Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The World Has Lost A Great Golfer/Complete Nutcase

In the days before golf became a pathway to fame and fortune many talented young players decided against pursuing the game professionally in order to follow more lucrative and respectable careers.  Like refuse collector.  Or pawn broker.  The great Bobby Jones remained an amateur is entire career.  Francis Ouimet won the US Open but honored his promise to his parents never to turn pro (of course this was in the days when professional golfers were not allowed in the same club house as the "gentlemen" members).  My wife's uncle was an outstanding collegiate golfer, but chose to take over the family travel agency rather than pursue a professional golf career.  (Of course most of the above mentioned men were relatively affluent. I still love Lee Trevino's quote on the eve of the final round of the Open Championship in England; when Trevino, who grew up in poverty, was asked if the pressure of the situation might get to him he smiled and said something to the effect of, "This isn't pressure.  Pressure is when you're playing for 20 dollars a hole and you only have 2 dollars in your pocket.")

Another guy who gave up a potentially lucrative - and certainly historic - golf career in favor of going into the "family business" was none other than the dear little leader himself, Kim Jong-Il.  (Stay with me here.)

It seems that in about 1994 the Kimster played an 18 hole round of golf in 38 strokes under par.  If par was the standard 72 strokes, that means he fired a 34.  By way of comparison, the record round for a PGA tour - comprising the best players the world has ever seen - round is either 58 or 59 - I'm too lazy to look it up.  Kim's round included not one, not two, not three, but 11 holes in one.  Now, before you get all skeptical on me you should know this:  Kim's historic round of golf was verified by both the official North Korean news agency and all seventeen bodyguards who followed him on the round.   If you can't believe 17 guys whose next meal - and life - depends on the answer they give, who can you believe?

Now you might ask: how many years did the dear leader need to practice in order to reach this pinnacle, this surpassing level of performance?  Zero.  Apparently, this was his first round of golf ever.  I know, it very nearly defies belief!  Imagine what he could have done with a little practice.  It's not unrealistic to think that a perfect 18 might have been within the reach of a player so prodigiously - almost supernaturally - talented.  Heck, he might have even found a way to complete 18 holes in fewer than 18 strokes (perhaps splitting the ball with his driver and sinking each half in two different holes).  If anyone could have done it, it would be L'il Kim.

By the time Kim humbled that North Korean course, professional golf had become pathway to millions of dollars.  So one can only admire all the more the complete selflessness Kim displayed when, just like Alice's uncle, he decided to forgo a pro golf career and take over the family business at a critical time.

Unfortunately for the people of North Korea, the Kim family business was starving millions of people to death, and imprisoning, torturing and executing most of those who survived.

We have seen a lot of sadistic dictators.  We have seen more than a few messianic dictators.  But rarely has there been a dictator as batpoo/port-a-john rat crazy as Kim.  That's because the only way someone that batpoo crazy gets to be a dictator is if his much more intelligent, enormously sadistic, completely messianic, and (very) slightly less batpoo crazy father secures the job for him.  (And if he's willing to turn his back on a golf career.)

Starving people on that scale takes some real effort.  All the more so in a land that stands as pretty much the last place on earth where acorns comprise a significant portion of the diet, and which still has "has" in the case of South Korea, "had" in the case of North Korea) an acorns-as-food industry.  Starving people on that scale requires completely divorcing people from a longstanding and proven source of nutrition, making them utterly dependent upon grain crops, and then failing to provide the infrastructure to a) distribute those grain crops to the people and b) protect grain stores from floods and other unusual - but thoroughly predictable - disasters.  It need not be said that famines are of course good for the dictatorship business (see also Mao Pse-tung and Joseph Stalin) in terms of consolidating power.

Control the food and you control the populace.  Food = power.

We have the opposite situation in the US.  The government isn't (intentionally) starving people. Instead it is paying grain farmers to grow more corn than the populace can possibly eat, and then subsidizing the food industry's efforts to cram more of that cheap corn down our willing maws.  Here's a tip kids:  You want job security in the future, become a physician specializing in diabetes.

The point I'm laboring to make here is that reliance on annual grain crops as our stable food source a) frees up more of our time for other leisure pursuits - like warfare - and b) allows the power hungry to alternatively starve or stuff us - whichever is most effective in achieving their goals and consolidating their power.

People who grow/gather their own food cannot be controlled as easily.  Which would free up more time for the Kim Jung-il's, Joseph Stalins, Mao Tse-tung's and ConAgra's (yes I did just group them together) of the world for other leisure pursuits.

Like golf.

Kim's demise makes me wish I believed in a just and proportionate afterlife.

Leading the league...

... in half finished blog posts!

Uniquely/paradoxically/idiotically nearly all of my blog posts - the modern/"paperless" way to publish your thoughts - start out as chicken-scratched ink on paper in a work/sales notebook or scrap of random paper.

I have compiled a depressing/impressive stack of half finished posts.  In fact I have achieved a new first:  I have not one but two half finished posts about how many half finished posts I have written!

If the rode to hell is paved with half finished blog posts I'm a hydrofoil racing down the river Styx. 

Here is a partial list of the unfinished posts you can (or perhaps not) expect in early 2012:
Oak gall ink
California white oak acorns = dang tasty
The better balanoculture blog over the pond
Parking lots - too bad parked cars interfere with the perfect acorn collecting surface
Foresters & lawyers - My commencement speech post continued
Pistachios - words of wisdom and a blueprint for oaks from J. Russell Smith
Native plants and roller rinks
Toby Alone sequel - one more book and I'll finally crack the subtle allegory
Kim Jung-il and acorns
Your typical neighborhood hot dog/acorn bread stand on the bay
Rehashing old Northern Nut Growers Association notes and speeches
On the trail with John Muir

Yes, I just used a blog post to create a to do list.  Sorry about that.  But hopefully it will spur me to complete those half finished scribbles.  Now if I can just find the notebooks I started them in...

Anyway, thanks for reading.  We now have thirteen followers!  Thirteen people can change the world.  Seems like a rag-tag group of thirteen people changed the world pretty dramatically once before.