Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Tim, Special Netflix Secret Agent

One of the last big "fights" Manchild and I had was over the dinosaur parts in the King Kong movie. He was pro-dino, I was anti, and there, we let it lay. Or lie. ("220, 221...whatever it takes...")

He did loves him some movies. His love affair with Netflix led to this effort, published in The Times Saturday, Sept. 30, 2006.


By Tim Greening

I've been a Netflix subscriber for years but only this week did I learn about a feature on the online DVD rental service's Web site that tells you the most popular movies among the other Netflix members in your zip code.

Well, technically the site says the list is the titles members in your area are renting more than members in other areas. I'm sure every zip code pretty much rents the most popular new releases, but these are the choices whose popularity are unique to our area.

That might be interesting, I thought. But then again, it might be ... depressing. Do I want to know how many movies my neighbors are renting that end with "... and the Bandit?"

Against my better judgment I looked it up anyway. Continue reading at your peril.

And there it was, right away: The No. 1 movie on the list was "Road House 2." The sequel to one of Patrick Swayze's more ... notorious ... movies but they couldn't even get him to be in it. (His manager at Bennigan's wouldn't give him the time off.)

So, yeah, that's the No. 1 movie on the list. Depressing.

But let's not be too snobby: I think my taste in entertainment is pretty admirable, although one of my most recent rentals was "Scary Movie 4." (Hey, not everything has to be a bran muffin. Occasionally you want a cupcake.)

And let's give our zip code Netflixers a break: Much of the direct-to-DVD "Road House 2" was filmed in and around Shreveport and Bossier City. Maybe the locals renting it are curious to see if they recognize any locales or extras.

But there's no excuse for the No. 3 film on the list: "Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector." Git-r-dumb.

Mostly, however, I found the list very curious, mainly because several of the films have been out for years. No. 2 was the cute doggie movie "Shiloh," which is cool. Everyone loves a cute doggie movie. But it was released six years ago.

And the No. 5 movie is a little-known, little-seen independent artsy movie called "The Sisters," based on Anton Chekhov's "The Three Sisters." Isn't that odd? "Road House 2," "Larry the Cable Guy" and ... Chekhov? I'd figure the only Chekhov on DVD in my neighborhood would be the guy who steers the starship Enterprise.

Here's the full Top 10 list:

1. "Road House 2."

2. "Shiloh."

3. "Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector."

4. "Stephen King's Desperation."

5. "The Sisters."

6. "Love Comes Softly." (Chick flick I never heard of.)

7. "Van Helsing." (An odd pick: it's two years old and it's on cable every other hour.)

8. "The Sentinel." (Keifer Sutherland/Michael Douglas thriller and the only movie on the list I have rented.)

9. "Raising Helen."

10. "Something's Gotta Give."

Looking at it again, it's not so embarrassing a list. It's definitely eclectic.

And I'm impressed none of the choices end in "... of Hazzard."

Monday, April 23, 2007

The time when Tim Greening intercepted that secret Saddam tape...

July 19, 2003

By Tim Greening
The Times

The Times has obtained a copy of the latest audiotaped message to the Arab world that has been attributed to ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Times columnist Tim Greening, who speaks fluent Iraqanese, translated the tape.

(Tape opens with a dance club beat, with saxophone. A deep voice begins rapping in Arabic:)

Guess who's back? Back again

Saddam's back, tell a friend

Saddam's back, Saddam's back, Saddam's back, Saddam's back ...

(Music ends).

What up, dawgs? Sorry I ain't been rappin' at ya regular, but Sdawg here's been playin' it on a serious down-low, what with all these mad Yankee fools up in here lookin' to mess a brutha's (bleep) up.

First up, a shout out to my homeez in the Baath Party. B-dawgs! Always representin'!

Peep this: You realize this is the 35th anniversary since we been rulin' this joint, when we crushed our opposition in the Bedd and Beeyond parties?

And don't doubt a brutha: we will be back, livin' large and back in charge after we defeat the forces of George W. Bush, that dictata hata.

Which reminds me, better get this out da way ... now, for all you wack critics who be sayin', "That ain't no Saddam on that tape! That's an imposta!"

Well, peep this:

(Music begins again.)

I'm Slim Saddy, yes, I'm the real Saddy

All you other Slim Saddies are just imitatin'

So won't the real Slim Saddy please stand up, please stand up

(Music ends.)

Got dat? The real Slim Saddy is standin'. Let's move on.

I'm sure you all heard on the al-Jazeera televizzle that the infidel Bush really was lyin' about me tryin' to start a nuclear program up in here. Only he can't say it right, he says "nuke-ular." Damn shame, runnin' the biggest country in the world and he can't talk right. Who taught a brutha to talk? Jethro?

Anyway, yeah, damn CIA be makin' stuff up about me, sayin' I got all these weapons of mass destruction. But we all know the only weapon of mass destruction in this hizz-ouse is when I step to the turntable, ya know what I'm sayin'? Drop the needle on some phat beats, clear the mic and I'm a one-man wreckin' crew, (bleepin') (bleep) up old-school.

So they make up lies. Why's the Great Satan always gotta be hatin'?

It's always, "Oooh, Saddam's got chemical weapons!" and "Awww, Saddam's killed millions of his own people." Mass murder was the case that they gave me.

So they come in with their gats blastin', droppin' bombs and takin' over our hood. They even tried to drop a bomb on a brutha in his crib.

But they missed, and now I'm all about hidin' in da undaground. But mark a brutha's words, I will be back. I mo' be prezz-o-dent of the Iraqi people. And them other hatin' fools at the United Nations ain't gonna have (bleep) to say about it.

Know why? The world needs me.

You heard me right. Really, the world's just one big rap feud and every rap feud needs a villain.

For real, who's gonna take a brutha's place as the most wanted dictata on the planet? That Kim Jong-Il from around North Korea way? That nappy-head fool's about as wack as a Big Mac attack.

Well, time for me to bail. Keep the faith, you'll be hearin' again from me soon. Until then, remember:

(Music begins again.)

This looks like a job for me,

So everybody just follow me,

Coz we all need a little tyranny

And it feels so empty without me!

War. Out.

* Tim Greening's shizzle columnizzle runs Saturdays.


Sunday, April 22, 2007

"2600 block of Dillard Street values...." by Citizen Greening

NO, the picture at the right is not Tim Greening as the Cowardly Lion. It is Tim when he was "King of Highland," or at least king of the Highland Mardi Gras krewe, and a fine king he was. He is shown here with the krewe's queen that year. But in 2002, long before he pursued a life of royalty and heavy king wear, he was running for political office, as you might recall...


By Tim Greening
The Times

There goes my opponent again, with his misleading attacks on me and my campaign.

But all we need to do is look at the record to know that my opponent is wrong for public office, wrong for our families and wrong for our Shreveport-Bossier City values.

My opponent continues to accuse me of being in favor of high taxes and gun control. But the fact is, I will vigorously oppose any measure in favor of repealing anti-gun control laws that don't mandatorily support the effective repeal of an increase in taxes for working families.

Just wanted to be absolutely clear about that.

My opponent also claims to be the only candidate in the race with experience as a prosecutor. But check the record and you'll see I've participated in 74 trials in my career, in civil, criminal and family courts.

Sure, most of my participation has been as either "the accused" or "the defendant." But I stand by my record: a nearly 67 percent acquittal rate.

My opponent should stop lying about being the only candidate with significant courtroom experience. That kind of anti-truth agenda is wrong for our courts and wrong for our southern Caddo Parish values.

My opponent also continues his vicious attacks on my son, because he has received millions of dollars in contracts from the companies I regulate.

So, my opponent feels that people shouldn't earn their own living and instead we should live off of the public welfare dime? It's a good thing voters found this out now before sending him to Washington to further his pro-welfare, anti-capitalism agenda.

Also, his attacks are particularly vicious because my son is only 4 years old.

My opponent: pro-communism, anti-4-year-olds. That's wrong for capitalism, wrong for 4-year-olds and wrong for our 2600 block of Dillard Street values.

Of course, what my opponent will never mention in his misleading, malicious attacks is that while in the state Legislature, he consistently voted in favor of Daylight Saving Time, which every fall takes away an hour of sunlight every day, making it even more difficult for our gardens and our lawns to grow.

What's my opponent got against our gardens and lawns? His anti-sunlight agenda is wrong for our gardens, wrong for our grass and wrong for our in-between-Texas-and-Mississippi values.

What my opponent also won't mention in his vicious and misleading ads is his own checkered past. Just check his record: Word Up by Cameo.

In 1986, while in LSU law school, my opponent threw a party and served alcohol from a keg. After drinking a beer he put on the record and encouraged everyone to dance.

Then, after getting his groove on, my opponent put his hands in the air and waved them like he just don't care.

Like. He. Just. Don't. Care.

Is that the kind of man we want representing us in Washington? His just-don't-care attitude and reckless past is wrong for caring, wrong for '80s funk and wrong for our central North America values.

Also, what my opponent won't mention is that he's never denied being a member of al-Qaida, contributing to the bankruptcy of Enron, shooting Tupac Shakur and kidnapping the Lindbergh baby. There's no evidence linking him to any of those things - but he's never denied it. What's he got to hide?

So on Nov. 5, the choice is clear. The only pro-anti-tax, pro-anti-gun control, pro-truth, pro-capitalism, pro-4-year-olds, pro-garden, anti-hand-waving, pro-caring, anti-East Coast/West Coast rapper violence and pro-Lindbergh baby candidate is me.

So put your hands in the air like you do care and vote Greening. Right for families, right for business, right for our Northern Hemisphere values.

(Paid for by the People's Council of Friends of the Committee to Re-Elect Column Boy.)

Citizen Greening's column runs Saturdays.


Saturday, April 21, 2007

Tim, The Girl, and The Shoes

This effort ran Saturday, April 27, 2002 and helped introduce us to what would become a major theme of the love relationship between Tim and The Girl. We're talking shoes.


By Tim Greening The Times

Thursday, The Times ran a Trends story about women and their fascination with shoes.

Didn't read it. Didn't have to. I live it.

One day The Girl and I were walking through Dillard's and she suddenly stopped in her tracks and gasped. Literally gasped.

Two pairs of shoes. From some Italian designer, Benicio Dillardini, or something like that. One pink and one tan. Actually, the tan pair is called Chivas, after the brand of Scotch. In keeping with the beverage theme, the pink pair may have been called Pepto.

They were pumps, or sandals, or were they loafers? I dunno. All women's shoes look the same to me: painfully uncomfortable.

But she fell in love instantly. Every time we went to the mall, we had to visit the shoes. She'd gawk at them, like they were doggies in the pet store window.

"Aw, look at how precious. You're a precious little shoe, aren't you? Yes, you are. Who's a good shoe? Who's a good shoe?"

I just don't get it. It's not like they were Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars with Spider-Man or Darth Maul on them. Or, better yet, bowling shoes with Spider-Man or Darth Maul on them. Then I could understand the excitement. Girls are weird.

It was January, and she strongly hinted she wanted them for Valentine's. I had already gotten that gift, so mentally I filed the shoes under "Maybe for Her Birthday."

But her birthday's in May, and she was worried the new spring lines would come in and the shoes would be gone. Strong hints became outright pleas.

Some of you may be asking, "Why didn't she just get them herself?" Well, once something gets that "gift" designation, it's tough to buy it for yourself. It's like your partner let you down.

Plus, I kept telling her I'd get them, and then just didn't. I wasn't taking the shoe thing as seriously as she does.

Then, one day, the unthinkable happened. After we visited the shoes we went to a bookstore. There was the latest edition of the ultrahip magazine Real Simple. AND THE PINK SHOE WAS ON THE COVER.

There was no turning back.

"Can't you see it's fate? This is a sign! The shoes and I are meant to be together!"

I finally bought them, on the sly. But after all that, to simply hand them over seemed anticlimactic. So I waited for an opportunity to present itself.

Meantime, enter the story's villain: a pair of leather high-tops I once wore sockless while working in the yard. They reek. Serious stank. They contaminate any room they're in. The smell would clear a rendering plant.

More funk than Rick James and George Clinton ever dreamed of putting on a record.

The Girl calls them "the Gabby shoes" because they smell like a goat. She pleaded with me to throw them out, but I just couldn't do it. They were still functional, and well, shoes smell. It's their job, that's what they do. Besides, there's a team of scientists at Odor Eaters working night and day to develop a cure.

Anyway, our six-month anniversary rolled around, the perfect time to give her the shoes. So, on Monday, via the mail, she received just one shoe, the left Chivas. Tuesday, she got the left Pepto. Wednesday, as a prank, I mailed her a Gabby, possibly violating laws against shipping hazardous materials.

Thursday, she got the right Chivas. As for Friday, another prank: I bought a second pair of Peptos and mailed her the left one. So she'd think she had a complete Pepto pair, start to try them on and ... d'ohh! Two left feet.

A dirty trick, sure, but I'm really proud of it. Today, our actual anniversary, she gets all the remaining shoes.

That is, if she's still talking to me.

Happy anniversary, Ringading.

Tim "Gabby" Greening's column runs Saturdays. Call him at (318) 459-3260 or e-mail to

Friday, April 20, 2007

Manchild's Famous "Burning Pork Fat Surprise," and Other Toaster Oven Adventures

Below is a March 3, 2004 offering from Tim Greening. Some of our favorite Manchild efforts will run on this blog all week. This is beautiful and puts Manchild solidly in his element -- in the kitchen, fighting an appliance.


String of kitchen mishaps force writer into a new specialty

By Tim Greening
The Times

The label said "no harmful fumes" and "no nasty odors."

Stupid, lying oven cleaner.

The fumes themselves may not have been harmful, but I could have seriously hurt myself fleeing the kitchen, running through the house blinded and choking. And I'd hate to find out what the company considers a "nasty" odor if this didn't make the cut.

Whatever went wrong, it incapacitated my oven temporarily and I've been forced to adapt my baking, broiling and roasting to the toaster oven - a far more versatile appliance than its reputation holds.

But first, it took a series of mishaps to lead me to this point.

It was sometime last fall that I was barbecueing three racks of ribs. Only, I started to lose my fire before the ribs were done and I was out of coals.

"No problem," I thought, "I'll wrap them in foil and finish them off in the oven."

Well, one of them had a leak, and pretty soon the kitchen was thick with the smoke of burning pork fat. I wiped up what I could out of the oven, but there was enough residue inside that any time the oven was cranked up after that, the air was seasoned with that familiar essence of burning pork fat.

How unpleasant is that? Put it this way: Glade will never make a Plug-In scent called "Burning Pork Fat." If Bath and Body Works sells a burning pork fat potpourri, I'm sure it's in the bargain bin.

The truth could no longer be avoided. "The oven must be cleaned, and it must be cleaned right away."

So three months later, I'm browsing the oven cleaner aisle at the grocery store. There are lots to choose from and I know nothing of the sport of oven cleaning. Apparently I did not choose wisely.

So the oven has laid dormant since, as I'm afraid anything I'll cook in it will taste like it was marinated in sarin gas. One of these days, I'm going to have to spring for a real oven cleaner and restore it to good health.

In the meantime, I've learned to make do with the toaster oven. Which, if you think about it, is really just a little oven. It's got temperature controls, same as an oven, and you can do pretty much the same things, only not so much of it.

You may not be able to roast a whole chicken, but you can roast cut-up pieces. I wouldn't say my discovery is groundbreaking - as you can see by my recipes, essentially you cook a starch then smother it in sauce and/or cheese and make a casserole. But it's perfect for someone like me who rarely cooks for more than two people. Here's what I've learned:

Go to the disposable aluminum pie pan aisle at the grocery store. There are pans there that can fit inside your toaster oven, which solves another problem: after you've eaten, that's a dish you won't have to wash.

Then, buy some aluminum foil, for covering the oven rack when cooking something that might drip. At Sam's Club, they sell these boxes of 500 sheets of pre-cut, thin foil like they use in restaurants. They rule. It's like having a box of aluminum Kleenex. When you need one you just yank it out, no cutting or tearing.

Pizza in a toaster oven rules. When it comes to leftover delivery pizza, toasted slices are 10 times better than nuked. As for frozen pizza, just about any single-serving pizza will fit, as will French bread pizzas. Wolfgang Puck's gourmet pizzas do too. I've found if you follow the package directions, it takes a little longer than the instructions say, so you may want to add about 10 or 20 degrees. Tip: When the pizza is cooked, finish it off with a quick toast (meaning, turn the temperature dial to off, then push down the toaster lever, like you are making toast). This quick, hot blast makes the crust crispy and browns the cheese just a bit.

Broiling is actually better in a toaster oven, in my opinion. Since it's so small, the heat is right there above the food, and thanks to the glass door, when you're browning or blackening something, you can observe the process better than you can in a real oven.

Don't plan on making your whole meal in the toaster oven. You can't fit a whole lot in there, so whatever you cook first will get cold while you're making whatever's next.

Sometimes, my toaster oven works in tandem with my George Foreman grill. I love hamburger steaks actually baked in the gravy, but you have to brown the steaks first. So I'll grill them in the Foreman, then put them in a pan with gravy and bake them for another 20 minutes or so. And, say, you want barbecue sauce on your grilled boneless chicken breast; well, the Foreman doesn't do sauce very well. So what you do is grill your chicken solo in the Foreman, then put it in a pan, cover it with sauce and bake in the toaster oven for a bit.

See? Some of you probably never thought of that. In fact, I've grown so fond of my toaster oven that I'll continue to use it most of the time, even after I clean the stinky stuff from my oven.

One of these days.

Tim Greening is not a registered dietician nor a trained chef. He just likes to cook, and eat, and writes about food for The Times. Call him at (318) 459-3260, write to The Times, P.O. Box 30222, Shreveport, LA 71130-0222, or send a fax to (318) 459-3301 or e-mail to


Sorry these recipes aren't very specific as far as measured amounts of ingredients, but those amounts will vary greatly depending on the size of the pan and the toaster oven.

Toaster oven taquito surprise

1 pkg. frozen taquitos (any filling)

1 can enchilada sauce (red or green)

Shredded cheese

Sour cream and chopped green onion tops for garnish

In a pan that will fit in your toaster oven, line up a layer of taquitos, as many as you can fit. Cut one or two up into pieces to fill any empty spots. Cook taquitos according to package directions. Pour enough enchilada sauce over them to cover (may not need the whole can) but not spill out of the pan. Return to toaster oven and bake until sauce is hot, maybe 5 minutes. Cover the whole thing with shredded cheese and bake until cheese melts. Cut into squares like you would lasagna and serve with sour cream and green onion tops.

Knockout chopped steak surprise

2 chopped beef patties or hamburger steaks, about

1/4 lb. each

1 jar prepared gravy, beef or mushroom flavored

1 small jar sliced mushrooms

Brown steaks either in a skillet or a George Foreman-type grill (one at a time if the grill/skillet is too small for both). In the meantime, pour enough gravy into a toaster oven-sized pan, preferably with high walls, to cover the bottom, about 1/2-inch thick. Set grilled steaks in the pan and pour the rest of the gravy over them and top with mushrooms. Bake at 300 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Crispy crown casserole surprise

1 pkg. round, flat potatoes discs or tater tots

1 can chili (preferably sweet, like hot dog chili)

Shredded cheese

In a toaster oven-sized dish, put down a layer of potatoes and cook according to package directions. When crispy, top with chili and bake until chili is hot (5 to 10 minutes). Top with cheese and bake until cheese has melted.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

A favorite from our favorite Manchild...

This is a Jan. 12, 2002 column for you from Times columnist Tim Greening, who died Wednesday. It's a staff favorite I hope you enjoy.

At Play in the Fields of the Lords of the Fellowships of the Rings

It’s only been in theaters three weeks, but The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring - based on the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien - has already made so much money, the late author’s family bought two more Rs to add to his name.

I finally saw the movie and it’s as terrific as everybody says. I went into it a neophyte, not having read any of the Rings trilogy, which are, in order, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and Evil Sorcery for Dummies.

It’s a fable about a world called Middle Earth. It’s not as upscale as Upper Earth but the schools are pretty good.

All of Middle Earth’s mythical creatures - elves, dwarves, hobbits, wizards, Kennedys - live in their own separate neighborhoods, like a fairy tale apartheid. The hobbits have the shire district, for example, while the elves live in what appears to be Middle Florida.

The hobbits are a race of short, human-like beings who are peaceful and very good-natured. (There are a few bad hobbits, of course, like smoking, procrastinating or biting your fingernails.)

The hobbits seem very Irish, as they speak English in thick brogues. In fact, all the beings involved speak English, though the elves have their own language, “Elvish,” in which every sentence ends with “thankyou ... thankyouverymuch.”

The conflict arises from the evil Lord Sauron, who seeks to conquer Middle Earth through the cunning use of magic rings. Hundreds of years before Fellowship takes place, he distributed among the various kings a bunch of these rings, along with calling birds, French hens, turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree.

His plan was to make everybody crazy and jealous and fight over the rings like they were half-price DVD players at a day-after-Thanksgiving sale.

For himself, Sauron created a ring with incredible powers, enabling him to do all sorts of nefarious things, like destroy mountains, enslave men, or charge $6.50 for a large soda and a Middle Popcorn.

The ring is taken from Sauron before he can do any real damage, but then it gets lost for hundreds of years. It eventually ends up with the adventurous hobbit Bilbo Baggins, who doesn’t know the ring’s history, he just knows it looks good with his Rolex.

The ring becomes the property of his nephew, Frodo, when Bilbo Baggins departs the shire to fulfill his lifelong dream of establishing “a pub in the shadow of the Interstate of Twenty, where the Road of Old Minden meets the Road of Benton.”
However, the wise wizard Gandalf realizes what the ring is and the potential it has for evil.

“I mean, $6.50 for popcorn and a soda? Such deviltry must be stopped!” he tells Frodo.

So Gandalf, Frodo and three other hobbits - his best friend Sam, along with Sneezy and Doc - embark on a journey to get rid of the ring, either by destroying it in the fires of Mount Doom or pawning it to buy a sweet, sweet Camaro.

Along the way, they pick up a few friends to help out - forming the titular Fellowship - including two human warriors, a dwarf and the Tin Man.

Because he is apparently the only one who can resist the temptation to use the ring for his own desires, Frodo is declared the ringbearer. So they dress him in a tuxedo and have him carry the ring on a little pillow, as is the custom.

The journey proves to be remarkable adventure, but I’ll stop at this point lest I give away the ending. (Wait ... there was no ending. Still, I’m out of space.)
Anyway, it’s a great, exciting, visually stunning film that I highly recommend.

J.R.R.R.R. Tolkien should be proud.

-- Tim Greening

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Our friend died today...

Tim Greening

One if by land, two if by horse...

I love my Writer's Almanac daily newsletter. Part of today's offering follows...

On this day in 1775, Paul Revere made the famous ride that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote about in the poem that begins,

"Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

Paul Revere was 40 years old at the time, a respected craftsman, husband, and father of 16 children. But by warning revolutionary forces of a British attack, he was committing an act of high treason against the crown.

(SIXTEEN CHILDREN?! Paul's wife is the one that should have declared her independence. Or stolen a horse and rode. Rode one way -- whichever way was away from Paul...)

On the night of April 18, 1775, Paul Revere heard the British troops were planning to march into Lexington and Concord to seize munitions and round up colonial rebels. So he set out for Lexington to warn of the British plans. He had to begin his journey in a rowboat across Boston Harbor, under the threat of a British warship, and then he borrowed a horse to ride all the way to Lexington, where he warned Adams and Hancock that the British were coming.

Longfellow fictionalized some aspects of the story to make it more dramatic. In the poem, Revere is the only messenger warning that the British are coming, when in fact there were several. Revere also never shouted, "The British are coming!" What he shouted was, "The Regulars are out! The Regulars are out!"

(He also shouted "We'll never win a war wearing these silly tri-cornered hats!" And the part about the horse? Longfellow made that up too. As most of us know, Revere drove a Taurus. We call that "poetic license" or, since Longfellow was a stable hand at Concord Feed and Steed, "advertising."
Intriguing side note: Revere's children won the Lexington City Schools football championship from 1782-1787.)


Sunday, April 8, 2007

Amid the Masters pines ... on Championship Sunday

Well, THAT was fun...
Here is an early missive from Dipper, our Masters correspondent...I will pass along his final salvo should he send it....Congrats to David Toms on a Top 10 finish...


The sun is shining, the winds are light, but it's still c-h-h-h-h-i-lllly. We wouldn't be out there sworping unless somebody was paying us, which of course, nobody would.

A fellow scribe asked Augusta native Charles Howell III if he'd ever played in this kind of weather at Augusta National and he said he had: "around Thanksgiving and Christmas."

A check of the leaderboard finds Mark Calcavecchia is having no trouble with anything two holes into his round. The 47-year-old followed a birdie on the first hole with an eagle on the second to get within four strokes of leader Stuart Appleby, who's still 75 minutes from his date on the tee with Mr. Tiger.

And I bet you're wondering who in the world is Bradley Dredge, the man who begins this day alone in seventh place, three shots off the lead. Sir Dredge is a Welshman, 33, who's won two European Tour titles.

Make him you're "one to watch" today.

Yours in sweaters and windtops,


Saturday, April 7, 2007

Still amid the Masters Pines ... at Amen Corner...

(The latest report filed from Dipper, our golf wag in Augusta...)


The brassie will bounce, my son, an accomplished lad with club in hand if I do say so myself, tells me. The trick, of course, is to get the bounce correctly. Too soon, beware the worms, too late, beware the birds.

The middle link of Amen Corner, is Eldrick's location now. He's flown the green with his tee ball, praying for a lie in the bunker instead of on the bermuda.

Shreveport resident David Toms is in red figures for the day after a birdie on the tail of the Corner, to stand at plus-3 for the event.


Monday, April 2, 2007

Happy Opening Day

Here's hoping the grand ol' game won't expire at the cash register
In other words...
Do you know any old-school baseball lingo you could share with us? Because the game's language is going the way of the dodo bird.
No one toes the humpback any more.
No one expires at the cash register.
Or hurls the stitched orb plateward.
This bothers me.
Major league baseball's season begins in earnest today. It would be nice if fans were asking things like, "Who'll climb the hill for the Redlegs of the senior circuit today?," or "Can the American League slab corps stymie the stalwart National stickmen again in this summer's All Star clash?"
But few ask. The reason is both subtle and at the same time as evident as Phil Mickelson's large breasts.
Baseball lingo is dying. And so is the bench jockey.
This is a bad thing.
Since the structure of the game we grew up on continues to disappear, is it too much to ask that we at least keep alive the lingo and the bench banter?
I think not. Trust me when I say that good times await those who'll embrace both.
First, a word about lingo. I'm recruiting all of you who are willing to help keep this alive. A lesson won't take long.
Take the baseball. It's the sphere, the stitched orb, Miss White, the pill, the seed.
Home plate is the five-sided, the dish, the cash register.
The pitcher's mound is the hill, the island, the humpback, or simply the bump, and on it is the rubber, or the slab.
Let's say in the sixth inning, the visiting pitcher - a lefty we'll call Lambrowski - threw a pitch that was hit hard to the first baseman, who threw to the catcher, who tagged out a runner trying to score from third.
Instead of saying that, you could say this:
Toeing the alien humpback in the sixth canto, wrong-hander Lambrowski propelled the orb toward the five-sided with intent. A pea was hit to the initial sacker, who leathered it and threw dishward, where the unlucky hometown diamond man attempting to plate a tally from the hot corner expired at the cash register.
Pandemonium ensued.
Isn't that more fun? Stupid, sure. But fun.
The bench jockey, now almost as extinct as the rotary telephone, is a person with a lingo all his own. Simply, while in his dugout, a bench jockey rags opposing players. Or umpires. Or anyone within earshot, including his own teammates if it's funny.
A bench jockey who takes exception to the face-masked home plate umpire's calls might say this: "Why not try looking around those bars instead of through them?" Or, if he wishes to imply the ump is guessing on ball-strike calls, he might say this: "Is that a quarter or a half-dollar you're flipping?"
A defensive player who's not very good is said to be shaky out there. If he continues to bobble Miss White, the jockey will tell him to "mix in a catch now and then," as he might tell a pitcher having trouble finding the plate to "mix in a strike."
A catcher guilty of one passed ball after another might be asked this: "Are those the same hands you eat with?"
The good jockey can use the standards in such a way and tone that they never get old. And the best can make up perfect digs on the spot.
A former Centenary diamond man told me of a game years ago against Southern Arkansas. The Muleriders' pitcher was rather large, girth-wise. Plenty big in the middle.
Finally, a Gent bench jockey yelled toward him, "Hey, is that your belt ... or the equator?"
Old-school poetry.