Things And/Or Stuff

Home
History
Reading Material
Miscellaneous Fun
Greatest (?) Hits
More Fun (Sort Of)
Contact Me
New Page Title

Welcome to Mike Redmond's home on the Weird Wide Web!

Greetings, Earth People. I'm Mike Redmond. Not the baseball player. Instead of making you guess the rest, I'll just go ahead and tell you who I am and what I do.

  • I'm a newspaper columnist -- formerly the feature columnist for The Indianapolis Star (back when you could call it a newspaper). I bailed out of the place about two years after Gannett bought it, and I still count that as the best decision I ever made. My creditors don't always agree.
  • Now I write for papers around Central Indiana, a magazine or two, and this site. I'm also a public speaker, a teacher, an historical (as opposed to hysterical) interpreter, a farm tour guide, and occasionally, when I can be talked into it, an author. They're all my favorite jobs.
  • This is where you'll find my online column, posted every Wednesday, unless I get ambitious and post it Tuesday. But don't count on it.
  • This is also where to look for news about speaking engagements, new jobs, friends, and stuff that strikes me as interesting. I'll probably throw in a few recipes, too. I get wild like that sometimes.
  • Take a look around. Let's have some fun.

Archive Newer | Older

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tiger, Tiger, Not So Bright

I believe I speak for many of us when I say I now know more than I ever wanted to about Tiger Woods.

Every day when I sit down to the computer to begin a long day of goofing off, it seems the first thing I see is another Shocking Revelation about Tiger Woods' love life and marital strife.

Shocking? Please. It's only shocking if you care. And I cannot recall ever wasting a single minute wondering about the state of Tiger Woods' home life.

Unfortunately, it's the perfect story for our celebrity-crazed times.

We are awash with celebrities, folks. The current rate seems to be about 1 celebrity for every 10 households. You see them on TV. They're in the newspapers and magazines, and not just the trashy ones at the checkout counter. They're all over computers and Blackberries. And for many of them, their only discernable means of employment , their only talent, is ... being a celebrity.

 (Case in point: The Kardashian sisters. What exactly do they DO, other than being Kardashians?)

Anyway, back to Tiger. Now, I'm not suggesting that we ignore the fact that Tiger pranged the Family Battlewagon during a late night/early morning excursion, or that his wife had to get him out of the wreckage with a seven-iron (not her best club; she duck-hooked it). I'm not even saying we should ignore the revelation that Tiger had what appears to be dozens of extra caddies toting his tour bag, or that his wife just bought property on the other side of the world.

What I AM saying is it's being blown WAY out of proportion. It knocked all sorts of real news out of the headlines, and that's just stupid. Or, to use my preferred spelling, S-P-Triple O-P-I-D. Stoopid. Because you have to stoop pretty low to get your kicks from this kind of stuff.

Personally, I don't care what Tiger does in his spare time.  I feel sorry for his wife and kids, and for him, too, for being so messed up. Not that it matters to any of them.

But I also feel sorry for us, because the world we live in has really important stuff going on, and we're missing it by pandering to those who obsess over Tiger, the Kardashians, Real Housewives of Various Cities, et al.

Of course, somewhere in the discussion someone invariably trots out the old "But he's a role model for our youth!" argument, which is a bunch of hooey. I don't buy it. The athlete-as-role-model began to die off when Curt Flood (rightly) challenged the Reserve Clause and baseball free agency was born. Role model devotion takes time to build, and you can't very well make a role model out of Joe Shlabotnik if he's playing in your city one year, Cleveland the next, and Denver the year after that.

Besides, given the general lowering of the behavioral standards and the speed with which we find out about celebrity transgressions, anyone who encourages a kid to take an athlete as a role model these days is just asking for trouble.

So where does this leave Tiger in the Pantheon of American Golfers? The top. American Husbands? That's none of my business. American Role Models? Behind the real ones - teachers, doctors, soldiers, sailors, public servants, volunteers ... it's a long list. He's at the back of the pack and not likely to make the cut. Which should not be shocking at all.

Tue, December 15, 2009 | link 

I believe I speak for many of us when I say I now know more than I ever wanted to about Tiger Woods.

Every day when I sit down to the computer to begin a long day of goofing off, it seems the first thing I see is another Shocking Revelation about Tiger Woods' love life and marital strife.

Shocking? Please. It's only shocking if you care. And I cannot recall ever wasting a single minute wondering about the state of Tiger Woods' home life.

Unfortunately, it's the perfect story for our celebrity-crazed times.

We are awash with celebrities, folks. The current rate seems to be about 1 celebrity for every 10 households. You see them on TV. They're in the newspapers and magazines, and not just the trashy ones at the checkout counter. They're all over computers and Blackberries. And for many of them, their only discernable means of employment , their only talent, is ... being a celebrity.

 (Case in point: The Kardashian sisters. What exactly do they DO, other than being Kardashians?)

Anyway, back to ol' Tiger. Now, I'm not suggesting that we ignore the fact that Tiger pranged the Family Battlewagon during a late night/early morning excursion, or that his wife had to get him out of the wreckage with a seven-iron (not her best club; she duck-hooked it). I'm not even saying we should ignore the revelation that Tiger may have had dozens of extra caddies toting his tour bag, or that his wife just bought property on the other side of the world.

What I AM saying is it's being blown WAY out of proportion. It knocked all sorts of real news out of the headlines, and that's just stupid. Or, to use my preferred spelling, S-P-Triple O-P-I-D. Stoopid. Because you have to stoop pretty low to get your kicks from this kind of stuff.

Personally, I don't care what Tiger does in his spare time.  I feel sorry for his wife and kids, and for him, too, for being so messed up. Not that it matters to any of them.

But I also feel sorry for us, because the world we live in has really important stuff going on, and we're missing it by pandering to those who obsess over Tiger, the Kardashians, Real Housewives of Various Cities, et al.

Of course, somewhere in the discussion someone invariably trots out the old "But he's a role model for our youth!" argument, which is a bunch of hooey. I don't buy it. The athlete-as-role-model began to die off when Curt Flood (rightly) challenged the Reserve Clause and baseball free agency was born. Role model devotion takes time to build, and you can't very well make a role model out of Joe Shlabotnik if he's playing in your city one year, Cleveland the next, and Denver the year after that.

Besides which, given the general lowering of the behavioral standards and the speed with which we find out about celebrity transgressions. anyone who encourages a kid to take an athlete as a role model these days is just asking for trouble.

So where does this leave Tiger in the Pantheon of American Golfers? The top. That doesn't change. American Husbands? That's none of my business. American Role Models? Behind the real ones - teachers, doctors, soldiers, sailors, public servants, volunteers ... it's a long list. He's at the back of the pack and not likely to make the cut. Which should not be shocking at all.

Tue, December 15, 2009 | link 

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Plugged In To The Electric Yuletide

Why yes, that WAS me stringing Christmas lights all over the front of his house the other day. Me, the guy who used to work every Christmas because he preferred it to a forced march through Holiday Happyland. Me, the guy who went 20 years without so much as a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree in his house. Me, the guy who wrote the song, "I Really Don't Like Christmas, I'm Just Here For The Food."

What can I say? Things change. And that, in a nutshell, is why I was up on the porch roof muttering some very non-holiday sentiments as I tried to get an uncooperative string of C-9 Christmas lights attached to the gutters.

For years I've been a little cynical about Christmas. OK, on some years, a LOT cynical. I would remind you, however, of the old saying "Scratch a cynic, and you find a disappointed romantic." I think that pretty much sums it up for me and Christmas.

Truth be told, I always wanted Christmas lights on the house, going back to kidhood. No, wait. ESPECIALLY at kidhood.

One December night each year, Mom and Dad would tell us to get our coats and pile into the car so we could drive around to look at Christmas decorations. It was great. We'd go from neighborhood to neighborhood, for what seemed like hours, looking for the shiniest examples of Electrified Holiday Cheer.

I loved it - especially the houses with all-blue light displays, as was quite the fashion back then. My sister thought I was nuts. She preferred the multicolored displays as long as they were something she called "tasteful," the meaning of which eluded me then, and come to think of it, eludes me still. My brother didn't care about color; he was partial to displays that included plastic Santa figurines, preferably on the roof, waving frantically, as if to flag down a passing DC-3.

I always wondered why it was OK for other houses to have Christmas lights, but not ours. The closest we ever got was a string of bulbs on a wreath in our front window. Mom says it's because Dad wanted it that way. She says this a lot about things from kidhood. Whatever we didn't get to do, it was always because Dad wanted it that way. Of course, Dad isn't around to confirm or deny, and hasn't been for 22 years, so Mom's pretty much in the clear, allegation-wise.

Anyway, everyone else had lights (or so I said) and we didn't, and evidently it stayed with me until this year. And that's what put me up on the roof, overloading the circuits with strings of Festive Yuletide Amperage.

I put them along the gutter, going horizontally across the front of the house, and then circling, candy-cane style, down the porch columns. Then I put a string around the front door.

I'm thinking it still looks incomplete.

I think I'll get a big wreath and put a string of lights on it, and hang it in the front window. Dad would approve, I think. And so would Vicky. I may not know tasteful, but I know enough to know that multi-colored lights are the way to go ... until January, when I can get a good price on a whole bunch of blue ones.

Tue, December 8, 2009 | link 

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Stalking The Domestic Ignoramus (Me)

I used to think I knew a thing or two about predators. After all, I've seen Shark Week. I've seen Nature. I've even seen the episodes of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom where Jim Fowler wrestled the crocodiles while Marlin Perkins stood safely on the shore, mixing martinis with the native girls.

Oh, please. Crocs are just big lizards compared to what I recently encountered in the jungle known as a shopping mall: Cosmetics saleswomen.

These are steely-eyed predators, my friends. Predators. And their prey is the unsuspecting middle-American goober or, more precisely, the contents of his wallet.

One such yokel - me - was wandering through the mall recently looking for a pair of shoe trees. I was but a few steps into the journey when a young woman leapt from behind a kiosk, grabbed my hand, and began buffing a fingernail, which is a weird way to say hello, even in my world.

"You have a wife? A girlfriend?" she asked, not waiting for an answer. "She'll love this. She won't have to spend money at the nail salon. Look, after just a few seconds of buffing, look at your nail, how shiny it is." She began buffing another nail while continuing the sales pitch. "You buy this, she uses it once a week, applies this special mineral, the nails stay nice and don't chip, she doesn't have to pay for the nail salon, and you save money."

She turned to grab a box of products. I saw this as my opportunity and bolted...

Straight into another kiosk where a dark-haired young woman with extremely big -- well, let's just she was healthy, and her good health was being displayed rather prominently -- jumped in front of me and began dabbing my face with some sort of cream. She began saying something about how it would remove wrinkles, I think. I mean, her blouse was cut so that her good health was right in my field of vision, and I was having a difficult time concentrating. "You have a wife?  A girlfriend?" she asked, also not waiting for the answer. "Any woman would love this."

"Not if she saw me talking to you," I said. She turned to pull on a barely-adequate wrap and I skedaddled, this time keeping my eyes open for danger.

Down the hall I went, past the hair-care kiosk, past the bath salts kiosk, past the OTHER wrinkle-cream kiosk, until I got to the sanctuary of a department store where the clerks pretty much ignore you. Ordinarily that would have ticked me off, but on this day, being ignored was blessed relief.

Then I remembered that I had to go past the kiosks again to get to my truck. I resolved to keep my head down and my sales resistance up as I charged back down the hallway.

I needn't have worried. All the salesladies had snagged new victims. I thought I heard one wail piteously as a salt scrub was applied to his elbow by the extremely healthy young woman who, I noticed, had the bait on display again.

"Poor devil," I thought. "Lured to his doom by bounteous vitality."

And with that, I shifted the bag of nail products and face creams to my other hand, and went off in search of native girls with martini shakers.

© 2009 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
Thu, December 3, 2009 | link 


Archive Newer | Older

By the way -- everything on this site is Copyright 2009 by Mike Redmond. If you copy it without my permission, I will hunt you down with either my dog or my lawyer. I'll probably go with the dog. She's smarter.

me.jpg
Click on the photo to see previous columns

Here at the home, we just love to get mail, so drop me a line at mike@mikeredmondonline.com.

This site  The Web 

Goofiness abounds. Just go with it.


ClassicHolidayRadio.com
Visit Classic Holiday Radio.com