Thursday, August 18, 2011

I am Earl Woods

I am Earl Woods.

For the past four days, I have played miniature golf with my eldest daughter, Sophie, three times and have gone to a driving range and putting green. Is this parenting gone wild? I am not sure. I am Earl Woods.

It seems rare that parents and children have the same addiction. With heroin, for example, it seems uncommon that parents and kids share needles and are equally addicted. With this miniature golf, though, we both are addicted.

For the first two days, we played Golf 'N' Stuff in Norwalk, Calif., then Boomers in Fountain Valley, Calif. Each time we played, we played 36 holes. So Sophie and I played the equivalent of a golf tournament over two days.

The total par was 212. Sophie shot 73-72-70-83 for 298, and I shot 51-47-46-46 for 190 or 22-under. Yes, you read that correctly. I am reporting my putt-putt scores and am proud of them. Actually, I'm more proud because Sophie and I have found an awesome activity that we both love.

"I like it so much because there are obstacles, and it's crazier than regular golf," Sophie, 6, said.Today, we played 36 holes at Mulligan Family Fun Center in Torrance, Calif. Sophie shot 65-67, while I shot 51-45 on the par-54 courses. She is showing improvement, while I am playing the same. Also, she had the only hole-in-one of the day, bringing her lifetime holes-in-one to three.

Obviously, the similarities abound between Sophie and me with Tiger and Earl Woods. One difference, though, is the starting age for golf. Tiger Woods made an appearance with his dad on "The Mike Douglas Show" when he was 2 to show off his golf skills. Sophie has not even heard of "The Mike Douglas Show."

Monday, August 15, 2011

Men's medallions: Difficult to obtain

I am a big fan of men's jewelry, or "man-jewelry," as I term it.

My theory is that jewelry is meant to decorate what is beautiful. And why can't a gentleman be beautiful? Now, the only problem with this theory is that years of conditioning that "man-jewelry" is for girlie men can't get me to wear much more than a wristwatch.

A while back, I vowed to wear more "man-jewelry." In fact, one of my New Year's resolutions was to obtain a medallion. But darn it, I recently found myself in August without adorning a medallion.

During a recent trip to Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, I went on a medallion-searching spree, and I was semi-successful: I found a glorious medallion - a silver-laden shiny microphone medallion.Life is strange. I was shocked when the asking price for such a medallion was $185.

Man, I was at a crossroads. The $185 price tag seemed too high, but I really wanted the medallion. So I tried my best haggling skills to get a reasonable price.

After various negotiations, the storekeeper announced, "Listen. I can go $55. But that's it."

I said, "Hey, look, this microphone medallion is kind of a joke. Paying that much is far too high and could kill the joke. My max here is $20."

Alas, I do not have the microphone medallion in my possession. It certainly would have been a nice addition to my wardrobe, but I also am a bit happy because if I started wearing a medallion, perhaps there would be a slippery slope and I'd soon be adorning man-jewelry like Liberace and/or Mr. T.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

XMan loosely connected to Ghoulardi

Editor’s Note: Prominent SBG enthusiast Fred “XMan” Stevens unexpectedly passed away on Feb. 16, 2011. He is profoundly missed. The following type of blog entry is part of a periodic SBG series called “From the XMan Chronicles” that will recount tales involving the XMan.

From the XMan Chronicles:

As a child of Cleveland, I have heard many tales of Ghoulardi. He was the host of a Friday night show called "Shock Theater" that aired locally from 1963 to 1966.

Ghoulardi made his mark in Cleveland, big time. Clevelanders of a certain era all know him, and Drew Carey even wore T-shirts of him on his show.

Apparently, Ghoulardi was extremely irreverent, candid and often made fun of Parma, Ohio. If Cleveland is the armpit of America, Parma is what Clevelanders make fun of.

But here is where this Snooze Button Generation masterpiece takes a turn. You see, both Anne and Fred Stevens knew Ghoulardi very well. So much so, that they both knew that he was the father of Paul Thomas Anderson, the popular film director of "Boogie Nights," "Magnolia" and "There Will Be Blood."

Obviously, PT Anderson peaked with "Boogie Nights" and "Magnolia" and will never again achieve the cinematic effect he did with those glorious films. I don't mean to put his other work down, but those two movies are awesome. He is quite an accomplished director. He is only three years older than me, and he directed those films while I was concluding graduate school in New York and was starting to work at the obscure Long Beach Press-Telegram.

Anyway, I rarely see movies in the theater. But in 1999, I did see "Magnolia" with the XMan and my mom at Marina Pacifica in Long Beach, Calif.

I cannot exactly put into words our movie reviews. Obviously, we thought the Tom Cruise character was exceptional. Overall, we liked the film.

My mom knew in advance that the Jason Robards character was based on Ghoulardi, who died in 1997 of cancer. PT Anderson watched his dad, Ghoulardi, wither away from cancer and then die. I never saw that happen to the XMan.Perhaps all death situations are different, but strangely, I feel some sort of affinity, or connection, to PT Anderson and Ghoulardi and me and the XMan.

The XMan and I also were cool enough in 1999 to realize that a singalong to Aimee Mann's "Wise Up" was totally appropriate and good.

Good God, "Wise Up" is a heartfelt, beautiful song. The beginning lyrics are totally applicable to mourning and life: "It's not what you thought when you first began it. You got what you want. Now you can hardly stand it, though, by now, you know, it's not going to stop."