Tidying Up a Bit

I continue working outside and around the house, performing a variety of manual labor.

Yesterday I dethatched, overseeded and fertilized the back lawn which struggles to thrive because of competition for sunshine and ground nutrients from numerous trees. I hope the extra care will effect positive growth.

I repaired a toilet leak that my father noticed in our half bath. Couldn’t find the right gasket to replace the one that wore out, so I replaced the entire fill valve (which didn’t cost much more than a new gasket or would have).

I reshafted a few golf clubs–two Ping hybrids and two custom wedges–in preparation for the upcoming golf season.  Previously I reshafted two drivers and two three woods (Ping G5 and Cleveland HiBore XLS).  The metals were reshafted with Rapport Ultralites (regular flex, 60 gram, low bend, med-soft tip), a nice shaft for $14.  I used the new UST iRod graphite iron shafts for the two custom wedges (r flex, 74 gram, mid bend, med-soft tip, 3.9 torque). I just need to put on the grips for the wedges and hybrids today.

So far I like the Rapport shafts and am curious how the iRods will perform in contrast to the Precision Rifle shafts they are replacing which were too stiff and insensitive and, subsequently, not very long.

So, after pruning trees about a week ago and raking rocks and last fall’s leaves and mowing the lawn a couple of days a ago, I have done more yard work already this year than I did all last year. And the major physical trauma from all of it is a little neck stiffness that is persistent regardless of what I do.

I could address it by doing yoga regularly, but I don’t. At least I have been using the stationary bike and rowing machine a couple of times a week which has improved my strength and stamina noticeably in my around the house wor


I wasn’t surprised to hear Tiger Woods’ announcement of March 16, 2010 that he intends to play at The Masters this year (starting on Thursday April 8).

I believed regardless of his problems with the truth, marital fidelity, sexual “addiction,” and media branding, he would play.

Now in his mid-thirties, regardless of his record, promise, and supernatural abilities, I couldn’t imagine him sitting out while in good physical health, in essence, throwing away one more opportunity to inch closer to Jack Nicklaus’ major championships record of 18.

Asserting the conventional wisdom that touring professionals don’t reach their peak playing ability until their late twenties and into their thirties because it takes that long to develop the smarts, patience, and experience to play and win under intense pressure, many assume that Tiger’s best golf is ahead of him and, therefore, the records should become his within a reasonably quick time frame.

Citing the statistical histories of Jack NIcklaus, in particular, to buttress such claims, does not address unintended consequences–my allusion to an economic epigram which stipulates that human action in a complex field of factors cannot, indeed, does not ensure ideal outcomes, even resulting in unpredictable, sometimes negative results–such as those resulting from Tiger’s marital and paternal failures.

The old, purer, ideal Tiger is now seen largely as a fiction. The current and future Tiger must, as I have said before, lose the craving and desire for the power and purity he himself portrayed as central to his being. If he is serious about his Buddhism as a sincere attempt to clarify his life and golfing purpose, his scheduled meeting with reporters on Monday, April 5 will indicate to me the level of his authentic desire.

IF he answers questions directly, honestly, and in depth without evasion, without pre-fabrication, then maybe he can be taken seriously.

The one thing that statistical histories of golfing success can’t get at that I see in Tiger, despite the hyperbolic claims made for his incredible ability to focus, is his incredible loss of focus. (How often, I ask those within earshot of my Tiger commentary, is he disrupted mid-swing by a noise such as a camera shutter, forcing him to stop his follow-through?  I ask myself and fellow listener, if he were indeed so focused on the task at hand, would anything really break his focus? I don’t think so and I’m not even suggesting an extreme ability.  Many are the times that I have not been bothered by a movement or potentially disruptive noise while making a golf swing.  Likewise, when I have dropped something like my golf club during a fellow competitor’s swing, s/he has told me that my noise or movement did not disrupt, that they didn’t actually hear anything.

I don’t think it’s rare to be undisturbed by external stimuli and I think if Tiger had extraordinary powers of focus as his father tried to ingrain in him, he would not lose his focus so regularly and predictably.  I think perhaps he anticipates disruption and reacts poorly when it happens.  But that’s another issue altogether which, if he follows through with his Buddhist practice, should be able to address his loss of focus in life generally and golf specifically. What Buddhism acknowledges, that we live simultaneously in dark and light, passion and reason, quiet and noise, can help him to prepare for disruption even while swinging a golf club or driving a Cadillac Escalade. And that is to accept the unpredictable not as fate, but as the reality of our everyday existence. Being able to focus when chaos happens comes from within, not because we can control our external environment. This is the deeper irony of Tiger that explains not only his life struggles with focus, but his struggles to win major championships of late and, until he proves otherwise, will make it just as difficult to win them in the future.


2010 NCAA bracket

Not that anyone’s really interested in my 2010 NCAA bracket. I’m not even interested in it anymore, frankly.

I can’t even look at it any more. I almost go blind because the degree of my suffering after experiencing such a failure in my powers of prediction and intuition has proven to be insurmountable.

But I buck up and say, “Have courage, mighty fallen one of basketball prediction infamy! The sun will rise again tomorrow and another season of college hoops there will be,” Yoda like.

As for future predictions of remaining games: none and none. I will simply watch and enjoy and hope the games merit my attention. (So hoity toity of me… now that I have proven myself a prophet incompetent.)


As for President Obama:

Jubilation and celebration over the health care “reform” bill and, in particular, the appended student loan overhaul:

Obama learned his failed bipartisanship lesson too late. Once he figured it out, that he could get health reform only by working with a simple Democratic majority through reconciliation processes, he’d lost the opportunity to effect real health care reform. If he were as smart and sensible as many of us hoped he’d be about the reality of American politics, he would have recognized early on a white racially prejudiced segment of U.S. society would be opposed to every political and policy move he makes. But he believes too much for his own good in the abstract ideals and processes of governance as I’ve written before and can’t imagine himself a racialized cultural subject that embodies deviancy and degeneracy. (For those with their cultural eyes open, the congruent rise of Tea Partyers and white militia groups is no coincidence with Obama’s campaign and election.)

At least he snatched unearned profits–i.e., corporate welfare–from a few companies such as Sallie Mae who should be serving, rather than exploiting, a public service by managing student loans.

I just wish Obama could be more consistently fervent in his nationalizing of services that should be viewed as universally public rights, not sources for private profiteering and exploitation.  Instead of celebrating the passage of a misnomer such as health care “reform” that effectively lines the pockets of insurance companies with 30,000,000 guaranteed new clients, despite placing certain limitations on their previous ability to increase profitability at the expense of client services, Obama should be celebrating universal coverage and the end of insurance company profitability at the expense of client health. If he would have had the vision and guts early on and been an effective leader, he might have achieved real reform. (Instead he still seems the capitalist toady to me.)

But he’s not celebrating real reform and he didn’t lead with vision and courage.

And I’m afraid he will continue on the same conciliatory path despite now lame, unbelievably hopeful, combative rhetoric. Wall Street and insurance companies thank the capitalist deities for Obama. Now big oil (getting to drill off-shore where a moratorium previously held sway) must be ecstatic, just pissing themselves with glee.

I’m not sure what legacy Obama wants for himself, but the one he is creating is clearly not progressive.

When I voted for him in 2008 this was not the “change” I voted for.

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