August 12, 2014

R.I.P. Robin Williams. Not just funny but amazing to watch and see where his mind took him. My favorite movie of his was “Good Will Hunting”. I think this is as good a piece on him as you are going to find.

R.I.P. Lauren Bacall. I still find it hard to believe that she was only nineteen when she was cast with Humphrey Bogart in “To Have Or Have Not”. She was a fox in every sense of the word.

This to me was is incredibly funny, not just because it’s so true, but because I’ve tried more than a few of this tactics during meetings.

After her most recent book tour I would think that most Democrats, Republicans, and Independents have pretty much figured out that Hillary Clinton will say anything at the expense of anyone to make her look good. Barack Obama is beyond contempt and incompetent, but Hillary, like her husband, is a serial liar. Unlike her husband, she’s an inept politician whose weaknesses will only become more glaring as 2016 approaches.

I don’t care how much against the Iraq war you might be, anyone who can read gruesome stories like this and not realize if America doesn’t make a concerted effort to wipe these bastards off the face of the earth no one will. Of course, if we had a savvy, competent, and engaged president he would recognize the opportunity to ally with those countries who might have a vested interest in seeing ISIS destroyed (Iran? Saudi Arabia?), but that’s not gonna happen while he’s off playing golf leaving the adolescents in charge at the White House and the State Department.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 23:04 | Comments Off on Quick Hits
August 11, 2014

Congratulations to Rory McIlroy on his victory at the PGA Championship. The play throughout the day on Sunday was riveting, as the golfers who could stay and play in the kind of soggy conditions they faced at Valhalla in Louisville quickly separated themselves from the rest of the pack. It was great television drama, and fooey to those casual golf fans who wouldn’t have turned in because old beyond his years and broken-down Tiger Woods wasn’t in contention. I have only three words of advice to those fans:

Get the #$@!% over it.

What happened on Sunday heralded a new dawn and a new era in professional golf. Oh sure, Phil Mickelson and Henrik Stenson did their best to compete – heck, a couple of bounces or made putts either way, and we’d be talking a whole new bag. But they didn’t, and Rory and Rickie Fowler showed golf fans that the page has turned for a new generation of golfer.

If there was a pivotal moment in the tournament, it was Rory’s 3-wood shot on #10 – even he admitted he got lucky when he yanked it lower and more left than he wanted to, but good players get the good breaks, and that was the shot that made the tournament. And the fact he was able to convert the putt in a major tells you dude has got more than what it takes. You see, he understands the moment, and like what Roy McAvoy once said, either you define the moment or the moment defines you. It doesn’t mean, of course, that Phil or Tiger won’t win the occasional major and get the media all abuzz over whether Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors is secure, but it’s hard not to view this weekend’s PGA through the lens of Father Time and see who is on the ascent and who is on the descent.

Me? I think it’s fabulous. I’m sick of the dumb media’s focus on everything Tiger, and the sooner they get over their obsession the better it will be for everyone.

It’s going to be an absolute circus around Rory come next April at Augusta. It will be interesting to see how he handles it with all the media attention that goes with being the hottest golfer on the planet going forward. I have a sense that, a year from now, we’ll have a very good idea if Rory McIlroy can withstand all the pressure that’s about to come down on him. Until then, I hope he just enjoys being the winner of the PGA. He certainly earned it.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 00:32 | Comments Off on A New Era Dawns
August 10, 2014

Sure, my other post the other day highlighted Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound” years of dominance on the rock and roll scene, but he had an equally deft touch on music that today is just as, if not more, popular than his rock and roll hits from the early ’60s. Consider the following Phil Spector-produced songs from the ’70s. Consider:

* Mother, from Plastic Ono Band. In my view, one of the most raw and riveting performances ever caught on tape.

* Happy Xmas, War is Over, 45 RPM single

* My Sweet Lord, What Is Life, I Live For You, and Behind That Locked Door, from George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass”

* Imagine, from Imagine.

* Stand By Me, from John Lennon’s Rock ‘n’ Roll.

* (Do You Remember) Rock And Roll Radio and Rock ‘N’ Roll High School from End of the Century. Legend has it Spector spent days having Johnny Ramone perfect that awesome opening chord to “High School”. (I believe it – it’s the best opening chord to a song after George Harrison’s majestic opening chord on “A Hard Day’s Night”.)

In the ’70s Phil might have had his problems and bizarre excesses, but his trademark style was all over the above tunes and the albums he produced. He got slammed for his work on Let It Be, but I would argue his mix of both the album’s title song and The Long and Winding Road compared to the “dry” versions that George Martin produced (here and here) made them come alive for radio at the time. Phil’s deft touch at the mixing board created a depth of sound on the most basic of instruments (listen to clean sound of the piano and drums on “Mother”), and his trademark shimmering strings – made famous on legendary Christmas Album cuts like this and this – make tunes like Imagine and Jealous Guy the classics they are. There never was – and never will be – anyone who could record strings and make them shimmer like Phil Spector did.

Sure (if legend has it) he kept the Ramones locked up in his mansion at gun point until they got the sound of Baby I love You the way he wanted it, who am I to argue? Dude was nuts, but he was an artiste in every sense of the word. And as an artist he is, and always will be, one of my heroes. As a human being? Well, all I can say is no one is perfect and no one should go throwing stones at glass houses.

Course, I never killed anyone. But I’m not convinced he did, either.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:52 | Comments Off on The Other Side of St. Phil
August 9, 2014

My drink for the summer:

Muddle two mint leaves with the following:
2 ounces Pusser’s rum
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
1/2 ounce lime juice
2 ounces club soda

Top with ice in your favorite glass then garnish with a wedge of lime.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:33 | Comments (2)
August 8, 2014

Ed. note: This post is for audiophiles only. Turn your computer’s speakers LOUD. You’ll see what I mean…

Simply put, you’re listening to rock and roll history here, here, and here. Sure, this is straight out of dinosaur-ville, but I think it shows exactly what Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound” was all about – lots of players playing in very close proximity to one another, and the sound from each instrument bleeding into each other with a slight echo applied by the master oh-so-deftly as a coupe de grace to make it shimmer behind the whomever was designated as the primary vocalist, whether it be La La Brooks of the Crystals, Darlene love, or (in this case) Ronnie Spector.

You can hear it all here: “The Wrecking Crew”: Lyle Ritz and Carole Kaye on bass, Leon Russell (listen for his arpeggios), Don Randi and Al DeLory on piano, Tommy Tedesco and Glen Campbell on guitars, Sonny Bono (he’s on the cowbell) and Julius Wechter on percussion, Hal Blaine on drums, and Jay Migliori and Plas Johnson on saxophones – it’s a beautiful thing to hear, and amazing to think that when this particular recording was made the musicians had already spent over two hours working out the very same song to the point where Phil had worn them down to the point where they were just pretty much robots doing what they had worked out over the session.

Look, I’m not going to sugarcoat this: you gotta put your ears to work here. I beg you, listen for the saxophones! You won’t regret it…

And it’s not just the instrumentation, listen for the vocal track. It’s not just Ronnie Spector’s lead vocals that stand out, but you can hear both Darlene Love and a very young Cher’s voice prominent in the background vocals. Word has it that Cher’s voice was so powerful that Phil had her placed several feet away from the microphone she sang into. The performance is truly astounding.

I know what you’re thinking: given all the notoriety that Spector has attained over the years. Sure he was a bastard and perhaps a murderer, but I don’t care – he is, and always will, be a hero of mine, and next to Brian Wilson (at least in my view) the greatest rock music producer of all time. You simply can’t develop songs as complex as this, or this, or this (OK, the mixdown was a huge Phil over-reach), or this, or this, and of course this, and not see someone whose view of music transcended the casual listener.

Like a commenter of one of the YouTube videos wrote, “In addition to being a murderer, Phil Spector was a flat out genius.”

Can’t disagree with that.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 21:55 | Comments (2)
August 7, 2014

So there I am, outside on a 98-degree night and skimming an endless layer of small yellow leaves off the water of the pool (registering 92 degrees, BTW) courtesy of my neighbor’s tree on the other side of the wall – and all of a sudden I feel it. Very strange and unexpected.

The itch.

I mean, it’s only been a little over two weeks since Goodboys Invitational weekend (it already feels as if it were a month ago) and upon my return to Arizona I felt absolutely z-e-r-o inclination to pick up my clubs for a long, long time. Oh, I gave them a good wash to make them spankin’ clean for whenever the next time came they would be used, but the bag was cleaned out, all the pockets opened up, and the gloves laid out carefully so they wouldn’t dry out and crunch up during my self-imposed 3-4 months sabbatical until the next “itch” came.

Wrong.

Perhaps the itch originated when I saw the final handicaps coming out of Goodboys weekend, where I’m now tied with “Possum” Shepter at 26.1; it kinda got me fired up to think that, as bad as I played on Saturday and Sunday, my 94 on Friday helped even things out a tad and put me in a great position to “Pass the Possum” and position myself solidly in tenth place on the Goodboys handicap index. More likely, I think that I’ve come out of Goodboys weekend knowing I’m a helluva lot better golfer than I showed during that weekend and its time to let my numbers do the talking.

I’ve already decided my next outing will be back at Superstition Springs – for me it’s the traditional start and end of my golf season; the only question is when. I look in my golf bag and see one – one pathetic orange ball, so perhaps it’s time to go back to traditional white. But I’m not quite ready to just dive in; I’d like at least one range session at the Kokopelli G.C. range before I kick another golf season off.

But I sure feel the itch.

Oh, and there’s a beautiful half-moon above turning the swimming pool into all different colors of deep aqua. Hence, my choice for the tune of the day.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:30 | Comment (1)
August 6, 2014

If Tiger Woods does, as everyone now suspects, decide to play in the PGA Championship less than a week after huring his back again I think he’s making a huge mistake. The one thing all sports share in common is this: when you injure your back no amount of skill is going to overcome the negative messages your body is sending you. Sure, he’s got all winter to rest and recover before Augusta, but the damage he could do could threaten his career.

Pretty strange the whole Dustin Johnson thing. If it’s true he’s done drugs and had affairs with other PGA Tour players wives dude has got a serious problem.

The truth is out there – part 1.

Sometimes even liberals get it right – part 2.

Even after I don’t know how many years, this music video is still stunning.

I’ve said it again and will always believe it until the day he leaves office. The only reason why Barack Obama still has an approval rating of 40% is because he’s African-American. Once he’s out of office and folks remove the happy rose-colored clown glasses they’ve been wearing since the 2008 campaign and stop slapping themselves on the back for electing the first black president, they’ll see just how much of a disaster this clueless incompetent has been. Unfortunately, I fear we haven’t seen the worse of what this guy’s presidency has meant to this country.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:04 | Comments Off on Just Stuff
August 5, 2014

I’ve been hesitant to post in detail about all the crap going on along our southern border, but all I’ll say is this:

1) Every nation has a right to defend the integrity of its borders. Without that any nation will soon descend into chaos;

2) My greatest concern are the children who have been smuggled across by the coyotes. The humanitarian thing to do is reunite all children who cross over with their parents, wherever they may be. If the parents are already in the US illegally, reunite their family and offer them a court hearing and work visas. If they don’t show for their hearing you deport them to their country of origin. If the parents are not in the country, feed them and care for them, then send them back to their country of origin on a first-class flight.

3) I don’t care about the adults – deport them immediately.

4) A pox on Democrats who accuse those who believe in enforcing our borders and rule of law of lacking in compassion, racism, or worse; these people are beyond despicable. Not that it’s anything I haven’t come to expect from a political party that has nothing left to offer except division along class, race, and gender lines, and playing the race card whenever it suits their purpose. Democrats and liberals really don’t care about people, only about furthering their radical socialist and lawless agendas. Why else would they promote flooding the job market with millions of low-skilled, low pay laborers who will take jobs away from Americans, especially young people and African Americans?

I think the Eagles had it right. In my mind, this was by far their best album.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:04 | Comments Off on On The Border
August 1, 2014

Count The Great White Shank among those who think August is one of the, if not the, best months of the year. There’s something so precious about it, I have a hard time articulating what it is. From my youth in Tewksbury, Mass. August is about vacations, and hazy and muggy summer days just begging for September and the drop in humidity that would lead to doors and windows no longer sticking, and afternoon thunderstorms where we’d sit on our front porch watching them roll in, then dance in the street ponds created by late-afternoon downpours. Not to mention the fact that by August the ocean in New England – even up to the coast of southern Maine – actually becomes swimmable.

As I’ve grown older August has more of a soft, sweet, and sentimental meaning, like when summer becomes an adjective instead of a noun – “Did you not know? We’re summering in Newport for the next two weeks.” In my grand August fantasy I’m doing the Bellevue Avenue circuit, attending afternoon soirees, one twin on my left arm, the other on my right, hob-nobbing with the snooty boat owners and land owners, drinking glasses of pinot grigio and chardonnays on grand lawns set by the ocean. In reality, I’ve got it almost as good – the twins and I hanging out on the patio and our new boardwalk, watching the dust storms blow in and hope they don’t rip our queen palms to shreds.

It’s the New Englander in me that enjoys August so much because we learned it to be so precious: the days are already starting to get noticably shorter, the corn, tomatoes, and gladiolas are out in a stunning way, the opening of school just over the horizon. August was something to cherish, to try and hold on to as long as you could. Because after that you know what was coming – the annual ritual of starting to prepare for the long winter months ahead. Of course, here in Arizona there’s no such thing: the kids are already back to school next week, and there’s really no need to do anything except enjoy the nightly monsoon fireworks before it peters out ahead of September and those last brutally hot weeks before the heat god flips the switch the second week of October.

Welcome, August!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:51 | Comments Off on I Love August

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