May 22, 2007

Well, this travelin’ guy is about to head back to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport – this time for a whirlwind, three-day business trip to Montreal. I’ve never been there before, but it’s gonna be pretty much office and hotel room time for me. What, pray tell, might I be missing when it’s an all-work, no-play deal? I don’t know – the only thing I’ve ever heard of in Montreal is the Forum (do the Canadiens still play there?) and St. Catherine’s Street.

But tonight, my mind is on music – and here’s a few tunes I’ve got rolling around in my head:

* Maple Leaf Rag and Solace, by Scott Joplin; both from “The Complete Piano Music of Scott Joplin” – aggressive, happy, sentimental music from one of my all-time favorite composers.

* Land Ho! – The Doors; from one of my all-time favorite albums, “Morrison Hotel”. Every time I hear it, I think of popping my quarters in a jukebox at Pat O’Brien’s and watching the bar patrons go nuts over it.

* Wouldn’t It Be Nice – The Beach Boys; from my all-time favorite album, “Pet Sounds”. The next time you listen to it, pay attention to the instrumental track – and you thought accordions were only for polka music!

* Tipitina – Professor Longhair; from “The Big Easy” soundtrack. Can’t you tell I’m only two weeks away from a visit to New Orleans? I’ve gotta figure out a way to hook up with my blogger buddy, Rob.

* The soundtracks to the movies “Jaws”, “The Perfect Storm” and “Master and Commander – The Far Side of the World”. Call me nuts. Call me irresponsible. Just call me.

But seriously, folks, it’s getting near that time of year where visits back home to New England are pending, and I’m diggin’ any kind of music that reminds me of home and the ocean.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:50 | Comments (2)
May 21, 2007

A lovely, breezy night here in the East Valley, and all around us, the houses are dark with nary a sign of humanity to be had. No TVs playing, no cars, no dogs barking; only the occasional sound of jets on their final approach to Phoenix Sky Harbor, 25 files away.

Today was hot – I mean, h-o-t hot, feeling like the kind of damned, dusty Arizona southwest hot – the kind that beats you down and sucks every last ounce of energy from you. Hot like you can’t wait to get inside a dark, cool bar and quench your thirst with 20 glasses of water followed by one tall Sam Adams draft. Hot like you thank God for the fact you’re not out on some damned manicured golf course winding its way around some quaint subdivision filled with houses after houses that look exactly the same from one end of the course to another. Hot like when you see a baby jackabbit crouched under a cactus and the smallest amount of shade within 100 feet. Hot like when your shirt turns wet with sweat even though you’re not doing a damned thing, even when there’s no freakin’ humidity and you’re sitting under a large umbrella but it makes no damned difference. Hot like knowing that it is, after all, a desert you live in, and this is the way it’s supposed to be come late May. Hot, knowing that this is nothing – that in a few more weeks the mercury will consider 105 just another brief bus stop on the way to 112 or 155, or higher.

After such a hot, damned dusty day the swimming pool feels refreshing and the pineapple lights on the patio supply a friendly glow as they sway in the night breeze, the winds chimes providing a tinklin’ musical accompaniment to their light. It’s a late Sunday night, and sitting out here on the patio another week of frenetic activity and travel (last week, San Francisco, this week, Montreal) is rarin’ to start on the other side of this night. Still – thankfully – it all seems light years away.

It’s a late, warm Sunday night in Gilbert, Arizona, and the rest of the world can go pound sand as far as I’m concerned.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:16 | Comments (0)
May 20, 2007

* Does anyone really care what global warming “expert” Leonardo DiCaprio thinks? Do yourself a favor, Leonardo, stick to making crappy pictures.

* And the same holds true for that has-been anti-Semite ex-president Jimmy Carter. George W. Bush’s presidency is “the worst in history”? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! And, is there any shred of doubt left that when it comes to ex-Presidents, Carter has no class. What a jerk.

* Congrats to Curlin and his jockey Robby Albarado for an exciting win at the Preakness. Street Sense was good, but I think he just got beat by a better horse this day.

* …But it’s weird that on the same Preakness date a year later another horse broke down and had to be euthanized – this time, right on the track. Between that and the fact that Curlin stumbled badly coming out of the gate, were I the Pimlico folks, I’d be taking a very close look at the track and how it’s maintained.

* Another Yankee starting pitcher goes down in the first inning and has to leave because of injury. Every year, in every sport, there’s always one team that seems to be snakebitten, leading to a lost year. It would appear this is the Yankees’ year.

* But that doesn’t excuse the fact that the Bronx Bombers are old and have no pitching. And their remedy is Roger Clemens? I know it’s only May, but stick a fork in ’em – they’re done.

* Conservatives have every right to be upset at the so-called “comprehensive immigration” deal worked out between the President and certain members of Congress. It’s a disaster and, in my view, a betrayal of the nation by President Bush. Has there been any President in history (bar, I suppose, Richard Nixon), whose second term has been as much of a disappointment for his party? As far as I’m concerned he has no more credibility, and any candidate – Democrat or Republican – would be an improvement. At least with them, you’d know what you were getting.

* …Which is why the final straw has finally been laid on this camel’s back, and I’m re-registering myself as an independent. The strong on defense, limited government and government spending, protect the borders Republican party I joined several years ago has ceased to exist.

Filed in: Golf & Sports,Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 01:49 | Comments (2)
May 19, 2007

OK, I’ll admit it – I’m fried. Cooked. Ridden hard and put away wet. I’m right in the middle of a very difficult and stressful work cycle, so the creative brain functions required to put something interesting and intelligent are just not there tonight. It sure don’t make me happy, but that’s OK – there are more than a few unhappy people out there tonight. Consider:

Basketball fans out here in the Valley of the Sun now that the Phoenix Suns were ousted by the San Antonio Spurs, ending their NBA title dreams. Oh sure, the Suns got screwed by the refs in Game 4, but composure is as much a critical element in any professional sports post-season as talent is if you want to be the champs. While most certainly the Suns got manhandled as much by the officiating in this series as they did by the Spurs, the fact is, they allowed themselves to get in a position where poor officiating could cost them dearly, and that’s exactly what happened.

I’ll also bet that Yankees fans are none too pleased tonight, seeing that not only did their vaunted Bronx Bombers drop to ten and a half games behind the division-leading Red Sox, but they did so at the hands of their cross-town rivals, the Mets. Couldn’t happen to a better team and “nicer” bunch of guys. Oh, BTW, where’s “Mr. April” been lately – he of the one homer and five RBIs in May?

And, finally, you know who else is unhappy? Those motorcycle cops who were using a cavernous room in a Big Dig ventilation building in East Boston for a personal driving range. I know the weather has been kinda slow to turn around back home this year, but that’s ridiculous. Just more good news for a project full of it:

The project, which was expected to cost $2 billion when it was designed in the mid-1980s, has been plagued by cost overruns and reluctance by officials to acknowledge them. Earlier this month, state officials disclosed that its final price tag could be close to $15 billion, although they hope that cost recovery from contractors and other income keeps it closer to $14.6 billion.

I’m sure the taxpayers of Massachusetts are really happy at seeing the way their public officials find creative ways of wasting their money!

Filed in: Golf & Sports,Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 01:12 | Comments (0)
May 18, 2007

caddy2 Liked the previous post on golf tips and wisdom, courtesy of fellow Goodboy Mike “Vegas” Clark? Here’s a few more:

* If you want to hit a 7 iron as far as Tiger Woods does, simply try to lay up just short of a water hazard.

* To calculate the speed of a player’s downswing, multiply the speed of his back-swing by his handicap; i.e., back-swing 20 mph, handicap 15, downswing 300 mph.

* There are two things you can learn by stopping your back-swing at the top and checking the position of your hands: how many hands you have, and which one is wearing the glove.

* (A basic truth about The Great White Shank’s game) Hazards attract, fairways repel.

* You can put a draw on the ball, you can put a fade on the ball, but no golfer can put a straight on the ball.

* A ball you can see in the rough from 50 yards away is not yours.

* If there is a ball on the fringe and a ball in the bunker, your ball is in the bunker; if both balls are in the bunker, yours is in the footprint.

* It’s easier to get up at 6:00 AM to play golf than at 10:00 to mow the yard.

* Sometimes it seems as though your cup moveth over.

* A good drive on the 18th hole has stopped many a golfer from giving up the game.

* Golf is the perfect thing to do on Sunday because you always end up having to pray a lot.

* A good golf partner is one who’s always slightly worse than you are…that’s why I get so many calls to play with friends.

* That rake by the sand trap is there for golfers who feel guilty about skipping out on lawn work.

* If there’s a storm rolling in, you’ll be having the game of your life.

* Golf balls are like eggs. They’re white. They’re sold by the dozen. And you need to buy fresh ones each week.

* A pro-shop gets its name from the fact that you have to have the income of a professional golfer to buy anything in there.

* It’s amazing how a golfer who never helps out around the house will replace his divots, repair his ball marks, and rake his sand traps.

* (Fellow Goodboy Jay “Crusher” Spielberg truism): If your opponent has trouble remembering whether he shot a six or a seven, he probably shot an eight.

* You probably wouldn’t look good in a green jacket anyway! A sweatshirt will do just fine.

* It takes longer to learn to be a good golfer than it does to become a brain surgeon. On the other hand, you don’t get to ride around on a cart, drink beer, eat hot dogs, and pass gas if you are performing brain surgery.

Filed in: Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 01:23 | Comments (0)
May 17, 2007

Just got in from San Francisco, to find this in an e-mail from fellow Goodboy Ron “Cubby” Myerow – some junk food for thought:

I want to live my next life backwards:

You start out dead and get that out of the way.

Then you wake up in an old age home feeling better every day.

Then you get kicked out for being too healthy.

Enjoy your retirement and collect your pension.

Then when you start work, you get a gold watch on your first day.

You work 40 years until you’re too young to work.

You get ready for High School: drink alcohol, party, and you’re generally promiscuous.

Then you go to primary school, you become a kid, you play, and you have no responsibilities.

Then you become a baby, and then…

…You spend your last 9 months floating peacefully in luxury, in spa-like conditions – central heating, room service on tap, and then…You finish off as an orgasm.

I rest my case.

Cubby Myerow, folks – a Goodboy for the ages!

Filed in: Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 12:35 | Comments (2)
May 15, 2007

Well today I’m off to San Francisco, one of my favorite cities, on business. The politics on the Left Coast iare kinda weird, but as a city there are few I love to walk around in – especially when it comes to the waterfront area. And, given that the temps there will be approximately 40 degress cooler than they will be here, all the better. So while I’m heading west, there’s no share of things going on:

* My heart aches for the families of the three U.S. servicemen kidnapped in Iraq. It’s hard to see how anything positive comes out in the end on this, but prayers for comfort and strength go out to the soldiers and their loved ones.

* Kudos to Phil Mickelson and Sean O’Hair for a marvelous head-to head match for the first 16 holes of the final round of The Players, and congrats to Phil on a fine victory. You gotta give O’Hair all the credit for going for the pin on the island green 17th; I have no doubt more than a few players out there would have played it safe and go for the middle of the green, hoping that Phil makes a mistake.

* Word is, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has set aside a billion (that’s billion, with a “b”) dollars for a third-party Presidential run. This, on top of the probability that Ralph Nader is planning another run. In Bloomberg’s case, his biggest problem is name recognition, but, were he to run, who does he take more votes from – Hillary Clinton or whoever the Republican nominee is. I’ll tell you this, Hillary can’t afford to give anyone yet another reason to not vote for her, so between Mike and Ralph, my guess is she loses out most.

* And it would appear former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani did himself no favors by coming out as firmly “pro-choice” in a speech at Houston Baptist University last Friday. Sure, such a position might gain him votes from moderates in a head-to-head Presidential campaign, but ‘dude’s gotta win the Republican nomination first – something I no longer see much of a chance of happening.

* I know San Francisco has some fine Italian dining, so the big question on my mind is, meat sauce or marinara after the oysters on the half shell?

* If there’s a more off-beat and wacky blog out there associated with all things Red Sox than Surviving Grady, I haven’t seen it. Sure, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s OK – between Red and Denton, those guys know how to make this guy laugh.

* And when it comes to golf, count me as a avid fan of The Golf Blog.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:49 | Comments (2)
May 14, 2007

Got this today in an e-mail (thanks, Mom!) and thought it was worth sharing:

God didn’t promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, and sun without rain. But He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way.


Filed in: Religion & Culture by The Great White Shank at 01:32 | Comments (0)
May 13, 2007

No, I’m not referring to the Navajo Indians recruited during World War II to use their native language to confuse the Japanese, as made famous in the Nicholas Cage movie “Windtalkers”. What I’m talking about is the code-speak you’ll hear from the elites and the powerbrokers in The Episcopal Church (TEC) when it comes to furthering their own progressive, pro-gay “rights” agenda at the expense of those in the Church who are not so quick to simply follow in lock-step behind them.

Who are these so-called codetalkers? Front and center you’ll find none other than the Rt. Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schiori, pilot, oceanongrapher, and newly-elected Presiding Bishop of TEC. But she’s not the only one by any stretch of the imagination. This group of power elites includes most of the bishops in TEC, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the “mother” church of the Anglican Communion, the Church of England. Sure, not every bishop in these churches can (or should) be included in this group, but it is a vast majority, to be sure. And, what is the language these codetalkers use? Well, there are various ways you’ll find codespeak used, and you have to pay very close attention to the forums in which it is employed, for it is used as both a tool to push their agenda forward, and a weapon against those whose only crime is to be faithful followers of the faith as they have come to know it, or have known it for generations.

Basically, it all comes down to the use of three particular terms: Tolerance. Acceptance. Diversity.

If it is true that Holy Scripture, tradition, and reason serve as the “three-legged stool” of Anglicanism (a concept, BTW, I’ve noted previously that others have effectively debunked), then these three words serve as the three legs supporting that altar of hallowed, post-modern, and anti-religion practice known as pluralism and multiculturalism.

What exactly is tolerance, and how do the codetalkers use it as a weapon? What they will tell you is that the traditional teachings of the Church are too old-fashioned and narrow-minded to attract people anymore, that if the Church truly wants to be faithful to the Gospels and emulate the tolerant, inclusive, compassionate, and loving Jesus, it has to be willing to sacrifice its past and cast aside the archaic idea that there is such a thing as sin when it comes to individual human behavior and practice. After all, they’ll say, wasn’t it Jesus who said, “Judge not, lest you be judged yourself?” (Mt. 7:1)

What exactly is acceptance, and how do the codetalkers use it as a weapon? What they will tell you is that, starting with The Enlightenment of the 18th and 19th centuries, and continuing through and beyond the sexual revolution of the 1960s, that the experience of human behavior has proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that, since homosexuality is just as natural as the trees and the flowers, and that, since God created homosexuals and loves homosexuals just as much as He loves everyone and everything, you can toss two thousand years of Church teachings out with the trash, and anyone who believes differently is to be condemned as a bigot and/or a homophobe.

What exactly is diversity, and how do the codetalkers use it as a weapon? Pure and simple, what they are saying is the Church as they see it has for far too long catered to an elite group of people, predominently white, of European heritage, and heterosexual. (The only thing worse than that is if you’re happily married and still so after a number of years!) To the codetalkers, diversity trumps everything – just as long as everyone else’s view of what “diversity” means is the same as theirs. (Otherwise, they become “exclusive” and “intolerant”.)

Taken together, what these three terms stand for is a new religion and a new view of humanity, resulting in the need for a new Church – a Church whose former teachings are viewed as archaic and no longer applicable to the “advanced” human condition of the 21st century. In this new Church, those who belong to the “haves” masquerade their self-absorbed, narcissistic culture and nature by trashing cultural and religious traditions in the name of empathy for the so-called “have nots” of the world. And who are the “have nots”? Why, those who haven’t traditionally had access to the same thing as the “haves” – in this case, giving non-celibate homosexuals access to the sacraments of marriage and ordination in the Church.

You think I’m full of it, don’t you? Well let me give you a prime example of codetalking, TEC style: This, courtesy of David Virtue (my boldings):

Former Bishop of Kansas William Smalley, now the interim rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Indianapolis, watched as a majority of orthodox members left his church over The Episcopal Church’s stand on sexuality issues and the authority of Scripture and joined up with the Rev. Tim Tirman of St. Michael The Archangel Anglican Church at Davis Park. He said, “We’re not going to stand at the door and bar people. Everyone is welcome in our church. We are an inclusive church and welcome anyone and believe judgment belongs to God.”.

“Everyone is welcome in our church. We are an inclusive church and welcome anyone and believe judgment belongs to God.” Want to know what former Bishop Smalley is really saying here? Here’s the codetalk: These people are nothing but are a bunch of narrow-minded, bigoted, fuddy-duddy homophobes either too dumb or too ignorant (or both) to “get it” – that is, continue to support TEC in its flagrant and overt butt-kissing of Integrity and the other so-called pro-gay “rights” Episcopalians intent on driving every non-believer in their cause out of TEC, come hell or high water.

Of course, this is a load of crap. Rather than me going off and sounding like a broken record, I’ll let Mr. Virtue hammer my points home:

There has never been a known case of an orthodox rector, either Evangelical or Anglo-Catholic, who stood at the church door on any given Sunday morning and asked people, as they came through the doors, if they are gay or straight, what their sexual proclivities are, and then refuse entrance when told they were homosexual.

…It is statements like Smalley’s, along with the statement that they are inclusive bishops ministering in an inclusive church to anybody, that are attempts to make them look good and make the rest of us look bigoted.

Inclusiveness is the new buzzword of liberals and revisionists. It is a deliberate attempt to make orthodox folk appear to be exclusionary, fundamentalist and homophobic when, in point of fact, they are teaching and preaching what The Church teaches about human sexuality. It is not the orthodox who have moved away from Holy Writ; it is liberals and revisionists.

This misuse of language must be seen for what it truly is – a watering down of the church’s teaching on sexuality, the open embrace of sexual sin, and a fundamental denial that Jesus, Paul, the Early Church, and the Church Fathers all spoke decisively and with extreme clarity about how we should behave with our bodies.

…The truth is orthodox folk have never denied entrance to any one. What they have said, and will continue to say, is that the issue of sexuality is an issue of proscribed behavior, not the denial of persons. They also say, and will continue to say, the church’s message is come as you are, but not stay as you are. Come a sinner (all are sinners, no exceptions) and find salvation. That is the church’s message. If it changes, there fundamentally is no message. The Episcopal Church will not be saved by a combination of Millennium Development Goals and affirming (LGBT) sexual sin.

I have always believed as an Episcopalian that I worship in an inclusive church. In my mind, there is no greater example of tolerance, acceptance, and diversity than the Church offering “full inclusion” in its life to those who offer up themselves, and their souls, to God and receive the sacrament of baptism, where one is “marked as Christ’s own forever.” Sadly, however, somewhere along the line, being one of Christ’s own seems to have lost its shine, as those like Jefferts Schiori, and Integrity, and all those in the Church who continue to whore themselves to this so-called gay “rights” crap seem to equate “full inclusion” with “full access” – meaning: access to marriage and ordination.

Well, I have news for them – these sacraments have NEVER been open to everyone – not everyone can get a priest’s permission to receive the sacrament of Holy Matrimony, and not everyone can be ordained. One would think that the gift (and I mean that in every sense of the word) of being marked as Christ’s own would be viewed as the highest example of a Church’s openness and inclusiveness, and sufficient in its own right; it just goes to show just how warped and intellectually (not to mention, theologically) corrupt these people are. And who, in the end, suffers the most? Why, it’s the Church. But I think, in the end, that’s the codetalkers’ real goal – to destroy the Church as it has been known. And we all know who also shares that goal.

But who am I to judge – after all, that would make me intolerant, exclusive, and anti-diversity.

Filed in: Religion & Culture by The Great White Shank at 01:04 | Comments (0)
May 12, 2007

Ways you can tell summer has descended here in the Valley of the Sun:

* You get your first set of multiple 100-degree days;

* The workers tearing up the backyard of the neighbor next door (he’s had his grass area next to the pool torn up and is replacing it with a full stone patio complete with a full-size, walled-in stone barbecue) start work at 6 AM and finish at 1 PM;

* Hoping the workers tearing up the backyard of the neighbor next door to you are planning on taking the weekend off…

* Being VERY careful around dark objects that have been in the sun for any length of time;

* Remembering that the days of walking barefoot on any stone or concrete surface outside during the day are over with;

* …As are the days of leaving the windows open.

* Seeing the temperature of your swimming pool increase between 3-5 degrees a day;

* Knowing you can take a late-night swim before going to bed without having to take a towel with you to warm up after coming out.

* Realizing all your yardwork has to get done early in the day. Real early.

Ah yes, summer in the Valley of the Sun. Rules to live by until the weather breaks the second week of October. It’s gonna be a long, hot summer…

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:24 | Comments (0)


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