July 16, 2008

Hat tip: Free Republic:

Another reason to play golf fast – it’s keeps the inebriated foursome in back of you at a safe distance so that they don’t get annoyed at you to the point of violence:

Auburn Police say a golfer used a 6-iron to assault another golfer, hitting the victim so hard he broke the club.

“There’s a lot of rules in golf and if you break the rules some people tend to take it really seriously out here, so I’m not really surprised someone got assaulted,” said golfer Ryan Aker.

“There was a group of golfers ahead of another group of golfers and there seemed to be some disagreement on the speed in which the golfers ahead were playing,” said Cmdr William Pierson, Auburn Police.

The argument between two groups of four golfers started at the 13th hole, and by the 15th it turned physical. That’s when a 33-year-old Puyallup man pulled out his 6-iron and swung at the victim’s head.

“It was just heat of the moment. He believed his friends were in some kind danger and he was going to solve the problem by introducing some sort of weapon,” said Pierson.

Now me, I would never use my 6-iron for such an ugly purpose – I love my 6-iron. Now my 7-iron – that’s a whole ‘nuther thing. (Of course, were I to hit someone squarely with my 7-iron, it would be probably the first time ever it has ever hit anything that flush.

…Here’s the part of the article that should come as no surprise to anyone:

Other golfers say they aren’t surprised, especially because it appears alcohol was a factor on both sides.

“There’s a lot of beer and stuff involved. A lot of times people drink and come out to have a good time, but sometimes testosterone flies,” said golfer Nik Williams.

“When alcohol is involved and people are stopping at the 9th green to throw a few back before they go on the back 9, there’s always some kind of argument going on,” said Aker.

Sigh. Not that alcohol and golf have ever joined forces during a Goodboys event, but it’s something I’ll definitely consider and contemplate over while I’m jetting east for this weekend’s Goodboys Invitational. The weather is supposed to be sunny and pleasant, and I’m ready for a vacation – even if it’s only for a few days.

See y’all in Eastern Daylight Time!

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 01:38 | Comments (0)
July 15, 2008

God. Surf. Debt. Away from my beloved family and friends, that’s pretty much what constitutes The Great White Shank’s earthly existence these days. Sure, there are the usual more mundane concerns and pursuits that float in and out of that circle – work (lots of it), the rabbits, the A/C unit, for example – but the Big Three is pretty much where all the action is these days. Let’s take a close look at each of these in a little more detail – a “State of The Great White Shank’s Union”, if you will:

God:
What can I say, I’m on a slow barge drifting with the current across the Tiber, away from Canterbury and towards the Roman Catholic Church. This journey, which started on almost a whim last year, has seen its share of fits and starts; there has been a lot of questioning, contemplation, and prayer; but I’m feeling very positive about this direction and really don’t see myself ever looking to the Episcopal Church as a way to being spiritually fed ever again.

Attending Mass has become very important to me, and I feel like the Roman Catholic Church is the first church I’ve attended in my life where the focus is on God’s love for humanity and the evangelical mission that draws from that. Here the focus is not on the preacher or the priest, or whether the sermon was good or tied together all the lessons neatly, or whether the music was tolerable, or whether the church is liberal or conservative in its theology, or whether gays and lesbians are welcome or not. It’s not about the priest, the church (big “C” or little “c”), or the congregation – the Mass is all about the sacrifice of Christ given for us out of His love poured out for us, received in His Real Presence. Even though I don’t receive, it is still a truly humbling and moving experience to simply be present in His Holy and Eternal Presence. It centers my spiritual life and keeps my soul moving forward to (I pray) spiritual unification with Him.

And from that, becoming reacquainted with my old friends from my original conversion experience – Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, and St. John of the Cross, among others, has made this journey all the more special and freeing. Lots of demons are being exorcised along the way, and yet I’m under no misconception that this is anything else but yet another phase in a long and convuluted journey of faith. It hasn’t been easy, and I can’t say when I’ll take that final step and ask to be received into His Church, but the day is coming. And when it does, it will seem as natural as breathing.

Surf: There’s no question that this year has seen a magical re-introduction of surf music into my life. It’s kinda funny that I ever even got into surf music, because I only came to listen to it around 1974 or ’75 (more than a decade since its heyday) as my brother Mark and I began to work our way back from the most recent Beach Boys album released at that time (“The Beach Boys In Concert”) to their earliest surf albums, and from there branched off into “The Endless Summer” by The Sandals.

Mark never went any further than that, but I’ve always listened to it off and on as the spirit moved me (usually in the summer, of course), and, while never collecting a lot of it, had a classic surfing hits CD to go along with my Beach Boys CDs and a couple of later releases by The Sandals. This year, however (and I’m not sure why), it’s just grabbed me in a big way. Maybe because I can feel my spritual life coming around after a seven-year drought and want the music I listen to to reflect that positive direction (after all, it’s pretty hard to stay in the dumps when surf music is playing!). Maybe because I feel the music in a different way than I used to – now it’s not just the driving beat and the twang of reverb guitar, but a feeling of celebration of God’s creation present in that special mix of sunshine, surf, and sand. (I’d include chicks, but I’m married…)

Make sense to you? If not, that’s OK, but I’ve discovered some great new bands to mix along with the more classic surf songs and groups – The Aqualads, The Surf Zombies, The Diamond Heads, The Metalunas, The Sharkskins, just to name a few. Check my updated CD mix for all the bands represented, and I encourage you to check them out. Believe me, you’ll be “stoked”.

Debt:

When we look back on 2008, it will be the year that Tracey and I finally began to take control of our finances and our financial situation more seriously. Like most people, we have spent our married lives (actually before) simply buying things because we felt like it, with no thought whatsoever about how and when we were going to pay for them. Don’t get me wrong, the credit cards we have used have served as plastic magic carpets upon which we rode the tradewinds to many beautiful places around the Western Hemisphere. Not having children, we have been blessed to have had the opportunity to travel quite a bit, taking numerous vacations and cruises, and live the good life without a thought as to how we were going to pay for it in the future.

I’m not sure when we finally realized we had to do something about our credit card debt – maybe the trigger was that sober realization of seeing somewhere around nine cards in circulation and about $60K on them that got our attention. And last fall, after returning from our last vacation, we started that long and lonely trek to debt-freedom by attacking a Chase card that had ballooned to over $16K, getting that down to below $10K before declaring all-out war on our Bank of America cards (another $16K). We didn’t have any kind of plan – we were just attacking the cards we were most sick of and making some progress doing so. But we hadn’t truly engaged the battle or committed ourselves to becoming debt-free.

Enter Dave Ramsey. One night, I caught the new Fox Business Network while channel-surfing and came upon “The Dave Ramsey Show”. Now I had heard Ramsey before on the radio, catching his syndicated show from time to time but never really paying much attention to it. For some reason, however, that night my eyes met Dave’s gazing back at me from across the room on that big-screen TV, and something finally clicked. And when it did it was as if a light wa sturned on and two paths had magically intersected. Everything he was preaching (and preaching he does, with an evangelical fervor!) made sense to us, and we were hooked.

Since that time, we have bought Dave’s “Total Money Makeover” book and are steadily working our way through his “Baby Step 2” (eliminating all debt outside of your primary home mortgage). That $60K in credit card debt of last November has been reduced to $17K, we have begun our “debt snowball”, and our goal (God willing) is to be completely debt-free with the exception of our home mortgage by around this time next year when we expect to finish off the $30K loan we took out on my 403-B to buy our house.

The impact of having a plan and a goal of being debt-free has really changed our lives and the way we live. For me, this has become a crusade in the truest sense of the word – I see it as a way to help my soul detach itself from the world and what the world considers important in some real and measurable fashion. I was never a big possessions or “toys” guy anyways, but there’s a sense that living our lives in a more disciplined way glorifies God in some way – perhaps by preparing us for new and different paths that can only be opened to those who have been more financially disciplined in their lives. I don’t know, we’ll see, but I can tell you that every credit card that gets paid off (we’re down to three from nine) has lifted a weight I had never really felt before from my shoulders. If our situation sounds familar to you, give Dave Ramsey a try.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:50 | Comments (0)
July 14, 2008

pic

“Good evening, I’m Kelly Tilghman here on the Sprint Post-Game Show, where, if you don’t mind me saying, we could could care less what happened this past weekend at the stupid John Deere Classic – or, as we like to call it here at The Golf Channel – the “Dear John Classic”, because, as everyone knows, no one of any importance played there.”

(Group laughter and snickering)

“This week, all the golf world’s attention will be focused on Brewster, Massachusetts where the 18th annual Goodboys Invitational is about to take place. I’m joined here as usual by Brian Hewitt, Frank Nobilo, and the erstwhile Peter Oosterhuis for a preview of what promises to be yet another exciting Goodboys Invitational. Welcome, gentlemen.”

(crickets chirping)

FN: Ummm.. well, yes, of course you’re right, Kelly. It is the Goodboys Invitational weekend, and I for one can’t wait to see how all the action unfolds.

BH: What makes this year’s tournament so intriguing is the fact that last year’s champions, Steve “Killer” Kowalski and Doug “The Great White Shank” Richard chose not to defend their title, leaving the field wide open. I know I can’t pick a favorite team right now.

KT: Well, lets break those teams down and assess their chances then, shall we? Peter, Mike “Vegas” Clark and Ben “The Funny Guy” Andrusaitis – do they have a shot?”

PO: Well the big question is going to be “Vegas”‘ health and how well that elbow with the tendonitis holds up over two days of golf. One thing you can be certain of is that with “The Funny Guy” as a partner there won’t be a whole lot of peace and quiet surrounding him. When you play with “The Funny Guy” it’s not just the birds out there doing the chirping.

BH: I wonder if doing the bunny hop hurts your tennis elbow? (Brian is referring to the traditional “bunny hop” humilation bet, where the losing team has to bunny hop around the practice green, regardless of who may be out there at the time.)

PO: Believe me, it doesn’t.

FN: How would you know, Peter?

PO: I lost a bunny hop bet with Faldo over whether Kelly would lose her job over that Tiger Woods “lynch” comment.

(Frank, Peter, and Brian laugh. Kelly shifts uneasily in her seat)

KT (quickly changing the subject): Brian, is this the year Kevin “Goose” Dwyer wins his first Goodboys Invitational? Is this the year the so-called “Best Player To Have Never Won A Goodboys Invitational” finally gets that monkey off his back?

BH: Kelly, “Goose” Dwyer is ready for a break-out year, in my opinion. All the tumblers appear to have fallen into place for him – he has a top-flight partner in “Killer” this year, “Vegas” Clark has a bad wing, and, to top it off, he got a few extra strokes on his handicap from the Executive Committee as a result of his less-than-inspiring play over the past few years. That’s living right, I’ll tell you.

FN: So Brian, you’re saying that the only way “Goose” doesn’t win this year is if the other Goodboys lynch him in a back alley?

(Kelly’s face turns red)

PO: Of course, “Vegas” Clark is not the only Goodboy with health issues this year. Pat “Doggy Duval” McLaughlin is suffering from a pinched nerve in his back, and his ability to play well will be questionable.

FN: Right, Peter – it almost seems as if these guys are falling apart, and they’re not even old yet. You’ve only got two fully healthy teams – the “Killer” / “Goose” team and “The Great White Shank” and Ron “Cubby” Myerow. And in the case of the latter, I just don’t see a strong enough performance coming out of either of these guys to take the pressure off the other. The one good thing about this team is, with TGWS’ lefty slice and “Cubby’s” power pull, at least they’ll always be on the same side of the course…

KT: “The Great White Shank” has orange balls.

(Brian, Frank, and Peter stare at Kelly in silence)

KT: Ummmm….I mean “The Great White Shank” has changed to playing bright orange golf balls this year. Why is everyone picking on everything I say???

PO: Look, if the only five-time champion in Goodboys history wants to change the color of the balls he uses, he’s earned the right to do so. But it’s gonna take more than that to overcome that strong “Killer” /”Goose” tandem.

KT: That pinched nerve aside, Frank, do you see any hope for the “Doggy Duval” / Paul “Possum” Shepter team?

FN: I really don’t think so, Kelly. One look at both these golfers, and you see major issues involving their basic golf swing. Having a great golf swing is all about good rotation. Throughout the swing you need to keep the club in front of your body. To do this in perfect motion, rotate the club head, hand, and chest in synchronization. Visualize an imaginary dot on the club head, on the hands and mid-chest region. When you start to swing, imagine that you are following those three dots at the same rate of rotation.

BH: A viewer out there has just sent us an e-mail saying he’d like to visualize the dots on Kelly’s mid-chest region…

(Frank, Peter, and Brian laugh. Kelly shifts uneasily in her seat)

FN: That viewer might have been “Cubby” Myerow!

KT: Well there you have it, The Golf Channel’s Goodboys Invitational preview. Thanks to Frank, Peter, and Brian for joining me here on the Sprint Post-Game Show. Have a great night, everyone!

Filed in: Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 01:25 | Comments (0)
July 13, 2008

Not much to say – Cancer 2, Humans 0:

Bobby Murcer, the Yankee who succeeded Mickey Mantle in the Yankees’ outfield, died after a long battle with brain cancer at 62. Unlike most Yankees (Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera excepted), I always liked Bobby Murcer – he always played hard and recognized there was no way he would ever be able to fill the shoes of the legend he was replacing.

Tony Snow, formerly of FOX News and a stint as the President’s press secretary, died of colon cancer at 53. I always enjoyed Tony Snow – he seemed to me always a gentleman, with his priorities always in check. Genetics had to play a part in this, as Snow lost his mother to colon cancer when he was 17.

Both were classy people who will be missed. Believe me, we’re the worse for having lost them – they left us oh so soon.

Rest in God’s peace, Bobby and Tony.

And don’t forget to tell the people around you whom you love the most how much you love them. Life is precious, not to be taken for granted, and a lot shorter than we all realize.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:44 | Comments (0)
July 12, 2008

…continuing with the theme of yesterday’s post, courtesy of National Review Online’s Corner Blog, here are 23 absolutely, 100% tried, can’t miss pickup lines for Cubby (and anyone else out there) to give a try with.

These are actually pretty funny. Cinderella should be so lucky…

1. How much does a polar bear weigh? Enough to break the ice. My name is _________.

2. Hi, can I buy you several drinks?

3. Inheriting 80 million bucks doesn’t mean much when you have a weak heart!

4. You might as well come home with me because I’m going to tell everyone you did anyway.

5. You look like my second wife, and I’ve only been married once.

6. Excuse me, I think you have something in your eye. Oh never mind, it’s just a sparkle.

7. Your place or mine? Tell you what? I’ll flip a coin. Head at my place, tail at yours.

8. My boys over there bet that I wouldn’t be able to start a conversation with the most beautiful girl in the room. Want to buy some drinks with their money? (BTW, my favorite…)

9. I can sense that you’re a terrific lover, and it intimidates me a little.

10. Okay, so I came over here to ask you to dance, but I’m kind of concerned. I mean, we could hit it off really well, end up having a few drinks, next thing you know you’re giving me your number because I’m too shy to ask for it, I finally get up the nerve to call and we take in a movie, have some dinner, I relax, you relax, we go out a few more times, get to know each other’s friends, spend a lot of time together, then finally get past this sexual tension and really develop this intense sex life that is truly incredible, decide our relationship is solid and stable, so we move in together for a while, then a few months later get married, I get a promotion, you get a promotion, we buy a bigger house. You really want kids, but I really want freedom, but we have a kid anyway, only to find that I am resentful, the sparks start to fade and to rekindle them we have two more lovely kids, but now I work too much to keep up with the bills, have no time for you, you’re stressed and stop taking really good care of yourself, so to get past our slow sex life and my declining self-confidence I turn to an outside affair for sexual gratification. You find out because I’m careless and a lousy liar, you throw me out (justifiably so) and we have to explain to the kids why mommy and daddy are splitting up. That’s just too sad. Think about the children. For God’s sake, if you dance with me and we hit it off, let’s just keep it sexual, because we both know where it’s going.

11. Greetings and salivations.

12. I’m not actually this tall. I’m sitting on my wallet.

13. Did you see the fight outside a little while ago? These two girls were fighting over a short guy named [your name].

14. If I were to ask you for sex, would your answer be the same as the answer to this question?

15. I bet you $20 you’re gonna turn me down.

16. Excuse me. My friend over there is a little embarrassed. He’d like your phone number. He wants to know where he can get a hold of me in the morning.

17. (Give the person a pint of beer) Drink this, then call me when you’re ready.

18. I’d like to name a multiple orgasm after you.

19. Excuse me, do you want a double entendre?

20. Is your husband still on nights?

21. Hi, I make more money than you can spend.

22. You’re going to have to buy me a drink. [She: What for?] I dropped mine when I saw you.

23. There is something wrong with my phone. Could you call it for me to see if it rings?

—-

Good luck to Cubby and all you other lonely hearts out there!

Filed in: Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 01:21 | Comments (0)
July 11, 2008

I’m writing this post while a fading thunderstorm is dumping it’s moisture on a parched landscape just outside my patio door; Dennis Wilson’s Pacific Ocean Blue is on the CD player, and at least for right now, my thoughts are all of and about thunderstorms. And family. And how fortunate I have been.

For as long as I can remember I’ve had a fascination with thunderstorms. There are few – if any – sounds that bring such a sense of peace, contentment, awe, and humility as the sound of thunder in the distance. At night, the Kodak flash of distant lightning lighting up the sky softly (I remember my grandfather and dad both called it “heat lightning”) used to fill me with a awe and joy, it’s so hard to explain. When I was growing up, our house had a north-facing porch, and at the first sight of a blackening sky, my grandfather would be out on the porch, watching, waiting. I think he was a true thunderstorm rat – perhaps my dad too – and it has rubbed off on me, big time.

I guess if I had ever had a son the two most important loves I would have passed on to him was the love of the ocean and the love of thunderstorms.

Of course, the majority of thunderstorms we would get in New England were of the garden variety – the sky would gradually darken, the sound of distant thunder would gradually draw closer, and with it the first flashes of lightning, and then, just before the arrival of the first drops of rain, the wind would rise, and it was time to get under cover. God, I loved the feeling of those kinds of storms.

When we lived in Kentucky, thunderstorms there had a bit of a different quality – especially in the months of March and April, when it wasn’t all about fun – especially when the wind would come out of the Southwest. Tornado weather. There was a level of intensity in those storms that you never quite got in New England. It took me a little time, but after a while I got to figure out the storms there pretty good – the ones you should never fool around with, the ones that would look bad, but just drop a ton of rain.

In Kentucky, when the sky turned more of a greenish black it was time to pay attention – but even then you never really knew. I remember one time the sky to our west, just over the blue hills of Indiana, turned an ominous shade of greenish black. Our neighbor Jana came running over to tell us to get under cover and the rabbits in the bathtub, but I knew nothing was going to come of it. Then there was that January day where all of a sudden our weather radio started going nuts, and we turned on the TV to hear that a tornado had touched down about ten miles away from us. When we got the hail, Tracey was starting to gather the rabbits up (we had nine at the time!), but I told her not to worry; I just had a feeling nothing was going to come of it. And I was right – but boy, did it rain that night!

Here in Arizona, we’re getting an early start to the monsoon season, but the thunderstorms we get seem to drop more dust and/or rain than anything else. When we bought our house, our real estate guy told us we didn’t have to worry about severe thunderstorms here in west Gilbert, that the bad thunderstorms would always travel east and north of us. I have to say, so far he’s been right. We had one storm that turned our backyard into a lake, and another storm where the lightning and thunder came so close together that Tracey dropped one of her favorite martini glasses to the pavement with a crash. But other than that, I’d have to say that the thunderstorms around here have been a fair disappointment – part of the reason being, it’s so damned hot that the A/C is always on so you don’t hear the storms as well as you might somewhere else.

There is one memory I cherish so dearly and will never forget. It is a Sunday night, and I’m probably ten or so – maybe a little older. My folks and my aunt, uncle and cousins (with whom we shared a two-story house in Tewksbury, Massachusetts) are out playing badminton in our backyard, and the hibachi is going. To our east, a huge thunderhead is glistening radiant salmon-colored in the sunset over the Shawsheen School. I remember pointing it out to my mom, and she telling me that those clouds were the gates of heaven. My memory of that moment is thinking that God had to have been present in something so awesome and so beautiful. And how I wanted to be a part of that God somehow. Whenever I see thunderheads brightly painted against the sky, I know I’ll always think of my mom and that memory in time.

So thunderstorms are like a family to me, drawing me back into happy memories of the past. I love them almost as much as the sea, and never get tired of them. It is, I believe, a sign of God’s omnipotence, power, glory, and mercy in a world that could always use a little more humilty.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:33 | Comments (3)
July 10, 2008

You can tell it’s getting close to the 18th annual Goodboys Invitational weekend when I’m posting clever pick-up lines for fellow Goodboy (and my playing partner this year) Ron “Cubby” Myerow to use when we’re hanging out at Harry’s Blues Bar in Hyannis on Saturday night.

(A word to the attractive ladies out there either living on the Cape, or planning to visit Hyannis on Saturday the 19th – this hunk of a handsome he-dude is for you. Sure he’s shy, but don’t let that stop you from makng your presence known. Just walk in and start yelling, “Oh Goodboys! Oh Goodboys! – I’m sure someone will direct you to Cubby…)

Given this year’s “pirate” theme for our Goodboys shenanigans, here are some great pirate-themed pick-up lines guaranteed to tickle the fancy of the most cold-hearted wench out there, courtesy of TalkLikeAPirate.com:

10 . Avast, me proud beauty! Wanna know why my Roger is so Jolly?

9. Have ya ever met a man with a real yardarm?

8. Come on up and see me urchins.

7. Yes, that is a hornpipe in my pocket and I am happy to see you.

6. I’d love to drop anchor in your lagoon.

5. Pardon me, but would ya mind if fired me cannon through your porthole?

4. How’d you like to scrape the barnacles off of me rudder?

3. Ya know, darlin’, I’m 97 percent chum free.

2. Well blow me down?

1. Prepare to be boarded. (my favorite, BTW)

—-

More guaranteed, can’t miss pick-up lines for Cubby coming tomorrow!

Filed in: Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 01:18 | Comments (0)
July 8, 2008

Don’t know exactly what that means regarding this post; I just like the sound of the phrase. It’s a song, BTW, on the excellent CD by The Surf Zombies, a retro-rocking surf band – out of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, no less! Needless to say, my 5-CD surf mix has taken on a slightly altered look – and for the better, I might add! I’ll pop that back up for y’all in a day or two. It really makes for a boss sound…

Hard to believe The Weather Channel is the same channel I used to keep on as background noise all the time. Whether it’s their new graphics, or the way they now cover the weather, or their near-fanatical emphasis on the religion of global warming (it’s no science, that’s for sure), I don’t know – I just don’t find it interesting or appealing anymore. And now that NBC has bought the channel, expect more the-earth-is-dying-and-we-only-have-months-to-live-unless-we-raise-taxes-on-everyone-and-bring-the-bad-U.S.-into-line-with-the-rest-of-the-planet nonsense.

Which gets me to thinking: I honestly don’t know if there’s such a thing as global warming – and I don’t think anyone can say definitively one way or the other – but what I do know is that there are a lot of hypocrites both on the progressive left and around the world that could care less about climate change – they’re just using the issue to fuel their loathing of America and capitalism in general, and to try and impose their own socialist, anarchist, and globalist world views on the U.S. and the West. For the people who squeal the loudest about global warming, it’s really the politics that count.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t trust anyone in power or any authoritative position anymore. Whether it be the politicians or the people that run the companies you and I work for, the only thing that matters anymore is power and profit, and the hell with everything else. Perhaps it’s always been that way, but I think people are, at least when it comes to the politicians, finally starting to wake up. Not that it’ll change anything….

And it’s stories like this that confirm every suspicion I’ve ever had about politicians. Liberal, conservative, first world, third world, they’re all the same.

Reading Thomas Merton’s “The Seven Storey Mountain” again serves as a reminder of the importance of the spiritual journey. It’s way too easy to get caught up in the things of this world, be it politics, sports, culture, status, and the gathering of possessions – especially in the media and information-saturated culture we live in. I long for the kind of detachment from the world that Merton sought – even though that was something he struggled with internally all his life. Focus on the journey, and put your faith and trust in God’s grace and mercy.

Back to the world: that was a heckuva trade the Cubs made today, wasn’t it? No doubt about it, the Cubbies are going for it all this year. Wouldn’t a World Series championship on the 100th anniversary of their last one be amazing? I think they have a pretty good shot at it, too.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 17:08 | Comments (0)
July 7, 2008

.
Winners:

You gotta give those rolling Tampa Bay Rays credit – they are making this a heckuva interesting first half of the baseball season. Don’t know if they can keep it up, but the Red Sox and the Yankees have hardly impressed as of late.

Losers:

Gotta love this headline: Kerry says McCain lacks judgment to be president. Whatever “President Kerry” says must be right, huh. Jeesh – I don’t know who’s the bigger loser here – John Kerry, for thinking anyone cares a whit about anything he has to say, or the dumb AP (or their clueless writer Hope Yen), who obviously had trouble scrounging around for something negative to write about John McCain on a July 4 weekend…

Manny Ramirez, who is quickly wearing out his welcome in Boston. Not only for shoving the club’s traveling secretary to the ground over a ticket dispute, but his performance lately has left something to be desired. Not to mention that great pinch-hitting job against Mariano Rivera tonight. Next time at least take the bat off your shoulder, Manny. Mark my words, Mr. Ramirez is playing his last season in Boston. “Manny being Manny” just don’t cut it anymore – especially at $20 mil per year.

Once-phenom, now has-been Michelle Wie, who, after missing the cut at the U.S. Women’s Open, had this to say about her 81/80 weekend: “It doesn’t feel like I played that bad,” Wie said after scrambling for a par on No. 9 from about the same position where she made her quintuple bogey on Thursday. “I’ll just take this as a bad week and go from there.” Uh, Michelle, you make cuts consistently and then don’t, that’s a bad week. When you spend the last three years tanking it with that wildly erratic game you have, that’s not a bad week, that’s what we call the norm.

All those top-ranked players in the world that stiffed Tiger Woods’ AT&T National invitational in Washington, D.C. this week. I’m sorry, but after all Tiger has done for the sport of professional golf and increasing the sizes of the purses these guys play for on a week-in, week-out basis, you’d think a these spoiled brats would show at least a little gratitude. Hey guys, don’t you know who wields the knife that butters that tasty side of the bread you eat from every week?

A-Rod. Simply because.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 01:08 | Comment (1)
July 4, 2008

crybaby …courtesy of the Left:

Abu Ghraib. Guantanamo. CIA secret prisons. “Rendition” of prisoners to foreign torture chambers.

It’s not enough that we had good reason to be scared.

The men huddled long ago in Philadelphia had better reason. A British fleet floated off the Jersey coast, full of hands eager to hang them from the nearest lampposts.

Yet they pledged their lives and sacred honor – no idle vow – to defend the “inalienable rights” of men. Inalienable – what does that signify? It means rights that belong to each person, simply by virtue of being human. Rights that can never be taken away, no matter what evil a person might do or might intend.

Surely one of those is the right not to be tortured. Surely that is a piece of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

This is the creed of July 4: No matter what it costs us, no matter how it scares us, no matter how foolish it seems to a cynical world, America should stand up for human rights.

The world sees this, even if we are too dim to grasp it. We’ve lost respect. We’ve shamed the memory of Jefferson, Adams and Franklin.

And all for a scam. The waterboarding, the snarling dogs, the theft of sleep – all the diabolical tricks haven’t made us safer. They may have averted this plot or that. But they’ve spawned new enemies by the thousands, made the jihadist rants ring true to so many ears.

So put out no flags.

Sing no patriotic hymns.

We deserve no Fourth this year.

Let us atone, in quiet and humility. Let us spend the day truly studying the example of our Founders. May we earn a new birth of courage before our nation’s birthday next rolls around.

There are times when you wonder if supposed “journalists” writing for a supposedly reputable newspaper people actually believe what they write, or whether they just decide to write things to get a rise out of people. I’m no journalist by any stretch of the matter, but there are times when I’ll twist my posts just a little bit to liven things up around here. Heck, otherwise why bother?

I’m guessing that this is the case with Mr. Satullo’s column, because, while one might argue a true human-rights activist might express this kind of warped, one-sided sentiment, I find it hard to believe a so-called journalist really believes what he has written here. Look, we all know there are few things you can say to your average liberal that will get their noses more out of joint than to whisper “Abu Ghraib”, or “Guantanamo”, or “wiretaps”, or “eavesdropping”, or “Haliburton”, or “secret CIA prisons”, or “waterboarding”, or “torture” – I mean, it’s just too easy. I know – I try them out on my friend Paul just to make him squirm.

But really, after reading Mr. Satullo’s column you’d think the entire country laid down while the Bush administration established some vile police state where habeus corpus has been suspended and the prisons are filled with people who dare criticize the President for trampling the rights of every U.S. citizen. Are there things this country has done in its past that should cause one to pause and reflect whether it ascribed to what the Founding Fathers had in mind when this Republic was first established? Of course. Could one feel so deeply about things like slavery, or segregation, or Reconstruction, or the internment of U.S. citizens of Japanese descent during WW II, or any other blemishes on our country’s history to make one feel ashamed of being an American? I’m sure there are those – obviously Mr. Satullo’s one of them.

But let’s get a grip on ourselves here.

Mr. Satullo is right to point out that the Founding Fathers were hardly purists when it came to establishing this country – if they were there wouldn’t have been institutionalized slavery, and blacks and women and non-landowners would also have been given the right to vote. But what he’s missing here is that for every Abu Ghraib, political assassination, or perceived case of human-rights abuse at Guantanamo or a secret CIA prison (and I would argue that, while certainly open to debate among disagreeing parties these hardly rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors), one can point to dozens of tragedies or situations that have affected the world in recent memory where this country has rushed in aid in overwhelming quantities to ease human suffering – for example, following the tsunami in Thailand, or earthquakes in Iran, or Turkey, or Chile – and far more than any other country. Heck, just the other day one our aircraft carriers loaded with humanitarian aid and helicopters was turned away by that vile junta of thugs who rule Myanmar. What about that, Mr. Satullo?

…Not to mention the number of Americans who have died trying to advance the cause of freedom on foreign shores.

…Or the fact that Americans are among, if not the, most generous in the world.

…Or the fact that on any day this time of year you can find people dead or near-so in the scrub deserts of Arizona and New Mexico, lured by the beacon of freedom and the opportunity to make a new life for themselves and their families.

Have the events Mr. Satullo brings up dimmed our reputation in the world? Perhaps. Must we as patriotic citizens always be vigilant against those things that threaten our individual freedoms or damage our standing in the world when it comes to freedom and human rights? Absolutely. But, assuming Mr. Satullo’s column is not parody or written to get a rise out of people, it’s hard to take him as anything but a bitter, whining, self-loathing American liberal for whom the glass is always half-empty, there is always something to fault, the Liberty Bell is always cracked, and no matter what a Republican administration might attempt to do well, it’s never enough. There’s always something to complain about.

I feel bad for people like Chris Satullo. They are incredibly privileged to live in the greatest country in the world, warts and all, and yet they can’t take one day – one day – to celebrate how fortunate and blessed we all are to live in this country, at this point in history. Millions upon millions in the world would love to take Mr. Satullo’s place. So have a burger and a dog this July 4th, Mr. Satullo, take a nice walk in the summer air. And when you do, breathe deeply of the freedoms you have, for there are many.

Life is too short to do otherwise.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 01:22 | Comments (0)

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