June 30, 2008

Thoughts while wondering why the pool temperature never changes between 90-94 when the air temperatures never deviate between 86 and 110….

* If you want to live next to The Great White Shank there’s a heckuva deal next door (our house would be just to the left in the picture) at $242,600…

* I’m reading for the second time (the first was over a decade ago) Thomas Merton’s “The Seven Story Mountain”, and in doing so I’m convinced that the seeds of my own journey to Roman Catholicism was planted in my first reading many years ago. I can’t help but wondering… following my own conversion experience in 1994, why Merton? Why Henri Nouwen? Why St. John of the Cross? Sometimes the journey you think is so straight is not quite that way. And it’s only time and distance that reveals the road you have been traveling all along.

* The air is so still and the breeze so incredibly warm; it seems as if I’m the only person alive on this block – although I know there are people that live around us. There’s a bit of lightning in the distance – very cool; there’s something so humbling and surreal about the silence of the lightning when the only sound around is the peaceful lapping of water against the side of the pool.

* As much as this is a pleasant experience, deep down I know I don’t belong here. Perhaps its a defect in my own physical and mental being, but I have never – and probably will never – feel connected in any way to a place I live. I mean, think of it – as much as a New Englander as I am and will always be, I’ve left it behind twice – and willingly. Why is that? I know this – this place in Arizona will never feel like home to me. But then again, do I even have a home?

* I still remember shortly after my conversion experience picking up Henri Nouwen’s “The Genesee Diary” at the Burlington Mall Lauriat’s bookstore. I don’t even remember why that book, but I can tell you this – it made an incredible mark on me, and it was from that, that I was led to Thomas Merton and St. John of the Cross. There are few books in my life that have had the same kind of impact on me as “The Genesee Diary”, and if you’ve never read it I cannot recommend it enough. It will change your life.

* Which makes me think – is being a Christian all about understanding the woundedness not just in you but in the world around you? Maybe that’s why Nouwen’s writings were always so intimate and powerful. He certainly wasn’t afraid to let his readers know when and how his soul was hurting. Maybe we all need a little more of that. A little humilty in this life goes a long way…

Filed in: Religion & Culture,Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:45 | Comments Off on Floating
June 28, 2008

Every now and then a story comes across the wire you can’t possibly believe to be true until you read it, but here’s the headline: Man Dies After Taking 23 Shots in 30 Mins. Unbelievable, but sadly true:

A Florida man died Tuesday after taking more than two dozen shots of cherry vodka within a half hour, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office.

“We have witnesses that have described the victim as taking anywhere from 23 to 25 shots in 30 minutes,” Hillsborough County Sheriff’s spokesman J.D. Callaway told ABCNEWS.com.

Eric Morris, 26, was allegedly taking part in a drinking game with another patron at an adult nightclub, Angels Show Bar, in Seffner, Fla., just hours before he died, according to police.

“Apparently [other bar patrons] were describing the shots as ‘cherry bombs,'” said Callaway, referring to a shot of liquor that is typically made by combining cherry-flavored vodka with Red Bull, a popular energy drink.

While Morris’ drinking buddy, who police declined to identify, stopped playing the game after a few shots, Morris kept going.

One might ask themselves, where was the bartender in this? Well, she was pouring the damned shots!!

“Witnesses told us that the bartender kept setting up glasses of shots for [Morris] and then for whatever reason decided at shot glass 24 or 25 that she wasn’t going to serve him anymore,” Callaway said.

The manager at Angels Show Bar reached by ABCNEWS.com declined to comment until a full autopsy had been performed.

Moments after being refused more alcohol, Morris staggered away from the bar where he had been drinking and collapsed, according to police.

I gotta feeling that bartender might be in a wee bit of trouble before this is all over.

Like, can you can say, “accessory”?

Let this be a valuable equation to all Goodboys out there:

32 shots of vodka + 30 minutes + strip club = eternity

But seriously, some things just make you shake your head. What a tragic story…

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:23 | Comments (2)
June 27, 2008

Anyone under the impression that this country’s judicial system is completely out of whack needs only take a look at these first two items sent me by my good friend Pete, reporting live from the People’s Republic of Massachusetts:

1. Inmate wins case vs. state over diet. And not just any inmate, mind you – a baby killer. Believe it:

Fourteen years ago, Henry K. Boateng was sentenced to life in prison without parole after a Worcester jury convicted him of beating his 5-week-old son to death and viciously attacking the baby’s mother.

Now, Boateng, who has changed his name to Daniel Yeboah-Sefah and identifies himself as a Buddhist, has won a significant legal victory: A federal judge found that the state prison system violated his civil rights by denying him a vegan diet.

Although the prison system had offered Yeboah-Sefah a standard vegetarian diet, he has spent nearly a decade unsuccessfully seeking a vegan diet that excludes all animal products, including eggs and milk products.

Hmmm. Seems to me the court might have taken into consideration this vermin’s violation of that young child’s civil rights, wouldn’t you think? But remember, this is Massachusetts we’re talking about here.

2. Pete notes that the same judge in the Boateng – oh excuse me, the Yeboah-Sefah, case is also the same feller who has previously ruled that the state must pay for another murderer to have a sex change operation:

A killer who sued to have a sex change claims her body is becoming more masculine because she’s being denied treatment in prison as she awaits a ruling in her bid for the surgery.

Michelle Kosilek, formerly known as Robert, said that for months she has not been allowed to have court-approved hair-removal treatment or access to a specialist to discuss her testosterone levels.

Robert Kosilek was sentenced to life in prison in the 1990 murder of his wife. Kosilek said the slaying was self-defense after she poured boiling tea on his genitals.

Kosilek, 58, who legally changed her name to Michelle in 1993 and has been living as a woman, first sued the Department of Correction in 2000, saying its refusal to allow her to have sex-change surgery violates the Eighth Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment.

You’ve heard of inmates running the asylum? Well Massachusetts is a circus, and the inmates and their cretin lawyers are the ringleaders. Not only is this a ridiculous interpretation of cruel and unusual punsishment (hell, I could say the same thing if being forced to listen to Barbra Streisand’s Greatest Hits), this is an unbelievable waste of taxpayer money.

Why people put up with this crap is beyond me. Now here in Phoenix, we have ol’ Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who knows what the law is all about and is not fond of being compassionate to those who break the law:

Also impressive are the Sheriff’s get tough policies. For example, he banned smoking, coffee, movies, pornographic magazines, and unrestricted TV in all jails. He has the cheapest meals in the U.S. too. The average meal costs about 15 cents, and inmates are fed only twice daily, to cut the labor costs of meal delivery. He even stopped serving them salt and pepper to save tax payers $20,000 a year.

Another program Arpaio is very well known for is the pink undershorts he makes all inmates wear. Years ago, when the Sheriff learned that inmates were stealing jailhouse white boxers, Arpaio had all inmate underwear dyed pink for better inventory control. The same is true for the Sheriff’s handcuffs. When they started disappearing, he ordered pink handcuffs as a replacement. And later, when the Sheriff learned the calming, psychological effects of the color pink—sheets, towels, socks— everything inmates wear, except for the old-fashioned black and white striped uniform, were dyed pink.

Heh. Lots of liberals and activists out here criticize Sheriff Joe for his tough-as-nails stand against those who have entered the country illegally, but he’s not just a one-trick pony. Two weeks ago, to celebrate Father’s Day, Arpaio’s staff conducted “Operation Daddy Dearest” and arrested a slew of deadbeat dads, and this week, Sheriff Joe takes to the city of Mesa for a much-publicized “crime suppression sweep” that has immigrants rights activists up in arms. Pretty funny – these people are accusing Arpaio of “racial profiling”; last time I checked, I didn’t see a lot of Turks, Samoans, and Tahitians hanging around every Home Depot and hardware store each and every morning.

And finally, today’s news that the Supreme Court striking down handgun bans being enacted in a number of cities is not a bad thing. I’m no fan of guns by any means, but if the D.C. ban on handguns were to have been upheld, you would have seen war declared on guns and gun owners everywhere. As the first two headlines above show, liberals have no problem aggressively protecting the rights of convicted killers so they are given all sorts of crazy permissions, but they go nuts when it comes to allowing innocent citizens the right to defend themselves.

It’s a world gone mad.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 01:47 | Comments Off on Court Jesters
June 25, 2008

vcugini Greetings to everyone out in “The Nation”. Victor N. Cugini, CEO of Kittyhawk Productions here. I’m blogging to you live from Chez Jay‘s on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, California, just down the road apiece from where KP’s new headquarters will be located. I know what you’re probably thinking – aren’t I supposed to be working with Mark, Doug, Keys, and The Cat to get the final mix of Top Priority’s upcoming Anthology CD finalized, get the KP website completed, and help Keys kick-start his “JP’s Big Show” with a few new gigs. Sorry, but the surf has been pretty clean of late and it’s summer, so that’s where it’s at.

Consider this post, then, the product of a “working lunch”.

I’ve been getting a lot of e-mail questions about the band and their “Anthology CD”, so I’ve compiled a “Top Five” list of questions and have accepted The Great White Shank’s gracious invitation to use this venue as a way to answer those questions and save on ISP and stationary costs. (Hey, no one ever accused Kittyhawk Productions, even back in its mid-’70s heyday, of being loose with a buck.) So here goes…

Q: What’s the status of the Anthology CD?
A: It’s mixed down, and Paul [Ed. note: executive producer Paul Sorvino] and I are waiting for the OK from the boys. All the artwork – you saw the front, here’s the back, and here’s the CD label (pretty nice looking, eh?) is complete, so once we get final sign-off, the CD will be available via the KP website once that is launched.

Q: And that will be…?
A: Like Teddy Roosevelt (or was it Sid Vicious?) said, the business of America is business. And unfortunately, sometimes business gets in the way of business. All I can say is, the work is ongoing, with a formal launch now scheduled for sometime late-summer/early fall.

Q: Are the boys together on all this?
A: Yes, very together.

Q: Are there any plans for a Top Priority reunion?
A: Not at this time. It’s doubtful – I mean, you have the logistics and everything. I will say that Doug and Keys have at least tossed around the idea of proposing something very limited in scope in the future with Mark and The Cat. Nothing definite, more of a ‘what if’ kind of thing…

Q: What do you see in the future for Kittyhawk Productions?
A: Nothing less than a multi-million dollar music and publishing conglomerate capable of swallowing smaller labels with a single gulp. While primarily dedicated to spreading the legacy of Top Priority and supporting any current and future ventures the boys might be involved in, we’ll be looking at signing other acts as well.

Well my Swordfish a la Siciliana is about to arrive and my Tequila Sunrise could use a little refreshing, so it’s time for me to say sayonara. But before I do, I want to share with everyone a new song composition called “Great White Shark Blues”. My first collaboration with Keys Palma in more than thirty years (he’s writing the music), it’s a bit of a cross between The Beach Boys’ “Little Deuce Couple” and Gary Usher and The Super Stocks’ “Malibu Blues”. I hope you like it:

Now what’ll I do on this sun-shiney day
A boater saw a shark swimming out in the bay
It wasn’t no dolphin nor a humback whale
About 35 feet from his head to his tail
Oh I feel so bad, I’ve got the Great White Shark blues.

I feel like a doorknob without any door
I wanna ride the surf all the way to the shore
Instead of loading surfboards in the back of my car
I’m sitting with my friends in this cool dark bar
Oh I feel so bad, I’ve got the Great White Shark blues

Great White Shark blues
Great White Shark blues
Great White Shark blues
Great White SHark blues, my life I don’t wanna lose!

(instrumental break)

If that shark weren’t here I’d be duck diving out
Kicking off the lip and giving a shout
The problem is that instead of hanging five
I’d be flailing for shore just tryin’ to stay alive
Oh I feel so bad, I’ve got the Great White Shark blues

Later dudes, keep the faith!

Filed in: Top Priority - News! by vcugini at 01:03 | Comments Off on Victor Checking In
June 24, 2008

obama Reality. Man, there’s just something about reality that slaps you upside the head and makes you question what the heck you were thinking in the first place. I often think about my sister-in-law and her idiot former husband, who moved their dysfunctional family and abusive relationship from Maine to Florida – as the venerable Howie Carr calls it, “that sunshiney state for shady people – thinking warm weather and palm trees would be a cure-all. Or U.S. companies who think they can hire cheap India resources to replace North American workers and not see any impact in their customer satisfaction ratings. Or Baltimore Oriole fans who are surprised to see come May 15 that pennants are not won in April.

Which brings me to Barack Obama. OK, I’ll admit it – for a couple of months there I drank the Kool-Aid thinking this guy, while not the messiah many of his followers thought or still think he was/is, was different – calculating, yes, but a charismatic and fearless politician with a true message for changing the way political campaigns, and ultimately, Washington, could be run. That he was a left-wing liberal I had no doubt, but at the core I still thought there was something unusually attractive, drawing, and non-partisan about him – to the point where I was seriously considering voting for him in the November election.

That was then, this is now. So color me disillusioned to find out that Obama, far from being an exciting change-agent comet blazing brilliantly across the American political landscape, appears to be nothing but just another empty-suited political animal whose actions fall far beneath the rhetoric he espouses.

Y’know, unlike a lot of conservate commentators and observers out there, the Jeremiah Wright church connection and controversy never really bothered me. After all, I have no clue what it is to be black and to look at this country and its history through an African-American prism – let’s face it, it was only 40+ years ago that fire hoses and dogs were still being used against marchers in Alabama and Mississippi, and racially-separate drinking fountains and restrooms were common across the South. What has caused the Obama disillusionment I feel are a number of missteps he and his campaign have taken in the past few months that have revealed an arrogance and behavior not associated with true change agents, but with politicians only concerned with getting power and keeping it.

What started it for me was the e-mails his campaign sends out to those who expressed an interest in working for him. Rather than trumpeting Obama’s positive and hopeful message of bi-partisanship and his own plans for America, they contain the same old divisive politics of personal attacks against John McCain. (Not that the GOP literature I get in my mail doesn’t do the same thing against Obama, but that’s my point – from the parties of both candidates it’s still politics as usual, all negative attacks and nothing more, and I’m just sick of it.) I don’t know, for some reason I expected more – and better – from his campaign. In addition:

2. Obama tossing Jeremiah Wright and his church under the bus. This showed me that the guy will be willing to do anything to become President. I mean, if that’s the church you’ve been attending for years, why not just tell the press to sod off and say that the church you attend and how you practice your faith through it means more to you and your family than any political campaign?

3. Obama’s unwillingness to support school choice for parents. Of course, public education and the dollars contributed by the teachers unions make for a critical voting bloc in the Democrats’ hope for success this November, but a true agent of change would be able to craft a message that both satisfies this key constituency and also recognizes the obvious – that public education in this country is a cesspool of waste when it comes to taxpayers’ dollars and the quality of education – especially in the nation’s inner cities.

4. Obama’s continued mischaracterization of John McCain’s comments about how long he thinks the U.S. should stay in Iraq. Obama knows he is retelling a lie over and over again and should know better. You’d think a true agent of change would strive for higher standards in political discourse and eschew simply repeating political talking points.

5. Obama’s recent decision to forego public campaign financing, breaking a pledge (one I had never supported, BTW) he had made previously.

6. The Obama campaign’s recent decision to begin limiting media access as a way to more carefully craft his image to voters. Anyone else see the warning signs in this?

7. Most importantly in my view, Obama’s reluctance to take up McCain’s offer of a series of ten “town hall” meetings between now and November where the candidates just debate the issues and answer questions from real people. No carefully staged and crafted stupid debate events where nothing is ever really said – just converstaions with the American people in non-partisan public settings. To me, this would be the equivalent of throwing open the window and letting the sunshine and fresh air into a stuffy and stale room. After all, there are significant differences between these two candidates in terms of vision and political stance on virtually everything, and the country would be incredibly well served to hear these debated and expressed in a true public setting over the course of the campaign.

Sure, McCain is offering this from the perspective of being behind in the polls with nothing to lose and everything to gain, but a true reformer and agent of change would not be afraid of this kind of opportunity – actually, he would embrace it as a way of showing that he’s not like every other politician. Only an empty-suit lacking in confidence and/or afraid of people seeing who he really is or believes would agree to only one, and then on a date like July 4th when no one would be watching. Obama, what are you afraid of?

So count me disillusioned with Barack Obama. The charismatic and bold agent of change who burst upon the political scene in the snow-covered landscape of Iowa in January has, in June, seems to have revealed himself to be just another arrogant politician who will say and do anything to become President. And that’s just not good enough to get my vote. As Blake Dvorak writes today, it’s time for Obama to show he’s willing to re-think some of the left’s traditional positions – perhaps on school choice, or the UN, tax policy, oil drilling, and/or entitlement programs – and suggest slaughtering a few of his party’s sacred cows for the sake of the country’s future security and economic well-being.

Otherwise, if he keeps doing what he’s doing and the disillusionment I feel were to become more widespread, the only one Obama will be able to blame come November 5th is that person staring back at him in the mirror.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 01:13 | Comments Off on Disillusionment
June 22, 2008

palm The temps are pushing to a near-record high of 114. The relative humidity is a whopping 2%. The pool temerature is 94 with a bullet. The pretty flowers planted in the pots outside on the patio in May are slowing turning from green to a golden, crispy brown. Open the slider door and you know how a tray of beer-battered fish sticks feel like when they’re slid into the oven.

Welcome to late June in the Valley Of the Sun!

The weekends here are meant for relaxation and staying close to – but not out in – the blistering heat. Sure, there’s time set aside for church on Saturday afternoons, but that’s an absolute necessity – I need this time to be soul-quiet and away from the obligations of work and the steady push to rid ourselves of credit card debt through our Total Money Makeover. Amidst the beauty of God’s creation, there should always be time set aside to worship and give thanks in the Lord’s Presence in a spirit of humility and gratitude for all of the blessings we often take so much for granted.

Once noontime comes, boat drinks are on the menu – today, a Pusser’s Painkiller #2 for me, a Volcano Blast (Bacardi Light Rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, grenadine topped with Cruzan Black Strap Rum) for Tracey. “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” is the mantra of the day.

I feel bad for the flowers shriveling away in those pots outside. I’m thinking a trip to Hi’s Silk Flowers to replace them with artificial palm trees is in order in the next few days. With the Tiki Bar so close by I think they’d look fantastic and set the appropriate tone…

On the stereo, a five-hour mix of surf music – both classic and modern retro – is pulsating. Our mix features a lot of classic and modern music by The Sandals (their “Spirit Of Surf” CD is one of my all-time faves), Dick Dale and His Del-Tones, The Beach Boys, and one of my favorite all-time classic surf CDs – Gary Usher and The Super Stocks’ “Surf Route 101”. As I mentioned the other day in this post on Jan & Dean’s “Surf City”, Usher’s music hearkens back to those heady, optimistic years of the early ’60s when anything seemed possible: a young, dynamic JFK was President, Vietnam and Dylan’s cynicism and questioning of authority, while looming on the horizon, was still a few years away, and if you mentioned the “British Invasion” to someone, they’d think you were talking about the War of 1812. Elliot Kendall, in this tribute to Gary Usher, writes how Usher’s work on “Surf Route 101” was an accurate reflection of his surroundings during those times:

At the time of Usher’s writing, the beaches were packed with surfers and pleasure seekers who were living the California dream. The music in this album, both vocal and instrumental, reflects the mood and the lifestyles of those times. Prepare yourself for an exciting adventure and get the convertible ready; you’re taking the scenic route.

And what a scenic route for the mind it is! In “Surf Route 101”, Usher’s lyrics – like those in “Surf City” – are what the surf culture of the early ’60s was all about: sun, sand, surf, waves, honeys, and – more than anything else – freedom:

If you gotta date tomorrow, well you’re better doing the breaking (Surf route 101)
It’s early in the morning, now we’re going, gonna make it (Surf route 101)
Better get rooting if you wanna have some fun
Woodies are moving up the surf route 101

Load up your wagon and bring along some news (Surf route 101)
And head up for 101, the surfer’s route (Surf route 101)
Got blondes, brunettes, and redheads, too
There’s two for me and there’s one for you

Up and down the coast where you know it’s not disturbed (Surf route 101)
They come from miles around when the surf is breaking good (Surf route 101)
High in the mountains and the deserts too
Cherry little woodies, and they’re driving deuce coupes too

At the break of dawn we’ll be on our way (Surf route 101)
Gonna hit a different spot ‘cos there’s been a game (Surf route 101)
From Baja to Rincon, your favorite beach
On surf route 101 they’re so easy to reach…

Surf route 101
Surf route 101
Surf route 101

Was a lot of it narcissistic bull$hit? Like the so-called “Summer Of Love” several years hence, probably. But there’s no escaping the spirit of freedom and optimism contained in that wonderful genre called “surf music”. Long live Fender guitars and twin-Reverb amps!

And on an afternoon where the shade and a fully-functional A/C unit is an absolute requirement, the tunes wash over you like a perfect wave and go down as slow and easy as that boat drink in your hand. On the turf and listening to surf, life seems very good indeed…

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:18 | Comments (2)
June 20, 2008

peanut The e-mail came from one of my co-workers two weeks ago. A little white rabbit was seen that morning happily munching on grass in his yard. It seemed pretty tame and not skittish in any way, so he figured it was either someone’s pet that somehow got loose or more likely, given my co-worker’s proximity to a local park, was let go to fend for itself after an unsuccessful trial period as a family pet.

Important note: The latter happens a lot around this time of year. No matter how much house rabbit proponents and enthusiasts try to educate the public that giving a child a pet rabbit for Easter simply because they’re cute and cuddly is a very bad idea (after all, rabbits require a lot of care and they do grow up), it still happens far too often. In too many cases, once the thrill of a new rabbit wears off, they are often neglected, mistreated, and/or ultimately let loose by people figuring that rabbits naturally know how to fend for themselves in the wild. But domesticated rabbits bred for public sale don’t.

But I digress.

Anyways, my co-worker asked me what he should do, so I told him if the rabbit was still there when he got home after work to call me. Of course, I said that thinking that by the time he’d get home the rabbit would be gone, and that would be that.

No such luck.

When my office phone rang around 7 that night I knew who was going to be on the other end. Sure enough, it was Dan – the rabbit was not just still at his house, he had cornered it and put it in a small pet carrier, his dog was going nuts, and his cat was scratching at the carrier trying to get at the bunny. Did I have any ideas – hint hint?

Fast forward an hour. Said rabbit is now ensconsed in our bedroom, occupying Marble’s old cage, devouring the food we had placed in Marble’s old food dish and drinking from his old water dish. If for anything else, the little bugger was already serving a valuable purpose by providing a sense of closure to a pet loss my wife was still struggling to overcome. Couldn’t help but think how God works in mysterious ways…

Tracey named the rabbit Peanut and threatened to replace my surf music mix with a combination of greatest hits CDs by Barbra Streisand, Air Supply, and Mary J. Blige if I dare turn it over to a local rabbit rescue organization. The only way that rabbit was leaving here is if its rightful owner were to turn up. I’m no fool – I estimated the chances of that somewhere akin to Barack Obama staging a “Let’s Drill In ANWR- NOW!” campaign event outside a privately-run charter school while recruiting members for the NRA.

After several days of the usual found-a-stray activities (ad in the paper, check the local classifieds and Craig’s List – THE hot go-to place for lost and found pets these days, BTW [who woulda thunk it?], obligatory trip to the vet, etc.) two things were certain: 1) the rabbit was a 3-6 month-old female and unspayed (most likely, another Easter gift gone wrong), and 2) rabbits have a keen sense of knowing when another is suddenly in their midst – even when sight unseen in another room.

Now understand that our other three rabbits – Marble Junior and Half Pint (both spayed females), and Cosmo (neutered male) have always been well behaved when it comes to their bathroom habits, keeping to their litter boxes pretty faithfully when nature calls. But having an unspayed female in the house has obviously short-circuited some inner bunny mechanism and set the whole place on edge. All of a sudden, everyone wants to stake out their territory, and for a rabbit that means leaving cocoa puffs all over the place and increased time in the litter pans. We’ve been going through bags of litter like crazy, and that stuff ain’t cheap. On top of that, each seems to sense in some way that they’ve been knocked down one spot in the pecking order, and a deep sense of melancholy prevails. Rabbits sulking – unbelievable!

As for Peanut, if her adolescent hormones weren’t raging out in the wild, being in such close proximity to other rabbits and their scents is having a profound effect. When let out of her cage for a romp and a stretch around the bedroom, she’s broadcasting her scent in virtually every way possible, chinning every piece of furniture she can find (rabbits have scent glands there) and leaving a trail of cocoa puffs wherever she goes. (Given the quantity of that trail, I’m thinking she holding extra in especially for these special occasions!

So… the whole rabbit world at 1025 W. Hearne Way has been turned upside down. Which, in the end, means the same holds true for the human occupants of the same quarters.

The good thing is that come Tuesday little Peanut has a date with the knife and within a couple of weeks she’ll start to settle down and the crisis will have passed.

I can’t speak for the other females in the house, but at least for me and my good buddy Cosmo, that day can’t come soon enough.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 10:55 | Comments (2)
June 19, 2008

So Tiger Woods is done for the year as a result of needing knee surgery, just days after winning the U.S. Open.

Every time you think you’ve seen everything Tiger Woods can do on a golf course, he comes up with something else that makes you shake your head in amazement and marvel at his talent, discipline, drive, and accomplishments. Take this past weekend, for instance. To have prevailed and won a five-day, 91-hole marathon called the U.S. Open Championship when you’re not 100% healthy is one thing – to do it with with a torn ligament in your left knee and a double stress fracture in your left leg is an incredible feat. Keep in mind it’s just not all the pressure that goes with a major championship and all the golf shots he had to make over that five-day period – he also had to walk the course those five days. And never mind all the time at the range, the practice shots, and all the off-course obligations that go with an event like the U.S. Open.

We who follow professional golf, whether professionally or casually, are truly privileged to do so in the Tiger Woods era. Talk all you want about the advantages the modern professional golfer has in this day and age – equipment, golf courses, ease of travel, the money, etc. – Tiger keeps showing us time and again why he will go down in history as the greatest golfer that ever lived.

A speedy recovery to Tiger, and we look forward to seeing him back out on the links in 2009.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 01:46 | Comments Off on The Amazing Tiger
June 18, 2008

Congratulations to the Boston Celtics for winning their 17th NBA Championship. To watch them blow out the L.A. Lakers like they did last night was pretty cool, especially since none of the local radio sports jocks gave the Celtics any chance against L.A. (some were even predicting a sweep, no less); the same for all the syndicated sports talk shows – not surprising, given that they all originate out of Tinseltown.

It wasn’t surprising that all the attention was paid to the “Big Three” of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen. Pierce had an exceptional series and deserved the MVP award. But for my money the key player in the clinching game was guard Rajon Rondo, who seemed to be everywhere – stealing passes, blocking shots, running the offense effectively, and dishing the ball all over the place. Clearly, the lakers had no answer to his intensity and pace.

Of course, that no one around here locally thought much of the Celtics’ chances is completely understandable. Phoenix is a basketball town and a NBA Western Conference basketball town. And, with all the wacko Californians out here, there’s no shortage of Laker fans. So to watch the Lakers not only lose the NBA Finals but to be outplayed and outhustled in virtually every game was pretty cool.

…Almost as cool as watching the Red Sox obliterate the New York Yankees every now and then. Almost, but not quite. That never gets old!

One might well argue that with the Sox as World Series champions, the Celtics as NBA champs, and the New England Patriots – no longer cheating and barring any significant injuries – expected to go deep into the NFL post-season any given year, Boston is the hub of the professional sports universe. Which is pretty cool.

Now if the Bruins would win the Stanley Cup this year…oh, has the hockey season ended? I hadn’t noticed. How did the Bruins do anyways?

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 01:17 | Comments Off on Sports Hub
June 17, 2008

The Boston Globe’s John Powers opens his column today by asking the question, is Becky Hammon a traitor, or just a woman chasing her Olympic dream?

The answer to both questions may in fact be yes. But I have a bigger question:

Is there a better example of the selfish, self absorbed, me-first-the-hell-with-everyone-else culture of today’s generation than U.S. basketball player and WNBA star Becky Hammon choosing to play for the Russian women’s basketball team in the Beijing Olympics? My boldings…

The 31-year-old Hammon, who wasn’t among those in the original American player pool, says that she just wants to play in the Olympics and that she had only a remote chance of doing so for Uncle Sam. So when the Russian opportunity opened up as part of her seven-figure deal with the CSKA Moscow club, Hammon jumped.

“The jersey that I wear has never made me who I was,” Hammon told ESPN.com. “It has nothing to do with what’s written on my heart. Will I be playing for Russia? Yes. But I’m absolutely 100 percent still an American.”

It doesn’t take a genius here to figure out that the answer to my own question is an obvious YES. Not good enough to represent your country in the Olympics? No worries mate, just go play for another – no big deal, right? After, it’s the Olympics, right? And the girl’s just pursuing her dream, right?

Well, no.

Here’s what U.S. women’s basketball team coach Anne Donovan had to say about Hammon’s decision:

“If you play in this country, live in this country, and you grow up in the heartland and you put on a Russian uniform, you are not a patriotic person,” declared US women’s basketball coach Anne Donovan.

But it’s more than that – much more. While Powers rightly points out that Hammon is not the first of her kind to put personal ambition before country, that doesn’t let her, or those who preceded her, and certainly those who will undoubtedly follow her off the hook.

After all, there’s something bigger at stake here.

Say the Russian team wins a medal at the Olympics (not something out of the question, BTW – after all, it’s not as if Hammon will be playing for the basketball equivalent of the Jamaican bobsled team.) Will Hammon stand proudly at the podium while the Russian flag is being raised high and the Russian national anthem is playing? Will she feel any tinge of guilt, remorse, or unease at her own selfish act denying an otherwise-deserving Russian woman the once-in-a-lifetime chance of representing her own country proudly on the international stage?

My guess is, I highly doubt it. Because the only person Becky Hammon cares about is herself. And to hell with everyone else. I mean, a girl’s gotta pursue her dream, right? Even if it means squashing another’s.

I wonder if Hammon’s family, friends, and teammates are proud of her. Given today’s me-first generation and the Baby Boomers whose warped sense of values has helped make this all possible, it wouldn’t surprise me at all.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 05:31 | Comments (3)


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