Thursday, December 31, 2009

58 - Answers

Q: Matt - Since I'm both lazy and fed up with the pop-culture-obsessed society we are members of, I haven't really been following the Tiger Woods story. All I know is that he crashed his car after possibly being beaten up by his wife because he cheated on her with some skank, but it seems like there might be more details of the story that I haven't paid attention to. Could you give me/us a synopsis of what's been happening with golf's golden boy?
A: Before I tackle the full answer (and trust me, this is going to take a while), I have to give you credit for summarizing the Tiger Woods Saga (or, as Bill Simmons has called it, "Tiger Zoo") better than anyone else in the media. You've pretty much nailed the important details of the story in one simple half sentence. Of course the truth of this sad affair is far more complex and nuanced than that, but still, bravo!

OK, so let's get started with this. I think the first thing we need is a timeline of facts. On December 3rd the L.A. Times provided a good timeline of the first few days of the saga, and I'll be using that to help fill in some details.

1. On Tuesday, November 24th, 2009 Tiger Woods leaves a voicemail on the phone of Jaimee Grubbs, a 24 year old cocktail waitress in LA. In the message he tells the woman that "My wife went through my phone and may be calling you." He asks the woman to remove her name from her voicemail account.

2. Thanksgiving Week the National Enquirer breaks a story about Tiger Woods allegedly having an affair with a woman named Rachel Uchitel.

3. At 2:25am on Friday, November 27th Tiger Woods left his house and drove his Cadillac Escalade SUV into a fire hydrant and then into a tree.
- The Florida Highway Patrol say that alcohol was not a factor in the accident.
- Tiger's wife Elin broke the rear windows of the car with a golf club.
- He had cuts in his lips and blood in his mouth, but was otherwise unharmed.
- Neighbors report that Tiger was in and out of consciousness after the crash.

4. Over the weekend of November 26th:
- Tiger Woods puts off making statements to the Florida Highway Patrol regarding the incident. He schedules a news conference for Tuesday, December 1st, 2009 during a charity golf tournament that he is sponsoring.
- He releases a statement about the incident saying that "I'm human and I'm not perfect" and asking for privacy.
- Finally on Monday he withdraws from the tournament and cancels the news conference.

5. On Tuesday, December 1st, 2009 Tiger Woods is fined $164 for "careless driving" and the Florida Highway Patrol closes its investigation.

6. On Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009 Us Weekly publishes a story revealing the voicemail that Tiger left Jaimee Grubbs. He releases a statement in which he says, "I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart."

7. Over the next few days over a dozen women come forward claiming to have had affairs with Tiger Woods. The number is somewhere between 11 and 17.

8. On Monday, December 11th, 2009 Tiger Woods announces that he is taking an "indefinite break" from golf.

9. Sponsors begin to drop Tiger from their advertising, including Gatorade, Gillette, Accenture, and AT&T.

So that's where we stand right now. To me the most interesting question is why it took so long for this to come out? I believe that the answer is money, pure and simple. Tiger Woods the celebrity endorser is (or at least was) worth a LOT of money. His face was on billboards and television commercials and video games. His name adorned all manner of products. He had an image of a squeaky-clean family man, cultivated and maintained and good. But what did we really know about him? The image of Tiger Woods was one thing, but the man Tiger Woods now appears to be something else entirely. It's an interesting study in public relations and media management that could easily take months to unravel and analyze.

Another reason it took so long to come out was that there was an active effort to keep the story quiet, dating all the way back to 2007. A article entitled "How Tiger Protected His Image" was printed in the Wall Street Journal on December 18th. In it the author reveals how Tiger Woods' affairs were discovered by the National Enquirer in 2007 and that he was able to keep the story quiet by doing an exclusive piece for Men's Health, which is owned by the same publisher as the National Enquirer. This tells me that not only did people know about Tiger's affairs, but that that knowledge was fairly widely known. Because Tiger Woods' image was so valuable it was in people's best interests to keep it cleaned and buffed as much as possible.

But now the story is out there. 2010 is going to be a very interesting year in the world of golf and for golf's biggest name. We'll just have to keep watching and talking and gossiping all the way through it.

Q: Rani - Should anyone ask the Eliot Spitzer call girl for advice?
A: I admit that I was unaware that the Eliot Spitzer call girl (Ashley Dupre) had an advice column. I just read one of her pieces and I'm actually impressed at her writing ability. That having been said I personally don't think that anyone should ask her for advice. Then again I don't think anyone should be asking me for advice either. The people to best ask for advice are your friends and family. They undoubtedly know you better than a stranger writing a newspaper advice column or a random guy who writes an online question-and-answer website.

Q: Sam - was it irresponsible for me to spend the $$ i had been saving for a new computer on another guitar?
A: This depends on a number of factors. In fact, this question would probably be best answered with a flow chart, but since I don't have the time or inclination to create one I'll just break the variables out in a quasi-programming language. This should be fun.

if (your old computer works) then (NOT IRRESPONSIBLE)
else if (your old computer has gone tits up) then
if (you need a computer) then IRRESPONSIBLE

Note that this analysis is using only your need for a computer as a variable. If your need for a guitar is greater than your need for a computer then you'll have to adjust the code a bit to suit your needs. But judging from the wording of your question I'd say you've already made your choice.

Q: Tara - What kind of red wine goes well with Ham for christmas dinner? And, any suggestions on a menu for 8 adults and 4 picky children? Also - do you think that Tom Brady's baby number 2 is making him play poorly due to lack of sleep?
A: Three questions for the price of one!

1. I am not generally a fan of red wines, but lately I've been expanding my palate. I think with a Ham you're going to want to go with a not-quite-as dry red wine. I would suggest a general red table wine, or maybe a blend of different red wines (Cab-Sav or Cab-Franc).

2. I would suggest ignoring the needs of the picky children and instead focus on pleasing the 8 adults. In my experience children are very difficult to please when it comes to food, so I would instead try and find something that will satisfy the 8 adults. I think you'll get more return for your efforts that way.

3. An interesting theory, but I think that Brady's recent decline in performance is the fact that he's been injured for a few weeks. The current injury report on Tom Brady lists his "right shoulder/rib/right finger", and those same areas have been on the injury report since the second week in December. I think that those injuries have contributed to his not-quite-as-spectacular performance of late. I wouldn't go so far as to say he's playing "poorly", but he's definitely not the Tom Brady of 2007. Time will tell if he can rally himself for the playoffs. I certainly hope so.