April 17, 2009

…thanks to the quick response of the good folks at Blogs-About Hosting. There truly was a January, February, March, and early April here at Goodboys Nation weblog. Thanks for the help, guys!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 21:45 | Comments (0)
April 16, 2009

R.I.P. Mark Fidrych. A breath of fresh air to baseball back in the late ’70s. He was a free spirit – the kind I wish I always could be but never will. Every time I saw him interviewed he exuded a joyful self-awareness that was truly one-of-a-kind. He will be missed.

Convicted. Phil Spector. Look, the guy was a wacko – no one disputes that. Still, he did make some unforgettable records more than four decades ago – records and a sound that changed my life. Nevertheless, justice has been served, and he’ll now spend the rest of his life thinking about showers in a different way than he’s never though of them before. Too bad, but the guy deserves it.

R.I.P. Marilyn Chambers. Not sure what you can say; I wonder what she thought of the life she lived and the legacy she would leave behind. I dunno – do they put “Adult Fim Star” on someone’s tombstone?

Boring. The 3-6 Boston Red Sox. Big Papi looks done. Same thing with Jason Varitek. Jacoby Ellsbury is Michelle Wie in center field (read: highly overrated). Mike Lowell’s best years are behind him – the same with J.D. Drew. Sure, Kevin Youkilis is hitting a ton, but there’s no hitter in that lineup to instill fear into any pitcher. I love Justin Masterson and Josh Beckett, but Daisuke Matsuzaka should take as much time as he needs on the DL. Maybe it’s just that I’ve grown tired of seeing the same faces and hearing the same endless chatter from Don O. and the Rem-Dawg in the broadcast booth, but this year’s edition of the Home Towne Team just bores me to death.

Idiot. Janet Napolitano, Director of Homeland Security. She was a crappy governor of Arizona, running up a reckless $3 billion dollar state deficit, good enough to be rewarded with a Cabinet-level gig by President TelePrompTer. Now that she’s been put in charge of DHS (God help us), if you’re a returning vet or anyone who even thinks of protesting any of King Obama’s plans and policies you’re considered an enemy of the government. What a buffoon. Facism lives!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:55 | Comments (0)
April 15, 2009

Thank goodness IRS Day is finally behind us. That’s $7K down the drain, offered up for whatever cockamamie plans President Obama and his Socialist Party members in Congress have to put our nation even deeper into debt. If I didn’t have training obligations on Wednesday you can be sure I’d be attending one of those tea party rallies.

Look, I don’t mind paying my fair share of taxes, and I don’t even mind the amount – after all, Tracey and I make good money, and in this country that means you’re bound to get whacked on April 15. I get it. But what I don’t like is “The One” and his socialist/liberal cronies in Congress using this recession as an excuse to dredge up every nanny-state proposal they haven’t had the guts to bring forth in the light of day while the Republicans held control.

* I don’t want to help pay for national health care. Reform the system that is in place – with all its faults it’s still the envy of the world.

* I don’t want to help pay for a single bailout involving banks, monster insurance companies, or U.S. automakers. Let ’em all fail.

* I don’t want to help pay for mortgage assistance to help keep people in homes they couldn’t afford in the first place. Let ’em rent.

I’m no libertarian wacko. If President Obama wanted to use additional tax revenues to help rebuild our Social Security system or implement a temporary safety net to help people get through the revamping of our nation’s entitlement systems, I’d be all for it – to me, I’d be willing to take that hit for the long-term betterment of our society as a whole.

But to allow the Prez to transform this country into a huge nanny state just so he can have more control over the lives of everyone – including those who might disagree with his reckless policies – count me as disgusted. Not that I expected anything different from the guy – after all, the guy’s never run even so much as a lemonade stand in his life. It’s just that even I’m amazed at how brazen he is in putting forth an agenda so at odds with the future economic health of this country. And the suck-up media simply plants their lips even more firmly on his ass.

I’m willing to do my part, but today I’m feeling pretty disgusted and pessimistic about this country’s future. But hey, this country elected him – I guess we get what we deserve.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:15 | Comments (3)
April 13, 2009

…a Catholic bishop, by the way, and I think it’s about time someone had the guts to defend the faith (hat tip: Hot Air):

A Catholic German bishop has come under fire for his remarks condemning atheists. In a sermon given on Easter Sunday, the bishop of Augsburg, Walter Mixa, warned of rising atheism in Germany. “Wherever God is denied or fought against, there people and their dignity will soon be denied and held in disregard,” he said in the sermon. He also said that “a society without God is hell on earth” and quoted the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky: “If God does not exist, everything is permitted.”

This is exactly right, and leave it to a Roman Catholic bishop to defend his faith. I guarantee you won’t see the Archbishop of Canterbury or any of his English, Canadian, or American counterparts defend the faith – why, that would offend people, and you know we can’t have that in a multicultural / inclusive society, right?

Personally, I’m far beyond the tiresome arguments of atheists and their efforts to push God out of anything and everything in our society. No one is forcing them to go to church. No one is forcing them to pray. Heck, as much as I pray for their souls and hope they would come to embrace Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior I’m not going to force them at gunpoint or punpoint to do so. Everybody has a choice to make.

The fact is, there is nothing atheists can’t do in this society that any God-fearing person can do, and vice-versa. If anything, atheists have never had more friends in power due to all the Democrats and liberals in Washington who are no friends to any initiative that even smacks of being faith-based.

So here’s my advice to all you atheists out there: enough about the separation between church and state; stop letting your noses get out of joint and running to an ACLU lawyer every time someone says something that makes you feel inadequate over your lack of religous belief. Get over it and just go about your business. Ain’t no one forcing you to do anything beyond perhaps occasionally having to sit through a 20-second prayer at some graduation or commencement ceremony (gasp!) or having to wait 24 hours before shopping at the local Kohls.

That’s far less than us religious folk have to deal with listening to the religion-haters on CNN or MSNBC on any given night.

Filed in: Religion & Culture by The Great White Shank at 22:13 | Comments (0)
April 12, 2009

It is a glorious morning here in the Valley of the Sun.

Alleluia! Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed! ALLELUIA!

Last night St. Mary Magdalene parish held their Great Vigil of Easter outside, under a large canoy in the vast field that in just weeks will be filled with the sounds of earth movers as initial construction of their church building begins. The Paschal flame, lit to initiate the 50 Days of Easter that will culminate in the joy of Pentecost, came from a large wood pile that was stubborn to light due to the rain we had earlier in the day. Two large doses of gasoline from a large container took care of that, though, and, since I wasn’t going to receive at Communion anyways, I stayed behind as the rest of the parish proceeded under the conopy to help tend the fire, just in earshot of the proceedings.

As I’ve come to expect from this young, vibrant parish, those proceedings (i.e., music, sermon, atmosphere created) were all quite well done. Watching from my warm, orange-lit vantage point, I thought about Peter warming his hands by the fire outside as Jesus was being questioned by the authorities, then denying him three times before that damned cock crowed – I sure didn’t want to go there! So I made sure that as people drifted by to warm themselves I said hello and exchanged Easter greetings with them. As a dozen or so new people were welcomed into the Church through Holy Baptism, I couldn’t help but feel the first tinges of excitement at the thought that, at next year’s Great Vigil, if it be God’s will, I will be received into the Catholic faith.

But that’s for another day. Today’s a new day, and the spirit of renewal and Easter Resurrection fills my heart with joy. Rather than me blather on, Deacon Keith Fournier of Catholic.org offers up these thoughts as to the true meaning behind the joy I share with millions of others across the world on this happy morning:

The tomb is empty. Death could not contain the One who poured Himself out in Love. The light floods the once-dark cave and fills the entire world with hope. The debt has been paid, the last enemy death has been defeated, Hell has been conquered, the captives have been liberated, love has triumphed and heavens gates have been opened wide. He is Alive and all those who stand at the Altar of the Cross, believing in His promise, shall live forever in Him.

Life for a Christian is not circular but linear. It is always moving forward to fulfillment in Him. There is a beginning – and an end – which is but a new beginning in the One who is Himself both the Beginning and the End. Time unfolds into eternity in Him who has entered time and transformed it by His life, death and Resurrection. That Glorious Day, understood by the Church as the first day of the new creation, that Day that the early Christians called the “Eighth Day”; is now upon us. It is the portal to eternity. He is the firstborn, the first-fruits of a new creation and is making all things new now, within us and around us.

Life reigns. Death dies, dealt a fatal blow at the hands of the Warrior of love. Through sin, death came into the world, and now through the Sinless One it has been vanquished. No longer an enemy it is a friend, an ally, to those who live their lives in the One who has been raised. No longer an end it becomes a new beginning for all who hide their lives in His wounded side and live their lives forever joined to Him. Nothing can separate us from that Love incarnated in the Crucified, Risen Son of the True and Living God.

Happy Easter to everyone from all the Goodboys and Goodboys Nation weblog!

Alleluia, Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed! ALLELUIA!

Filed in: Religion & Culture by The Great White Shank at 09:42 | Comments (0)
April 11, 2009

Holy Saturday. That strange, almost awkward interval between the horror and devastation of Good Friday, and the joy and exhilaration of Easter. What to make of it? Jesus is dead and lies in a nondescript tomb. His followers are devastated, their world collapsed around them. Today, in mainline Catholic and Protestant churches across the world, altars have been stripped, and crosses set aside or displayed in black shroud; a hush has fallen over Christendom. It’s a strange, breathless kind of day.

A portion of a homily from the early days of the Church by an anonymous priest reads as follows:

“Today a great silence reigns on earth, a great silence and a great stillness. A great silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. . . He has gone to search for Adam, our first father, as for a lost sheep.”

In the Apostles’ Creed, which serves as the basic foundation for all Christian belief, this day is remembered with the words “he descended to the dead”, recalling that time between Good Friday and Easter Sunday when Christ either: a) ministered to the souls who lived in darkness and the shadow of death, or b) simply lay dead in the tomb (there is plenty of theological debate on either count) – a death He would conquer through his Resurrection that glorious Sunday.

Me, I’ve often heard among in those words another message, one not nearly so traditional, dogmatic, and/or theologically divisive. This message carries with it a more contemporary, hopeful, and accessible meaning and purpose, one that reflects God’s ultimate desire and purpose for us all: the ready and willing descent of Christ through the Holy Spirit to the world we live in, to minister to the spiritually dead or dying – those souls who have found nothing but emptiness, loneliness, and despair in a fruitless search for happiness and inner peace through all those things the world offers in spades: the pursuit of material weath, creature comforts, unhealthy addictions involving alcohol, drugs, and sex, and unfulfilled dreams and unrealistic expectations.

Jesus’ promise to each of us – “remember, I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20) – transcends not only the bloodstained cross and the darkness of the tomb known to His disciples, but for all those bloodstained crosses and silent tombs each of us has experienced at times in our own lives. For that very reason, Holy Saturday is not a day of mournful despair and silence without any practical reason for hope (as it must have been to Jesus’ followers), but a day of hope and reassurance that God is not just with us always, but is always ready to descend to us in our own darkness and shadow of death to reveal a different way and offer a different kind of peace – one that world cannot give.

The question is, do we have the will and the courage to accept that different way? To allow God to create in us that “clean heart and right spirit” (Psalm 51: 10) that leads to true life and true peace?

For that, too, is the Way of the Cross.

Filed in: Religion & Culture by The Great White Shank at 00:17 | Comments (0)
April 10, 2009

So many times we think of Good Friday in terms of all the stories we heard as children – if we were fortunate enough to be brought up in the Church. The stories of Jesus’ Betrayal, Passion, Death and Resurrection, so familar to us, can lose their ability to impact us and humble us if we allow ourselves to think that suffering and death and martyrdom are just quaint stories cooked up by the early Church to steady the nerves and faith of the faithful. The fact is, the shadow of the Cross still looms large two thousand years later: whether you’re a nun raped and executed in Liberia, a bishop assassinated in Guatemala, or a Christian community in Laos forced to relocate their village, the Cross is more than just a concept, or dogma, or a subject for theological debate.

Consider the martyrdom of Fr. Andrea Santoro, a Catholic priest who was shot dead while he knelt down to pray shortly before celebrating Mass in the little Catholic church he served in the town of Trabzon, Turkey back in 2006. While searching around for information about Fr. Santoro, I came upon this link – a marvelous testimony to a humble and martyred servant of Jesus Christ:

…I saw him two months ago in Iskenderun, at the see of the apostolic vicariate of Anatolia. It was our monthly retreat and we talked about the cross. He told us: ““Often I ask myself: What am I doing here? And the words of John the Baptist would come to mind. ‘‘And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us’’. I live among these people so that Jesus can live among them through me. In the Middle East, Satan continues to destroy, remembering and loyal to the past. As it was at the time of Jesus, silence, humility, the simple life, acts of faith, miracles of charity, clear and defenceless witness, and the conscious offering of one’’s life can rehabilitate the Middle East.””

After a long pause, he took off his glasses letting them hang around his neck and spoke again, calmly, as if talking to himself: “I am convinced that in the end there are no two ways, only one way that leads to light through darkness, to life through the bitterness of death. Only by offering one’s flesh is salvation possible. The evil that stalks the world must be borne and pain must be shared till the end in one’’s own flesh as Jesus did.” Not one word more, not one less.

After he spoke silence fell on the room. Then he looked at his watch and got up quickly, apologised, picked up his small suitcase and left the room almost running. He didn’’t want to miss the plane that would take him back to his Trabzon.

There he was kneeling yesterday, praying in his church. There a bullet pierced his heart.

On this Good Friday we remember that the Son of God “went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified”. And we pray “that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other that the way of life and peace”. So goes the traditional Collect of the Day for Monday of Holy Week. Let it be for all of us a prayer we can take to heart and mind, not just for this most holy of days, but for all our days.

After all, that’s what the Way of the Cross is all about.

Filed in: Religion & Culture by The Great White Shank at 00:24 | Comments (0)
April 9, 2009

It’s Holy Week, and that means not only the most sacred time of the Church Year – a time to recollect and contemplate the Lord’s institution of the Eucharist, His Betrayal and Suffering, Death, and Resurrection, but also a time to see how local churches market their services in the hope of attracting newcomers and those twice-a-year Christians to their Easter services.

Around here you see a lot of aggressive marketing by the “non-denoms” – churches not affiliated with any particular mainline Protestant faith, and therefore non-denominational in nature. These churches are typically Bible-centric, aggressively anti-Catholic (as I’ve come to found out personally), and often have a charismatic leader armed with a Master of Divinity degree and/or vision of a church that combines conservative Christianity with modern-day marketing techniques as a guise for evangelism. You can tell the demographic all these churches are seeking by their slick literature and the people shown in the materials they leave at your door or in your mailbox: the young professional either single or married with children.

Sometimes the materials are very professional and slick; it takes a minute just to figure out that it’s a church and not a dentist that has opened shop recently. Other times, the material is just laughable – like today when I opened my door to see a pamplet wedged into the door jam. Have a look at this picture and see what you think:

Now I don’t claim to know what Jesus looked like, but I can almost guarantee he didn’t look like some Hollywood actor out of central casting with beautiful hair and perfectly-trimmed facial hair, like someone out of a late-night infomercial. And check out the decidedly Anglo-Saxon Protestant features – I mean, that isn’t the Lord, that’s James Brolin, for Gawdsakes!

For some reason, I couldn’t help but stare at the picture for the longest time. My thoughts began to wander. Was that guy on Jesus’ left Judas or Peter? Either way, he too has the same perfectly-styled facial hair. Did they both go to the same stylist before the Last Supper? Perhaps all the Twelve went – you know, to take advantage of the pre-holiday special at Calvary Hairstyling and Salon. I couldn’t help but recall those great lines from Warren Zevon’s classic tune “Werewolves Of London”, where he sang:

I saw a werewolf drinking a Pina Colada at Trader Vic’s,
And his hair was perfect.

Look, I know all about marketing how marketing works – I get it. And maybe some people would have been attracted by this picture and the message it was attempting to convey and have their lives turned around by attending church for the first time in years. And good for them if that were to happen. But to me it was more than just silly, it was offensive.

Of course, knowing today’s culture it all fits. I just wonder what would happen if a church were to graphically and realistically portray what a Jew like Jesus of Nazareth would look like beaten, bloodied, and naked, hanging from a cross and taking all that humiliation, suffering, and pain on behalf of you and me, for your sins and mine, for the redemption of a world I often wonder is even worth saving. But God did, out of His infinite love and mercy.

Somehow I don’t think it would work. After all, the whole idea of anyone having to be inconvenienced – let alone suffer and/or die on behalf of anyone or for anything – is a concept so foreign to our corrupt, self-centered, and narcissistic culture that it’s no wonder some people have a hard time with the concept of God and religion. After all, being an athiest is easy – you can do anything you want to anyone and feel not a shred of guilt, and better yet, you get to sleep in on Sundays or spend all Saturday doing chores around the house.

And that leaves plenty of time to visit the hair stylist. After all, God or no God, you gotta look good, right?

Filed in: Religion & Culture by The Great White Shank at 00:33 | Comments (0)
April 8, 2009

The Major league Baseball season is finally upon us, and since everyone is waiting breathlessly for The Great White Shank’s picks for the season, so here we go:

* AL East – Red Sox, Rays, Yankees, Blue Jays, Orioles
* AL Central – Twins, Indians, White Sox, Royals, Tigers
* AL West – A’s, Angels, mariners, Texas
* Wild Card – Yankees

* NL East – Marlins, Phillies, Braves, Mets, Nationals
* NL Central – Cardinals, Cubs, Reds, Brewers, Astros, Pirates
* NL West – Dodgers, Giants, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Padres
* Wild Card – Cubs

Red Sox and Marlins meet for the World Series

Red Sox are 2009 World Champions

Of course they’re going to win a hell of a lotta games this year, but you still have to love high-priced free agents C.C. Sabathia and Mark Teixeira stinking up Camden Yards yesterday in the Yankees’ opener. Couldn’t happen to better franchise…

But both Josh Beckett and Dustin Pedroia looked pretty damned good today in the Sox’ opening day win. If Beckett stays healthy all year the Red Sox will have one formidable rotation – the best in baseball, in my view.

On to golf:

Say, how ’bout that Michelle Wie burning up the scoreboard in the ladies’ first major of the year? Wow! Glad to see someone who gets so much attention and time on The Golf Channel rack up a 71-81-81-71=+16 (25 strokes behind winner Brittany Lincicome) shine when the competition demands it. Michael Arkush’s column for Yahoo! Sports kinda says it all:

The drive at No. 1, which led to a double bogey, was no aberration. Wie was wayward all day, missing mostly to the left, although it was a push to the right which found the water, and forced another double, at the par-3 14th. She did not show much emotion during her difficulties on the front, when she shot a 41, but the disappointment ultimately caught up to her at 14. She turned around at the tee and looked up toward the sky in disgust, even before the ball made a splash. She soon put her hands on top of her head and then slapped them against her thighs. A few minutes later, walking toward the drop area in front of the pond, she slammed her right hand against the water bottle she was carrying in her left.

I’m sure after her final round she still thinks her game is a lot better than her scores indicate, but she’s been living in denial now for two years. She nevertheless remains a crowd-pleaser, showing that soft porn still sells on the LPGA Tour – because her looks and features are all she really has going for her right now.

Since I’m into prediction mode, I predict this is the year Kevin “Goose” Dwyer finally breaks into the winner’s circle at the 2009 Goodboys Invitational.

And I’m also going with Tiger to win at this weeks Masters.

Remember, as the late Biff Bulkie used to say, “if you can’t be a good sport at least wear a good sportscoat”.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 00:27 | Comments (0)
April 6, 2009

What you have is just your lot in life – if that’s your choice.

No one can change it except you. But you have to want to change.

Don’t let anyone tell you you have to conform to their ideals.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 23:47 | Comments (0)

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