October 31, 2007

halloween Happy Halloween from Newport Beach, California! Some people think “The Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt Kickers is the #1 pop Halloween song. Me, I gotta go with Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London”:

I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand
Walking through the streets of Soho in the rain
He was looking for a place called Lee Ho Fook’s
Going to get himself a big dish of beef chow mein
Werewolves of London

If you hear him howling around your kitchen door
Better not let him in
Little old lady got mutilated late last night
Werewolves of London again
Werewolves of London

He’s the hairy-handed gent who ran amuck in Kent
Lately he’s been overheard in Mayfair
Better stay away from him
He’ll rip your lungs out, Jim
I’d like to meet his tailor
Werewolves of London

Well, I saw Lon Chaney walking with the Queen
Doing the
I saw Lon Chaney, Jr. walking with the Queen
Doing the
I saw a werewolf drinking a pina colada at Trader Vic’s
His hair was perfect
Werewolves of London
Draw blood

No shortage of werewolves hanging around the sushi bar here at the hotel: sipping chardonnays, talking about their Ferraris and the stock market, and checking their e-mails on their iPods. All self-consumed. All with hair that is perfect.

Southern California is more than just three thousand miles from the Northeast; it might as well be the distance from the earth to the moon.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:51 | Comments (0)
October 30, 2007

Greetings from Newport Beach, California! Deep in the heart of this blue state, I’m here on business and, because of my schedule over the next two days, blogging will be light.

Looks like I’ll miss the Red Sox victory parade on NESN, but that’s OK. I think these kinds of things are kinda overdone – I mean, it’s great the Sox are world champions, but I have to think the amount of $ the parade and such will cost could be far better spent elsewhere. Why not just open up Fenway Park for a victory rally and have people donate to the Jimmy Fund?

The Sox going this deep into the fall means a shorter off-season. I’ll miss Tina Cervasio, but I sure won’t miss those probing questions asked during “Terry’s Take”.

If I’m the Sox, I keep Curt Schilling for one last go-round. Just having him around is like having another pitching coach, and with current pitching coach John Farrell up for consideration for the Pirates managerial gig, it might not be bad to have the old fella around to teach kids like Bucholz and Lester a thing or two.

…And I definitely keep Mike Lowell. Offer him two years with a club option for two more based on incentives, and I think it gets the job done.

…And I keep Mike Timlin if the price is right. Can’t have too many good arms in a bullpen.

Who goes? I’m not a Manny Delcarmen fan – the guy just doesn’t throw strikes consistent enough for me. But he still has potential, so we’ll see. Coco is trade bait, and I won’t miss Javier Lopez. Please, God they send that pantload Mirabelli packing.

…and don’t even THINK of A-Rod – the “Ebola virus” of major league baseball players.

Hard to believe the baseball season is over, but I’m already looking forward to next spring and having my DirectTV and their “MLB Extra Innings” baseball package. It was missed this year – while the mlb.tv subscription was good enough, watching baseball on a computer monitor left a lot to be desired. The video quality was pretty good, but the technology still has a ways to go.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 01:33 | Comments (0)
October 29, 2007

No, I’m not talking about Hillary Clinton – there’s plenty of time and opportunity for that down the line. I’m talking about Alex “A-Fraud” Rodriguez’s agent Scott Boras releasing an announcement during the 7th inning of a World Series game that his client had decided to exercise his option and opt out of his contract with the New York Yankees. And lest you think this was all Scott Boras’ timing, just check this out (my boldings):

I got a call from Alex tonight and he is going to opt out,” Boras told The Post last night during Game 4 of the World Series. “He was just too unsure with new ownership talking about a transition where the organization is going right now. He is not sure what is going to happen with (free agents) Mariano (Rivera) and (Jorge) Posada, and if Andy Pettitte is coming back. He needs more time to assess where the Yankees are going in the future.”

This is absolutely pathetic, and I pray the baseball world is watching. I hate A-Rod (sports-wise, I’ve never met him as a person and have no desire to) with a passion as much as the next guy, but even I didn’t think his stupid boorish agent would have the onions to announce this during the World Series. Tradition states that when the World Series is taking place, baseball tradition trumps any any one player’s future, and for someone as supposedly sage and keen as Scott Boras to announce such a thing right in the middle of a World Series broadcast shows not only his arrogance and his snake-in-the-grass lowness, but that of his petty, pathetic, whiny, overpaid, and post-season choker client as well.

Note to Scott Boras: if Red Sox ownership and management were ever to be stupid enough to cave in to your immense greed and bring A-Rod aboard as a Red Sox, mark these words carefully: I will NEVER watch them on TV again, and would, in fact, root against them every chance I got. A-Rod is the epitome of everything that is wrong with professional sports nowadays, and I for one refuse to have anything to do with him. And I know I’m not alone in Red Sox Nation who feels that way.

When it comes to money and sports, people like A-Rod and Scott Boras are not just bad, they are evil.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 01:35 | Comment (1)
October 28, 2007

No one ever said The Great White Shank was Nostradamus, did they? A little over a month ago, I said the Boston Red Sox would never win the World Series. But you have to cut me some slack here, because who would have EVER thought that manager Terry Francona would have the onions to take a struggling Coco Crisp out of the lineup after game 5 in Cleveland and insert “Mr. Sparkplug”, “Mr. Taco America” Jacoby Ellsbury into center field? From the moment he became a starter, the Sox offense lit up like a Jack o’ Lantern on Halloween, and the Sox never looked back. While it’s hard to argue third baseman Mike Lowell as World Series MVP, one could equally (and easily) make an argument for Ellsbury, reliever Hideki Okajima (without whom the Sox would be out hunting or fishing right now), or ace stopper Jonathan Papelbon. But I guess that, in the end, is why the Sox are World Series champs – there wasn’t any one guy that stood out. With the exception of backup catcher and all-around pantload Doug Mirabelli, this was a team effort, and Sox ownership, GM Theo Epstein, and Francona deserve all the credit in the world.

So forgive me, Tito and J.D. – no, screw you, Mirabelli – I was wrong, and I’m more than happy to admit it. And it’s not just me who feels this way. Mea culpa! Mea Culpa! Mea Culpa!

Congratulations to the 2007 World Champion Boston Red Sox!

Tessie!

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 23:34 | Comments (2)
October 27, 2007

Question of the day: How do you know summer is really over here in the Valley of the Sun? When the water temperature of your swimming pool drops from a tolerable 70 degrees to a much more intimidating 63 degrees in just the span of a week’s time. Of course summer never really ends here until perhaps December – you can still feel the strength of the sun on your skin when you take a walk down the street to the mailbox, and shorts and t-shirts still feel mighty fine. While the nighttime temps have started flirting with the high ’50s, the daytime highs are still well in the ’80s. So while it might be the end of summer pool-wise, the days are still betraying what the calendar says.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:30 | Comments (0)
October 26, 2007

Tonight Tracey and I watched Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS series against the New York Yankees. You know, the game that started the end of the Yankees Empire. The game where Dave Roberts stole second in the ninth inning off uber-closer Mariano Rivera and Bill Mueller singled him home, sending the game into extra innings until David Ortiz would assume the mantle of “Big Papi” by driving in the winning runs and starting the Red Sox’ historic and miraculous comeback.

While watching the game, we were amazed at the changes that have taken place on the Red Sox roster (and the Yankees, for that matter) since then, and now that the Sox are in the World Series again, it is hard not to want to compare the two Sox teams to see how they’d stack up gainst one another. Here’s my view:

Starting rotation: in 2004 it was Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Time Wakefield, Bronson Arroyo, and Derek Lowe; in 2007, Josh Beckett, Schilling, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Wakefield, and a bunch of guys. Here you have to give the nod, I think, to the 2004 rotation simply because Pedro and Beckett cancel themselves out, Schilling was a better pitcher 3 years ago, Wakefield is still Wakefield (for better or for worse), and the last two spots are toss ‘ems in both cases. Pick: 2004

Catcher: Jason Varitek remains his same steady self. Draw

1st Base: In 2004, the combo of Kevin Millar and Doug Mientkewicz. 2007: Kevin Youkilis. No comparison here. Pick: 2007

2nd Base: Who would you rather have – Mark Bellhorn or Dustin Pedroia? Again, no contest. Pick: 2007

Shortstop: Orlando Cabrera vs. Julio Lugo. Pretty much a draw, I think – perhaps the slightest, slightest nod to Cabrera. Draw

3rd Base: Bill Mueller vs. Mike Lowell. While Mueller was a steady and solid player, you have to give the nod here to Lowell. Pick: 2007

Outfield: Manny is still being Manny, Johnny Damon was better offensively, but worse defensively, than the combo of Coco Crisp and Jacoby Ellsbury, and I would call J.D. Drew and Trot Nixon pretty much a draw both offensively and defensively. So here, I think overall it’s a draw. Draw

Bullpen: No comparison here. The 2004 team had Keith Foulke as their closer, Mike Timlin and Alan Embree in the setup roles, and bunch of no names to fill out the bullpen. The 2007 staff not only has the game’s dominant closer in Jonathan Papelbon, but Hideki Okajima, Timlin, and Manny Delcarmen are solid behind him. Pick: 2007

Overall, then, if I were to have to choose between which one is the better team, it looks as if the 2007 edition would have be rated better – primarily because of Beckett and Papelbon in the front and back, but an improvement both offensively and defensively around the infield.

Just my opinion, of course. What do you think?

Filed in: Golf & Sports,Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 23:21 | Comments (2)
October 25, 2007

Heh. This story seems pretty funny. Appears the Democrats in Washington are starting to get concerned about their own low public opinion poll numbers (actually, even lower than the President’s), so what are they going to do – start governing better? Of course not, they’re going to try and remind voters of who they replaced in power – the Republicans!

House Democratic leaders, concerned about the public’s downbeat view of Congress, launched a public relations offensive Monday to polish the image of the new majority after a series of legislative setbacks this month.

The campaign, ranging from traditional events to conference calls with groups outside of Washington, is designed to circumvent the national news media. Democratic operatives believe that Washington reporters are so fixated on the party’s standoff with President Bush over Iraq that no other message is reaching the public.

In a private meeting for scores of staffers, top advisers to the party’s leadership called on every Democratic lawmaker to amplify domestic accomplishments, from raising the minimum wage to expanding college aid, in a series of events back home in their districts.

Part of the Democrats’ new offensive will remind voters exactly who they voted out of office last fall, particularly with regard to the updated ethics and lobbying laws.

“This is a distinction that is very important to make,” said Stacey Bernards, a spokeswoman for House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.).

The plan is drawn, in large part, to highlight Democrats’ domestic accomplishments in a bid to bolster the sagging popularity of Congress, according to staffers briefed on the plan.

This would all be well and good, except at some point you gotta start putting some meat on those bones. Exactly what achievements Democrats in Washington can actually lay claim to seem, frankly, a bit beyond my grasp to comprehend. After all, they’ve tried to force the President to withdraw troops from Iraq on a predetermined schedule (and lost), tried to shove illegal immigration ‘reform’ down the throats of unwilling Americans (and lost), tried to override the President’s veto preventing expansion of government programs designed for the poor to the middle class (and lost), picked a fight with radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh (and lost), and, most recently, tried to bring an ill-advised resolution condemning Turkey for its actions during the Armenian genocide of 1915 to the floor for a vote during a time of increased tension between Turkey and Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq (withdrawn). What have they not done? Come up with any kind of proposal that would reduce taxes and federal spending, support the effort in Iraq, strengthen the country’s borders and security, and provide leadership on reducing the costs of entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare that, like it or not, are going to have to be dealt with by someone with vision and creativity somewhere down the line.

What the Democrats are slowly finding out is that when the Republicans were in power they had it pretty good. You see, it’s always easier to be the minority opposition party when it comes to governing and legislating. You don’t have to actually be ‘for’ anything – you can make hay just by throwing daggers at the people in power. Now that it is the Dems who are in charge, people are slowly coming around to the realization that, besides being for higher taxes and bigger government, and against the military, the Democrats really don’t stand for much of anything. All of their so-called “ideas” are nothing but rehashed, tired old proposals left over from either FDR’s “New Deal” days or back when Jim Morrison was singing “Light My Fire”.

They have no new ideas. And they have no new approaches. Why? Because, even more than their fat, lazy, and pork-spending Republican counterparts in Washington, people like “San Fran Nan” Pelosi and senators like Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer have invested all their political capital into an American defeat in Iraq and are beholden to every special interest that stands to gain from increased federal spending and government program expansion – the welfare state, the trial lawyers, and the labor unions; in other words, anyone against the power of the individual, the fortunes of the U.S. military, and the free-market economy.

This latest initiative by the Democrats is nothing more than putting lipstick on a pig, doomed to fail like so many of their other initiatives to this point.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 01:33 | Comments (0)
October 24, 2007

One of the amazing things about last Saturday night’s FOX broadcast of the Red Sox ALCS sixth-game victory over the Cleveland Indians was to hear all of Fenway Park singing what sounded like some Irish soccer rallying song, but I couldn’t tell what it was. When the NESN people mentioned afterwards the whole park singing “Tessie”, I then remembered this band in Boston called the Dropkick Murphys, and that “Tessie” was a song associated somehow with the Red Sox. Interestingly enough, I had found this out not from my East Coast connections but by attending the first of a three-game Red Sox-Diamondbacks series played here in Phoenix this past June. At the time, I couldn’t believe either a) the number of Red Sox fans that were here to attend the game, and b) how many of them knew this song, which, upon my asking this drunken Sox fan singing it at the top of his lungs, turned out to be “Tessie”. So, after Saturday night’s spectacle, I decided to check into exactly what the song was all about.

well, it turns out that there’s an interesting history about “Tessie”. According to the Wiki entry, the song goes back to the earliest days of the Red Sox and a group of boosters (called the “Royal Rooters”) who followed the team wherever they played – back in those pre-Fenway Park days, that meant the Huntington Avenue fairgrounds:

The original version of “Tessie (You Are the Only, Only, Only)” was written by Will R. Anderson and was featured in the Broadway musical The Silver Slipper[1], which ran for 160 performances between October 27, 1902 and March 14, 1903. The song was about a woman singing to her beloved parakeet “Tessie”.

While a popular tune, the song gained greater notoriety when it was adopted as a rallying cry by the Royal Rooters, a collection of loyal fans led by Michael T. “Nuf Ced” McGreevy, owner of the 3rd Base Saloon. (McGreevy earned his nickname “Nuf Ced” due to the way he kept peace in his bar; when he grew frustrated with arguments over the Red Sox and the Boston Braves, he would pound his hand on the bar and declare “Nuf Ced!”). Boston Mayor John “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald (grandfather of President John F. Kennedy) was another member of the Royal Rooters.

After the first four games of the 1903 World Series, Boston was down 1-3 to the Pittsburgh Pirates. (It was a best of 9 series; 5 wins were needed to win the series.) The Royal Rooters began rallying their team with every song they could think of; ultimately “Tessie” helped win the day. Pittsburgh outfielder Tommy Leach credited at least part of Boston’s win to “that damn ‘Tessie’ song.” He continued: “It was a real hum-dinger of a song, but it sort of got on your nerves after a while.” (Boston won Game 5 and went on to win Games 6, 7, and 8 to win the series 5–3; however, Boston only won two out of four at home and three of four at Pittsburgh, so the true impact of their home-town fans’ song is uncertain.) There are stories that the Royal Rooters actually traveled to Pittsburgh and hired a band to play Tessie to annoy the Pirates even at their home field.

Fast-forward ahead to early in the 2004 season. The Murphys decided to record their own version of the song with lyrics invoking not only old “Nuf Ced” McGreevy but Red Sox ghosts of Christmas past (Chick Stahl, Bill Dinnen, Cy Young, etc.), saying it was “their intent to bring back the spirit of the ‘Rooters’ and put the Red Sox back on top.” Considering that the Sox became world champions later that year, it’s no wonder the song has been adopted as a kind of a lucky charm and a victory anthem for Red Sox fans.

You can see the Dropkick Murphys perform it here. Very entertaining, makes me want to head to the closest, darkest Boston Irish pub with my friends for a pint or two. Supposedly they have them around here, but as you might imagine, it’s just not the same – somehow it loses some translation given the desert Southwest. Nevertheless, enjoy “Tessie” and go Red Sox, J.D Drew, and Terry Francona! :-)

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 01:40 | Comments (0)
October 23, 2007

Quick hit: Want to know why Illinois senator Barack Obama will never be elected President of the U.S.? The guy is not just dumb as a stone politically, but ignorant politically as well. Check out the photo here courtesy of Mark Finkelstein: see anything unusual?

Don’t want to wear a flag pin on your lapel? No worries, mate, neither would I. But for God’s sake, if you’re gonna run for Commander-in-Chief and the national anthem is being played, don’t just stand there looking like you’re waiting for a bus. Put your hand over your heart!

…And BTW, next time wear a sports jacket. At least you won’t look like you just got back from delivering pizzas…

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 22:39 | Comments (0)

natalie There are few things that make a Goodboy happier than the opportunity to make a fellow Goodboy happy. So, to help make the days of my single Goodboys mates Ron “Cubby” Myerow and Steve “Killer” Kowalski a little brighter, here’s this little nugget taken from a GOLF.COM interview with the lovely Natalie Gulbis of LPGA Fame (Hat tip: The Golf Blog):

Golf: Has there been a guy who has produced a ring and gotten down on one knee?
Natalie: No, no ring yet.

Golf: Would that be a key to success?
Natalie: No, I don’t think so.

Golf: Does an average Joe have any shot of dating you?
Natalie: Absolutely. I’m pretty open-minded with who I date.

Golf: Does he have to be a good golfer?
Natalie: No. That’s not even close in the criteria. That’s way down on the list, of whether or not they can play golf.

Two words come to mind, lads: opportunity knocks!

Filed in: Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 01:22 | Comment (1)

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