding Crashers. Oh, Vince Vaughn is talking fast–Great. But I feel like I can’t bring this up, because people think I’m insane. What are the most popular movies that you hate? Sack Lodge, Annapolis, MD.
A: I was not aware of The Internship. And, this is going to annoy you, but as predictable as this movie looks I will probably watch it and might even enjoy myself. I like Vince Vaughn. Swingers was a very important movie for me. I can see how he can wear on you, though. He long ago gave up trying to play any kind of character and just churns out the Vince Vaughn shtick in every movie. Remember the Psycho remake? Domestic Disturbance? AWFUL. The same could be said for Owen Wilson who kind of whines and rambles his way through every part. These guys needed this reunion I think and the nostalgic audience will be there. It’s been 8 years since Wedding Crashers. How old do you feel now? I respect your choice to dislike these films, though. I have plenty of movies that fit this category. Star Wars anyone? Star Wars (I’ve only seen the 1st? 4th?) is a terrible, terrible movie. But, I think a better example for you might be Anchorman. Now, I don’t hate Anchorman, I just don’t run around quoting it at all times. I’ve seen it 1 (one) time. I think many of the scenes cross the line to plain dumb, as opposed to “classic.” It’s a fine line, but for me, Anchorman is on the other side of it. Coincidentally, they are making a sequel to Anchorman and I’ll be as lukewarm to that as you are to The Internship. But I imagine they’ll both be better than Hangover 3.
Q: Is outdoor drinking better than indoor drinking, or am I just really looking forward to spring? Glenn & Tammy Wednesday, Oxford, PA.
A: There’s something more festive about outdoor drinking. Games, tailgates, cookouts, outdoor drinking always seems to come with an occasion. Or, if you’ve just ambled out onto the back deck, it’s relaxing. Fresh air, MAYBE AN ADIRONDACK CHAIR, it’s more appealing than a couch or a bar stool, isn’t it? The last thing that makes outdoor drinking great is that it often is working in concert with day drinking. Day drinking can be awfully liberating. You feel like you’re getting away with something. Back in college that first warm day of the year it was always tempting to just stand around outside and drink instead of going to class, or doing anything productive. I remember the weather breaking one day and I decided to head out to the driving range with a few guys and a six pack. WELCOME TO AMERICA. But, outdoor drinking isn’t all fun and games. It can get too hot. You can get eaten alive by bugs. A bee could fly into your Coors Light. It might be more difficult to see a television. These are just minor inconveniences, though. Outdoor drinking is better all the way. It’s a rout.
Q: With the Chicago Blackhawks sitting at 21-0-3, is it time to start betting against them every game? Surely, this cannot go on forever. Winn M. Hall, Las Vegas, NV.
A: It’s quite a start to the season. They’ve now gone 1/2 the shortened schedule without a regulation time loss. When you put it that way, it’s incredible. If you watch the Flyers flail around and be mediocre on a regular basis, the thought of points in 24 straight games blows your mind. Of course, the Blackhawks are in pursuit of the Flyers’ all-time streak, they once went 25-0-10 over a 35 game span so the Blackhawks are only 2/3 of the way to eclipsing that record. Of all the failed gambling theories, inevitability might be the worst one. One of my first trips to a casino included watching someone roaming the roulette pit looking for a streak of one color to bet against. Of course, the illuminated history of winning numbers is just ANOTHER cruel trick by the casino to take you lunch money. A hockey game isn’t quite as arbitrary as a spin of the roulette wheel, though. Certain teams are harder to beat than others, teams have back-to-back games, etc. Chicago is about to face Colorado for the 2nd time in three days tonight, this time in Colorado. That’s a lot of anecdotal evidence supporting an end to the streak. The Blackhawks have been incredible in 1-goal games and in the shootout, but who am I to stand in the way of an earnest young gambler? Pound the Avalanche tonight. You will be rewarded.
Q: I’ve always heard that backup quarterback is the best job in sports and I tend to agree to a certain extent. You’re getting paid, right? But, do we overlook the basketball walk-on? They’re universally loved. They get great seats for big NCAA games. They never have to play under any pressure. If they do get in the game everyone just wants them to jack up 3s–pretty golden, right? Towell Waver, Devon, PA.
A: Basketball on the amateur level is really a sport that caters to the underdog. Middle schools, high schools, college programs of all levels, many seem to have a player or two who is on the team but almost never plays. This exists in most sports, but I feel like the last guy on the bench is treated differently in basketball. At least by the spectators. I have played on baseball teams with guys who couldn’t play a lick and no one was really too excited about getting them at-bats. The crowd didn’t become electric in the bottom of the last inning, when were down a million and some scrub came up for an obligatory punch out. I think some of the phenomenon might have to do with the 3-point shot. I’m not going to say it’s easy to make a 3-pointer, but it’s not the hardest thing to do in basketball. Anyone can hoist one up, and there are a lot of guys who are good shooters that aren’t great at any other part of the game. That’s what I think about when I think of the walk-on. PURE GUNNER. A crowd will always appreciate that. As far as it being the best job, I’m not so sure. Certainly there are the positives you list, but I have a feeling most of these kids take a beating in practice every day. Do the starters even acknowledge their presence? Are they allowed to celebrate wins with the team? I’d have to do more research into the life of a walk-on to answer this properly.
Q: Which group of people do you think are more insufferable, members of Augusta National or members of the All England Club? Martha Birke, London, England.
A: Sometimes I forget that Wimbledon is held at a private club and that club is not called, “Wimbledon.” It’s the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. Quite the mouthful. I think on name alone, the All England has the upper hand. Augusta National is just run of the mill pretentious. It’s not called, The Golf Course for All of The Americas. Though, that would be the name of my course if I ever built one. So, score one point for the home of Wimbledon. Second deciding factor? History. Wimbledon was founded in 1868, so it has a longer history than Augusta, but Augusta was founded by Bobby Jones, an all-time great and America’s preeminent gentleman golfer. I think you’ve got to give a slight edge to Augusta here. Let’s move on to clothing quirk. The All England Club still insists on having the players wear white during Wimbledon. The Masters hands out a green jacket to their members and the tournament winner. Advantage Augusta again. No one would be caught dead in that jacket if it didn’t have the Augusta logo, while you can go to Jim’s Racket Club and he’ll probably insist you wear white. Not that fancy. Are the British more insufferable than Americans in general? Tough call, but I’m going to say YES. The last thing I’m going to consider? Jealousy. While playing tennis at the All England Club is probably quite the thrill, the actual tennis is not going to be much different than you’d find on any grass court. Where Augusta National is considered by any measure to be one of the ten best golf courses on the planet. So, I think far more people are DYING to play there than the All England Club. Being able to brush aside the longings of the common man is a big advantage for Augusta members and what I think gives them the ultimate edge.