Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Story of Dangerous Dan Dawson and Oh! Cosmo!

Saturday afternoons fill me with angst.  I'm tired from a long week of work and some sort of early morning game or practice.  The wife is readying for her night of listening to (and spinning her own) stories.  What can we do when the weather is cold and uninviting?  I want to break the kids out of their video game and TV habit (that's for later in the night).  I always think of the playground, to play basketball and watch the kids climb on the jungle gym.  Not when the thermometer reads 20 degrees though.  No way.

I'm not sure what led me to check on the Internet for professional lacrosse.  I can't remember ever playing the game.  I wouldn't know the MVP of any professional league if he hit me in the face with his stick (I would just think he's a client).  I vaguely remember being interested in watching the NCAA Lacrosse championships at Foxboro last year, but that was it.  Despite having only a rudimentary understanding of the nuances of the game, we headed into Boston to check an early afternoon game out.   Maybe my seven year old will take a liking to this game and play it himself.

1pm.  Boston, MA.  Trying to talk up the game to my seven year old, I focus on the hitting and the fights we might see.

"You mean they try to hurt each other with their sticks?" my sons asks expectantly. 

Fast forwarding to later tonight with his 5 year old brother: "Yes, but they get into a lot of trouble; they get sent to a small box to sit while everyone else plays."

"It's called the penalty box, Dad."  He answers.  I just don't give the kid enough credit sometimes.

* * * * *
Getting club seats at the Garden for $20?  Sweet.  But alas, my excitement is toned down when I'm told that I have to get my own beer and popcorn because they don't have people serving you in the club seats at these games.  I also forgot that there are no bathrooms up here.  Damn you Vitamin Water.  The Club Seats are actually the worse seats in the house at Blazers' games, it turns out. 

After waiting in line for drinks and the bathroom, we sit down just as the teams are introduced - the Boston Blazers vs. the Philadephia Wings.  The Blazers come out of tunnel while cheerleaders called the "Sparks" cheer them on.  (I now know where you go if you aren't a Patriots or Celtic cheerleader, but you have too much pride to become a Hooters girl or a stripper.  Welcome to the Sparks!)  The Blazers have only won one game this year but they look confident today. The good guys are led by the four time all star (Dangerous) Dan Dawson and the 2 time all star Goalie Anthony (Oh!) Cosmo.  Enough of the introductions, let's get it started!

First Half.  The game is actually broken into quarters, but never mind, I don't remember if some of these things happened in the First Quarter or the Second Quarter, so First Half it is.  The Blazers look ready this afternoon, as they jump out to a quick 2-0 lead, including a goal scored by Dan Dawson (when he scores a goal the P.A. Announcer says in his deepest Barry White voice, "That's dannnngerrrrous."  No, that's disturrrrbinnng.) and a goal against the Philadelphia Wings goalie that got lost in his uniform and dribbled into the goal as he was frantically hopping around looking for the ball.  "That was awesome, Dad!"

After the second goal, the Wings come down on an odd man rush (Is that the proper term?)  A behind the back pass to one of the forwards produces a bullet shot at the goalie.   What a diving stop by Boston's goalie, Anthony Cosmo!  We're then treated to the other arena gimmick.  All the lights turn red, the scoreboard goes haywire and the P.A Announcer exclaims "Great save by Oh! Cosmo!"  Even the crowd gets into it. Considering the Blazers record, he must have a lot of shots against him.  

As play continues, Dan Dawson nets a couple of more goals (That's Dannnngerrrrrousssss!) for the Blazers while we're waiting in line for popcorn.  Just as we sit down, we're entertained by a Philadelphia goal with one second left in the half.  Not playing defense is dannnngerrrroussss.

Halftime.  More Sparks.  T-Shirts and Qdoba burritos are hurled at us.  And of course, the mascot tug of war.  Need I say more?

Second Half.  The Third quarter is one of the most entertaining quarters I've seen in any sport.  These teams really don't like each other, as both teams pile up the roughing penalties, culminating in a scrum in front of Oh! Cosmo! that causes the mild mannered goalie to lose his cool.  He starts pummeling the offending forward as the pile on top of the two of them grows.  We are all going crazy.  I think I even heard the words "kill him" come out of my mouth, but I'm not sure, it was kind of loud.  Goals were coming fast and furious.  Although some were negated by in the Crease infractions. 

Back and forth the game went as the Blazers struggled to stay on top.  I notice that Indoor Lacrosse combines a lot of recognizable elements - 2 minute penalties, a shot clock, instant replay, cheesy promotions and of course, the scoreboard dance cam.  Speaking of the dance cam, if you want to be seen on the scoreboard, wear a Spiderman mask and dance like your head is on fire.  I guarantee you will be on the scoreboard. 

Before we knew it, we had to leave.  A long delay caused by a shoving match and an instant replay on a Wings' goal meant that we had to leave with 10 minutes left in the game.  We had to be home in time for the other half to get to work.  Blazers were winning though, 9-8.  They ended up taking this match 11-9 to improve their record to 2-3.  Meanwhile, Philadelphia fell to 1-4.  We ended the day the same way we started it.  Freezing cold.  But we have a new lacrosse fan too.  Maybe this will stop him from wanting to play Pop Warner football next year.  Probably not. 

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Let the Paranoia and Plot Twists Begin - 24 Review

I'm starting to get paranoid - really paranoid.  Will it be the Russian mobsters?  Or the Islamic jihadists?  Perhaps the Chinese?  An insider in the White House maybe?  Tell the truth, Jack.  24 is back.  Your favorite CTU bad boy returns for another season. So what if he's 50 years old and on his death bed as a result of exposure to biological weapons in last season's bloodbath?  Keifer Sutherland puts down the commercial voiceovers and the Jack Daniels long enough to again lead the clueless President (Cherry Jones) and the off-her-rocker FBI Agent Renee (Annie Wersching) past the bad guys.  We have been promised a more human Jack Bauer.  I don't want to believe it, but I can understand that its getting tougher every year to pretend that Jack can actually kick anyone's ass at this point.  But really who cares - 4 hours of jam packed action is starting now.

The following takes place between the hours of 8pm and 9pm.  Events occur in real time.

In the office pool, I've taken Episode 8 as the episode when we discover who the real bad guy(s) are.  I may have gone a little early here. 

After a couple of guys are found dead and a shootout occurs, we cut to Jack lying the couch with his granddaughter asking him to put on a show (that's a familiar refrain).  I can't help to ask the question - Jack was about to die at the end of last year.  He even had a "Come to Jesus" meeting with the Muslim cleric.  Now he's perfectly fine with a passing mention of his "treatment?"  Aren't biological weapons supposed to be pretty bad?  Lethal even?

The scene then shifts to President Omar Hassan from an unnamed Arab country readying an historic Middle East peace accord.  I suspect that an Arab splinter group is behind the trouble this year.  I do see that Hassan only lasts for 16 episodes, so this dude obviously dies.  (N.B. If a little IMDB research provides information from which one can deduce other information, I don't consider it a spoiler).  Now its time for my favorite Gatorade Commercial "I can float like a butterfly, and sting like a bee!"

We're back.  "Omar, people are starting to believe that you've been corrupted by the West."  Yes.  Us Westerners are bad, bad people with our indoor plumbing, good oral hygiene and big American TVs.  But maybe its true, since at the precise same time, an informant from some previous year starts telling Jack about a plot to assassinate President Hassan.

Trying to get all of the plotting devices in during Episode One, the camera then cuts to the newly revamped CTU.  Instead of calling the police, Jack calls CTU about the impending threat to President Hassan.  Chloe and her sad sack scowl is back trying to make some money since her wussy Scottish husband Morris doesn't want to step up to the plate.  She wrestles with the woman from Battlestar Gallactica for control of CTU's computer analysis center.  Figuratively.  When this information reaches President Taylor, she wants to take some time about whether to tell someone that he is about to be killed.  She sends her daughter off to prison for killing Jon Voight and ten she keeps silent on this kind of information.  Tough love this woman has.

Shoot.  I'm already wrong.  Some Russian guy just took out a CTU helicopter as Jack tries to get his informant to the authorities.  I guess the shooter is Russian, the accent was pretty choppy.  Kind of like actors taking cracks at the Massachusetts accent when they play one of the Kennedys.  Also, the blond reporter that is having a tryst with President Hassan just got off the phone with a menacing look on her face exclaiming "I know I'm behind schedule, but I'll get it done."  I am already confused, and that is a good thing.

I have to admit that I watched all four hours.  While this review is only for the first hour, I will make a couple of observations overall.  It appears that the unbelievable plot twists remain.  Freddie Prinze, Jr.?  Agent Renee Walker is going to be terrific this year, she appears to be absolutely crazy.  Plot line with the crazy red neck ex-boyfriend?  Just kick his ass Starbuck!

88 out of 100.  So far so good. 

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Why I am up Watching the Australian Open

Work needs to get done.  Insomnia.  Doppelganger freaking me out.  The wife is snoring.  The kids and visiting dog are crying.  A shooting pain down the back makes it impossible to sleep.  Why is one up at 3 in the morning?  Those are my usual reasons.  Normally, this is harbinger of bad luck - being up this early.  Except for a brief period of time in January and February when, even at the most ridiculous hours, live sports may be found.

I admit that I like tennis.  I really don't get a chance (or should I say that I am not permitted) to watch sports live or on TV very often, so I usually keep it to the big three - Baseball, Football and Basketball.  It's much easier to pretend that a game in one of those sports is important.  Either for standings or for betting.

It's tougher to justify with tennis.  No one in their right mind bets on professional tennis (golf I can somewhat understand, but professional tennis? Please seek help if you bet on tennis, I'm sure Nikolay Davydenko did.)  And I am usually called onto the carpet if I pretend that a match is important.  But the important tennis tournaments offer a unique opportunity.  The French Open and Wimbledon are usually played early in the morning on the East Coast.  The U.S. Open plays late matches under the Flushing lights.  And in January, when I can't sleep?  It's just me and the Hitachi watching tennis from Down Under.  I'm not sure how many hours ahead Australia is, all I know is that when it is dark here, it's light there.  I also think that if some someone is coming home from the bars down there and drunk dials, they will be calling right after the dialing respondent gets back from lunch.  Nevertheless, this is a perfect way to kill some time.

3am.  Home.  I'm not sure why they are playing the first match.  Roger Federer vs. some guy named "Hanescu" in the Second Round.  I don't bother trying to find out anything about this guy, including his first name.  I wonder to myself how many games Federer is going to give up here.  6? 7?  He might be distracted trying to cover up his own tracks as his (former) Gillette buddy is spending time in "rehab" in Mississippi.  You know they went out to the clubs when Tiger was in Europe.  Maybe 10 games? 12?  Perhaps we should ask Prince William what he thinks since it appears that he is sitting in one of the front rows.  How do I know?  They KEEP showing him!  It's happening so often after points that I'm beginning to think he's one of the player's boyfriends.

In the end, Federer won 6-2, 6-3, 6-2.  Shortly after the match, while being interviewed, former American tennis great Jim Courier points in the direction of Prince William and favorably (I guess) compares Federer with Prince William as both cover their faces in horror and embarrassment (those asshole Americans, they both must be thinking).

5am.  Home.  We are then treated to 5 minutes of Taylor Dent getting his American butt whipped in straight sets.  Well done!  But wait.  Things are happening fast and furious now as ESPN immediately cuts to Spaniard Fernando Verdasco also winning in straight sets.  Two hours of tennis, three blowouts.

5:15am.  Home.  Bummer.  Live tennis has taken a back seat so ESPN can replay Venus Williams against an opponent named Bammer.  I'm not kidding about the name.  I go onto the Internet to see that Williams destroyed Bammer in straight sets also.  Yawn.  Then another replay, this time of Lleyton Hewitt against an American named Donald Young.  No need to tell you what happened there, either.  Checking the scores, I see that live tennis is being played, yet they are showing replays of yesterday's matches.  No one is watching anyway ESPN just put the live sports on!  Please?

6:00am  Home.  No dice on live tennis.  I see that the next match after Venus Williams plays features her sister Serena Williams.  Since ESPN just groups their stories as "Williams Sisters Do This" and "Williams Sisters Do That..." I already know what happened in with Serena Williams.  Maybe I'm just not motivated to discover, when I'm watching sports from overseas late at night, that they are simply replaying the previous days' matches.  I could be watching golf or life coaching infomercials right now. 

6:30am.  Home.  Visions of tennis balls and hardcourts start dancing through my head.  I guess it's time to head back to bed.  That's okay, the Federer match will probably be on again when I wake up.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

It's a Shame About Peyton and Ray

It wasn't supposed to happen this way, I keep telling myself.  The Jets were supposed to be playing the Colts this weekend.  The Patriots were supposed to be playing the Chargers in San Diego.  I had to take some time to reflect on this lost season.  When Cassel and the crew finished 11-5 last year, I was convinced that even with a banged up Tom Brady, the Patriots were going to steamroll through the 2009 regular season at 13-3, wait out a much needed bye week, and then destroy Chargers or the Steelers at home in the conference semi final.  Final stop, Miami.

I've never been too good with names
The Bowl door was open, they could never stay away
I know it's probably not my place
It's either or, I'm hoping for a simple way to say.

Instead, after a curious regular season, the listless Patriots fell meekly at home to the Ravens, despite Joe Flacco completing just 4 passes for 34 yards.  I mean, come on, he played like Tony Eason and the Ravens still left us in the dust!  Now, I could blame a lot of things for this loss - Patriot season ticket holders letting Ravens fans have their seats, the enigma that is Randy Moss, a devastating injury to Wes Welker, curious game calling on both sides of the ball - it's all there. 

Even better, the local and national media, pissed off at Spygate and Belichick's secretive nature, piled on.  It was the end of an era, they shrieked.  Parity in the NFL had finally caught up to the Patriots, they argued.  Every local newspaper columnist, radio show host (other than the Brat Pack on the Big Show - Bratwurst that is) and TV reporter was so gleeful about this turn of events that I was getting an uncanny feeling that awkward high fives were occurring in studios and pressrooms across the city.  Not here.  JMR's household will remain irrationally dedicated to this football regime. 

8:30 pm.  Home.  Thinking back through the numerous times I tried to get them excited about football before, I needed my boys to sit here with me.  Maybe they will grow up being diehard Patriots fans, maybe they will hate Dad for forcing this nonsense upon them, maybe something in between.  I thought it was a good start though when C told me (without me prompting him) that he couldn't believe the Ravens won last week, that they were so bad.  I know I couldn't believe it either.  One thing was for sure, whether I have to lie a little bit, or let the facts speak for themselves, my boys will not like the Colts and the Ravens after tonight.  Remember, it wasn't supposed to happen this way.

First Quarter.  I go with the obvious ones here.  I tell them that Ray Lewis once got in a lot of trouble in Atlanta 10 years ago.  I continued that he was set free after he bribed every member of the jury and judge to get free, which was really, REALLY bad.  I threw that in there so C would stop bribing G to play his Nintendo DS.  Maybe I take some liberty with the facts but what's even worse is what Peyton Manning did to those children at the football camp he was conducting for the United Way.  It was disgusting what he did to them.  I know where Mike Leach got his discipline technique from.  The boys were horrified.  Although G asked me why everyone was laughing at those poor kids.  I told him that it was other members of the Indianapolis Colts thinking it was funny. 

Halfway through the First Quarter, I hear "Dad, number 52 is so fat he knocked the other guy out.  Will he go to jail?"  All right, maybe I should take it easy on the jail stuff.

Second Quarter.  Much more of a conciliatory tone this quarter.  Discussions included earthquakes, flatulence and birthday parties.  The only football-related remark occurred when C sighed "This game is soooo boring."  Until, that is, we all perked up after a brutal helmet to helmet hit by Ray Lewis right as the Colts were driving for their second touchdown.  The umpire and I both called that penalty.

"That was really restless, Dad.  I can see why you don't like him.  I don't like him either."  It's not that I don't like him, I just think he's a dirty player. 

It's a shame about Peyton and Ray.
Hands of stone, under the scrum
their names are still engraved.
Some things need to go away.
It's a shame about Peyton and Ray.   

Third Quarter.  One boy has gone down in flames.  Up to bed he went with a drink and some tucking in.  Can the remaining men get through this game?  The way this game is going, it's going to be tough.  I do like however that C thinks that Peyton Manning is yelling at his teammates (when he's actually calling an audible).  I started to explain what he was actually doing, then thought better of it and simply agreed with his assessment.  The only other highlights are the Ravens blowing not one, but two, interceptions by Ed Reed during the last drive of the Quarter.  Not quite Luke when facing Darth in the final scenes of Return of the Jedi, but I can feel the hatred growing!

Fourth Quarter.  We're all getting tired, so before the two of us start fading away, I turn the tables and explain that these guys really aren't that bad, but that it was okay not to like them, so long as they never acted on their feelings.  Especially on a wall in my house.  With 8 minutes left, and trying to fight sleep, C tells me he wants to go to bed.  I help him upstairs, get some water for him and tuck him in too.   

I know what you're thinking.  It's unhealthy to teach such impressionable children to hate anyone or anything.  Well, I'll have them buy some flowers for Mom tomorrow and draw pretty pictures on their day off on Monday.  If you can't have a healthy dislike for someone or something, then you can't appreciate loving your family and friends as much.  By the way, the dreaded Colts wn the game.

To finally borrow from one of my favorite songs - from the Lemonheads:

If I make it through today
I'll know tomorrow not to leave my feelings on display
I'll put the banners back in place
I've never been too good with names
but I remember faces

It's a shame about Peyton and Ray.

Oh well, we still have next year.  

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

JMR's List of 5 Ridiculous Professional Athlete Arrests

I'm reading the police blotter and the Washington Post on a daily basis these days.  The reason:  my list of the most ridiculous arrests of professional athletes may finally have to be expanded beyond 5.  In a ridiculous showing of machismo, Gilbert Arena's gun charges - resulting from a gambling debt to a teammate gone awry - may unfortunately end in a plea deal that will not include jail time, according to the Washington Post, but there is always a chance that those negotiations may break down and serious charges brought against the Wizards star.

This all begs the question:  what are JMann Review's list of the 5 most ridiculous athlete arrests?

5.  Randy Moss (2002).  Apparently late for practice, the mercurial Moss was trying to take an illegal turn on a Minneapolis side street one late afternoon.  When the "traffic control agent" (read: meter maid) attempted to stop him, Moss merely continued down the street at a slow rate of speed until the officer fell to the street.  Moss was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon.  When everything was all said and done, he was cited for reckless driving.  Way to stick up for the law, Minnesota!  

4.  Olden Polynice (2000).  Not once, but twice, the 7 foot center for the Utah Jazz was charged with impersonating a police officer after flashing an honorary police badge he received from the Los Angeles police department. These unlucky motorists presumably rubbed the big fella the wrong way.  He contended at the time that he was intending to identify himself as "Olden Polynice - member of the Utah Jazz" rather than "Olden Polynice - Raving Lunatic."  Obviously as a response to this peculiar crime spree, the general public was subjected to this.

3.  Ed Belfour (2000).  An athlete getting arrested for assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct is serious business.  The interesting aspect of this story, however, is Belfour's reaction as the arrest was taking place.  After dismissing out of hand a $100,000 bribe, the loaded hockey goalie then offered the Dallas police officers arresting him a whopping ONE BILLION DOLLARS to forget this all happened.  When they refused, he proceeded to kick in the police car windows trying to escape, I can only imagine.  While outlandish at the time, I quickly think about this scenario playing itself out if Tiger Woods or Alex Rodriguez were ever arrested today.

2.  Plaxico Burress (2008).  While going clubbing in his sweatpants, the 32 year old Burress, with friend Antonio Pierce in tow, accidently shot himself in the thigh when the gun slipped down the side of his pants and narrowly missed a security guard working the front door.   Strangely, despite almost being shot, both Pierce and the security guard attempted to assist Burress to cover up the self inflicted wound by helping Burress to a waiting automobile and delivering the firearm back to Burress.  If I were either one of them, I probably would have run once I saw what went down, but I guess that's why I'm not a professional athlete.  In any event, the Super Bowl hero agreed to plea his charges down to illegal possession of a firearm and is currently serving a two year sentence in State Prison.

1.  Delonte West (2009).  The piece de resistance of all ridiculously arrested athletes, and in what can only be described as a what the f**k moment, the former Celtics' guard was arrested in Maryland during the offseason after cutting off a canine officer in his three wheel motorcycle - West's three wheel motorcycle.  Apparantly, West was having some issues as he was discovered with not one, not two, but three concealed weapons - most notably, a shot gun inside a guitar case strapped to his shoulder.  According to his Father, West was "looking behind his back and protecting himself."  Quite honestly, if you were concerned about your safety on a highway, wouldn't you drive around in an armored hummer or other SUV, instead of this?

The list, I suppose could go on and on.  Some amusing, some quite serious.  Whether it be Gilbert Arenas or other athletes performing badly, I can't help but think of Charles Barkley ad campaign with Nike 15 years ago.

"I am not a role model.  I am not paid to be a role model.  I am paid to wreak havoc on the basketball court.  Parents should be role models.  Just because I dunk a basketball, it doesn't mean I should raise your kids."

Well said, Charles.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Who Can Beat JMann Review? NFL Playoffs Game Blog

The season of my discontent has begun.  So many teams have laid down these last three weeks, that I don't know who can beat whom anymore.  Are the Bengals, Cardinals, Eagles and Patriots the dogs that they looked like last week?  Are the Cowboys and Jets any good despite shaky Quarterbacks and even shakier coaching?  As an added "bonus"  three of the games are week 17 rematches. 

The award-winning handicapping team of C, G and S try to sift through all of the rhetoric and propaganda to pick winners in the four wild card games.  Home teams are on the bottom and in case that doesn't work, they are in ALLCAPS too.


C:  Bengals.  "This person in my class wears a Bengals hat and says that the Bengals are really good."  He must have spoken to him before last Sunday.
G:  Jets.  "A jet is like a plane and they will zoom for a touchdown."  This will turn out to be a theme of G's picks.
S:  Jets.  "Because...because we flew in a jet."  I had to prompt that out of her otherwise it would have been "Because" "Because why?" "Because" etc.  I'm just happy that she's helping.

JMR:  Jets.  @OGOchoCinco is hurt, the Bengals looked downright outmatched against the Jets even though they played their starters and shaky quarterbacks aren't important when its cold, windy and you have the best rushing offense in the NFL.  I think the Bengals overachieved this year, and that will lead to a one and out.  Jets 24-7.


C:  Cowboys.  "Because they throw ropes at people, whip them around and have them fall like dominoes."
G:  Eagles.  "They are a bird and they can zoom for a touchdown!"  "The Cardinals will so crush them." C exclaims.  I begin to start talking about the physilogical differences between eagles and cardinals as a counterpoint, but think better of it.
S:  No pick, too busy packing.

JMR:  Eagles.  Yes, the Cowboys defense has been playing very well recently, including a thrashing of the Eagles in Week 17.  I just can't get over the fact that the Cowboys aren't going anywhere with Wade Phillips or Tony Romo.  Couple that with an Eagles team that had won 6 in a row before Week 17.  I think you will have 21-16 Eagles victory.


C:  Ravens.  "Because G is going to pick the Patriots."  Not a good reason, so don't count on this pick.
G:  Patriots.  "Because they are the bestest team in world!"  I like them too big man.
S:  Ravens.  "They are pretty birdies."  I had to tell her that a Raven is a bird, although I did not tell her the derivation of the team's name.  Edgar Allen Poe and all.

JMR:  Patriots.  I don't think the Patriots have it this year.  They can't beat anyone on the road.  Wes Welker was a huge loss.  They have a tendency to dissappear against good teams and their inexperienced secondary is vulnerable to a good passing attack.  Luckily, this is all irrelevant for this game.  Patriots 27 Ravens 14.

Green Bay

C:  Cardinals. 
G:  Packers.  "Pack means to go on vacation in a plane or a car and they can use that plane or car to zoom for a touchdown."  He's just so happy to help me.
S:  Cardinals.  "Because they are funny."  Everyone is funny to her this morning, but I'll go with it.

JMR:  Packers.  I never like taking the road favorite, but the Cardinals had their run last year.  They have too many injuries this year leading into the playoffs - Anquan Boldin and two defensive starters.  The Packers on the other hand finished the second half of the year 7-1, including wins over three teams playng this weekend.

Now time for munchkins, chocolate milk and coffee.  Here we go.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

In Search of...Tiger Woods

I can't keep up with this guy anymore.  Is he partying with Rachel Uchitel in New York City?  Is he relaxing in Arizona with Dr. 90210?  Is he holed up in his Orlando fortress at Isleworth CC in Orlando?  Where is he?  Besides wondering who his concubine was during the Deutsche Bank Championship, this was the only remaining question I had about Birdiegate.  When I tricked my kids into accompanying me on my quest for the real Tiger Woods (or at least as much as is safe for 3 year olds), it came with a promise that we would see the real Tiger Woods.  My conversation went something like this:

Pulling my 7 year old out of the pool, "Do you want to help me look for Tiger Woods?  He lives around here you know."

"How long is it going to take Dad?"  My son quizzes me.

"Oh about an hour." I tell him, trusting that his sense of time has been diminished by the Florida sun.

"Okay.  But can I have some ice cream, too?" Of course you can.  It's difficult work looking for someone who doesn't really want to be found.

2pm.  Orlando, FL.  By this time, sponsors are dropping like flies.  Accenture (and after Enron wouldn't this former division of Arthur Andersen get out from under the scandal pretty quickly?) and Gillette both distanced themselves from the golf legend.  Two sponsors that had not given up on Tiger though are Tag Heuer and Nike. (note that this was written prior to Christmas)  I was talking to my wife, who reluctantly joined us, when I wondered aloud whether he ever shopped at the stores that he worked for, since he didn't have anyone else arrange trysts or leave voice mail messages for him.  So off to the Orlando Premium Fashion Mall on International Drive to find out.  If a Black Escalade could get lost anywhere in central Florida, it would be here.  I decided to investigate.

No, not here.  But I had one more place to look.

No dice.  In fact a very pretty Scandinavian helper glared at me when I asked her if Tiger had ever visited.  "I don't have time for this."  She snarled.  It was a week before Christmas, I understand, but I just asked a simple question, and if she wanted to shoo me away, she could have merely said "No."  But apparently, Tiger's downfall has polarized all of Scandanavia as I would find out at the Norway restaurant at Epcot Center the following week.  Trying to appear undaunted by the tongue lashing I had just received, I scurried away onto our next destination, lest the people I've encountered think I'm casing these joints.

A quick drive up International Drive onto County Road 50 would bring us to the next place to investigate.  After his unfortunate accident the night after Thanksgiving, the drunk and/or drugged up Woods was taken to the Health Central Medical Center. 

The closest my wife would allow me to get to asking a nurse about what happened that night was taking this picture outside of the hospital.  Thanks, honey.  This could be a seminal moment in my alternate career of blog writing, and I can't even ask a couple of questions like Ger-Riv.  I suppose because of HIPAA, I wouldn't get much out of the nurses, but I still had my sons' arcade money to flash in return for information; there was always a chance.  You're right, I wouldn't have been able to get away with that either.

I was right.  After more than an hour fruitless driving around, slowly going by any car that appeared to be a black Escalade, the troops were getting restless for action.  Onto Windermere, Florida.  Maybe Tiger was staying very close to home.  Or maybe not.

A very charming little town.  This is clearly where the affluent Orlandoites reside with lakes and old ivy wrapped houses everywhere you looked.  We spent more time driving around looking for a general store to ask about Tiger (I didn't tell the rest of the family though since we would have been stuck finding a real store to satisfy everone's growing hunger).  So around and around we drove.  No luck.  I guess everyone around here has other people do their shopping for them.  Or like the rest of Florida, they drive twice as long as the rest of us for the most basic of needs.

After a couple of U-turns and non-starts of finding general stores that may have been open on this Sunday afternoon, we came across Isleworth, the gated community where Tiger and Elin live.  We just drove by, thinking that if we stopped and asked about Tiger, we might get arrested or worse given the Hangover Treatment

So we drove around the greater Orlando area for over three hours.  We went to hospitals, malls and gated communities, and we could not find Tiger anywhere.  Maybe he was in New York, or Arizona, or in Sweden after all.  I guess we'll never know, nor will we ever know what happened on that night after Thanksgiving.  In any event, our journey had to end since we needed to feed the family.

While the kids were eating their grilled cheeses and chicken and my wife was finding amusement by the tense corporate retreat/yankee swap occurring next to us, I was looking at the photographs and reflecting on the downfall of this great champion.  I didn't really like him that much, myself.  He was not fan friendly, he always threw his clubs after decent shots and Jack Nicklaus was the reason why I started golfing in the first place.  But he was a hero to my boys.  And everytime I found him on TV before Thanksgiving, I would gather the boys and have them watch him wondering what he will do next. 

"Dad, he's awesome.  Why can't you golf like that?"  my seven year old would ask me.

"Because he's the best golfer in the world."  I would answer, while still watching the TV myself. 

Now, he's given up golfing indefinitely.  Every time he comes on the TV now, it's about his girlfriends and how he has hurt his family.  Instead of gathering the boys around, I now turn the TV off and hope that they don't see him.  I hope that they don't ask to watch the program I just turned off.

It's sad.