April 29, 2008

Mark it down – April 28, and the pool is officially open here at the Gilbert hacienda. When the water temp hits 78, that’s just too good to pass up…

…even though when the air temp is 95 with a breeze it still makes for a bit of a bracer at the start.

Glad to see you can order the new Dennis Wilson “Pacific Ocean Blue” legacy CD from Amazon.com. A re-release with bonus material of this fine album by the late Beach Boys drummer has been long overdue.

Looks like the Patriots and the Saints did each other a favor with that swap of first-round picks in this past weekend’s NFL draft, enabling New Orleans to get the defensive tackle they wanted in Sedrick Ellis and New England going for mobility with inside linebacker Jerod Mayo. They say the best trades are the ones that help both teams; sounds like this might have been one of those. I wonder if Rob feels the same?

Both Tracey and I give a big “thumbs up” for the new James Bond movie version of “Casino Royale”. Daniel Craig is a huge upgrade over Pierce Brosnan, and the overall film was a great improvement over the Brosnan vehicles, which were too violent for my taste.

A “Happy Birthday!” to my bro Mark, who turns the big 5-0 today. Imagine that, one’s younder brother turning fifty. Sigh… Oh well, now he can (like me) know the joy of tossing all that AARP liberal/socialist agenda crap in the wastebasket. If you don’t believe me, check this out.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:30 | Comments (0)
April 28, 2008

In the spirit of Easteride, here’s an Here’s a very interesting story about the Irish love affair with Saint Padre Pio, whose exhumed body has been made available for public viewing in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy.

Colm Keane has written a new book that explores both this Irish love affair with this beloved saint of the Church and the various miracles that have been attributed to him. Looks to be an interesting read.

The veneration of saints down through the ages has always involved a curious mix of faith and devotion mixed with marketing and capitalism; any read of church history will show numerous occurrences of this sort of thing since the earliest martyrdoms of its saints. Various Protestants may find this kind of thing amusing and worthy of scorn, but in my view it is surely no more worthy of scorn than their own repeated failures over the years to try and “get back” to the “original church” through their own schismatic actions, as if out of division you can make a whole.

Filed in: Religion & Culture by The Great White Shank at 01:34 | Comments (0)
April 27, 2008

Made a few changes to the Blogroll and cleaned up some bad links. Some links worthy of note:

* If you’ve got farm animals and need hay, contact the Georgia Hay Girl. She says her customers are “Our customers are horses, llamas, goats, alpacas, cows, and a few other critters to numerous to name”, but I douby any of them carry credit cards on their person (or animal).

…’Course, when it comes to the slimeballs at Bank of America, anything’s possible…

* And there’s a redesigned Jerome Pascua weblog worth checking into from time to time. Jerome’s a very cool dude.

* I’ve removed the Mirage Las Vegas link. For one thing, the Rio is (at least for now) official “Goodboys HQ” in Sin City. But more than that, methinks it’s near time for The Mirage (and, frankly, its official website) to get a complete makeover.

* And I’ve removed Charles Johnson’s Little Green Footballs – too much negativity and cynicism going on over there for my taste. There’s already enough of that in the world without me having to to link to it.

* These aren’t new additions to the Blogroll, but I highly recommend The Anchoress, Rob’s CrabAppleLane Blog, and Dave’s Fish Fear Me. Each are a regular part of my daily blogsphere wanderings.

* Hey Septuagenarian Sarah, how about a new post? I thought you were back! :-)

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:44 | Comments (2)
April 26, 2008

This is quite the amazing story. Given that the Goodboys are huge fans of “Jaws”, this will no doubt be cause for no small amount of interest ’round the ‘Nation.

Several North County beaches were closed Friday morning after a man was killed in a shark attack north of Fletcher Cove, officials said.

Dave Martin, 66, was attacked as he was swimming about 150 yards offshore shortly after 7 a.m., officials said.

A helicopter initially was sent to take Martin to a hospital, but he was pronounced dead at a lifeguard station.

Witnesses told lifeguards that a “big gray shark” attacked Martin, biting both his legs, said Solana Beach Marine Safety Capt. Craig Miller.

Sure, you read about shark attacks from time to time, but the particulars of this particular story are truly incredible and fascinating (my boldings)…

Encinitas Lifeguard Lt. Paul Chapman, who went to Fletcher Cove after the attack, said the victim’s legs had suffered deep jagged lacerations, from the upper thighs to the lower shin, with a bite radius of about 22 inches.

“Wherever that thing is right now,” Chapman said, “it’s pretty good-sized.”

And this aspect of the story I find pretty amazing…it’s not just humans that are afraid – very afraid – of sharks, seems creation itself is running for its life…

Chapman said that seals and sea lions have been beaching themselves in the area – he said a crew from Sea World was on its way to rescue one as he spoke. Such beachings are a possible sign of a large predator in the coastal waters.

He also said a juvenile great white shark washed up on a nearby beach a few weeks before.

“Those are signs that say this isn’t the place to go,” Chapman said. “We have one person fatally wounded and we have sea life exiting the water. It’s better to say out of the water and give it time.”

Wow. Ya think???

Obviously it’s a tragic state of affairs for both Mr. Martin and the loved ones he has left behind – after all, what a horrible way to lose one’s life. But there’s another aspect to the story in that one can’t help but be totally amazed at God’s creation in all of its fascination and wonder – both good and bad – in the way we who dwell therein are impacted.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:55 | Comments (0)
April 25, 2008

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” — John 1:1-2

“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” — Matthew 10:39

“Only the beginning of what I want to feel forever;
Only the beginning,
Only just the start…”
Chicago, “Beginnings”

Quite an eclectic selection of quotes, no? I’ve never claimed myself to be anything even remotely resembling a genius; in fact, the title of my post from last week, “Dawn Breaks Over Marblehead”, might well make for a damned fine quote on my tombstone. And in this regard, the underlying message and theme from Robin Griffith-Jones’ book, “The Four Witnesses” might well go down in my own personal history as a kind of life-changing event. Allow me to explain…

Anyone picking up Griffith-Jones’ book might find it (as I did) incredibly frustrating; you just want the author to simply get to the damned freakin’ point. But that’s the whole idea at work here, for he has taken great pains to make sure his readers understand fully the context (not the theology) by which each of the four authors of the Gospels strove to write about Jesus in a way their target audiences would understand – after all, their communities were struggling (as each of us still are two thousand years later) to make sense of this extremely uncommon human being during difficult times.

And it wasn’t until the end of Griffith-Jones’ book – actually, the final pages! – where everything finally fell into place and it all made sense to me. So, what is the author’s underlying premise? Simply this: that for each of the Gospel writers, Jesus’ message was all about beginnings. For example:

* For Mark, the critical point comes when, by tyhe tomb on Easter Sunday, the angel instructs the women to “tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.’” (Mark 16:7) For Mark’s readers the instruction is clear – if you want to know about the Risen Lord, go back to the beginning, where at the start of Mark’s Gospel you have Jesus’ first appearance and his calling to Peter.

* For Matthew, the beginning is all about repentence and baptism, so much so that his Jesus instructs the disciples to usher in new beginnings for the church’s converts by “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)

* For Luke, the beginning lies in the opening of the disciples’ minds and understanding that first Easter night when he appeared to those gathered and “opened their minds to understand the Scriptures”.

* For John, the scene set in the garden that Easter morning (where the risen Lord appears to Mary) re-enacts the Garden of Eden, signifying a new beginning for Creation; here, the end of John’s Gospel recalls the beginning of John’s Gospel, equating God’s creation where “let there be light” becomes “the true light, which enlightens everyone… coming into the world.” (John 1:9)

So what does all this have to do with dawn breaking over my “Marblehead”? Simply put, I don’t think I every truly understood – or maybe I did understand but never took it seriously enough – the whole idea is that to walk with Jesus requires a new beginning, a desire to allow the Holy Spirit to bring about a new creation in each one’s own self. Being the stubborn guy I am, I’m all too aware that I’ve always resisted God’s calling to give up any more of myself than I’m comfortable with – like most people, I guess, there’s a bit of ego and a fear of the unknown going on there.

Even given the flaws in Griffith-Jones’ book (and there are many, not the least bit being a disturbing – and in my view, unnecessary – lack of bibliography), what he has succeeded in doing was pulling together the various strains and contexts by which Jesus’ life and teachings were documented, communicated, translated, and lived by those who followed him (both figuratively and literally) in those early and formative years of the early Church and chip away at that wall of ego and will I’m so protective of. After all, it’s not just a change in head and heart that God is seeking from each of us, but behavior as well. One would think behavior would follow (at least in some regard) head and heart, but I just sense that God doesn’t want just 80 or 90 percent of me, he wants all of me.

Now to find the courage and will to let Him both take it and have at it.

Filed in: Religion & Culture by The Great White Shank at 01:52 | Comment (1)
April 24, 2008

No matter how you slice it, 422 inches is a lot of snow

As far as I’m concerned, they can limit rice all they want. Now if there were to be a shortage of veal…

Duh! headline: Security gaps open when ISPs hire third parties. Everyone (my company included) thinks going cheaper on labor costs means you reduce your bottom line. Lemme tell you, not only is that NOT the case, but you bring a whole bunch of other concerns into the mix…

Whirlpool suspends 39 workers for not admitting they were smokers. Yeah, that sounds about right – I’d rather have crappy non-smoking workers than hard-working smokers. Talk about a world gone mad. Time for ALL employers to get out of the health-care providing business.

The first “World’s Largest Snow Plow Parade”. After this winter, I think the folks in Northern Maine deserve a little fun, don’t you?

I live amongst idiots. So those mysterious UFO lights over northern Phoenix were a hoax? Wow. Who could have ever thought that?

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 12:55 | Comments (0)
April 22, 2008

…continuing my list of the seven wonders of The Great White Shank’s musical world, it’s Christmas in April! Laugh all you want, but Phil Spector’s “A Christmas Gift For You” is a must-have for yours truly were I ever stranded on some desert island. No need to create a new post about this. All that needs to be said has already been said – all you have to do is click this link.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:34 | Comments (0)
April 21, 2008

Over the past few weeks I’ve been tweaking my “Flower Power” collection big time, to the point where I have it EXACTLY the way I want. So, for posterity’s sake (and for all you audiophiles out there) here is my original 6-disc set with the subsequent changes made – and believe me, there isn’t a slouch cut in this set. I challenge anyone to find any weaknesses in it!

(Ed. note: Aside to “Tightwad” – you’ll have a chance to experience and judge these discs personally as a result of my upcoming visit in a few weeks!)

Original Disc 1:

The Mamas & The Papas – California Dreamin’
The Turtles – Happy Together
? and The Mysterians – 96 Tears
The Beatles – Day Tripper
The Beatles – We Can Work It Out
Barry McGuire – Eve of Destruction
The Rolling Stones – Out Of Time
Paul Revere & The Raiders – Kicks
Strawberry Alarm Clock – Incense And Peppermints
Nancy Sinatra – These Boots Were Made For Walkin’
The Byrds – Mr. Tambourine Man
The Beatles – Nowhere Man
The Byrds – Turn! Turn! Turn!
The Beatles – Mark I (early version of “Tomorrow Never Knows”)
The Beatles – Love You To
Bob Dylan – Like A Rolling Stone
The Beach Boys – Good Vibrations
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Born On The Bayou
The Rolling Stones – Paint It Black
Canned Heat – Goin’ Up The Country
Buffalo Springfield – For What It’s Worth
Creedence Clearwater Revival – I Put A Spell On You
Manfred Mann – Quinn The Eskimo
The Turtles – Buzzsaw

Final changes:
- remove “Day Tripper” and “We Can Work It Out” (these were, after all, 1965 cuts)
- add Sonny & Cher, “The Beat Goes On” (much more hip!)

—————————————

Original Disc 2:

Scott MacKenzie – San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)
Jefferson Airplane – Somebody To Love
The Doors – Break On Through (To The Other Side)
The Beatles – Strawberry Fields Forever
The Beatles – Penny Lane
The Doors – Light My Fire (long version)
Jefferson Airplane – White Rabbit
Procol Harum – A Whiter Shade Of Pale
The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
The Beatles – With A Little Help From My Friends
The Beatles – Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds
The Monkees – Pleasant Valley Sunday
The Turtles – Elenore
Eric Burdon & The Animals – Sky Pilot (long version)
The Troggs – Love Is All Around
The Beatles – All You Need Is Love
The Turtles – You Showed Me
Tommy James & The Shondells – Crimson And Clover (long version)
The Beatles – Blue Jay Way
Thunderclap Newman – Something In The Air
The Doors – End Of The Night

Final changes:

- remove “Strawberry Fields Forever”, “Penny Lane” and all “Sgt. Pepper” cuts (you’re better off just playing “Sgt. Pepper” and “Magical Mystery Tour” in their entirety!)
- add The Young Rascals, “A Beautiful Morning”
- add The Rolling Stones, “Ruby Tuesday”
- add Diana Ross & The Supremes, “Reflections”
- add The Monkees, “Words” (moved from Vol. 3)
- add Eric Burdon & The Animals, “San Franciscan Nights” (moved from Vol. 3)

—————————————

Original Disc 3:

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Commotion
Canned Heat – On The Road Again
Deep Purple – Hush
The Doors – The End
Vanilla Fudge – You Keep Me Hangin’ On
The Chambers Brothers – Time Has Come Today (long version)
Donovan – Atlantis
The Beatles – It’s All Too Much
Lemon Pipers – Green Tambourine
The Rolling Stones – She’s A Rainbow
Janis Ian – Society’s Child
Status Quo – Pictures Of Matchstick Men
The Rolling Stones – Sympathy For The Devil
Eric Burdon & The Animals – San Franciscan Nights
The Bee Gees – Words
The Monkees – Words
The Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter

Final changes:

- remove The Monkees, “Words” (moved to Vol. 2)
- remove “San Franciscan Nights” (moved to Vol. 2)
- remove “Gimme Shelter” (moved to Vol. 4)
- remove The Bee Gees, “Words” (great cut, but my goal was to create a truly great psychedelic disc)
- add The Human Beinz, “Nobody But Me” (an all-time favorite cut!)
- add Steppenwolf, “Magic Carpet Ride”
- add The Rolling Stones, “Street Fighting Man”

—————————————

Original Disc 4:

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Down On The Corner
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Fortunate Son
The Rolling Stones – Honky Tonk Women
Three Dog Night – Easy To Be Hard
The Monkees – Circle Sky
The Box Tops – Soul Deep
The Rolling Stones – Street Fighting Man
The Monkees – Porpoise Song
The Monkees – As We Go Along
Plastic Ono Band – Give Peace A Chance
The Monkees – Listen To The Band (long version)
Bob Dylan – Lay, Lady, Lay
Tammy Wynette – Stand By Your Man
Tommy James & The Shondells – Crystal Blue Persuasion
Sir Douglas Quintet – Mendocino
The Yongbloods – Get Together
The 5th Dimension – Aquarius/Let The Sun Shine In
The Beatles – Come Together
The Beatles – Something
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Up Around The Bend
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Who’ll Stop The Rain

Final changes:

- remove “Street Fighting Man” (moved to Vol. 3)
- remove “Stand By Your Man” (I’ll find a spot for that in another collection)
- remove “Something” (great cut, but having “Come Together” was sufficient)
- add The Rolling Stones, “Gimme Shelter” (moved from Vol. 3)
- add Three Dog Night, “One”
- add Crosby, Stills, & Nash, “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”

—————————————

Original Disc 5:

1. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Ramble Tamble
2. Diana Ross and The Supremes – Someday We’ll Be Together
3. Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water
4. The Beatles – Let it Be (album version)
5. Crosby Stills, Nash, & Young – Woodstock
6. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Lookin’ Out My Back Door
7. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Run Through The Jungle
8. Three Dog Night – Out In The Country
9. Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young – Ohio
10. The Doors – Peace Frog / Blue Sunday
11. Creedence Clearwater Revival – I Heard It Through The Grapevine (long version)
12. Melanie – Lay Down (Candles In The Rain)
13. The Doors – Roadhouse Blues
14. The Beach Boys – Student Demonstration Time
15. Sugarloaf – Green-Eyed Lady
16. Grand Funk Railroad – I’m Your Captain/Closer To Home (long version)

Final changes:

- remove “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (great cut, but it just didn’t fit)
- remove “Student Demonstration Time” (moved to Vol. 6)
- add Norman Greenbaum, “Spirit In The Sky” (a truly great cut from 1970)
- add Bread, “Make It With You” (moved from Vol. 6)
- add Vanity Faire, “Hitchin’ A Ride” (moved from Vol. 6)

—————————————

Original Disc 6:

1. Canned Heat – Let’s Work Together
2. The Doors – Ship Of Fools
3. The Doors – Land Ho!
4. Blues Image – Ride, Captain, Ride
5. The Moody Blues – Question
6. The Monkees – The Girl I Knew Somewhere
7. Janis Joplin – Me and Bobby McGee
8. The Doors – L.A. Woman
9. Vanity Faire – Hitchin’ A Ride
10. Bread – Make It With You
11. The Doors – Hyacinth House
12. Rolling Stones – Brown Sugar
13. Alive And Kickin’ – Tighter, Tighter
14. The Doors – Riders On The Storm
15. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Have You Ever Seen The Rain?
16. Michael Nesmith – Joanne
17. Bee Gees – How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?
18. Rolling Stones – Wild Horses
19. B.J. Thomas – Rock And Roll Lullaby

Final changes:

- remove “The Girl I Knew Somewhere” (a good cut, but little too light for this collection)
- remove “Me And Bobby McGee” (a good enough cut but I never liked the song)
- remove “Hitchin’ A Ride” (moved to Vol. 5)
- remove “Make It With You” (moved to Vol. 5)
- add Santana, “Black Magic Woman” (a great cut I had forgotten about)
- add Faces, “Stay With Me” (a “seven wonder” to be posted on soon)
- add The Beach Boys, “Student Demonstration Time” (moved from Vol. 5)

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:09 | Comments (5)
April 20, 2008

“I know all the birds of the mountains; the wild animals of the field are mine.” — Psalms 50:11

Just remembering the events of a year ago. We lit candles, said prayers, and even planted a cactus out front of our house in memory of our beloved rabbit Marble. But the sting of his loss remains acute a year after he departed this earthly life. For me, he was a great rabbit, but nevertheless a pet. To Tracey, however – well, let it just be said that she and Marble were more than that; they were soul mates (if such a thing were possible between human and rabbit). And in Tracey and Marble’s case, I believe it was – for they had a special relationship that transcended understanding from the very start (after all, he picked her out, not vice-versa), and the bond they shared from that moment was something quite extraordinary to behold, and precious.

So isn’t it interesting that a strange thing happened today? But before I pass this along, let me say this: I am not a believer in coincidence.

Last night, just around the time Marble died at the vet a year ago, we were blessed with the arrival of four yellow butterflys that chose our backyard to hunker down for the night. This by itself would be pretty extraordinary all in itself (if you ask me), but the way they did so was both very cool and worth mentioning – for the four of them settled down on the grass in front of our mesquite tree the shape of a cross.

Was Marble perhaps was trying to tell us something – something we already knew? That true love (whatever form that might take) is a gift from God not restricted to only human beings, and something that lasts forever?

Like I say, I’m not a believer in coincidence…

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:32 | Comment (1)
April 19, 2008

cb …continuing my list of the seven wonders of The Great White Shank’s musical world, without a doubt I would have to include The Chambers Brothers’ “Time Has Come Today”.

What is it that makes it one of the seven wonders? Original. Completely psychedelic. Lots of distorted guitar. Echo and reverberation everywhere. Backwards recorded stuff. That damned cowbell. All very ’60s. And all very much what The Great White Shank finds intriguing and alluring beyond all measure. Simply put, there is no other song like it. If you want to take a totally far-out trip back into the late ’60s, you can do no better than “Time Has Come Today”. Crank it up, man. VERY loud. Then disappear into yourself. Dance around the room. Embarass yourself before your family and neighbors. Feel the joy and find your own space. Groovy.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:08 | Comments (0)

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