Category Archives: Life

False Idols

Has anyone seen my credibility?

The PGA Tour is a one-trick pony; a metaphor for the advice that all mutual fund managers caution investors against.  Putting all your eggs into a solitary basket carries a high level of risk, but if the basket was the Tiger Woods of ten years ago—hell, the Tiger Woods of ten months ago—then that same risk wouldn’t represent much of a gamble at all.

Investing in Tiger is now an exercise in diminishing returns.

If love means never having to say you’re sorry, then why does Tiger’s mechanical apology feel like the hollow, insincere sham that it is?

Not that I ever felt an emotion that can be characterized as love for Tiger.  Sure, I love his gargantuan tee shots.  I love the surgical accuracy of his irons.  I love the Rembrandt-like strokes of his short game.  But if watching Michael Jordan in his prime has taught me anything at all, it is that I can appreciate the man for his abilities without having to love the jackass that he truly is.

To be certain, society has, in its collective form, been particularly tough on Tiger.  This treatment is deserved:  Tiger sold us an image that we eagerly purchased without bothering to retain the receipt.  He is the roadside charlatan with false promises of a diet supplement that cures nothing.  We take his ‘indiscretions’ personally because our heroes aren’t meant to display the same frailty that we have.

Tiger is sorry, not out of sincerity, but because he got caught.  The changes that he has promised to make are reactionary to his misfortunes, not the self-initiated sort he has proffered.  The genuine desire to change must come from within, not as a consequence.

One day soon, Tiger will return to the sport that he has dominated.  He will win more money; regain more endorsements; hoist more trophies.  He will claim every golf record that is statistically measurable.

I will be a witness to these events because I love golf and love the application of the skills necessary to succeed at it.

I will witness these events as an interested observer, not as a supporter.

I cannot enjoy this future success as his fan.

He has robbed me of that, too.

Future unknown, straight ahead.

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Filed under Golf, Life, Relationships, Sports

Sole Mates?

Exhibit A

Now, husbands and wives fight; it’s what we do.

We quarrel, bicker, contest, spat, battle, debate, argue, retort, oppose, and agitate.

We defend our positions,  present new ideas, and cast our stones.

Sometimes, international decisions hang in the balance (who is ultimately responsible for Haiti’s recovery)?   Other times domestic issues take precedence (is it that hard to separate the whites from the colors)?

So long as there is no physical or mental abuse, it’s completely within the guidelines of what makes a healthy marriage.

But, after a recent scrum with the wife, I needed an outlet.

Shrinks always suggest to their clients to go buy themselves something.  Retail would be my medicine this day; new shoes the remedy.

But what kind of shoe?  Something casual, but not lazy.  Versatile, but not over done.  Fun, but not quirky.

Selection made, I wore them right out of the store to break them in.  I arrived home, curious to see if the wife would notice.

She looked at me, then at my new shoes and froze.

Ha! I detected a pang of jealousy.  I danced my gloat dance.

She could only stare at my feet with a look of complete disbelief.

My gloat dance started to lose steam.  The shoes must have sent her over the edge.

“Do you like them?” I asked.  The gloat dance began anew, a few exploratory steps.

My wife left the room.  What’s she so mad about?  They’re only shoes!

After a moment, she walked back into the room.

On her feet were the newly purchased female version of the exact same shoes (with slightly different color scheme)!

We stared at each other’s feet.

Somewhere, O. Henry shrieked with delight.

Damn it, woman.  It had to be you.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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The Super Bowl, Alternative Programming and Why Tim Tebow’s Pro-Life Stance May Have Missed the Target Demographic

Isn't Sleepless in Seattle on channel 2?

By nature, the author of this blog is the stubborn sort.

You say “paper or plastic” and I say “neither.”

You say “jump” and I say “sorry, I just ate breakfast.”

You say “watch the advertisement orgy of expensive TV spots during the Super Bowl” and I promptly change the channel.

And that’s exactly what I did.

While the lion’s share of the TV viewership watched Tim Tebow tell the women of America what to do with their uterus (uterii?) and while that little kid smacked his mom’s boyfriend over a bowl of Doritos, I took a peek at how the other channels chose to fill their wasted time slots.

It was a fun exercise; one that I heartily recommend.  It was my own personal social experiment where I thumb my nose at popular culture and mass consumerism to study the human nature of TV programming decisions.

Here’s what I found:

While the Saints won the coin toss and elected to receive, TBS aired Failure To Launch, a film about a whimsical 35 year old man that still lives with his folks and falls in love with Sarah Jessica Parker, the woman hired by the parents to seduce their son and convince him to move out.

It stars Matthew McConaughey, in his most challenging role.

When Peyton Manning tossed a touchdown strike to take a 10-point advantage, E! Network was showing Sleepless in Seattle, the endearing romantic comedy where the son of a recently widowed man calls a radio talk show in an attempt to find his father a new wife.  One woman hears the broadcast and goes to great lengths to meet the widowed man.

Sleepless in Seattle features the delightful cast of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

When the Saints recovered an onside kick to open the 3rd quarter, ABC countered with Stepmom, the movie where a terminally ill mother has to settle on the new woman in her ex-husband’s life, who will be the new stepmother to her children.

Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon play the conflicted women.

As the Saints secured their first-ever Super Bowl victory with a 4th quarter interception and touchdown return, the premium movie channel– Love Stories East— treated their viewers to Kate & Leopold, the fantasy romance that features the tagline ‘if they lived in the same century they’d be perfect for each other.’

The movie showcases the talents of Sleepless in Seattle star Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman, as her love interest.

On and on it went.  The WE network showed Beaches, the stirring Bette Midler drama.  The feature presentation on the Encore Movie Channel was She’s All That, followed by 10 Things I Hate About You.

My experiment seemed to confirm what we already know about the Super Bowl:  It is a Man Holiday;  the biggest sausage fest of the year;  the modern-day He-man Woman Hater’s Club.

If once is an anomaly, twice is a coincidence, and thrice is a trend, then the counter-programming to the Super Bowl proves that it is nothing more than an epic struggle between testosterone and estrogen.

As the final seconds ticked off the clock during the Super Bowl, I turned to my wife to share the results of my scientific research.

To my dismay, she was gone.

I stood up to stretch– the resulting noises from my body sounding like a door with squeaky hinges– and my living room suddenly got brighter, as if a veil had been lifted from my eyes.

I surveyed the room– it wasn’t a pretty sight:

The sofa had a life-sized mold of my ass pressed into the cushions.  A massive pile of unwashed dishes teetered in the sink.   A varied collection of empty take-out boxes littered the dining table.  The dogs were hungry and trembling with low blood sugar.  Outside, the yard looked like the canopy of a rain forest.

A note on the fridge from the wife:  Went for coffee.

What?  During the Super Bowl?

It seems that I was/ am living proof to my own experiment.

Damn, catharsis is a bitch.

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Filed under Life, NFL, Relationships, Sports, Uncategorized

The Year 2010, With a Side of Avocado

Image courtesy of bttf.com

So this is the future, huh?

* sniff* I’m not impressed.  

Sure, I own a car.  It just doesn’t hover, is all.

Yes, I have a home.  Just ignore the fact that it lacks conveyor belts and automatic sliding doors.

I have pets.  They are of the molecular– not titanium steel– variety.  It seems a little archaic, but they are nonetheless quite lovable.  And none of them are named Astro.

I know it’s a bit early in the new year– hell, it’s only January– but isn’t 2010 the year we make contact?

Maybe, my expectations are too high.  Maybe, we’ve reached the summit of humankind’s capacity to evolve.  Or maybe, we’ve reached a saturation point in our intellectual curiosity.

I mean, who gives a sh*t about space travel when we can just Twitter each other about what we had for lunch.

Maybe that will be the theme of the 2010:  Instead of progress, let’s regress!

If we’ve reached the crescendo of human thought, why not start devolving back to our original single-celled form.  Life was so much easier as a protozoa, anyway.

Or maybe, we’ll take a ride down the nostalgia turnpike and revisit each decade in reverse order!

Let’s start with the 80’s, the decade of my misguided youth, where hitchhiking, driving without a seat belt and drinking from your neighbor’s hose was safe and acceptable behavior.

Ah yes, the 80’s.  Transformers were animated and not CG, Magic and Bird were in The Finals and Clear Pepsi was a viable drinking option.  *sigh*

Then we’ll revive the 70’s where first I was afraid I was petrified/ kept thinking I could never live without you by my side/ but I spent so many nights thinking how you did me wrong/ I grew strong/ I learned how to carry on and so you’re back from outer space/ I just walked in to find you here with that sad look upon your face/ I should have changed my stupid lock/ I should have made you leave your key/ if I had known for just one second you’d be back to bother me.

But, I digress.

What about the sixties?  Where the courageous application of radical thoughts and ideas created a forward thinking momentum that would pave the way for this country to one day choose an African-American president.

Oh, and free love wasn’t bad, either.

So if 2010 is the future– and by every measure of Stanley Kubrick’s undeniable genius, all things indicate that it is– then I’m pretty disappointed.

In this age of information, it seems we know maybe too much about everything.  We have become calloused by our own knowledge; jaded by things that used to cause wonderment; unimpressed by the impressive.

In sum, dear reader, I submit to you that maybe the path to progress is to regress.

Collectively, we should reduce our perspective to that of a three-year old child, when we were enchanted by the world around us and were driven to discover more about it.  We should continue to be romanced by our universe.

Or, if that doesn’t strike your fancy, we can keep things as they are:  If anyone cares to know, I had a turkey sandwich for lunch.

With avocado.

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Trade Secrets Revealed

Houdini once shackled himself in chains, was submerged in a tank of water and escaped in less than a minute.

David Blaine took a stroll down the side of a skyscraper.

David Copperfield convinced that supermodel to marry him.

Impressive efforts, all three.

Read on, dear reader– I’ve done one better.

Be prepared to be astonished; brace yourself for the improbable; be ready to raise an eyebrow and say “damn.”

Behold, the greatest magic trick ever to be perpetrated on mankind:

I have watched an obscene amount of sports on TV this year and have managed to successfully stay married.

(Dramatic pause to let the certain tidal wave of  “oooohhhhs” and “aaaahhhhs” wash over this post).

The proprietors of Bacon Makes It Better can feel your skepticism.  We can sense your disbelief.  We are abundantly aware that despite popular sentiment, not everything you read on the internet is true.

But it is most certainly real.  I can tell you, in breathtaking detail, who has qualified for the NFL playoffs all while an engraved platinum band still rests on my finger.

Marriage and sports can coexist– and we are willing to share our trade secrets with you.

We have tested the method in our state of the art facility (my living room).  We have applied it generously under a variety of conditions (College Bowl Games, Pro Football, NCAA hoops, golf).  We have even adapted our system into a user-friendly format that we have named, during an epiphany of creative genius, the S.A.V.E. method.  It is an acronym for:

S is for set-up.

Possibly the most critical part of the process.  Without a proper set-up the best laid plans of mice and men would be smashed to bits.  Know the day and time of the game.  (NFL note:   Do not assume that your game is on Sunday.  The complex football schedule will squeeze games in on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  Is it a local game or out of market?  Morning or afternoon)?

Know the schedule, understand the logistics involved, plan ahead.  Store this knowledge safely into the recesses of your brain, right next to what’s for dinner and don’t forget to take out the trash.

A is for Approach.

It’s go time.  With your knowledge of the schedule neatly tucked away plan which game you really want to see.  (Don’t get greedy!  You can’t see ’em all)!  Tell the wife, well in advance, that you plan on watching your chosen game.  Don’t dance around the subject– be direct.  She will appreciate your advance planning and will be impressed by your consideration of her time.

Tread lightly, dear reader, for timing is crucial.  If her favorite couple gets booted off of Dancing With The Stars or if those handbags she’s been keeping her eye on are no longer on sale, abort mission.  I repeat, abort mission!

V is for Value.

Help the wife to understand the importance of the game.    Tell her what’s at stake.  Will a champion be crowned?   Does an invite to the playoffs hang in the balance?  The more value attached to the game, the more likely it becomes that she will accept your need to be a captive audience member.

Remember, this is where salesmanship is at a premium.  Placing value on the game can cover a wide range of popular subjects:  Is a favorite actress of hers dating the star quarterback?  Plug it.  Isn’t that defensive end the guy from Dancing With The Stars?  Plug it.  Aren’t they playing in San Francisco, the city that she loves to visit?  Plug away.

Maybe you’ll even convince her to watch the game with you.  Hell, it just may be the start of an activity that you’ll share together.
This may not be such a bad alternative– just so long as you are able to see the action.

Note: At no time during the approach and value stage should you whine, snivel or pout.  When executed properly, you will advance to the final level…

E is for Enjoy the Game.

Spoil yourself with the fruits of your labor.  Kick up your feet.  Crank up the volume.  Guzzle a cold one.  You’ve done your due diligence, so watch your chosen game with the uninterrupted peace that you’ve created.

WarningBe certain that such behavior is not conducted within plain view of the wife.  Poor sportsmanship or excessive celebration may jeopardize future athletic viewership.

Suck, my life does not.

In summary, dear reader, the proprietors of Bacon Makes It Better implore you to try this battle-tested system, which has been made publicly available just in time for the NFL playoffs.    What have you got to lose?

It may just S.A.V.E. your marriage.

The proprietors of Bacon Makes It Better assumes no liability for the poor application or general misuse of the above described method. Results may vary. Actions outside of this method should be conducted at your own peril. May cause rash or irritation.  Discontinue use and call a doctor if symptoms persist. Use as directed.

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Filed under Life, Relationships, Sports

‘Tis The Season To Prove Your Manhood

O, what a tangled web we weave!

I’m all for gender equality.  I’m completely comfortable in a world where men wear pink and women sport blue; where women mow the lawn and men wash the dishes; where women crop their hair and men wear ponytails.

But even in a world as diverse and flexible as ours, there are certain activities that require a specific division of labor.  In my universe, there are things that I would not ask or expect my wife to do.

As liberal as I can be, I see it as my MANLY DUTY to perform the following list of tasks, no questions asked:

1.  Take out the trash.

2.  When in the car together, I drive.

These things have always been assumed; they are intrinsic to both of us.  We have never had a discussion about it, nor do I expect to have a discussion about it. They are automatic.  Simply, it is what a man does.

Well, dear reader, that short list of required man things just got a bit longer.  The list now reads:

1.  You still take out the trash.

2.  I don’t care how little sleep you’ve had, you are still driving.

AND

3.  Hang Holiday Lights on the House

The above words were my exact thoughts as I stood balanced at the top of a rickety expandable ladder, a tangled cord of holiday lights in one hand and a staple gun in the other.  That, and Shit!  Don’t look down… just concentrate on what you are doing… what a great post this would make… don’t look down…

From my vantage point, my wife looked like a miniature version of herself at the top of the driveway, blanket over her shoulders, nursing a hot mug of coffee.  She watched me defy gravity, risking life and limb for the entertainment of the entire neighborhood.

“Damn, it’s cold out here,” she said as she disappeared back into the house, leaving me during the pinnacle of my life and death struggle.

All in the name of holiday cheer.

I called down to my brother-in-law, who was holding the base of the ladder.

“My life is in your hands.”  He didn’t answer right away, which made me wonder if he took my words as the statement that it was, or a direction.

The ladder shook.

*   *   *

Back on Earth, with the ground firmly beneath me, I looked up at the house to admire the final outcome:  Not quite the Griswold’s, but a noble effort nonetheless.  Our lights burned into the night, boasting to the rest of the community of the holiday spirit that lived within.

A neighbor down the street, in the process of hanging his own lights, nodded his approval at me.  Our next door neighbor called over at me.  “I’ve got to do that tomorrow,”  he said.  “I leave for a business trip next week, so I promised the wife that I’d hang our lights before I flew out.”

“That’s what we do,”  I called back, meaning, that is our manly duty.

He caught my drift.  “It’s what we do,” he echoed before driving off to the store to stock up on his own holiday lights.

Satisfied, I strolled into the house, logged on to the laptop and started this post.

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The Obligatory Halloween Post: An Open Letter to the Trick or Treaters In My Hood

Dear Children of the Corn,

Let me get this straight.

1.  You throw a plastic costume on that still reeks of the Wal-Mart shrink-wrap packaging that it came from.

2.  You repeatedly summon me to my front door during the ‘unwinding’ portion of my day with any combination of doorbell ringing, fist pounding, or the mechanical reciting of the words “trick or treat.”

3.  You have this ill-conceived expectation that I will distribute sugar-laden sustenance free of charge in exchange for, well, nothing.

4.  If said sugar-laden sustenance is not distributed or is of a quality that is deemed not to the standard of your sophisticated pre-adolescent pallete, you will have no alternative than to “trick” me.

4A.  “Tricks” include, but are not limited to, the smashing of a pumpkin that I spent hours meticulously carving, violating my beloved rose bushes, “fertilizing” my front lawn, etc.

This is not a holiday.  This is extortion.

We at ‘Bacon Makes it Better’ understand the tradition and history of Halloween.  We have fond memories (except for the unfortunate glow stick incident of 1986, in which case I still plead my innocence) of participating in the requisite customs of the day; costume parades, door to door candy solicitation, the candy inventory at night’s end.

Today’s Halloween is not the same as the Norman Rockwell painting  Halloween of my youth.  My stomach would hurt from the bags of candy corn I used to consume; now the disgusting commercialism of the day does the trick.

Here are some suggestions to restore the true spirit of Halloween:

1.  Focus on the kiddies. I’m okay with handing out candy to young children.  Consider it a reward for the cuteness factor.  But, if you are developing facial hair or experiencing a voice change that would get you kicked out of Menudo, it may be time to hang up your costume for good.

2. Seek creativity.  Where is it mandated that candy is the only thing we should handout as a Halloween treat?  My mom used to make candy apples for the neighborhood kids on October 31st.  Toys, puzzles and other trinkets were always welcomed in my trick or treat bag.  One year, a neighbor of ours actually handed out vintage comic books from his collection!

3.  Light a candle and say a prayer.  The origins of Halloween began as a time to remember relatives and loved ones that have passed away.  Town fiestas grew from this tradition and people would visit the cemetery to pay their respects to the deceased.  Teach humility to our children and restore this custom this year.

4.  Earn your candy.  Reciprocate my candy distribution with an act of good intent:  Mow my lawn instead of defecating on it, prune my rose bushes, compliment me on my pumpkin carving skills. Christmas has caroling, why not Halloween?  Sing me some lyrics.   Do so and additional candies will find their way into your bag.

Let’s review:

Commercialism vs. Community – Edge:  Community (Die capitalist pigs)!

Candy vs. Candy Apples – Edge:  Push  (as long as there are no razors or tacks hidden inside)

Self-righteousness vs. Humility – Edge:  Humility (Stay golden, pony boy)

Signed,

Just skip my house this year

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Filed under Life, Open Letters