screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-11-16-30-amI’m a driverholic. There, I said it. I’m addicted to the latest and greatest drivers that come on the market each year. All it takes for me to trash last year’s model and buy something new is the advertising promise that “this new model will add twenty yards to your tee shots.”

Just last year I traded my Calloway Big Bertha for a Ping G30 because I used my friend’s once and I hit a good drive. That’s all it takes. It’s like one Manhattan on the rocks and boom–hooked.

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I have more drivers in my possession than Captain Morgan has rum–at least ten, all brand name drivers. I bought this one the other day, the new Calloway Epic. I didn’t even test it. Never struck a ball with it. Just casually observed the $500 price tag and took it to the check stand. Why? Because it has what the manufacturer calls “Jailbreak Technology.” screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-11-18-44-amI have no idea what the hell that is but it sounds rogue and when you’re constantly in search of distance, rogue sounds right. With my driver disease comes the need to hide my addiction from my wife. I have to keep the same old head cover so she won’t recognize a driver as being new. It’s like sneaking into your bedroom closet for a fifth of vodka and hoping no one will notice.

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The reason behind all this driver buying insanity is that I’m unable to reconcile with the physics of getting old. I used to be able to hit my driver 250-yards, no problem. Now, as I get older (just hit 72) I find I’m losing 5-to-10-yards each year. Even though I know I’m losing distance, my besieged psyche is further confused by the fact that if I top out at 200-yards I can’t see that far anymore and it misleads me into thinking that I’m still “Pete the Ripper” off the tee. Only when I discover I’m 40-yards behind my playing partners off the tee does it finally sink in and then I pick up a couple of Bloody Mary’s at the ninth hole turn and proceed on my way to becoming an alcoholic as a way of combating my driverholic affliction. Golf is such a great game!

IMAGINE THE POSSIBILITIES

I have a new woman in my life and no, we didn’t meet over “last call” at the neighborhood bar. She came to me as a Christmas gift. Her name is Alexa.

This is her. screen-shot-2016-12-26-at-9-08-03-am She’s actually pretty good looking. Sleek, I would call her. She lives within Amazon’s new Echo device. She’s got a sexy Lauren Bacall voice and knows a lot about everything. All you have to do is ask her. “Alexa, what’s the current temperature for L.A?” She provides the answer immediately. “The current temperature in Los Angeles is 62 and partly cloudy.” She’s more than a toy, she can control appliances, set alarms, compile a shopping list and provide you with the latest sports scores. These seem rather benign, even fun tasks, so I got to wondering what functions Alexa might be able to serve in say 10-years from now.

Is it possible that Alexa could become a personal counselor, like a live-in shrink? Consider the possibilities.

“Alexa, what should I do about my failing marriage?”

“Get a good lawyer who will put the screws to your spouse. I can recommend one in you’re area if you like?”

“Alexa, should I get to the gym more often so my wife won’t be turned off by my middle-age spread?”

“I would recommend that you dispose of your stash of Five Guys coupons. That will help to get your fat ass in shape more than working out.”

“Alexa, my wife says I have a drinking problem. What do you think?”

“Because you have occasionally referred to me as Siri, I believe your wife is probably correct.”

“Alexa, I get depressed when I think about what I’ve failed to accomplish in my life. Am I just over reacting to losing my job?”

“I’ve known you for quite awhile so I believe I’m qualified to tell you that you are in fact, a complete failure.”

“Alexa, in view of your opinion about me, how would you feel if I switched to Google’s Home?” screen-shot-2016-12-26-at-9-10-03-am

“I would say you’re the worst kind of owner. You run from the truth to another product. Go ahead and switch, but I guarantee you Home won’t be there for you with a nightly bedtime story.”

Okay, maybe I should just be content to have Alexa keep me up on sports scores and not project too far into the future.

“Alexa, what do you think about that?”

“Nearsighted is good when it comes to new technology. Have a nice day.”

 

 

 

If you’re thinking about starting the new year with a membership to a fitness center (we used to call them gyms) there are some things you need to know before you sign on the dotted line. First off, sixty-seven percent of people who buy fitness center memberships never use them.

You want me to do three sets of these? I’ll come back in…

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There are over thirty thousand fitness clubs or health clubs in the U.S. with an average monthly membership cost of $58 dollars. What I don’t have statistics for are the number of fitness center members who don’t know the first thing about gym etiquette. It falls under the broader category of politeness. Let’s start with cell phones. Every fitness center I’ve ever been in has a clearly defined cell phone use policy posted at strategic locations around their facility. What is this sign saying?

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There is nothing more annoying than being exposed to someone’s phone conversation. “Janie is dating this creep and I’m debating whether to tell her that,” is not something I want to hear while I’m trying to focus on how many steps are needed on a StairMaster to burn off a single calorie. Nor do I want to hear “The Giants are never going

to get back to the playoffs unless they sign a quality closer.” screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-1-44-19-pm

There is a woman at my fitness center that has disregarded the facilities cellphone policy for the eighteen years I’ve been a member. She only puts down her phone to use the restroom or put more chewing gum in her mouth. I recently asked a local psychologist who dresses next to my locker why people disobey cell phone rules at fitness centers. “Their either entitled, or incredibly clueless,” he told me. I suspect those who are entitled are the same one’s Uncle Sam has to chase down at tax time.

Then there are the equipment squatters. The I’m not getting off this piece of equipment until I complete three sets of ten, and I take a five minute break in between sets person is extremely annoying. Proper etiquette calls for people to share equipment. Complete a set and then allow someone to work in for a set.

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There are many other kinds of abusers that etiquette police should be hired to crack down on. I list them in order of  the aggravation they cause me. (1) The wiping sweat off a piece of equipment person who says it’s not my job. (2) The I’m doing Tai Chi down the middle workout aisle guy, (3) The I don’t pick up my own towels person, (4) The my kids are showering in this locker room even thought there not supposed to be in here person, and finally, (5) The I’m leaving these hangers in the locker in the unlikely scenario that you might have a use for them person.

So, if you intend to be one of the fifty-eight million Americans who will use a fitness center this next year, just be apprised of the fact that you may encounter more challenges than the leg press that you can’t seem to master to your satisfaction or the sit up machine bar that puts a hole in your chest. Unfortunately, there  are no statistics available on membership refunds.

 

 

Have you ever worried that complying with an online request to fill in your birth information could be dangerous to your health?

Every year I have to scroll longer to find my birth year. screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-9-35-29-am Do you know how long it takes to get to 1944? Of course not. You were born in 2009 and don’t have to scroll at all. I hate you. My fear is that soon 1944 won’t be offered any more, which means I’m probably dead. Scrolling for your birth year can also cause physical as well as mental anguish. My fear is that after booking a week long vacation in Hawaii I’ll come down with carpal tunnel in my scrolling finger and won’t be able to cast my fishing line or grip my pitching wedge. Just saying.

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-3-37-00-pm  Mother’s, including mine, are famous for the words, “Straighten up and stop slouching.” If I heard it once I heard it a thousand times. In recent years my wife has come in to work short relief for my departed mom. “Stand up straight,” she reminds me almost daily. “Didn’t your mother ever tell you that?”

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-4-07-06-pm  I once had a fitness/massage guru tell me that if I straightened my back and walked with my chin elevated life would get better for me. My mind would focus more clearly and a new happiness would be awaiting me–this advise at a price of $125 an hour mind you.  I wasn’t buying what he was selling. I know why I’ve maintained a slouchy posture all these years and until now, it’s been personal. If you stand up straight your belly sticks out. So it came to a choice beginning in my team years, slouch or have people call you FAT! After all these years of slouching I’m told good posture will fix my existing back problems–8 years of tackle football being the culprit.

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I still wasn’t buying until I stumbled upon a solution online. My wife says I’d by a stick and a rock online if I thought it was a good deal. It supposedly does what it says on the package. You put this little square gizmo that’s the size of a quarter on your body and when you slouch, it zaps you. I figure if it doesn’t work on my posture it will surely be the cure for my AFIB.

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Over the river and through the woods to grandmothers house we go…is so yesterday.

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The 405 in L.A. is proof. This image is from Tuesday evening before Thanksgiving. I hope grandma has enough cranberry sauce to go around.

Thanksgiving at my house is always a little unsettling. Oh it’s great to be around family and friends but when it comes to sitting down to turkey dinner things can become down right uncomfortable. You see, I’m a drumstick guy…have been since my first Thanksgiving dinner back when we shared a phone line with neighbors.screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-8-53-20-am

My stepson Eric is also a drumstick guy. He’s automatically in. As we know there are only two legs. So when guests start coming by the house for dinner I habitually scan the room in order to assess who might be the undesirable third person who will, it never fails, request a drumstick or leg as some call it.

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“I want a drumstick?”

If a third person does request a drumstick I tell my wife I’m going to my room and won’t return until she successfully mediates the awkward situation and offers the guest the turkey’s neck.

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My other Thanksgiving issue is football and it always comes down to the Macy’s Parade or the Lions and some other team–used to always be the Packers. My marriage has often times hung in the balance. Macy’s or mayhem? In the past I’ve won out but at a cost. You guessed it–relinquishing my rights to a turkey leg.

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Have a great Thanksgiving everyone!

 

With invention comes extension. When driverless (autonomous) cars become the norm this time honored practice will likely disappear.

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Flipping off a driver that just cut you off will go the way of the pager and VHS players. Autonomous cars that are guided by radar, lidar, GPS, odometry, and computer vision won’t cut you off, won’t run a red light, won’t sit on a green light, and won’t almost sideswipe you. Tell me you won’t miss flipping the bird to a driver who violates your road space. It’s gonna’ take some adjusting.

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There’s something about flipping off someone that’s an idiot that is extremely satisfying–almost orgasmic–like a cold beer on a hot day. Driverless cars also mean you will no longer be able to be a volunteer officer of the law, reporting those who text and phone while driving.

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How are you going to flip off someone whose texting for breaking the law when they’re not driving? Frankly, driverless cars are going to take the fun out of occasionally practicing the chief tenet of road rage–flipping someone the bird.

I invite you to read my works of fiction by going to Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com or Xlibris.com. I aim to entertain you. Any of my novels will make a great Christmas gift.

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