Monday, April 21, 2014

"Golf holes the size of pizzas. Soccer balls on the back nine. A mulligan on every hole."

Apparently, some people think these changes would be a good idea for golf.

Those people would be wrong.

Is this the future of golf? I certainly hope not.
“We’ve got to stop scaring people away from golf by telling them that there is only one way to play the game and it includes these specific guidelines,” said Ted Bishop, the president of the P.G.A. of America, who also owns a large Indiana golf complex. “We’ve got to offer more forms of golf for people to try. We have to do something to get them into the fold, and then maybe they’ll have this idea it’s supposed to be fun.”
As an initial matter, I'm not sure that the decrease of the number of people playing golf is a function of golf's decreased popularity. It may simply be a function of demographics.

Let's face it, golf isn't an easy sport to just pick up and play. It's kind of expensive compared to - say basketball. You can't play it anywhere, like with soccer. And the learning curve is very steep.

For instance, just about anyone can step onto a basketball court and start playing basketball with minimal effort. It won't be very high-level basketball, but you can play it fairly easily. With golf, it's quite the opposite. A first time golfer faces a high degree of failure in learning to play. It's very hard to play golf even moderately well compared to other sports. I'm defining "moderately well" as the ability to go casually play once a month and not be looking for your ball in the woods the whole time.

Golf demands work, patience, and discipline. A lot of it. Young people don't get exposed to golf very much, either. Especially when you compare it to soccer, baseball, basketball. Why?

In general, it's not an easy sport to just pick up. Typically, whom do you see out on a golf course? Older guys - I'd guess an average age of 35-40 or so. That's mostly because older guys have more time to devote to practice, more money to buy the equipment and pay to play, and more patience to go through the learning curve.

So, you've got all the older baby-boomer folks kind of dropping off the radar now, and the golf industry is worried that the twenty-something millennials aren't going to play golf. Well, no. Not right now. Give them a few years. After they go through the phase of seeking their dream job of being an artist in Guatemala or something, they'll settle down, have a family, and grow up. And some of them will start playing golf.

You don't need to change the game to make it more "attractive" to twenty year olds. Changing the hole size is utterly ridiculous. The hardest part of golf for a beginner isn't putting - it's hitting longer shots. I'm not sure who came up with the idea of making the hole larger, but they're a moron.

Also, changing the rules is a stupid idea. The rules of golf are not difficult. You hit the ball and count your strokes in a sequence of increasing, positive, integers. Record your score. That's basically it. Yes, there are more complicated rules for golf. But you learn those as you go. No one ever says "Yeah, I don't play golf because the rules are too complicated."

You want to get young people interested in golf? It's not that hard. Start kids early. Golf already does a good job of this with programs like programs like The First Tee. Could golf do better? Sure. But reaching out to younger folks doesn't have to entail radically changing the game. Kids are smarter than we give them credit for.

If you can make golf a fun and positive experience for younger kids, they'll develop into young adults who love the game and play. You don't need to start introducing soccer balls on the back nine.

Great Career Advice from Mike Rowe

Happy Monday.

Here's some good great advice from Mike Rowe for anyone out there looking for a job. It applies to every prospective applicant, from law students to high school graduates.

He's right.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

"Beards are less attractive when they are everywhere."

That's the headline on FiveThirtyEight.

Beards certainly aren't everywhere, but they've experienced something of a comeback. I think you would have to go back to the 1850's and 1860's to really get a feel for beards and facial hair being "everywhere".

Seems like most women wouldn't care if an attractive guy has a beard or not.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Kids React to a Walkman

Here's a reminder of how old I am. They gave young kids a walkman and gauged their reactions:

I was old enough to start getting into exploring my own tastes in music right about the time that cassettes were being replaced by CDs, so I had both. However, the only way to make your own "mix" was to make a "mix-tape" by recording songs off the radio onto a cassette. Mix-tapes were really big. It was the prehistoric ancestor of having your own playlist on an iPod.

Besides arranging the songs, the real trick was to make sure that you timed the start of the recording and the ending of the recording properly. If you started to early, you would get the DJ talking or the previous song - stop too late, and you get the same problem at the end. Also, you had to be really quick on starting the recording when the song you wanted came on the radio. Usually, I would miss the first couple seconds of the song unless I was just hovering over the tapedeck.

One of the first songs that I put onto a good mix-tape was Two Princes from the Spin Doctors. I still like that one.

I need to dig up some of my old mix-tapes. I'm sure I have them around somewhere.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

South Carolina Supreme Court Rules Against Gamecock Club (I Join in the Dissent)

I didn't get a chance to post on this when it came out, but this opinion from the South Carolina Supreme Court is definitely worth exploring.

The language in the contract is that Mr. Lee had "the opportunity to purchase tickets" from the Gamecock Club. Mr. Lee took the position that the Gamecock Club could not subsequently require him to pay additional seat licencing fees, and the South Carolina Supreme Court agreed with him.

Writing for the majority, Justice Kittredge stated:
Were we to accept the University's view of the Agreement, it would mean Lee received little or nothing in the bargain, for the University would always have the ability to demand additional consideration for the opportunity to purchase tickets.
This seems incorrect to me, and the problem is because the operative word is "opportunity". The seat tax was not additional consideration. The seat tax is simply a new condition precedent to have the the opportunity to buy tickets.

Respectfully, I have to side with Justice Pleicones' dissent in this case. Writing a lone dissent, Justice Pleicones stated:
Looking to the plain language, it provides that Lee would be a "Lifetime Full Scholarship Member" with "the opportunity to purchase tickets." Lee has received exactly what he bargained for...I am unable to find any language prohibiting additional fees. Further, the majority acknowledges that a court must enforce an unambiguous contract regardless of its wisdom, folly, apparent  unreasonableness, or the parties' failure to guard their rights carefully.
I have to agree.

The language of the contract said that Mr. Lee would have "the opportunity to buy tickets", and requiring the payment of an additional seat tax does has not deprived Mr. Lee of that opportunity. If he wanted to lock in a certain price, or exempt himself from any future fees, he should have done so.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Augusta Amateur Beats Rory By One Stroke

Since an odd number of players made the cut, the tournament paired Rory McIlroy with an Augusta National Member (Jeff Knox) for Saturday's round - who promptly turned in a scorecard one shot better than McIlroy.

Jeff Knox knows how to play golf.
Think he'll tell that story around the clubhouse once or twice?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Felt Naked In Court Today

I had to drive down to Charleston and back for a hearing today, so cut me some slack on not having any content up.

By the way, I spilled coffee on my tie right before the hearing, so I couldn't wear it. It was a catastrophic coffee incident on a light colored tie. Take my word for it - it was unwearable.

Anyway, first thing, the Judge asked why I wasn't wearing a tie. I apologized profusely and told the story of what happened. I also made a joke about my considering making an emergency tie purchase at Ben Silver. The Judge in a very good nurtured way commented that I probably wasn't making enough money on this particular case to justify an expensive Ben Silver tie - so no harm done.

Still, I felt very naked in Court without a necktie. I may start carrying an emergency tie in my briefcase.

As for today, I've sneaked a blog post in under the wire before 5:00PM. Luckily, I don't need a tie for blogging.

Enjoy your weekend. And don't get anything on your tie!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Colbert is Replacing Letterman

Kind of a weird move, if you ask me.

It's not that Colbert isn't funny. He's kinda funny. The thing is, he only really has one joke. He plays the crazy version of what leftists think Bill O'Reilly is. Colbert could be funny doing other jokes, but I don't really know. I've never seen him do anything other than his O'Reilly-schtick. I guess we'll see if Colbert can come up with another joke.

There are lots of funny people out there. Craig Ferguson wouldn't have been a horrible choice, but I don't think that either Ferguson or Colbert are as funny as Fallon.

Some Sectors of the Economy Are Doing Just Fine

According to the release, 300 new jobs will be created.

Five Tips for Attending the Masters

Other than the time change (which everyone hates) The Masters is one of the heralds of Spring. The pollen has dropped, the flowers and trees are budding, the weather is finally warming up, and golf's best gather in Augusta to test their skills. I've been fortunate enough to be able to attend the tournament, so I thought I would share five tips for those of you who may be attending for the first time.

1. Go on Thursday or Friday: If it's your first time, (and you have a choice) try to go on Thursday or Friday. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking Sunday is the best day to go. Well you'd be wrong. First of all, if you go on Thursday or Friday, you get to see the whole field before they cut people. This will allow you to see a lot of the older players and former champions who won't be around for the weekend. Also, I know this sounds dumb, but you can see the end on Sunday better on television. Finally, if you want to buy all sorts of Masters stuff, going on the first two days is better because the shops are sold out of the good stuff by Saturday.

2. Dress for a Sporting Event: You're not going to a cocktail party, ladies. So leave those high heel shoes at home. You're going to be doing a lot of walking, and the course is much hillier than it looks on television. Also, the grass is really low, and in the morning it's slippery. I can't tell you how many times I've seen a young lady in a white dress fall down and get muddy because she wore some slippery shoes. You don't want to be that girl.

Your ideal shoe should be a golf shoe, because it will have spikes. Failing that, wear something that you are comfortable walking around in all day. Again, it's a sporting event, not a cocktail party. Guys, same goes for you. You're going to look silly wearing a tie. Bring sunscreen and a hat.

3. Leave Your Electronics in the Car: This is probably the most important rule because it's something that can get you in trouble.Yes, it will be hard for you to part with your iPhone for an entire day, but you can do it.  The folks at the gate are going to check your bag, but even if you somehow got your phone in, you're going to get in big trouble if it rings, or pings, or does anything that attracts attention. What kind of trouble?

Well, those spiffy badges that you have will be taken away (and since this is your first time, they're probably not yours, are they?). You will be escorted off the grounds, and those badges could possibly be permanently cancelled for the owner, which is going to land you in hot water with whomever gave you the badges to begin with. You want to try explaining that one? Just don't do it. Enjoy the day in the beautiful surroundings without looking at a little screen.

4. See the whole place: Get there as early as you can. Do your shopping (if that's your thing) first, and then use the bag check so you don't have to carry everything around all day. Did you wear the right shoes? Good. You can then walk the entire course to get a feel for the place. About that time, the first groups should be going off the front. You can choose to follow a group or sit on a particular hole. It just depends on how ambitious you feel, but if it's your first time, don't just hunker down on Amen Corner because you've seen it on television. There's much more to the course.

5. Put your chair down early, and observe seating etiquette: You can bring in collapsible chairs that don't have arm rests. Definitely do this. When you get there in the morning, go put your chair down somewhere and leave it there. Yes, it will be safe. No one is going to mess with it. Also, don't mess with other people's chairs. In the morning, you'll see tons of empty chairs placed around greens and tee-boxes. It's how you save your seat. Just put your chair down in line with all the others. Snag a pairing sheet when you come in, and when you're sitting there, you can plan for the groups.

Personally, I like to sit on the 15th hole, near the top of the hill (or in the stands near the green), because it's a place where you see players make the decision to either go for it in two or lay up. If you sit in the stands by the 15th green, you can also see the action on the 16th hole just over your shoulder, so you kind of get bonus viewing.

As for etiquette, obviously be quiet when the players are within earshot. That will be easy because everyone else will be quiet. It's actually cool how a couple hundred people will all be huddled down somewhere, and it will be so quiet, you'll be able to hear the birds. No running to put your chair down. What are you five years old? Clapping for good play is acceptable, but booing players you don't like, or cheering for their mistakes is bad form.

Other that that, try a pimento cheese sandwich and enjoy the cheap beer.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Smart Guns are Kind of Stupid

This technology was developed in 1911.

The other day, Attorney General Eric Holder told Congress that he wished to "explore" the idea of smart-guns.
I think that one of the things that we learned when we were trying to get passed those common sense reforms last year, Vice President Biden and I had a meeting with a group of technology people and we talked about how guns can be made more safe. 
By making them either through fingerprint identification, the gun talks to a bracelet or something that you might wear, how guns can be used only by the person who is lawfully in possession of the weapon. 

It’s those kinds of things that I think we want to try to explore so that we can make sure that people have the ability to enjoy their Second Amendment rights, but at the same time decreasing the misuse of weapons that lead to the kinds of things that we see on a daily basis.
As an initial matter, smart guns are a stupid idea. You're starting with a firearm that is pretty basic and introducing another layer of complexity that carries additional points where the firearm can fail. The batteries could die, electronics aren't water-friendly, bio-metric scanners require a good scan, and probably wouldn't work at all with gloves. Radio signals can be jammed, and electronics just don't work 100% of the time like we want them to. If you can't trust your iTunes 100% of the time, do you really want to wait for your self-defense tool to sync up?

Aside from the fact that it's just a stupid idea, Holder's attitude really annoys me. His tone is dripping with the implication that the federal government will indulge us citizens our adorable little rights, on the condition that he can make our firearms safe enough for him.

Our basic liberties and rights aren't something that we "enjoy" like building model airplanes or cooking. The second amendment is serious stuff. It's the last stop check and balance against the state. Honestly, the nature of the firearms that a citizen owns isn't any of the government's darn business. Regulate some interstate commerce, and otherwise get out of the way.

If there are citizens out there who want to introduce another layer of modern technology into their firearms, and have some sort of Wi-Fi connection for their handguns, they're free to do so. There isn't a demand for a smart gun, so as always, this leftist idea is so good, they'll have to force people to comply.

As for me, I'll stick with the technology developed circa 1911.

Columbia Will Be Getting Minor League Baseball (Again)

In a 4-3 vote last night, the Columbia City Council decided to fund the construction of a baseball stadium in the Bull Street Development. Here's what the developer hopes it will look like:

Proposed stadium rendering via Hardball Capital
I'm not exactly thrilled with this whole deal, but I really do wish the best for this project. is a success. I'd love to see a vibrant Bull Street development area, I enjoy baseball, and this picture looks cool. This is one of the times that it would give me no pleasure to say "I told you so."

Come on Columbia. Don't screw this up.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Local News Roundup, April 8, 2014

I thought I would just toss out a few headlines for you today:

The City Council is probably going to approve the current plan to spend $29 Million on the baseball stadium tonight. 

In what is probably the most compelling argument to vote for someone other than Lindsey Graham, former cocaine user Thomas Ravenel said he intends to run as an independent if Lindsey Graham wins the GOP Primary.

And in unrelated news, some people are upset about the fact that airlines won't have limes for drinks anymore. Get over it, people. You're on an airplane. Flying. Forget about the limes. You're flying.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Just Joined FaceBook

After years of holding out, I have finally been assimilated. I was tired of having to ask Mrs. Permanent Press about what was going on with our friends.

For the most part, I will probably keep to non-controversial stuff on FaceBook, and keep all the random rantings here. I'm going to avoid crossing the streams of this blog and Facebook as best I can.

So, I'll see how it goes. Any good tips for maximizing FaceBook use?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Mozilla CEO Forced To Resign Because of His Personal Beliefs

Now, what could have been so horrible of a personal belief that he was forced to resign from the company that he helped found? Was he a closet-Nazi? Did he believe in aliens? Was he a devil worshipper? Did he belong to the KKK?

No, it wasn't any of these. Apparently, he was driven out of his job - essentially fired - because he had the audacity to donate $1,000.00 (back in 2008) in support of California's Proposition 8, which was a ballot measure that would have banned gay marriage in the state until it was struck down by the Supreme Court in June.

Let me repeat that. He donated some money to a political cause that was on a ballot measure. For that, he was hounded out of his job.

We're really reaching a dangerous point with this kind of nonsense. The guy was basically cast out because his political beliefs weren't in line with the Approved Beliefs of the left. But I guess a congratulations is due to the gay activists who now have their bloody scalp. They succeeded in having a guy lose his job because he had the temerity to disagree with them.

Can you imagine the outrage if a conservative employer had summarily fired a couple dozen employees simply because they were leftists? I'm guessing that Eich might have saved his job if he had recanted his private beliefs and simply confessed to now personally supporting gay marriage.

I guess the heretics have to be purged though. That's the way to conduct a society, right? Remind me again, which people are in favor of tolerance and diversity?