September 20, 2007

Betcha didn’t know that Wednesday August 19th was “International Talk Like a Pirate Day” (TLAPD for short). Basically, it’s a day to celebrate anything and everything “pirate”, where people are encouraged to act like pirates and talk like a pirate in their daily discourse with friends and colleagues. So with that in mind (since I’m actually typing this on TLAPD), here is my pirate’s post for today:

“Avast ye hearties! There’s nothin’ like listenin’ to the captain of that bloody pirate ship the Red Sox, Capn’ [Terry Francona] Francoma, talk about his fadin’ team to make one thirst fer the grog! Shiver me timbers! Seems not only is Cap’n Francoma inept, he’s a scalawag as well! Just a few months ago when his crew was goin’ good, he was squawkin’ like a parrot on Long John Silver’s shoulder (“Bwaaak I’m proud of this team…”, “Bwaaak, J.D [Drew]’s too good a hitter to stay in this funk for long…, etc.), but now that things are goin’ to chum, he’s suddenly in denial, and defensive, surly, and curt with the reporters. A word to the skipper – if ye can’t stand the heat, get outta the galley! Denial is not a river in Egypt – yer’ ship is sinkin’ and ye still can’t see ye lost yer’ main mast and arrrr takin’ on water! Consider the following:

1) After denying for weeks that reliever Hideki Okajima wasn’t tired and hadn’t hit the perverbial wall in his first MLB season, Francoma today announces that Okajima has a ‘”tired arm” and is being given a few days rest:

Terry Francona, who has been maintaining for weeks that Hideki Okajima wasn’t tired, acknowledged this afternoon that Okajima has been shut down, probably for a few more days.

Francona offered no specifics, but when asked if it was anything more complicated than Okajima going through a “dead arm” period, he replied: “No, it’s not more complicated. We just felt it was the right thing to do.”

“We just felt it was the right thing to do.” Arrrrrr! Methinks the skipper has got the scurvy. Aye, what is he, bloody stupid? Anyone who has watched Okajima for the past several weeks could tell that the man needed a break from his floggings! But no, not Cap’n Francoma – he just kept on runnin’ the poor bilge rat out there. Now, with first place on the line and the Yankees chargin’ up their arses, he’s forced to shut Okajima down. Bloody ‘ell!

2) Cap’n Francoma says he’s going to stick with beleagured faux closer Eric Gagne in close games, even though Gagne has been spitting up his grog far more times than not – most recently, last night to spoil a fine outing by Jon Lester:

Francona also made it clear he plans to stick with the plan to use Eric Gagne as an eighth-inning setup man. When it was suggested that he was running out of time and needed to look for alternatives, Francona refuted that notion, saying, “Time isn’t running out. He could probably pitch five more times if we wanted. Or more. There’s a lot of baseball left. Ten games is a long time.”

Arrrrrrrrr! Aye, the only thing that wretched ba$tard is good fer right now is swabbin’ the deck like a good cabin boy would do! And, speaking of cabin boys swabbin’ the deck, Cap’n Francoma also refuses to push vacationing left-fielder Manny Ramierz into getting off his fat, lazy arse and get back in the starting lineup:

Francona defended Ramirez’s continued absence from the lineup, reiterating that the muscle continues to grab him while running. “Frustrated? I’m frustrated that we don’t have him back in the lineup. I told him that yesterday, ‘I said, ‘You’re so damn good we want you in there every day. It’s hard for me to give him a day off in the season, just because of his presence. But he’s just not ready to play. His work ethic has been very good.”

Arrrrrrrr! His work effort has been very good, huh? A question to the Captain: how many flagons of grog have you been drinkin’, matey? Why, if I were Red Sox management, you’d be tossed overboard with a one-way ticket to Davy Jones’ Locker! You seventh son of sailor, you!

What this crew and its manager needs is a good, swift kick in the butt! But the ship is sinkin’ and that sound of crickets chirpin’ you hear is the absence of any one of the veterans carin’ enough and willin’ to step up and say, ‘hop on me back, ye laddies! We’re gonna pillage and plunder our way to the 2007 World Series championship!’

Maybe Blackbeard had it right when he said, “Until morale improves, the floggings will continue…”

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 01:35 | Comments (0)
September 19, 2007

mays “BILLY MAYS HERE FOR THE J.D. DREW STATUE. GOT A UNSIGHTLY SPOT IN YOUR YARD WHERE THE GRASS NEVER GROWS? NEED A RESTING PLACE FOR ALL THOSE PIGEONS THAT LIKE TO GATHER TOGETHER AFTER FLYING AROUND IN THOSE SENSELESS CIRCLES LIKE SALLY FIELD ON RITALIN ABOVE YOUR PROPERTY? OR, ARE YOU JUST A MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL TEAM WITH A SPOT IN YOUR LINEUP WHERE YOU NEED TO PLACE SOMEONE AS INVISIBLE AS CLAUDE RAINS WAS IN “THE INVISIBLE MAN”? WELL, THE J.D DREW STATUE IS JUST FOR YOU!

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BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE. ORDER ONE J.D. DREW STATUE AND YOU’LL GET A FREE “TERRY FRANCOMA” MANAGER DOLL. USE THE FRANCOMA MANAGER TO SIT AT YOUR DINNER TABLE EVERY NIGHT, REPEATING OVER AND OVER HOW PROUD HE IS OF YOUR YOUNGSTERS, NO MATTER HOW WELL THEY DO IN SCHOOL OR HOW MANY OLD LADIES THEY MUGGED ON THEIR WAY TO THE MALL THAT DAY! OR, AS A MANAGER OF YOUR OWN BIG-LEAGUE BALLCLUB, WATCH HIM LET HIS OWN HIGHLY-PAID PLAYERS MAKE OUT THE LINEUP DAY-IN AND DAY-OUT, REGARDLESS OF HOW WELL OR HOW POORLY THEY PERFORM WHILE HE SITS ON HIS KEYSTER SPITTING OUT SUNFLOWER SEEDS WITH THE SAME DUMB AND EMOTIONLESS LOOK ON HIS FACE!

BUT YOU HAVE TO ACT NOW! YOU GET THE J.D. DREW STATUE AND THE FRANCOMA DOLL ALL FOR ONE UNBELIEVABLY LOW PRICE. AND IF YOU ORDER IN THE NEXT 10 MINUTES, YOU’LL GET A FREE 60-MINUTE VIDEO OF PAT BENATAR SINGING HER HIT, “LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD”! MAKE YOUR DOGS HOWL AT NIGHT TO KEEP THAT PESKY NEIGHBOR AWAKE! WATCH YOUR KIDS RUN AND HIDE UNDER THE SOFA AS IF PRACTICING A “DUCK AND COVER” DRILL FROM THE COLD WAR YEARS! WATCH RED SOX RELIEVER ERIC GAGNE BLOW ANOTHER GAME WHILE YOUR FRANCOMA DOLL SITS ON HIS BUTT AND LETS IT ALL UNFOLD!

YOU GET ALL THIS FOR ONE AMAZINGLY TV LOW PRICE. CALL NOW!”

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 01:57 | Comments (0)
September 18, 2007

I’ve been getting a lot of flack through the back channels about my post from yesterday – seems I’m a “traitor” and a “fair-weather fan” for abandoning the Red Sox after they humiliated themselves at the hands of the dreaded New York Yankees this past weekend. Well, call me what you will; all I can say is, if that wasn’t bad enough, the Sox continued to falter tonight, losing to a crappy Toronto Blue Jays team while the Yankees were beating the Baltimore Orioles to close within 3 1/2 games of the once-again pathetic Sox.

If you don’t mind, a quote from yesterday’s post:

“I’m sick of J.D., I’m sick of Manny, I’m sick of Schilling, and I’m sick of knuckleballer Tim Wakefield and his dopey loyal battery-mate stooge Doug Mirabelli.”

And who were the heroes of tonight’s loss? Well, let’s just take a look-see:

* Manny Ramirez, who continues to enjoy his sabbatical from late-season play, even though he’s being paid a cool $17 mil to produce runs out of the clean-up slot…

* Manager Terry Francona, who’s carrying Manny’s water while he takes September off. Tonight he says Manny “might be ready to hit in about four days”. I got news for you, Fran-coma: in 4 days your team could be in second place. Talk about a manager with no balls…

* Tim Wakefield, ‘Mr. Knuckleball’, who served up two bombs to Frank Thomas in his 6 innings of work; sure he’s 16-12, but the Sox have scored a ton of runs to save him a number of his wins this year. If they had given Dice-K anywhere near the same kind of run support Mr. Gopherball has been given this year, he’d have 20 wins by now.

* J.D. Drew, who has returned to his typical hitting funk after showing minimal signs of doing something last week. Tonight, 0-3. Hope GM Theo “The Former Boy Wonder” Epstein is happy about that $14 mil investment that’s really paying off when the team needs it. One final thought about J.D. – is there anyone who has as much of a girly-man swing as he does? How the heck did he ever hit all those home runs in the National League?

Again, here’s my problem with the Sox. They had the Yankees down by 14 games in the middle of the season, now it’s down to 3 1/2. And what do you see? With the exception of Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, Dustin Pedroia, and Jacoby Ellsbury, a team with no spark, no balls, and no emotion. No one’s stepping up when the team needs it most; they’re just collecting their huge paychecks, oblivious to the freight train from The Bronx charging up their asses. If they lose this lead, it’ll go down in baseball history as one of the bigger collapses of all time. But even then, you won’t see Francona say anything except how proud he is of his team. What a crock of bullshit! Someone needs to light a fire under these sleepwalkers, but I’m not holding my breath. I hope Theo is happy with what he sees, because many Sox fans like me are decidedly NOT.

———————

On the other hand, you have the New England Patriots. Consider: all around them throughout the week swirled a cloud of controversy and criticism. Any team could be excused if they were to have allowed it to effect their game preparation, but what did they do? They just went out there and bashed the San Diego Chargers, one of the expected class teams of the AFC. They didn’t need no video cameras, just a solid game plan and some big-game performances by – get this, Francona – the players that were signed and expected to step up and get the job done when it is needed most. Consider this from John Tomase of the Boston Herald:

The Pats are coming off consecutive 38-14 victories against playoff teams from last season. Quarterback Tom Brady [stats] has thrown only 12 incompletions, with Randy Moss and Wes Welker even better than advertised and Donte’ Stallworth probably only a week or two from busting out. The defense has held 1,000-yard rushers Thomas Jones of the Jets and Tomlinson to 42 and 43 yards, respectively. The Pats have scored electrifying touchdowns on defense (Adalius Thomas 65-yard interception Sunday) and special teams (Ellis Hobbs [stats] 108-yard kickoff vs. the Jets).

You see, for some teams – disciplined teams, proud teams, teams with a kick-ass and take names mentality – when the going gets tough, the leaders step up. On both sides of the ball, no less. Tom Brady. Randy Moss. Adalius Thomas. These guys love to play and absolutely hate to lose. Look, I know comparing baseball as a sport with football is not necessarily fair, for a variety of reasons. But, that being said, one need only compare the way the Patriots stepped up and stepped on the throats of the Chargers while at the same time the Sox were wilting like a corn field in a drought while it’s highest-paid slugger takes yet-another late-season siesta. As a fan, it makes you sick, and I prefer to no longer invest my emotions and my energy watching a team with no spark and no leadership. I’m no Pats fan by any stretch of the imagination, but you have to admire them for what they did this weekend.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 01:30 | Comments (0)
September 17, 2007

…I think I spoke too soon the other day about a much-welcome change in the weather pattern here in the Valley of the Sun. While it looks as if the days of 100+ temperatures are about to be past us, the long-range forecast still has tempertaures hovering around the 100-degree mark for the next two weeks. Too bad – guess I’ll have to head to New England if I want to experience fall-like temperatures. While it feels great to have the temperatures finally under 100 for a change, make no mistake about it – 100 is still 100, and being outside when it’s that hot is no consolation.

…The Boston Red Sox will not win the World Series this year. There, I said it. In fact, although I hate to say it, the New York Yankees are the team everyone is going to have to beat, in my opinion. Why, you ask? Because, at this stage of the season, the hottest team is what you want to put your money on, and like it or not, the Yankees are H-O-T hot. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – outside of Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury, the Sox have no emotion, and no killer instinct. To lose a game like they did on Friday night is a disgrace, and to allow the Yankees to take 2 out of 3 in Fenway Park is disheartening, to say the least. I’m sick of this team right now.

…Along those same lines, I’m done watching the Sox this year, and will not watch any post-season games. And it’s not just because watching baseball coverage on FOX and ESPN is like watching morons at play. I’m tired of watching manager Terry Francona standing there in the dugout happily and casually spitting sunflower seeds out while veteran players like J.D. Drew stink up the joint, Manny Ramirez takes his typical late-season sabbatical from the team, and the overweight and out of shape (both mentally and physically) Curt Schilling gets rolled out there on his regular rotation like some 98-year old Rose Kennedy in a wheelchair. Sorry, Curt – but what have you done for us lately? The answer is nada. And all the while, the former “boy genius” GM Theo Epstein and Francona do absolutely nothing about it! Earth to Francona – your team had a 14-game lead on the Yankees and you’ve blown it. Well, fine – if you’re gonna go down in flames during the playoffs – which you will, I’m not gonna watch you do it. I’m sick of J.D., I’m sick of Manny, I’m sick of Schilling, and I’m sick of knuckleballer Tim Wakefield and his dopey loyal battery-mate stooge Doug Mirabelli.

…Sorry to sound so bitter about the Sox, but watching them lose 2 out of 3 to the Yankees in Fenway Park is the last straw for me. See y’all in Fort Myers next March.

…I suppose if you’re the New England Patriots tonight, you’ve got to be feeling pretty good about yourselves. With all the crap swirling around you this week, you not only bury the San Diego Chargers, but shut LaDainian Tomlinson’s mouth, at least until the playoffs. Talk about winning football and coming up big when it counts. If only the Red Sox knew what that was like.

…And count me as one that didn’t watch much of the final round of the Tour Championship that Tiger won in a breeze. Very little was being said about the golf in the final round, just the obscene pay-outs each player was playing for. It was a total exercise in greed I found incredibly distasteful, and I’ll make damned sure I watch none of the Fed Ex Championship playoffs next year. Increasingly, the PGA Tour is about nothing but greed, and watching it has become less enjoyable with each passing week. I mean, how much money is enough? Maybe people like Hillary Clinton are right when they say that a little redistribution of income on the part of the rich is a necessary thing. After all, there is such a thing as out-and-out greed – and if the PGA Tour doesn’t understand that, the pampered, out of touch athletes that comprise it may very well come to understand that soon.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 01:03 | Comments (3)
September 16, 2007

It was a warm and breezy night – the kind you’re glad to experience after so many months of oppressive heat. So there we were, Tracey and me, reminiscing about the ‘good old days’ under the warm and friendly pineapple lights on our patio, remembering all the small home-town businesses we remember both us and our parents frequenting long before super markets became, well, supermarkets, and megastores like Walmart, The Home Depot, Lowe’s, and any number of so-called “superstores” began to take over the landscape. Just a few of them we remember fondly:

John’s Fruitland – Used to be on Rte. 38 in Tewksbury (I believe there’s a go-kart and arcade place there now). I still can remember my parents stopping there on the way home from church to pick up their produce. My old friend Paul Porcella and I used to ride our bikes down there to buy Bing Cherries (which they’d weigh carefully and then hand us in a brown paper bag), then sit on the big rock behind the Shawsheen School baseball field backstop and devour them, joyfully spitting out the pits as we worked our way through the contents.

Andrews Appliance – Used to be on Rte. 3A on the North Billerica/Chelmsford line. I remember after our condo was hit by a lightning strike, the power surge fried my stereo setup. I brought my receiver down to Andrews and the guy behind the counter took one look at it and just laughed. It was toast.

Martin’s TV – Used to be on Rte. 38 in Tewksbury. I remember the Martins repairman coming out to fix our console hi-fi’s turntable and testing out his repair by putting on The Beatles’ “Magical Mystery Tour” album and dropping the stylus in the middle of “I Am The Walrus”. The guy says to me, “there’s still something wrong with this needle, I’m gonna replace it”, and me replying, “nope, that sounds fine to me – thanks!”

Freddie’s – Used to be diagonally across the street from where we lived at 2284 Main Street in Tewksbury. I remember my mom and I going in there to buy meat, so it must have been some kind of mini-market. It burned down in the winter of 1967 or ’68, upon which a strip mall went up in its place…

Bob’s Barber Shop – Used to be in this little tiny shack across the street from where we lived. It was really just a tiny old cabin with just room enough for a couple of chairs. After Freddie’s burned down, he moved into a store in the strip mall that replaced it. I believe his daughter still runs the place and my Uncle Don still gets his hair cut there.

(I’m also just remembering now – there used to be a meat market in that strip mall, and one of the high school senior class pranks was to steal the cow that was on its roof. I remember the kids stole the cow and sent a letter of ransom for it’s return. Actually, that was pretty funny and harmless…)

Windham Animal Hospital – Used to be across from Gary’s Ice Cream on the North Billerica/Chelmsford border. I remember driving home from work one day on my way to a discernment meeting scheduled at St. Anne’s Church (this was the first time I was discerning my call to the priesthood). Anyways, I was driving along the Middlesex Turnpike in Bilerica and saw a bunch of people standing by the side of the road. Evidently, a cat had gotten hit by a car several minutes before, and no one knew what to do. So, I picked up the cat, wrapped him in my shirt, took him over to Windham, then went on to do my discernment meeting in my undershirt. Unfortunately, the cat died shortly after I brought him in, but I think he must have been a good kitty.

The Oaks – used to be at the corner of Main Street (Rte. 38) and Shawsheen Street in Tewksbury. I never went in there, but my guess is it just a glorified dive where people went for a broiled beefsteak and few beers. Much like, I’m guessing, The Bandbox. which used to be at the junction of routes 3A and Rte. 129 in North Billerica. In the case of the latter, my brother Mark and I used to go in there and have a beer or two and watch the Fleury Brothers play country & western music on weekday nights. They were what one used to call “supper clubs”, I think. I sure miss those kinds of places…

I love the memories of these places, and feel privileged to have been born in an era where places like this used to be a part of the fabric of the small towns they existed in. I can’t help but feel that the arrival of chain restaurants and superstores have left a stain on the soul of small-town America.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:07 | Comments (3)
September 15, 2007

Right off the bat, I’ll admit to the fact that, unlike my good friend Rob, I don’t eat, sleep, and drink professional football. At best, I’m a casual fan who will tune in to watch a marquee matchup or a Thanksgiving Day game if I have nothing better to do. Of course, if I’m with my Goodboys pals back East during the NFL playoffs, I’ll watch a game over a few beers, but that’s the extent of my football fandom. Yet I don’t believe that prevents me in any way from believing that Patriots coach Bill Belichick should have gotten more than a sizable fine and his team the loss of one or more draft picks next year after the Patriots were found guilty of illegally videotaping New York Jets coaches to try and steal their signs during last week’s game.

Let’s be frank here: there is more to this story than the fact that a NFL coach broke a specific set of rules governing fair play and team conduct. If that’s all it was, than perhaps fines and the loss of draft choices would be an appropriate penalty. But in this case, you not only have a case of cheating on the field of play (something that should bring with it the harshest of penalties when it comes to professional sports) but the harming of a professional football franchise’s reputation, both on and off the field, virtually overnight. And for this reason, Patriots ownwer Bob Kraft has only one true course of action – to conduct whatever “internal investigation” he believes necessary, then fire Belichick as his coach.

In professional sports, there is nothing worse than cheating; it not only does a disservice to the league and the sport involved, it taints a highly-sophisticated image that the NFL has carefully cultivated over the years. Consider that after the Cincinnati Bengals off-the-field problems of last season, the Pacman Jones incident and his 1-year suspension, and the whole Michael Vick dog-killing thing, you have yet another story of abhorrent behavior – this time by a NFL coach – making headlines. Rather than talking about this weekend’s games – something the NFL hopes will happen, everyone is talking about cheating and who does it. That’s hardly the kind of ‘buzz’ NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wants to hear. That’s reason #1.

Reason #2: Now pretend you’re Patriots owner Robert Kraft. You have spent years building a once-sad and pathetic franchise into one of the most successful, dominating, and popular NFL teams in just a few short years. You have tried to make your franchise the very hallmark of on-the-field excellence and the definition of what it means to play and succeed as a team. Now, simply because your head coach is so paranoid and driven to win, he knowingly and willingly defies league rules and is found to have cheated – not once, but likely numerous times over the course of several seasons. Your team’s reputation has gone from smash to trash overnight. Outside of New England (where undoubtedly most fans believe Belichick simply got caught doing something everyone else does) your franchise is stamped with the scarlet letter of “C” for CHEATER. Never mind the fact that in just a few days you now own one of the most, if not THE most, unpopular teams in the NFL. Congrats Mr. Kraft, your outside-the-region marketing and merchandising has just taken a big hit.

One has to wonder what Kraft is thinking about this. Not only has his head coach sullied his franchise, but indirectly, his own reputation as well. After all, one might reasonably ask the question, how could be Belichick be repeatedly ordering an activity that involves cheating without the owner knowing about it? And how could Kraft allow Belichick to arrogantly, boorishly, and recklessly deflect all questions about this activity in the press conferences that followed the league’s decision. Did he not care about how his team and his owner would be perceived through such an act?

If I’m as successful a businessman as Robert Kraft has made himself to be, I have to know that my personal reputation and integrity is everything in life. He has to know you can be a winner on the field while still being a loser off it. Don’t believe me? Ask Barry Bonds. If I’m Robert Kraft, I have to know that Bill Belichick has put a vile stain on the reputation of my professional football franchise, and that as long as he is around, there can be no recovering from it.

If I’m Robert Kraft, I know that Bill Belichick has to be fired. And the sooner Kraft does that, the more favorable his reputation and his football franchise will be viewed in the eyes of the league and its fans.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 16:42 | Comment (1)
September 14, 2007

It has been a very long and very hot, record-breaking summer here in the Valley of the Sun. But, believe it or not, there’s change on the horizon. Oh, not the kind of change people in the more northern latitudes are anticipating when we get to mid-September and shy of the autumnal equinox – we’re not talking fall-like cool weather by any stretch of the imagination. But a disappointing monsoon season of not so much rain and more than a little extra dust has ended: its days of puffy clouds and (relative) humidity replaced by bright blue hot skies and a return to dry conditions, and the long-range 6-10 day forecast is now showing a break in the heat, with daytime temperatures slowly falling back to the high ’80s and nighttime temps dropping to – believe it or not – the mid-’50s. I mean, can you imagine that!

Even though the pool has just started cooling off – it’s currently in the mid-80s from a high of 102 just a few weeks ago – the nights are still quite warm, staying primarily in the mid-’80s. So you get a air/water kind of synchronicity going there, which is quite pleasant. But once the temps break, that’ll be pretty much it for swimming, as the water will cool off pretty darned fast. With Tracey and I leaving for a Massachusetts/Bermuda vacation in just over a week, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if, by the time we return the first week in October, the swimming season will be behind us.

It has been a very log, hot summer, and everyone around here is looking forward to its end.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:56 | Comments (0)
September 13, 2007

After the seriousness of the past two days, something a little lighter:

There were two men who played golf together frequently. One was several strokes better than the other. The lesser player was very proud, and never wanted to take any strokes to even up the game.

One Saturday morning, he shows up with a gorilla at the first tee. He says to his friend, “I’ve been trying to beat you for so long that I’m about ready to give up. But, I heard about this golfing gorilla, and I was wondering if it would be alright if he plays for me today. In fact, if you’re game, I’d like to try to get back all the money I’ve lost to you this year. I figure comes to about a thousand bucks. Are you willing?”

The other guy thought about it for a minute, and then decided to play the gorilla. “After all, how good could a gorilla be at golf?” he thought.

Well, the first hole was a straightaway par 4 of 450 yards. The guy hits a beautiful tee shot, 275 yards down the middle, leaving himself a 6 iron to the green. The gorilla takes a few powerful practice swings and then laces the ball 450 yards, right at the pin, stopping about 6 inches away from the hole.

The guy turns to his friend and says “That’s incredible, I would have never believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. But, you know what, I’ve seen enough. I’ve got no interest in being totally humiliated by this gorilla golfing machine. You send this frigging gorilla back to where he comes from. I need a drink; better make it a double, and I’ll write you a check.”

After handing over the check, and well into his second double the guy asks, “By the way, how’s that gorilla’s putting?”

The other guy replies, “Same as his driving.”

“That good, huh?”

“No, I mean, he hits putts the same way – 450 yards, right down the middle!”

Enjoy your day, everyone!

Filed in: Golf & Sports,Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 01:25 | Comments (0)
September 12, 2007

bruce …Stupid people, that is. How do I know that? By this article by Matt Purple of CNS News entitled “9/11 Conspiracy Theories Gain Ground, Study Finds”. (Hat tip: Free Republic) In it, Purple explains that a sizeable number of respondents to a recent Zogby poll believes, to varying extents, that the U.S. government had at least something to do with the 9/11 attacks (my boldings):

The idea that the Bush administration participated in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks is not limited to fringe Web sites and conspiracy theorists, according to a poll commissioned by a Web site that promotes alternative explanations for the events of Sept. 11.

The poll, conducted by Zogby International for 911Truth.org and released last week, found that 31 percent of Americans do not accept the official explanation for Sept. 11 — that “19 Arab fundamentalists executed a surprise attack which caught U.S. intelligence and military forces off guard.

Among that 31 percent, around 26 percent agreed that the American government “knew the attacks were coming but consciously let them proceed for various political, military, and economic motives.” Almost 5 percent believed that U.S. officials “actively planned or assisted some aspects of the attack.”

…In addition to questioning the official explanation behind the events of September 11, other poll results indicated that some Americans are warming to the idea of alternative 9/11 explanations and reflected an extreme dissatisfaction with the Bush administration.

About 67 percent of those polled indicated they believe that the government should have properly investigated the collapse of World Trade Center Building 7, which was not hit by a plane and crumbled eight hours after the Twin Towers. Tower 7’s destruction is seen as a smoking gun by many conspiracy theorists, who contend that the building was brought down by explosives.

Now, I’m going to eliminate that so-called “almost 5 percent” that believes the U.S. actually assisted with the attacks in some way. These are your wackos that have garfed onto the theory that the U.S. never put a man on the moon and that Britney Spears is actually Lee Harvey Oswald reincarnated to melt the polar icecaps so all the polar bears drown. Or something like that.

But it just goes to show you the true level of either ignorance, stupidity, or out-and-out plain insanity it takes to believe that the government knew the attacks were coming on 9/11 and still refused to do something about it. Just like some believe FDR allowed Pearl Harbor to happen in order to get us out of isolation and into World War II, or that George W. Bush deliberately dynamited the levees in New Orleans so a lot of black people would be killed.

What is it about our culture that prompts such madness? A lot of it, I think, has to do with the Internet and the culture we live in these days. After all, the Internet has provided an easy and affordable forum for posting the most bizarre and wacky crap you could ever imagine in your life. Don’t believe me? Consider the weblog you’re reading right now! But seriously folks, check these sites out – some are parody, I’m sure (?), some perhaps not:

* You have the Anti-Squirrel Coalition, dedicated to stamping out, er, the squirrel.
* And this shrine to IBM (of all things), dedicated to the end of Apple and the Mac.
* And for those who simply need a mouthpiece for their bizarre droolings, this site which contains every kind of conspiracy theory thinkable, including how Elks Clubs are secret societies bent on world domination, how the U.S. created AIDS as a way to depopulate the Third World, and how 12 U.S. senators were/are space aliens.

My point is not to give any credence to any of this; I’m just pointing out that with the Internet, anyone can now post anything they want and you’ll find someone all-too ready and willing to believe it. There is, however, one sad fact about this whole 9/11 conspiracy thing that cannot be denied: the basic distrust the American people have for both its government and its elected officials. And this is not just sad, but potentially dangerous to our country and its future, and the life and freedoms we all share.

You can point to anything that ever happened in history and come up with alternative views on how it happened. People undoubtedly always have, it’s just that prior to a dozen or so years ago the only way you could get your message out was through books, newspapers, magazines, and pamphlets on a streetcorner. And all these (with perhaps the exception of the pamphlets) required a certain talent and involved a certain amount of vetting of the truth. Now, all you have to do is put up a website, find some more-than-willing co-conspirators in the media who feel the same way you do because, undoubtedly, of what happened during the 2000 election, and voila! you have a bonafide conspiracy theory that flourishes under the concept that if you tell a lie often enough people will start to believe it.

Back for a second to Mr. Purple’s article. So who are the most fervent believers of this nutty conspiracy?

Those who doubted the official explanation also tended to be low-income, single, and young. They most frequently associated with a liberal or progressive ideology.

Surprise, surprise. And, I have no doubt, these are the same kind of idiots that tie themselves to trees and vandalize car dealerships in the name of radical environmentalism and riot at every gathering of world leaders in the name of geopolitical anarchy.

You know, there was a time when you could simply shrug these people off thinking they were just your run-of-the-mill wackos, but the Zogby poll shows that this is no longer some fringe kook element. The 911Truth.org people – and those like them – are heading into our mainstream consciousness, taking advantage of a time in our history where North America and Europe have never been so restless, spoiled, prosperous, and technologically advanced. Yesterday I posted about the danger radical Islam still poses from without; it is groups like these that illustrate the cancer growing within our country’s soul and the danger they pose from within.

It’s not hard to believe misguided fools like this walk among us. What is hard to believe is that anyone can take them seriously.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 01:05 | Comments (4)
September 10, 2007

One of the funniest skits you’d see on the old ‘Tonight Show With Johnny Carson’ was whenever Johnny played the role of “Carnac The Magnificent”. As the skit always went, Johnny would hold an envelope up to the turban on his head, announce the answer to the question contained therein (to which sidekick Ed McMcMahon always repeated what he said), and then Johnny would tear open the envelope and come up with a humorous (and often slightly off-color) question.

My good friend Pasquale (a.k.a. “Mr. Waltham”) reminded me of a few of his jokes in an e-mail the other day, and I thought it would be worth sharing for a laugh:

Carnac: “A loaf of bread, a jug of wine and thou.”
Ed: “A loaf of bread, a jug of wine and thou.”
Carnac: “Name three things that have yeast.”

Carnac: “The Nestea Plunge.”
Ed: “The Nestea Plunge.”
Carnac: “What does the president of Nestea use when his toilet is stopped up?”

Carnac: “A, B, C, D, E, F, G.”
Ed: “A, B, C, D, E, F, G.”
Carnac: “What were some of the earlier forms of Preparation H?”

Carnac: “Shoo-be-doo-be-doo.”
Ed: “Shoo-be-doo-be-doo.”
Carnac: “What do you look for when you’re tracking a shoo-be-doo-be?”

Carnac: “Zippo Marx.”
Ed: “Zippo Marx.”
Carnac: “What do you get when something gets caught in your Zippo?”

Carnac: “Touchback.”
Ed: “Touchback.”
Carnac: “What’s the smart thing to do if a Dallas Cowgirl touches you?”

Carnac: “Kitchy-kitchy-koo.”
Ed: “Kitch-kitchy-koo.”
Carnac: “What do you call a military coup led by General Kitchy Kitchy?”

Carnac: “Big Ben, Joe Namath, and a candidate’s campaign promises.”
Ed: “Big Ben, Joe Namath, and a candidate’s campaign promises.”
Carnac: “What is a clock, a jock and a crock.”

All pretty funny, and far cry from a lot of what goes as “humor” on TV nowadays. Thanks, Pasquale!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:55 | Comments (0)

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