For my birthday I got a humidifier and a dehumidifier. I put them in the same room and let them fight it out. – Steven Wright

Well football season has started and baseball season is in high gear, so there’s hardly a better time to be an idler. You might think the whole idling enterprise consists of lying around eating, drinking and watching TV. You’d be right, too, but for a modest but significant element of discipline necessary to pull it all off. Last weekend, for example, was a combination Hall of Fame and Sweep the Dodgers weekend, yet we spent it honing our clicker skills and breaking in some rookie chip and dip combinations. Lay’s has some kind of promotion going on featuring their new chip flavors. Someone gave us a variety called “Kettle cooked Greektown Gyro” and we have to say to the Lay’s Company: Please. Stop it. You’re just heaping some unpleasantly-flavored powder on an otherwise innocent chip.


The gyro experience combines pita bread and meat and something that tastes like sour cream but they call “tzatziki” and lettuce and tomatoes and a whole galaxy of tastes and textures and temperatures.  You can’t put all that on a potato chip. Even the “sour cream and chives” flavored chips, which people seem to like, are kind of stupid. Have you ever dipped a regular potato chip into real sour cream and chives? It’s awesome. The flavored chip? Not awesome.

It’s the pre-season, people, and we need to stress the fundamentals! So let’s stick to plain potato chips. The ridgie ones and kettle cooked are OK too as long as they’re unflavored. As for tortilla chips, we’ll practice with the plain ones, no scoops, because when the going gets tough and the chips are down, down to the bottom of the bowl, you’ll have to dip the ones you have, not the ones you wish you had. Anybody can dip with scoop chips; it takes a pro to take three or four broken off corners and combine them into a dip-steamshovel. The late Louis “Bronco” Knurlman once wiped out a bowl of bacon cheddar dip with nothing more than a handful of bottom-of-the-bag Fritos and a crust of Town Talk. This is what gets you to the Hall of Fame, guys. We’ll not see his like again.

Of course we needn’t mention the importance of playing “within yourself” when the game moves into the more substantial dips, guacamole, hummus and bean dip.

Another critical aspect of preseason preparation came to mind last Sunday when we were flipping back and forth between the Steelers Vikings game and the Dodgers Pirates game. Showing some pre-season jitters, we slipped off the flashback button – there might have been some mayo involved – and unexpectedly arrived at the AMC channel. AMC is famous for it’s zombie epic, “The Walking Dead.” We’re thinking it must be about the Patriots because if you’ve ever seen a Bill Belichick press conference, it would be hard to imagine how a zombie would do it any differently. Anyway, on Sunday nights they air a show called “Humans” which is actually about robots. It’s set in England where everyone talks funny and drives weird cars but it was pretty cool otherwise. We only watched a couple minutes – who knew the Bucs were an hour away from that 9 run 7th inning rally? – but it looked like a pretty cool show. The plot hinted at some possible hanky and/or panky going on with the robots, but these were Brits, so, they’d probably be too busy taking the lift to the flat to watch the telly. Anyway, we got to thinking that, as athletes, robots would be pretty boring to watch, and obviously you couldn’t program all the possible moves a real player might make in the open field. But for positions calling for repetitive motion, like place kicking, I mean you just dial up a 51 yarder, calculating for wind, temperature and humidity, and boom, three points. Let’s say, hypothetically, Suisham got hurt. Well heck, with all the pads and uniforms and helmets, who would be the wiser?

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