February 28, 2011

Not me, silly – the PGA Tour, which, having finished its initial phase of the 2011 season, now heads to Florida and the ramp-up to The Masters. They’ve played in Hawaii, in California, and in the deserts in Arizona. A few of the Goodboys have played in Las Vegas. So going forward, let’s see, we have the Honda Classic, the Cadillac Championship at Doral, the Transitions at Innisbrook, and Arnie’s tournament at Bay Hill. So what have we learned during this golf year thus far?

1. Have to agree with Jay Busbee when he says we’ve officially entered the post-Tiger Woods era. While, as I’ve said previously, I’m sure Tiger will win his share of tournaments going forward (including, I’ll bet – a couple of majors ) before he’s done, the days of him dominating the PGA Tour are over. Sooner or later, he’ll figure out his off-the-tee consistency woes, but at 35, he’s just not going to be able to compete on the greens with all the young ‘uns out there. And, as far as the Fowlers, Johnsons, Kayners, McIlroys, etc. out there are concerned, he’s old news and will not intimidate anyone going forward.

2. I think we’ve also seen the best of Phil Mickelson. He’s being slowed by an incurable arthritic condition, and it’s not out of the question that you could see him hang up his spikes within the next year or two. He’s made a ton of money, has interests far beyond the game itself, and, frankly, with all his family concerns, he doesn’t need the weekly grind anymore. You watch, no one listens to The Great White Shank, but I’m right on this one.

3. The Goodboys who played in Las Vegas (Ben “The Funny Guy” Andrusaitis, the defending champs Steve “Killer” Kowalski and Pat “Doggy Duval” McLaughlin, and yours truly) are already ready for this year’s Goodboys Invitational. In fact, I’ve seen a group of golfers so ready for a brawl. We’re all in mid-season form and ready to scrap with anyone who dares come our way.

4. I love the Cobra S2 woods, and can’t wait to add them to my arsenal. I played the straights in Vegas, think the offsets are a little more designed for a high-handicapper’s game like mine.

5. Luke Donald once again proved how much he loves match play. I think he’s got a game well-suited for Augusta, and he’s my early choice to win the green jacket this year.

I can’t stand J.B. Holmes as a golfer. Not only is he an excruciatingly-slow player, but that plum-bobbing he does before every putt drives me crazy. If Goodboy Ron “Cubby” Myerow ever tried to do that during a Goodboys Invitational weekend he’d be hoisted from the nearest yardarm (that is, if they had yardarms on a golf course).

I love Florida golf. Big, wide green fairways, big wide greens, warm humidity, palm trees, alligators by the water, and blue skies and ultraviolet rays. Ought to be fun to see what West Coast golfers get left in the dust as The Tour moves east…

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 00:33 | Comments Off on Heading To Florida
February 27, 2011

Hi! I’m glad you’re here. And you’re on time – even better yet! Not many of my appointments are so timely. Why don’t you grab a spot on that couch over there? Make yourself comfortable, I know it’s been a long cold and snowy winter for most of you. And for those of you who follow the Saints, well, grab yourself an extra pillow and let yourself go.

Comfy? Good. I want you to click on the link I’m going to provide you, then lay back, close your eyes, and dream of white sand, and palm trees, and azure skies, and tourqoise waters. The air is warm and damp. The sun is a broiler, but that’s OK, you’re under a coral and white beach umbrella with the sounds of The Sandals playing soft in the distance. A boat drink is melting in your hand. Life as you know it is very, very far away. All there is, is you, the sand, the sun, and the surf. Don’t worry about that girl over there to your left in the white bikini, you can’t have her, neither can you afford her. She’s beyond your league, Jack…


Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:43 | Comments (3)
February 26, 2011

The other day after getting the new PC up and running I was going through the final QA and wanted to make sure the DVD player was working (after all, since our disc array crash on the old machine you couldn’t play any DVDs), so I popped into the player a DVD of The Sandals that I got during our visit to Carmel Valley and Georis Winery during our “treasure hunt” last fall. Watching the video was so cool – for that brief time I was back in Carmel Valley and Carmel, meeting the Georis brothers and living the dream of a lifetime.

You have to understand, I’m a pretty humble guy – I came into this world with nary an impact and I’m OK with going out the same way. While there are those heroes I worship when it comes to music (Phil Spector, Brian Wilson, The Beatles, Scott Joplin, Luigi Boccherini), I’m no autograph hound, nor am I even a professed devotee of them (or anything) beyond the walls of my home or this blog. That being said, I do admit to being a tad on the obsessive/compulsive side (I’m ashamed to say, like my sister-in-law Tammy), so when, upon receiving my “The Endless Summer” poster with surfer Mike Hynson’s autograph missing, it surprised even me to concoct a scheme to get not only his autograph, but those of the active members of The Sandals (Walter Georis, Gaston Georis, and John Blakeley) as well.

Listening to that video I could only think of how audacious it was to even think of undertaking such a thing. But the memories Tracey and I will always have of that time made it more than worth the effort. The cost? Well, that’s a whole ‘nutha thing, but it was fairly substantial when you figure in the rental car, the flights, the hotels, etc. But I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world – it was the absolute best thing I ever did in my life. I think of our weekend stay in San Diego at the beautiful Hyatt Regency on the waterfront and meeting Milke Hynson at the ASR convention; then, just a few weeks later, traveling to beautiful Carmel Valley for an unforgettable Saturday meeting the Georis brothers. Then, to top it all off, that “chew-and-screw” visit to chilly San Francisco just before Thanksgiving to spend an equally unforgettable afternoon in the home studio of John Blakeley.

Tracey and I were just talking about this the other night. Want to know what a dream sounds like? To hear your phone ring on an early Wednesday night and have the recorded voice saying, “Call from Blakeley, John.” “Call from Blakeley, John…” And then, thirty minutes later, say to Tracey, “I’ve just been on the phone with John Blakeley, he’s invited me up to his studio in San Francisco to meet him!” I mean, how cool is that?

You have to realize, I know The Sandals are not, nor have they ever been, the biggest thing in music by any stretch of the matter; we’re not talking about meeting Sir Paul McCartney or chatting with Phil Spector from the other side of his prison cell. But for me, The Sandals were, and still are, an important part of my life, and their music occupies a not-so-insignificant part of my soul. And to be able to meet them and talk music with them as just one guy to another is, as the MasterCard commercials say, priceless.

The poster with the signatures of Mike Hynson, Walter Georis, Gaston Georis, and John Blakeley remains safely rolled up inside its container on the other side of the door in my office / prayer room. It’s gonna cost some $ to frame it right, after which it will go into the office / bunny room. And I’ll select a few pictures and their business cards and create a nice montage for the same room. From time to time, I’ll take the poster out of its container and just gaze at the signatures for kicks, still unable to truly comprehend the fact I had the guts to pursure the dream and getting their signatures.

Every now and then, we’ll get an e-mail from Georis Winery inviting us up for Friday night tapas and wine tasting, or one from John Blakeley just to say “hi”, or answer a question about what instrumentation was on a particular Sandals track, and I still have a hard time believing the connections that have been made. It all seems like an incredible dream, the absolute best experience of my life. That might tell you what kind of a life I’ve had, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Filed in: Treasure Hunt by The Great White Shank at 00:49 | Comment (1)
February 25, 2011

As Rob can probably attest to, blogging can be a love/hate kind of thing. There are stretches where you love it and, whether it’s for your own psychological well-being or just the desire to share a part of yourself with others, you and the blog are moving in perfect concert with one another. Other times, you’ve got writer’s block and wondering what the hell you’re going to say, knowing only that the blog, like the hound out in the back yard or that stray cat that shows up at your door every now and then, is hungry and needs to be fed.

This was one of those weeks. Between getting chewed up and spit out by my India team and trying to get the new PC online, the blog was just another hassle issue needing resolution in a weeks where 24 hours wasn’t enough in a day, but I didn’t really feel motivated to write, either. I mean, what to say? Complain about Barack Obama’s absence of leadership during the crisis in Libya (thank God we have Sarah Palin), or while gas prices are really jumping at the pump, or while this country is facing a real civil war in the battles between the states and the public-sector unions. This nation has never been more polarized – politically, emotionally, and psychologically. There are real, and I mean real, hard times – historically so – on the horizon, but what’s Obama doing? Celebrating “Motown Day” at the White House. This guy is a joke.

And speaking of easy targets, Tiger Woods getting tossed in the first round of the Accenture Match Play? I already told y’all that, for all intents and purposes, we’ve seen the last of Tiger as a dominating force on the PGA Tour. Oh, Michelle Wie finished second at a LPGA event in Thailand last weekend, but, until she starts winning regularly (something she will never do) she will remain a wasted talent. Besides Lexi Thompson has already proven she can play with the big boys – and win (that’s right, Michelle!). And she’s only like, what, 16?

The Red Sox start playing actual spring training games, but that’s next week.

Charlie Sheen is back out of rehab, and Lindsay Lohan is being threatened with jail again.

See? You really don’t have to blog daily – nothing ever really changes.

But I am glad to be back, promise I’ll post at least a little something each day. After all, I can’t leave all the spoils to Rob and Dave E, now can I? 🙂

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:30 | Comments (6)
February 24, 2011

We finally have our new home PC online but (to quote the Greateful Dead), what a long strange trip it was. I did my best to avoid having a computer guy come out, but between the 60 Gb of music folders and Outlook, I finally had to break down and call in an expert. There were plenty of tech sites to tell you how to get your XP / Outlook 2007 over to Windows 7 / Outlook 2010 (and I must have tried ten different ways to make it happen) but I had no luck. It’s not just about copying folders, there’s some kind of export/import step that got lost on me. But it turned out to be 2 hours at $85 per that was well worth the cost.

Of course, that was only the start. After all the Windows upgrades got loaded all the 32-bit inadequacies of my old system started presenting themselves. First it was my 5-years old trusty Linksys router that stopped working, but fortunately the new Linksys router I bought a few weeks ago by mistake after Butterscotch chewed through my cable modem power cord came in pretty freakin’ handy. And, I have to say, Cisco’s technical support (outsourced, I think, in Malaysia) was absolutely top-notch in getting me and my new secured wireless network up and running in no time. They were really fabulous.

Then I discovered that our 3-year old Lexmark printer is 32-bit and, alas, also DOA under Windows 7. Not that I didn’t try: while installing the printer software I got a message saying I needed Microsoft’s .NET Framework 2.0; the fact that Windows 7 is at a 4.0 level should have told me to quit right then and there. But I nevertheless gave it a shot, only to find my Windows wouldn’t even boot with the printer software installed, so, a frantic Safe Mode cleanup session later, no more Lexmark printer and Windows 7 happy once again.

Fortunately, Tracey’s “40 Thieves” solitaire software still works – otherwise, I’d have to send the whole thing back to Dell. 🙂

So that’s my story, and, like they say, I’m sticking to it. At any rate, we’re up and operational, just needing a new printer to finalize the entire upgrade effort. I do like quality of the video on our monitor. Even though that’s three or four years old it came supporting either analog or digital video cards; Windows XP was analog, Windows 7 digital, and you can really tell the difference.

Tracey especially likes the “Year of The Rabbit” desktop theme available at the Microsoft Windows 7 website.

It’s just the usual technology dilemma – once to decide to go in you’re all in. There’s no half-measures and no going back; you’re living and dying in 3/4 time until you’re 100% in.

Let’s hope this upgrade lasts a little more than 3+ years.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 17:27 | Comments Off on Upgraded
February 22, 2011

OK, I’ll be honest with my audience here: you return from a weekend in Las Vegas and the world looks screwy. The women you see at the supermarket, at the bank, at WalMart – wherever – they just don’t look right – y’know, like the girls you’ve just spent a weekend looking at and being around. That’s not their fault (although, as far as I’m concerned, on the right frame you can’t have enough cleavage), it’s just the way it is. You can’t compare a cocktail waitress at, say, Wynn or The Peppermill with someone checking out the cabbage in the organic produce section. It just doesn’t work that way.

For those with their mouths agape, let me just say this: look, I may be married, but I’m not dead. I’m just a dumb red-blooded (and happily married) American guy who appreciates the finer things in life and all the possibilities God has given the female gender. And in Las Vegas you can’t help but notice them making the most out of what God (or modern surgical techniques) has blessed them with; I, for one, say good for them.

That being said, it’s a very very fine line between fantasy and reality. What Vegas does best is fantasy, and you have to understand that and dive right in with both eyes open. Those who can’t distinguish between the two are in for a heapin’ helping of trouble spelled T-R-O-U-B-L-E. And it’s not just Vegas – I mean, in any kind of doings in your private life you have to be really careful. Those who have a hard time with reality vs. fantasy are vulnerable: a few beers, a friendly girl, and all of a sudden, meltdown and media stories.

This is what happens when you don’t focus on the ladies and instead use a Worcester, Mass. strip club to sell narcotics:

Now for our perverse entertainment pleasure comes Easton “Boom Boom” Byfield, the manager of the Platinum Premier strip club on Southbridge Street. Released within the past few days, the online video shows the beefy Byfield locking a much smaller patron in the bathroom and calmly punching him in the face four times. The video also shows Byfield taking 300 bucks from the guy and making him drop to his knees. The incident took place last May.

It appears that Byfield suspected that the patron was selling drugs at the club. So rather than do the normal thing — kick him out or call the cops — Byfield proceeds to torture and humiliate the kid, 25, who is heard begging him to stop. He can be seen grinning for the camera seconds before he releases the first punch.

If you’re working as a stripper, that’s all well and good, but at least find someone to watch your kids:

A Riviera Beach woman has been charged with four counts of child neglect for allegedly leaving her children alone at night while she is at work as a stripper, according to Riviera Beach police.

Corinthian Williams, 24, whose occupation on the police report is listed as “stripper,” was arrested late Monday night. She was released from Palm Beach County Jail on Tuesday afternoon under her own supervision.

The state Department of Children & Families has taken custody of four children, ages 1, 5, 6 and 9, police said.

I mean, a girl’s gotta work for the money, but I’m not leaving a one-year old alone without an adult. C’mon!

Maybe the reproductive act in itself may not produce great results, but I doubt the idea that “Sex in space is tough” is going to stop folks from trying:

Researchers at the agency’s Ames Research Centre in California found that without effective shielding on spacecraft, powerful proton particles would probably sterilise any female embryo conceived in deep space

They also concluded that male fertility was likely to be negatively affected, with the particles damaging the sperm count.

Given that travel to distant planets is likely to take decades, centuries or longer, this could make any mission to colonise other environments a non-starter.

The scientists noted that space shield technology is currently not sufficiently advanced to offer enough protection from this type of radiation.

Dr Tore Straume, a radiation biophysicist at the centre, said: “The present shielding capabilities would probably preclude having a pregnancy transited to Mars.”

I’d be more concerned if they wouldn’t consider having a bar with cocktails to break the ice.

Of course, this could make a visit to Vegas a helluva lot more less interesting…

U.S. Sen. Harry Reid took aim at the world’s oldest profession Tuesday, telling state lawmakers the time has come to have an adult conversation about Nevada’s legal sex trade if the state hopes to succeed in the 21st century.

The Democratic Senate majority leader’s comments before a joint session of the Legislature came as owners, lobbyists and working girls for Nevada’s brothel industry looked on from the gallery.

Me, I’m split on this – the libertarian side of me says that what people want to do with their lives and their bodies is their own business, but the other side of me is well aware of the less-than-honorable elements that would inevitably come to be involved when it comes to exploitation and sex trafficking. The verdict: Harry Reid is a senile ass. But I already knew that.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 22:10 | Comments (4)
February 21, 2011

beachboys68 One of the great Beach Boys tunes of all time. This is a particulary great mix you’re not going to find anywhere else, with Brian contributing on vocals in a very cool way. An incredibly great mix, combining unreleased and released versions. Frankly, it doesn’t get better than this…

Wanna know how Brian did the funk drums at the start? He didn’t have the software we do today, but here’s how it was done. The fact he could do it with a 8 track mixing board in 1968 tells you how inventive he was.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:37 | Comments Off on Do It Again
February 20, 2011

Honestly, I don’t have anything to write about tonight. It’s the end of a weekend, Tracey and I watched Master and Commander: The Far Side Of The World (one of my all-time fave flicks), and the prospect of the kind of work week that’s ahead just makes me want to hurl, curl up inside of a bottle of Cuervo 1800, or hide under a pillow. Last week at this time I was in Las Vegas and talking to pretty girls who didn’t care that I was all of 55 and washed up. This week I’m reduced to a working stiff who can’t even figure out how to get my 2007 Outlook working in Office 2010 under Windows 7.

But 99.8% of the people on this planet have it worse than I do, so who am I to complain?

Oh well. This is music that soothes the savage beast within me – that is, as long as it isn’t eminating from some National Public Radio station being supported by my tax dollars. I’m way beyond that.

Well? Stephen…The bird’s flightless?”


“It’s not going anywhere”.

I know how that bird feels.

BTW, Boccherini is the best. My ears can pick his work out from a mile away. He was obviously a lover of the cello, as am I. Want a contemporary use of the cello? Check this out. Love those triplets!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 23:02 | Comments Off on Not Going Anywhere
February 19, 2011

Soon-to-be-official presidential candidate (and Great White Shank fave) Herman Cain is absolutely right when he says Madison, Wisconsin is ground zero for the battle of who will control the economic future of America: the people or the public-sector unions. And methinks Sarah Palin is right when she says the unions are making a huge mistake by choosing this particular time and place to draw their line in the sand over the proposed givebacks in state benefits and collective barganing proposed by Governor Scott Walker. The public sector unions have felt little – if any – impact from the economic troubles of the past few years. People everywhere have lost their jobs or seen their pay frozen and benefits cut, it’s time for the public-sector unions to feel a little bit of that pain.

What’s worse, I think, is that these teachers have had their true colors shown to the American public for the first time. They’ve shown they care nothing about the education of their students, and have revealed themselves to be selfish, greedy, self-serving, and juvenile. By seeking to negotiate in good faith while they did their jobs, they would have shown themselves to be honest and hard-working public servants; instead, they’ve forever tainted not only themselves, but teachers unions everywhere. Me? I’m glad of it – if it’s one thing Democrats and liberals have never understood it’s the concept of restraint. They simply can’t help themselves because they’re playing from the same book that’s been in place for decades when the unions meant something in this country.

Ann Althouse’s blog is a great place for everything happening in Madison this weekend. Likewise, the irrepressible Michelle Malkin.

And it’s not just the public-sector unions whose behavior is showing their true colors: the gutless Democratic state senators who have fled the state to convene in various places in nearby Illinois to avoid debating (and ultimately losing the fight against) Governor Scott Walker’s proposed budget cuts. I said after the November elections the big news wasn’t the results for U.S. Congress and Senate, but what happened in the state houses across the country, where Republicans made huge gains – especially in the so-called “Rust Belt”. Now that Democrats used to being in power are now in the minority they can’t handle and are running away like the gutless skunks they are.

Elections indeed have consequences. And public-sector unions across the United States are going to learn that over the coming year. Who knew the powderkeg would be lit in Wisconsin?

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 18:29 | Comments (5)
February 18, 2011

Been a long, hard week. Last week at this time I was in Vegas, and as glad as I was to be leaving there on Monday with money in my pocket and the shirt on my back, I miss it already and wish I was back there tonight. Instead, I’m on the patio, gray skies above and a southeast breeze heralding what sounds like (at least for us) a pretty significant rain event for this time of year. Here in the desert Southwest, any moisture in all of its forms is greatly appreciated.

Told y’all about the coming civil war between the states and the public-sector unions, interesting that it’s come so quickly. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is doing the right thing, and the public sector unions and their Democrat supporters are being truly revealed for what they are – greedy, selfish, and thuggish. I feel bad for the parents who have children in the Madison public school system – but at least they know now that the teachers could give a s**t about their pupils’ education. But I could have told them that a long time ago.

One week to go before the start of actual spring training games. That’s nice.

You know what kills me? The e-mails we get every Friday from Georis Winery inviting us for their weekly tapas and wine, or gourmet pizza and wine, or wine and wine events. One of these days… but for now I’ll just have to settle for a chilled glass of their fine Sauvignon Blanc.

This week has really been the first week where it felt like spring around here.

If I ever get my home PC back there will be pictures – Geronimo and Butterscotch are getting along famously. I’m so proud of Geronimo – I mean, I know he appreciate the company of another bun, having been around Ginger for so long – but I didn’t think he’d accept Butterscotch into his bunny life so easily. They make a great pair.

Tonight I’ll be starting King of Ragtime: Scott Joplin and His Era while taking a soak in the tub. Nice way to spend the night while Tracey’s away at a conference in St. Louis.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 21:06 | Comments Off on Not Nothing, But Barely


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