October 16, 2012

Tonight the Prez and Mitt Romney square off in round 2 of 3. Don’t know who is gonna win, don’t know who is gonna lose.

…no, that wasn’t the sound of the “Obama Express” heading towards Hofstra University.

Here, it’s a hot 93 out there today – way too warm for this time of year. Where the %$#@ is Arizona winter??

Found this cool 1967 clip of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass playing “Flamingo”. Great arrangement, it was Herb’s rave-up tribute to his pal Phil Spector. I dig the go-go girls! Amazing what you can find out on the internet these days. That tune brings back great memories and remains a staple of my “Tropical Breezes” patio music collection.

Some truly great and ingenious music to set the tone for what promises to be a long, drawn-out slog through every 2012 election theme you’ve come to know and love. Think of it as the Cuban guajira equivalent to Creedence Clearwater Revival’s version of I Heard It Through The Grapevine. The cello alone is worth the price of admission. It’s from the soundtrack to The Lost City. Lots of great, great Cuban sounds and Andy Garcia-penned piano pieces there. Fantastico!

…and you thought only old late ’60s and early ’70s psychedelic rockers created songs that seemed to go on forever!

May the best man win.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 16:58 | Comments Off on Debate Prep
October 12, 2012

Tonight’s the first night since April we have the doors wide open, letting the fresh Arizona night air in. It’s fabtabulous.

Has the NHL started playing hockey yet?

Sorry to see the Orioles lose to the Yankees in the AL divisional playoffs, but you got to hand it to the Bronx Bombers – Derek Jeter is as much a leader as ever, and they, frankly, play hard, night in and night out. One can only hope the Red Sox find themselves a manager and some players who are willing to commit to the same next season.

Maybe I’m back into a short Neil Young phase. This is a damned fine song, one of his best, I think. Always love the lyrics:

…Maybe The Beach Boys
Have got you now
With those waves
Singing “Caroline No”
Rollin’ down
That empty ocean road
Gettin’ to the surf on time.

Another of my faves, Emmylou Harris does this tune great justice as well. And she’s always been very easy on the eyes.

Thanks, Lindsay, for the Romney endorsement, but if the pic at the link is what you really look like now – compared to, say, a few years ago – you need to get yourself cleaned up, girl, and quick. Do it for yourself and for your soul.

And speaking of people named Lindsay, I can’t believe Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsay Buckingham just turned 63 years old. Their album Tusk is right at the top of all-time favorites, and “Think About Me” is as good and gritty a spurned lover’s tune as you’re gonna find. I mean, listen to that guitar work throughout. Awesome.

…Holy crap, I guess that means at 57 I’m getting old too.

Attention, Captain Obvious I mean, ya think?? Some things just go without saying.

T-29 days until a very exciting golf announcement from The Great White Shank.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 19:53 | Comment (1)
October 11, 2012

So many times the build-up for the vice-presidential debate outweighs the actual event and the impact it ultimately has on the presidential race. Still, for a political hound like yours truly it was an entertaining 90 minutes, although I doubt a sizeable number of viewers stayed around for the whole event (more on that later). Debates are often characterized by “winners” and “losers”, and/or whether they “moved the needle” or not. In this case, I doubt the needle was moved at all, which means: a) a charging Mitt Romney will likely not see his momentum in the polls halted much – if at all, and b) the amount of pressure on Barack Obama to not just show up, but decisively win the next presidential debate just increased exponentially.

So what did I think about the debate? Let’s look at it from three perspectives – Joe Biden’s Paul Ryan’s, and moderator Martha Raddatz’s.

In my view, whatever points Joe Biden might have won on substance were hopelessly lost amidst his disgraceful performance. I mean, is this what we get from a Vice President during a debate? Derisive laughter, condescension, ridicule, smirks, jeering, and eyes rolling? Hell, I can do that. Make no mistake about it: Biden did what his base demanded he do following Barack Obama’s non-appearance at last week’s debate. He showed up, was passionate and forceful about every liberal Democratic talking point: the rich can afford to pay more taxes, no touching of Social Security and Medicare (one of his outright lies), the aggressive defense of the Obama administration’s foreign policy and recent events in Libya (another outright lie), etc. He reminded me of an old Democratic lion in the Ted Kennedy vein: pompous, arrogant, and – yes – effective defender of a liberalism this country can no longer afford. It’s clear the guy knows his stuff – after decades at the center of Beltway politics how could you not? But it was all washed away by his crude and obnoxious antics that really did both he and his boss a great disservice. About halfway through, Tracey got up and said she couldn’t watch anymore of it. I have a feeling a lot of other independents felt the same way.

I’m sure a lot of conservatives are dismayed that Paul Ryan allowed Biden to so aggressively interrupt and demean him throughout the debate; just once I wish he had said something to the effect of “where did you learn to be so rude?”. But Ryan’s not that kind of guy. How he kept his temper and demeanor in check throughout the proceedings I’ll never know – I certainly couldn’t have done it, I’ll tell you that! Ryan was calm, collected, earnest, and somewhat wonkish throughout. Where Biden was constantly in your face, Ryan was deferential and respectful – almost to a fault – but he came across as competent, knowledgeable, and, most importantly, harmless. I think he often strayed too far into the weeds for his own good, and he could have done a better job of countering some of the whoppers that Biden told. At one point, when he was being ganged up on by both Biden and Martha Raddatz, I give the guy credit: he didn’t flich, he just kept to his message in a calm and collected way.

Martha Raddatz was awful, no two ways about it. As a blatant liberal Democrat partisan, she seemed incapable of betraying her personal liberal leanings. She really had it out for Ryan throughout the debate, constantly pressing him for detail while allowing Biden to pontificate, sneer, and hog the proceedings. At one point, it was hard to tell if there was any moderator at the debate at all when she and Biden kept tossing bombs at Ryan to force him into details about the most weedish of policy. Why Republicans always roll over and allow the Commission on Presidential Debates to choose such partisan losers to moderate these debates is beyond me.

So, what does it all mean, if anything? I would say the Romney campaign has to be pleased with the way the debate went. You look at all the problems this country faces – both domestic and foreign – and you have on one side a laughing, sneering, condescending jackass, and on the other an earnest, detail-oriented policy wonk who “gets” the seriousness of it all. In an environment where people truly fear for their future, wonder where the jobs are, and wonder who has a better plan to get us out of this mess, I have to believe (and maybe I’m wrong) that this kind of $hit is no laughing matter. Serious times demand serious people, and Joe Biden did himself and Barack Obama a great disservice tonight. Biden might have stiffened his rabid liberal base, but I doubt his act played well with independents who expect a debate with a little more gravity, grace, respect, and professionalism from their politicians than Biden seemed capable of doing. Again, I might be wrong, but tonight’s debate will go down in history as a big mistake by the Obama campaign. All because of Biden the buffoon.


Hmmm… maybe for once I’m actually reading the tea leaves right. Can’t wait to see what Saturday Night Live does with this, it’s going to be outrageous.

And the initial post-debate polls go to Ryan. By this weekend, between this debate and this, it’ll be an unmitigated disaster for the Obama team. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of guys.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 21:53 | Comments (2)
October 10, 2012

Spent the afternoon slaving under a hot sun and in ’90s degree temps harvesting more limes and doing the final pruning of the lemon and lime trees. I ended up with three full shopping bags of limes, with another undoubtedly still on the tree. Tomorrow we head into Arizona winter. Finally.

We’re just a month away from a huge announcement involving The Great White Shank and a major golf manufacturer. Can’t say more than that, sorry – stay tuned…

Mitt Romney is surging in the polls. They’ll still be lots of ups and downs between now and November 6, but this can’t help but be a good sign. Now, if Paul Ryan could only hold his own against Slow Joe Biden Thursday night that will be a good thing.

I don’t want to comment about Libya beyond the gross malpractiice and cover-up of the killing of our ambassador and those who bravely died attempting to save him. All I will say is, if Barack Obama had any class and sense of the office Hillary Clinton would have been given her walking papers a week ago. Instead, both Obama and Clinton have blood on their hands. This stuff, folks, is high crimes and misdemeanors worthy of impeachment. It’s that serious, but this country is so screwed up right now all the political punditry can talk about is friggin’ Big Bird.

The Beach Boys grabbed – and are still grabbing, sad to say, a lot of the reunion headlines this past summer, but Neil Young has also been touring with Crazy Horse, which must be a great show to see as well. Here’s a clip of “Powderfinger” from their Pittsburgh concert a couple of days ago. They sound pretty good, although the version from “Live Rust” is better – it’s one of my all-time favorite albums, BTW (“Like A Hurricane” from that album is as good as it gets). Those songs bring back a lot of great late ’70s memories and the first time I ever visited California. I’ve got a picture somewhere of a much younger me in white painters pants sans shirt a la Dennis Wilson of that time, standing in the middle of a huge cucumber field in Fremont that’s now a shopping center and a strip mall. My friend Paul and I stayed with his brother for a week, listened to KSJO classic rock during the day, got drunk in their hot tub at night, and even felt a little earthquake while sitting at their dinner table. Not to mention the fact I was introduced to Mexican food and became addicted to it ever since. Great memories of a misspent youth…

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 21:43 | Comments Off on Fall’s A Comin’
October 8, 2012

Got this in an e-mail from my folks the other day. I love all these kinds of regional fun facts, if you have any from your particular region feel free to send them along. Enjoy!

The geographical center of Boston is in Roxbury. Due north of the center we find the South End.

This is not to be confused with South Boston which lies directly east from the South End.

North of the South End is East Boston and southwest of East Boston is the North End.

Harvard Bridge: The bridge connecting Boston and Cambridge via Massachusetts Avenue is commonly known as the Harvard Bridge . When it was built, the state offered to name the bridge for the Cambridge school that could present the best claim for the honor. Harvard submitted an essay detailing its contributions to education in America, concluding that it deserved the honor of having a bridge leading into Cambridge named for the institution.

MIT did a structural analysis of the bridge and found it so full of defects that they agreed that it should be named for Harvard.

Information on Boston and the Surrounding Areas:

There is no school on School Street, no court on Court Street, no dock on Dock Square, and no water on Water Street.

Back Bay Boston streets are in alphabetical awddah: Arlington, Berkeley, Clarendon, Dartmouth , etc. So are South Boston streets: A, B, C, D, etc.

If the streets are named after trees (e.g. Walnut, Chestnut, Cedar), you are on Beacon Hill. If they are named after poets, you are in Wellesley.

Massachusetts Avenue is Mass Ave. Commonwealth Avenue is Comm Ave.

South Boston is Southie. The South End is the South End.

East Boston is Eastie.

The North End is east of the former West End .

The West End and Scully Square are no more; a guy named Rappaport got rid of them one night.

Roxbury is The Burree, Jamaica Plain is J.P.

How to say these Massachusetts city names correctly (Say it wrong and be shunned):

Worcester: Wuhsta (or Wistah)
Gloucester: Glawsta
Leicester: Lesta
Woburn: Woobun
Dedham: Dead-um
Revere: Re -vee-ah
Quincy: Quinzee
Tewksbury: Tooks ber ry
Leominster: Le-min-sta
Peabody: Pee-ba-dee
Waltham: Walth-ham
Chatham: Chaddum
Billerica: Bill-rickuh
Samoset: Sam-oh-set or Sum-aw-set, but nevah Summerset!


Frappes are made with ice cream; milkshakes are not.
If it is carbonated and flavored, it is tonic.
Soda means CLUB SODA.
Pop refers to DAD.
When we want Tonic WATER, we will ask for TONIC WATER.
The smallest beer is a pint.
Scrod is whatever they tell you it is, usually fish.

If you paid more than $7/pound, you got scrod.
It is not a water fountain; it is a bubblah.
It is not a trashcan; it is a barrel.
It is not a spucky, a hero, or a grinder; it is a sub.
It is not a shopping caht; it is a carriage.
It is not a purse; it is a pockabook.
They’re not jeans; they’re dungarees.
They’re not tennis shoes; they’re sneakers.

They are not franks; they are haht dahgs; franks are money used Switzahland.

Police do not drive patrol units or black and whites; they drive a crewza.
If you take the bus, your on the looza crooza.
It is not a rubber band; it is an elastic.

It is not a traffic circle, it is a rotary.

“Going to the islands” means going to Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket .

“Going to the Cape” means going to Cape Cod .

The Sox = The Red Sox
The Cs = The Celtics
The Bs = The Bruins
The Pats =The Patriots

Things not to do:

Do not pahk your cah in Hahvid Yahd.
They will tow it to Meffa (Medford) or Summahville (Somerville) .
Do not sleep on the Common. (Boston Common)
Do not wear orange in Southie on St. Patrick’s Day.

Things you should know:

There are two State Houses, two City Halls, two courthouses, and two Hancock buildings (one is very old; one is relatively new). The colored lights on top the old Hancock tell the weatha:

“Solid blue, clear view.”
“Flashing blue, clouds due.”
“Solid red, rain ahead.”
“Flashing red, snow instead.” (except in summer, flashing red means the Red Sox game was rained out!)

Route 128 South is I-95 south. It is also I-93 north.

The underground train is not a subway. It is the T, and it does not run all night (fah chrysakes, this ain’t Noo Yawk).

Order the cold tea in Chinatown after 2:00 am; you will get a kettle full of beer.

And finally….

Bostonians think that it is their God-given right to cut off someone in traffic.
Bostonians think that there are only 25 letters in the alphabet (no Rs, except in “idear”.)
Bostonians think that three straight days of 90+ temperatures is a heat wave.
Bostonians refer to six inches of snow as a dusting.
Bostonians always bang a left as soon as the light turns green, and oncoming traffic always expects it.
Bostonians believe that using your turn signal is a sign of weakness.
Bostonians think that 63 degree ocean water is warm.
Bostonians think Rhode Island accents are annoying.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 18:14 | Comments (2)
October 4, 2012

When even Yahoo! concedes who took the first debate you know just how bad the night was for President Barack Obama. Sure, I’m a partisan, but I’m no dummy – I’ve been watching presidential debates since Ford/Carter in 1976, and let me tell you: if this had been a boxing match the ref would have stopped it after the second round, it was that decisive. The most one-sided debate I’ve ever seen.

To be honest, I really didn’t think Mitt had it in him. Sure, there were times during the primary debates where he seemed to know when to put the pedal to the metal – he really dismembered Newt Gingrich in the debate just before the Florida primary – but who would have imagined him not just dominating Barack Obama in their first presidential debate, but doing it smartly, with just the right amount of aggression, facts (as much as any candidate is capable of “facts”), and genuineness. Obama, on the other hand, was unprepared, sloppy, and reduced to spewing Democratic talking points, completely off his game. Maybe he thought he would do the same thing to Romney as he did to John McCain, maybe after four years of never having to answer tough questions he just thought he could mail it in. More likely, perhaps he’s had a rough four years and is just worn out – I mean, with the economy and all the crap going on overseas how could you not be?

Simply put, Romney wanted a debate win more than Obama did. One can’t help but wonder if that sentiment extends to the White House and the presidency itself.

The big questions now are: 1) does this move the polls in any way, and 2) how does the Obama re-election team and candidate respond? If Ulsterman’s White House Insider is correct, expect a lot of money (and perhaps some poll movement)to go Romney’s way in the coming days. Keep in mind there is still A TON of money sitting on the sidelines from people waiting to see how Romney would do in the first debate; if the money folks feel he has a legitimate shot – and after his debate performance it would be hard to argue otherwise – their money will be worth investing. Second, I’m not sure just how Obama turns the next debate around: after all, it will be on foreign policy. If it were a month ago, before the Libyan fiasco and White House coverup, one could have expected it to be an Obama strength; now, there’s no shortage of material for Romney to toss back in the President’s face. Hard to see how even the Magnificent Obama can talk his way out of that.

The next few days are going to be interesting, as there’s really no way to spin just how abysmal the President’s performance was last night. Romney showed himself as presidential material, sincere and genuine, making the Obama campaign’s prior and future attempts to portray him as some heartless Gordon Gekko that much more difficult. If undecided voters were looking to see exactly what kind of fellow this Mitt Romney character was, whether or not it would be “safe” to choose him over Barack Obama, Romney hit a home run.

Like I say, when you lose Yahoo! News, you know you had a bad night. Great job, Mitt – now don’t get cocky, keep it up and put the freakin’ hammer down.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:06 | Comments Off on Mitt’s Night
October 3, 2012

Watching the Red Sox sink to new lows is really hard to watch. How can I watch them when I don’t have MLB Extra Innings, you ask? Because all three games against the Yankees are being broadcast on the MLB Network. Unfortunately, I have to listen to the pathetic Yankee ass-kissers on the MLB Network. Sure, it’s not NESN, but it is the Red Sox, no matter how crappy they look.

The one thing about watching Yankee broadcasts on the YES Network is that you just have to accept the following:

1. Unending shots of Derek Jeter showing his emotions (or lack thereof) after every out or hit. Don’t get me wrong – I love Derek, but I get it, OK – he’s the Yankee captain and every other shot has to have the Yankee captain in it.

2. Daily references to Yankee greats of the past, like Phil Rizzuto, Joe DiMaggio, or Joe Gordon worked into every break in the action, with gratitutous shots at the Red Sox of days past. Last night it was an ongoing discussion about how Ted Williams finished second in the MVP voting to Yankees three times; whoever the idiot announcers were, the bottom line was that Joe DiMaggion married cuter (i.e., Marilyn Monroe) than Ted did. Yuk yuk.

3. No matter how crappy Alex Rodriguez or Mark Texiera look, they’re always just “rounding into shape” – even when they leave 347 runners on base in the course of a combined twelve at bats.

4. The home run call of “See ya!” Pathetic, obnoxious, and oh-so New York.

It would be awful enough on its surface, but it’s made worse by a Red Sox team that, with the exception of Dustin Pedroia, seems to be going through the motions. They don’t take pitches, they don’t execute fundamentals, they always seem surprised when the opposing team makes an aggressive play of some kind. Bobby Valentine is the Barack Obama of Red Sox managers – obnoxious, narcissitic, self-serving, and, above all, incompetent. You can argue that there’s a lack of raw talent on the Sox roster as it is presently comprised, but as long as there’s passion and hustle and a desire to get dirty and play the game the way it is supposed to be played I’m more than happy to watch. Unfortunately, this so-called manager is a pathetic excuse for a baseball man, and the Red Sox players obviously have no respect for him or the game as it is supposed to be played, and that’s the depressing part.

One can only hope that Bobby V’s days are numbered, and we can look forward to the hiring of a new manager who knows his ass from his elbow and someone who not only can hire a good coaching staff, but, with the help of the front office, bring in some new players who will instill a sense of passion and desire to play good baseball come April of next year.

Tomorrow I’ll be watching Dice K’s final start as a Red Sox. It oughta be precious. Such a far cry from five years ago.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 00:19 | Comments (4)
October 2, 2012

It’s finally October, but we’re still in that kind of strange state where there’s just enough of a combination of summer and “Arizona winter” that it’s neither. Summer is still represented by the daytime air temps, which simply refuse to give up hanging in the 100-degree range. This week, we’ll be around the century mark every day. And, October or no October, make no mistake about it: the sun is still h-o-t hot. Definitely too hot to play golf, work outside, or do my walks during the day.

But there are hints of the Arizona winter around as well. The most noticeable is that the pool temp has crashed. The last couple of nights out on the patio still felt warm to me, but the lows still ended up around 70 and dropped the pool from 80 to 76 in just a few days. While a bit chilly once you get in the water, 80 was nice enough to be refreshing for a few dips this past Saturday, but 76 is chilly no matter which way you slice it. Lots of people put solar covers over their pool this time of year because the sun is still so strong, but the hassle just isn’t worth it as far as I’m concerned.

And preparations are also under way for grass replacement in a couple of weeks as soon as the daily temps drop below 90. Carmelo has the winter rye ready to go, and I’ve shut the water off to kill the grass. This week we’ll be trimming trees to allow the max amount of sun through after an aggressive summer of growth from the mesquite and fruit trees, and it will be interesting to see if our resdeigned sideyard takes this grass seed – so far, it’s been a disappointment.

It’s uncanny how the heat gets shut off the second week of October, and after a few days where it looked like the heat would be around until the third week, the forecast has changed and is now indicating we’ll drop into the low ’80s a week from today. What a welcome change it promises to be!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:10 | Comments (2)
October 1, 2012

Great golf on Sunday, as good a TV watching experience as you’re likely to see. As a fan of the Europeans it gave me great pleasure to hoist a Johnny Walker Red to salute their magnificent come-from behind accomplishment. A few thoughts:

1. Expect U.S. captain Davis Love III to take mucho heat at not playing the hot hand of Phil Mickelson / Keegan Bradley in the Saturday afternoon fourball competition. Phil says he asked Love not to play them in the PM, but a stronger captain would have said to Phil, “Duly noted. Now get your asses back out there”. I would have.

2. This just shows how wimpy the Americans are, and why they lose so many Ryder Cups. Simply put, it’s not life or death to them like it is for the Europeans. A true Goodboy would certainly understand that.

3. Can anyone deny that Tiger Woods is really just all about Tiger and his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors? Tiger doesn’t care quill about the Ryder Cup, he cares only about himself. Watching him walk off the course to the parking lot all by himself spoke volumes about his feelings about the Ryder Cup.

4. Is there a golfer who has had as rough a year as Jim Furyk?

5. Judging by the press conferences afterwards, the Europeans are bigger drinkers than the Americans. Another reason to like them so much.

5. It was great to see Jose Maria Olazabal all emotional and recalling the great Seve Ballesteros in his reaction to his team’s victory. There was only one Seve, and for that, I tip my hat to his memory and the European team victory. Good for them.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 00:41 | Comments Off on Miracle At Medinah


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