This photo was sent to me the other day. It was pretty much a live action shot. A developing situation. The question I have is what is more embarrassing? Actually trying to take your car (on purpose or otherwise) over a curb, or having people stop what they are doing to take a photo of your situation. In the past maybe your embarrassment was limited to the tow truck driver who will give you a less than genuine, “Oh yeah, Happens ALL THE TIME,” but now you’ve got people snapping photos, passing them along and they end up on a blog in front of dozens of eyes. Rough. And, do you ask if you can help before or after you take the picture here? Your mailbag…
Q: Is there a bigger take-out food nightmare than the french fry? What’s the consumption window on a fry–94 seconds? Spud Fry, Galveston, TX.
A: Yeah, I think probably more than 1/2 the fries we eat in our life aren’t great, we’re just shoveling them in trying to remember what a good fry tastes like. There can be several frustrating fry scenarios. Getting mediocre fries at a fast food place is terrible, because that’s likely most of the reason you were there in first place. When your waffle fries are “luke” it’s harder to justify the 1.3 million calories. I’ve contemplated asking for fresh fries in a fast food establishment, but you know that every fast food employee is one complaint away from TAINTING the whole kitchen. So, it’s best to just pipe down and eat your gummy potato sticks. Take out fries are a whole other animal. Some food is fairly conducive to being carried out–pizzas, hot sandwiches, but french fries are not. AT ALL. The most important thing is that fries are not transported in styrofoam. I thought we had banished this from earth, but it’s still around. All fries should be served in a bag. Keeping the heat in is secondary to texture preservation. Styrofoam is great if you want steam something, throw some rice in there–go crazy–but it’s the fry’s mortal enemy. Your best fries can’t survive more than a minute or two in styrofoam, where they may cool off in a bag, but will maintain their integrity. Any fry can be salvaged in the oven (an important thing to note, and another reason to own a toaster oven), but timing is key in take out. The last thing you want to do is wait for your food and then wait for your fries to crisp back up. So, I agree that the fry is a takeout nightmare, but as an American it’s on you to know about good and bad fry takeout spots and if necessary do something to enact change.
Q: I saw recently that residents of North Dakota down the most beer per capita and Pennsylvania was nowhere to be found in the top-10. How does this make you feel about your home state? Purdie Wasted, Bismarck, ND.
A: I don’t feel great about it. The fine residents of North Dakota put away an average of almost 46 gallons of beer a year. That sounds like a pretty shocking number, but let’s break that down. (gets out calculator) OK, that’s 500 beers a year. That’s a nice, round number. Back in college, I would have called that “A Light Semester,” but now I don’t get anywhere near that number in one year. And, I’m a beer drinker. So, I guess I have to take a moment and congratulate North Dakota on their THIRST FOR LIFE. People in all states like to drink, so I guess it depends on what you think being a beer drinker says about you. I imagine in North Dakota they drink the full compliment of heavys (Bud, High Life, Coors Banquet) without a hint of irony. They probably don’t go much for wine bars or tequila shooters. They certainly aren’t worried about gluten sensitivity. So, am I jealous of that? MAYBE. A little bit. But, I’d rather be from a state that has its share of breweries, its share of places to get random beer on tap, and things of that nature, because if life is a drinking contest it certainly isn’t a case race. It has to be something with a little more craft than that. I’m not sure if PA is a top-10 beer state, in general, I think it is–but I know it’s got to be better than North Dakota not matter how much they drink.
Q: If A-Rod gets banned from baseball for life, ala Pete Rose, how would you compare their two transgressions? Peter Rows, Cincinnati, OH.
A: What the two really have in common is the lying. And the ego, and the belief that they somehow would never have to be held accountable for what they did. Alex Rodriguez has done players like Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa a huge favor. Those players may never get into the Hall of Fame, but A-Rod is now the clear poster boy for baseball’s struggle against PED use. The guy was not liked before all this happened. He always seemed uncomfortable with his talent and the fans were uncomfortable with giving him credit for being a great player. Now, hating A-Rod is the easy thing to do, the only thing to do and everyone from the fans to his fellow players are embracing it. Pete Rose is a different story, mostly because he was so popular with the fans, but also because most of his teammates will begrudgingly say something nice about him even though they know he bet on baseball. Pete Rose was a great teammate, it seems beyond dispute, and so he’ll always have that and A-Rod won’t. Rose is starting from a position cushioned with a lot more sympathy than A-Rod. A-Rod’s sins were and are part of an “era.” He hardly stands alone. The enticement of huge contracts and the pressure to live up to them has tempted probably hundreds of players to use PEDs. Rose was acting alone and as a manager. Rose, had he bet against his own team, certainly would have been in a better position to “taint” the outcome of a game. We can’t quantify the impact of steroid use, especially when we don’t know who is using and who is not. I personally don’t believe Rose against his own team, not that this pardons him in any way, but let’s also remember that Pete Rose clearly has a gambling addiction. If he was addicted to alcohol, he likely would be in the Hall of Fame. But, betting on the game has always been a clear rule. While steroids and other PEDs were at times overlooked and ignored, it’s never been OK to bet on baseball and so I have to say that Pete’s transgression is slightly worse, but I would still put him in the Hall of Fame. I wouldn’t allow him to work for a MLB team, but I’d lift his ban for the Hall. A-Rod will have to live his life and that will be his punishment after his suspension ends. He ruined his legacy–something Rose did not do.
Q: If you were given one skill, say you could putt as well as Luke Donald, or drive the ball like Keegan Bradley do you think the rest of your game would ever catch up to the point where you could play on tour? And, which skill would be the best to have “given” to you?
A: I think I would have to take the putting, or if I could expand that to an entire short game? Please? For me, putting and the short game is such a separator in terms of class. I don’t want to belittle great ball-striking, but the mini-tours are full of guys that hit it so pure you’d cry. And, if you ever putted for one week like the worst guy on tour putts you’d probably thank your lucky stars and quit the game while you were ahead. If I hit every drive 315, mostly down the middle with the rest of my game in its current state I’d probably be somewhere between a scratch and a 4 handicap? Just because I’d be able to overpower most courses and mix in a few birdies to offset my 35 putts a round. That would still leave me ten miles from the Tour with no chance of ever getting there. I suppose I could spend countless hours and months on my short game, but it’s very unlikely it’d ever get me to Tour caliber. The same goes for the other way, though. If I had a Tour level short game right now, my handicap would probably dip a bit lower. I once was a 1-handicap with a pretty dreadful short game, but even if I became a short-game wizard I’d still never sniff the tour. Which is the best skill to have? I think if you asked most guys already out there, they’d take the short game or the putting. I think great short games keep guys around better than the ball-striking. A guy like Boo Weekley, for example, who is always one week away from his next missed cut probably hits the ball each week than Ian Poulter and Luke Donald, but no one is picking him to win the PGA–if you know what I mean.
Q: I was at a BBQ last weekend and things were going pretty normal, the usual, until suddenly a ruckus (can you describe the ruckus, Sir?) broke out around the grill. Apparently another guest was uncomfortable with how the host was grilling and attempted to take over the responsibility. I asked around, and apparently, the host was yanking the skins off the chicken breasts before putting them on the grill. Was the other guest in the wrong, or are their times when you just have to do what you have to do? Weber Handsov, Houston, TX.
A: That is BOLD AS F*CK on both their parts. I don’t know anyone who has the stones to walk over to a grill and just TAKE the tongs from someone, and at the same time you have to be a particular kind of moron to take the skin off of a bone-in chicken breast before you grill it. I mean, COME ON. What’s next, microwaved hot dogs? Grilling is one of those things that everyone likes to think they can do, especially men, but some people have no idea. It does look easy. Fire. Meat. Combine. Sometimes a grilling novice will ask for help, and then you swoop in and do what is necessary to try to SALVAGE THE DAY, but I don’t think you can do something like this without permission. Unless the guy was about to blow up the propane tank accidentally, you have to keep your distance. It’s his BBQ. The food isn’t going to be great, but hopefully it will still be a decent piece of grilled chicken. Little dry, but hey, that’s what the Sweet Baby Ray’s is for, right? RIGHT? So, yeah, at the end of the day, I commend the boldness, but you’ve got to stay back, quietly belittle the chef and never return to his place for a BBQ (unless you bring your own tray of Ribs–surprise!). That’s the only play.
Q: What if your mother offered to buy you a couple new outfits, but in order to get them you had to go through the whole process of selecting clothes as if you were six years old. Meaning she mostly picks the stores, gives you a bunch of crap to try on, you have to come out and show her everything–anyway is this worth it? Buster Brown, Exton, PA.
A: I guess it depends on how badly you need clothes. I don’t really want to try on anything–for anyone–at this point in my life. I’ve graduated. Much like taking the driver’s exam–NEVER AGAIN. No matter how dicey things get. There was a point in my life when I would happily try on clothes for people. My mom, relatives, people who just HAPPENED BY–it didn’t matter. On Christmas, I’d respectfully put on each pair of sweat pants, come out, do a little TWIRL, then move on to the next outfit. I imagine I liked the attention. “Oh, blue sweat pants with a grey sweatshirt instead of grey sweatpants with a blue sweatshirt. INSPIRED.” But, I outgrew that. Sometime around middle school when my mother had to wait around for me to roll up my jeans before emerging from the dressing room, I think the dynamic changed a little bit. Let’s not forget that malls, in general, are also a bit dicey for me. I once fell in a fountain. So, unless I was tapped out, and my two short rotation was down to about a 1/2 pair, then I think I’ve got to keep Mom in the bullpen for now.