March 8, 2010

Lots of rain today as the final storm of the 2009-2010 winter season moved across our state from southwest to northeast. We had several soaking bands come through, including some thunder and lightning to our east and north. Later this afternoon, I checked the radar and it looked like the final band was getting ready to come through. Here’s what it looked like pointing due west:


It ended up bringing a soaker that lasted around an hour, with some good thunder and lightning but the worst of seemed to pass to our west. There are still some scattered light showers to our southwest, but they look like they’re drying up, so that, as they say, appears to be that. For this El Nino winter, we got a lot of rain (and, in the north country, a lot of snow). We hear the reservoirs have gotten a good replenishing, so we’ve been truly blessed.

Given the extended forecast for our area, it seems pretty clear our winter is over, and spring will be in full sprung mode by the end of next weekend. Once you hit 80 around here, 90 is never far away, and from that, it’s an easy hop, skip, and a jump to the first 100+ day, usually in early May. Now we’ll have no rain at all for the next four months; by that time, everyone will be looking forward to the monsoons.

Pool temp: 59 degrees

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:57 | Comments (0)
March 7, 2010

Today we’re scheduled to have a little bit of rain, perhaps a thunderstorm. But looking at the extended forecast, it appears we’re not likely for the next rain until the monsoon season comes in mid-to-late July.

But I’m cool with that. How do I cope?

With this. And this. And this.

Or this.

Sure beats writing about healthcare reform, right?

Somehow I think I’ll figure out a way to cope…

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:44 | Comments (0)
March 6, 2010

What happens in the studio stays in the studio, right?

Well that’s a take-off on that Vegas theme but sometimes in rock n’ roll, some of your best work never sees the light of day. Allow me to explain:

1. Check out this earlier version of The Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood” as compared with its actual released version. Both are great, of course, but my ears find the earlier version more interesting, both musically and instrumentally. Not only is it in a different key, but the song sounds brighter, less hazy than the finished version, and the sitar more playful (and for that time) unique sounding.

2. Then there is the Beach Boys “Back Home”, which started out as a folksy outtake rejected on their fine 1970 release “Sunflower”. In 1976, the band resurrected the song and began working it out keeping Alan Jardine on the lead vocal, but backing him with former members of that legendary band of studio musicians dubbed “The Wrecking Crew”.

Listen how the saxophones by Jay Migliori and Steve Douglas grab you right from the start, and how Hal Blaine’s drums slam this tune throughout – this is primal-sounding, New Orleans rock and roll straight from the Fats Domino school. Sure, there’s still some work left to do here – the song does have an unfinished quality to it – but there’s a solid foundation to work from here. All you need to do is push the vocals up front a little more, add an additional “middle eight” instrumental or a capella break, and you’re home free with a solid piece of work.

But unfortunately that’s not how it turned out in its final, released version.

I’ll let you be the judge. While it still remains one of my favorite tunes from their 1976 release “15 Big Ones” (a tune I always looked forward to singing as a member of Top Priority, BTW), there’s now a sparse, almost antiseptically clean, arrangement. Jardine’s laid-back, rockin’ vocal has been replaced by a raspy Brian Wilson lead. The horns are long gone, replaced by piano and some organ, and while you still can’t keep a good tune down, there’s something missing in terms of passion and excitement.

But that’s why it’s often said, what happens in the studio stays in the studio.

Pool temp: 60 degrees!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:13 | Comments (0)
March 5, 2010

I’ve been following the whole healthcare debate taking place in Washington from a distance, and deliberately so. First of all, because I can’t keep track of all the plans being put forth – what’s in, what’s out, how much it will cost, etc. Second of all, because I’ve thought all along that if what Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and/or Barack Obama were proposing was so good for the Democrats and the American people it would have passed by now. Thirdly, I find the whole Pelosi / Reid / Obama trio so brain-numbing whenever I see them or hear them on TV that I immediately change the channel to something more relevant.

“Thanks, Alex, I’ll take the letter ‘C’….”

After all, regardless of the spin you get from these clowns, there are – well, until Scott Brown came along – there were enough Democrats in both houses to get the job done. They didn’t need the Republicans. But between the fact that they couldn’t even craft decent legislation (well, legislation that at the very least didn’t require threats, or gimmicks, or graft to get people in their own party (of their own party, no less!) to convince them to support it), and the total abdication of leadership on Barack Obama’s part (leaving Reid and Pelosi to their own radical, left-wing, big government/anti-free market devices sole responsibility to draft their own legislation at the White House’s urging), they now find themselves 16 months down the line, no single bill that anyone can up or down a vote on, and, now, another artificial deadline imposted by the White House to “save healthcare reform”

All this time and effort when the President should have been focusing solely on jobs, getting the economy moving again, and, of course, Iran, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

Not that, compared to that 60-lb. gorilla in the room called “healthcare reform” any of these matter, of course….

Talk about screwing up your first year in office and setting your entire Presidency up for failure!

I just find it hard to take any of this seriously. I mean, it’s not as if I think, were the Republicans solely in charge like the Dems are, they could come up with something majestic that would “fix” health care and be acceptable to everyone. (I do have sufficient faith in the Republican approach to government that anything they came up with would probably be better than the hog slop Obamacare currently looks like – if only because it wouldn’t involve new government programs and a slew of regulatory commissions that would choke the marketplace.) But I just think our country has bigger fish to fry right now then healthcare reform.

Some might say, ‘well Great White Shank, that’s because you have health insurance; easy for you to say’. But the fact is, life isn’t fair. And while this country has enough wealth to be able to take care of every person’s every need, no matter how big or small it might be, that doesn’t mean we have to, or even ought to. No matter how hard anyone tries, you can’t level the playing field for everyone. It’s not practical, it’s not possible, it’s not even advisable. That’s life. That’s the way life is.

Look, this nation ahs already spent far too many years and wasted far too much money encouraging people to look to Washington as the answer to all their needs, as opposed to looking for work, encouraging families to hang together and look to themselves and their communities (both civic and religious) for helping each other out. Washington, in the end, cannot take care of us. We have to take care of ourselves.

And to think that the answer lies with the likes of Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, or any host of politicians that every ill that ails us can be assuaged, that every boo-boo can be kissed away with billions upon billions of taxpayer money, and that something as complex as healthcare reform can be fixed with a single, sweeping piece of comprehensive legislation is to believe that tooth fairies wear monkey boots while eating Big Macs with their toaster ovens.

And it’s time America and its political class grows up and understands this.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:14 | Comments (0)
March 4, 2010

Got this in an e-mail from my favorite aunt & uncle, some of these are pretty funny!


1. Eighteen holes of match play will teach you more
about your foe than 18 years of dealing with him across
a desk.
~Grantland Rice

2. Golf appeals to the idiot in us and the child. Just how
childlike golf players become is proven by their frequent
inability to count past five.
~ John Updike

3. It is almost impossible to remember how tragic a
place the world is when one is playing golf.
~ Robert Lynd

4. If profanity had any influence on the flight of the ball,
the game of golf would be played far better than it is.
~ Horace G. Hutchinson

5. They say golf is like life, but don’t believe them. Golf
is more complicated than that.
~ Gardner Dickinson

6. If a lot of people gripped a knife and fork as poorly as
they do a golf club, they’d starve to death.
~Sam Snead

7. If you drink, don’t drive. Don’t even putt.
~ Dean Martin

8. If you are going to throw a club, it is important to
throw it ahead of you, down the fairway, so you don’t
have to waste energy going back to pick it up.
~Tommy Bolt

9. Man blames fate for all other accidents, but feels
personally responsible when he makes a hole-in-one.
~ Bishop Sheen

10. I don’t say my golf game is bad, but if I grew
tomatoes, they’d come up sliced.
~ Arnold Palmer

11. My handicap? Woods and irons.
~Chris Codiroli

12. I’m hitting the woods just great, but having a
terrible time getting out of them!
~ Buddy Hackett

13. The only time my prayers are never answered
is playing golf.
~Billy Graham

14. If you think it’s hard to meet new people, try
picking up the wrong golf ball.
~ Jack Lemmon

15. It’s good sportsmanship to not pick up lost golf
balls while they are still rolling.
~ Mark Twain

16. May thy ball lie in green pastures, and not in still waters.
~Ben Hogan

17. The difference in golf and government is that in golf you
can’t improve your lie.
~ George Deukmejian


18. Golf is a game invented by the same people who think
music comes out of a bagpipe.
~Lee Trevino


Pool temp: 58 degrees

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 12:03 | Comments (0)
March 3, 2010

This seems pretty unnecessary to me. Why Hollywood constantly feels the need to remake things that don’t require remaking is beyond me. The original series was a ’70s classic – ought to be good enough in this day and age. But it’s all about the $.

Others may not think so, but I’m betting Tiger comes out for The Masters in April.

…after all, he wouldn’t want to miss what defending champion Miguel Cabrera has planned for the traditional pre-tournament Champions Dinner:

On a conference call Tuesday, Cabrera was asked if he had given any thought to his menu at the Masters.

“There’s not a lot to think about,” he replied through a translator. “A good Argentine ‘asado.’ Some good beef.”

Epps said asado is a popular Argentine barbecue, and the menu will feature a five-meat course, including filets, short ribs and sausages, including one known as “morcilla.”

“There won’t be a lot of carbohydrates at this dinner,” said Epps, who grew up in Argentina.

There will be salad and bread to dip in a sauce that Cabrera will make himself, along with plenty of Argentine wine and music.

Wish I could be there for that!

I won’t hold my breath waiting for the mainstream dino-media to launch an investigation into how often this kind of thing occurs.

Tomorrow night, baseball’s back in New England. Sure it’s only a game involving a college team, but after the kind of winter those folks have had, I think they deserve it.

I say let them try. I mean, for gawdsakes, why it has taken the Dems this long to pass Obamacare bewilders me. They can complain all they want about the Republicans not wanting to play ball, but dudes, not sure you know this, but you have the White House, and you’re the majority party in both the House and Senate. So stop making excuses and just go for it already, will ya? The end of your elected terms in Washington await. (Hat tip: Drudge)

Hmmm…it’s alreday March 3, I’ve seen robin red breasts all over the place here in Tupelo, Mississippi, and not a peep from the powers-that-be about this year’s 20th Goodboys Invitational weekend. I guess it’s not that big a deal after all….but it is only a little over four months away. Time’s wasting, fellas

Filed in: Golf & Sports,Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:24 | Comments (4)
March 2, 2010

road_grader1 Here I am in Tupelo, Mississippi, and the scene out back is of a lonely road grader sitting on a newly-created expanse of dirt. Someday there will be a majestic, paved road for people to use; for now it is a piece of land in a state of roadway purgatory.

Only over time could it possibly return to what it was. Only in time – perhaps as soon as tomorrow! – will it achieve its true calling.

I wondered, thus, has anyone written a poem about the humble road grader, tiller of land to make America move all the more faster?

You bet! Check this out:

Scavenging the Wall
by R. T. Smith

When fall brought the graders to Atlas Road,
I drove through gray dust thick as a battle
and saw the ditch freshly scattered with gravel.

Leveling, shaving on the bevel, the blade
and fanged scraper had summoned sleepers—
limestone loaves and blue slate, skulls of quartz

not even early freeze had roused. Some rocks
were large as buckets, others just a scone
tumbled up and into light the first time

in ages. Loose, sharp, they were a hazard
to anyone passing. So I gathered
what I could, scooped them into the bed

and trucked my freight away under birdsong
in my own life’s autumn. I was eager
to add to the snaggled wall bordering

my single acre, to be safe, to be still
and watch the planet’s purposeful turning
behind a cairn of roughly balanced stones.

Uprooted, scarred, weather-gray of bones,
I love their old smell, the familiar unknown.
To be sure this time I know where I belong

I have brought, at last, the vagrant road home.

Hat tip: Poetry Magazine

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:22 | Comments (2)
March 1, 2010

…give me Memphis, Tennessee. Ask and ye shall receive. Today I’m off for Tupelo, Mississippi, birthplace of none other than the King of Rock and Roll. But first I’ll be flying into Memphis, then renting a car for the 90-minute drive down to Tupelo.

Since I doubt because of my work schedule I’ll have any time to see what the home Elvis grew up in looks like, I thought I’d post it here. From such humble beginnings, eh?

One of the great things about the Internet is you don’t have to actually be there in the flesh to appreciate what certain places look like. The Elvis birthplace museum has a very well-done website where you can take a virtual tour. Sure, nothing beats the real thing, but if you can’t be there…

One of these days, I’d like to do more than just another stop-over in Memphis and make a real day of it – y’know, taking the tour of Graceland, then, after stopping for some quiet time by the Mississippi River, hitting Beale Street for some fantastic BBQ and live blues as only Memphis can do.

…come to think of it, The King was no slouch when it came to recording his own version of that Chuck Berry original.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:34 | Comment (1)


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