Friday, December 11, 2009

Tiger Woods indefinite leave from golf - Twitter reactions

Other than the British tabloid The Sun, the news that Tiger Woods was taking an "indefinite" leave from golf hit Twitter like a tsunami. Comedian and show host Howie Mandel had this hilarious tweet:

My appearance on Larry king postponed again! Thankyou tiger woods. I guess he f'kd me too about 3 hours ago from Echofon


To which Larry King tweeted:

Jim Moret guest hosting tonight on Tiger's indefinite break from golf. We'll reschedule @HowieMMandel. (But you should still buy his book!)

Once the top "Trending Topic" on Twitter, now number four, "Tiger Woods" had generated 5,832 tweets in a second at one point during my surf session. Many of them were just repeating the news, others contained the view of the person doing the tweeting:

angel41793 tiger woods giving up golf!? impossible! half a minute ago from txt

laurenmc18 I would like to publicly thank tiger woods for the fact that my dad now knows the term "sexting

Ryan_Chase I'm pretty sure that more people know about what Tiger Woods did than know about the good news of Jesus Christ less than a minute ago from txt

And professional athletes made their thoughts known. Here's LPGA tour star Nicole Hage:

Part of me feels like when I was little and found out santa wasn't real ......I'm so disappointed! @Meredith_Duncan 6 minutes ago from UberTwitter in reply to Meredith_Duncan

:O about 2 hours ago from UberTwitter

'Indefinite' break :O about 3 hours ago from UberTwitter

Omg Tiger is taking a break :O (---mouth hung open) about 3 hours ago from UberTwitter

Cincinnati Bengals Cornerback Geoff Pope:

tiger!!!!!!!!! 19 minutes ago from web

In all PGA golfers have largely stayed away from tweeting on Tiger Woods as of this writing.

Stay tuned...

Tiger Woods updates: Tiger Woods quits golf, hurts America

Tiger Woods' golf hiatus? Reads more like "Tiger Woods quit golf" to me. Man, I can't believe it. When I saw the news, it came from the British tabloid The Sun so I did't jump on it as fast as if it were at; I waited. Then the Washington Post sent me an email with the bad news that I then saw on Tiger's website:

Tiger Woods taking hiatus from golf:

I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity has caused to so many people, most of all my wife and children. I want to say again to everyone that I am profoundly sorry and that I ask forgiveness. It may not be possible to repair the damage I've done, but I want to do my best to try.

I would like to ask everyone, including my fans, the good people at my foundation, business partners, the PGA Tour, and my fellow competitors, for their understanding. What's most important now is that my family has the time, privacy, and safe haven we will need for personal healing.

After much soul searching, I have decided to take an indefinite break from professional golf. I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father, and person.

Again, I ask for privacy for my family and I am especially grateful for all those who have offered compassion and concern during this difficult period.

My thoughts then turned to an exchange I had with my dear Mum at the Atlanta Airport because she said that Tiger shouldn't have allowed himself to be taken in by "those blondes" to which I said to Mom it was Tiger Woods' choice to go after them. But my Mom's point stuck in my head for a different reason: something else she said to me:

I'm 75 years old. I can remember when I had to drink out of a different fountain and they (white people) would throw rocks at us as we walked to school. So for me, seeing Tiger win is something else.

See, black folks like my Mom watched any golf event Tiger Woods was in no matter how small and insignificant it was. Indeed, people of color tuned in to see Woods because - and I don't give a crap what he said he was - he's African American and male and winning. A lot. Seven times this year alone.

And that's why Tiger Woods' hiatus from golf's going to hurt golf. Golf will go back to be a boring rich white man's game in the eyes of many simply because Tiger's not playing. And you know what will happen: sponsor money, once abundant when Woods was playing, will rapidly diminish in an already massively tight economy.

Events without Tiger Woods watched their ratings drop 50 points, and attendance figures lessen. My concern is what a prolonged, say two year absence, from golf will do to the game. My prediction is it will set the game back 20 years. After a time in the not too distant future, we'll talk of "Golf BT" and "Golf AT" or before and after Tiger Woods.

But Woods' departure will also have an impact on how older African Americans think about racial progress. Many older black I talked to - and I mean over 65 years old - loved Tiger Woods and his family and still do. But they continue to ask why some black athletes choose blonde women and this episode will only fuel those questions even more. Is the concern racist? Well, it's race conscious but where it could become racist is when negative characteristics are attached to anyone blonde when the conversation comes up.

Sticking together 

That's bad and I've seen it happen already.

I think what could have ended all of that is if Tiger had not quit golf and repaired his marriage at the same time. But according to the new obviously accurate Sun, Woods wife Elin Nordegren said he's got to chose between "Golf and her". She won and now she calls the shots in the Woods household, giving new meaning to the allegations of what she did with a golf club that Thanksgiving night.

So Woods followed her instructions and at least, I hope, his marriage will be repaired over time. Tiger's got a great wife; it appears that having a lovely blonde woman wasn't as great a thing as wanting one. That's something Woods and some black athletes will have to overcome: not seeing her or any woman as a color to gain in conquest, but a person to love and cherish. If Tiger's marriage were as we thought it was, we wouldn't be having this conversation and some older blacks would be comfortable with the new society around them. But it isn't and they're not.

Older African Americans - preaching staying within the race for decades - bear some blame for the Woods problem. When I was little, less so now by far, talking about the ills of interracial dating was an obsession that to me was at the level of a disease. It's no wonder some of their kids wanted to find out what dating someone blonde was all about. Really, who cares in retrospect, but some people can't get beyond their own color issues to see straight.

The past is over; something my Mom says all the time.

Woods staying and repairing his marriage will calm these turbulent racial waters. Does Tiger Woods' have that kind of impact? Look, you can't take in $100 million a year and not have some impact on industrial society. Tiger Woods, for all of his faults, is now and will remain a symbol of modern American culture. What he does impacts all of us. Tiger's quitting hurts Golf. Tiger getting a divorce sets back interracial marriage. I'm rooting for Tiger Woods to come back roaring again at both for the sake of America.

Climate change impacts TransAmerica Pyramid - gets LEEDS award

The concern over climate change has led to a major restructuring of the iconic TransAmerica Pyramid. The building that was hated by one of my favorite Cal urban planning professors Allan Jacobs (famous for his brutal honesty), who fought against its design when he was Planning Director for The City of San Francisco, won The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEEDS) Gold Certification Award by the U.S. Green Building Council today.

The building no longer has TransAmerica Insurance as its headquarters tenant but is now managed and leased by Cushman & Wakefield and owned by TransAmerica Pyramid Properties, a member of the AEGON Companies.

The building was hailed by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom who said "San Franciscans now have another reason to appreciate one of our city's most recognizable structures. I'm proud of the LEEDS Gold Certification achieved by the TransAmerica Pyramid."

The Pyramid and 505 Sansome Street and 555 Washington Street will all be built to LEEDS standards. 505 Sansome is already approved where's 555 Washington Street's is on the path to approval. The idea is to create a kind of "green island" within an urban block in San Francisco. This Google sat map offers a look at the area:

View Green Island San Francisco in a larger map

Stay tuned...

Brian Kelly Press Conference - Notre Dame gets passing expert

This happened much faster than I thought, but the now-former Cincinnati Bearcats Head Coach Brian Kelly was introduced today at a press conference as the University of Notre Dame's 29th head football coach. Kelly coached the Cincinnati Bearcats to an amazing run, going undefeated in 2009 and earning a Sugar Bowl game against Florida.

I think the Fighting Irish made the right choice; they found someone who's passing approach is light-years ahead of that of Charlie Weis.

Yep. I wrote that. Light years.

Coach Kelly's innovative use of formations and motion and creative short passing methods are worthy of intense study. Of particular note is his employment of formations with four wide receivers on one side of the ball. In those sets, Kelly will use short-man-in-motion to cause one receiver to "rub" another, then run what is called a "stick" pattern off that action.

Coach Kelly uses four-and-five wide receiver formations most of the time. He employs the quarterback draw from these sets. And Coach Kelly rolls out the quarterback to vary the passing launch point.

Coach Kelly also regularly uses a high-middle-low receiver pattern combination that's lethal. I'm not taking anything away from Weis, who had a great approach to the passing game, but Kelly's is just more varied. This video from this year's game against Fresno's a great example of how the Brian Kelly passing game works, and why Golden Domers should be excited:

Under Brian Kelly, Notre Dame will be able to move the ball against anyone. I'm just concerned that the defense will not have the talent needed to take the Fighting Irish to national championship level.

Stay tuned.

Happy Hanukkah! Celebrating Hanukkah in Oakland and the East Bay

Happy Hanukkah (or Chanukah, Hanukah, Hannuka and the Festival of Lights) ! I wasn't raised to believe that one had to be Jewish to recognize Hanukkah, so today's a special day. Latkes! Yum! (And for the record, my Mom makes awesome Latkes and she's African American.  Unfortunately, I'm back in the Bay Area for business and she's in Georgia, otherwise she'd make them for me!)

For those who may be surprised to see this celebration on my blog and aren't familiar with Hanukkah, here's a nutshell primer.

This is the eighth day of the Festival of Light on the eve of what is called the commemoration of the miracle of the oil. Each day, one kindles the Hanukkah lights of a special candelabrum, the Menorah which has nine branches, and does this once each day for eight days (December 11th to December 19th), increasing the number of lights each evening. So for this time before sundown we kindle one light. (In the Jewish calendar the day begins at night, then starts the 1st day of Hanukkah.)

The ritual celebrates the victorious battle of the Jewish rebel army the Maccabees over the supposedly much superior Syrians in 165 B.C. and the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. (By the way, there are many variations of this history, so chime in with any variation, if you please.)

One lights a menorah, exchanges gifts, and has food cooked in oil. Now the question is can one get a good Latke in Oakland?


The place I visit is called Grand Bakery and its on 3264 Grand Ave just up the street from The Grand Lake Theater; the number is 510-465-1110. They ran out earlier today because of the Hanukkah rush. And sundown is nigh. So the best alternative is to make your own or visit Saul's Deli in Berkeley.

Making Latkes is easy, really. Here's a great receipe I found for Zucchini Parmesan Latkes at The Friday Flyer:

Zucchini Parmesan Latkes

Yields 24 pancakes
2 lbs. zucchini
1/2 lb. russet potatoes, peeled
1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 C. chopped green onions (scallions)
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. chopped garlic
1/2 C. chopped parsley
1 tsp. salt
1/2 Tbsp. pepper
2 tsp. sugar
1/3 C. flour
2 medium eggs
Vegetable oil for frying
Serve with sour cream

But if you have to go out in the East Bay, I annually recommend Saul's Deli, at 1475 Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley, CA. Saul's has a fantastic Hanukkah menu and a Latke tent and Beer Garden that's open until 7 PM.  And the Jewish Community Center has a Family Shabbat and Candlelighting at 5pm. The JCC East Bay is at 1414 Walnut Street in Berkeley and at 4500 Redwood Road in Oakland ; the phone number is 510-848-0237 in Berkeley and 510-530-9222 in Oakland. The JCC East Bay has a full list of daily Hanukkah events.

So as we approach sundown and you think there's no place to go in the East Bay, don't dispair! There's lot's to do and places to visit! Happy Hanukkah.