Wow, where did the school year go? I'm sure for a lot of the teachers, administrators and support staff of our school system, this has been a dog-year in terms of the school calendar. But after today, there's less than a week left.
It's true. You blink and it's gone.
I'm not crying. You're crying. Shut up Spy.
Let's handle our BID-ness and get to your questions.
Here's today's A2 column catching up with his family and an organizer of Saturday's funeral for Cpl. Henry Helms, who went missing during the Korean War in December 1950 before his family was informed that his remains were in Box 39 of 55 crates containing remains of American soldiers killed in action there.
You know the rules. Here's Paschall on the latest UT football recruit.
Rushmore of TV bars/watering holes: Cheers is 100% far left. And as much as I enjoyed watching every single Seinfeld multiple times, I wish I could find Cheers in regular rotation in syndication. And we had some non-bar suggestions, so we'll go adult beverages and non-adult beverages. At the kids table, we'll go Arnold's from Happy Days, Monk's from Seinfeld, Peach Pit from 90210 and The Max from Saved By The Bell. (Sorry, not a Friends fan. Whatsoever.) Adult's table: Cheers, Moe's Tavern, Boar's Nest and The Bada Bing. (I never watched How I Met Your Mother, but could understand the support it got here.)
Rushmore of X: X-Files, X-Men, X marks the spot, X-ray vision.
Rushmore of female SNL cast members: As with most SNL lists, this one was difficult. I went with the characters and time on SNL. For example, Julia Louis-Dreyfus is arguably the most accomplished female TV comedian of all time considering her decorated work in Seinfeld, The New Adventures of Old Christine and the wonderfully done Veep, which was art predicting life considering what was to come with a lot of the Trump circus. But Dreyfuss was completely forgettable in a completely forgettable time of SNL so while she would make a push for most successful post-SNL career, she's not close for her work there. Tina Fey is far left. I'll go Gilda Radner, Kate McKinnon and Kristin Wiig, narrowly over Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph, who is about to have a Fey-doing-Palin run with her excellent turn as Vice President Kamala Harris.
Dennis Hopper's Rushmore: Easy Rider, Hoosiers, Apocalypse Now and Blue Velvet, and whomever mentioned what a long career, boy that's the truth. And did you see his TV credits too? Everything from Petticoat Junction to Bonanza back in the day.
Braves played. Braves lost because Braves relievers smell like feet. In other breaking news, there's growing unrest in the Middle East, cats and dogs fighting again and the sun reportedly will set to the West tonight. Film at 11.
One more tidbit: We have talked multiple times around these parts about the most bipartisan elected officials. According to this, which ranks members of Congress according to the highest percentage of co-sponsored bills with someone from the other side of the aisle, the five most bipartisan members of Congress are Republicans.
Here are some of the emailed responses from the group about the best golf courses:
"Jay, My two favorite golf courses I've ever played are The Ocean Course and The Honors. For the money, The RTJ Golf Trail is a bit unreal!"
"The best course I've played is the TPC Las Vegas. McLemore is pretty sharp, as well. My favorite, however, always will be Montlake, because of the memories I still cherish with my grandfather. I'll also always remember Augusta on a Sunday afternoon with my dad when Phil won his second green jacket."
"Best courses I've played: 1. East Lake; 2. Banff Springs, Banff, Alberta. Even getting chased a mama elk was an experience there; 3. The course on Wilmington Island at the old Sheraton. I think it's called Savannah Country Club now; 4. Crowbush Cove, Morrell, Prince Edward Island. Breathtaking. Hit the stick on a par 3 and was left a 2 inch birdie putt."
"I have walked The Honors and Augusta National, but alas, have never played there. Same with TPC Sawgrass."
And from Tom (which also has a question)
Growing up in upper East Tennessee in the 60's, my best friend and I would often take off over to either one of two courses in Western NC. Leaving out of Johnson City, we could be in Newland, NC to play Mountain Glen in about 40-45" or a little further, play at Beaver Lake near Asheville.
Mountain vistas and cool summertime temps made it especially pleasant and we were not above cutting a Friday class in the fall to enjoy a quick 18 or 27 holes with spectacular fall colors.
My Dad's company had a "golf retreat" at GrandFather Mountain, NC , so we had the privilege of playing a few rounds there
At the time we were playing Beaver Lake, it boasted the longest par 5 in the country. 697 yards?
Interesting hole. You hit from an elevated tee and had to carry 150 yards over a small pond, assuming you hit it relatively straight. But this elevated tee was well back in a canyon of tall pines(think TVA Power Line Trail). This was in the early days of this course(built about 1960 maybe?) so you better at least be able to carry it relatively straight for over 150. If not, it was tall trees on both sides with sloping, rough hewn fairways or pond in front.
Hey, battery is about to crap out, question before I go: On Tuesday, (I think) you stated that you don't think of the PGA Championship as a "real major" . ? How did you arrive at that thought?
Enjoy the column as always. Still miss you on the radio.
Thanks for reading and for the kind words.
Side note: To so many who shared the best courses they've played — there were a bunch more, but we have some space and time limits — thanks for the golf stories and memories. That's why sports mean so much to so many of us.
Memories of an event with family. Catch with your father. That one time that you were on top of the world. (You guys heard about the night I dropped 40 on Paulding County as a sophomore?)
Great times. Perfect times.
And I love the elevated tees and the memories we have from old courses. In some ways, it's not unlike going back to the creek in your neighborhood growing up. It felt like it was the size of the Tennessee River and jumping from one side to the other was only doable by you or Evil Knievel. But when you go back, it's a stream with a trickle, you know?
As for the PGA, my angst against it has been rooted in its lack of tradition.
It's not the strongest field. It moves courses and frequently has one-time winners or no-names who got hot.
I could rattle off a slew of all-time memories at the rest of the majors. What's the biggest moment or detail for the PGA? Shaun Micheel's 7-iron in 2003? That the PGA cost Palmer and Watson the career slam?
It also was perennially hurt by being last in the rotation and even starting to infringe on the domain reserved for football in the sports spectrum.
That said, I think the move to earlier on the schedule works for the PGA, and I loved watching those dudes challenge Kiawah.
So there's that.
If you want to keep it light for Friday's bag, cool.
But have you seen the video of police killing a Black man in Louisiana two years ago—and then lying about it? "I'm your brother! I'm scared! I'm scared!" Ronald Greene can be heard telling the white troopers as the unarmed man is jolted repeatedly with a stun gun before he even gets out of his car. Don't you think we have a problem with policing that we need to fix?
Question two: Do you favor a panel styled after the 9/11 Commission to study "the facts and circumstances of the January 6th attack on the Capitol as well as the influencing factors that may have provoked the attack on our democracy"?
Very little light in these, but I am willing to always discuss the issues at hand. Friday is your guys and gals day to direct the conversation around these parts.
No, I did not see the video. Yes, we have a slew of problems in policing.
They are underfunded. Undertrained. Isolated far too often and would have to be terrified far too often, and decisions made in times of terror and fear are almost always not as good as those made in calm and normal settings.
And the tragic events that represent less than 1% of police activity and interaction become the lead story across the nation and could end a police person's career and cost them their freedom.
But I don't believe there to be a rampant wave of racism for the majority of folks in blue. I don't believe that. Just like I don't believe this to be a racist country. I believe there are racists in this country — I know there are — but the numbers are overwhelmingly in the other direction.
Because if you take any group — be it a profession, a race, a gender, a religious, what have you — and start making sweeping generalizations and stereotypical assessments on that group because of a small percentage — and in the case of cops, a very, Very, VERY small percentage — of examples, and you're bias is driving whatever narrative you're trying to advance.
Of course anyone getting killed at the hands of the police is a tragedy. For all involved. And when mistakes are made, there should be consequences that represent justice.
But again, I can't imagine how difficult that job is. Nor how many folks who at one time thought of being a cop are now going to find another way to make a living. (Which is a double-edged sword because the last thing we need is lowering the bar for expectations and skill sets for incoming cops.)
Yes, Derrick Chauvin was a cop that should have been weeded out long before he put his knee on George Floyd's neck. And in truth, that to me seems to be a huge part of the issue that could truly help cut back the number of incidents if the vast majority of good and decent police would help in the process of weeding out the bad apples.
As for the commission, I'm all for it. In theory.
And would be glad to hear what was presented and decided if you could panel a board of 12 impartial people, and none of them be Congressional-elected types. From either side.
It would be a dog-and-pony show with Congress posturing — from each side — and it would arguably do as much harm as good in a divided America with Pelosi and McConnell and everything and everyone else who makes me scratch my head that they serve in the same halls and chambers as some of the true American patriots of the last 250 years.
Heck, those people work for us. Voir Dire a collection of educated U.S. citizens to serve on the commission.
But to have it with the Washington insiders who care more about politics and posturing than justice, I think that would be an exercise in futility to be honest and would lead to a predictable outcome in every measure.
Trump and his loyalists can't even graps that they lost the election.
Do you really think they are going to give two rips what a Democratic-controlled commission has to say? And to be fair, is there any way Trump could get a fair a shake from a board run by AOC and Nancy and Chuck and Bernie?
I never knew you played the Masters. Wow! What was it like?
What was it like and I saw your list of courses you have played - impressive - what were the best holes?
Pull up a chair. Now, it may be semantics, but I've played Augusta National two times. Playing the Masters is different, since the tournament tees are beyond 7,400 yards. The members' tees are closer to 6,200.
It was perfect, and since both times were Mondays after the tournament, we played the same traditional Sunday pins, which was cool.
Couple of stories.
First, I never get nervous. It's a blessing. But I was shaking in my Foot Joys on the first tee the first time I played it. Jim Nantz was in the group in front of us, and while he's a pickle, dude can seriously play golf and he smoked one down the middle.
The guys in my group were a golf writer from Virginia, who played college golf. A TV guy from London and a photographer from Tokyo. Seriously, and as Al Czervic said in Caddyshack, "Hey Wang, what's with the pictures, it's a parking lot, will ya?"
So, in addition to the guy carrying my bag likely being five shots better a side than me, the thoughts of the history there and in some ways disrespecting one of the true shrines in all of sports were weighing heavily on me.
But the London fella had the first swing, and if you have been to Augusta National, you know the concourse from the main gate funnels into the course at the bottom of the hill on 1. And this dude sliced a rocket into the concourse like 75 yards right of the fairway and the ball starts rattling around the concourse, sounding like a mix between a distanced-faded machine gun and a cartoon ricochet scene.
On the Monday after the tournament, the framework of the course — the grandstands, scoreboard, concessions area, etc. — are being deconstructed too. And a crew was in the concourse. After what seemed like two dozen, bang, bink, bonk, boom, comes a "Holy (Bleep)" as this wayward tee shot struck one of the workers.
I knew I was not going to do worse than that, so it took all the pressure off.
I made a birdie on 7 — my only one in my 36 holes. No. 11 is as hard as any hole I've ever played. The second shot on 10 feels like you're at the Walmart at the bottom of Signal and trying to hit a 4-iron to the Space House. Crossing the bridge on No. 12 is, I imagine, the golf version of walking to the plate at Yankee Stadium or the foul line at the old Boston Garden.
The stretch of 4-5-6 is the most underrated 1,000 yards in the history of sports. I reached 13 in two (3-putted for par) and missed a kick-in for birdie on 15.
It was a lifetime memory. Twice.
As for best holes, well, other than Augusta National, let's give it a try. (Side note: For a lot of years, back when we had a weekly golf page for the TFP sports section, we always debated whether we should have a 'Dream 18,' but in truth, how many of them would be from The Honors and/or The Farm with a few others mixed in? Same for my list of favorite holes I've ever played. So many of the holes at Augusta are so magical and memorable and perfect, what would you eliminate, you know?
So my list on the non-Augusta list would be playing 17 at TPC Sawgrass was bona fide, Masters-like "Wow, this is cool." It was playing right at 140, smoothed an easy 8 into the middle of the green and two-putted for par. I was terrible that day — didn't break 100 — but made par there.
No. 9 at The Honors is a great short hole too. And to step to the tee and know that Tiger made a quad-bogey 8 there when he won the NCAA title back in the 90s, well, that's cool too. The finishing hole at East Lake is great, and I love the view standing on the tee at Chattanooga Golf and Country Club with the river running down the right side.
Question for the group: how long is too long to be engaged? At some point aren't you just unsure about your decision?
Such a great question, and I concur with the general assessment from Vader and some of the others that anything much longer than 18 months seems too long unless there are some mitigating factors like venue availability or military service or the like.
I think another interesting conversation here is how long is too long to date before engagement becomes the ring or get off the pot talking point?
Snit needs to go back to AAA. Who thinks bringing our bullpen in is a wise decision?
Man, this is the baseball version of insanity. Same solutions with expectations of different results.
And in truth, while Snit has made some confounding calls through the first 44 games of this season, what would you have him do at this point?
When he looks down there and has to pick between Webb, Newcomb or Tomlin has to feel like choosing between an insurance seminar or a class on the new tax laws.
Again, Snit is pushing a bunch of wrong buttons, but AA needs to get him some different buttons sooner rather than later or this season will unravel, and the Braves will have wasted another very cheap, very fun season of Ronald Acuña.
Heck, let's see if Dansby Swanson can throw a two-seamer. He's hitting like a pitcher these days — even with last night's monster game — so maybe he can pitch like one too.
Have a great weekend friends.