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Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life

    by Tom Kelley

June 23, 2022

Rules are rules, part two. The U. S. Open Golf Championship is our national championship of golf. To win it is to gain instant credibility as a professional golfer. Golf has its rules. In the final round of the 1940 Open at Canterbury Golf Club in Cleveland, Ohio, Ed "Porky" Oliver decided to tee off early to beat the threat of rain. His score left him tied for first place with Gene Sarazen and the eventual playoff winner Lawson Little. Trouble is, it is illegal to tee off at a time other than your official tournament tee time so he was disqualified and his score didn't…  ( Click for more )

June 16, 2022

Whether we like it or not, rules are rules. There are always those who feel like rules were meant for the other person. Kind of a "you-obey-the-rules-so-I-don't-have-to" type of thing. It is like those of us who report the money we make to the government and faithfully pay taxes on it while others make money "under the table" and defraud the government of money in taxes that is rightfully due. Oops. I hope that didn't offend anybody. I mean, if you don't want to pay taxes that is your right; well not your right, but I guess it's okay to do it; well, really…  ( Click for more )

June 9, 2022

It doesn't take a lot to make a good round of golf go south. The smallest of influences can wreck what had promised to be a fine eighteen holes of golf. Whether you are an amateur or a pro makes no difference. Golf is golf; and what makes a round of golf stand out from another is the finest of lines. It may be the rhythm of play or the predictability of the circumstances of play. If something changes, even the littlest bit, what could have been a solid round of golf can turn to mush.

Several years ago I attended the old Bank One Classic at nearby Kearny Hill Golf Course.…  ( Click for more )

June 2, 2022

At one time football was my favorite sport to play. Obviously, at fifty-five years old and somewhat arthritic, to still participate in the sport would be somewhat foolish. However, I continue to enjoy watching the game and can still appreciate its nuances and science. Yes, I know it is brutish, but football presents the greatest dichotomy in sport. It combines speed and grace with raw power. It possesses the ability to leave one aghast at its brutality in one moment while bringing us to our feet with its beauty in the next.

When a play is called there are basically two options;…  ( Click for more )

May 26, 2022

Sometimes the news can carry events that are deadly serious while other times they can have a hint of humor in them. Firefighters in Minot, North Dakota, received an emergency call that had them scrambling for their gas masks as they were told that a railroad car was leaking an unknown substance that could be strychnine, a deadly poisonous chemical. When they arrived and examined the leaking substance they could just as easily have used some spoons. The substance? Tapioca pudding mix.

Occasionally people lose their desire to continue with life and decide to end it all. Such…  ( Click for more )

May 19, 2022

Growing up in a small Midwestern town I developed some simple appreciations which have never left me. I still say "Sir" and "Ma'am" to most folks older than me. I hold a door for people, especially ladies and children. I don't sit down until the ladies at a table have been seated. Then there was one the other day that came back to me. I was at the local coffee shop and I was the only customer at the time as it was fairly early. The barista was setting up the back room and I went back to help. "Tom," she told me sternly, "I've told you before, you don't have…  ( Click for more )

May 12, 2022

Comedian Tommy Cooper once quipped, "I inherited a painting and a violin which turned out to be a Rembrandt and a Stradivarius. Unfortunately, Rembrandt made lousy violins and Stradivari was a terrible painter." Ah yes, the quality of finely done classics is enhanced when they are actually finely done classics. As most of us know, a Rembrandt painting and a Stradivarius violin are, indeed, classics; but why? With art the understanding is much more easily grasped. The presentation of a painting, the coloration, the composition, the brush strokes; all of this can be combined for…  ( Click for more )

May 5, 2022

Humility. That is the greatest lesson that golf teaches a person. Humility. I have known a number of excellent athletes who have given golf a try and quit after a short stint. That old thing about the hardest thing to do is hit a baseball traveling ninety miles an hour? Forget that. I have seen baseball players who can hit a baseball thrown ninety miles and hour that can't hit a golf ball sitting on a tee. The usual reaction? They walk away muttering under their breath, "This is a stupid game."

In baseball you can go 0 for 4 and still win the game because your pitcher…  ( Click for more )

April 28, 2022

For some time now my youngest son has treated me to a day at the old ballpark as a birthday present. Traditionally, it has been a trip to Cincinnati to watch the Reds. However, since the advent of Great American Ballpark, we had not been to Cincinnati for a baseball game. In fact, prior to last evening, I had not seen the new ballpark or the Reds since the old field was razed. I was at Cinergy/Riverfront Stadium the night that the Reds played the Cardinals when the whole of Major League Baseball was to vote on going out on strike. Had they voted to strike, I would have been present…  ( Click for more )

April 21, 2022

Sometimes we humans can be deadly serious and wind up being outrageously funny. Don't know what I mean? Consider this. Every now and then we have the opportunity to make a statement and that statement results in being nowhere near as accurate as we meant it to be. In our seriousness (or seriocity as I like to call it) we use words that absolutely don't carry the intended meaning or else come across as a pun. It's all unintentional but it does, nonetheless, leave us bewildered and others laughing. The problem is, did we get the message?

Perhaps this is never…  ( Click for more )

April 14, 2022

Just the other day a couple of my friends and I were talking about different jobs we have had in the past. I got to talking about my days with MAC Tools in Washington Courthouse, Ohio in 1976 when I was between churches and needed a job to support my family. I learned some things that were rather disturbing about the American worker. I got to see these things firsthand as I worked side-by-side with men who had been working their jobs far longer than I had been.

My first day on the job was a "get-your-feet-wet" day of getting used to the grinder on which I was to be working.…  ( Click for more )

April 7, 2022

We are just a few days from the advent of autumn or fall as some choose to call it. A friend of mine always used to lament, "You know what fall means don't you? Winter's coming. Then it gets cold." The old timers used to pay attention to the seasons and mark the way they approached. Then they would note the difference and adjust their work accordingly. That's how the Farmer's Almanac got started. Someone decided to compile all the observations of the old timers on the changes of the seasons and when things normally happened.

Some people put a lot of stock…  ( Click for more )

March 31, 2022

We have a new addition in our neighborhood. That sounds a little vague considering that our neighborhood is one of those under development. A new addition is almost always going to be taken for granted until the neighborhood is completely built. Such is life in suburbia. The new addition is not another street full of houses. It is something that, when we first found out about its coming and the exact location, several people said, "Oh great, now we'll have it shining in our front windows."

"It" is a new streetlight. It now stands on a little island of dried out crabgrass…  ( Click for more )

March 24, 2022

The Majors. No, not the Major Leagues of professional baseball. The Majors. The tournaments that provide the heart and soul of the Professional Golfers Association season. Four tournaments which comprise the best tests of gut-it-out golf in the most compelling arenas of the world. The Majors. They were the focus of the legendary Bobby Jones. As Jones was his idol, they became the focus of Jack Nicklaus; who, in turn, was idolized by one Eldrick "Tiger" Woods who also became locked in on them.

The four tournaments are the Masters, The U. S. Open, The British Open and the…  ( Click for more )

March 17, 2022

Reviews. Donchajustluvem? Basically, a review is nothing more than a fancy opinion offered as fact. Despite the alarming salaries that people are being paid to review things, they are also, just as alarmingly, often so wrong. Reviewers forget that they are not working with right and wrong, but more so with personal taste. They feel strongly that their personal taste is worth something so they foist it on us, the American public, and make a tidy living doing so.

New York magazine critic, David Danby, called Tom Cruise just another "standard issue baby-faced actor" in 1983,…  ( Click for more )

March 10, 2022

In two days we will remember the horror of that day four years ago when we found out just how vulnerable we really are. Since that time so many things have happened related to that day that have had far reaching effects on our entire society. We have lost a number of our people in military actions around the world as we have embraced the need for preemptive actions to prevent something like the World Trade Center attack from ever happening again. But are we truly safe?

We build houses that are sturdy and then surround them with glass. My father used to say that the only reason…  ( Click for more )

March 3, 2022

We have recently undertaken sprucing up the old church building in some places; most notably the children's worship area and the hallway leading down to it. That's not to say that the paint scheme in those areas was drab, but we thought, uh, well, you see… Okay. The paint scheme was drab. What we hope to do is add some interest in the youth area by adding some interest in the paint scheme. By the end of this week the walls will be multicolor with the information concerning the youth worship on the walls.

The colors that we are using are a medium gray for the…  ( Click for more )

February 24, 2022

Fashion. The Random House Dictionary defines it as, "a prevailing custom or style of dress, etiquette, etc.," or "conventional usage in dress, manners, etc." With that thought or definition in mind, I give you the late 60's through the 70's. Some of you can remember those years well as you spent them as a blooming adult. Others of you may have been well developed adults watching and wondering when it would all end. While others of you, well, you just read about those years and shake your head.

That time period was the time of bell bottom pants and mini skirts, butterfly…  ( Click for more )

February 17, 2022

Growing up in a home in a rural community had its benefits. We had our own Little League with plenty of local sponsors and boys to play in it. We had our own movie theatre that the Mitchell family owned and operated. Any enterprising boy could make a decent living mowing yards in the spring and summer, raking leaves in the fall and shoveling snow from sidewalks in the winter. The teenage boys could always find plenty of work on the many local farms in the area doing such things as milking cows, cutting ground and bailing hay.

Then there was Sugar Creek. It was our playground.…  ( Click for more )

February 10, 2022

My dad's brother, my uncle Orlyn Kelly, used to collect coins. He had a rather substantial collection of coins at the time of his death several years ago. He had worked hard to put that collection together, often spending hours searching through millions of coins just to find one or two that fit what he was looking for. Dad kind of collected coins, too. But his were more along the lines of the newly minted items like the Bicentennial and Man on the Moon items.

My wife thinks I have collected too many different things. I have a nice little private library, a collection…  ( Click for more )

February 3, 2022

Superstitions are superstitions. They are manufactured beliefs that people fervently hold to and by which they swear. They hold people's imaginations, and their lives, in their grip and often compel them to heights of accomplishment that they had thought impossible to reach. Some are far fetched, some are just simply nonsensical and some can knock your socks off. I choose to draw my favorites from the world of sports. Some are predictable. One will grab your fancy.

For all his incredible ability, "The Great One", hockey player Wayne Gretzky, had a few things he did religiously…  ( Click for more )

January 27, 2022

It was a beautiful day in the Bluegrass yesterday. It rained all day long. No, seriously, it rained all day long. It is raining now. And it is beautiful. I could almost hear my grass singing the "Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's "Messiah." Especially that part, "for the Lord God omnipotent raineth." Or is that supposed to be "reigneth?" Anyway, the sight of rain in our area is a welcome one. We had been in severe drought conditions up until this current change of weather.

Sadly, it could get worse. Hurricane Katrina made landfall yesterday and devastated Louisiana,…  ( Click for more )

January 20, 2022

Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player have long been linked as two of the "Big Four" of the older set in golf. Between them they have almost thirty major championships. Both of them have had countrymen whose swings were buttery smooth and nearly picture perfect. And both of them have wondered what they could have done with the physical blessings of their countrymen had they been given them. Their comments have been grist for the golf tabloids and served as excellent fodder for replies from the targets of their comments.

Jack Nicklaus is undeniably the greatest golfer who ever lived…  ( Click for more )

January 13, 2022

A number of years ago (that's a euphemism for, "Hey, I'm old and this happened a really long time ago) I heard a Southern Gospel song with the nifty title, "I'd Rather be Late at the Pearly Gates than Arrive in Hell on time." I used to really be a stickler for promptness from people who attend church services but have softened my stance over the years. Still, I remember the discipline that my mother and father instilled within me concerning getting to church early as we always arrived fifteen minutes before everything started.

Recently, I have been re-examining…  ( Click for more )

January 6, 2022

I believe it was Andy Warhol who once said that everyone would have their fifteen minutes of fame. At least. There are those for whom fame just seems to follow them around and land on them from time to time. Then there are those who actively seek it. Those whose lives are spent in the vanity of finding the limelight, finding that one moment which can be milked for all its worth until they feel that the world finally understands just how great they truly are.

Sadly, those limelight seekers are the ones who subscribe to what the advertisers and programmers on television are selling…  ( Click for more )

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