September 29, 2014

The American sure got smoked by those pesky Europeans at Gleneagles, didn’t they. I didn’t have a good feeling about the prospects of the American team going in – after all, there were only a handful who were playing consistently-solid golf over the past few months, but I thought they’d put up a better fight than they did. It was still great golf to watch, and here are ten things I think we all learned from this year’s Ryder Cup:

10. Watching Golf Channel’s “Alternate Shot” while waiting for the late-night NBC coverage to begin on Friday night was disappointing. For all the hoopla leading up to it, there was really nothing edgy about the coverage at all, and watching four guys talk and reminisce about their Ryder Cup exploits in the past next to a smaller screen showing the European feed didn’t really add anything to the coverage.

9. On the American side of things, there should be more captain’s picks and less automatic picks. Just because you can rack up a bunch of points by playing well on the Tour doesn’t mean you’re necessarily cut out for the rigors of Ryder Cup play. Right, Hunter Mahan? Right, Jim Furyk? Right, Bubba Watson?

8. Before anyone starts christening Patrick Reed as lock for the next great Ryder Cup player, it would be good to recall the same was being said about Keegan Bradley after his performance in 2012. Two years is a lifetime in golf, and there are plenty of good young players out there just waiting to make their own splash.

7. I love watching Victor Dubuisson play golf. That dude could be a real superstar in the making.

6. Ditto Graeme McDowell and how he kept fighting and finally took down Jordan Spieth. Spieth played as good as anyone could expect, and he’s no dummy. I’ll bet Graeme taught him some valuable lessons in terms of dogged determination, patience, and perseverance that he’ll put to good use down the line.

5. By and large, the Europeans dressed sharper and looked snappier than their American counterparts did. Those blue tops with the big American flag in the center looked totally stupid – like something you’d see in the bargain aisle at Kohl’s leading up to the Fourth of July.

4. Golf Channel’s “Live From The Ryder Cup” was extremely well done and provided awesome viewing from the get-go. Brandel Chamblee and Frank Nobilo in particular never disappoint, and the guest rotation throughout the weekend kept things fresh and entertaining.

3. I agree with the overwhelming consensus that Phil Mickelson should have kept his mouth shut instead of tossing captain Tom Watson under the bus at the post ceremony press conference. When you’ve been soundly beaten discretion is always the better part of valor.

2. No offense to Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar, but when the next Ryder Cup comes around I hope they’ll all be joining me watching the proceedings on TV. They may be very good golfers and equally as good human beings, but watching them play is the golf equivalent to watching paint dry. I would have much rather seen the likes of Russell Henley, Chris Kirk, and Billy Horschel in their place. More youth and exuberance, please!

1. Is there any doubt anymore that Rory McIlroy is by far the best player on the planet right now? Watching him surgically take apart Rickie Fowler in their Sunday match was a thing a beauty.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 02:14 | Comments (0)
September 28, 2014

Sorry for the lack of postings this week. Between work and appointments of all kinds the week just got away from me. But the world didn’t stop spinning, so here are a few odd and ends worth posting about.

Yep, we got that storm that made the news. We didn’t the big winds that toppled poles and raised all kinds of havoc at the airport and to the north and west of it, but we sure got the rain. Here’s a picture of what the sky looked like in Phoenix as the storm approached. I was finishing up errands and the sky opened up with a muddy rain less than ten minutes later:

How would you like to be a homeowner living in Ferguson, MO right now? Can you spell d-e-p-r-e-c-i-a-t-i-o-n? But this is the problem now with the media and social media – whereas just a decade ago the police and local authorities might be able to contain and control the response to the Michael Brown incident at the local level, now you’ve got the media and attention-hound activists – and, one might argue the President of the United States – making the situation worse. And the sad things is, things are probably going to get a whole lot worse in Ferguson before they get better.

I dunno, a Muslim guy shouting stuff in Arabic as he stabs folks and beheads a woman sure sounds like an act of terror to me. But I guarantee you that to the Obama administration and liberals who simply can’t fathom the idea that true Muslims are anything but kind and peaceful folk this will go down as just another act of workplace violence.

I feel bad for the folks in Hong Kong, but I don’t see a lot of hope in their cause. The Brits should never have left.

Thankfully the Red Sox season is finally over, and with it Derek Jeter’s season-long ride into retirement. Look, I’ve always respected the guy, and were I starting up my own baseball team I would have chosen him first during the majority of the time he played. And yes, that winning RBI single on Friday night at his last at-bat in Yankee Stadium was truly one for the ages. But, like most things New York and the Yankees, it just got too over the top for me. So here’s looking forward to an active off-season for the Red Sox and the hope that neither Will Middlebrooks or Clay Buchholz are around come Opening Day 2015.

…and while I’m on the Red Sox, I hope the same holds true for NESN color commentator Jerry Remy. The off-the-field family stuff aside, I just think his act has grown stale and it’s time for some new and younger blood in the broadcast booth.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 16:04 | Comments (0)
September 24, 2014

I’m figuring they must be since yesterday while grocery shopping at the local Fry’s I saw my first Christmas tree and a small display of Christmas decorations. And the Dunkin’ Donuts coffee I picked up had a Christmas tree on it – I’m guessing a leftover from last year. Still, you’d think they’d at least wait until Halloween is over.

My sister-in-law Tam helped me decorate the Tiki bar deck for Halloween. Once I get the witch hat to cover the tiki I’ll upload some pics.

But baby, the seasons they are a changin’. We’ve still got 100 degree temps for this week and the pool is heroically staying swimmable as long as it can even though the nights are bottoming out in the low ’80s. It appears this week is about it, as Friday appears to be the last of our 100-degree days before a cold front knocs us into the high ’80s early next week. And if that happens, it’s sayonara pool season.

I’m counting down the days to resuming my golf game. Looks like Saturday is going to be perfect for kicking off the 2014-15 season. Temps in the ’90s, and a new game plan and attitude to bring to the course with me. I can’t wait.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:14 | Comments (4)
September 20, 2014

Walked outside the back doors tonight and as soon as my bare feet hit the patio I knew something was different – the lack of warm tile meeting my skin. It was still muggy and warm, but the air had a different feeling to it – unless you’ve lived out here in the Valley of the Sun you wouldn’t understand it. See, for the past five months everything has been about the heat: the air, any surface you might touch, just the very feeling of it. And it’s not as if the heat was gone when I stepped out onto the patio, it was different. Not the kind of relentless heat you just get accustomed to, but a different kind of heat, a heat with – if it makes any sense – a coolness to it. It felt strange.

If the future forecasts are to be believed we’ve had our last triple-digit temperatures of the year. With just four weeks remaining until the 2nd week of October when the heat gods flip the switch and we enter “Arizona winter”, seeing days in the 90s and nighttime temps in the 70s means really only one thing: pool season is over. as long as the pool temp stays in the 80s I’ll continue my nightly dips, but you can bet the clock is ticking towards the end of another pool season.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:20 | Comments (0)
September 19, 2014

What to do on a Friday when there is nothing really exciting going on? The monsoon season is over (see last post). As, for all intents and purposes, is the Red Sox season (and, frankly, glad of it!). Work is work. I’ve got it! Since I’m on this incredible Phil Spector kick lately, allow everyone who visits this post to compare and contrast two different versions of the Ramones’ hit song Rock and Roll High School.

First up, the Tommy Ramone-produced single version.

Now, compare that with the Phil Spector-produced version found on their album End of The Century.

Here are my thoughts. The single version has a very clean sound, for sure – in fact, sounding very much like that of their earlier albums Ramones and Rocket To Russia. And in that way this version sounds to me a lot like their hit Sheena Is A Punk Rocker. But I absolutely love-love-love what Phil did to this song: first of all, that bone-crunching opening chord (hearkening back to the opening of “A Hard Day’s Night”), which supposedly took days for Spector and Johnny Ramone to perfect. Secondly, the sound effects aside, the whole song seems to come alive under Phil’s direction: overdubbed extra guitars pushed up front, the background vocals a little more forceful, and bit of echo goes a long way, especially on the vocals and drums (featuring more cymbals by Marky Ramone). To me the energy put into it makes it sound almost like a completely different song.

I think the single version is truer to the Ramones “sound”, but Spector’s album version is superior to the single version. What do you think?

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:24 | Comments (0)
September 18, 2014

This from the weather folks at AZFamily.com:

It’s entirely possible that the rain we saw on Wednesday around metro Phoenix could be the last of the rain for Monsoon 2014. The monsoon ends on September 30 by recent definition and the pattern looks pretty dry for the rest of the month. There is a very slight chance for storms in the Valley this weekend. After that, it looks like the chances for rain through September 30 will be very low.

Currently we’re still under a decent southerly flow in the upper atmosphere. But as the weekend and next week approaches, the jet stream will become more westerly, importing drier air. That overall pattern, where our weather is more influenced by the westerlies, signals the end of the monsoon and the start of some fall weather.

If the monsoon rain is done, we’re well above normal. We got 4.68” of rain at Sky Harbor Airport. The average monsoon summer produces 2.71” of precipitation.

You know monsoon season is at an end when your weather starts coming from the west, and outside on the patio tonight, even though it was still pretty muggy, a breeze had come up from that direction. During monsoon season it usually comes from the south or southeast. So change is on the way.

As monsoon seasons go I’ll give this one a “C”. Not too much dust (which is good) but it wasn’t a great year for thunderstorm viewing. Last year, while not as wet, featured some great thunderstorms to watch from a distance.

The forecast shows no 100-degree temps for the rest of the “summer”, and with the pool temperature currently at 84 degrees we’re definitely winding down the pool season as well.

It’s nearly time to unpack the golf clubs and think about resuming work on my game for the 2014-2015 season.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 22:48 | Comments (0)
September 17, 2014

All we got out of the remnants of Hurricane Odile was a twenty-minute downpour earlier today. That’s it. Tonight, while it’s as muggy as it gets around here, the stars are out and things are getting back to normal.

If given the choice of playing golf or making ten million dollars, I’d take the cash, Anthony.

OK, so now saying that the blame lies with his swing coaches. Yea, that’ll work, Tiger. Hey, maybe that’s an idea! Maybe I’ll blame my lack of success at this year’s Goodboys on my swing coach. Not.

Is it just me, or does the LPGA’s Lexi Thompson look just like Denise Crosby’s Tasha Yar in Star Trek: The Next Generation? She’s not bad looking, but she’s no Paula Creamer or Pornanong Phatlum.

Why do I feel this is not going to end well for anyone.

You heard it here first: the Democratic nominee in 2016 will not be Hillary Clinton, but Julian Castro.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 23:04 | Comments (0)
September 15, 2014

From what some of the folks are saying, the upcoming rain event from Hurricane Odile could be worse than what we got from the remains of Norbert last week. We got ~ 3″ of rain here in Gilbert; they’re saying central Arizona and the Valley of the Sun could get up to as much as 5″ of rain spread over the next several days:

“Hurricane Odile has made landfall in the Baja Peninsula and it is working its way up toward Arizona right now,” 3TV meteorologist April Warnecke said as she explained that rain chances start Monday night into Tuesday morning, with the heaviest rain likely Wednesday and Thursday in several rounds of showers.

Although Odile will not be a hurricane, or even a tropical storm, by the time it gets here, the weather pattern will have an impact.

With rainfall totals between 1 and 5 inches, Warnecke said there is a potential for more flooding.

The rain will not end Thursday, however. Showers are in the forecast through the weekend.

The first sign of Odile is in a sharply-defined wall of clouds sliding in from the southeast:

…which makes sense when you look at this very imposing pic from the National Hurricane Center:

…and see that while the hurricane is south of us the nearest clouds to us are from the southeast. Gee whiz – that’s one a big freakin’ mess of clouds and rain. Who woulda thought I’d have to move to Arizona to be impacted by hurricanes in 2014? Heck, I may end up having to get me one of these! (Thanks to Goodboy “Goose” Dwyer for the link!)

And if this weren’t bad enough, Dr. Jeff Masters’ blog at Weather Underground is calling for yet another tropical system that could be ready to form off the western coast of Mexico later this week (my boldings):

Our top models for predicting genesis of tropical cyclones are keen on developing a broad area of low pressure (Invest 97E) located about 500 miles south-southeast of Acapulco, Mexico. This system is predicted to follow a northwesterly path parallel to the Pacific coast of Mexico, and might be a danger to Baja early next week–though it is too early to know. In their 8 am EDT Tropical Weather Outlook, NHC gave the disturbance 2-day and 5-day odds of development of 50% and 70%, respectively.

I guess, Odile, you are “Like A Hurricane”.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 16:32 | Comments (3)
September 13, 2014

A few thoughts while watching to see the various forecasts for yet another tropical event here in the desert Southwest begin to come together for mid-to-late next week. Could be bad…

While I’m on the topic of weather, if you’re a weather buff you do yourself a great disservice if you don’t check out Joe Bastardi’s weekly “Saturday Summary” at WeatherBell.com. His long-term forecast is for another rough winter in the Northeast, so those of you who can better start making your Florida plans quick!

I need to get one of these for our backyard. A little scaled down to size, of course!

It’s the final weekend of the 2013-14 PGA Tour with the Fed Ex Cup championship and I, for one, couldn’t care less. At least this means that after Sunday we’ll finally be rid of all those corny and dopey commercials the PGA Tour has been running incessantly for the past few months. I know you can’t please everyone, and the PGA Tour has been continuously tweaking the Fed Ex Cup playoffs to find the right mix, but to me the whole thing just smacks of boredom. There are too many events, and by this time of year only the most avid golf fan is even paying attention. I would have three events and make the final one match play so that there’s real drama from beginning to end. But then again, I’m not an arrogant and pompous, elitist ass like PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem…

It’s still too hot to start playing golf again, but watching LPGA golfer Stacy Lewis do this at the Evian Championship makes me feel better about my own golf game.

Maybe I’m in the minority here, but the NFL is wrong to take Ray Rice‘s and Adrian Peterson‘s ability to make a living away from them. What a bunch of sanctimonious cowards, caving into the demands of the mainstream media! To me it’s up to the Baltimore Ravens and Minnesota Vikings to decide what kind of action should be taken against any player employed by them for off-the-field indiscretions. The NFL is just afraid of the media, and the liberal mainstream media (of course) is playing the role of judge and jury because it gives them something to talk about. I’m not condoning what Rice and Peterson did – a little anger management therapy might be in order here, on both accounts. All I’m saying is let he who is without sin cast the first stone. And believe me, there are A LOT of glass houses out there.

I read about stuff like this happening and it justifies (at least in my view) why the Brits, French, and Germans made a mistake in giving up their colonial empires and returning to the lands of Africa and Asia local power over their own lands. Sure the European powers could be brutal when it came to enforcing law and order, and sure it was a damned expensive proposition in terms of financially supporting their empires, but enforce the law and a sense of order is what they did best, and I’ve yet to see any evidence that the people of Africa and Southwest Asia – and the world in general – are better off today than they were back in the colonial era. The colonial powers knew that the only thing terrorists and terrorist nations understand is overwhelming force; unfortunately, no one today has the courage or will to wipe this kind of thing out.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 17:10 | Comments (0)
September 12, 2014

Yeah, you heard that right. The Great White Shank is a true feminist in every sense of the word. I’m pro-life but believe that contraception should be available over the counter, and that while abortion should be an option and available to all women, abortion providers (particularly Planned Parenthood) should get no taxpayers dollars under any circumstances. And unless you’re also going to subsidize condoms, women’s contraception shouldn’t be taxpayer-funded, either. If you can’t afford it, be woman enough to keep your legs closed. I believe women should be paid the same as men for the same work, but I also believe women who have children shouldn’t get any special treatment from employers: if you’re planning on having children save that PTO time to use what’s rightfully coming to you. (Same holds true for fathers, by the way.)

More than anything else, I believe women should be treated the same way and held to the same standards as men, be it positively or negatively. Just as White House press secretary Josh Earnest is a total airhead, his predecessor Jay Carney a bald-faced liar without any shred of credibility or integrity (like his boss, BTW), and Secretary of State John Kerry (did you know he served in Vietnam?) beyond incompetent (again, like his boss), so too are State Department spokespersons Jen Psaki and Marie Harf unfit for the roles they have been put in. That doesn’t mean either of them are bad people, but you can’t tell me that somewhere in the massive federal government infrastructure there aren’t two other women better qualified and able to project the kind of seriousness and toughness that goes with representing our Department of State.

And yes, Ms. Psaki and Ms. Harf – in your positions it does all come down to seriousness and toughness. You’ve got Vladimir Putin running roughshod over the western borders of Russia, you’ve got all kinds of Islamic terrorist groups creating mayhem, beheading American journalists, and threatening American interests and allies in the Middle East, and who have we got facing down these desperadoes? Two women who look like they’d be more comfortable teaching fifth-graders calculus at Porcupine Valley Middle School picking fights with the likes of Bill O’Reilly of Fox News and accusing journalists of not sharing their rose-colored views of the world.

At any moment when either of these smarmy elitists are at a podium I half expect them to say, “Can’t we all just get along?”, or, most likely, “Class dismissed.” The phrase “if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen” comes to mind, but that wouldn’t be a very feminist thing to say, would it?

Lest you think I’m being too tough on the girls, keep in mind I have a deep and abiding respect for strong and intelligent women. Margaret Thatcher. Condoleezza Rice. Barbara Bush. And Laura Bush, for that matter. Susanna Martinez. Carly Fiorina. Mia Love. Michelle Malkin.

And no, I don’t consider Hillary Clinton either intelligent or strong – if she was either she wouldn’t have needed to hitch a ride on her husband’s coattails to get her everywhere she’s gotten. Me? I knew she was a fraud when after the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke we never saw CNN cut to the White House where Hillary was throwing all of Bill’s clothes out one of the second-story windows.

To me, the very definition of the word feminism is women expecting to be treated equally as men, having access to all the same opportunities as men, and using all the unique gifts God gave them to be as happy and successful as they can. (You want to see powerful women on display? Check out any Vegas strip club on busy Friday night. But I digress.) That doesn’t mean, of course, that if a lady is OK with having a man open the car door for her or springing for the tab on a dinner date she’s betraying what it means to be a feminist – a true feminist isn’t ashamed to be feminine. That’s what being a strong woman is all about, and it’s a quality I’ve always been attracted to. In fact, if given the choice between a strong woman able to take care of herself with the confidence to tell me to get lost, or one who is dependent on others to help support and take care of her, I’ll take option A every time.

(Unless, of course, she’s attractive and covered in sushi. You can have the sushi (I don’t partake of raw fish), but I’ll take the girl.)

So if Ms. Psaki and Ms. Harf to me look absolutely over their heads, out of their league, weak, and a couple of uber-lightweights, it’s not that I’m not a feminist, it’s that I’m enough of a feminist to recognize neither of them are qualified for the level of seriousness and gravitas that their positions demand.

A big hat tip to my bro Dave for his awesome Photoshop skills!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:31 | Comments (0)

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