June 17, 2014

The decision has been made, the measurements set in stone, the lumber sitting on the pool deck. Thanks to one freakin’ %$#@! neighborhood feline, the happy little sandbox our Tiki bar has been sitting in for the past seven years is being turned into a boardwalk constructed around it.

No chicken wire.
No screen material.
No water or sound-based cat repellent.
No trap (oh how I wish I could do a trap!).
A boardwalk.

The thought of constructing a deck (boardwalk sounds better) around the Tiki bar came to me in a dream the last time I was staying with my folks in Massachusetts. I didn’t really know how I was going to go about it, but I knew I wanted a weathered-gray look like you get at the beaches up in the Northeast. A few inquiries from companies who sold weathered barn boards made me realize pretty quickly that if I wanted to save money I’d better be prepared to do it myself. But I’m to woodworking and deck construction like Hillary Clinton is to telling the truth about anything, so I started doing my homework and getting advice from those who I trusted. Hey, everyone has to start somewhere, right?

Keep in mind we’re not talking a major project here: the entire sandbox area is just a tad over 8′ X 10′. But, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t present its own set of problems. For one thing, we’ve decided to keep the brick border that surrounds the current sandbox, and that is anything but square. Fortunately, I’m not the kind that just dives into something without thinking it through first. (Well, yes I am, but in this case I knew I needed to consult with experts ahead of time. So, last Friday night I wandered over to one of my neighbors who knows everything about construction. I had drawn out my dimensions and asked his advice as to how he would do this project if it were his back yard. I told him I was thinking about leveling off the entire sandbox area and laying pressure-treated lumber directly on the sand.

“Recipe for disaster, Doug”, John says to me. You wanna know how I would do it? I would do a frame of pressure-treated 2 X 4s on top of the sand and lay your 2 X 8s on top of the frame. Get your measurements right, make sure the deck is at the same level as your patio so no one trips and sues you, and you’re all set.”

“Sounds good”, I say, “But the only person who’ll be walking from my patio to my deck and back will be my sister-in-law when she goes out for a smoke.”

“Make sure the deck is at the same level as your patio so no one trips and sues you, and you’re all set.”

I take the hint.

This past Saturday I’m out there with Tracey taking all our measurements, and I’m feeling kind of excited – my late brother Mark would be proud to see his big brother taking on the kind of project that just a few years before he would sub-contract out to others to do. I level the area around the perimeter the boardwalk will cover, put all my wood inventory on paper, and head over to Lowe’s. This morning, I’m awakened at 6:45 to see a truck with my lumber just waiting to be unloaded. To me, this means this project is really happening.

Today I finished evening out the area where the frame will lie: 2 X 4 pressure-treated lumber around the exterior with four supporting beams running east to west (towards the setting sun in the picture) upon which the 2 X 8 planks running north-south will sit upon. I’ve still got a lot of sand in the box, so I’ll fill the areas between the frame slats with sand to make it nice and tight. I can build the frame right in the sandbox and then lay the planks out to make sure they’re laying flat – since the frame is sitting on dirt it should be fairly easy to add or subtrack dirt as needed to keep everything level. Once I’ve got the planks laid down, I’ll number them, and then Tracey and Tammy will help me stain and polyurethene the wood. Once they dries, everything is bolted together and the project completed.

More pics as the design comes together!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 21:14 | Comment (1)
June 14, 2014

It’s near midnight, and the air temp is 96 degrees, the pool at 92. Amazing how you get used to how hot it remains longs after dark. I’ve got a little Johnny Walker Red nitecap working, and a small pile of 2 X 8 X 8 planks next to my patio chair. The moon is silvery and full, and I’m taking in the moment for what it is, because one never knows what tomorrow will bring.

It’s just five weeks until Goodboys Invitational weekend and I’m looking forward to seeing the guys almost as much as I’m looking forward to the golf. In past years I’ve put too much emphasis on how well I play; this year I’m just going to try and play as well as I can while simply enjoying the company of a great group of guys.

Maybe it’s the amount of years we’ve done this – this year it will be 24 – or maybe it’s because I’ve really sensed the passage of time and how quickly time seems to be passing now, but Goodboys weekend seems a little more precious to me in some weird way. Oh sure, like every year, come Sunday everyone will be looking forward to getting back to home and hearth after three days with a bunch of adult juveniles, but that’s just another special aspect of what the weekend means. I can speak honestly that I haven’t always been the most sociable of Goodboys when things on the course haven’t gone my way, but I think I’ve kinda gotten over that in the past few years, and that’s a good thing. Which is another reason why I’m so looking forward to seeing the guys again.

After a consult with one of my neighbors, I’ve got the design plans finalized for the Tiki bar / sandbox area do-over. Sure, if it wasn’t for that $#@% cat using the sandbox as a litter box I wouldn’t even be considering this, but it’s also a chance to put my own stamp on one of the previous owner’s main features of our backyard. This weekend I’ll be hitting Lowe’s for the 2″ X 4″ wood that will frame and provide support for the boardwalk, then I’ll measure off how many 2″ X 8″ planks will be needed for the actual boardwalk on top of the frame.

You have to realize, this is by far the most ambitious project I’ve ever undertaken for our yard. Sure, I designed the brick-work and landscaping for our side yard, but I didn’t do the actual work. For the boardwalk, I’m the one who will be doing the actual work, leveling the former sandbox, measuring and picking out the wood, constructing the frame, and (hopefully with the help of the twins) staining and sealing all the planks. It will be a challenge, but it will also be something that if it turns out well will be very self-gratifying.

It seems our new rabbit, Mr. Honeybun, is discovering exactly what life without testosterone is like. This past Monday – one week after he was neutered – was the last day he seemed all mischievous and full of piss and vinegar. These past few days, he still shows signs of being a young rabbit, but his general demeanor seems to be much more laid-back. In a few weeks we’re going to try and hook him up with Cosmo to see if they might bond together as a pair.

Watching the U.S. Open Pinehurst this week has been a blast, especially on our Visio TVs where all the different colors really seem to come alive. But I’m looking forward to the (British) Open Championship, where, next to Augusta National in April, golf watching doesn’t get any better.

Sunday begins monsoon season here in the Valley of the Sun. It’s too early for thunderstorm action, but it’s not that far off. All the more reason to get the Tiki Boardwalk in place.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:09 | Comments Off on Thoughts Under A Full Moon
June 13, 2014

I’ve been tossing out all the correspondence from the National Republican Committee in the trash for the past several months, having been quite dissatisfied with the way Republicans in both the Senate and in Congress have not just refused to publicly counter President Obama’s actions (or lack thereof) on a litany of issues, but, in the case of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Majority Leader John Boehner, actually criticize and actively work to silence conservatives who happen to believe that we are a nation of laws, and that elected officials who swear to uphold the Constitution and laws of the land ought to be held accountable to their oaths.

Last week I got my Arizona voter registration card in the mail and had been holding off deciding what to declare myself until I saw Sarah Palin’s Facebook post from today. She’s absolutely right:

So, how much more will you take, Congress and We the People? I sense not enough guts in D.C. to file impeachment charges against Team Obama for their countless documented illegalities, so the way to stop this is at the ballot box. To fundamentally restore America to her destined exceptionalism you must get involved and then get to that box. Use YOUR phone and pen to support conservative candidates who will fight for what is right: Constitutionally protected freedom, respected military, free markets to create jobs, and secured borders to protect jobs! We need your help to do this; it takes more than a village to fortify the homeland. ANYONE associated with support for Obama’s deceptive ploys that would stoop to using and abusing innocent children must be voted out of office. ANYONE who has shined the boot that Obama’s put on the neck of our economy and security must be held accountable by those with the legal power to do so – Congress. And then We the People hold Congress accountable. Do not vote for any politician who has gone wobbly on their commitment to respect the will of the people and to fight to defend our Constitution. This wishy-washy status quo has got to go.

For the better part of two years I have sat by and watched Republicans just roll over and allow Barack Obama and his administration work actively to diminish America’s place and position in the world, use the IRS to actively target political adversaries, allow our ambassador to Libya and three others to be butchered, destroy this nation’s health care system, trade an American soldier for five brutal terrorists, and, now, foment a human rights crisis on our southern border by enticing illegals by the thousands to cross over without any threat of prosecution or return. And all along, lie with a straight face to the American public about it.

I’m tired of endless hearings and the usual blather from my party and its party leaders in Washington. It’s time to say, adios.

What’s a conservative to do? On the Democrats’ side, the actions of Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have long since passed the point of impeachable offense. Perhaps even worse, on the Republican side, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell are an embarrassment to the Republican Party – D.C. insiders committed only to the status quo, making dough-re-mi off of lobbyists and their K Street connections, and keeping their jobs. Well, I refuse to be affiliated any longer with any party that allows such spineless weasels to be their leaders and voice.

Tonight I marked my voter registration as “not affiliated” and dropped it in the mailbox. I will go forward as an Independent. Both I and my vote are now free agents, available to that candidate or those candidates who believe that we are, in fact, a nation of laws and borders.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 22:55 | Comments Off on Gone Mustang
June 12, 2014

I could write about the same topic till I’m blue in the face, but Bill O’Reilly’s “talking points” tonight about America’s bad spring were right on target. Between our lack of credible response to Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine, the still-growing VA scandal where people will end up going to jail for criminal wrongdoing, the Bowe Bergdahl swap allowing five Taliban high commanders to go free, all the blood and human treasure lost in Iraq going for naught as it is taken over by Islamic terrorists, and the absolute disintegration of our southern border with the onslaught of thousands of illegals, one has to wonder how America seems to be falling apart so quickly.

No standing up for the cause of freedom in the face of aggression. No accountability or sign of the slightest bit of competence or common sense in the way our President and his administration respect our nation’s laws and borders. No concern for the cause of freedom in the Middle East and the sacrifices of thousands of Americans, rightly or wrongly.

And it all comes down to one person: Barack Obama. At this point, whether he’s just willingly ignorant, criminally incompetent or simply, as he promised to do when he was elected, transforming America into something completely different from the country I have known and grown up in only he can say. I’m guessing it’s a combination of all three. But here’s my question: if this is how our President is handling crises both foreign and domestic, what else is coming down the line that he’s ignorant of or willfully allowing to happen.

Lord knows I was no Bill Clinton or even a Jimmy Carter fan. Bill Clinton had his obvious weaknesses, but compared to Barack Obama he was the equivalent of Abraham Lincoln. Jimmy Carter might have been a lousy President, but both he and Clinton nevertheless understood and sought to uphold America’s place in the world. As a President, Barack Obama’s ignorance and incompetence in the rollout of Obamacare and the VA treatment of our veterans, his targeting of political enemies by the IRS, and the willful weakness he has shown in the face of America’s enemies in the world has come to define the very kind of “high crimes” the Founding Fathers had in mind when they put in place the process for impeachment.

Maybe America has got the kind of leadership it wants and deserves. But I just have the feeling things are about to get a whole lot worse before – if ever – they get better.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 20:55 | Comments Off on America’s Bad Spring
June 11, 2014

My brother Mark and I discovered Gordon Lightfoot back in the early ’70s following the release of his big hit Sundown. After that, along with The Beach Boys and Pink Floyd, Gord (we always called him that, as if he were an old familiar friend) got quite a bit of play on the 8-track player we had hooked up inside the glove compartment of my 1969 Pontiac Tempest. While his music seemed (at least to me) more fitting for the fall and winter seasons, on our late-night drives back home from trips up to Boston’s North Shore and our favorite sea wall in Nahant, Mass. we’d often pop Gord’s Cold On The Shoulder or Summertime Dream into the player and we’d just listen in silence as the miles home passed by. As ocean lovers, we were especially attracted to any songs Gord did about the sea, and as Newfies by heritage I think we always felt a kinship with Gord as a fellow Canadian songwriter.

Even though Mark’s taste in music changed after he joined the Army in 1977, I still collected Gord’s music for several years after that, up until his fine 1980 release Dream Street Rose. After that, Gord and I kind of went our separate ways – he was exploring more adult contemporary themes in releases like Shadows and East of Midnight, and I had moved out on my own and had gotten into an eclectic mix of Fleetwood Mac, The Ramones, Scott Joplin, and all kinds of blues and jazz.

But even at that I never totally lost track of Gord – we briefly re-connected in the early ’80s when I used the words from the chorus of “The Circle Is Small“, a fave tune from his 1978 release Endless Wire to break up with a girlfriend at the time who I knew was cheating on me.

I can see it in your eyes and feel it in the way you kiss my lips
I can hear it in your voice whenever we are talking like this
I can see what you believe in when his name is mentioned and I die
I can watch the way you walk, the way you talk, the way you close your eyes

Gord was also present when Tracey and I asked one of my softball team mates to play his ballad “Beautiful” at our wedding, and a couple of years after that, (now the late ’80s), I actually got to see Gord live in concert in Rhode Island with my old departed Goodboys friend “Doc” Frechette (a big Gord fan in his own right). But after that, that was about it for a long, long time.

I’m not sure how and when Gord and I we re-connected, actually. I do know it was the result of some very late-night perusing through all kinds of YouTube videos and coming upon “Daylight Katy“, another fave tune from Endless Wire. There was just something about his voice and that moody melody that got me thinking about Mark and how much we loved Gord’s music during the years we hung around together, so I began to build a Gord collection to go along with my surf, Sandals, Beach Boys, Tropical Breezes, and Exotica collections.

And it feels good. And it’s not just dusty and for sentimental reasons, since my collection includes several releases before and after those “formative years” of familiar albums and tunes. Just for the record, here are the releases that presently comprise my Gord collection:

Don Quixote (1972)
Old Dan’s Records (1972)
Sundown (1974)
Cold on the Shoulder (1975)
Summertime Dream (1976)
Endless Wire (1978)
Dream Street Rose (1980)
Shadows (1982)
Salute (1983)
East of Midnight (1986)

The releases prior to Sundown lean more towards the folk side of things; those after Dream Street Rose more towards a full, adult contemporary sound, but it’s all Gord so it’s all good. And that’s not all he has done by any means – there are earlier albums and later releases worth checking into somewhere down the line. Put the collection on shuffle, and its amazing to hear the wide variety of tunes, subject matter, and arrangements he has been able to do over the years without it sounding the least bit repetitive. If you like good music, you might want to consider your own stroll through Gord’s catalogue.

Thanks, Gord, for the tunes and the memories – the music of your life is also, to a certain extent, the music of mine as well.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 23:00 | Comments Off on Rediscovering Gord
June 10, 2014

Wow, we’re almost at mid-June, where did the year go? Mornings come really early, days stay really late, and with my grass seed down in the side and back yards I’m seeing more happy birds than I ever have before. Besides the usual collection of doves and sparrows we’ve got a pair of these pretty little gray birds with rose-colored breasts and a streak of rose on their tails. A few thoughts and observations while wondering what kind of bird that might be:

From Political Wire: Today’s fatal shooting at a high school in Oregon is the 74th shooting on an American school campus since a lone gunman’s attack on Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012. My comment? That’s because the only people in gun-free zones with guns are people who could care less about what the law is. They’ve got killing on their minds, and the only thing that stops a shooter is another shooter. Put armed guards outside and inside schools, and make it known, and you’ll be amazed at how the number of school shootings drops. These shooters are cowards at heart.

Question: has any President besides, perhaps, Richard Nixon had a worse couple of weeks than the Obama administration? Now these guys can’t even decide who’s in charge.

Somehow I get the feeling that in the end this is not going to turn out well for the Obama administration. I have to ask, is there anything these guys do that doesn’t turn into a $#@!& mess?

Have to agree with Eric Wilbur here. Grady Sizemore was a worthwhile risk, but he really can’t play anymore. Time to cut your losses, Red Sox.

So the Hillary roll-out begins, and once again only the most ardent of her followers are seeing that somehow the idea of “Hillary!” doesn’t quite hold up against the real Hillary Clinton. As Charles Cooke writes, the problem with Hillary isn’t just that she’s incompetent and completely out of touch, but that she’s not a savvy politician who can think on her feet. If she wasn’t married to Bill she’s a nobody. And the more people see of her, the more they will remember how we ended up with Barack Obama in the first place.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 16:00 | Comments Off on The Longest Days Of The Year
June 6, 2014

A few thoughts and observations while we’re in the first real heat wave of the year.

It’s an El Nino year, so everyone in these parts and westward is stoked about the long-term forecasts starting in August and running through February of next year predicting wetter than normal conditions for the West, Southwest and Great Plains. Of course, that also means a drier fall and winter back home, but after last year I don’t think my folks and my Goodboys mates will mind that one bit.

Here’s a great article on Sherman’s “March to thee Sea”, which we commemorate the 150th anniversary of this year. Dave E. also had a great post on this as well. General Sherman has always been one of my favorite war heroes because he as much as anyone understood the true nature and necessary brutality of war so that it be something we not get too fond of – something that this country has lost. You look at Vietnam, President G.H.W. Bush’s actions in Kuwait, and W’s wars with Afghanistan and Iraq, and what you see are failed excursions seeking a political outcome, not victory. The purpose of war is to win by killing as many of the enemy as possible in order to achieve victory as quickly as possible, no more, no less. Sherman understood that, as did Grant and Lee, and our present-day Commanders-in-Chiefs would do well to understand that as well. To send American men and women into half-hearted engagements with murky objectives serves the cause of no one and nothing.

This is what happens when you have political activist and sympathetic judges without a clue as to the rule of law and what religious freedom means. I mean where does it all end? If I’m a Nazi Holocaust denier and I’m having a bash, can I force a bakery to bake me a cake with an Auschwitz design on it? If I’m the leader of a KKK chapter can I force a bakery to bake me a cake with a tree and a noose?

Because liberal activists are never satisfied (in fact, I’ve come to believe they’re the most miserable people on the face of the earth), now that gay marriage is pretty much the de facto law of the land, expect this to be their next “human rights” push. What will it mean for you? No more men’s and women’s rooms, and unisex bathrooms, for one. And no more men’s and women’s dorms at college. No more academies and schools for men and women. With all due respect, these people are nuts. And, sad to say, my generation is to blame for this madness.

D-Day was 70 years ago, check these fantastic pics out. they will bring tears to your eyes.

Another day, another climate change activist’s admission of deceit. Wow, great timing for President Obama’s newly-announced EPA climate-change regulations this week, huh?

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:39 | Comments Off on Feeling The Heat
June 4, 2014

His name is Mr. Honeybun – not the most masculine name in the world, but it’s the best we’ve got for now. Besides, he doesn’t care what you call him as long as you don’t call him late for dinner.

Here’s how the arrival of Mr. Honeybun unfolded. So Steve the maintenance guy at my sister-in-law’s apartment complex (you knew she had to have been involved in this in some manner, right?) is talking with someone at the complex who just happens to know someone not at the complex who has a bunny they no longer wanted. The bunny was kept in her backyard and was being chased all over the place by her cats and dogs. She wanted to have it adopted by the Humane Society, but she (actually, the bunny) was put on a list and nothing was happening. So Steve happens to tell her he knows someone in the complex who has rabbits (i.e., Tam). He mentions it to Tam, and Tam, being a lover of bunnies without hesitation, says sure. Next thing I know we get a frantic call from Tam saying the bunny is at her place and is being chased around the bedroom by a jealous Butterscotch, who obviously considers this new rabbit a threat to her bonded relationship with Sherman, Tam’s remaining male bun of “Beastie Boys” fame.

I tell her to get the damned rabbit away from her other rabbits and quarantine it in case it’s carrying some disease. I’m in the middle of supper, but, being the good brother-in-law, I hop in the car and do the 30-minute drive over to her place where, after a few failed attempts, we finally get the rabbit in the pet carrier and I bring it back to our place. I don’t want the rabbit near Cosmo or Marlie (I think Marlie would simply eat her) so I set the bunny up in my office area.

The bunny is, of course, frightened, but I finally get a chance to look at it. I don’t think it’s a wild cottontail, and its size makes me think it’s a female, which would be great considering our male rabbit Cosmo is still in mourning over losing his mate Peanut a couple of months ago. A few days later, we’re at the vet, who tells us not only that this she is a he, but he’s probably a mini-lop hybrid whose ears don’t turn down. Fifteen minutes and $240 later, the rabbit has been neutered and we’re on our way back home to the bunny’s new home.

Mr. Honeybun does seem to have a very even temper like your mini-lops, so after about six weeks and the loss of his testosterone production, I think we’ll try to bond him with Cosmo. Just so you know, bonding rabbits is more about matching temperments than gender. Right now he’s just a very sweet bunny with quite the mischevous side. He loves people and spends most of is day eating hay. The blue towel he’s sitting on is his favorite spot in his cage area – he’s already chewed about 100 holes in it and uses it to lay on throughout the day. At night he hunkers down under my prayer table, which is a perfect kind of hiding place for a rabbit his size to veg out in.

A big fond welcome to Mr. Honeybun!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 23:18 | Comments (2)
June 3, 2014

Geez, and I thought Barack Obama’s last week was bad. This week things go from bad to worse. Just as they did after the Benghazi attacks, the White House trotted out Susan Rice to play Designated Liar, and once more, only days later, they’re caught in their own web of lies as their story falls apart almost by the hour.

Question: is there anything this President and his administration can do right?

I guarantee this is one scandal that isn’t going away anytime soon, as many brave American soldiers died trying to find Bowe Bergdahl’s whereabouts. Michelle Malkin hits the nail on the head:

My source did not mince words: “The fact that our government negotiated with terrorists and our enemy is incomprehensible. The fact that they exchanged five war criminals for a traitor is sickening. The worst part for those of us that suffered through that time is that PFC Bergdahl is being hailed as some kind of hero. He was automatically promoted to Specialist and Sergeant, ranks he does not deserve and did not earn. I have no doubt he will receive back pay for these past five years, a substantial sum. There will be book deals, and his family are celebrities. I am glad he is safe, and happy for his family, but he should return home to face a court martial.”

Are you listening, Capitol Hill and America? The Bowe Bergdahl mess isn’t just a story about one deserter, but two. There’s the muddle-headed lowlife who left his post and brothers behind. And there’s the corrupt commander-in-chief who has jeopardized more American soldiers’ lives to “rescue” Bergdahl by bowing to the Taliban, while snubbing the surviving heroes and at least 8 dead [My note: the toll, in fact, might have been as high as 14] American soldiers who lost their lives because of him.

This is what happens, America, when the only thing your White House and Commander-in-Chief knows how to do is think politically, without any concern for accountability, oversight, and the rule of law. In this case, they sought to put politics and their goal of closing Guantanamo Bay against the facts of the case, hoping the mainstream dino-media would provide political cover for them, and lost. Obamacare. Benghazi. The IRS scandal. The VA scandal. And now this. Anyone of these are potentially impeachable offenses, but you and I both know that will never happen. As far as I’m concerned, that’s OK, because with each passing day, each new scandal and example of incompetence, Barack Obama’s presidency and his unearned reputation as a competent leader is falling apart like a cheap bridge table.

The next show to drop: that the Obama administration also paid millions of dollars in ransom money to secure Bergdahl’s release. Can you say, “aiding and abetting your enemies”? An impeachable offense by any stretch of the imagination, but you knows how that will go.

Pic hat tip: MAD Magazine, courtesy of Newsbusters

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 17:33 | Comments Off on Reckless Incompetence
June 1, 2014

It’s nearly June, an I’m wondering where the $#@$! is Exec-Comm (that’s them to the right and top, BTW) as I’m driving east toards Superstition Springs golf course to kick off the final phase of my 2014 golf year. In a little over six weeks we’ll be (I’m guessing) somehere on the Portsmouth, NH seacoast and we’ll have just wrapped up Day 2 of the Goodboys Invitational, but Exec-Comm has gone mustang and I’m playing music from The Sandals, wondering the obvious…

Where are we staying?
Where are we playing?
Who will be my partner?
What will it take to lure Exec-Comm out of hiding?
Where will we be eating?
What’s the itinerary?
How much will it cost?

The outside temperature is 107, and the sky the familiar (at least for this time of year) electric shimmering blue, but it doesn’t – and won’t – bother me: I’ve got work to do, and I look forward to seeing the Superstition Springs practice area nearly, if not actually, empty. I’m thinking about my golf year to date and the disappointing way it has turned out thus far. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, primarily mentally, trying to lower my handicap too aggressively instead of just playing the game and letting it take me wherever it leads, but that’s all in the past. I’m feeling good out my swing and – more importantly – aware of its limitations, so on this Saturday I’m just going to use my time in the heat to practice making good swings and start ramping up my short game.

As expected, the range is nearly empty except for two of the regulars I remember from last year. One guy on the far left in my usual spot – he’s a lefty also, and it looks like he’s still fighting that big hook I remember him having, and a gorilla on the far right bombing one big drive after another. I find a spot in the middle, take a long swig of my 32 oz. ice tea (unsweetened) and begin limbering up. The only swing though I’m taking with me today is to try and be a little quieter with my upper body and my hands. I remember two particularly long drives from my last two rounds in Massachusetts and remember particularly the feeling of more hip turn with less upper body, so that’s what I’ll be working on.

I work through my large bucket in a systematic way, starting with a few sand wedges and work my way down the bag. I recognize (and, most importantly) accept the results of over-swinging – I either hit it fat or hit a big pull. Mr. Shank even makes an appearance once or twice, but unlike that pre-round warm-up at Papago a few weeks ago, I don’t let it bother me. Instead, I remember a line “The Funny Guy” Andrusaitis said after that disappointing round at Portsmouth Country Club, mimicing Quint from Jaws and saying, “Not like playing some Scottsdale muni, is it chief?”, and I laugh and make the necessary correction.

I’m very pleased with the way I’m hitting my hybrids and 3- and 5-woods, not over-swinging and letting the clubs do the work. When it comes to my driver, I move the ball back in my address a few inches and make that conscious effort to not over-swing and emphasize my lower body, and find I’m back to banging them straight like I was a month ago. “So now you show up!”, I say to my driver, “but let’s see if you can do that in competition!”

I finish off the bucket working on my sand wedge and pitching wedge, aiming at the 75 and 100 yard markers and parachuting balls all around them in a ten-foot circle. I wish I knew how far I hit my sand wedge, as that’s a club that could come in really handy. The next hour is spent at the chipping area and putting green. My goal for Goodboys weekend is to play aggressively but sensibly, not trying to be too fine. The Superstition Springs greens are their normal lightning fast, but I figure I’ll compensate for the slower greens I’ll see during Goodboys weekend by taking the same swings, but drop down from my pitching wedge to like a 9-iron. I’m not really pleased with my focus and effort today, but the heat is really something, and it’s time to head inside for a cold beer before heading home and my 88-degree pool.

A little over six weeks left, and I’ve started down the road to Portsmouth.

Now where the $#$@! is Exec-Comm???

Filed in: Golf Quest by The Great White Shank at 12:29 | Comments Off on On The Road to Portsmouth


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