$11 Million: Life Changing?

Not if you are Tiger Woods.

Tiger and other top golfers are playing in the Tour championship tournament with a $1.3 million prize. It is also the last of the tournaments that are part of the FedEx Cup which provides a $10 million prize based on finishes in select tournaments over the course of the season. Tiger comes into this tournament as the number 1 seed. If he wins the Tour Championship he wins the extra $10 million as well regardless of what any other golfer does. (Depending on who wins the tournament, Tiger could finish in the top 4-5 and still collect the $10 million.)

I read an article a few days ago talking about the pressure of an $11 million prize. What if it all came down to the last put? How would Tiger react?

The author was discussing that despite the pressure of a large money prize, Tiger has the ability to block everything else out and focus on what he needs to do on the course. To me his basic premise was wrong.

All I could think of was that despite the normal pressures of playing in a professional tournament and being expected to win each one you enter, for Tiger the money would not add any pressure. The chance to win $11 million not add pressure? Let that role around in your head for awhile.

$11 million would dramatically change the lives of the vast majority of people. It would certainly change mine. But Tiger is already worth a few bizzilion dollars and earning many more all the time. Not that he couldn’t buy a nice trinket with the extra money but…

Some day I hope to say that an extra $11 million would not change my life. Working on it. Only about $10,999,999 to go.

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Dorm Life Gets Spoiled

Luxury, amenities, walk-in-closet, view of the river, privacy, heated pools. What do all of these words have in common? They are not meant to be associated with college dorms. And yet…

Purdue, Boston University and Arizona State University among others offer luxury dorm living for the already spoiled college student. It is bad enough that these kids all had rooms of their own at home and got to drive daddy’s (or mommy’s) luxury sedan while going through high school. College is where turning into an adult is supposed to happen. That means, along with other things, getting along with others. Learning to make it on your own. Living in less than ideal conditions.

What can you learn living in your own room with a jacuzzi nearby? I am sooo glad that my son’s dorm is just basic housing, bad mattress, used furniture and fairly small room shared with another. Bathrooms down the hall. No air conditioning. Really, this is not like being in a third world country walking a mile to the river for clean water.

I know why the colleges build these luxury dorm facilities…because someone will pay for it. According to an article in the Chicago Tribune these are the first rooms to go.

What are these parents thinking? I will never get constantly spoiling your kid–just ask my son. When will these kids grow up?

What a waste of a good recession.

Shanah Tovah

Friday night began Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. A common greeting on the holiday is L’ Shanah Tovah which roughly translated is “To a Good Year”.

I send wishes for a happy and healthy year to all my Jewish or not friends.

This has become a bittersweet time of the year since my mother died a year ago the day before Rosh Hashanah. Due to my people’s use of a lunar calendar I get to remember this event twice, once on the day before the holiday and once on the english date of September 29.

I will try not to be too maudlin but her presence has been felt all week and it was hard for me to watch friends with their moms or worse yet grandsons with their grandmas. I know that this too shall pass.

I also miss not having our son with us on the holiday. This whole college, separation thing may be good for him but it is hell for me. I feel as if the family is no longer together, at least not in the same way.

Moving on. This is the time for atonement. It is traditional to ask for forgiveness of our sins from both our G-d and from all nongodlike creatures whom I transgress from time to time. While this is meant to be done on a personal basis, I am asking forgiveness from any of those of you whom I have wronged. You know who you are.

And if I have butchered the English language with incorrect use of whoms then I also ask forgiveness of both Merriam and Webster.

L’Shanah Tovah.

Misery Loves Company…Or Is It Just For The Sex

Despite what Ben Bernanke recently declared, the economy is still in the crapper. People are unemployed, companies are struggling and I already know that my bonus will be dramatically lower than last years’ number.

I do find some comfort knowing that others are troubled too. This article from The Economist highlights another industry that is struggling and the impact on its specialized workers has been particularly dramatic and is in a part of the Country hit particularly hard by the recession, Los Angeles.

This article titled, “Hard Times” addresses a large industry currently on its knees. Actually, on  knees or back is common in the industry. Here are a few exerpts from the article.

EVEN Nina Hartley, who became a pornographic actress in 1984 and continues to be one of its most sought-after performers at the age of 50, is feeling the recession. “Last year I did a scene a week, this year I do a scene a month,” she says. As a sex celebrity, she has not dropped her fees, charging about $1,200 for a “straight boy-girl” scene.”

“Pornography had been immune to previous recessions, so the current downturn has come as a shock.” (Bold added by this author for affect–or is it effect–I can never get that right.)

If the Valley used to make 5,000-6,000 films a year, says Mr Kernes, it now makes perhaps 3,000-4,000.(Why would we need  3 thousand new porn films a year let alone 5 thousand. It isn’t like one is all that different than another — or so I have heard.)

For the 1,200 active performers in the Valley this means less action and more hardship. A young woman without Ms Hartley’s name-recognition might have charged $1,000 for a straight scene before the crisis, but gets $800 or less now. Men are worse hit. If they averaged $500 for a straight scene in 2007, they are now lucky to get $300. (First of all I am shocked at the reverse gender bias in the industry. Second, $1,000 per scene!!)

Pornography in general has become “like potato chips, everywhere and cheap, to be consumed and tossed,” says Ms Hartley. It’s not the same as in the golden age…( I love the potato chip analogy. As for the golden age, what is as good as it once was?)

Glam Life

Woke up yesterday in a Hampton Inn. Second of three days on the road.

Ate instant oatmeal and an egg-like yellow oval thing for breakfast.

Worked all day. Lunch was a out of a vending machine eaten in 15 minutes at 2:30.

Drove the 2.5 hours in a Ford Escape from Richmond to Dulles Airport to drop off a car. Took a cab back to another hotel. Now 7:30 pm.

Worked for a couple more hours.

Consulting. A Glamorous life.

Wait Until Next Year

Typically that phrase is used to describe my beloved Cubs. And once again it will apply.

However this year it also refers to the North Shore Century. I have entered this 100 mile ride the past three years, completing it the past two. It has become a part of my legend, to the extent you can apply that word to my life. Riding 100 miles and SCUBA diving are the two things I do that not everyone can or will do.

It is next Sunday and will go on in 2009 without me. If you have followed this blog for the past couple of years you may have noticed that except for my fall at the beginning of July, I have not said much about riding. Over the past three years it has been a source of pride and joy. Not this year.

This year the words agony and frustration provide a more accurate description. True, I did little last winter to stay in any kind of physical condition and I am sure that was a contributing factor. And yet once the riding season began in April I followed the same pattern that has been successful in prior years. This year has been a struggle.

Instead of 50 miles becoming my base ride with the occasional 60 or 70 mile jaunt, I can barely complete 40-45 miles. My legs which have always been my strength feel dead. Each week I kept hoping that this next ride will be the breakthrough ride. But it never came.

As I have began to share my thought about not riding this year I inevitably got the same two comments. First, “why do you think it is harder this year?”. Second, “Why not try to do the 100 mile, you can always stop and have someone pick you up?”.

To the first my unsaid thought is always, I am not a doctor or physical therapist. I have no friggin’ clue why this is happening. If I had to guess, maybe the fall took a greater toll than I realized. I know that I have not been stretching enough. Maybe being tight has kept my legs from growing stronger. But really I do not know.

The second question just makes me feel worse about giving up than I already do — which is really badly. Do people not think that I have considered trying? Last year I did not think I had it in me but with some encouragement I tried and succeeded. Last year I was cruising through 50. Different story. Believe me if I thought I had a 50/50 shot I would go for it.

I am dedicating myself to next year with the idea that I will go for the Apple Cider Century. That ride has some rolling hills and is a tougher 100 that the NSC. I am starting now, will stay in shape over the winter and attack the road in 2010 like never before– or at least like 2 years ago when I was in the best riding shape of my life.

Stay tuned. I am not giving up, just taking a hiatus. A one year only hiatus.

Changing Of The Seasons

Today is the unofficial last day of summer.

Tomorrow we take our only child to college.

The day after tomorrow will be the first day my wife and I spend as husband and wife without our son living with us.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.