Bunker Mulligan "Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry." ~Mark Twain

February 29, 2004

Good Golf

Filed under: Golf — Bunker @ 5:20 pm

I didn’t play golf this weekend. I am sick of fighting the wind. I started toward the course this morning in spite of it, but it began raining, and I wasn’t going to fight the wind and rain both. I turned around and came home.

It makes me smile when the television announcers make comments about it being “…really windy out here today. The wind is up around 25 miles per hour.” Here on the south Texas coast, 25 mph is light. Hell, that’s only two clubs’ worth! I don’t worry about the wind affecting my ball. but walking gets to be a chore when you’re fighting a “heavy breeze.”

So, I did some yard work and watched the Match Play Championship with Tiger and Davis. Between rounds I went to Barnes and Noble and found some very interesting reading, including A Golfer’s Education (list at bottom of column, and on the left, and on my page).

But the announcers today were in rare form. They kept reminding us all how tough this shot would be, and how impossible it was to keep a ball on this green, and how soft the course was which makes it really difficult to control the spin…! Now, I really am in awe of the talent these guys have on the PGA Tour. They can make a ball do pretty much what they want…most of the time. And they are realistic in their approach.

Announcers, on the other hand, always seem to be making excuses for them before they ever make a shot. We hear how tough a course is because the greens are hard and won’t hold an approach shot. Today they tell us how tough the course is because the greens are so soft. Everyone knows Tour pros are magicians out of sand, but we are constantly told what a difficult shot this next one is out of the sand.

I don’t know. Are the announcers for golf tournaments trying to build suspense where none exists?

Criticism of Vietnam Policy

Filed under: Politics — Bunker @ 8:30 am

Of course, Glenn Reynolds is all over this. He has a link and a quote by Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, but the best part of his post comes at the end.

Personally, I think it’s shameful that anyone would ever criticize a former Naval officer who won a Silver Star over his positions on Vietnam.

What will Kerry say about this? Well, my guess is that he didn’t criticize anyone but Nixon.

Human Aid

Filed under: International — Bunker @ 8:20 am

There are 7.5 million people in Haiti, and their GDP is (per capita) $1400. The per capita income is about $400 (depending on which resource referenced) which is 28% of GDP. The US per capita GDP is $37,600 and our per capita income is $32,000, or 85% of GDP.

Government revenues in Haiti are $273 million. Government expenditures are $361 million. They receive $120 million in foreign assistance, and have a national debt of $1.2 billion. I don’t think it requires a lot of analysis to understand what has happened in Haiti under Aristide.

Bush 41 helped put Aristide and a “democratic” government in power. At the time it made sense. Aristide was a priest who preached peace and democracy, and he had a loyal following. When Aristide was forced out of power by military coup, Clinton helped put him back. He is now gone once more. And the country is probably worse off now than before. He’ll go off to exile and live in luxury, a priest who obviously renounced his vow of poverty.

This is a mixed bag of supporters. There are those, like the Baathists in Iraq, who want to continue the government and its institutions as they now stand for personal reasons. There are democratic supporters, sincere in their support of the only representative government they’ve known. The opposition is a mixed group as well. As always, there are the hard-core leftists (communist, socialist, Leninist, Marxist, whatever you want to call them), drug cartels, anarchists, and people simply fed up with Aristide, but who want to keep a democracy in place.

Clinton sent soldiers in to restore calm once before. I think we will end up doing the same once more. The environment there is more like Somalia than Iraq, but far more compact with friendlier surroundings. But if we want to really help, it will cost. The infrastructure needs to be refurbished, and the environment established to be conducive to industry and trade.

Tonight we have the Academy Awards. I won’t watch. But it would be a wonderful gesture if all those millionaires involved would make a commitment tonight to donate $1 million each to the reconstruction of a truly representative government in Haiti and the social services they insist our government should provide.

I won’t hold my breath.

February 28, 2004

“You da man!”

Filed under: Golf — Bunker @ 6:52 pm

What is it that makes a man (always a man) make an ass of himself by yelling something like that at a golf tournament?

Almost every golfer talks to the ball when playing. “Get outa there!” and “Don’t go in the water!” are plaintive cries heard every day on every course. Some players do it incessantly. I’ve played with guys sporting a 30 handicap who whine with every shot. I want to grab them by the throat and shake them violently. “When most of your shots are decent, then you can complain about bad ones!”

Darren Clarke is standing over a putt that can put away Davis Love III. Just as he hits the ball, some idiot yells, at the top of his voice “GO IN THE HOLE!”

I’m all for encouraging golfers on the course. The Tours are some of the few remaining venues in sport where fans can really interact with players. And from my experience, the players appreciate this. Once the ball is on its way, though, what does this fool hope he can do to help a player?

Nothing. He simply wants attention.

Golf was once the last refuge for fans who restrained their passion for the game. I went to the Crosby Tournament (as it was called then) when I lived in Monterey. There were ropes only to direct fans along paths and keep them from falling off cliffs. There were none to restrain or restrict access to most of Pebble Beach. We all understood the game, and yielded space where space was needed. It was phenomenal. We could walk alongside players and celebrities, and converse with them as if we were part of their weekend foursome. Of course, people knew when it was time to step away and let the player do the job.

Today’s galleries are a boon to the players in the amount of money now generated, but a bane to the sport as a whole. When Tiger first came on the scene, much was said about how his arrival was good for the game because it brought many new people into the sport. I always felt it was good for the business of golf, but bad for the game. Business boomed for a while, but an awful lot of new players showed up on course with no concept of golf etiquette.

This was magnified at tour stops. Golf became the “in thing” for corporattions wanting to do a little entertaining. Lots of people wandering the course with plenty of vocal cord lubricant and no respect for the game is the result.

It makes me sad. I cringe when someone wants to scream so his voice gets on television. Isn’t that pathetic?

What’s worse, I wonder if that scream was just a little early, and actually caused Clarke to miss. As I write this, Love beat Clarke after 21 holes. It might have all ended 3 three holes earlier in Clarke’s favor.

Harry’s Place

Filed under: International — Bunker @ 4:00 pm

Harry and his mates get together at Harry’s Place for some exceptional conversation and debate. Today, Marcus has a post on Karl Marx.As always, the post is well-written, and the comments honor it with insightful reaction.

Iraq is the point of interest, and what form the economy will eventually take. As with every country moving from autocratic, state-run society to a liberal environment, the momentum is always toward an economy run by the government. Both Iraq and Haiti face this issue. I think it would be a mistake to let either fall into this hole, but we may have insufficient influence to prevent it.

Sounds Familiar

Filed under: Society-Culture — Bunker @ 3:33 pm

When was the last time you visited a furniture store? My last experience was very similar to this one. And yes, the salesman who helped without being a pain sold us a bunch of leather and new beds.


Filed under: Society-Culture — Bunker @ 1:26 pm

A thought just came to mind. Why is the Oscar a statue of some white guy? Shouldn’t Hollywood stars protest and demand some diversity in statuary?

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