May 31, 2010

Arlington Cemetery Memorial Day Today I got me a flag at WalMart and have it hanging outside. We’re the only house in our subdivisoon I’ve seen displaying a flag this weekend, which is kind of sad. But it made me feel good, and reminded me of bright, hot sunny days walking around Rockport, MA or driving down to Newport on RI 114 through the towns of Warwick and Bristol, and seeing all those colonial towns and houses displaying American flags.

It’s hard to describe the pride I feel for this country. Look, I know we have quite the checkered history when it comes our dealings with Native Americans, or African-Americans and slavery, or the way we have dealt with people of other nations, like in the Philippines in the early 1900s or the internment of Japanese-Americans in the 1940s. All of that has been well documented, and it’s certainly nothing I as an American can or should be proud of. And were that the only side of the equation, then there should be nothing to stop God from turning this nation into a hot smoldering pile of goo.

But it’s not.

America has had, has, and always will have, its detractors. I’m ashamed to say there’s one occupying the White House right now. But the fact is, this nation has a always had an innate ability at self-correction, even to the point where hunderds of thousands of its own flesh and blood shedding their own to correct a wrong that needed to be righted. And maybe sometimes we spend too much talking about the things that need to be corrected instead of just going ahead and fixing them right then and there. But that’s democracy, and in a Republic like ours, sometimes change takes time. But it does take place. One only need to, for example, consider some of the attitudes and behaviors of our elected leaders just a centrury ago; it’s hard to imagine those sentiments being supported today.

You can’t say the same thing about places elsewhere in the world like Russia, China, the Balkans, Africa, the Middle East, or any other number of places where people have been fighting the same damned battles, prejudices, and cultural conflicts they’ve been doing for hundreds of years.

The Founding Fathers in all their God-inspired wisdom created a framework that not only recognized America’s capacity for greatness, but also for misusing and abusing the freedom we have all been endowed with by our Creator; hence, we’ve always been able to work out our weaknesses as a nation and as human beings over the course of time. And through our innate thirst for freedom and all that entails, we have been far more generous in terms of our willingness to give our blood on behalf of freedom, sometimes in far away places, than any other nation since the beginning of time.

America isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination. But it’s the best damned place anyone could ever dream of living. And my prayer this day is one of thanksgiving – not just for being privileged enough to have been born and live here, but for those who, sometimes willingly, sometimes not, gave their lives for others in the hope that in doing so they might further the cause of liberty and freedom in a world where such qualities are rarely found.

May God bless their souls, and the United States of America.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:33 | Comments (0)
May 30, 2010

img00050-20100528-1633 …you try and make lemonade, but you really end up giving them to anyone and everyone you can find. This is our east yard, looking at the lemon and lime trees. The lemon tree has had so many lemons we don’t know what to do with them all. The lime tree’s fruit won’t be out for another month or two. The limes that tree produces are exquisite – small but very intense, almost like key limes. Squirt the juice from one of those limes into an ice-filled glass of cranberry juice, and that’s living!

Pool temp: 84 degrees

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:11 | Comments (3)
May 29, 2010

fullmoon It’s a big bright full moon that has risen across the eastern sky tonight. The air on the patio is beyond still. There’s a little bit of heat left in the air. The pool’s an almost-inviting 83 degrees.

It still amazes me how we can be surrounded by so many houses (surprisingly, with people living in them!) and it being so quiet and so still on a Friday night. Sitting on the patio with my trusty glass of Pinot Grigio, I couldn’t help but wonder how fast this year is going by. It seems like just yesterday I was sitting in the same chair, in the chill New Year’s Eve air with an equally-chilled glass of Pinot, counting down the minutes until 2010. The full moon glistened on the palm tree branches. All was still. What would the New Year bring, I pondered?

Five months later, the year seems like it has passed in a whirlwind. You wouldn’t recognize the inside of our house, and next Friday I visit my cancer advisor with lots to discuss then, I’ll tell you.

It just goes to show you, you just never know.

Nevertheless, it’s Memorial Day weekend, which, back home, means the start of summer. With that in mind, here’s a great surf tune by the Super Stocks – a great surf/car band circa ’63-’64 – to kick off summer, no matter where you might live. Enjoy!

Pool temp: 83 degrees

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:07 | Comments (4)
May 28, 2010

Study: Using Sunscreen May Actually Accelerate Skin Cancer. Now they tell us. Me, I’m still going to goop up when I play golf with the Goodboys this July.

Russia plans big naval exercise off North Korea. I have a feeling that both Russia and China eliminate the source of this latest crisis before he’s allowed to go mustang on South Korea. Having dealth with this clown for the better part of three decades, they know he’s unstable and what he’s capable of.

Obama on BP oil spill: “I’m fully engaged.” And yet, when asked about the departure of Elizabeth Birnbaum, the head of the Minerals Management Service – the agency that oversees offshore oil drilling, the President replied that he didn’t know whether she had resigned or was fired. Doesn’t sound very “fully engaged” to me.

Ban on chicken suits at polls still stands. Um, I think I’ll let the article speak for itself, but I think Nevada has bigger eggs to fry than worrying about how people present themselves when voting.

State Department: US troops won’t be used to stop illegal immigration. OK, so doesn’t that beg the question of what the#@!$ they’re being sent to the border to begin with? It is truly sad that this administration knows only how to play politics, if they ever figured out how to govern and lead maybe they’d be doing better in the polls. All I can say is, I can’t wait for November.

Tony Romo’s golf game continues to impress at Open qualifier. A pretty incredible story, whenj you think about it. There are pros and some excellent collegiate golfers just a sneeze away from the Nationwide Tour that failed to make their local qualifiers. Compare Romo to the more likely kind of scenario experienced by Jerry Rice, and you’ll know what I mean.

Yahoo! News headline (really): Recent wet weather could mean more summer mosquitos. Well, no sh*t, Sherlock. I’d love to know what genius came up with that one. And, how much taxpayer money funded that study. This country really is going down the tubes…

Pool temp: 83 degrees

Filed in: Golf & Sports,Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:27 | Comments (0)
May 27, 2010

howard1 AAAAARRRGGGHHHHH! What kind of an idiot would dream of calling for Red Sox manager Terry Francona’s dismissal before the 2010 baseball season even got slightly halfway through May? I mean, what the $#@! is up with that?

The problem with bloggers like The Great White Shank is that they give bloggers and blogging a bad name – always reactionary, impatient, impertinent, impossible to live with, and impotent – oops, at least not yet. Now take Rob, or Dave, for instance. Those are nice boys and even nicer bloggers – they never shoot before they ask questions, their blog posts are always measured and on target, and they’re never, ever wrong. This Great White Shank is a virtual (and actual) idiot, and I’m amazed anyone would give a tinker’s cuss about anything he has to say.

Look at how quickly the Sox have turned their season around: they took 1 of 3 from the Yankees when it could have easily – easily – been two. They took 2 of 2 from the Twins. They took 2 of out 3 from the Phillies. They freakin’ swept the Rays, including long-time nemesis Matt Garza (he of the incessant spitting and ugly facial hair), whom they sent to the showers early. David “Big Papi” Ortiz has once again become a force to be reckoned with, the Red Sox starters – even Daisuke Matsuzaka – have picked it up big time, and Adrian Beltre finally looks like the real deal.

Of course, The Great White Shank in his oh-so-infinite wisdom had the entire team on the trading block and Terry Francona out to pasture like a broken-down war horse just 10 days ago, but you’ll never hear him apologize or admit what a jerk he was. But does Chicken Little care? No, he’s far more interested in what his pool temperature is, or raving about the Bambi Molesters’ bitchin’ new release, or lamenting how Barack Obama has that magical combination of inexperience and arrogance that makes him unqualified to be Lindsay Lohan’s own personal bartender, let alone the President of the United States.

Do me a favor: the next time you see a post from The Great White Shank having anything at all to do with baseball, run away from it quicker than Connecticut Attorney General and U.S. Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal has from his bloviating about his service in Vietnam. You’ll be the better for it, believe me.

Pool temp: 81 degrees

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 00:47 | Comments (7)

howard1 AAAAARRRGGGHHHHH! What kind of an idiot would dream of calling for Red Sox manager Terry Francona’s dismissal before the 2010 baseball season even got slightly halfway through May? I mean, what the $#@! is up with that?

The problem with bloggers like The Great White Shank is that they give bloggers and blogging a bad name – always reactionary, impatient, impertinent, impossible to live with, and impotent – oops, at least not yet. Now take Rob, or Dave, for instance. Those are nice boys and even nicer bloggers – they never shoot before they ask questions, their blog posts are always measured and on target, and they’re never, ever wrong. This Great White Shank is a virtual (and actual) idiot, and I’m amazed anyone would give a tinker’s cuss about anything he has to say.

Look at how quickly the Sox have turned their season around: they took 1 of 3 from the Yankees when it could have easily – easily – been two. They took 2 of 2 from the Twins. They took 2 of out 3 from the Phillies. They freakin’ swept the Rays, including long-time nemesis Matt Garza (he of the incessant spitting and ugly facial hair), whom they sent to the showers early. David “Big Papi” Ortiz has once again become a force to be reckoned with, the Red Sox starters – even Daisuke Matsuzaka – have picked it up big time, and Adrian Beltre finally looks like the real deal.

Of course, The Great White Shank in his oh-so-infinite wisdom had the entire team on the trading block and Terry Francona out to pasture like a broken-down war horse just 10 days ago, but you’ll never hear him apologize or admit what a jerk he was. But does Chicken Little care? No, he’s far more interested in what his pool temperature is, or raving about the Bambi Molesters’ bitchin’ new release, or lamenting how Barack Obama has that magical combination of inexperience and arrogance that makes him unqualified to be Lindsay Lohan’s own personal bartender, let alone the President of the United States.

Do me a favor: the next time you see a post from The Great White Shank having anything at all to do with baseball, run away from it quicker than Connecticut Attorney General and U.S. Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal has from his bloviating about his service in Vietnam. You’ll be the better for it, believe me.

Pool temp: 81 degrees

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 00:47 | Comments (7)
May 26, 2010

“Liberals are right. The AZ situation is like Nazi Germany. Mexico is Germany and Arizona is Poland.”

Hat tip: NoLibZone, Free Republic.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:07 | Comments (0)
May 25, 2010

rock It was the Sunday night just after the New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl that I heard my good friend Rock had passed away of a heart attack in his sleep just a couple of weeks before. I was walking along Las Vegas Blvd with my Goodboys friends The Funny Guy and Doggy Duval after watching the game at The Mirage when it occurred to me I should call Rock to at least offer my congrats – after all, the Saints winning the Super Bowl was something I knew he’d be celebrating big time along with his many friends. And it was then, amidst a large crowd of revelers, after his wife Donna picked up his phone and told me the news, that I felt myself so alone and devastated at hearing that my friend was gone.

It’s a funny thing in this day and age how you can be such good friends with someone and not even know their last name. Rock was always just Rock, a number on my cell phone, someone who I could call at any time, and he me, and enjoy a few minutes of conversation and a good laugh and then go about our separate ways. I knew he ran Rock’s Safe and Lock in New Orleans, had a nice wife and a couple of great kids, but that was about it. We’d only chat a couple of times a year, perhaps, but whenever we did I could feel the strong connection between us. We both wished, I think, we could have lived closer to each other because we enjoyed each other’s company so much.

I had met Rock through his cousin Billy, who lived here in Phoenix and helped run an Italian pizza joint that went under several years ago. When Billy heard I was a big New Orleans guy, he told me I just had to look up his cousin the next time I went to New Orleans. And that’s how it happened: in 2004 I met Rock for the first time, and from the first lunch we had (over char-grilled oysters and a couple of cold Abitas at the Acme Oyster House) we became fast friends. We spent a lovely day driving down to his camp on Grand Isle, and during the drive to and from there was nothing we didn’t talk about: sports, religion, politics, cooking – you name it, he was equally at ease talking about anything. It was as if we had always known each other.

The devastating flooding that resulted from Hurricane Katrina put both his business and his house in St. Bernard Parish under water, and his family, like so many others, spent quite a bit of time and effort in alternative arrangements that, while not preferable by any means, were still better off than most; he was at least able to keep his family together on their own property.

I knew it was all pretty stressful for my friend Rock, because, when I visited him a few months after the floods had subsided (when the picture above was taken), he took me around to all the hardest-hit places and felt comfortable enough in my presence to blow off some significant steam. But that was Rock: no false pretenses. He was, I suppose, what some might call a ragin’ Cajun, but I always felt he was the most genuine person I ever knew.

Rock spent a lot of time, effort, and money putting his house and business back together. I knew it was hard for him, and I believe that, even though he died 4 1/2 years after Katrina, he was as much a victim of that disaster as anyone. All that time dealing with the stress of trying to hold your family life and your business together under the most trying of circumstances had to have taken a lot out of him. I know that, because he cared so damned much – about his family, his business and clients, his Louisiana home, and those around him who called it theirs.

If there is one story about Rock that characterized him to a ‘T’, it was the day we drove down to his camp at Grand Isle. I had mentioned to him it was my mom’s birthday, and that I had to give her a call. So there I am, talking with my mom, and Rock asks me for her name. When I told him Dorothy, he asks me for the phone. A minute later, there he is, talking with “Miss Dot” in that heavy N’awlins drawl of his, and charming the socks off her – as if he had known her for years and was one of her own.

That’s just how Rock was – kind, generous to a fault, always making people feel welcome and important. Maybe that was the only side I ever saw to him – after all, I only met him four times in my life. I’m sure he had his demons like we all do, but I have a feeling he was a good man – the kind you just don’t see enough of these days.

I had meant to write about Rock after I got back from Las Vegas, but for the life of me I couldn’t find the picture of him I knew I had somewhere. It was only this past weekend, while rummaging through my rebuilt computer trying to rebuild my Goodboys Museum ahead of the Goodboys’ 20th anniversary tournament, that I came upon his picture and proceeded to have a good cry. Rock would have told me not to be such a wuss. I get it.

I miss my friend Rock, and pray he’s in the Lord’s love, light, and eternal care. We down here are much the worse off as a result of his passing. Rest in peace, Rock – you were, and always will be, a special friend whose memory I will always cherish.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:48 | Comment (1)
May 24, 2010

A few items worth mentioning as a brandy new work weeks gets underway:

Michael Barone has a good piece here in the Washington Examiner: he’s right saying that, at some point this election season Republicans will have to put forth their own plans to roll back spending should they take power in the next Congress.

After watching the Red Sox take five of their last six games against the likes of the Yankees, Twins, and Phillies, I’m reminded of that old baseball adage that you’re never as good as you look when you’re going good, and never as bad as you look when you’re going bad. The Sox remain a deeply flawed team in my opinion. They’re burning reliever Daniel Bard out because they can’t trust anyone in the seventh and eight innings, I’m not sold on Marco Scutaro at shortstop, and Victor Martinez is not an everyday catcher. I think this team will look radically different by the end of the July trading deadline; only then will we know whether they have enough to chase the A.L. Wild Card spot.

If Accuweather meteorologist Joe Bastardi is right, his take on this year’s Atlantic hurricane season should make everyone from the Carolinas to Texas nervous.

Wonder why the flooding disaster in Nashville hasn’t caught either the mainstream media’s – or President Obama’s – attention. Oh that’s right, Nashville is a conservative town and Tennessee’s a red state, isn’t it? I guarantee if this had taken place in, say, East St. Louis, MO and a Republican was President the media would be all over it.

And speaking of which: if it were President McCain that was out golfing nearly every weekend while Louisiana fights that oil spill, the caterwauling you’d hear from the likes of the New York Times, Washington Post, et al would be deafening. This administration’s blatant incompetence and misguided priorities is truly astounding. But don’t expect a word of criticism from their mouthpieces and syncophants in the state-run media.

It must be nice to the the President of a nation where everyone’s so afraid of you, you can actually torpedo and sink another country’s warship and everyone is tip-toeing around trying not to offend you. And people wonder why Iran and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won’t stop until they have the same nuclear capabilities North Korea has? (Hat tip: Free Republic)

Pool temp: 81 gegrees

Filed in: Golf & Sports,Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:26 | Comments (0)
May 23, 2010

“We have a cancer within – close to the presidency, that’s growing…” — White House Counsel John Dean, to President Richard Nixon, March 21, 1973

“We have a cancer within – close to the prostate, that’s growing…” — The Great White Shank, to his wife, Thursday, May 20, 2010

Yep, Thursday really was a tough day. It didn’t start that way, but that phone call from my doctor telling me I had the early stages of prostate cancer was certainly a wake-up call, I’ll tell you that.

As is typical in the case of these kinds of things, this story took a bit of time to unfold, and without a lot – actually, without any – symptoms. Back in March I had my bi-annual physical, with all the usual trimmings. And it was discovered then that, not only was I still slightly enemic (something I’ve been battling the past five years), I had a slightly elevated PSA level for males my age. Which, of course, meant a visit to a local urologist.

Me? All I was interested in was my cholesterol level (it was 210), which begs that old O.J. Simson joke:

Lawyer: OJ, I have some good news and some bad news for you.

OJ: What’s the bad news?

Lawyer: We’ve just gone over the Nicole Simpson murder scene and your blood is all over the place.

OJ (apopletic): J**us, what’s the good news?

Lawyer: Your cholesterol is 185.

So, I make my visit to the urologist and he’s like, “well, there’s really nothing to worry about, but just in case, to be on the safe side, I think we ought to do a biopsy of your prostate“.

Me, I’m a little concerned about this and so I ask about the procedure.

My urologist says, “Don’t worry, it will all be done under local anesthesia, you’ll be fine, we’ll help walk you through it.”

I’m thinking, no, I don’t like this one bit. But what choice do I have?

So a week ago last Friday I underwent the most miserable experience of my life. Local anesthesia be damned; all I can say is, anyone who has to endure this procedure oughta wonder why, if the CIA can work wonders with a micro-filament camera, why can’t most urologists? I mean, I’ve done colonoscopies, I’ve even had my wisdom teeth removed with only novocaine. Some say I might have a low threshold of pain, but I think I’m a pretty tough guy. Nevertheless, a prostate biopsy is no trivial matter, and I’m still, a week later, feeling the, er, effects. Without going into all the gory details, all I can say to y’all out there is, to be forewarned is to be forearmed. Or something like that. It ain’t no picnic.

Anyways, fast forward to Thursday. The phone rings and it’s my doctor.

(Let me tell you one thing: anytime some doctor starts a conversation off with, “First of all, let me tell you, you have nothing to worry about”, that’s the time to start worrying.)

…so the doc tells my that I have the earliest stages of prostate cancer, and he starts reciting to me a litany of websites I need to start looking into. Cancer Treatment Centers of America, National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Health, etc. – y’know, all those websites you go to when you’re feeling good, right?

He tells me my Gleason Score is a solid 6, and that things could be a whole lot worse. Me, I’m associating “Gleason Score” with the chart Jackie Gleason would have written out for his arrangement of “Melancholy Serenade”; I mean, what do I know?

Truth is, even though my cancer appears to be at a “very, very early stage”, the fact is, I am now, and will be, living with it. And as treatable as it might appear to be (I’ll know more on June 4 when I have a sit-down with my cancer advisor), I’m now, for all intents and purposes, a cancer patient and a member of the cancer community. I’m not losing any sleep over it, mind you (although I’m not ashamed to admit I was a little freaked out about the whole thing last Thursday) but it is something I know I’ll have to pay attention to over the coming weeks, months, and years.

I can’t help but think back to my first visit to my urologist. There I am, standing in line, waiting to fill out my paperwork, and this guy in back of me say, “don’t let anyone kid you, growing old sucks”.

I never before thought of myself as old or even growing old, so I couldn’t fully understand what he was saying then.

But I do now, and I sure as heck do now.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:05 | Comments (7)

goodboys.jpg


Search The Site



Recent Items

Categories

Archives
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006


Blogroll

Syndication

4 Goodboys Only

Site Info