Friday, June 21, 2002

What's Wrong With This Picture?

One was a murderous, drug-dealing thug. The other is a popular, successful businesswoman. Guess which one gets celebrated in New York's increasingly deranged tabloid press. You are correct. John Gotti gets a royal send-off. Martha Stewart gets the bum's rush. Larry Kudlow wonders why.

Thursday, June 20, 2002

Fast Company Column

My Fast Company column for July is now posted. It's about Yahoo! and it's not kind.

Hotmail Users Privacy Alert

If you are someone who has a Microsoft "Hotmail" e-mail account, you may not be aware that Microsoft is "sharing" your personal profile data. If you would like Microsoft not to share your personal profile data, take the following steps:

1. Go to your Hotmail Account.
2. Click on "Options," which is on the menu bar above your incoming email messages.
3. Click on "Personal Profile."
4. Scroll to the bottom and you will see that MSN has added two new boxes, pre-checked, that allow your personal info to be shared.
5. Uncheck them and click on update at the bottom.

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Bad News

The grand-daughter of former Secretary of State James Baker died a few days ago. The cause of death was accidental drowning. She was 7 years old. There is no agony like that that comes with the death of a child.

Monday, June 17, 2002

The Cup

A number of people (okay: six) have written to ask why I write about "boring golf" when I could be writing about The World Cup. And the answer is: because I don't know anything about it. This morning, I watched the second half of the Belgium-Brazil game while waiting for my wife's car to be repaired and after about 25 minutes of keen observation, I was certain that Belgium had Brazil on the ropes. I took a cell phone call outside, then another, and when I came back in, Brazil was scoring its second goal. And Belgium was gone.

I think the trick is to have me watch the first half, predict who will win at half-time, and then bet heavily the other way.

Bethpage Black

I'm not sure the wicked pin placements on Sunday at Bethpage Black were such a great idea. The course is so bloody difficult anyway, it might have been fun to have six relatively easy placements on both the front nine and the back nine, just for drama. But the USGA thought otherwise and so no one was able to mount any kind of charge. Making par was hard enough.

That said, the result ratified (again) that Tiger Woods is the best golfer on the planet. He hit a ton of good shots on Sunday, but the hack-out on 11 (from the rough, up the neck and onto the green) and the 252-yard 2-iron on 13 were simply stunning. He lagged everything and so had (what for him had to be) a record number of putts (38) in the final round. But it was more than good enough.
He was the only golfer under par for the tournament.

It's on to Muirfield for The Open Championship. The dates are July 18-21.

Sunday, June 16, 2002

Notes on the US Open

Jeff Maggert (68) turned in the first bogey-free round of this US Open Championship and Nick Faldo (66) shot what is essentially the course record. The two men received virtually no coverage, despite the fact that NBC Sports was on the air for 6.5 hours yesterday and despite the fact that both are still very much in the real tournament (the one where we find out who's the Best of the Rest).

NBC's coverage has been generally excellent (the camera work has been outstanding) but it's getting ever more verbose. The key to multi-hour broadcasting is to let the story tell itself; to stop trying to force drama when there's real drama slowly unfolding. Phil Mickelson's moment on the 17th green, after he sunk a perfect birdie putt to go into red figures for the first time since Thursday, was both moving and powerful. The Islanders gave him a huge, rousing standing ovation and there were tears in his eyes. A connection was made. But the NBC booth blathered through it all, always anxious to hear themselves talk. And so they not only missed the moment, they almost spoiled it.

There's been a lot of talk about the crowd and its behavior. Various euphemisms have been employed by the NBC crew to describe this behavior. This is what they mean:

1) The crowd is too big.
2) About one-fifth of the crowd is drinking.
3) About one-seventh of the crowd have no manners or sense of golf etiquette. ("Martina Can Eat Me" is the mildest thing Sergio Garcia heard yesterday)
4) About 5% of the crowd should probably be arrested on drunk and disorderly charges.