Thursday, December 31, 2020

The FGR 2020 Year in Review - Part 1

Hey how about that 2020 am I right? If only we had only known that the lady in the Peloton commercial who got the bike for Christmas was a witch, we probably would've left her alone. Instead we pissed her off and now look at us. All riding bikes in our basements and and gazing at Netflix like a bunch of zombified toddlers watching Baby Einstein videos on a loop. We're really really sorry Peloton witch lady . . . can we please please go back to the gym and Applebee's now? Because goddamn I do miss eatin' good in the neighborhood. 

Anyway, a year this fucked-up definitely deserves a recap and I may not be just the guy to do it but I'm going to be one of the guys who does it. I believe I can bring a unique perspective to this because (a) I have my own perspective on it, and (b) I'm the only one who has my perspective thereby making it unique by definition. (These are the kinds of things that people who've been living on a desert island say right after they marry and subsequently divorce a palm tree over irreconcilable differences about how to raise the kids).  

If this goes the way I have it planned, we'll delve into some golf, a little entertainment and of course my personal travails. Basically a little song . . . little dance . . . a little seltzer down the pants. (All credit to The Mary Tyler Moore Show).

Let's jump right in and take it month by month starting in January which seems like five years ago considering that we could still go bowling and get tattoos in states other than Florida back then. This is Part 1 and it will cover three months. It will hopefully be followed by subsequent posts that carry us all the way through December but, based on my history of multi-part efforts, we'll be lucky to make it to mid-September. 


  • The golf season started-off with a bang as Justin Thomas won a three-way playoff over Xander Schauffele and Patrick Reed at the Tournament of Champions. In true FGR fashion, I picked Jon Rahm to win and pegged Thomas as "The Other Guy I'd Pick" as if that's a real thing in gambling. The remaining three tournaments of the month would be won by Cameron Smith, Andrew Landry and Marc Leishman a/k/a two guys who have sniffed a major and Andrew Landry.  
  • "Excuse me pops."
    With the Titans taking-out the Patriots in the first round of the playoffs, the Ravens would only need to handle the Chiefs at home in the AFC Championship game and then they'd get to trample some poor sap NFC team to win the Super Bowl. 
Instead the Ravens threw the ball 59 times and ran it 29 times in a 28-12 loss to the Titans while letting Derrick Henry relive his high school glory days of running over future mattress salesmen. These statistics seem relevant because the 2019 Ravens ran for 3,296 yards in the regular season which made them, let's see here . . . the greatest rushing team in NFL history. It's ok (audibly grinding teeth). I'm totally over it.  
  • Our eldest son departed for Belize to coach soccer and live above a bar on the beach. Basically the life I aspire to after I've worked-off my debt to society, karma and various colleges and financial institutions. He was supposed to be there for five months. More on that later in this episode. 
  • I have no idea what shows I was binging in January because back then I had a life beyond just watching and eating and WATCHING AND EATING and . . . sorry, I'm back. As proof, I flew to Florida to play in a lacrosse tournament and broke three ribs in the first game. If I had know what was coming, I definitely would've risked the punctured lung and played the next three games instead of just standing on the sideline drinking Bud Lights while working the refs like a Long Island soccer mom.  
  • My Twitter feed indicates that at some point this month my therapist asked me to write down all of the things that kept me awake at night and then, after carefully scrutinizing the 59 things I wrote on the white board, she turned to me like Matt Dillion and said "the handwriting is fascinating . . . you might be homicidal." So we added that to the list to make it an even 60 which was comforting because I have an issue with prime numbers and the 59 was making me want to stab someone. 
  • Golf opened the month strong again (smooth segue) with Webb Simpson finishing birdie-birdie at the Waste Management Phoenix Open to force a playoff with Tony Finau which he won with another birdie. The loss guaranteed Finau continued status as the face of the Puerto Rico Open curse, a position he would hold until December 6th when the curse was broken for him (more on that in a second). I made no mention of Simpson in my preview that week, however, I did pick Hideki Matsuyama who finished T16 and I spelled Martin Laird's name wrong.   
  • Later that month, Viktor Hovland would win the aforementioned Puerto Rico Open and become the latest victim of the curse. For those with better things to do than keep track of golf curses, the gist of the Puerto Rico Open curse is that once you win the tournament, you never win any other tour event again and that held true from 2008 until a few weeks ago when Hovland won the Mayakoba Golf Classic. It figures that a Norwegian would break it because everyone knows that if you want to get rid of a curse, you hire a Viking. Or is it a Saxon? Shit I can never remember.     
  • Saturday Night Live delivered the Del Taco Shoot sketch which I believed to be the best thing they've produced in at least five years thanks in large part to Adam Driver but my opinion was met with significant resistance so here it is if you want the definitive answer on whether you have a high functioning sense of humor . . . Del Taco Shoot    
  • I know Billy. The economy
    of words is exquisite right?
    I must have been watching something because it was the middle of winter in Baltimore for chrissakes. All we do here in February is go to bars and watch television. If you take those away, Baltimore is the dark side of Uranus. I was probably into Goliath which makes sense because it's about a boozy lawyer who likes to stir shit up. Of course Billy Bob's character is a trial lawyer who likes to stir-up political shit and not just a corporate lawyer who likes to be disruptive on conference calls and re-reads his own emails with pride because they're so damn well written but . . .   
  • Little did we know that when Tyrrell Hatton won the Arnold Palmer Invitational by a stroke, it would be the last real golf we'd see in three months not counting the first round of The Players which was the fake frisbee throw of 2020 sports. I don't know about you but I was pretty na├»ve at that point thinking that there was no way this thing was going to shut-down golf. Hospitals, schools and churches sure . . . BUT NOT SPORTS!!! 
  • Two days after they shutdown The Players, my family was in an airport getting ready to board a plane for Belize when a friend of mine who is in the import/export business called me and said "good luck getting back . . . we'll see you in July." I was, however, undaunted because (1) the condo we reserved was not cheap, and (2) I did not want to abandon my son down there in the middle of a worldwide pandemic (probably in that order). So we went and got back without incident unless you count my stand-off with a large Belizean airport security guard over his lack of social distancing enforcement. Pretty sure he was doing everything in his power to keep his fist socially distanced from my face.   
  • As part of this year-end review exercise, I scrolled through my Facebook posts to remind me what was going on in my life at the time. I don't post as much on Facebook as I used to because I'm pretty sure Mark Zuckerberg is the same devil's nephew who invented the stubbed toe and the cold sore a few thousand years ago but I did find this tidy little pandemic onset timeline (modern day commentary included):   
    • March 1st: The spatially unaware are running amok in the gym this morning. (One of the few upsides of 2020 is fewer encounters with the spatially unaware for whom I have unlimited disdain).  
    • March 14th: I continue to stand by my position that Matt Damon’s character from “The Martian” is always the president we need (accompanied by this quote which I'm sure I posted at 2:00 a.m. with an unfinished glass of red wine teetering precariously on the edge of a coaster).
    • March 22nd: (Accompanied by a picture of me at the airport wearing an N95 mask which I will spare you . . . you're welcome). Ah the familiar smell of the boatyard. The only things missing are the bluish hue of bottom paint all over my face and the hillbilly in the pickup truck driving by every hour to tell me they found a picture of me in Rock Hudson’s wallet before cackling wildly and speeding away. (A reference to my high school summer job grinding the paint off the bottom of sailboats that had been pulled from the water and lined-up in columns so the owner of the yard's dipshit sons could race around them in pick-up trucks when they weren't sniffing the aforementioned blue paint).  

    • A guy who used to be a cook in the Coast Guard (so he knows stuff) just told me he read somewhere that if you mix two tablespoons of oregano and a teaspoon of Pennzoil in six ounces of Sunny Delight and chug it while watching “The Price is Right,” it cures Athlete’s Foot . . . the more you know. (And to think my cynicism about the hoaxers and anti-vaxers was still in its infant stage at that point).

  • On March 31st I reviewed the curbside grocery pick-up at my local Safeway as follows . . . 

Seems like an appropriate place to take a break because the wine and the edible are currently colliding and we don't want it to get weird(er). The good news is that it only took me two weeks of writing and editing for this post to meet my high publishing standards so we'll see you back here for Part 2 sometime in mid-January. In the meantime, let's try to get through this by staying civil and only mocking people behind their backs.    

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