May 31, 2006

If there was one word that seems to describe my life right now, it would be mourning dove madness. Oh wait, that’s three words isn’t it? Shows you just how dovey I am over doves! Consider the following:

- The first thing I hear each mourning is some wacked-out mourning dove in the tree behind us, cooing endlessly. Obviously lost in a state of lovey-doveyness.

- How can I forget that house in New Orleans Dollar Bill‘s cousin Rock showed me with the mourning dove nest in the ceiling fan?

- This past Sunday on the golf course, one of my wayward drives finds a group of trees. Reaching over to pick up my ball, I find myself staring straight at a mourning dove nest not three feet off the ground, two young-uns staring peacefully back at me! Way cool.

- Sitting out on the patio with my mourning coffee yesterday, a dove lands on the wall and sits here contentedly until I leave, whereupon he (or she) departs with a flutter.

- I’m walking into work this mourning and what dovetails into my stroll from my car? You guessed it: a mourning dove cooing in the tree above me.

Dove

Tonight, sitting in my car outside a store while waiting for Tracey to pick up a few things, I’m looking out my sunroof at a blazing blue sky. What appears on the store’s roof in front of me? That’s right, a mourning dove. And it gets me to thinking: what it is about Arizona that causes the mourning dove to thrive so here? I mean, it’s not as if there’s a huge amount of trees or woodlands, that’s for sure. And, it’s not the real estate or the jobs – they’re no fools, they won’t touch construction. And then I say to the dove: “perhaps like everyone else you’ve come here to get away from the crazy Californians. Good luck, them loons are everywhere!”

It sits.
I watch.
It walks back and forth.
I watch some more.

It coos a few times.
“I’m still here”, says I to the dove.
The dove could care less.

Dove 2

Whoa. Just then a second dove appears. We’re no longer alone.
Now my interest is piqued.
The doves just sit there, staring at each other.
Me, I’m staring too – at them.

Uh oh. We’ve got action.
The second dove starts fluttering his/her wings.
The other responds in kind.
Now they slowly start circling each other, fluttering their wings some more.
Hey, I’m no fool, I’ve watched a couple-two-three National Geographic specials in my life, so I know what’s coming…

(Kids, block your eyes.)

The second dove mounts the first for several seconds, then hops off.
The female dove stares at her new mate, as if to say, “that’s all ya got?”
“Yep”, the male appears to be saying. He’s done like dinner.
After a minute of just hanging around, the male takes off.
A minute later, the female follows.

Ain’t love grand?

Dove 3

Now, I’m no believer in coincidence, and I certainly can’t predict the future, but something tells me this was a sign that sometime soon our backyard will once again be in lockdown, on yet another mourning dove maternity watch.

I can feel it in my bones.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:19 | Comments (0)
May 30, 2006

The computer upgrade went surprisingly well over the weekend. With so much happening, there’s not a moment to lose…

Former Polipundit contributors Alexander K. McClure and Lorie Byrd have started up their own political blog at Wizbang!. AKM is a student of politics and polls, and Lorie’s no slouch, either. Given how quickly the political scene is bound to heat up once Labor Day rolls around, you’ll want to bookmark their page to keep up with how things are trending before then.

The recovery signs remain good for Barbaro. Here’s a nice article with a picture of Barbaro reuniting with his rider Edgar Prado for the first time since the Preakness.

A couple of notes on the Sox:
1) While it’s tough to watch just how much the Blue Jays give the Sox fits, at least we’re done with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for awhile. If I’m tired of watching them, I can only imagine how sick the Red Sox are of playing them….

2) Given all the recent health issues surrounding their pitching staff, I think this upcoming 10-game road trip (which started with a 7-6 loss last night) will be an important one, not just for this trip but the remainder of the season as well. I’m as concerned as Red is. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Rudy Seanez and Julian Tavarez are NOT the answers when the 6th and 7th innings come around, and my guess is that Terry’s feeling the same way. By this time of the season, managers pretty much know who they can – and can’t – count on. My guess is Francona knows Seanez falls into the latter group and Tavarez is well on his way to punching his ticket there. If they don’t turn around by the end of this trip, look for Theo Epstein to start considering replacements from Pawtucket and elsewhere.

Finally, as venerable an institution as the Washington Post is starting to get it re: New Orleans and the Katrina tragedy. Those who frequent this space know how much I’ve been pushing the corruption/incompetence angle and the mainstream media’s shoddy reporting on this, so it’s good to see at least one of them finally waking up to the truth. One can only hope others will now follow. Hell, it’s only been near ten months, better late than never, I guess…

Looks like we’re gonna be hearing alot about financial improprieties at Fannie Mae in the next few weeks. The always-ahead-of-the-curve TKS has a primer with some helpful links. Between this, the FBI raid on Rep. William Jefferson’s office, and now Harry Reid’s potential troubles, I’m wondering how much longer we’ll be hearing “San Fran Nan” Pelosi whine about the Republican Party’s “culture of corruption”. My guess is, not much longer.

Filed in: Golf & Sports,Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 12:49 | Comments (0)
May 26, 2006

Blogging will be light this weekend, as the crappy V2 Premier PC we bought from ShopNBC is targeted for the tax donation taxidermy to make way for a real, nuclear-powered, a$$-kickin’ Dell XPS. In the meantime…

While Barbaro continues his amazing recovery from a near-fatal breakdown at Pimlico, people are starting to ask questions similar to those this humble blogger raised last weekend.

The Senate finally passes an immigration reform bill; now it’s on to a House-Senate committee to work out a compromise. Fortunately, House Republicans aren’t in a compromising mood, and I can’t blame them, as things are really getting crazy down on the border. How crazy, you ask? Check this post by Red State’s Paul Cella, then compare it with this AP story. Jeesh… and some people think our president is an idiot…

Iran’s president Mahmood Ahmadinejad writes a personal letter to the President of the United States at a time when tensions between his country and the Western world are escalating over Iran’s nuclear ambitions in a region whose stability and natural resources are critical to the global economy. Important, right? Well, Hugh Hewitt is wondering why all you hear are crickets chirping from the Bush Administration and the mainstream media. Hugh’s post includes this Moby link to a full translation and a number of others that show why the U.S. should be paying attention. I echo the sentiments contained in Hugh’s post – everyone should take 10-15 minutes and read Ahmadinejad’s letter in its entirety, noting especially the significance of his closing (also linked in Hugh’s post). Please check it out – then you, too may be wondering why Ahmadinejad’s letter has gotten such short shrift by those whom you would think would have the most interest.

Over at NRO, Cathy Seipp takes the gloves off and gives a much-deserved a$$-whupping to ultraleft moonbat-fave Cindy Sheehan and her new book. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

PC World has a list of the 25 worst tech innovations of all time. Glad to see AOL holding firm at #1.

Congrats to Dollar Bill for his designation as Tuneflow’s “Artist of the Day”. Good choice, Tuneflow – $ rocks!

Have a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend, everyone!

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 15:47 | Comments (2)

As a fan of Ken Burns’ The Civil War PBS series originally broadcast back in 1990, I was looking forward to seeing how the DVD version (released a few years ago, in 2002) would feel and sound like in digital format. Well, I’m here to say that it it is an absolute triumph. While the dialogue is crisper, and the sound impeccably mixed (as one might expect), it is the color and clarity of Burns’ photographic essay in all its digital sharpness that makes it worth viewing again and again. Even if you’ve seen the VHS version a hundred times, I guarantee you will be astounded at how Burns’ production has been transformed – to the point where you feel as if you’re seeing this old friend for the very first time.

If you’re a fan of “The Civil War” and have not seen it yet on DVD, you owe it to yourself to either rent it from a local library or purchase it for yourself. (Burns’ interviews with the late American writer/historian Shelby Foote are by themselves worth the price of admission.) I just wish Burns’ production could be made mandatory viewing for all high schoolers (and, I think, Dan Rather and every whiny, limp-wristed reporter for the AP, Al-Reuters, the Washington Post and the New York Times, with a little 60 Minutes cast member thrown in for good measure). Perhaps by watching it they’ll be reminded once again of the high price this country has always paid – blindly and recklessly at times, I’ll grant you – and continues to pay for the cause of freedom throughout the world. It is a unique aspect of our American character and the American experiment, and the quality of Burns’ work in all its digital glory helps us understand that part of our history that so molded and shaped us into becoming the nation we are today.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:09 | Comments (2)

As a fan of Ken Burns’ The Civil War PBS series originally broadcast back in 1990, I was looking forward to seeing how the DVD version (released a few years ago, in 2002) would feel and sound like in digital format. Well, I’m here to say that it it is an absolute triumph. While the dialogue is crisper, and the sound impeccably mixed (as one might expect), it is the color and clarity of Burns’ photographic essay in all its digital sharpness that makes it worth viewing again and again. Even if you’ve seen the VHS version a hundred times, I guarantee you will be astounded at how Burns’ production has been transformed – to the point where you feel as if you’re seeing this old friend for the very first time.

If you’re a fan of “The Civil War” and have not seen it yet on DVD, you owe it to yourself to either rent it from a local library or purchase it for yourself. (Burns’ interviews with the late American writer/historian Shelby Foote are by themselves worth the price of admission.) I just wish Burns’ production could be made mandatory viewing for all high schoolers (and, I think, Dan Rather and every whiny, limp-wristed reporter for the AP, Al-Reuters, the Washington Post and the New York Times, with a little 60 Minutes cast member thrown in for good measure). Perhaps by watching it they’ll be reminded once again of the high price this country has always paid – blindly and recklessly at times, I’ll grant you – and continues to pay for the cause of freedom throughout the world. It is a unique aspect of our American character and the American experiment, and the quality of Burns’ work in all its digital glory helps us understand that part of our history that so molded and shaped us into becoming the nation we are today.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:09 | Comments (2)
May 24, 2006

Some news items from today:

1. The immigration reform debate goes on and on (Allahpundit, via Michelle).
2. Looks like the Taliban just got their a$$es kicked trying to reclaim lost turf in Afghanistan.
3. A Louisiana hurricane preparedness drill involving a FEMA trailer park gets cancelled yesterday due to miscommunication over controlling jurisdictions. 8 days to go, fellas. Let’s get your act together…
4. A summer blockbuster featuring Al Gore lecturing about global warming.

Sigh.

It may have only recently started to feel like summer where you are, but here it’s going up to 104 and the Memorial Day weekend is fast approaching. A perfect day to ponder some less-than-serious items:

Good to see Barbaro’s prognosis looking better with each passing day.

I didn’t realize the PGA Tour was still playing. Is it just me, or does it seem as if there have been no real tournaments with real players since New Orleans?

I’ve got some Goodboys golf and staring-at-the-ocean-and-wondering-what-the-heck-life-is-all-about time to look forward to this summer, so some light reads to pass the time on East Coast-bound red-eyes will be a necessity:

Phil Spector: Out of His Head – Sure, dude’s awaiting trial for murder, but his body of work and “Wall of Sound” fame makes him a long-time TGWS favorite.
Here, There, and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles – Acclaimed Beatles’ recording engineer Geoff Emerick’s reminiscence of what it was like assisting the Fab Four and their producer George Martin churn out classic albums from Revolver onward.
SMiLE: The Story of Brian Wilson’s Lost Masterpiece – Dominic Priore’s perspective on the Brian Wilson classic started in 1966, but not completed until 2004.

And, for at-home viewing on those nights when the thermometer never drops below 95:
Mark Twain, by Ken Burns – As bonafide ‘Twainaholic’, I can’t believe I never knew this film even existed.
Apollo 13 Anniversary Collection – Not in my Top Ten (a Top Twenty, perhaps), but one of Tracey’s all-time faves.
Joe vs. the Volcano – The first of the three Hanks/Ryan romantic comedies, definitely one of my Top Tens. Why? It’s a quirky cult classic, seemingly dumb on the surface, but with deeper messages abounding throughout.

Finally, there’s this summer-related news item about the possible benefits of lemonade. What, no pineapple juice-favored boat drinks?

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 14:07 | Comments (0)
May 23, 2006

Two items today that reveal just how poorly the American public has been – and continues to be – served by the dinosaurs in the mainstream media. Without further adieu, off to the woodshed we go…

Item #1: Heave you heard the story of that amazingly-successful post-Hurricane Katrina rescue effort? Me neither. Fortunately, Lou Dolinar hadn’t as well, so (courtesy of Real Clear Politics), he enlightens us with an in-depth look at those eventful days following the New Orleans levee breaches and the story the mainstream media missed. Dolinar’s article is an absolute must-read, for it echoes what I’ve been saying all along: that the MSM’s performance during those awful days was careless and pathetic to the point of criminal, for its reporting may have actually cost lives with its reckless, hysterical and inaccurate reporting.

UPDATE 5/24/06: NRO’s Jonah Golberg piles on. Slowly but surely, the truth is starting to spread…

Item #2: Speaking of Real Clear Politics, here’s another example of the mainstream media’s inability (or blatant unwillingness) to accurately portray political and world events that might – heaven forbid! – color the Bush Administration in a more positive light. In this case, Opinion Journal‘s Peter Wehner debunks the pre-invasion Iraq myths still being propogated by Cindy Sheehan, the Democratic Party, and their cohorts in the mainstream media, even while mounting evidence to the contrary continues to be produced. Now, if a blog like Powerline (operated by three non-media professionals) can do the valuable legwork in a complex, evolving story such as this, why can’t the so-called “professional journalists” at the Washington Post, New York Times, or the major TV networks do likewise? I think we all know the answer.

If the above-mentioned media outlets truly care to know why their circulation numbers, ratings and influence are waning in the face of alternative media like the major cable networks and the blogsphere, all they have to do is look at themselves in the mirror, for they have no one but themselves to blame. They have let down the American people, and frankly, the American people deserve better.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 17:22 | Comment (1)

Two items today that reveal just how poorly the American public has been – and continues to be – served by the dinosaurs in the mainstream media. Without further adieu, off to the woodshed we go…

Item #1: Heave you heard the story of that amazingly-successful post-Hurricane Katrina rescue effort? Me neither. Fortunately, Lou Dolinar hadn’t as well, so (courtesy of Real Clear Politics), he enlightens us with an in-depth look at those eventful days following the New Orleans levee breaches and the story the mainstream media missed. Dolinar’s article is an absolute must-read, for it echoes what I’ve been saying all along: that the MSM’s performance during those awful days was careless and pathetic to the point of criminal, for its reporting may have actually cost lives with its reckless, hysterical and inaccurate reporting.

UPDATE 5/24/06: NRO’s Jonah Golberg piles on. Slowly but surely, the truth is starting to spread…

Item #2: Speaking of Real Clear Politics, here’s another example of the mainstream media’s inability (or blatant unwillingness) to accurately portray political and world events that might – heaven forbid! – color the Bush Administration in a more positive light. In this case, Opinion Journal‘s Peter Wehner debunks the pre-invasion Iraq myths still being propogated by Cindy Sheehan, the Democratic Party, and their cohorts in the mainstream media, even while mounting evidence to the contrary continues to be produced. Now, if a blog like Powerline (operated by three non-media professionals) can do the valuable legwork in a complex, evolving story such as this, why can’t the so-called “professional journalists” at the Washington Post, New York Times, or the major TV networks do likewise? I think we all know the answer.

If the above-mentioned media outlets truly care to know why their circulation numbers, ratings and influence are waning in the face of alternative media like the major cable networks and the blogsphere, all they have to do is look at themselves in the mirror, for they have no one but themselves to blame. They have let down the American people, and frankly, the American people deserve better.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 17:22 | Comment (1)
May 22, 2006

I guess all must be right in the worldwide Anglican Communion as far as the Church of England is concerned – I mean, why else would it bother to get its britches in an uproar over Madonna’s latest publicity stunt, in which she opens her latest tour suspended from a large mirrored cross. Wow, what a surprise – Madonna poking fun at Christianity to provoke outrage and garner publicity. Haven’t we seen this somewhere before ages ago? Sheesh, getting all upset over some 47-year old media hound masquerading herself as some spiritual pop icon just because she’s a member of some screwball quasi-Jewish, New Age sect. Sigh. One can only hope that the lack of church attendance by young people in its own back yard, or the threat of schism and dissolution of the worldwide communion of churches it heads over controversies involving church teaching and human sexuality are somewhere in the Top Ten.

Along those same lines, all this hubbub over The Da Vinci Code movie. I mean, if your personal faith and belief system (or your church’s, for that matter) is so fragile and tepid that a movie about a book about a painting gets you all hot and bothered, how will it stand up in the face of real trial and tribulation? Professor Bainbridge lends some much-needed perspective. And Megan Basham’s observation about those who take this kind of stuff any more seriously than they might, say, any of Ron Howard’s other movies, sounds about right to me:

A more interesting question is why as preposterous a conspiracy theory as this should hold such wide appeal in the first place. Dare we consult Scripture on the subject and suggest its root lies in the oldest sin in the Book—pride. It seems obvious that at least part of the allure for those who take the Da Vinci Code seriously comes from pride that they are smarter, more clued-in than the average, churchgoing Joes and Janes on the street; pride that they alone, this relatively small group of renegades, have unearthed the secrets that duped all previous ages of men; pride that only they possess the intellect to recognize a con that took in entirety of Christendom.

There’s always a thrill to be had at feeling like an insider–especially when one can gain that feeling for the price of reading an airport novel rather than a serious study of liturgical history or, even more difficult, a serious searching of one’s own soul.

Look, I have no qualms about The Da Vinci Code any more than I would Madonna hanging from a cross or Monty Python’s Life of Brian. Is The Robe and its schmaltzy ending any more or less believable? I mean, aren’t we talking the entertainment industry here? To me, anything that exposes someone to the Church’s teachings and/or causes them to confront the – oh my God! – mysteries of faith and belief in the slightest of ways has to be a better alternative than the usual trash TV, right?

Of course, for those looking for a Christian scholar’s response to the movie, you can’t do a whole lot better than Mark D. Roberts.

OK, enough about the entertainment industry’s assaults on Christianity. Let’s talk real-life practicalities here. Here’s an amazing and thought-provoking post by one of my favorite bloggers, The Anchoress. I’ve been working off and on on a “thinking out loud” draft post about exactly this sort of common mindset, but could never figure out how to button it up. Thanks, Anchoress, you’ve said it far better than I could…

Filed in: Religion & Culture by The Great White Shank at 17:08 | Comments (0)

Watched the Preakness yesterday and, like everone else I’m sure, was both horrified and sickened to see such a beautiful horse as Barbaro go down. After 8 hours of surgery today, the docs say his chance at survival is 50-50. That’s a heck of lot better than I thought after seeing Barbaro in distress and his jockey’s reaction once they got him into the horsey ambulance. I thought for sure he was going to be euthanized. Even though he got through today’s surgery, his recovery is at best an uncertain proposition.

In my view, when Barbaro first left the gate early he should have been disqualified. While I understand the needs of those who have invested so much time, money, and effort in preparing a horse for pursuit of the Triple Crown – and there would have been no small amount of human (bettor?) outcry and second-guessing if that had happened – but to do so in the name of concern for the horse’s well-being seems to me the proper course of action. This isn’t hindsight – one could tell from his behavior leading up to the race that Barbaro was a little on edge and seemingly distracted – perhaps the injury he suffered was manifesting itself in some early way.

The sad truth about horse racing is that, as marvelous and exhilarating a sport as it is, and as beautiful and athletic as the horses are, they are young creatures still developing physically – highly trained and pampered, to be sure – but their bodies are still growing during a period of their lives where the demands of performance, endurance, and human expectation are pushing them to the max.

Sadly, it is not unusual for these beautiful creatures to break down, and to see it happen on national television, I suppose, reveals this darker side of the sport to a heck of alot more people than usual. All we can do is hope and pray for Barbaro’s recovery.

It is said that to win the Triple Crown is the most difficult thing to do in sport. Yesterday serves as just another example of why that might indeed be true.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 00:09 | Comment (1)

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