March 31, 2012

OK, it’s just one day at a local driving range, right? But all I can tell you is that The Great White Shank put on quite the clinic today at the Superstition Springs G.C. driving range as I officially began my prep work for the 2012 Goodboys Invitational.

Last year, while I shot my all-time lowest round of a 94 on Friday at Sagamore Spring, my tee game really took a beating on Saturday and Sunday, leaving me and my partner Steve “Deuce” Doucette far down the final leader board. I had bought the Cobra S3s in early 2011 but decided at the last minute not to invite them to accompany me to the Goodboys weekend because I just didn’t have the confidence; I had never been able to hit them with any kind of accuracy. In fact, to be truthful, I couldn’t hit them at all. It might have been that I was intimidated by playing graphite shaft clubs, or I just couldn’t get the hang of the lightness of those clubs as compared to the steel shaft Cobra woods I had been playing for years.

Something clicked, however, I think, last month when playing golf at Las Vegas’s Angel Park Palm Course during our annual Goodboys weekend. Not only did I find myself feeling very comfortable with the graphite Calloway woods we were given, but, with the encouragement of fellow Goodboy Pat “Doggy Duval” McLaughlin, I actually started hitting the driver with no small amount of success. It was the confidence gained from that round, I think, that carried over to today’s first foray to the range with my Cobra S3s.

I was comitted to either being able to hit them with confidence or consider trading them in for something else.

From the very first practice swing, I felt something different than I had previously. And every ball I subsequently hit with the 5-wood and 3-wood was mashed. Like, crushed. Like, further than the guy in the stall next to me hitting driver. And, straight. I’ll admit, I was not quiet when it came to the results I was seeing. They say act like you’ve been there before. That, my friends, is not The Great White Shank’s style.

In fact, I was hitting the ball so good that young and very attractive young lady who was hitting balls close to me came over and asked if I gave lessons. It might have been after the tenth or so mashed 3-wood that carried 180 yards straight as an arrow followed a “Boom Boom In The Zoom Zoom Room!” shout from me. Was she interested in her golf game, my golf game, or me? Who knows? But rather than toss out some line that I was just a 5-time winner of the Goodboys Invitational chock full of inner demons, I resisted and instead politely informed her that the pro at the golf course was who she really wanted to see.

Of course, one range session does not a trend make, but the fact that I was able to follow up a good tee game at Angel Park with a solid range session a little more than a month later shows The Great White Shank is trending in the right direction.

Thanks to Blondie for the title of this post. My good friend Jerome loved this song as much as I do.

Filed in: Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 00:30 | Comment (1)
March 30, 2012


Took this picture of the bougainvillea surrounding my prayer grove on the opposite of the northwest wall. Our west sideyard is really a waste area because it’s where the A/C unit resides, but I’ve filled it with a variety of cactus and desert fauna that does really well. I actually planted yellow bougainvillea to try and cover the wall as well as the red does on the other side, but I think between the concrete walls, the house, and the A/C unit it just gets too much heat during the hot months to prosper, as the temps there run around ten degrees higher. A bit much to make the bougainvillea prosper, I think. Makes a nice picture, though…

Thank Tracey for the lovely contrast between the red flowers and the green of my my next door neighbor’s king palms against a milky afternoon sky. She’s got a taste for contrast!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:15 | Comments Off on Bougainvillea In Bloom
March 29, 2012

I’m just going to present this to you 100% unvarnished.

Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Lincoln, McKinley, TR, Coolidge, FDR, Truman, and Reagan must be jealous, that’s all I can say. Talk about being in over your head.

Hat tip: Hot Air’s Green Room

And yes, I included Calvin Coolidge – as Amity Shlaes’ upcoming book will show, he was one of this country’s great (if unsung) presidents. Can’t wait to read it. They definitely don’t make ’em like that anymore.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:54 | Comments Off on Embarrassing
March 28, 2012

These are such great links, makes you want to make yourself a mai tai and change your life…

I’ve always dreamed of having a house with a sunken livingroom. Haven’t you? What a great link – if I lived in a house with that circular sunken at the top of the page I would have thought I’d died and went to heaven. I mean, how cool is that!

There’s just something about mid-century modern architecture and culture that moves me, I don’t know why. It’s not like I was a big fan of The Jetsons growing up, or even remember seeing a whole lot of that stuff during its heyday. Still, what’s really cool is that (not that I would want to – NOT!) there are realtors all over the country dedicated to selling mid-century modern homes, like these in Palm Springs (which, come to think of it, would be a great place to live in such a home). Too bad I missed Palm Springs’ 2012 Modernism Week, but there’s always next year!

The next time I’m back home I’ve got to check out the Kowloon in Saugus, MA. I understand it’s one of the few remaining “A” frame tiki-style Polynesian restaurant/bars left over from the early ’60s in the US. I would have liked to have seen it, but the famous Kahiki in Columbus, OH is now gone, leaving Kowloon and the legendary Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale as the few remaining centerpieces of modern tiki architecture in the U.S.

If I did have a sunken livingroom in a mid-century modern house and had a tiki party out by the pool, this is the kind of music I’d play. I sure these guys get around to recording a CD one of these days.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:47 | Comments (2)
March 27, 2012

I hate to delve into this Trayvon Martin thing going on, because I’m bound to offend someone. But, what the hell, if all I did was spout the usual party line about stuff this site wouldn’t be much worth reading, now would it?

First, let’s get the usual disclaimers out of the way: the death of Trayvon Martin is a tragedy, and my prayers and sympathies go out to his family, friends, and loved ones who mourn his passing. May he rest in peace.

That being said, it bothers me greatly (but doesn’t surprise me) to see President Obama, your typical shakedown racists and race-baiting attention-getters, and Obama’s ass-kissers in the mainstream dino-media all wanting to get their two cents’ worth in as part of the hysteria reserved especially for any-other-color-but-black on black violence. Frankly, I’m tired of the double-standard, and methinks the president and the usual suspects mentioned above would find a little time for moral outrage when it comes to black-on-black violence, which is happening all around the country in African-American communities like Chicago and Philadelphia on a regular basis.

If you don’t mind a little crassness, there is or was nothing special about Trayvon Martin’s life beyond the fact that he was a unique child of God like the rest of us. Fact is, there are Trayvon Martins all over the country whose lives are being taken by violence on a daily basis. Is Martin’s death a tragedy? Of course it is. But the only reason why the racists and race-baiters who have put themselves at the center of this particular outrage is that he was killed by someone named Zimmerman, a “white Hispanic”, as the New York Times so recently wrote, pathetically attempting to gin up the racial element of the story. After all, in the high-stakes game of racial politics you gotta have a boogeyman, and you can’t have a boogeyman if they ain’t white.

But that’s what you get with liberals in general – there’s always another outrage to bluster and blather about. The last couple of weeks it was over Rush Limbaugh calling a radical political feminist a “slut”; this week it’s Trayvon Martin. Once his story recedes into the background and the same kind of anonymity reserved for the hundreds of African-American youth killed by black-on-black gang violence, liberals will just move on to the next outrage or cause celebre.

Just don’t expect it to be the outrage caused by some black-on-white violence, or the lack of jobs and opportunity in the African-American community, or the staggering number of African-American lives aborted annually, or the fact that 72 percent of African-American children are born to unwed mothers. I guess the outrage over those kinds of things just doesn’t equate to the tragic death of a single black teen.

Now to me, that’s an outrage.

UPDATE: National Review Online’s Victor Davis Hanson chides the president for his role in the regression of race relations under his presidency (he ran as a uniter, remember?), and Jack Fowler echo my concerns above from different angles. Mark my words: this will be yet another ginned-up media concoction that will backfire on the liberal racists and race-baiters in the coming days. And the fabric of this country will pull just a little bit further apart. Just the way the Obama re-election campaign likes it, for they have no shame whatsoever. After all, it’s all about getting their anointed standard-bearer reelected.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:48 | Comments Off on Outrage
March 26, 2012

Sorry for the blackout over the past couple of days – the Dreamhost folks had some kind of a server meltdown and it was only Monday afternoon when everything came back. I’m afraid the one lasting impact is that everyone who comments will have not see their next comment until I approve it. My apologies for any inconvenience it might cause. Not that anyone missed much by the site being down over the weekend. Tiger Woods is back, for how long we’ll have to wait and see. We do have a new bunny, a chocolate brown Rex named Marley (photo forthcoming), who we hope will be a good match for Butterscotch, but she’s quite the little spitfire, so this new round of “bunny speed dating” will pose its own set of challenges.

Thanks for your patience and understanding while we were dark.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 20:48 | Comments Off on We’re Back!
March 25, 2012

The Great White Shank here to announce that I’ve reached an agreement with my imagination, musical heritage, and (last but not least) my store card to begin creation of my latest music theme collection: “Lounge Lizard”. This will be fourth theme collection:

First there was “Zen Surf”, an amazing mish-mash of surf songs spanning forty years of surf music – everything from Dick Dale, to The Sandals, to Laika and the Cosmonauts, to the Aqua Velvets. Recently, it was rated #56 on Billboard’s ABMLTBID (“Absolutely, Positively Must Listen To Before I Die”) chart.

Then there was “Tropical Breezes”, combining a soothing, happy mix of Jimmy Buffett, Caribbean steel drum, Latin American samba and smooth jazz, and, most recently, Cuban mambo and Colombian guajira music. Music to drink boat drinks by, for sure.

Most recently, there came “Exotica”, a celebration of the genre from Les Baxter and Martin Denny to modern acts like Tikiyaki Orchestra and Kava Kon. It’s #1,172 with a bullet on all the charts.

What will “Lounge Lizard” sound like, you ask? Think Frank Sinatra (Capitol and early Reprise years) meets Julie London (my all-time favorite female vocalist) meets the fabulous Ultra-Lounge series of CDs containing all kinds of cool stuff from the ’50s and and ’60s, amongst other personal favorites. Think of it as music to drink martinis and daiquiris by after a hard day at work under the pineapple lights on the back patio. This is music having taste, class, and appreciation – something our current culture neither understands nor knows precious little about. This is music that just isn’t made anymore, music that (at least to varying extents) I grew up with, a trip back in time to music my parents and my Auntie Marge and Uncle Don would have listened to when I was just a innocent pup – in fact, I plan on dedicating this collection of music to them with a promise to toast them (at least subconcously) whenever I put it on.

Is it au courant? Hell, no! But then again, anyone who knows me knows I’ve never been a slave to modern taste (and the lack thereof). Besides, I needed a collection to fit my downloaded MP3s of Nelson Riddle’s “Theme From Route 66” and Raymond Lafevre’s “Soul Coaxing”. This oughta fit the bill.

Stay tuned to this blog for details on the upcoming “Lounge Lizard” collection – I might even be able to coax the legendary Jack Jones out of retirement to make the formal announcement!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:20 | Comments (3)
March 24, 2012

Some of the books I’ve been reading (and will be reading) for your own reading pleasure:

And A Bottle Of Rum is one of the best – and most informative – books I’ve ever read. You don’t need to be a rum aficianado to enjoy or learn something from Wayne Curtis’s fine book. And it contains some pretty cool and classic rum drink recipes.

It’s right up there with Havana Nocturne, which was so enjoyable I’ve read it twice from cover to cover. Another of the best books I’ve ever read.

Books about Cuba before and the revolution continue to accumulate in my collection – who would have ever thought?! Bacardi and The Long Fight For Cuba, The Sugar King of Havana: The Rise and Fall of Julio Lobo, Cuba’s Last Tycoon, and Havana Before Castro: When Cuba Was A Tropical Playground are two really interesting books – the latter especially if you’re interested in history, culture, and mid-century modern architecture.

I’ve always suspected I was born a decade too late – these books (and Andy Garcia’s cinematic masterpiece The Lost City) just remind me of that.

One book I’m really looking forward to reading – perfect for my next trip back east (whenever that might be), is Thomas Mallon’s Watergate: A Novel. As a true Watergate scandal aficianado (how can I not be, when my all-time favorite film is All The President’s Men?), this promises to be a page-turner.

Another is Sven Kirsten’s Tiki Modern, which everyone says is the definitive book on tiki culture from start to present. He’s the authority on everything tiki, so his book is a must have: especially after I incorporated so many tracks of his The Sound Of Tiki for my (oops, Dante Navarro’s) Exotica collection.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:19 | Comments Off on From The Book Nook
March 23, 2012

daiquiri The weather is starting to heat up, and with the nights starting to warm as well, the back patio is primed for daquiris under happy pineapple lights. Consider the daiquiri: simple, refreshing, a perfect drink to sip – not gulp! – while listening to surf, tropical, or exotica music by twilight. Daiquiris are not hard to make, the important thing is to start with a chilled class and shaved ice to make that first sip refreshingly dreamy. Here are a few recipes to try – you’ll find them all variations on the same theme. Bottoms up!

First, here is the classic El Floridita recipe, straight from Havana:

2 ounces rum
juice of 1/2 lime
1 teaspoon sugar or simple (bar) syrup
1 teaspoon maraschino liqueur

Shake the ingredients with crushed ice and pour into a chilled cocktail glass.

Legend has it that Ernest Hemingway liked a little grapefruit juice in his to give it a tang; here’s the recipe, courtesy of Wayne Curtis’s And A Bottle Of Rum:

1 1/2 ounces rum (lighter rum is best)
1/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
3/4 ounce simple (bar) syrup
1/2 ounce grapefruit juice
3/4 ounce lime juice

Shake the ingredients in an iced shaker until good and frosty, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Finally, there’s mixologist Patricia Richard’s recipe for the Hemingway Daiquiri as served at the Wynn Las Vegas Parasol Up and Parasol Down bars:

1 1/2 ounces Oronoco rum
1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur
1/2 ounce simple (bar) syrup
1 ounce grapefruit juice
1/2 ounce lime juice

Shake the ingredients in an iced shaker until good and frosty, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

This one, I think, is my favorite. Similar ingredients, but a sharper taste, I think – especially when I reduce the bar syrup to 1/4 ounce (my preference).

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:54 | Comments Off on Daiquiri Days
March 22, 2012

There is no one out there in the world of professional golf more deserving of status and respect than Arnold “The King” Palmer, not just for his stellar career in golf, but for everything he has done to make modern golf the successful sport it is today. While Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods are arguably the two greatest golfers ever to have lived, Palmer is the one who put golf on the map in the age of television and cable. To hear that the top two rated golfers in the world (that would be Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy) declined invitations to Palmer’s annual event at Bay Hill is truly disappointing:

“I’m disappointed that they are not here, no question about it,” Palmer said. “They are the top players on the Tour right now in the positions that they are in, and I am disappointed. I had a letter from Rory seeking my consultation and he told me he wasn’t coming. And of course that made me feel great. And if you believe that, I’ll talk to you outside afterwards,” he laughed. (Rory’s got some brass ones, asking for advice but not showing up to the big dog’s tournament, yes?)

Palmer drew a direct connection to his days as a young golfer, when he traveled across the pond to the British Open to expand the world’s interest in golf. Pay it back, he suggested. And when Arnie talks, it’s really a good idea to listen.

Just goes to show that you can have all the talent in the world, but if you don’t have class and respect for those who have made what you do for a living possible, what’s the point?

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 00:30 | Comment (1)


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