March 21, 2011

If you rely on the mainstream dino-media or most Washington politicians – especially Democrats – you can be excused if don’t think that: a) this country has a serious budget crisis, and b) if it isn’t addressed now our nation’s economic future is in serious jeopardy.

(Before I proceed further, I say most Washington politicians because, in my mind, only Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul have had the guts to speak the truth, seeking an honest, bipartisan discussion with the American people, and making serious proposals for dealing with this nation’s debt crisis.)

The Beltway elitists and their bow-tied, bum-kissing mouthpieces on the main TV channels, the Washington Post, New York Times, Boston Globe, L.A. Times, NPR, MSNBC would have you think that in the current budget debate Republicans are attempting to throw old people out in the streets, close every public school, and starve every person who is on food stamps. You’ve got VP Joe Biden equating Republicans to rapists, and Harry Reid using annual cowboy poetry gatherings and programs about the Alaska Iditarod dog race as reasons for keeping the National Endowment for the Humanities and PBS, respectively, off the budget chopping block.

Of course, it’s all bullshit – and I mean that in every sense of the word. This administration can’t even tell the truth about President Obama’s blatantly dishonest budget proposal, and we’re so much in debt no one really knows just how bad the situation is, except for the fact that we’re now accumulating more debt on a monthly basis than we used to annually less than a decade ago. Some people might sneer at this, but the payment is coming due, and this country cannot afford to live in denial any more.

That’s why this Powerline post by John Hinderaker is so important to read. It helps put the current budget debate into something even I can understand: the federal budget as a McDonald’s Big Mac meal. Please read it and share; it’s something vitally important to understand, and help others understand, as far as the country’s economic future is concerned.

If it wasn’t so frightening, it would be pretty funny. Unfortunately, given the spineless, gutless clowns in power in Washington (and I’m including both Democrats and Republicans here), all it is, is pathetic.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:15 | Comments Off on Budgeting, Big Mac Style
March 20, 2011

…and the 2011 Goodboys Invitational began today at Superstition Springs Golf Club. It was a lovely warm late morning, already near 80, when I put my 6-iron, 8-iron, pitching wedge, putter, glove, and a sleeve of Callaway CXBs in my trunk and headed for the Spring’s driving range. I had a range ball card with 20 balls left on it from last year, so it cost me nothing to walk through the parking lot and past the lines of golf carts all lined and loaded up for a shotgun start for some local golf event.

The sky had a lovely milky haze to it, and it felt great to simply feel the warm sun on my skin, the smell of grass in the air, and the happy sounds of golf activity – people putting and talking on and around the practice green, the click of golf balls being hit at the range, the starter negotiating with the guys who had put the thing together. It all felt right, and I was at peace. No nervousness, no apprehension, no sense of dread. Very unusual for someone who not all that long ago used to think of time spent at a driving range hitting balls just 3-4 steps below visiting the dentist.

Even with all the people and the activity, I still found my favorite spot at the far left end of the driving range open, so I trekked on over, dropped my clubs on the ground, sprayed on a little sun block, and grabbed my 6-iron for a few practice swings. Unlike last year, this year I’m starting much earlier, and with swing thoughts that are ridiculously simple: 1) stay on top of the ball, and 2) sweet swing. And that’s it: the first, to make sure I stay compact and allow for a good hip turn and follow through; the second, to not over-swing and follow through nice.

I hit the ball good today – one 6-iron (my last ball, BTW), and several 8-irons on the screws, I mean, really nutted. No shanks. 5-6 balls hit like crap, but that’s to be expected. More importantly, if I started getting away from my swing thoughts, I’d step away for a time, practice my swings, get back in a good mental place, and then return to hit good shots. That’s the most important thing, to not allow a bad shot to spiral your session out of control. That I did, and I have to say, did quite well.

So why the new-found confidence? You see, last year, The Great White Shank, with the help of my swing guru, Ben “The Funny Guy” Andrusaitis, was finally able to stare down his golf demons. Allow me to explain.

During Goodboys week at a range session with TFG, he was finally able to diagnose what he called my “death move” at the heart of all my swing problems. By pointing out that I was always finishing up by falling backwards and lifting up my front foot, I came to understand how I was off-balance in my swing, over-swinging, and not finishing up over my right shoulder (I’m a lefty). That’s why I’d start out OK but then, as I began over-swinging I’d be pushing, slicing, shanking, or mis-hitting all my shots. I needed to learn how to keep that damned front foot down and stay more compact.

Breaking old habits and learning new swing thoughts is a tough thing to do on the fly – just ask Tiger Woods. Last Goodboys Friday I was barely hanging on, even on the wide-open Sagamore Hampton, then on Saturday I melted down and hit rock bottom at the tough Ledges in York when, after two tough opening holes I bailed on my new swing and tried to make due with my old one. I put up a huge number and was miserable.

After the round I grabbed some alone time for myself at a local Mexican joint, where, over a couple of Cuervo Gold margaritas, I had a heart-to-heart with myself. Figuring that I had nothing to lose and nowhere else to go but up, I committed myself 100% to TFG’s swing recommendations. It was fish or cut bait time – literally. I was tired of playing crummy golf and making a fool of myself in front of my Goodboys friends. I also needed to motivate myself: I had never broken 100 at a Goodboys Invitational in the twenty years I had been playing them, and had worked myself into such a negative mindset that a sub-100 round seemed beyond my capabilities. That, too, had to go. Then and there, I committed myself to shooting a 99 at The Links at Outlook on Goodboys Sunday.

I shot a 98.

After my surgery on September, I’ve continued to play well. After getting off to a slow (and painful) start at Goodboy Steve “Killer” Kowalski’s stag at Pease G.C. in October (I was less than two months beyond my prostate surgery) – I loosed up after a sluggish front nine and blistered the tough back nine with a 52 that earned high praise from Mike “Vegas” Clark and Tony “2 Times” Proctor – two Goodboys who don’t hand out any kind of praise, false or otherwise, easily.

A month later I shot a 47-49=96 at Superstition Springs.

In February at Angel Park in Vegas, I was on my way to a rocking chair – and I do mean rocking chair – 47 on the front nine when I misread how fast the greens were and putted and chipped balls off the greens and intio ravines on 8 and 9, respectively, and had to settle for a 51. Pretty much the same thing on the back nine, but my 106 score sure didn’t reflect how well I hit the ball all day.

I’m probably boring y’all to hell and you’ve all probably left by now, but the point of this post is to say that The Great White Shank has found a new confidence in his game and swing, and I’m grateful to The Funny Guy for being such a persistent and no-nonsense swing coach. It just goes to show tough love does work – if The Great White Shank can indeed enjoy hitting balls on a driving range on a warm, hazy late Saturday morning in March, then, as they say on the PGA Tour advertisements, anything truly is possible.

Thanks, TFG.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:38 | Comments (2)
March 19, 2011

bigwave Far be it from me to be an alarmist, but I can’t help it: Dutchsinse’s YouTube channel has been the place to be ever since that huge earthquake that hit the east coast of Japan last weekend.

Want to feel your blood go cold? Check out his latest entry and consider what he’s suggesting: a frightening scenario whereby the entire east-facing coast of Japan collapses into the sea. Preposterous, you say? Consider the geography: within one hundred fifty miles or so, the east coast of Japan goes from sandy beach to 20,000 feet below sea level, and that the literally hundreds of earthquakes (582 to be exact!), anywhere from 4s to small 7s, have been happening along Japan’s east coast along and within fissures on the eastern end of the shelf Japan sits on since last weekend’s monster.

Dutchsinse’s hypothesy is that these earthquakes are resulting from that shelf chipping away, and that were it to collapse the results would be catastrophic, almost incalculabe to measure. Obviously, there would be huge and immediate loss of life. Just as important, however, is that the tsumani that would result from such a large area of land falling into the sea would have grave implications across the Pacific all the way to the West Coast. How high a tsunami? Ten feet? Thirty? Fifty? Higher? Think about a tsunami capable of producing water that high rushing towards Hawaii and the West Coast at hundreds of miles an hour and you get the picture.

And it’s not like something like this hasn’t happened before – I remember seeing a program on cable (no, it wasn’t on PBS) discussing how one of the huge bays now in Alaska was created by that very same kind of thing – a huge piece of land collapsed, putting the surrounding areas forever under water.

Is Dutchsince an alarmist? Perhaps. But keep in mind he was the one who, just days before the massive Japan quake, predicted something big was going to happen there soon.

Maybe I’ll get my waterfront property here in Gilbert, Arizona after all…

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:49 | Comment (1)
March 18, 2011

Not to say I haven’t been trying to tell y’all. It’s almost like that Alan Jackson / Jimmy Buffett tune, except, for President Barack Obama it’s 3 AM somewhere.

Do you know where your President is? Heck, even Democrats are starting to wonder who’s leading their charge. And even the Secretary of State is wondering when all the dithering over Libya will end.

Rather than attend soldiers’ funerals, this Commander-in-Chief would rather play golf.

Rather than be out front in Leading the effort to help Japan, this President signs a condolences book. Hey Barack, I’ve got news for you: that’s what tourists do, not presidents.

Rather than play a leadership role in the budget debate and face head-on the serious economic issues this country is facing, this President assigns his VP to do the dirty work. Joe Biden’s response? Leave the country to visit that economic and military juggernaut of the world, Finland.

As gas prices (and with them, food prices) continue to rise, this President blames the oil companies, even as his administration drags its feet on allowing drilling permits to be issued.

Folks, I’m not making this stuff up. Michael Barone is right, when the going gets tough, this president is voting ‘Present’.

Iowahawk, I think, has it about right.

Good luck with your brackets, Nowhere Man

UPDATE 3/18/11: Seems a number of Democratic senators have finally woken up to what I’ve been saying all along.

…but one thing you can’t call him is a male chauvinist – he’s even filled out his NCAA women’s basketball brackets. Is there anything this president cannot do in his spare time!

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:26 | Comments Off on Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring…Hi, You’ve reached the desk of Barack Obama. I’m not here right now, but if you leave a message after the tone I’ll get right back to you. Remember to eat healthy! Beep… [Updated]
March 17, 2011

“If you had the luck of the Irish, you’d wish you were English instead.”
— John Lennon, “Luck of the Irish”

Ahh, St. Patrick’s Day. Used to be a high, high holy day in Goodboys Nation back in our wild and wooly days. Pub crawls in downtown Lowell, doin’ it up right. No more. And maybe that’s not such a bad thing after all…

For my YouTube contributions to celebrate the day I submit to you the the Dropkick Murphys, a Boston band famous for their tune “Tessie” (which brings back all kinds of great memories during those magical 2004 and 2007 World Series years). But that’s not my tune for the day. Read on.

For this St. Pat’s Day here’s a great tune called “Going Out In Style”. See if you can spot Boston Bruins legend Bobby Orr and none other than NESN in-game glam-chick Heidi Watney (cousin of recent Doral winner Nick, BTW) at the bar doin’ shots with the locals. Wow. And in devastating black, no less. Wow.

Awesome tune, great vid. I feel like I’ve just been to Boston and back!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:49 | Comments (2)
March 16, 2011

Leadership (l?’d?r-sh?p’) n.
1. The position or office of a leader: ascended to the leadership of the party.
2. Capacity or ability to lead: showed strong leadership during her first term in office.
3. A group of leaders: met with the leadership of the nation’s top unions.
4. Action or instinct towards guidance or direction: The business prospered under the leadership of the new president.


Disengaged? Er, you might say that. But don’t ask me, ask a Democrat like West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin – he certainly thinks so.

Hillary Clinton had it spot on about that 3 AM call. The problem is, no one’s there to pick up the phone, he’s busy with more important matters.

Whether at the White House or on the golf course, the Prez has got it going good, that’s for sure. One can only hope those demonstrating for freedom in Libya or those in Japan attempting to stop four nuclear reactors from melting down have as much luck as President Obama hopes to have with his NCAA brackets.

I think Hot Air’s Allahpundit has got it about right:

As for my own picks: I’ve got Qaddafi in the Libyan regional, radioactive steam over the containment vessels out east, and China over Duke in the final. At the buzzer.

Only thing is, Allah forgot about dithering in the energy independence regional, and ignorance in the mounting national debt regional. Or was it the entitlement reform regional? So many regionals, so many choices…. but hey, he wanted to be President, right?

I’ll only say what I’ve said a gazillion times before: if this had been a Republican president acting this way, there’d be the devil to pay.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:02 | Comments (3)
March 15, 2011

I’ve never ever done a blog post that, in effect, says I’m not posting anything tonight, but I’m not. Today was a hideously long day, and my heart feels extremely heavy with everything going on in Japan right now – I mean, there is some serious sh*t happening over there and we all need to keep those who are suffering and mourning the loss of loved ones and still sacrificing themselves to get the nuke plants situation under control in our thoughts and prayers.

I will only say this: between Japan and the turmoil in the Middle East, I don’t want to hear another freakin’ word about ANWR and the caribou. Drill, baby, drill.

Me? I’m off for a walk to clear my head.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:56 | Comments (2)
March 14, 2011

I’ve resumed the walking I used to do back when I was recovering from surgery last September, about a mile and a half every night. It’s funny how exercise and being alone gets the mind thinking. Tonight my mind garfed onto all the places I’ve traveled in my life. Thinking about my beginnings as some dumb kid in Tewksbury, Massacusetts. If you had told me, say fifty years ago, that I would have traveled to the places I have traveled far and beyond the town I grew up in I would have told you you were crazy.

But I think about all the places I’ve traveled to – places like Orlando, and Bermuda (I think four times), and the Carnival and Royal Caribbean cruises that took me to Puerto Rico, and Barbados, and San Juan, and St. John, and St. Lucia, and St. Kitts, and St. Maarten, and Cozumel, and Playa del Carmen, and Puerto Vallarta, and Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas, and Jamaica, and the Grand Caymans, and Key West, and the Bahamas. And other travels to India, and Montana, and Las Vegas, and Arizona, and Quebec, and Toronto, and New Orleans, and San Francisco, and San Diego, and Newport, Rhode Island; not to mention actually living in places like Kentucky and Arizona – I mean, who could have imagined that?

I have been very fortunate in my life, but I also realize that all this traveling is a by-product of some severely restless bones. I’ll go to my grave convinced that God called me to be an Episcopal priest, but why that didn’t happen I’ll never know. Instead, I’m left with just me and a restlessness so present that I almost can’t fall asleep at night without thinking of places I ought to be or ought to think about visiting. Talk about not living in the present! Some people would see this as a sad state of affairs, to be sure. Me? I just go with the flow – there are worse things than having a nice house and yard to putter around in here in Gilbert, Arizona as a central point of operation – especially during the winter months up in the northern climes!

The purpose of this post? Who knows? My life is an open book. If it weren’t for transcendence and imagination I don’t know how I would survive.

Don’t it all make you want to rock and roll? How about those background vocals by none other than Lindsay Buckingham and Stephanie Nicks (you might know them from another band they would join shortly after this recording was made back in 1975…).

Come to think of it, Linda Ronstadt did a pretty fine version of this song as well. The video that accompanies the song tells you how hot she was back in the late ’70s. And she was at that!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:22 | Comments Off on Traveling Bones
March 13, 2011

Here on a tranquil night in the Valley of the Sun our lemon and lime trees are all flowered out. During the day the bees were zipping and zig-zagging here and there; tonight the air is all soft and fragrant from the silky white flowers. It’s a calm night. The breeze that came up during the mid-afternoon has long since died down, leaving just me and a patio softly lit, the houses all around us dark and quiet. Between the surf music on the CD player and the glass of chianti dulling my senses it’s hard not to think that all seems right with the world, even when I know it’s not. How can anyone take respite knowing full well the chaos, death, suffering and sadness going on across the Pacific in Japan?

Me, I think it all just goes to show that the one thing we as a world, cultures, peoples, genders, mindsets, etc. are all inter-connected with far more than we realize is death and suffering. Certainly, there has been, and will be, death and destruction on a large scale in Japan, but the only difference between what is happening there and what’s going in Egypt and in the Middle East, or in the Jewish settlements on the West Bank, or with the struggles of families dealing with a child with cancer, or an elderly parent with Alzheimer’s, or any other combination of situations or circumstances you can put your mind around – the difference is only in the scale and scope. This life is a veil of tears, and any day you or someone you love is not in pain, or involved with someone dealing with the same, is a day to be embraced and celebrated for what it is.

That’s why I try not to take a whole lot of things seriously. In the end, everything is sh*t or going to sh*t sooner or later; think I’d rather enjoy a glass of wine, or receive a cell phone call from my friends asking how I’m doing, or attend Mass, or check in on my folks to see how they are doing, or take my nightly walk around the subdivision, or hit a few golf balls, or do whatever I can do just to clear my head. Were I a monk I would spend all my non-sleeping hours just praying for this world to a God I’m not 100% certain either hears me or cares about anything I might have to say. Who knows? But I’d still have to pray out of faith. You can look at everything going on around you and want to cry. Me, I’d rather see whatever I can do to help wherever I can in my own way while I can and just try and keep my own head above water. What else can you do?

I almost feel like a desperado under the eaves. With everything going on across the Pacific, glad I don’t live on the West Coast:

And if California slides into the ocean, like the mystics and statistics say it will…

How about that Carl Wilson high harmony background vocal? There, I feel better already – such is the healing power of music.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:55 | Comments (4)
March 12, 2011

There’s not much you can really say about what happened and what’s happening now in Japan. Words alone simply aren’t enough. Prayers go out to the people there. By the time all is over wouldn’t be surprised to see the dead in tens of thousands.

If you’ll permit here, however, here are some that come to mind:

The original 8.9 quake appears to have been upgraded to a 9.1. Can you imagine the sheer amount of energy expounded by a 9.1 quake? That makes it one of the top three most powerful since 1900.

If I lived in California or anywhere along the Pacific Rim, I’m waiting for the next show to drop.

….makes that massive fish kill story from the other day seem more than coincidental, doesn’t it? I’m guessing that if people truly knew what they were looking for, Mother Nature was tossing out all kinds of hints…

Here’s someone who knows exactly what he’s looking for; I happened upon his site earlier today. He’s a quake afficianado living in New Madrid with his own YouTube channel. Three days ago, on March 9, he predicted something really big coming. The software he uses alone is pretty amazing stuff.

It just goes to show, anyone who thinks something like this can’t happen in L.A. or San Franscisco, or some other major population center is fooling themselves. All Japan is showing them, and places like them, is their future – it might be near future or far future, but you can’t escape geological science.

It also just goes to show just how fleeting life is. When they were predicting the severe outbreak of tornadoes in the South and Great Plains last Sunday, I couldn’t help but think that there was someone hearing the same news that would be dead in just a few days because of it but didn’t think they’d be one of the victims. I don’t mean to sound morbid; it’s just to point out once again just how precious each day is and how we should never take anything for granted. It can all be swept away just like that.

I’m told that last night on George Noory’s “Coast To Coast” radio program (you have to hear it to believe it, he has all sorts of, er, “unique” guests ranging from conspiracy theorists, to vampires, to alien abductors and the like) a caller predicted a massive quake in Japan just hours before it happened. I’ll try to find the link.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:52 | Comments Off on Catastrophe


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