Cardinal Nicklaus (G)
The Pope met with his Cardinals to discuss a proposal from Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of Israel. "Your Holiness", said one of his Cardinals, Mr. Netanyahu wants to challenge you to a game of golf to show the friendship and ecumenical spirit shared by the Jewish and Catholic faiths."
The Pope thought this was a good idea, but he had never held a golf club in his hand. "Don't we have a Cardinal to represent me?" he asked.
"None that plays very well," a Cardinal replied. "But," he added, "there is a man named Jack Nicklaus, an American golfer who is a devout Catholic.
We can offer to make him a Cardinal, then ask him to play Mr. Netanyahu as your personal representative. In addition to showing our spirit of cooperation, we'll also win the match."
Everyone agreed it was a good idea. The call was made. Of course, Nicklaus was honored and agreed to play. The day after the match, Nicklaus reported to the Vatican to inform the Pope of the result. "I have some good news and some bad news, your Holiness, " said the golfer.
"Tell me the good news first, Cardinal Nicklaus," said the Pope.
"Well, your Holiness, I don't like to brag, but even though I've played some pretty terrific rounds of golf in my life, this was the best I have ever played, by far. I must've been inspired from above. My drives were long and true, my irons were accurate and purposeful, and my putting was perfect. With all due respect, my play was truly miraculous.
"There's bad news?" the Pope asked.
"Yes," Nicklaus sighed. "I lost to Rabbi Tiger Woods by three strokes."
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begins with Interstate 80. Not the most engaging topic, I know, but when you think about it, I-80 runs all the way across the North American continent linking San Francisco and New York. It's not just a ribbon of asphalt, it's a portal to far away, almost magical places.
My visits to major cities like Tokyo, London and Washington DC have been business affairs. I haven't rode a lot of roller coasters or ridden in open air buses, but I have visited with senators, bought yams from the back of a truck and barely escaped complete embarrassment when I was introduced to Matt Wiener in Vegas.
As I wrote the book I realized that over the years exotic, distant places have become more like the mundane places I've called home. But, as it turns out, there really aren't any mundane places, only mundane ways of looking at things.
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