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Mon., Aug. 31
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In The Valley Column


A dozen questions or so with few answers

Question: Who’s the most photographed person in the world? The President? The Pope? A rock star, movie star? Nope!

“The envelope, please. …. and the answer is:” Any Japanese athlete who has decided to come to America to play baseball.

I’m serious. Have you ever seen a game where an Asian ballplayer is involved? There’s always a throng of Japanese photographers near the field snapping photos with the fervor of proud parents at a nursery school graduation. It’s as if Bigfoot and Elvis just landed in a UFO. Every twitch, every breath and every move the targeted player makes is picture-snapped and frozen in time. A spectacle so amusing that the television cameras regularly show the group’s inordinate passion to the viewing audience.

My point (in the form of several rhetorical questions) is: How many pictures do you need of one person? How many shots does ALL of media need of a Japanese player - Hung Won Hi, for example - delivering a pitch to the plate? Even though it’s obvious there is a demand for the shots, it’s virtually impossible that the newspapers, magazines and/or whatever outlets there are, could possibly use or have that much space to publish such a voluminous supply of, basically, redundant photographs. Could they? (And why?)

And just as peculiar is the 2 foot-long telephoto lenses on the cameras.

Have you ever seen these things? These optic ginkuses are as invasive as an x-ray machine and could read the fine-print on a congressman’s benefit package if it was on the moon. What’s up with that?

The players aren’t THAT far away. Are we counting nose hairs here?

I mean, c’mon man, I know the Japanese love their baseball; I love cupcakes probably just as much, but I sure as hell don’t need 30,000 pictures of the blasted things.

In the U.S – and other countries – there are such things as a ‘file-photos’ of well-known individuals.

These photographs are kept ‘on file’ for expeditious purposes and used when a story about said individual necessitates such. But it’s as if it’s the other way around in Japan. The picture IS the story there - and the information accompanying it is incidental schlock used for identification purposes only. Frankly, Scarlett, I’m baffled!

If a picture is worth a thousands words, then a thousand pictures has to be a little too talkative. I’m just sayin’.


Continuing on with sports: I went golfing for the first time this past Saturday. That’s all you need to know. There is absolutely nothing humorous about my game.

The best drive I had all day was on the way home; the agony was over. It took me about a dozen golf shots before I had a rider. No! I don’t mean a birdie. A rider is a shot far enough away that you can get into the cart and drive to your ball.

They say that relaxation is important to better play - and counting silently helps achieve that.

The intent being: it focuses your mind on something other than your present situation. It didn’t work for me. It reminded me of how many shots I had on each hole.

My playing partners Buck, Dick and Neal were patient. They had to be, I was their ride home. I’m not saying I slowed our foursome down but to exacerbate my embarrassment we had to let 3 groups play through that had tee times the day after ours.

A couple more outings like that and I’m going to take up a new hobby. Something less intense. I’m thinking about buying a camera with a telephoto lens. I heard that counting nose hairs is supposed to be relaxing.

And that’s the way it looks from the Valley.

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