News of the weird: Tiger, VW, Olympics and more


So much to write about this week, so little space. Some weeks, I don’t know what I’m going to write about until I sit down at the computer on deadline day. Other weeks, there’s so much to write about I’d need 10 columns to do the subject matter justice. So, in no particular order of importance, I give you : Tiger Woods. Regular readers will remember that I wrote about him when his game-changing scandal broke last December, and I noted that we seem to hold modern sexual morality than we held sports figures in the past — icons and supposed role models like Mickey Mantle, Billy Martin, Wilt Chamberlain and Darryl Strawberry, who were all serial womanizers.

But after recent developments, I have to ask: What’s the deal with sex rehab?

Has anyone else noticed that sex rehab is the new high-profile treatment regimen, and its patients are getting even more press from the gossips than the passé celebrity-detox treatment programs of the last decade? But while the sex-rehab patients are hot copy, the only people in sex-treatment programs are rich celebrity guys who want to get back on the good sides of their wronged wives.

Remember all the stories about David Duchovny of “X-Files” fame when he went into sex rehab to save his marriage to Tea Leoni?

Now Tiger’s in sex rehab, and the scandal mongers want to tell us about every development in his rehabilitation.

Frankly, that’s more information than I need. Besides, sex rehab doesn’t resonate with me. If I did “The Tiger,” my wife would flat kill me before the sex-rehab people got a shot at my psyche, and how many of my friends could afford sex rehab, even if they needed it? How many of them would admit to it, even if they could afford it? That would be none. They might talk about a colonoscopy (“They want to put a camera where?”), but sex rehab? Never.

Volkswagen. I’ve been nonplussed by VW’s new “Punch Dub” advertising campaign— in which people are apparently supposed to punch each other whenever they see a VW (a Dub in the vernacular, but not a VDub) of any make or model.

In the old days, my brothers and I played a game called Punch Buggy in which the first person to spot a Volkswagen Beetle got to punch the brother closest to him. But now, it’s gone to a whole new level of aggression, where people get to punch each other whenever they see any of the millions of Volkswagens on any stretch of roadway the world over. Violence and consumerism rolled into one.

If parents “Punch Dub” their kids, I call that child abuse. If ordinary people “Punch Dub” total strangers on the bus, it might lead to a huge increase in the number of items in newspapers’ Cop Briefs sections, since many of the punchees might be armed, or proficient in martial arts.

This is a very troubling advertising campaign, in my opinion. If I see a VW, should I punch an obnoxious and rude stranger playfully in the arm, or should I punch him in the mouth?

The Olympics. As a whole, I’ve enjoyed the 2010 Winter Olympics, but my enjoyment has been uneven. On Sunday afternoon, for example, they showed the men’s 30 km (how far is that in miles?) cross-country ski race from Whistler in its entirety. I always thought the most boring sport in the world was watching a 500-mile NASCAR race from a fixed position. (“They went around a bunch of times, Mildred. And now, they’re going

around again!”). But this cross-country race was boringer (my word) by

factor of 10.

In addition, the announcers of the Olympics have turned inane commentary into an art form (“We’ll probably see a spurt of speed anytime soon!”) and I just didn’t get some of the things that were going on. For example, I was downright cobnobberated when the announcer told us that “Lady Gaga has asked that we take a look at the medal count presented by McDonald’s.” There’s so much in that simple sentence that confounds me. Who, for starters, is Lady Gaga? I Googled her and — judging by the photos online — she is one weird and bizarre lady. Why does a request from her pull any weight at the Olympics?

I guess the McDonald’s plug is understandable. McDonald’s ran a lot of ads during the Olympics of Olympic hopefuls eating Chicken McNuggets. I won’t even get into the wrongness of that at any length. But come on! Do you think any of those 90-pound figure skaters are eating Chicken McNuggets before a competition? Breaded and dunked in special dipping sauce? With a large, full-tilt boogie soft drink to wash it all down? I don’t think so. That lunch weighs more than most of those pint-sized skaters.

On the plus side, the two-man bobsled competition, where they went over 90 mph, and the men’s short-track speed skating events were some of the most exciting sports I’ve ever watched on television. If there was ever a thing as beautiful in sports as Apolo Ohno coming from behind to win that race, I can’t remember what it was.

Olympic Trivia Quiz: One of the shorttrack racers was a guy named Lee Ho-Suk, from Korea. This sounded very like a character in a Warren Zevon song (Lee Ho Fook). What was that song? No Googling!

Sarah Palin. Forget the crib notes on her hand. After telling the people at Fox News she would not profit from her most recent Tea Party speech, it was revealed that she got $100,000 for giving it. And during that speech, she told members of the Tea Party that they need to join a political party if they want to win in traditional elections. Believe me, that am not (blame Spell Check) what the Tea Partiers, who prize their status as free-thinking independents, want to hear. Bummer, Dudes!

British Ministry of Defense. They apparently told people last week that alien abductions were no longer in their bailiwick. From now on, alien abductions are matters for the civil police. Enough said.

Gregory Bean is the former executive editor of Greater Media Newspapers. You can reach him at