Tiger Lays a Foundation?

•February 19, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I’m watching Steven A. Smith lambast Tiger Woods on Larry King — “Fake and phony ….”  “He’s been lying from day one.  He says he thought he was above the rules — but today he’s circumventing the rules.  You’ve got to stand in the public eye and take questions from journalists.  He wanted to surrounded by family, friends, and loved ones.  Who does he think he is?”

I don’t agree.  I watched Tiger Woods 15 minute apology today and I’m basically of two minds about it.  First, I think it was a truly heartfelt speech and no reasonable observer could call it “fake and phony”.    I think it was clear that he wrote it himself or largely by himself, and I think it was remarkably comprehensive.   He touched all the bases — the way he let down his wife, his kids — but also his fans, his foundation, his sponsors, his colleagues, the PGA, and the sport.  I think it was important that he actually showed that he understood the transgression’s impact in so many areas.  And the pain showed and it wasn’t acting.

Jim Gray has a more reasonable take:   “I saw a different guy. shaken and uncomfortable. He didn’t display confidence. He didn’t smile once.  I didn’t see that glint of determination in his eyes. And I saw one thing I’d never seen — a touch of humility.”  Gray also adds:  “Let’s just say this, from the news aspect, I was happy to hear Tiger say he does not use PED’s, and that there has never been any domestic violence in his marriage.  I was hoping this wasn’t a John Edwards moment, a Bill Clinton moment — that this was truthful.”

I think it was also significant that he offered some actual insight into the thought process that took him where he ended up:   “I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to. I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deswerved to enjoy all the tmeptations around me. I felt I was entitled. thanks to money and fame, I didn’t have to go far to found them. I was wrong. I was foolish. I don’t get to play by different rules.  The same boundaries that apply to everyone, apply to me.”  It was good that he said this, and I also think it was interesting that he brought up Buddhism and what he’s learned from it.  This was, for Tiger, letting his guard down in away he’s never done before it shows that he’s really thought about it and understands the process that got him in trouble.

So on all those levels I think it was a good start on the road to redemption.  But that’s all it was — a start.  I think he will have to appear in other forums, and answer questions, if he is to recover to the full extent he and the PGA would like him to.  If he refuses to take questions and thinks this one-time statement is the end of his public mea culpa,

What bothered me and diminished the impact of his apology was the fact that he just couldn’t resist taking swipes at the media.  He didn’t to do that.  The defiant, angry attitude toward the institution that turned him into a persona that can pretty much stop the world for 15 minutes when he makes an apology like this was inappropriate for this moment.  It should have been all about his own weaknesses; his own failures; his commitment to improve.  The swipes at the media could come later.

Please know that as far I am concerned every one of these question and answers are between me and Elin. These are matters between a husband and wife.”

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Avatar vs Titanic — What Will Be the Final Outcome?

•February 17, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The last two weekends saw the Avatar vs Titanic box office derby reach a point where Titanic finally began to beat Avatar on a “same day of run” basis, and so now that this “crossover” point has been achieved, it’s as good a time as any to take a look at where the two are now, and where Avatar is likely to end up.  As of President’s Day Monday, Avatar had reached a total Domestic Gross of $666,388,502, while through the same number of days in release Titanic had reached 376,270,721.  This means that Titanic still had $225M of business to go. If Avatar could match that feat, it would land at $911M but there are factors working against Avatar getting that far.  First — Avatar’s daily gross at this point in its run (60 days in) has gradually declined from a point where it was consistently bringing in 1.5x Titanic’s daily gross — it’s now running about even and lost the previous two weekends, the first by a tiny margin, but the Valentine’s Day weekend by a more substantial margin.  It’s reasonable to think that Titanic was more of a Valentine’s date movie than Avatar, so the Titanic advantage on Valentine’s Day weekend may not be sustained in coming weeks.  It will be interesting to see what happens next weekend.

More significantly, however, is the fact that Avatar will lose all of its IMAX screens on March 5, when Alice in Wonderland is released, and then it will lose many of its 3D screens on March 19 when How to Train A Dragon is released.  Many multiplexes only have 1 screen available for 3D and contractual commitments to the new films will force Avatar off of 3D screens and relegate it to 2D showings in those mutiplexes which can only show one 3D film.

Another variable — will there be an “Avatar” bump leading in to March 5th when Fox announces “Laast Chance to See Avatar on IMAX”?

On balance, I think it looks like Avatar will easily get to $750m but after that it’s unclear how much farther it will be able to go.  I think $800M is beginning to look like the upper end of where it will end up unless there are more surprises in store.

Charlie Bit My Finger – Again! Most Viewed All Time Youtube Hit With 160M Views

•February 16, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I must be the last person in the universe to have discovered “Charlie Bit My Finger – Again!”, the all time most viewed YouTube clip, but in case there is anyone else out there who hasn’t seen it, I’m going to do my viral part and post it here.  Truly hilarious.

Gergen: “Moment of Hope Seems to Have Slipped Away From Us”

•February 16, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I’ve been growing increasingly disheartened in recent days and weeks by the partisan gridlock that seems intractable.  CNN just showed a poll in which 48% of Americans are angry with Congress in general over the gridlock, with only 11% blaming Republicans only and 9% blaming Republicans only.  Will this message ever actually get through to those in Congress?  Or are they deaf to it.

David Gergen on the current dysfunctional culture.  “We’ve been increasingly partisan through the nineties, but there was a moment when it seemed that Obama could actually bring about the change he called for.  There was a sense of hope in the country but the moment of hope seems to have slipped away from us.”  Gergen went on to talk about “clawing partisans on both sides who demonize the other side” has led Americans to a sense that “Maybe we can’t get out of this — maybe we’re doomed to gridlock.”

Gergen is one of the best and relatively non-partisan observers on the scene.  He’s served half a dozen administrations, Republican and Democrat.  He notes: “I’ve seen in the past when it’s hard for Congress to act.  What is different now is that the partisanship is pervasive acrose so many issues at a time when America is facing so many challenges.”

This rings particularly true when coming from Gergen, but what about Evan Bayh’s comments:  “We’re trapped in a dysfunctional system.  We need reform. The public’s business isn’t getting done.  We’ve to vote out the idealogues and partisans.” My sense is that he’s saying what he genuinely believes — but  immediately the Republicans are dismissing it as posturing and claiming that Bayh is just trying to avoid getting swept out in the wave they see building up againt the Democrats in November. And the beat goes on.

Gergen says there are generational issues in play.  “When we were growing up there was a World War II generation in charge of much of the country.  There were strong republicans and strong democrats —  but first and foremost strong Americans.  This came from a sense of shared sacrifice. That sense has diminished as the World War II generation has faded away.  Now we have baby boomers — culture wars …..the divisions we’re seeing grow out of a deteriorating, rotting political culture.”

I wonder if that’s what’s at play here.  I have spent much of my life pondering the idea of America and believing in it.  Now I’m starting to lose faith and wonder if decline is inevitable.

Protected: Daughter of Lawaan: A Filipina’s Journey

•February 14, 2010 • Enter your password to view comments.

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“My Way” Karaoke Killings in the Philippines

•February 11, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Various news outlets are reporting that Philippine authorities have identified approximately a dozen ‘karaoke rage’ killings in the Philippines over the last decade that were triggered by the singing of the Paul Anka penned Frank Sinatra hit “My Way”.  As a result of this, they say, many establishments have taken “My Way” off the menu of songs available to sing in Philippine karaoke bars.  Having spent my share of nights in Philippine karaoke bars, and having heard hundreds if not thousands of renditions of “My Way” the Filipino way, I just have to comment on this.

First of all, if you haven’t been there, you cannot begin to imagine how popular “My Way” is as a karaoke song in the Philippines.  If you’re a man between the ages of 30 and 100, and you only have one song you can sing at a karaoke, it’s “My Way”.  I remember on the second night I was in the Philippines my Embassy boss took me to an Armed Forces official reception and the high point was fifteen generals, all in uniform, up on the stage belting out “My Way”.  There is no doubt that it’s the most popular song for men — everyone has a version, everyone sings it.

Here’s the part I don’t quite get.  In all those visits to Philippine karaoke bars I never once saw an example of ‘karaoke rage’.  Not once.  In my experience nobody cares if you’re bad.  And the Philippine style of karaoke, where they pass the microphone around to the different tables rather than having the singer get up in front of everyone and act like it’s American Idol, tended to keep it very mellow.  The funniest thing I ever saw was caused by the fact that most of the karaoke laser discs are bootlegged in Hong Kong, where the transcription of English lyrics is sometimes less than purpose.  On this particular night it was quite late, the place was full, and someone was singing Elton John’s “Can You Hear the Love Tonight” and everyone — and I mean everyone — in the house was singing along. This is a song with pretty complicated lyrics that don’t make a whole lot of sense without intense scrutiny even if the lyrics shown are correct.  But when the lyrics are off — it turned out to be hilarious.  The lyrics were off pretty much start to finish except for the chorus — but the high point came when it gets to the point  where the correct lyrics are “kings and vagabonds”…..and on the screen the words were “kill them like a bomb”…..and everyone sang happily along.

Mayo Clinic Video on “Continuous Chest Compression CPR” — Very Important and Worth a Look

•February 9, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Found this, along with some comments from physicians confirming this is in line with the “new thinking” on CPR.  It’s a video produced by the Mayo Clinic.  Recommended viewing: