Monday, June 22, 2009

A Love Rekindled; or, One More Shot

Curse you, golf, you incorrigible tease. I take you on for a one-time fling – our first since ending an on-off, love-hate relationship more than seven years ago – and I'm unable to extricate my heart from your clutches.

Hey, I was on vacation, wanted to have some fun. So I joined my father-in-law and brother-in-law for 18 holes at this little nine-holer just west of Branson on Friday. Teed off before 8 a.m. My first shot set the tone – a severe hook that was headed into the next county (argh!) and then caroms off a tree back into the fairway (sweet joy!).

By the turn, the pattern was clear. The seventh hole, a par-5, was typical. I killed the drive – held my pose on the follow-through, savoring it – and had a five-foot putt for par. I three-jacked it. Next hole, four-footer for par … choke. That's the closest I got to par all day. As for my chipping, I couldn't have pitched it into the ocean at high tide.

My final score is irrelevant, except for the fact that it was about what I used to shoot. (I do not care to divulge it here.) I lost only two balls and took just one mulligan. I hit just enough good shots, and made a couple of really good putts, to make me want more. I have neither the time nor the money to take it up again, so hopefully the ache to play will fade like my father-in-law's 1-wood.

Problem is, we only actually played 17 holes, due to time constraints. It was an incomplete experience. I need to finish what I started. Then, I swear, that's it. Seriously.

Then again, golf likes to keep giving me mulligans, and I'm a sucker for it every time.

Today's Redneck Thought: "Golf is a good walk spoiled." – Mark Twain

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Redneck and His ($400) iPhone; or, Crap!

Remember this blog post? Yeah, well, I've got more proof that rednecks just shouldn't own nice things.

So we're on vacation in Branson, Mo., which is like Disney World, the Grand Old Opry and a county fair all rolled into one. Good clean family fun. Only, Sunday pretty much blew chunks. First, one of my contact lenses mysteriously disappears – more on that later – and then later on I go swimming … with my iPhone. My $400 iPhone (first generation).

See, I'd put my trunks on that morning and stuck my ($400) iPhone in one of the pockets. At the time I thought to myself, "Boy, sure would stink if I was dumb enough to forget this ($400) iPhone was in here and went swimming." Then, after a couple of times down the tube slide and 10 or 15 minutes frolicking with my son in the pool, I was talking with my wife's grandfather when I suddenly realized that I had a waterlogged ($400) iPhone in my trunks. "You've got to be kidding me!" I yelled, no doubt confusing my grandpa-in-law as I dashed off to examine it.

All efforts to revive the ($400) iPhone have failed. There will be a memorial service some time next week. I hope they can recover all my phone numbers and notes and other stuff I can't live without. Otherwise, somebody better hide my belts. On the upside, looks like I'll be getting one of the new (cheaper) iPhones, which come out Friday. I obviously haven't learned my lesson.

As for the contact lens fiasco, I was supposed to have a replacement shipped by Tuesday, but the geniuses at 1-800-CONTACTS couldn't figure out how to make my debit card go through. So it's either A) wear one contact and go around squinty-eyed, or B) wear my smashed-up glasses that I sat on a few weeks ago.

They were nice glasses, too, before I got a hold of them.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Page 2:Lakers & Haters; LeBron & Shaq; Fans & Drugs

People like to say it's "easy" to cheer for a team like the Lakers, because they win all the time. Easy? Hardly.

First, I've got to put up with people calling me a bandwagon fan. I started pulling for L.A. when I was little, probably because they had Magic and Kareem and Rambis, the whole Showtime thing. It's not like I had a team nearby to root for. The Hawks? Yikes.

Worse than bandwagon fans are the bandwagon haters – those who pull against the Lakers simply because they win so much. There's no logic behind the hatred (is there ever?). I guess it's a compliment, like when opposing fans chant "Beat L.A.! Beat L.A.!" The Celtics don't get their own hate chant, which is surprising considering how many titles they've won.

More recently, people hate the Lakers because of Kobe Bryant. And most of that dislike is a product of that incident in Denver. Frankly, I've gotten to the point where I don't base my rooting interests on the personal misdeeds of athletes. If I did, I'd have nobody to cheer for.

With all that said: Go Lakers.

• How about Southern Miss reaching the College World Series? I know, it's college baseball, so most people are like, So what? This is like George Mason reaching the Final Four, the Arizona Cardinals almost winning the Super Bowl, Sarah Jessica Parker convincing millions that she's sexy. USM to Omaha – just shouldn't have happened.

• Speaking of things that shouldn't happen: Shaquille O'Neal to the Cavaliers? Really? So instead of trying to make the frontcourt younger and tougher, the Cavs have decided to make it older and overrated? The Knicks are rejoicing.

• The Rockies have won 11 straight, which makes me feel not quite so bad that they swept a four-game series from the Cardinals recently. This after they fired manager Clint Hurdle, who led them to the NL pennant just two seasons ago. Yeah, dude forgot how to manage. Those owners are so baseball savvy.

Quick hitters:

Manny Ramirez, despite serving a 50-game suspension for a failed drug test, was in the running for an All-Star Game selection. Looks now like he won't be voted in, but it raises the question: Should they start drug-testing the fans?

• The Penguins beat the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Finals in what was an amazing series, I'm told. After losing Game 5 by a 5-0 count, the Pens were dead in the water, so I've heard. With this victory – which avenged last year's Finals loss to the Wings – Pittsburgh's Sid "The Kid" Crosby now sits atop the NHL, a step above Washington's Alex Ovechkin, who apparently might be a slightly better player, I read somewhere. Believe me – or at least the people who told me – this was a historic deal.

• That last item wasn't very quick, was it?

Roger Federer finally won the French Open.*

*–But he didn't have to face Rafael Nadal

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Man and His Vacation; or, Low-Falutin' Holiday

I'm a simple man. I don't need much to make me content. For instance, right now I'm sitting on the couch with a Corona watching some baseball – in a condo in Branson, Mo., which means I'm miles away from my daily worries.

For me, this qualifies as a high-falutin' holiday. If my father-in-law were not kind enough to foot most of the bill, I'd have to settle for something less falutin', but that'd be OK. I don't need a yacht or a private beach or a masseuse. Those would be great, but I don't require much.

All these celebrities, and other super-rich folks, like those things. That's cool. This resort I'm at is pretty nice, though: three pools, a big ol' lake, a small basketball court, free wi-fi, a playground for the kids. That's plenty.

My wife makes an annual trip with her mom and sisters to exotic destinations like Puerto Vallarta and Jamaica. Really nice resorts with lots of perks and free drinks and whatnot. I've never even been out of the country.

Heck, don't know what I'd do in that kind of setting. Probably just find a couch, a Corona and a baseball game. And maybe a massage.

Today's Redneck Thought: "I took everybody in my family to Hawaii, 13 people, thinking this would be the vacation of  a lifetime. It ended up being, 'The Clampetts Go to Maui.'" – Jeff Foxworthy