Another day, another sad head-shaking giggle

The PGA Tour is here in the Houston area this week for the Shell Houston Open, which has become a pretty nice stop for the pros the week before the Masters in Augusta,sportsfront Georgia. The Redstone Golf Club’s Tournament Course is set up to mimic the conditions at Augusta National, and the Houston Golf Association pitches the tournament as a great way for players to practice playing in Augusta conditions; it also provides the last opportunity for a player who’s not already in “the first major” tournament of the year to get a last-minute invite if he wins at Houston.

It’s a big deal locally, and the sports section of Houston’s Leading Information Source devotes many pages to promoting the event in advance and then covering the crap out of it when it arrives: two-thirds of the front of today’s sports section is Shell Houston Open stuff, and there’s more inside.

My eye first was drawn to the picture just below the fold of dMickelsoncutlineefending SHO champion Phil Mickelson during yesterday’s rain-shortened first round, where the cutline tells me Mickelson “got off to a strong start, getting a birdie on No. 1 when he holed his third shot from a bunker.”

Then I wandered to the top of the page, where in building a straw man to make some point about Charl Schwartzel, who was playing with Mickelson and Fred Couples Thursday, columnist Jerome Solomon tells me that Mickelson “dropped a 22-foot putt for birdie on the first hole of the Shell Houston Open.”

Solomons leadHuh? I shook my head, and it made that clunky sound of metal rattling around, like Yogi Bear’s did when he got confused. I re-read Solomon’s lead, then I re-read the cutline…then I re-read them both again, just to make sure. Then I looked more closely at the picture, and saw that Mickelson was holding his putter and making the triumphant “I sank it!” gesture. And then I measured: 12 and a half inches away from one another, on the very same page of the paper, and they can’t get the story straight about what the defending champion did on his third shot of the golf tournament.

When I got to a computer it took 45 whole seconds (at for me to find out that Mickelson drove into a fairway bunker leaving 177 yards, his second shot ended up on the green, and he sank the putt from 22 feet for the birdie. So Solomon’s story was right, the cutline writer was wrong, and the people who layed out and proofed the page were either still suffering rodeo hangover or distracted with dread at the fact that the Astros start their season next week.

Caveat lector!

I’ll take severability for $600, Alex

The Supreme Court hears arguments on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act during six hours of oral arguments spread over three days starting this coming Monday.  What’s all the hoohah about, you ask?  Can’t remember what caused the whole uproar?  Your friends at NPR are here to help, with a brief and cogent summary of the issues at hand that even non-lawyers can digest.

Just one question to answer today

Please, no pushing, you will all get a turn.  This dropped out of the electronic wind earlier this week; I can’t make out what conclusion this rigorous experiment returned, but I thought you’d like a chance to answer the lad’s question—click the comments balloon at the top right.


OK, I’ll start:

“Yes, and you will be one of them.”

We can’t all start thinking for ourselves, of course…but Wowie!

My my my: how rare and brave are the new owners of the Houston Astros, standing right up to all-powerful Major League Baseball and everything!

After all, it’s so obviously clear that having Houston’s baseball players wear these shirts for two whole games this year would spark a wave of colts45-3912gun violence unprecedented in scope and depravity that there should be no question but that forbidding them from doing so was the only responsible option for the right-thinking people who direct what all other people should and shouldn’t do and think.  Even if, as is likely, the team will only be seen by upwards of hundreds of fans on those days—including kids, I tell ya; think of the KIDS!—they-who-pass-judgment chose not to tempt fate and were super-duper-diligent in expressing their directions to the rest of us.

But the Houston Astros did not meekly accepted the dictats of our overcautious society; oh no.  After exercising the temerity to consider the merits of a situation (but only after having received permission to do so, of course), team management expressed a considered and independent opinion:

“We made this decision for a number of reasons,” Astros owner Jim Crane said in a statement. “We listened to our fans, who were almost unanimously in favor of wearing the original jersey. We wanted to honor all of our past uniforms during this special 50th anniversary season, and we felt it was important to be true to the tradition of the franchise.”

Oh.  My.  God.  They did what their fans wanted?!  The team did what it felt was right?!!  A bold move, unquestionably…but where will we all be if that sort of behavior were to catch on?

Where the outdoor fun is found, even if you play the course

I’d find this funny in any case, but as a golfer I find it humorous in the extreme, and a great example of why it’s important to keep a close tab on your punctuation.

Today I found in the mail a flyer from an area golf establishment offering special rates on memberships that include play at a number of area courses, cheap lessons, family social events, etc., and all for a reduced entry fee.  I’m not likely to join since the course closest to my house is about ten times as far away as where I play now (at a much lower monthly rate), but still I looked over the flyer.  There, among the many enticing offers and colorful photos and alluring graphics, is a testimonial from “Canongate Member since 2011.”  Well, if old C.M. really said this, in this way, I understand his reason for maintaining anonymity.

In the pull quote the man tells me that he and his wife and sons have spent their first day as members at their new club, that they enjoyed a lovely meal, and that then they spent “three hours outdoors together having more fun than we’ve had in a long time, and playing golf too.”

It’s a smile…