May 22, 2010

At 2 PM today Phoenix hit the 100-degree mark for the first time this year. It was a hot, dusty, breezy day that, if you were to eliminate all of the empty strip malls and congested subdivisions, wouldn’t look out of place in a scene from Once Upon A Time In The West (one of my all-time favorite flicks). Here in Gilbert, we only made it to 99 – not that anyone could tell the difference. What’s weird is, tomorrow our highs will drop 10 degrees and it doesn’t look as if we’ll approach 100 again for the rest of the month.

It’s been a strange year. Typically, we’ll have hit 100 a couple two three times by now and then it will just stay that way for the summer until the second week of October, when the heat finally breaks, everyone lets out a big sigh of relief, and we enter Arizona “winter”. But not this year. The bow-tied, bum-kissing egghead liberal elites can scream all they want about their global warming hoax, but here in the Valley of the Sun it’s been the nicest spring in the 6+ years we’ve been here. Nights when you can keep the windows open. Days without the A/C turning on and staying on all day. It’s been fantastic. I say to Ma Nature, keep it up!

The amazing thing about surf music is that you can find bands all over the world plying their trade, interpreting in their own unique way the licks of those like Dick Dale, The Ventures, et al. Here is one of my faves – a Croatian surf band called The Bambi Molesters. Great name, great sound. I especially dig the attractive blonde bassist with that even more attractive Fender bass. She rocks, as do they. Enjoy!

Pool temp: 84 degrees

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:48 | Comments (2)
May 21, 2010

Belated congrats to Rob at CrabAppleLane blog for his seventh anniversary of blogging. I first started catching Rob’s enlightened and entertaining posts during Hurricane Katrina, and I’ve been a fan since. As Rob mentions in his post, we actually got together one day a few years ago at a wonderful lunch spot called Liuzza’s, where I had a shrimp po’ boy that knocked my socks off. Rob’s a great guy, and I’m glad I had a chance to meet him. One of these days I’d like to meet one of his and my fellow bloggers, Dave E. up in Minnesota.

—-

Not sure I agree with the alarmists out there predicting a total crash of the U.S. economy, but I will say this:

1) The Democrats in Congress sure seem hell-bent on at least exploring that possibility. I mean, does anyone in their right believe that we can continue adding billions upon billions to our national debt without any consequences whatsoever?

2) It wouldn’t take much for things to spiral out of control. Think about it: Israel attacks Iran, or vice versa? That loon in North Korea really does start a war with South Korea. The governments of Pakistan or Saudi Arabia or some other nuke country falls and is taken over by radical extremists. Let me tell you folks, it wouldn’t take much.

I’m just glad we have a President who has proven extensive foreign affairs experience and isn’t surrounded by a bunch of wussie, blame-America-first radical idealogues. Oh, wait a second…

—-

What is it about the travails of troubled actress Lindsay Lohan that interests people so? I mean, she’s not the first – nor will she be the last – celebrity trainwreck that seems headed towards a very bad place. Maybe it’s just our morbid fascination with people who are richer and more attractive than we are, but seem to be so damned miserable with that cross they bear.

—-

I have to admit, I’m surprised by how easily the Lakers have handled the Suns in the first two games of the Western Conference Finals. Between the Coyotes Bruins-esque implosion in Game 7 of their playoff series against the Red Wings and the Diamondbacks horrendous start, it’s been kind of an awful 2010 for sports teams here in the Valley of the Sun. But that’s OK – our syndicated sports radio gives us LeBron James talk on a 24/7 basis, so what do we care?

Pool temp: 84 degrees

…and undoubtedly going higher after tomorrow. I’ll tell ya, there’s a big difference between 81 and 84 degrees; when it gets to 86 it’s absolutely perfecto. If I could afford a pool temperature regulator unit, I’d set it on 86 and you’d never get me out of the water.

Filed in: Golf & Sports,Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:20 | Comments (5)
May 20, 2010

The less said about today the better. Rather than letting everything churn in my soul, it’s better to look for those things that bring a sense of peace and detachment. Me, I’m thinking tonight of some Dennis Wilson tunes. Not the greatest singer in the world by any stretch of the imagination, perhaps. But you couldn’t deny the Beach Boys drummer’s deep passion and soul, especially when it came to his music. Here are a couple of tunes that seem to fit the mood for tonight, courtesy of his fine album Pacific Ocean Blue:

River Song

Moonshine

Two great songs. Lonely, majestic, unforgettable.

God has blessed your troubled soul, Dennis, in keeping your music alive.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:17 | Comments (0)
May 19, 2010

A great night in Boston sports, not so great for long-time Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter.

It was good to see the good guys finally hang on to beat the Evil Empire after coming back yet again from a seemingly insurmountable deficit. Lots of heroes in this one, but a big tip of the cap has to go to Jeremy Hermida. I’m telling you, this guy has a future in the Red Sox outfield if Terry Francona would only play him more regularly.

And it a great Celtics win tonight at Orlando. They now take a commanding 2-0 lead back to Boston in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals series. The Celts seem to be peaking at the right time – they’re playing solid basketball on both sides of the ball and their ability to neutralize the Magic’s outside shooters shows just ho important team defense becomes at this stage of the season.

The big loser on the night was Pennsylvania senator and resident turncoat “Benedict” Arlen Specter, who got what he deserved in his primary defeat against Democratic challenger Rep. Joe Sestak. Specter’s decision to leave the Republican Party in 2009 was widely seen as his way to virtually guarantee re-election, but fortunately, Pennsylvania voters saw him for trhe political opportunist he really was.

If one is looking for a reason behind the anti-incumbent sentiment out there this year, look no further than Arlen Specter. Those like him have long since forgotten why they were originally elected; their sole desire is to retain their position in power, and they will do anything – including switching political parties – to do so. It’s cynical, it’s pathetic, and it’s indicative of just how out of touch the politicians in Washington are. Me, I can’t wait until November to vote against every single incumbent I can. And I know there are millions like me out there.

Pool temp: 81 degrees

Filed in: Golf & Sports,Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:52 | Comments (4)
May 18, 2010

What a ball buster last night’s Red Sox loss was. A killer.

Oh sure, some might say that it’s still May, and only being down to the division-leading Rays by 8 1/2 games is not a big thing. After all, there’s a whole lotta games left to be played, right?

But I believe in karma and destiny. And something tells me tonight’s game is gonna have reverberations far beyond just a 11-9 loss to the dreaded Evil Empire.

Y’know, maybe I was a little bit hasty yesterday about calling for Red Sox manager Terry Francona’s firing. Because, in reality, TF had nothing to do with tonight’s loss. It’s really nothing more than a talent contest, right? And the New York Yankees, as banged up as they are, have the talent. And the Red Sox don’t.

And the one to blame is GM Theo Epstein. Look at the Yankees with their young up-and-comers playing a key role in their success.

Watch the Rays steal one (literally!) from the Cleveland Indians.

Then watch the Red Sox and tell me what you think of Theo Epstein’s creation. It’s really rather pathetic, and it portends years of also-ran status in the American League East.

And don’t even get me started on Daisuke Matsuzaka.

There’s really not much to say at this point. The season hangs on the arm of Josh Beckett tonight. The Red Sox simply cannot afford to drop another to the Yankees. If they do, it’s Trauma: Life In The E.R. and The Dave Ramsey Show for the next twelve months.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:46 | Comment (1)
May 17, 2010

I’ve been a fan of Red Sox manager Terry Francona ever since he was given the job back in early 2004. After the folksy incompetence of Grady Little (who was in waaaay over his head), Francona was a breath of fresh air. Like most fans, I have had my quibbles with various decisions Francona might make from game to game, but you could never argue his passion and interest in doing the very best job possible. It’s been that passion that has led the Sox to not just one, but two – count ‘em, two! – World Series championships in the past six years – no mean feat for a team or manager in Major League Baseball, for sure.

And I’ve always been there for Francona even when others have questioned his use of the bullpen, or sticking with his veterans, when it seemed the wrong thing to do. Keep in mind, managing the Red Sox is one of the toughest jobs in sports. Every move is scrutinized, everyone thinks they could manage the Red Sox better, and the media spotlight is never-ending. Between having to manage the clubhouse and the games in such an environment, it’s an amazing feat just to be able to maintain your health and sanity, and Francona has always been able to strike that delicate balance.

Until this year.

It’s not just that the 2010 team seems unfocused and incapable of playing solid, fundamental baseball on a nightly basis – that’s hard enough to watch in and of itself. More than that, Francona seems – at least to me – a little more disengaged from the game this year. I mean, some of his moves are simply baffling. Last week, in a blow-out game, he pitched set-up man (and future closer) Daniel Bard. Last night, in an obvious sacrifice situation, he let Adran Beltre hit away, costing the Red Sox a game they should have won.

Look, everyone has their time and place (mine, I think, was back in the ’90s), and Terry Francona was the right guy in the right place after the Grady Little A.L. Championship Series meltdown in 2003. But the time has come, I think, for new on-field leadership for the Sox. It’s true that Theo Epstein has done Terry no favors by presenting him with an awkward roster and no-win situations having to find adequate playing time for good soldiers like Mike Lowell, David Ortiz, Tim Wakefield, and Jason Varitek. But still, there just seems to me a lack of intensity, fundamental baseball, and in-game preparedness in this year’s Red Sox team. And that’s the manager’s fault.

Ultimately, the team’s play will make the decision for the Red Sox front office. And given the fact they look to be no better than a .500 team at best, this is a Red Sox team that will not just miss the playoffs, but cost the Red Sox front office a lot of money in doing so. The roster itself is Theo Epstein’s fault. The team’s lack of performance and intensity is the manager’s. In Boston, there will be very little patience when it comes to either. If the Red Sox falter in the next ten-game stretch against the likes of the Yankees, Twins, Phillies, and Rays, he’ll be gone.

Frankly, I think it’s time to make the switch now. It’s time for Terry Francona to go.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 00:15 | Comments (0)
May 16, 2010

A few months ago I posted about this political ad and thought it was pretty awesome for its creativity and just out-and-out weirdness. But this one, by one Dale Peterson running for Alabama Agriculture Commissioner beats all. All I can say is:

1. I’m putting the house on the market today and moving to Alabama.
2. The camera panning to the horse actually makes the commercial.
3. Love the background music, I expected Gary Cooper to ride up behind him.

Like Hot Air’s Allahpundit, I’m still trying to figure out how tongue-in-cheek Mr. Peterson is playing this, but it’s a great ad no matter how you slice it. Expect it to go viral, oh, in the 24 hours.

Peterson in 2012 with the slogan, “What America Needs Today More Than Anything – More Horse Sense, Less Book Sense”. Go Dale!

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 12:35 | Comment (1)

A few months ago I posted about this political ad and thought it was pretty awesome for its creativity and just out-and-out weirdness. But this one, by one Dale Peterson running for Alabama Agriculture Commissioner beats all. All I can say is:

1. I’m putting the house on the market today and moving to Alabama.
2. The camera panning to the horse actually makes the commercial.
3. Love the background music, I expected Gary Cooper to ride up behind him.

Like Hot Air’s Allahpundit, I’m still trying to figure out how tongue-in-cheek Mr. Peterson is playing this, but it’s a great ad no matter how you slice it. Expect it to go viral, oh, in the 24 hours.

Peterson in 2012 with the slogan, “What America Needs Today More Than Anything – More Horse Sense, Less Book Sense”. Go Dale!

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 12:35 | Comment (1)
May 15, 2010

There has been a lot of coverage in the mainstream dino-media about the various municipalities and political entities that have voted to boycott Arizona for the passage of that “anti-illegal immigration” legislation a few weeks ago. In this hyper-politicized and politically-polarized environment our esteemed President and his administration have actively promoted since his inauguration, it doesn’t surprise me that we now have, in this struggling economy, Americans seeking to punish other Americans for actions they have taken when it is perfectly within their own vested interests and right to do.

Unlike some, I’m not going to sit here and condemn the likes of these elected bodies to do this kind of thing – we live in a democracy, and if that’s how they want to express their consciences they are perfectly in their right to do so. Even if it’s ill-conceived and ill-serving of this country. Especially since it’s a 100% lock that few – if any – in these entities have ever bothered to read the legislation or even consider the reasons Arizona took these steps. Not that they care, mind you – for this is all purely politics, and nothing more.

And the fact that President Obama, supposedly the President of all the people, can sit back and allow this kind of thing to happen without any condemnation whatsoever shows his pathetic lack of leadership and political courage; it is an absolute disgrace. In truth, I think he’s enjoying watching this country slowly tear itself apart over illegal immigration, as it suits his “divide and conquer” political philosophy.

But I digress.

You see, two can play at that game, and my guess is that in the coming days and weeks you’ll be seeing a backlash against the boycotters. There’s already been talk of an emerging “buycott” effort where people are actively seeking ways to support and promote Arizona in the face of all this nonsense. It’s happening in Austin, TX, it’s happening here in the Valley of the Sun, and it’s actively occurring right here in The Great White Shank’s own household.

Let me give you just a small example:

In three weeks I was planning on heading up to visit my folks and palies up in Massachusetts after yet another work-related visit to Atlanta, and I was planning on flying into Boston for that long weekend. I figured I’d fly into Beantown, rent a car there – you know, spend some tourism dollars. But I’ve changed my mind. Given the actions of those idiots on the Boston City Council, I’ll instead spend a few extra dollars and fly instead into Manchester, NH or perhaps Providence, RI. Maybe Boston and Logan Airport Massport won’t miss my dollars, but I don’t care – you see, this kind of boycotting can cut both ways.

And don’t think I’m the only one, and therefore have no ability to influence things. And I’ll continue to find whatever ways I can to avoid spending any kind of money that helps Los Angeles, Boston, Boulder, CO, or any of these political entities (because it’s all political now) in any way I can. Rather, I’ll spend my money on those who have the same interests I do, and to hell with those who don’t.

Like they say, payback’s a bitch.

It’s not the way I’d prefer to focus my energies, but evidently that’s the way this President prefers it. And that’s OK by me, because the sword in this case cuts both ways.

Buycott Arizona. Who’s with me?

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 16:04 | Comments (2)
May 14, 2010

I’ll be interested in Goodboys Nation weblog’s sports correspondent Ron “Cubby” Myerow’s take on tonight’s devastating Bruins defeat at the hands of the Philadelphia Flyers. Sure, the Bruins were never really that great this year, but fer gawdsakes, neither were the Flyers. You have an early 3-0 lead in a Game 7 and then somehow shuck all the intensity that got you there to begin with, allowing four – count ‘em, four – unanswered goals to cough up the game, the series, and whatever ounce of pride you might have had left? Why, that’s simply unconscien unconsciou, er, bad.

It’s a damned good thing the Red Sox are playing better – watching David “Big Papi” Ortiz launch two monsterous home runs out of Comerica Park in Detroit tonight was like old times for the big fella – otherwise, tonight would have been a huge letdown after last night’s thrilling Celtics celebration.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 19:50 | Comments (2)

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