Garybsmith

Trading, Golf, General thoughts. Not necessarily in that order.

Category: Annoying things

Completely out of it.

About 30 years ago, when I still lived in the eastern PA area, I dated a girl who lived in Philadelphia.  On our first — and subsequently, last — date, I casually mentioned something about “Dr. J.”  To which she responded, “who?”

I was stunned.  I mean the 76ers were on the rise, they had a great team, and Julius Erving (Dr. J.) was already an icon.  How could anyone still breathing — and particularly living within 10 miles of where he played — not know who he was?

It wasn’t the last time I met someone “out of it.”  Unfortunately, in most future encounters, that person was most likely….me.

I clearly remember the first time I had apparently entered some sort of time warp.  The year was 1983, and I was riding in the car with some of my IBM cronies.  A song comes on the radio and I love it. “Who is that band?”  “OMG: they’re fantastic.”  “Are they new?”

The song was “Good times roll” by The Cars…released in 1978.  I must have been asleep that year as a) I had never heard of The Cars until that day, and b) had never heard the song.

After that episode, I found I was really starting to fall behind on cultural “things I needed to know” but didn’t feel too badly.  Certainly when I hit my 40s, I didn’t mind missing the whole rap thing, and by the time I hit my 50s, I couldn’t name any of the important vampire movies.  Or TV series.  Or even tell the difference.

Anyway, I was minding my own business this past weekend, intently watching the Men’s final at Wimbledon, when they zoomed in on the Royal Box and showed this woman:

 

 

Now, of course I knew who it was: Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Whatever.

But — and here’s the important point — somewhere along the way I completely missed that this woman is….absolutely gorgeous. (No, Nancy doesn’t mind me noticing.  It’s not like Middleton’s available….)   I mean she’s been in the news, what, a year?  Two years?  Ten years?  I really don’t know, but it was like discovering The Cars all over again.  Only Middleton is a lot more attractive than Ric Ocasek.

Anyway, I really should start reading People Magazine.  Or, at least turn the news on every once in a awhile.  I don’t mind not knowing Flo Rida’s current hit, but missing out on stuff like this?  Unforgivable!

 

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Sirius-ly….stop

Let me get this out there before you think I’m biased: I love my Sirius radio.  It’s gotten me through plenty of 4+ hour drives when in past I’ve would have gone nuts trying to find a radio station.  Driving to NYC recently, I enjoyed 3 hours of non-stop “Classic Rock.”  A few weeks ago, I listened to the entire 2nd round of the NFL draft.  Good stuff.

So, when Nancy got a new car recently, I thought she’d opt to continue her trial Sirius service.  She didn’t.  She only drives a few hours a week, and the local FM news station is all she wanted.  So I let the trial lapse without signing up.

Or, so I thought.  No, Sirius is relentless in calling to follow-up.  And by relentless, I mean at least 3 calls a day from 866-301-7344.  Yes, I could have answered the first time, but I never answer calls — especially on my cell — from unknown numbers.

But, after 23 calls, I relented and picked up the phone.  The Sirius person went into their spiel, but I tried to cut him off by saying, “No thank you, I don’t want to continue.”

However, he wasn’t phased, wasn’t slowed down, and didn’t even stop to catch his breath.  He was some weird Freddy Krueger character that KEEPS ON COMING.    I mean, I tried multiple times to cut him off.  Begged him, pleaded with him, but he was determined to get through his speech.  I mean  it was impressive, but repulsive at the same time.

Finally, he had said every last word of his sales call and had to accept I wasn’t signing up.

I’m telling you, though, I’m still scarred by the incident.  Therefore, if you get a call from 866, I recommend you answer the first time and just accept their offer.  Easier for everyone that way.

Belly ache

For 54 years old, I can objectively claim I’m in pretty good health.  In fact, I’d put myself near the top of the pyramid.  My body fat is ungodly low and my resting HR hovers around 42 (thank you, cycling.)  I get sick once a year and it’s almost always a sinus infection.

I do have the occasional muscle strain, soreness, and related middle-aged niggles, but never anything serious.

Of course, I can barely hear out of my right ear, my blood pressure has been high (but under control) since I was 16, and I was pretty much legally blind until lasik fixed my eyes.  Still, nothing I can’t manage

The one area I’ve always had a problem with, however, is my stomach.  Nothing serious, but let’s just say I focus a lot on “GI management.”

Now, I say nothing serious until about 2 weeks ago.  It was then, I started experiencing regular, painful stomach cramps.  Not the kind of that make you cry (trust me, I’ve had those in spades), but the kind that eventually wear you down.  The good news is that the pain comes in waves.  The bad news is that those “waves” have been non-stop for 14 days.

Yes, of course, I’ve checked the internet.  Looked up everything from kidney stones to Crohn’s disease.  Just kept figuring it’d go away on it’s own.

But, after a one day respite on Sunday, the pain came back yesterday.  So, I’m going to give in and go see a GI specialist.  Which I hate to do, by the way, because from what I can tell, diagnosing stomach pain is about as easy as trying to figure out a headache.

Which probably means a battery of annoying tests and 2 weeks out of my life.  And then it’ll be something unsolvable like IBS (http://tinyurl.com/5rh5fy6.)

I do know this, by the way.  Even at a pain level of “2” on a scale of 1-10, I could not handle this constant battering.  Given that, if I ever have to suffer through something much worse like chemo, forget it:  give me the max dose of morphine and just let me be!

You’re not even curious?

A few years ago, Nancy was competing in a regatta at Princeton, NJ.  As she paddled to the starting line, she introduced herself to the person in the adjoining lane and the two chatted a bit.  Nancy asked if the other person knew many people in their race.  The person replied that last year’s winner was in the  previous heat, but other than that she hadn’t heard of anyone else.

At that time, Nancy had just won the bronze at Masters Nationals, had taken second the year before at the Head of the Charles, and had dozens of other medals in regattas around the country.  In her age division, she was probably one of the top 5 women in the U.S.

And from what I can tell, this lack of curiosity, or more exactly — the lack of doing one’s homework — is how most people operate!

Now maybe this other lady was doing the whole “zen” sports thing, where she just showed up, rowed her own race, and then went home, happy she gave it her all.

Still, I don’t think most competitors are like that and in this day and age where even Scooby Doo has a wikipedia page, it’s easy to find information effortlessly on everyone who’s in your event.  In regattas, heat sheets come out a few days prior to the event, and all you have to do is enter “Nancy Faigen” regatta, or “Nancy Faigen” rowing and you know exactly who your competition is.

I had the same experience with cycling recently.  I posted some nice comments on a fellow racer’s Strava.com “blog” about one of his rides.  We vaguely know each other and he commented back that I also had some nice times, especially for someone who never did any road races.

I replied back that yes, I didn’t have any road races…but I did have a lot of time trials (20+, all easily found at uscycling.org) and in fact we had competed against each other….just last August! (albeit in different age groups.)

Now I realize all this smacks of “look at me,” and yes, maybe I’m just anal on figuring out who’s doing what, but still: do people operate in such a small world they don’t even know who or what planet is in the very next orbit?

I’m sick.

I’m now on day 12 of my annual lingering cold.  I’m fortunate, in that I don’t get sick much at all, save this same time every Spring.

It all goes the same exact way:

1.  Sore throat

2. Stuffed nose

3. Post-nasal drip, resulting in THE WORST COUGH ever.

(In fact, if there was some kind of contest for coughing, I am certain I would win the world championship.  I don’t know what activates the cough mechanism in the body, but my throat is so finely tuned, it can detect molecules smaller than an electron passing through. )

4. Sore throat (kind of the cold’s way of saying goodbye.)

This time around, I have the added pleasure of having blocked ears, and as I can’t hear a thing out of my right ear to begin with, I’m now pretty much deaf.

Anyway, I bring this up not to complain, but to say it’s all so predictable it’s a shame I have to even go to the Doctor.  Heck, I could write the script:  “You now have a sinus infection.  I’m going to give you perscription for a Z-pac, some Claritin-D, some nasal spray, and cough syrup with codeine.”

And I’m always better before the medicine is half gone.

So, why can’t all this stuff just be available over the counter?  Of if there’s some big risk I’m going to “abuse” my cough syrup, at least behind the counter?

Yes, I know most colds go away on their own. And I know about all the over-prescription of antibiotics.

But, seriously: after 54 years on the same merry-go-round, can’t I just self-medicate and be done with it?  Can’t I take some kind of test that says I’m an adult who knows his own body and won’t get high on multiple Z-packs?

I guess in this day and age of over-regulation, though, personal responsibility is out the door.  God forbid we take care of ourselves.

Top Doctors? Right…..

A few days ago, we received our latest copy of Washingtonian Magazine, featuring its yearly list of Top Doctors.

I always laugh because this must be the greatest marketing ploy in publishing!

I say that because I’ve been to quite a few of these “Top Docs” over the years, and I’ve found more than a few to be clueless, or with a huge ego, or just plain terrible, that I question if they even had a license.

One top doc I saw started prescribing me medication without even taking my history.  Another recommened surgery for a gangling cyst…that eventually went away after I stopped playing golf.

Another operated on my deviated septum to clear up breathing problems…of which I still have to this day.

Some of these Doctors let me stew over 2 hours in the waiting room for my appointment.  Others have spent less than 10 minutes with me.

Now I’m certain some of these Doctors must be pretty good.  Just the law of mathematics says they can’t all be lousy.

But to save time, I just resort to my easy method of selection:  I just go to whichever Doctor is closest to my house.  Good, bad, whatever, I seem to get the same results no matter who I see.

The greatest rock band of all time: Bad Company?

A few years ago, I decided to include the Sirius radio system with our latest car purchase.  And even though I still listen almost exclusively to the local FM “traffic/weather/news” station, it’s been a good investment.

Particularly on long car trips, having access to non-stop music is enjoyable and I tune in regularly to the blues and classic rock stations.

Of course, being born in 1958, “Classic Rock” is what I grew up on and I’d say I’m pretty knowledgeable on music from about the mid-60s through the late 70s.

And since my wife is from the same era, we tune in regularly to the Classic Rock station.  But, here’s what’s baffling:  after listening now for hundreds of hours, we’ve come to the conclusion that —  according to air time — the greatest rock groups from that era must have been:

1.  Bad Company

2.  E.L.O

3.  Jethro Tull

4.  Led Zeppelin

Yes, I know: Bad Company?  ELO?  Like most, I certainly have a fondness for some of their stuff, but those guys are in constant rotation!  They dwarf pretenders like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

In fact, Nancy and I often play Classic Rock trivia where you have to guess the group before the end of the song.  Our joke: when in doubt, guess “Bad Company” because they’re played so often.

And E.L.O.?  Hey, I actually saw them in concert and they had, what, one or two really good songs?

Led Zeppelin I can kind of give a pass to, since they’re so iconic.  But, Jethro Tull?  Jethro Tull??

Oh and on Classic Rock, there apparently were no women rockers back in that time.  Janis Joplin didn’t exist.  Blondie is played once every 1000 hours.  Jefferson Airplane is a rarity.

And you can completly forget about pop-ish groups like The Beach Boys.  You have a better chance of hearing the 17th best Emerson, Lake and Palmer song than hearing Good Vibrations.

Seriously, I feel sorry for someone looking to learn about classic rock via Sirius.  They’re liable to think “Can’t Get Enough” is the greatest rock song of all time.

 

 

Go away Mr. Woods

As a reformed ex-golfer — and hardcore at that–  I still get a variety of emails alerting me to the goings on in the golf world.

And I guess it’s no surprise that with Tiger Woods healthy again, almost every tournament preview has “Tiger Woods” somewhere in the headlines.

The most recent is a Golf Channel email I received this morning, talking about Wood’s body language: http://www.golfchannel.com/news/randall-mell/after-augusta-tavistock-tiger-healthy-at-arnold-palmer/.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that when Tiger entered the scene, I was a fan.  I mean how could you not be: he was charismatic, uber-talented, and always delivered in the clutch.

But, then everything unravaled and by all accounts (including the new book: “The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods”) here’s what he is: a self-absorbed, immature, egotistical, jerk.

Now, frankly more than a few famous athletes and celebrities fall into that group.  And I suppose we all know a few folks who have cheated on their spouses or have a big ego.

But Woods seems to fall into a special class where he hits the perfecta on nearly every single category of being a world-class ass.

I’ll be damned, then, if I’m going to root for him.  In fact, I honestly hope he’s a complete flop from here on in.  Plenty of other good guys to root for.

Duke lost? Good. Lehigh won? Ugh!

A friend called me last night asking if I was watching the game.  “What game?” I asked.  Then I remembered:  Duke was playing Lehigh.

As a Lehigh grad, he was interested in seeing how his alma mater would fare.  He thought I’d be interested as well, as I graduated from both Duke (undergrad) and Lehigh (MBA.)

I couldn’t have cared less.  No, strike that.  I did care.  I wanted both teams to lose.

Now, it may be funny saying that, but I suppose this reveals one of my dark sides: I can hold a grudge for a long time.

Don’t get me wrong: I thoroughly enjoyed Duke, although I was there long before it was DUKE.  In fact, I was there long before “Coach K” arrived.  Back then, Duke almost winning the NCAA (1978) was a huge deal.

It was also a fairly conservative school with very little pretentiousness about it.  I felt proud to have attended and was a regular donor.

That all changed with the Duke lacrosse incident (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duke_lacrosse_case) back in 2006.  Suffice to say, I saw the university show its true stripes, with innocent boys being railroaded by a liberal faculty.  (In fairness, Duke has its side of the story in which it comes off as a saint: http://today.duke.edu/showcase/lacrosseincident/)

In any event, my perception of the university dramtically changed, I stopped giving them money, and haven’t watched or rooted for them since.

Lehigh was a different story.  I was living at home while a graduate student, so I really didn’t take in the full “Lehigh experience.”  I did enjoy the school, though, and am thankful they gave me a stepping-stone into the business world.

And then my youngest daughter Diana applied to their undergrad program and was rejected.

So, you know what: F*CK Lehigh.  (And, by the way, stop calling me for donations, you morons.)

Yes, I’m a small, petty, grudge-holding neanderthal.   Proud of it, too.

Now, I hope Lehigh’s run is over in the next round.

What are these @#$% people doing??

Maybe it’s me, or maybe it’s where I live, but I’ve come upon a curious phenomenon: I pull into a crowded parking lot and start searching for a spot.  I see someone walking to their car and get in.  I drive to the mandatory neutral zone to wait for them to pull out.  And wait, and wait, and wait. The person is clearly in their car….and just sitting there!

And they continue to sit there.  Are they just taunting me?  Are they doing personal hygiene?  Rearranging their Pandora playlist?  Downloading last season’s Dexter?  Re-reading their navigation system manual?

Here’s what I do when I get in my car:  I start it up, back out, and drive away.  Takes me about 30 to 45 seconds.  And I back out about as fast as the worst driver at the Old Age Home!

And by the way, I see the same action when people pull INTO a spot.  They do manage to turn off the engine, and then….nothing.  They sit there like it’s a miracle they survived the trip, and have to gather themselves before the next arduous leg.  Climbers up Everest have less downtime.

Who knows, maybe people like their car so much, they want to further enjoy it after the trip.  Or maybe they just like the solitude.  Whatever it is, I have just one request: when I’m sitting there stewing,  feel free to enjoy the comfort of your own cockpit….AFTER you’ve removed yourself from my soon-to-be parking spot!