Sir, the tee is yours

I went to the driving range today. It was a beautiful day, a day that demanded people be outside. So, Jonny, Jeff and I went to the range. Get one thing straight: I am not a “golf guy.” I am a “putt-putt golf guy.” There is quite a difference here, mostly in the general golfing ability (less) and general fun had (more). Basically, when I swing at the golf ball, it’s not a rare occurrence for me to miss; but I don’t mind.

Say, however, that someone watched me as I golfed. Say this watcher sat mere yards behind me as I drove the range. Say he perched on his metal bench, clutching his bag of clubs, with his little golf beret low over his eyes. Say you could imagine his whispers:

“Your time is up, boy. The range row is full of golfers and you’re the worst. Give me the tee.”

Most golf guys would have been perturbed — offended or disturbed even. Yes, I may have been the worst golfer on the range. Yes, I may have been an embarassment to golf. But, sir, you did not scare me.

Though you may look like Alec Guiness, I am not susceptible to your Jedi golf powers. I am a proud putt-putt golf guy. I will yield the tee when I run out of golf balls or when my swing knocks me unconscious. No sooner.

Patience Wait

Reading Washington Technology magazine on Tuesday, I came across the most interesting byline: “Patience Wait.” I checked the tagline to see if this was the writer’s real name, and it was. (“Staff Writer Patience Wait can be reached….”)

I thought about writing here then, speculating on how she got the name, but e-mailing her proved far better. Her thoughtful and funny reply arrived this morning:

Actually, I came by my name quite legitimately. It’s my real name.I had a great-great-grandmother in Massachusetts in the 1800s with the name; she married into it, but I was given it deliberately.

It was a difficult name to carry when I was a kid. We moved a lot (my dad was with a corporation that transferred him frequently), so every two or three years I had a whole new group of friends who would tease me about it until they got used to it.

But about the time I really got into the workforce, I discovered it was an advantage because everyone I met would remember it. (Or something like it — I got called Prudence or Faith or Constance a lot, too.)

The drawback to the name as an adult is the same as the advantage. There are people I met once, 20 years ago, who still remember me; unfortunately, my memory is not nearly as good as theirs!

Years before I got into journalism I worked in product marketing in the computer industry. My company put me in a sales training class, and the very first session the trainer asked everybody in the room about their ice-breaking techniques — you know, how to strike up a conversation with a stranger. When it was my turn, I just picked up my name card and said that for some reason it’s never been a problem for me.

I don’t mean to be so long-winded. I guess it just demonstrates that I’m finally comfortable with it. Thanks for asking — it is fun to hear that people notice my byline, whatever the reason!

Media notes

Country singer Lyle Lovett has been trampled by a bull. He’ll live, but circumstances beg the question: What’s worse, being trampled by a bull or being dumped by Julia Roberts?

In other news, coming soon to a theater near you: “High Crimes.” According to its advertisement, Morgan Freeman plays an “outcast lawyer with nothing to lose.” That said, please visit Modern Humorist’s Movie Trailer Cliche Theater. Tell your friends, especially if they write movie ads.

Finally, WGN News at Nine reported the USS Theodore Roosevelt’s return to Norfolk, Va., today. In describing the return, anchors noted the carrier was “back on American soil.”

NYC’s coolest cop on CD

New York police officer Daniel Rodriguez has released an album. Rodriguez blew me away when he sang “God Bless America” at Yankee Stadium during the baseball playoffs. The man has pipes.

Dannon, the official yogurt of Big Daddy Records?

Choobakka’s “She’s Feeling Me” feat. Lady J is now in rotation on BET’s 106 & Park. Choobakka is new on the national rap scene and little has been written about him. But, judging by his video, one thing is obvious: This man loves his yogurt.

In the video, Choobakka and Lady J repeatedly rap up the dairy aisle at the supermarket as they pose in front of the yogurt shelves. Dannon “Fruit on the Bottom” gets major play. I’m not quite sure of the significance, but that won’t keep me from theorizing.

Choobakka — African-American and Latino — is a product of diversity, like the Mixed Berries style of the Fruit on the Bottom. Also, Mixed Berries, like Choobakka, is often found near the Big Daddy Records studio in Mount Vernon, NY. (Type in the Mount Vernon zip code, 10550, on this page for the proof, courtesy of your local Dannon retailers.)

Whatever the reason, the song was good and danceable. Just like Dannon’s yogurt. Sort of.

And the remote control lands on…

Nobody’s Perfect, a 1989 classic with all the bad movie trimmings. The plot in three sentences:

1) Steve (Chad Lowe) gets kicked off his collegiate men’s tennis team because he falls madly in love Shelly (Gail O’Grady), who is on the women’s tennis team.

2) To get her, Steve pretends to be Stephanie, the foreign exchange student who quickly becomes the star of the women’s team and, of course, Shelly’s roommate.

3) Hijinks — albeit unfunny hijinks — ensue.

Watch the trailer.

The movie’s highlight by far is the moment when Steve tries to think of a topic for his English paper. “Dickens… David CopperfieldGreat Expectations… [eyes light up, jaw drops]. Orphans! All of those guys are orphans!”

It’s amazing this movie was done as a romantic drama. But all of the gender switching makes you wonder. Did the movie encourage Lowe’s wife, Hilary Swank, to play Brandon Teena/Teena Brandon in Boys Don’t Cry? How much of that Best Actress statuette belongs to Mr. Lowe?


I’m dropping the whole imaginary trip idea. I don’t have the creativity to go through with it. I’m a journalism major and not an English/creative writing major for a reason. Sometimes I forget that. If something noteworthy happens this week, I’ll post about it. Otherwise, I’m taking the week off.

Interesting people

Manny, a barber at my neighborhood barber shop, talking about the clientele of a juice bar he was in once: “There was this kid in there sitting near me. This kid, he must have had more earrings than a jewelry store! They weren’t all in his ear either.”

Also, laudromat callers. After discussing whether to live in the house next year, the sweatpanted sorority sisters began to load their laundry into the machines and encountered a problem. Luckily, they had their cell phones at the ready to combat it. One made the call: “Mom, hi! Hey, what temperature do you put whites on in the washing machine?” Somewhere, instruction tag writers were crying.

Why do so many people feel compelled to call at the laundromat? My two theories:

1) People are bored at the laundromat. They’ve brought their bags of laundry, and they’ve brought their quarters and detergent. That’s already a lot to think about. Bringing something on top of that might be too much to ask.

2) People are lonely at the laundromat. The elements are so intimate; the environment is so sterile. This dysfunction — this crush upon the psyche, this wash-dry tease — is extreme. Or something like that.

Where you been?

Good question. Wednesday — work, haircut and paper-writing. Thursday — work, laundry. Friday — job interview, lightning fast packing, then flight home. Saturday — lazy, then Maryland game. I’ve returned home for spring break.

Patrick, you’re boring

Yes, this week at least. I don’t expect anything exciting to happen because relaxing doesn’t quite lead to anything exciting. Instead, this week I’m going to write about other people. Specifically, I’m going to write about my friends Brendan, Tara, Nate, Jamie and Mark as they venture to New Orleans. Because they’re out of contact, we’ll just have to make it all up.

Here’s what we do know: Early Saturday morning, the five loaded into Brendan’s white pick-up truck and chugged out of Evanston, Ill., pop-up camper in tow. The camper, which belongs to Nate’s family, is where they will sleep once they arrive on the outskirts of New Orleans. After a few days in the Big Easy, they will drive back to Evanston.

This is all I know. It’s a good start. Tomorrow: On to Memphis!

My kind of joke

From Andrew’s AIM profile: A guy walks into a bar, and there’s a horse behind the bar serving drinks. The guy is staring at the horse, when the horse says, “Hey buddy, what are you staring at? Haven’t you ever seen a horse serving drinks before?”

The guy says, “No, it’s not that… it’s just that I never thought the parrot would sell the place.”

Maybe someday I’ll visit their offices too

Back in the pre-digital days, back when we had to (but often failed to) write things down, we got the magazine Your Big Backyard from the National Wildlife Federation. When we got a little older, we subscribed to Ranger Rick.

Cue you, the rapidly aging youth: “Oh yeah, I remember that! Or, alternatively: “I forgot about that!”

Thanks. It turns out both magazines are both still around and thriving. My friend is giving her niece Big Backyard for her birthday. It’s a great idea. No matter how much changes, some things stay the same. Like knowing your animals and picking up trash. I’d sure like to see my computer tell me what a pelican is! That’ll be the day.

Somewhat on the topic:

Is Ranger Rick anti-hunting?

Is Ranger Rick pro-squirrel?

The only connection ever between Springsteen and Ranger Rick

Also, an FYI for all the magazine majors at Medill: Ranger Rick circulation: 550,000. Boy’s Life: 1.3 million. Highlights: 2 to 2.5 million. Thar’s money in them thar Goofi.

This is a dream, not a political statement

In a dream last night, my roommate and I did not live in Evanston, Ill. We lived in sunny Florida. We did not live, either, on the third floor. Instead, we lived in a high-rise, somewhere in the upper parts. Living in a Florida high-rise as we did, our apartment was far nicer than the one we actually have. (Tracy, for one, would be glad for that.)

But all of this is just to set up why the Bush brothers had the apartment across the elevators from us. One day Amit and I were sitting in our living room with Nameless/Faceless Neighbor, just making conversation. Then there came a knock at the door! I went and answered it, and there were the Bush brothers. Jeb, George W. and another one.

They were chasing a dog around the marble and glass elevator area. Finally, remembering he had rung the doorbell, Jeb looked up and noticed me. “Hey,” he said, “we were wondering, you know, if you all wanted to go out and get something to eat.”

I went back inside to ask Amit and Nameless/Faceless Neighbor if they want to go. Jeb followed me in and went looking for a snack in the kitchen. The conversation went like this:

Me: Jeb Bush wants to know if you all want to go get something to eat.

Amit: The governor? Where is he?

Me: He’s here. He lives in our building apparently.

Neighbor: You mean those Confederate Bushes? Where are they?

Me: Hey, be nice, Jeb’s in the kitchen right now!

And that was the end of that dream. Presumably George W. and the other brother (Marvin or Neil) were still playing with the dog by the elevators.

This dream was followed by a shorter, less coherent dream that involved winning a 100-disc CD changer as part of a SPJ contest. The song Desperado was involved somehow. That’s the last time I eat Almond Joy Bites right before going to bed.

It’s that time of year

Ireland’s Greatest Hits in the CD player. Elvis’ take on Danny Boy on Winamp. Yesterday, dressed up in green shirt, green jacket, and Pat hat (pictured left — ugly, isn’t it?). Went downtown with Linz yesterday and saw the Chicago River dyed green for the parade. Stopped in at a packed Houlihan’s next to the river. Drank a green beer. It’s a good holiday.

If they can dye the river green today, why can’t they dye it blue the other 364 days of the year? — Dep. Biggs, The Fugitive.