The Loop / Golf Digest — Tom Petty was not a particularly handsome guy, he’d be the first to tell you. He had the same floppy haircut for, as near as I can tell, approximately 45 years, that iconic mix of hippie sweep and Florida dust that I suspect he never regarded in the slightest. Aside from the Mad Hatter video, which can throttle me with nightmares now and I’m a grown adult, or the one in which he danced with the corpse of Kim Basinger, I don’t remember a lot of costumes. Bruce Springsteen is idealized masculinity, a consciously maintained sculpture of the Best of America. Mick Jagger is, you know, Mick Jagger. Prince was essentially sex in the form of a four-foot-tall Minnesota magician, David Bowie an alien from space. Tom Petty watched some TV in Gainesville, Fla., decided he wanted to be a musician and that’s pretty much it, really. Iconic rock stars, particularly those we’ve recently lost, shaded their images by maintaining a thick barrier of pre-social media distance and mythology between themselves and their fans. Petty was a guy, and that was his power, and that’s why his out-of-nowhere loss hurts all the more.
The Loop / Golf Digest — Leading cyberbullying platform Twitter announced this week that it’s mulling the possibility of doubling its current 140-character limit to 280, a dramatic change for a company that’s become as synonymous with 140 as Jordan is with 23. What does this mean for you, the pithy user or your valuable brand? The pros and cons of Twitter going all 280:
• Expanding to 280 characters gives users way more room to be racist
• After a natural disaster/mass shooting/one of 2017’s 300 hurricanes, politicians will no longer have to abbreviate “thoughts and prayers”
The Loop / Golf Digest — Mark “Crunchy” Burgess is not the thick, beefy, Iceman-type of fighter pilot who spends his time promoting his upper-body definition and flight hours. He’s methodical and quiet — often pinpoint — in his words, manners and speech. The kind of guy to sit, arms folded, listening to a debate or a monologue or a branch-superiority battle unfold until finding the perfect moment to jump in and dismantle everything and everyone around him with precision, and physics, and the assured, unforced calm that comes with craft mastery. Crunchy has nearly 4,000 flying hours to his name. Upon my arrival at the NAS Oceana Air Base for a test flight in mid-September, my count was precisely 4,000 less.
Crunchy — no one calls him anything else, and I didn’t even know how to pronounce his last name until 20 minutes before I left — is a retired Navy lieutenant commander and the lead pilot with the Warrior Flight Team, an all-volunteer charity organization that raises funds for wounded vets partly by taking hopelessly green writers up in flights that they inexplicably call “VIP rides.” (On a master jet base populated by active-duty servicemen and women, my VIP status is basically rock bottom.) My flight was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spin space, to actually no-shit-for-real-aileron-roll-a-jet, to fly a fighter for about 30 exhilarating seconds. For these men and women, this was a pretty routine Friday.
The Loop / Golf Digest — Generally speaking, you can expect stadiums to be jam-packed full of teeming and gross humanity: Cheering, screaming, singing throngs of people who have gathered together to pay $75 for parking and sit in four hours of endless postgame gridlock to enjoy the communal experience of things like rooting for the Cleveland Browns, I guess.
But what happens when the stadiums don’t cooperate? What happens when you find yourself in a stadium that’s mostly empty, because the team is hot garbage, because they got bounced out of the playoff race, because they play football in Los Angeles, because you elected to buy Indiana football season tickets for some reason? It’s an eerie feeling, sitting in a place designed for tens of thousands and being surrounded by a couple hundreds, with every whistle, boo and call echoing off the empty seats. It sucks, but it doesn’t have to be hopeless. We here at The Loop have some ways you can pass the time at an empty stadium before your surprisingly convenient drive home:
The Loop / Golf Digest — Thirty-three years ago today, an event of monumental cultural significance took place just down the road here in Terre Haute, Ind., a quiet, unassuming southern Indiana town known primarily for smelling like a barn full of tire fires.
The event: The first-ever production of a music compact disc—a.k.a. the CD—which occurred on Sept. 21, 1984, forever burning in Indiana’s place in music history, alongside (rifles through papers) Michael Jackson and Cole Porter and Axl Rose and Hoagy Carmichael and John Mellencamp and David Lee Roth and Wes Montgomery and yes I get me a little defensive about Indiana. You guys make your flyover-corn and Fat Bob Knight gags, but without us, there would be no “Mr. Brownstone” and that is a Hoosier fact.
Indianapolis Monthly — First things first: It is futile to resist the first 45 minutes of the tour marking the 30th anniversary of U2’s The Joshua Tree, a nine-song block of monolithic power so expansive and relentless that it’s profoundly insane to put it at the beginning of a concert. This is a show that schedules “Pride (In the Name of Love)” fourth, because the rest of the set is frankly already too crowded.
On Sunday night at a packed Lucas Oil Stadium—with the roof wide open, because outside it’s America—U2 mobilized the assembled force of its history to deliver two hours of sturdy argument for the best show of the year. The first half nearly did it alone: Unfolding more or less chronologically, it fires to life with the militant bangs that open “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and going through “New Year’s Day,” the glistening “Bad” and the flight-worthy “Pride (In the Name of Love)” before the stars-coming-out riff of “Where the Streets Have No Name” directs things to the task at hand, which, you’ll remember, is the start of an album that then serves up “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” “With or Without You,” and “Bullet the Blue Sky.” It’s a good 45 minutes before you really have a chance to mull another drink.
The Loop / Golf Digest — The Star Wars franchise lost another director this week — its third in the last four months — with the abrupt announcement that Lucasfilm had fired Colin Trevorrow, who was announced back in 2015 as the director of Episode IX and has been working on a script treatment since. With yesterday’s tersely worded announcement on StarWars.com, Trevorrow takes a seat on the bench next to Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who were themselves canned as directors of the as-yet-untitled Han Solo movie a full four months into production and replaced by your reliable movie-making dad Ron Howard, who’s been recording over their footage since.
In golf terms, this is like shooting par for 16 holes, then walking onto the tee at 17, lighting your clubs on fire, selecting a new caddy, driving to an entirely different golf club and beginning to play soccer. It’s weird, it guarantees most of the Han Solo movie is hot wacky garbage and it makes those of us on planet nerd scream IT’S A STAR WARS MOVIE, HOW HARD IS THIS, and by “scream” I mean “cleverly tweet” because that’s the only way we can work out emotions.
Indianapolis Monthly — About 250 times a day at Fair Oaks Farms, someone reaches into a large and uncomfortable gilt and pulls out a piglet. Usually, this happens in full view of tourists, who come by the busload and make the noises people make when they watch someone remove a baby from a pig. It’s daily life in the Pig Adventure, one of the most popular attractions at Fair Oaks, a 33,000-acre farm that has grown into the largest agritourism site in the country. The farm buses visitors to a massive facility that tracks the animals’ lives from birth to motherhood. Rows of pink pigs—chattering, dozing, and bumping each other around—reach out from the observation windows, while staffers tend to the animals’ feeding and astronomic levels of waste removal. (Naturally, the exhibit opens with a considerable display dedicated to America’s long-simmering obsession with bacon.)
The pig party is far from Fair Oaks’s only draw. There’s a similar Dairy Adventure that teaches milk production by putting visitors directly in front of a cow-go-round, a huge and slowly rotating wheel from which the animals are fed and cared for. There’s a Crop Adventure that promotes sustainability and conservation while laying out a map of what the ag industry might look like in coming decades. And interspersed within the main attractions are plenty of family activities: climbing walls, trampolines, mini-tractor rides, an ice cream parlor, and a cafeteria which contains—with apologies to Grandma—the finest grilled cheeses in Northwest Indiana.
GQ (Sept. 2017) — I like my wife very much, and I operate under the assumption that she likes me, but our past few months have been made immeasurably better by the manner in which, come nightfall, she and I have nothing to do with each other.
We hadn’t always slept apart. For years I would lie awake beside my wife and seethe at her perpetual pillow-shuffling, the icy light of her Words with Friends game, and, most significantly, her alarm clock, which announced itself every morning at 5:45 A.M. and was followed by her hammering the snooze button with such vigor that I began to suspect it wasn’t a snooze button at all but a switch that summoned waffles and back rubs from some other, better husband. She, meanwhile, suffered through a partner—i.e., me—who apparently snores like an elephant giving birth inside a Dumpster.
Our nightly war fueled a mutual resentment that welled up like water in a dam. Then, one morning, everything burst. “Don’t take this the wrong way,” she said, staring into the first of her multiple coffees, “but I can’t sleep with you.”
The Loop / Golf Digest — The “Great American Eclipse,” a celestial event of singular majesty that will take place Monday, Aug. 21. And it’s a big deal because it’s a total eclipse, which for large swaths of America will blot out the sun, briefly create an artificial night and herald the beginning of the end of days. (Ha! Just kidding! Unless you’re in Kentucky, then you’re probably on board.) An eclipse hasn’t crossed the continental United States since June 8, 1918, so people are getting really, really excited about this.
Writer: GQ, Men’s Health,
the Washington Post, Success, Indianapolis Monthly, Golf Digest, Vice, BruceSpringsteen.net,
the Indy 500, Billboard, etc. Proud owner of a Bruce-related Guinness World Record. Even longer bio/clips.